Bring back Neville

Neville and Noeline in a photo supplied by Bonnyrigg Garden Centre
Neville and Noeline in a photo supplied by Bonnyrigg Garden Centre

In at least one way the Aborigine garden statue known as Neville and the homage delivered by the tediously PC to Aborigines as traditional owners are the same. Both, I say, are excruciatingly kitsch. Australians used to have an Aborigine in a loin cloth and holding a spear in the front yard and now, instead, they pay homage to "the traditional owners of this land on which we meet". Well, only the most rectified Australians pay that homage, and these days they race through it because they know we're over such rot.

These strident PCers will say that Neville was racist and that their homage is correcting the wrongs of that racism. Evidence of their mounting desperation, by the way, is to be seen in the fact that when they kicked off their absurd appeasement they referred to Aborigines as the traditional caretakers of the land, then a year or two later as the traditional custodians and now as traditional owners. Where to next?

Maybe, just maybe, their next will be a Neville in their own front yard. A mate and I are intent on restoring Neville to his righteous place among the shrubbery in Australia's front yards and we've been hoping to lead the rescue by installing Neville in our own yards. But Nevilles have gone from being ubiquitous to non-existent. After the parodying television series Kingswood Country poked cruel fun at Neville's owners one night in the early 1980s tens of thousands of Australians slipped out and buried him.

And that may well have been the birth of the self-consciousness and doubt that became the paralysing political correctness. My mate and I see Neville as leading us into the unPC age, and I'm sure he's up to leading us all back to an age of guilt-free confidence if we can find him.

Will you install Neville in your yard? Or do you prefer the guilt and the shame of the PC age?