TO MY way of thinking, all this vacuous, unquestioning coverage of an impending royal birth is becoming tiresome.
There's more substance in an episode of the Bold and the Beautiful than in the drivel that passes for "news" about Kate and William's offspring.
I've seen more intelligent, thought-provoking coverage in a weekly TV supplement.
We're gushingly told it's a birth that "much of the world" is waiting to hear about. Or so the royal spin doctors would have us believe.
Any fortunate person who's missed the deluge of puerile media outpourings might like to know that England's second in line to the throne and his wife Kate are due to welcome their first baby in mid-July.
Don't get me wrong, I adore babies and gush as much as the next granny over a new one.
The royal family is no doubt in raptures over the coming event, but do we need the "entire world" to follow suit?
What is it about regal goings-on that cause normally objective journalists to lose all sense of composure.
They have pored over every mind-numbing detail surrounding this birth, speculating on whether the Duchess of Cambridge will have an early labour; her maternity clothes; how she's decorating the nursery; the baby's sex, baby's name.... Excuse me if I yawn.
The hospital where the birth will take place, St Mary's in west London, is lapping up the free publicity.
We're told that the Duchess's private suite is likely to cost up to £10,000, and other scintillating titbits such as:
"Following the royal baby's arrival, Kate and her guests can choose from a comprehensive wine list should they wish to enjoy a glass of champagne and a toast."
Any amount of sycophantic twaddle is dished up by an anonymous "royal official" for public consumption.
As another royal heir makes an appearance, we need to turn to websites like "Republic" - whose creators seek to set up a democratic entity to replace the royals - to conjure up any kind of debate about the monarchy's value.
"Desperate to defend their privilege, the Windsors (royal family) employ a huge PR team who work around the clock to promote the royal brand," Republic argues.
"Unable to point to any meaningful purpose, the Windsors claim simply to 'work hard', despite the evidence.
"They repeatedly remind us of what they do for charity, although what they do is of questionable value."
Republic does sympathetically concede that it's not all the royal family's fault.
"They are dysfunctional and eccentric because of the bizarre institution into which they have been born," it comments.
"Starting from birth, royals find themselves constantly in the public eye.
"Growing up, they are surrounded by sycophants and lackeys whose deferential mindset teaches them that they can get away with almost any self-indulgent and extravagant behaviour that pleases them."
For fans of royalty desperate to soak up every skerrick of princely news, the birth will be announced on Twitter, detailing the baby's gender, weight and arrival time.
Great-grandma, Queen Elizabeth, is not expected to visit the hospital because she will be on her summer vacation in Scotland.
The monarch, at least, can escape the hoo-ha.
We risk the destruction of our own essential food supply
GLOBAL trading is all very well and good for international companies who pocket the profits, but the disagreeable side of the practice has long been obvious.
Manufacturing jobs have been lost in Australia, local expertise has been dispensed with, the rights of overseas workers have been trampled on and, most importantly, our food security has been seriously compromised.
Supporting the viability of our own industry so that we are self-sufficient in food is something that governments need to aim for.
Our very existence depends on it - quite apart from good health and job creation.
SPC Ardmona, one of Australia's largest food processors, recently slashed supplier contracts for canning fruit and tomatoes, saying it is impossible to compete with cheaper imported products.
But food security is too important to be talked about only in terms of profit and loss.
If we destroy our own food industry, then we'll have no control over our food supplies. That's a scary proposition.
Long-time politician Bob Katter told Parliament late last month that Australia's industries were also placed at risk by the importation of disease and infections that would have devastating social, economic and environmental impacts.
"Papaya fruit fly, citrus canker and black sigatoka have already come in, at a cost of $300 million or $400 million, if you add all of the costs of eradication," Katter said.
"If foot-and-mouth disease comes in, the losses will be $3000 million or $4000 million a year."
Consumers need to do their bit to support our growers and manufacturers.
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