Labor frontbencher Robert McClelland
belled the cat this morning on Radio National: “I disagree with the
leaders of both political parties who say there’s not a racist element.
Clearly there is.” He should know; as the federal member for Barton,
his electorate covers Brighton-le-Sands and lies adjacent to Sutherland

McClelland knows full well – even if his leader won’t
admit it – that this is both a culture clash and a battle for scarce
resources. None of which is new. The Westies v Surfer stoushes of the
past remind us that kids from the poorer suburbs will try to use the
beach – and the nimbys who live there will try to stop them.

We turn to erstwhile Crikey commentator Paddy McGuinness for some rational perspective. He wrote,
back in 2002 in the midst of the Lebanese gang rape “epidemic,” that
violent sex crime “is not confined to Muslim or Lebanese communities.”
In this case, blaming an excess of testosterone fuelled with misogyny
on religion is clearly nonsense.

While Peter Ryan in today’s Australian was eulogising Geoffrey Blainey,
it’s worth recalling the words of former policeman Tim Priest, the one
man crime fighting vigilante who teamed up with Alan Jones to bring
down former NSW police commissioner Peter Ryan.

Priest had some feisty, but ultimately prescient comments to make in this Quadrant speech
last year: You may wince at his argument that “the rise of Middle
Eastern crime in Australia” is all derived from some racial
characteristic, and code words like his claim to speak for “we, the
silent majority” are a giveaway. But it is food for thought when we
witness the failure of basic policing on the beaches and suburbs of