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Saturday, April 12

Could a British teacher ever do this?

This is an inspirational and moving video. It's about students at the Bronx High School of Performance and Stagecraft in New York responding to Barack Obama's speech on racial reconciliation in America. It was created following a request from their teacher, Jackson Shafer, to the Obama campaign.

"He makes me care, and he makes me want to believe and he makes me want to get up and go and do something with my life," says one of the kids, Sylvia Bonilla.

"People say that South Bronx kids will never amount to anything, but I say, ‘Yes We Can.’", says another, Anna Boateng.
Of course the answer is no to whether a British teacher ever do this, or anything like it, and put it on YouTube. And the amazing New York teacher and the Head of the School apparently broke some rule and will probably be pursued and punished.

But I love this response.
Principal Mark Sweeting, who could receive a disciplinary letter in his file, acknowledged that the video shoot violated school regulations. Still, he said, he remains "in awe" with what took place inside the classroom.

"The bottom line is I have a senior Hispanic female student that is now interested in politics. I have a male African-American student that is being raised by a single mother that is now in tune with what a superdelegate is," Sweeting said. "That to me is outstanding. That to me is inspirational."
Watch it and weep that stupid, blind bureaucracy and fear of it would ensure that nothing like this would ever be allowed in the UK and would therefore keep UK teens in schools in similar deprived areas from expressing themselves and being inspired/inspiring others in a similar way.

Postscript: Shane from Gallomanor has suggested I not be so bleak!

He points me at I'm a Councillor get me out of here!, a Hansard Society Project, Student Question Time, and Podminions.

There's a video on Podminions which was pretty good (but it's not on YouTube), because it sounded like young people talking for themselves.

Doing a YouTube hunt, Respect had some ranty stuff from youth but I found some pretty good stuff from the British Youth Council, like this:

Low view numbers though.

And UK Youth Parliament had some good stuff:

But this is the sort of thing I was really looking for - how young people are using YouTube to politically express themselves - and it's powerful:

And another one:

And another one, on the same subject:

With a few video responses already:

Here's another one (nb: 'sorry for the robot voice :/'):

Who knew that Lord Goldsmuch had so many fans! These previous vids have higher view numbers than 'official' ones, including some of the Labour YouTube channel! Please, egovers and edomocratites - get this onto your radar!

Fitna - Schism (The Bible version of Fitna)

Falsafat, a Saudi Arabian blogger has a video response to Dutch politician's Geert Wilders 'Fitna: The Movie'.

Google translate link to Falsafat's website >

China's Anti-Gay Crackdown

News is just coming out that, as part of the Chinese government's 'crackdown' before the Olympic Games, gay men and lesbians are being targeted.

Clubs and other meeting places are being targeted for round ups and many people arrested.

According to Shanghai blog, The Shanghai-ist:

Such repressive measures taken so rapidly in such a short time span against places frequented by gays has never before been seen in China, and justifies our being afraid.
Speaking to gay journalist Doug Ireland, a foreigner residing in Beijing said:
The authorities have begun this so-called clean-up to signal to Chinese gays that they better be really discreet and invisible during the Beijing Olympics.

Friday, April 11

Why suicide prevention charities are idiots

Another rubbish piece of web reporting from the BBC (and now all over) - only because it has a medical/doctor aura it's accepted as gospel.

People searching the web for information on suicide are more likely to find sites encouraging the act than offering support, a study says.

Researchers used four search engines to look for suicide-related sites, the British Medical Journal [BMJ] said.

The three most frequently occurring sites were all pro-suicide, prompting researchers to call for anti-suicide web pages to be prioritised.
'Frequently occurring ' means bugger all. The vast, vast majority of searchers don't get past the first ten results and most of those don't get past the top three

I cannot know what exactly their methods were because this information isn't in the public domain - it's behind a payment firewall. (NB: Postscript below - terms and full research is now available)

So unless they send me the research, I (or joe/jill public) has no way of countering this biased reporting and what appears to be shoddy research except what's in this article and what we can guess happened.
The researchers, from Bristol, Oxford and Manchester universities, typed in 12 simple suicide-related search terms into the internet engines.

They analysed the first 10 sites in each search, giving a total of 480 hits.

Altogether 240 different sites were found. A fifth were dedicated suicides sites, while a further tenth were sites that gave factual or jokey information about suicide.

