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Gadfly 59

I’m not saying it’s going to happen next Tuesday, but you never know. The SETI folk reckon it’s pretty much inevitable since we’ve discovered all those Earth-like ‘Goldilocks’ planets spinning around out there. But either way it’s best to be prepared. So, when the Aliens arrive in their spaceship and say, ‘Take me to your leader,’ who are we going to choose?

It’s a conundrum that’s been exercising our family these holidays when the Test team has been losing so often that TV has become almost unwatchable, and it’s been far too hot to go near the surf or the pool for most of the day. And believe me, it hasn’t been an easy riddle to solve.

When Nelson Mandela was around, he was the unanimous choice, except of course for mad Aunty Mavis who thought he was, ‘You know…too, um, dark complexioned.’ Happily, Aunty Mavis is no longer around herself. She ‘crossed over’ shortly after Nelson and we’ve sometimes idly wondered whether they’d ever met up on the other side where Nelson might well have been doing his lovely rhythmic dancing. Mavis was very partial to tripping the light fantastic…it was a delicious little daydream.

But anyway, sans Nelson, and with Obama no longer in charge, who was available, we asked ourselves. Well, not the current occupant of the White House. Dear me, perish the thought. He’d probably do a real estate deal with the Aliens for, say, a very big island, lots of sandy beaches, tons of coal and iron ore for their fleet repairs, and a big red rock right in the middle…

No thank you.

The Brits have no one in charge at all. And have you seen Theresa May dancing? No, no. She makes Elaine from Seinfeld look good. As for Jeremy Corbyn, forget it. You wouldn’t want the visitors to think we look and sound anything like him.

Putin, of course, would try to muscle in; and Xi Jinping would insist they share their technology before he’d even say, ‘Nihau’ to them. Poor Angela Merkel is far too careworn and Emmanuel Macron can’t even control his own tradies.

The less said about our Aussie politicos the better. Morrison would only confuse them by talking in ‘tongues’, while Shorten would be plotting with the Aliens’ deputy leader to oust their commander.

So we decided, let’s eliminate all the pollies. And instantly we had our perfect emissary. He’s Swiss, so quite untouched by politics; he looks great, speaks five languages so he’d pick up ‘Alien’ in a flash.

The list of his attributes goes on: he and his wife have produced not one but two sets of twins; he’s virtually ageless; he devotes tens of millions of his income to building schools in Africa; and I’d back him to beat the Alien’s champ in any sport they like to name.

Roger Federer!

What’s more, according to John McEnroe who follows him all round the world, ‘It doesn’t matter where he plays, 90 percent of the spectators want him to win.’

And to cap it all off, he doesn’t just glide around the court, he dances!

Even Aunt Mavis would kick up her heels at the thought. ‘Oh Roger,’ I hear her whispering. ‘Oh Roger, Roger…’

Robert Macklin has carved out a unique place among Australia’s literary biographers and historians. He has won numerous literary prizes including the 2009 Blake Dawson award for business literature with Peter Thompson for their classic THE BIG FELLA – the Rise and Rise of BHP Billiton.His Kevin Rudd: The Biography was shortlisted for the ACT Book of the Year; and he has won three Critics Circle Awards for his military biographies and histories. He has completed a lecture tour of three Chinese universities based on his works and is presently writing a history of Australia/China relations over the last 200 years.Queensland born, he has been a journalist at the highest level, a confidant and biographer of two Australian prime ministers; a documentary filmmaker in 32 countries of Asia and the Pacific; and is also political columnist and commentator in the nation’s capital. He presently divides his writing time on fiction, non-fiction and screenplays between Canberra and Tuross Head on the NSW South Coast.


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