Word has it that I am being traduced and misrepresented at various points around the blogosphere. How excitement!
But as I seem to have upset several people with Tuesday's post on the implications of the PM's re-naming of the Department of Immigration and Citizanship (DIC, formerly DIMA, formerly DIMIA), and it has resulted in libellous misrepresentations of my views in ways and places I can't control, let me make a couple of things clear.
I did not call John Howard 'a racist'.
I did not claim, nor did I imply, that he had actually used the word 'assimilation'.
What I said was
(a) that his policy was assimilationist, which it is. Short of stopping immigration altogether, assimilation is the only thing left, by a process of elimination, after you erase the alternative, 'multicultural', from the name and the policy of the department in question,
(b) that assimilation was essentially a racist policy, which it is. 'Assimilate: to absorb, to become absorbed, incorporated ... to become or cause to become similar'. What this means is the erasure of cultural difference, and cultural difference sometimes, though not always, includes racial difference. A desire to erase racial difference would seem to me to indicate a negative attitude to it.
A quick look at the post in question should confirm the accuracy of both (a) and (b). But I do admit, with shame, to having optimistically assumed that these things were understood without me having to spell them out, and that people would be able to follow the argument. One would hope that the people reading one's blog can, in fact, read, but it seems this isn't always the case.
UPDATE: Oh and another thing: I would be very interested to see any of the people who called that post 'drivel', 'stupid', 'prejudice', 'nonsense', 'wankery' or 'deception' (deception? que?) explain clearly and in detail just exactly what they think Howard's reasons were for the last two changes in this department's name. Go on. As the PM himself would be proud to say, have a go.