Meanwhile, 13% of sites were focused on suicide prevention while another 12% actively discouraged it.
Well I just did a Google search - 70% of UK web searches, mostly to rather than - on 'suicide' (NB: with 'safesearch' off) and Wikipedia was #1, as usual. Yes, this includes a link to a 'suicide methods' page - it's an encyclopedia. It also has a page about torture and one on necrophilia. What do they propose to do about that? Have Wikipedia be filtered through a charity? Or the government?
  • the next result directs people to the Samaritans
  • next is, run by an author called Melody Clark - doesn't appear to be 'encouraging it' from what I saw
  • then news sites links
  • then Mind's website
  • then Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • then a page from
  • then a page from SOON Ministries (anti)
  • then a Times article
  • then netdoctor
Alongside this were a number of text ads from suicide prevention charities, including Samaritans but mainly small or religious ones, and one business ('Cremated ashes made into glass: "Keep the memory"'). I scanned Yahoo and MSN - almost exactly the same.

On, Mind is #1, some smaller charities appear as well as the BBC but otherwise it's similar to The Samaritans are way, way down - they need the text ad - and Sane not in the first 100 results.

The article isn't telling me what the other terms used were. But I can run a keyword suggestion tool. That gives me (for UK market) the number of daily searches for the particular keyword :

suicide 7788
suicide girls 4921 - a band
suicide girl 438 - fans of that band
teen suicide 429
how to commit suicide 408
suicide methods 375
assisted suicide 349
suicide poems 237
teenage suicide 205
physician assisted suicide 190

As you can see, searches on the simple term 'suicide' are far more prevalent and this list is almost identical to the USA's. As I don't have the details on these 'twelve terms' they researched I don't know what the prevalence/total number of searches on them actually are, let alone if that can be broken down by age group by any method. But I can guess that metric didn't feature in the research.

'How to commit suicide'

Again, Wikipedia, news and religious sites make up the top ten for 'how to commit suicide' on Only at #9 do I get a website about suicide methods. And this is a very long tract by anarchists. Further down there's the Hemlock Society and some others

These top tens change. Particularly because 'freshness' is more of a consideration than it used to be - hence news results. These researchers don't mention video, but that is now prominent in Google results (the ones in results are all jokey).

Notably, no UK charity like the Samaritans and with the exception of Mind shows up until way down the list on that search term on or

On both and the Samaritans and some smaller charities and businesses advertise and appears also in top ten search results on though these are dominated by news.
Lead researcher Lucy Biddle said that because of the law, self-regulation by internet providers and the use of filtering software by parents were the main methods used to try and prevent use of pro-suicide sites.

But she added: "This research shows it is very easy to obtain detailed technical information about methods of suicide."
Yes, if you are determined to find it you will find it. Doh! Just like bomb making recipies and rants against the Chinese government if you are Chinese in China. Filtering software is notoriously about sales and fear and only really 'works' with white lists or massive over-blocking/policing ('Great Firewall').

Her research did not demonstrate that finding pro-suicide websites is "very easy". Contrary to assumptions, I haven't seen evidence that shows that kids and teens are that much better, if at all, at finding things online using search engines than anyone else.

What I can say is that searches for 'suicide' are going down. This is a Google Trends search using the terms 'suicide -attack -Iraq -Afghanistan' to roughly exclude suicide bombers (I checked common keywords in news reports).

This does not include the press coverage of the Bridgend, Wales suicide cluster from earlier this year tied to peaks, because that volume is too low to display in that graph, but would likely be responsible for the early 2008 peak. See 'Bridgend' vs 'suicide' below.

For general searches for 'suicide', the general trend appears to be clearly down. Some good news you won't read in reporting.

Apart from no numbers on what the actual usage is of 'pro-suicide' sites, another point is whether the websites which charities and government create are actually helping kids and teens. I don't know but I'd like to - there's obviously nothing about that in this research, why some kids and teens might be turning to these sites they want to ban in the first place instead of 'official' ones.
She said internet service providers could pursue strategies that would maximise the likelihood that sites aimed at preventing suicide are sourced first.

