Saturday 7 March 2009

Sunday of a Thousand Shotguns

As befitting Australia's capital city, Canberra has been the home of some of the finest political thinkers in the country. And before he gave up politics for chess, Ian Rout was one of those thinkers. Thirty years ago, Ian was one of the people behind the "Deadly Serious Party", which contested a number of local government elections. While the DSP might not have formed government in their own right, they did have at least one policy which was very popular with the voting public.
Canberra is a "garden city", with a large number of trees throughout the city and suburbs. Indeed it is commonly known as "The Bush Capital", although usage of that term seems to have declined over the last 8 years. Now along with trees comes birds, especially magpies. Now magpies are very protective of their young, and every spring large numbers of magpies would begin swooping the residents of Canberra, as a method of protecting their nests. While this is perfectly understandable from a magpies point of view, it annoyed large numbers of Canberran's. The policy suggestion from the DSP was that everyone over the age of 18 on one day of the year be issued with a shotgun and deal with the problem in the obvious way. This policy was known as "The Sunday of a Thousand Shotguns".
It was never implemented as public policy, mainly because the DSP never got elected to anything, but the need for the policy hasn't completely gone away. The tree covered beer garden where we play Street Chess every Saturday is also home to an aggressive flock of magpies, who spend most of their time scavenging food from the tables, and regurgitating it from a great height. The bombing tally from today included the side of my head, the tournament pairing cards, one player who happened to be in time trouble at the time, and at least one other chess set. Attempts to deal with the problem by applying anti-magpie spikes to areas where they congregate have proved unsuccessful, leaving me to think that the DSP may need to make a comeback at the next ACT Government election.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I have been swooped a few times on my bike, running but never playing chess! Don't think I've ever jumped out of my seat so quick!