A couple of days before Australia Day miles of graffiti have been scrawled over walls and buildings in and around Botany Bay and elsewhere against the whole idea of the celebration – as if the British went around scrawling messages condemning the Normans for invading and sealing their land and reviling their gods, and arguing that the Last Night of the Proms should be cancelled. The problem is, of course - or part of it – that insufficient time has passed for things to settle down, as they inevitably will (to nobody’s satisfaction, I fear, but just because in the end everyone will get bored with the argument). As for this year’s protests, I don’t think much good has been done by painting graffiti all over Captain Cook’s parents’ Cottage, brought to Australia and re-erected in Melbourne in 1934 – as though Cook, by stumbling over the continent, was personally responsible for the deaths of the aborigines killed by European diseases, and for their land being stolen by the First Fleeters and subsequent invaders. Once protesters get going there is no end to their imbecility and their capacity for harming their own cause. As for the whole problem of Australian Aborigines – I’m not getting started on that, except to say that the attitude of present-day ‘white’ or in-coming Australians is inevitably for the most part just to ignore it; while the Aborigines themselves mostly just want everyone to go away and leave them alone. Talk about an insoluble problem . . .