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, agreed something should be done.
  • how about running your ads next to more search terms than just 'suicide'. (Only Sane isn't doing any in the first place.)
  • Or employing some Search Engine Optimisation specialists to make sure that your pages come up first. They might even do it for nothing or just the publicity.
  • Or working with other charities to make sure you cover every possible term and intervene via content and ads on other sites or through social networks (simply creating a page on Mind's website, already high-up results, which is titled 'How to commit suicide' would immediately help).
  • Or fixing your own website where the first result on a search for 'suicide' is 'The National Suicide Prevention Strategy report'.
Here's the beef - I would class the actions of such charities in making NO effort to ensure that their pages turn up tops on such search terms as 'How to commit suicide' as IRRESPONSIBLE. There are no excuses and to behave as if this is someone else's responsibility - let alone ISPs - is childish and pathetic PLUS it lets down kids and teens. Yes, this makes me very angry!
"We remain deeply concerned about the possible influence of the internet on suicide rates, not least the ease with which information about particular methods can be found with a simple web search."

"These sites are preying on vulnerable and lonely people."
And you, Marjorie Wallace, are not doing your job properly, you are failing the very kids and teens you claim to be helping and you are simply looking for someone else to blame.

As for the BMJ and these so-called researchers ... and as for the BBC. Who the heck do they think this actually helps? This is badly researched scare mongering.

This is exactly what happens when you set up walled gardens and fail to relate to the wider web - I am not seeing the NHS or government portal directgov anywhere in these results and that 'can't be bothered' mentality dominates the charity sector as well.

Hardly surprising when the 'National suicide prevention strategy for England' contains no mention of either the web, the internet or even chatrooms.

The same goes for health information for teens and kids on a wider scale than just suicide prevention - we're looking at an abdication of responsibility online and a willingness to blame others.

What Sane and other charities should do:
  1. Talk to the search engines, they are very interested in getting results right and can and do 'tweak' them. They won't 'censor' sites or stop indexing the whole web but they will help and advise on improving positioning.
  2. Don't talk to the ISPs! Talk to the search engine experts such as the Search Marketing Association.
  3. Talk to social networks about teaming up with them and others to create widgets and other tools so kids and teens can help others.
As well, these people would probably do it for free or cheaply. It would be very straightforward to out-manoeuvre the sites you hate online. What resources do they have vs. what resources do you have?

But for kids sake stop behaving with fear and horror about the web and start using it rather than expecting someone else to do your job.

I am afraid that none of these people are listening, though, (the news media is already known to be a bigger encourager of suicide than the web). What they are developing is an righteous effort, like has happened in Australia, which will result in a censored Internet for all of us - and no real help for those they claim to be helping.


Postscript: I have submitted a response to the BMJ, pointing them to this blog post. I have also written to Marjorie Wallace of Sane pointing her to this blog post and making plain that I would freely offer my help and contact others willing to help them improve their search positioning and online help for the suicidal.

Postscript: An anonymous commentator says that the 12 search terms were:
a) suicide; (b) suicide methods; (c) suicide sure methods; (d) most effective methods of suicide; (e) methods of suicide; (f) ways to commit suicide; (g) how to commit suicide; (h) how to kill yourself; (i) easy suicide methods; (j) best suicide methods; (k) pain-free suicide, and (l) quick suicide.
And those showed:
Top 4 sites were Alt Suicide Holiday, Satan Service, Suicide and wikipedia. In that order first 3 were catigorised as pro suicide wikipedia as Information site: factual.
But as you can see from the keyword search numbers above only 'how to commit suicide' and 'suicide methods ' are frequently used search terms and both are dwafted by searches on 'suicide'.

The daily search numbers for 'how to kill yourself', 216. But for 'suicide poems', not a term they used, 237. 'Suicide sure methods' (Used), 0. 'Most effective methods for committing suicide', 0. 'Methods of suicide' is exactly the same term as 'suicide methods'. 'Ways to commit suicide' 158. 'Easy suicide methods', 11. 'Pain-free suicide', 0 (But 'painless suicide methods', not used, 53). ' Quick suicide', 4.

'Suicide', 7788.

If these are indeed the variants, by what method were those twelve search terms picked? It doesn't appear very scientific, unless I'm missing some additional information.

And none of this lets charities (or government) off the hook because churches and others are already in there topping results by generating links and picking page titles which put them at the top for terms which are searched on.

Postscript: The full text of the article has now been made available on the BMJ website.

