Friday, October 21, 2016

Is Lowell Goddard a victim of post-colonial prejudice?

I wouldn't profess to have a clue what the truth is behind the controversy over Dame Lowell Goddard in Britain, but one thing I do know is that the English don't like having to defer to colonials. In their eyes this is a reversal of the natural order of things.

Rupert Murdoch discovered this when he bought The Times. The English media never forgave the Aussie upstart for taking over one of their most illustrious institutions. Never mind that Murdoch outwitted the unions that had been rorting Fleet Street proprietors for decades, and by doing so, dragged the British newspaper industry into the 20th century.

On another level, you can see this English resentment of colonial success reflected in the way choleric British rugby hacks like Stephen Jones rage over the fact that we routinely humiliate them at the sport they invented. (He was at it again only this week.) 

The English still carry a lot of nationalistic baggage dating from their glory days as a great imperial power, and I can't help wondering whether Goddard is, at least to some extent, a victim of the Poms' unwillingness to accept a New Zealander sitting in judgement on them. 

The snide Times headline 'Disaster from Down Under' was telling. The sub-text was that no good was ever likely to come from hiring someone from a godforsaken colonial outpost to sit in judgment on her cultural superiors. Goddard may have been on a hiding to nothing from the outset.

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