Poor Guy Rundle, who cannot but feel his pain expressed in his rant yesterday (We don’t need new fast trains). One has to admire his energy and ability to get all fired up. Sadly this author has lost that ability, having fallen into a funk of depression upon returning to Oz after a few weeks overseas, when our unutterable mediocrity, smug self-delusion and complacency is unavoidable to anyone with eyes wide open. It seems our complacency knows no bounds -- probably due to the Lucky Country and No Free Lunch scenarios, a consequence of this unearned easy money from mining, exacerbated by some kind of Anglo-Saxon disease.

Compare the continental Europeans and the Asians with the hapless Brits, the nightmare sprawl of the US and, arguably worst of the lot, Australia. (Is Canada rescued from this Groucho Club of incompetents by being partly French? Maybe, in the same way that the Asian Anglo city-states Hong Kong, Singapore and now Shanghai, etc, are rescued by their Chinese citizens). In the way that one can barely imagine modern Italians running the Roman empire, one wonders where the Victorians have gone when we really need them. Obviously this is not a reference to those latter-day Victorians who derive their electricity almost exclusively by burning the world’s dirtiest energy source, brown coal. No, I mean those Victorians who built the first sewers and the first Metro system and many of the world’s railways.