This says:
Search strategy
We sought to replicate the results of a typical search that might be undertaken by a person seeking information about methods of suicide. We conducted searches using the four most popular UK search engines and 12 broad search terms—a total of 48 searches. The terms entered were those likely to be used by distressed individuals, determined partly from interview data collected in an ongoing qualitative study of near-fatal suicide attempts and by using search suggestions provided by the engines upon entering terms such as "suicide."
There isn't any further detail on just how they could know what search terms were actually entered 'by distressed individuals' as opposed to ones without distress or how relevant 'interview data' would be in working that out. My look at keywords suggests that they picked the wrong ones anyway and to include both 'methods of suicide' and 'suicide methods' is just inept.

I repeat that the conclusions of the study don't match any real data on what 'distressed individuals' might search on, let alone which terms are most frequently used (a metric which was clearly irrelevant in this study), let alone what we know about search patterns - the sort of information which has been researched to death because it has commercial value, let alone which search engine they probably used. The tenth in a top ten of search results is far less likely to be clicked on than the first, just to pick one example, yet their 'results' are predicated on them having the same value. There is clearly very little understanding of search behaviour by these researchers and this renders all the rest of the study entirely meaningless.

If they had even bothered to ask some of the search marketing/search optimisation specialists probably around the corner from them, or possibly even within the same universities, they would have realised that their methodology doesn't show anything. But as a result of this article being in the hallowed BMJ we now have headlines around the world.

I would suggest that this article devalues the BMJ itself as a source of scientific information unless it is withdrawn. There was nothing scientific about this study.

This is not to say that analysis of how search may contribute to actual suicide isn't valuable, but it needs to be done by specialists who can use the tools established by the industry to track and analyse which sites are the most dangerous and where the traffic to them is coming from - it may well not be primarily search. That could be done. As well, as I have explained at length, the best course is a concerted effort by charities and government to direct 'distressed individuals' to websites which can really help them.

Postscript: I actually got Google search share wrong. It's not 70%, it's 86%. And most of those are to rather than - which has changed dramatically from the last time I looked at this, presumably because Google is getting better at presenting more relevant results and presenting because it knows that's where you're searching from.

Postscript: In a comment, Graham Jones who runs the Internet Psychology web site, says that he met some people who were connected to the research and "they were suitably embarrassed in private when I pointed out the simple flaws in the research". Another critic of the research is John M. Grohol, Psy.D. at the PsychCentral website.

Sweet! South Park joins the queue of 'internet stars'


Thursday, April 10

Webby awards and accessibility

These are the candidates for 'Best Home Page' in the annual Webby Awards.


Nominees Agency/Credited Organization
AdBash AdBash
Rusty George Creative
Conde Net
National Geographic National Geographic
National Geographic Digital Media
The Los Angeles Film School The Los Angeles Film School
Platinum Creative @ Full Sail
wired media

Yep, there's some great stuff there. However ...

You can double check, but accessibility appears to be absent from all of them.

And it's absent from the Webbies to-tal-ly:

With the ammount of money involved with these and other sites, there aren't any excuses left for not bothering.

It will undoubtedly take legal pressure to force these people to pay attention - and that's finally started.

Is this the test case we’ve all been waiting for?

Summary: Target case now open for class action and every blind person in the U.S. who has tried to access can become a plaintiff.

Summary of summary: Target, you’re screwed.

Plus Ofcom is "launching a new dedicated workstream focusing on access and inclusion, including usability, across all its areas of work."

I've written to the Webbies asking for an explanation. I'm not holding my breath.

Obama and gays

There's been a lot of flak in the US gay media about how Barack Obama isn't giving them interviews.

In Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia gay paper ran a blank spot on its front page because they got a Hillary interview but not a Barack one.

Obama gives an interview, published today, for national gay magazine The Advocate in which he explains what he's doing:

I don’t think it’s fair to say silence on gay issues. The gay press may feel like I’m not giving them enough love. But basically, all press feels that way at all times. Obviously, when you’ve got limited amount of time, you’ve got so many outlets. We tend not to do a whole bunch of specialized press. We try to do general press for a general readership.

But I haven’t been silent on gay issues. What’s happened is, I speak oftentimes to gay issues to a public general audience. When I spoke at Ebenezer Church for King Day, I talked about the need to get over the homophobia in the African-American community, when I deliver my stump speeches routinely I talk about the way that antigay sentiment is used to divide the country and distract us from issues that we need to be working on, and I include gay constituencies as people that should be treated with full honor and respect as part of the American family.

So I actually have been much more vocal on gay issues to general audiences than any other presidential candidate probably in history. What I probably haven’t done as much as the press would like is to put out as many specialized interviews. But that has more to do with our focus on general press than it does on … I promise you the African-American press says the same thing.

