Archive for April, 2013

Remembering those that have fallen on ANZAC Day

April 24, 2013

ImageOk, yesterday I wrote about Saint George’s Day but being a citizen of both the UK and Australia I felt I could not let ANZAC Day pass unmentioned. For those of you not aware tomorrow (25th April) is Anzac Day, it is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, and a public holiday in Australia, unlike Saint George’s Day in England. It started as a day to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire (now modern day Turkey) during World War I. However, today it more broadly commemorates all those who served and died in all military operations for their countries.

In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula, Winston Churchill’s grand plan was that they were to open the way to the Black Sea for the Allied navies. The overall objective was to capture Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, which was an ally of Germany during the war. The ANZAC force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Army commanded by Mustafa Kemal (later known as Atatürk, who went on to become Turkey’s first President, bot more on him later). What had been planned as a daring strike to knock the Ottomans out of the war quickly became a deadlock, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties.

The Dawn Service on ANZAC Day has become a major tradition, and the first official dawn service was held at the Sydney Cenotaph in 1927. Thousands of Australians make a pilgrimage to the site of the battle in Turkey every year for the dawn service held there. The name “ANZAC Cove” was officially recognised by the Turkish government on Anzac Day in 1985. In 1934, Kemal Atatürk delivered the following words to the first Australians, New Zealanders and British to visit the Gallipoli battlefields. This was later inscribed on a monolith at Ari Burnu Cemetery (ANZAC Beach) which was unveiled in 1985. The words also appear on the Kemal Atatürk Memorial in Canberra:

“Those heroes that shed their blood

And lost their lives.

You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.

Therefore rest in peace.

There is no difference between the Johnnies

And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side

Here in this country of ours.

You, the mothers,

Who sent their sons from far away countries

Wipe away your tears,

Your sons are now lying in our bosom

And are in peace

After having lost their lives on this land they have

Become our sons as well.”

Why I am wearing my England top today…..

April 23, 2013

ImageSaint George’s Day is the feast day of Saint George, and although I am wearing my England football top in honour of the day it is actually not just a day for the English. It is celebrated by various Christian churches and by the several nations of which Saint George is the patron saint. Countries that celebrate St George’s Day include England, Canada, Croatia, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Republic of Macedonia.

Saint George’s Day is celebrated on 23 April, the traditionally accepted date of Saint George’s death in AD 303. By coincidence it is also my Uncle’s birthday (Happy birthday Uncle Clive). The earliest documented mention of St George in England comes from the venerable Bede (c. 673–735). He is also mentioned in ninth-century liturgy used at Durham Cathedral.  The will of Alfred the Great is said to refer to the saint, in a reference to the church of Fordington, Dorset. One of my sons has Alfred as a middle name, but this is just a happy coincidence.

In 1222 The Synod of Oxford declared St. George’s Day a feast day in the kingdom of England and  Edward III (1327–1377) put his Order of the Garter (founded c. 1348) under the banner of St. George. This order is still the foremost order of knighthood in England and St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle was built by Edward IV and Henry VII in honour of the order. The badge of the Order shows Saint George on horseback slaying the dragon.

In his play Henry V, William Shakespeare famously invokes the Saint prior to the battle of Agincourt (1415) “Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

St George’s Day was a major feast and national holiday in England on a par with Christmas from the early 15th century. The Cross of St George was flown in 1497 by John Cabot on his voyage to discover Newfoundland and later by Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh. In 1620 it was the flag that was flown by the Mayflower when the Pilgrim Fathers arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts. My relatives own Mayflower Engineering in Sheffield, that has the Mayflower ship as its logo, another happy coincidence.

The tradition of celebration St George’s day had waned by the end of the 18th century after the union of England and Scotland. In recent years the popularity of St George’s Day appears to be increasing, slowly but surely. The Conservative MP, Andrew Rosindell, has raised the issues in the House of Commons to make St George’s Day a public holiday and Mayor of London Boris Johnson encourages the celebration of St George’s Day.

A traditional custom on St George’s day was to wear a red rose in one’s lapel, however I could not find one this morning when getting dressed, so put my England football top on instead. Enjoy the day.

Did gay ad prompt Queensland Government to call an unnecessary inquiry?

April 17, 2013

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Does Queensland need tighter regulation of outdoor media? The industry stats would indicate that currently there is no evidence to suggest so. Last year there were 3,640 complaints submitted across all media to the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) of these only 5%, yes 5% related to outdoor advertising.

However, bowing to pressure from the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) the Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has announced an inquiry that will examine if new laws and classifications are needed to crack down on sexually explicit material on billboards.

Some background to why the ACL has put the pressure on the Queensland Government, last year the Queensland Association of Healthy Communities launched the ‘Rip and Roll’ campaign (pictured) which featured a homosexual couple. This ad is about promoting safe sex, but the Australian Christian Lobby found it far to offensive and took action, they put pressure on Adshel (the company that carried the ads on their sites) to remove them, and unfortunately they did. They then had to make an embarrassing u-turn and reinstated them following a barrage of criticism for having done so.

What was refreshing was at the time, Goa Billboards refused to remove the messaging and instead countered the pressure they got from ACL with digital ads displaying the message “Our God loves everyone gay & straight”.

What is more the ASB later dismissed all complaints about the “sexual nature” of the campaign and found it did not break any advertising or marketing codes of ethics.

Clearly the ACL are not happy at the fact that they were so robustly defeated in their attempts at censorship, but alas they may have the last laugh. After receiving a petition from the ACL recently the Attorney-General said “It is difficult to avoid outdoor advertising in everyday life and such advertising can be seen by children, with no ability for parents to restrict access if it is inappropriate,” he went on to say “Whatever regulation is in place, we need a system that when complaints are made, adequate action is taken. I don’t think that is happening at the moment” this could almost be the ACL speaking.

Alina Bain, CEO of the Australian Association of National Advertisers, said there is no evidence that the current self-regulatory system is not working, and pointed out that “advertising works on a national level so to expect an advertiser to have one billboard for Queensland and another for the rest of the country is plainly absurd,” .

What is more the Outdoor Media Association (OMA) has also hit back at the Queensland Government’s probe into the regulation of outdoor advertising, branding it “redundant” and “absurd” and their chief executive, Charmaine Moldrich, questioned the need for the review saying “the facts speak for themselves. There were no nation-wide complaints, in the area of sex, sexuality and nudity upheld against OMA members in 2012.”

So why this inquiry? Where is the evidence that one is even needed? And is this ad featured here really so offensive in its own right to justify such an inquiry?