XT801: South of the River --
A silly story
"XT801: South of the River" is a short allegory about how people in one precinct feel about a neighbouring precinct, and about living under the same flag with them, or maybe splitting with them and letting the two precincts function independently. Yes, it is intended to be ironic.
South of The River: a Silly Story
Dear Diary, It all started in such a small way. Of course all of us enlightened people who live north of the Swan River in Perth naturally feel a certain amount of pity for those those poor deprived souls who live South of the River.
It's often through no fault of their own, just an accident of birth, or perhaps lack of education, which stops them ever climbing out from their humble beginnings.
It's true that until the '60s we NOTREs had the only University in the State, so that every day their ambitious youngsters had to stream across the bridges to get a bit of learning, or else had to uproot and settle, temporarily and uneasily, in the poorest sort of lodgings available among we elite.
But of course those SOTRIs breed like rabbits, and in a spirit of fairness the Government eventually let them open their own university, to cope with their growing hordes as best they might. And it was made clear to them that there was to be no discrimination -- their better talents could still perhaps win scholarships to the proper University, and we would at least maintain a token representation in their own new venture. It was the least we could do, to advise them on what to do and exert a little kind but firm supervision of their development.
But of course they weren't satisfied. Before you could say Jack Robinson they had wheedled their way into renaming one of their technical schools as a university, and claimed they had two to our one. As a matter of form we had to do the same, making it two all.
And although the new private university, actually named after us, has started off in Fremantle, everybody knows that Fremantle and South Perth are only notionally south of the river. They are really just NOTRE missionary colonies, part of the white man's burden. Just to be safe, though, the private university is soon to be moved back into our hinterlands, well out of the problem front-line border area.
Faced with a clear 3-2 defeat, some of the lower SOTRI elements looked round for something else to complain about. They settled on an easy and emotive target -- money.
"Why", they started whingeing, "is it that we have to do all our special shopping in the NOTRE areas? Why do we have to pay them to go to all the best cinemas, to attend all the rock concerts, to see all the new plays, musicals, and overseas entertainers? We are just lining the pockets of the so-called north-of-the-river-elite, all we get is the dirty jobs and smoke-stack industries."
"Our factory and business bosses don't live with the workers, every day they drive over the bridges from their plush north-of-the-river mansions, staying just long enough to retrench a few loyal workers in order to keep their own fat paychecks safe".
It's pathetic, I know, but that's how some of them actually talk and think. They don't show any gratitude for the huge investments we have made in underprivileged SOTRI areas, our efforts to raise their training up to a decent level, our legislation to ensure that their squalid housing at least reaches a minimum standard of hygiene.
Now things are starting to look ugly. The SOTRIs are intending imposing Bridge Entry and Exit Taxes on people moving between the two territories. Even worse, they are proposing to apply tariffs on goods moving south, in order, they claim, "to protect their own industries from a flood of cheap dumped NOTRE imports".
And the latest, and perhaps silliest thing they propose doing, is to monitor and control all NOTRE investments in their areas. Their approval will be required for all new investments, they will have special limits on repatriation of profits to the north, and they will be moving to their own currency in the belief that that will save them from the problems which ours is currently experiencing.
It is inevitable and only equitable that we in turn impose stern restrictions on migration of SOTRIs into our territory. If we don't do this, we will be overrun with cheap labour and our own standards of living will start to fall -- we certainly don't want to end up with a Wetback problem like they have in the United States.
It is indeed sad to see all this happening. More and more, it starts to look as if Premier Hanrahan will be right. Dear Diary, where will it all end?
Now Let's Be Serious
Yes, you are right, that was a ridiculous idea -- it could never actually happen in Perth, could it?
Perhaps not. But parallels to this ridiculous story can certainly be found in real life everywhere. The underlying points are: erection or maintenance of a syston boundary round what you see as 'your' people, identifying those 'outside' the barrier with other syston labels, and seeking to advantage those within 'your' syston at the expense of the others.
All very natural -- Charity Begins at Home, after all.
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Extract from MT119: No Closer To God -- Imports, Exports, and Infocap.
Latest version on Web, 2016 Jun 2