I guess my point would be that the fact that I’m raising issues accordant to the LGBT community in a general audience rather than just treating you like a special interest that is sort of off in its own little box – that, I think, is more indicative of my commitment.
This is correct, I've heard that in several stump speeches. I haven't heard that from Hillary.

And maybe it's because of the example of the much defamed Rev. Wright. His Chicago church has a long record of supporting gay people - including establishing a 'singles club' - and doing HIV outreach, it has many gay parishioners and Wright himself has stood up for gay people consistently.

Obama said:
Ironically, my biggest … the biggest political news surrounding me over the last three weeks has been Reverend Wright, who offended a whole huge constituency with some of his statements but has been very good on gay and lesbian issues.

A new view of London

e-society classification

UCL has developed a fantastic new tool, still in Beta, which uses Google Maps and has a pretty good interface.

PTAL - Public Transport Accessibility Level

London Profiler builds up a picture of the geo-demographics of Greater London from data on population attributes such as cultural/ethnicity, deprivation, the extent of e-literacy, level of higher education, and health related problems.

London's Welsh

You can "visualise themes at different scales, search by postcode or zoom at borough level, to change the layer's transparency and to add KML layers". Loads quickly and all it's missing is a 'how to use' link.

Index of multiple deprivation

It's amazing, really, that the BBC covered this solely as about 'Mapping London's immigration', which is actually wrong. I don't see a map showing how the early C20th Jewish emigres landed in the East End then moved to North London ...

Wednesday, April 9

Google Reader clips catch up

Not on Reader - A 'West Wing' Writer Imagines the Showdown at the Democratic National Convention. From New York Magazine. Lawrence O’Donnell Jr writes the script for Four Days in Denver. Wonderful.

Tuesday, April 8

Al Gore: New thinking on the climate crisis

In Al Gore's brand-new slideshow (premiering exclusively on, he presents evidence that the pace of climate change may be even worse than scientists were recently predicting, and challenges us to act with a sense of "generational mission" -- the kind of feeling that brought forth the civil rights movement -- to set it right. Gore's stirring presentation is followed by a brief Q&A in which he is asked for his verdict on the current political candidates' climate policies and on what role he himself might play in future.

Favorite line: "Junkies find veins in their toes when the ones in their arms and legs collapse."

Another reason to laugh at the Torch relay

From Wired:

Olympic Torch Emits 5,500 Tons of CO2

That's from flying it 85,000 miles.

London has a plan to ensure that the 2012 torch relay ends up carbon neutral, so we figured that Beijing must have one too, right? Sally Lu, the frazzled Olympic media relations rep that we reached in Beijing, says that if there is a plan to neutralize the torch-carrying jet's carbon emissions, she hasn't heard about it. But she thinks there is one. Probably.

Actually, she's not really sure.

Here's some brave people on the Golden Gate Bridge. One is interviewed live.

There's something deeply ironic and 21st century about this happening to a PR stunt invented by the Nazis.

Not lost on Jon Stewart ...

Huff Post beats Drudge

Arianna's baby has grown up:

In February, The Huffington Post drew 3.7 million unique [American] visitors, according to Nielsen Online, for the first time beating out The Drudge Report, the conservative tip sheet with which The Post is often compared.
Silicon Valley Insider says that comscore has her beating Drudge in February too. It also notes that:
The outside measurement data is all over the map
Which it is, as I try to double check those numbers. But a trend is a trend!

The New York Times feature says it's worth $200m, which values each visitor at $50 each. Article says it's developing an international news section too, which will be interesting - that's a major gap. They say the aim is to be - good phrase - an Internet curator. Not just a tip-sheet à la Drudge.

This tells a story too:
Staff members also credit much of the growth to moves that have made the site’s commentary more prominent on search engines like Google and Yahoo. More than half of traffic now comes from nonpolitical pages.
As does this:
Despite its number of visitors, it still has a high “bounce rate,” referring to users who visit one page and then leave the site. Drudge still records seven times the monthly page views of The Huffington Post, meaning that readers are frequently refreshing for the latest headlines.
Not enough loyalty then yet. And the growth's presidential campaign driven. Big numbers but it's not the biggest single [American] blog though.

Techcruch beats it on links via Technorati scoring and TMZ on visitors (8.1 million).

