Funny thing about Canberrans -- bag Canberra, and they react with outrage. Criticise Sydney, and Sydneysiders couldn’t care less. Have a go at Melbourne, Melburnians will barely glance up from their coffees. But Canberrans have a real inferiority complex. So Paul Keating’s reference to Canberra as one big mistake produced anguished cries in the national capital yesterday.

Handily, Keating himself best explained the need for Canberra. As he was actually in Melbourne, he declared that the capital could have been there, doubtless out of deference to his hosts. But soon the visionary Sydney architect in him took over, and he opined that in fact it should have been in Sydney, on Garden Island (good luck getting a parking spot).