Australia is a nation of furious bullies.

That was the conclusion jumped to in The Times newspaper last week, when Brit-journo-turned-Sydneysider Beverley Hadgraft used the 2Day FM scandal as a truly tenuous springboard from which to brand Oz culture one of “general nastiness”, and claimed the “laidback larrikin” image of Brand Australia was well on its way to total destruction.

An odd article, all told, seeing as the evidence put forward for this consisted of a couple of barbs aimed at controversial 2GB presenter Alan Jones, one about him “scolding” Julia Gillard for arriving 10 minutes late to an interview and another on the issue of him hating cyclists. (I’d suggest the latter is not an Oz-only phenomenon.)

Actually, Jones is guilty of far worse than this – in October, he suggested Julia Gillard’s father had “died of shame”, prompting more than 20,000 Australians to sign a petition calling for advertisers to abandon his breakfast show. But that’s beside the point.

Holding up a handful of shock jocks as proof that Australians are all evil bastards is like insisting Ashley Cole proves every single Englishman and woman is an odious arsehole (honest, we’re not).

And to place an entire country under the banner of “bullies” is (a) ignorant in the extreme and (b) rich coming from a Brit. It’s not like London’s streets are filled with fluffy bunnies hopping happily to work every day of the week, is it?

If there is any kind of increase in a bullying attitude within Australia, it’s more symptomatic of a dismaying global trend than something solely sinister Down Under.

The ability now to say anything about another person without having to face them, and have those remarks seen or heard by large groups of other people, has unleashed a very dark side of human nature; Twitter’s greatest achievement so far appears to have been to make trolling an international pastime.

And isn’t trolling just a zeitgeisty word for bullying?

So Ashley, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.

 Agree or disagree? Is Australia a nation of bullies?



Screentime Makes You Stupid: Proof

Brits are fast becoming whatever the opposite of a super-race is – basically, a right bunch of dullards.

Well, that’s if two new pieces of research are to be believed: one, a US study that suggests too much exposure to TV, tablet, computer or mobile phone screens decreases brain power and creativity; and two, a survey by Ofcom that discovered Brits spend more than four hours in front of the TV every day. 

I’ve always argued the rise of the smartphone spells trouble for humans: wandering around in circles because your phone’s GPS can’t find Pizza Express and you’ve forgotten how to use an A-Z is just the tip of what is shaping up to be a ship-sinking iceberg.

I also find it difficult to believe there are four hours of good TV on every day, which is why I don’t own one. 

Oh, people take the piss about this and the fact I only use my phone for calls and texts.

But now there’s proof tech dinosaurs like me are smarter than everyone else.


Photo: Thinkstock