Monday, April 7

Send me your stereotypes

  • Views: 993,566
  • Comments: 2,655
  • Subscribers 3,273
  • QueenRania on YouTube
  • And then what? This is as one-sided as Hillary's efforts, but it's a start ...

More Zimbabwe blog wisdom

The only run off we want is for Mugabe to run off. Is this an election or an erection because everything seems to be standing still? These are the words on Harare's lips and in its text messages. Our joy is agony. So close but yet so far. We are tired. We can't take this anymore. Everyone I talk to wants the old man to go. If he doesn't they will. Some say they will take to the streets. Others will leave the country. Everyone has a plan in Zimbabwe. Most of us plan to be here. But many will leave if Bob doesn't.

Comrade Fatso

More great Zapiro cartoons.

Blinkx and the Beeb

Rory Cellan-Jones does a big promo rah-rah for Blinkx on the BBC blog. No problemo there. I love Blinkx too, it is better than - shock! - theGoogle.

Apart from a few 'they'll fix it' issues like tiddly text ('what is that video about??') and that you can't just embed them - you have to apply - and that it just plays and doesn't give you a button to hit to play (always a bête noire for me) and that it'll probably need a version which doesn't induce potential psychosis. But, apart from all that!, the tech behind it is brilliant and unique (and they're local).

Thing is, the BBC has an expected commercial relationship with Blinkx.

Which Rory doesn't mention in his blog,

And that's very naughty for a BBC journalist to do. 'Disclosure' and all that ...

I would tell them this on the blog but the f*&^%$£$%$g comments are still not working. After five tries I run out of patience. Thanks to the wonders of tagging though, they'll see this. Hi guys (you are mostly guys, aren't you?). Pass this on to Rory, there's a love.

A violent game addict? You're in the money!

Fresh from Star Now

A national newspaper wants your story and will pay hundreds of pounds to the right person.

Write a few lines about how computer games turned you to crime and if it's something we like, we'll call you straight back.

Please note: To take part, your story must not incriminate yourself or any other person (sic).
Hot on the heels of that leaked Daily Mail email about 'your Polish migrant hell - we'll pay!'

Where's Ofcom when you need it? Nowhere!

Hat-tip Martin Belam

Sunday, April 6

Rudd delivers for Aborigines

I, alongside many Aboriginal Australians, was actually quite cynical about the new Labor Australian PM Kevin Rudd and his well-trailed apology to the Stolen Generations earlier this year.

Unlike the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, who said he wept as he watched it on CNN (I didn't weep, been there, done that). But now he's done something which is really, truly significant.

The plight of indigenous Australians will be detailed by the Prime Minister each year in Federal Parliament to measure the success or failure of the Government's pledge to increase Aboriginal living standards.

Announcing this in London of all places, Rudd said that on the first parliamentary day of each year he would report on the progress of his promise to close the 17-year life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians by 2030.

The Government plans to guarantee indigenous people will get health services equal to those of the rest of the population within 10 years.

The time has come for the debate to move on from intentions and focus on outcomes, because in this endeavour outcomes are what really matters [too right, mate]. This annual statement will greatly increase pressure on my Government to make progress towards closing the gap.
The other elements of the new annual statement would detail the progress or otherwise on closing gaps in infant mortality, literacy and numeracy.
Australia, a successful developed nation with a modern and prosperous economy, should not accept a 17-year life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

There is no reason that indigenous children in Australia should have less opportunity for education or health care than the opportunities provided to non-indigenous kids. This gap has no place in a modern Australia.
The point being that they don't have equal health services at the moment (or sewage or lots of other basic things Aussies take for granted - that's the legacy). Pretty basic, but it has taken years for these facts to become accepted or not blamed on Aborigines themselves. There are millions of Australians who want this shame to end - finally, they seem to have some leadership. (And it is worth noting that Boris Johnson has the spinmeister responsible for continuing this shame running his team).

Rudd has also said that Australia will finally sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples - something which the UK has failed to do. (And we rarely apologise.)

If you read nothing else about this, read (Aboriginal) Professor Larissa Behrendt's feature in the National Indigenous Times on why this is so important.
My father, whose life had been shaped by his experience in a home and his mother’s removal from her family, did not live to hear the apology. He died before he could hear the kind of acknowledgement of his experience that Kevin Rudd offered, that John Howard denied.

This alone can forgive the occasional smugness which accompanies the deep satisfaction in knowing our nation has finally moved on.