Everyone loves the idea of travelling in the 50s, the so called “golden age” of travel. But the reality was far different and a lot more dangerous.
Imagine you’re half way into your flight to London. The plane lands, the aircraft door swings open, and the intense smells of India fill the plane. You look out the window and see lights from the fires still burning at the shanties overlooking the airport.
So why do people love the idea of old fashioned travel? After all, it was a lot of time in the sky.
Is this a case of rose coloured travel glasses? Let’s go right back to 1947, when Qantas flew the kangaroo route all the way from Australia to London.
Today the flying kangaroo is flying direct from Australia’s mainland to London with no stops.
But there was a time, not so long ago, when it took 7 stops to kangaroo hop to London.
And it was a huge deal to travel, and also hard for Qantas to pull it off.
After all, landing in some of these countries was pretty complicated at the time.
So let’s take a bite of our grapefruit and pineapple cocktail – the food they served on board at the time, and go back in history.
Qantas was flying to London for the Second World War, sort of. They had a code sharing agreement from Brisbane to Singapore as early as 1935, using the de Havilland D.H.86 Express, which could seat just 10 passengers.
When the plane landed in Singapore, passengers connected to a Qantas partner, Imperial airways, which took them on to London.
But it wasn’t a 15 hour flight like it is today. It was 12 and a half days.
By 1938, Qantas had taken up more of that journey itself, and by 1947 there were as many as 6 weekly flights between Sydney and England.
The fastest route was a pacy 78 hours
And then the Kangaroo Route was born. Qantas used the Lockheed Constellations, with ten crew on board, including three pilots, one navigator, one radio operator, two flight engineers and three cabin crew.
Between them, they looked after just 29 passengers. Enough to make today’s airline accountants weep.
And if you were one of the lucky few to get a seat on board, you were pretty wealthy. The flight cost from Sydney to London was around $40,000.
But for that price, you got to see the world, literally.
Starting in Darwin, on the northern tip of the Australian island, the flight would take off bound for Singapore, then on to Calcutta, before another stop in Karachi, Cairo, Castel Benito and then Rome.
Over the following decade, Qantas was pretty experimental. Adding cities like Frankfurt, Zurich, Rome, Athens and Colombo, as other cities dropped off.
Flying to London was the experience.
Passengers loved it, and before long, competitors came for the Qantas golden goose.
BOAC was running four Britannias a week both ways, Air India flew the Super Constellation between Sydney and London, and KLM ran a super constellation between Sydney and Amsterdam.
Then came the jet age! In 1959, Qantas turned to Boeing to build an aircraft that could swoop it past the competition. And Boeing delivered, with the 707.
By now, Qantas was incorporating the Kangaroo Route into an around the world run.
With flights from Australia to the US and then on to London, in what became known as the Southern Cross route.
These were extraordinary times, and so exciting for passengers and those working in the airline industry.
By the 1970s, the 747 had changed the landscape once again. The queen of the skies could fly faster, and longer.
And with it, drastic changes to the kangaroo route.
As the planes got bigger, the routes got smaller, and the stops to places like Bombay were no longer necessary.
Airlines changed their marketing from an adventure, to speed and efficiency.
Pretty soon there was just one stop, usually in Singapore, with its air bridges and air conditioning. Replacing the local smells and sights.
Now there are heaps of airlines flying the route, from Singapore to Emirate, Etihad, Thai and British airways.
The aircraft are more sophisticated, and depending on the wind, that flight to London is now 21 hours, rather than 12 and a half days.
And pretty soon, the kangaroo route wont hop down anywhere at all, flying direct from mainland Australia to London or New York direct.
But take a minute to think back to that era when travelling was an opportunity to see the world, to learn about new cultures.
But for those of us who grew up only in the jet age, it’s nice to imagine what it was like.
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Trump’s campaign tactic – debase and disgrace the legal process
Donald Trump, former president of the United States, hated Arraignment Day I in Manhattan two months ago, the first time a former president had been criminally charged.
Trump was being forced against his will into a proceeding he had utter contempt for. He was being arrested and fingerprinted and photographed under an indictment under the jurisdiction of Manhattan in New York City for allegations of hush money payments and fraudulent bookkeeping practices to conceal criminal activity. Trump heard the charges read out against him and he entered a plea of not guilty.
Trump had a terrible day. Trump wore a scowl throughout. His countenance was fearsome. What Trump hated most about his arraignment in New York is that he had to sit at a table with his counsel side by side with him — equal to him — and with the judge above him looking down on him. Trump could not control the discussion and could not interrupt to make his points.
Trump was subordinate to the judge. He was subordinate to no one as president.
Arraignment Day II
Arraignment Day II in Miami will be worse from Trump, even more stressful. The charges are substantially more serious: the alleged violation of federal criminal statutes involving the alleged mishandling and illegal possession of classified documents, lying to legal authorities, and obstruction of justice. Potential penalties run to years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.
Trump throughout his business life had always crafted his affairs to avoid being a defendant. But in his term in office, he was caught up in it big time. He was a defendant in two impeachment trials – again, unprecedented events – and left office in disgrace.
But Trump does not feel disgraced. He never does. Trump does not have a reverse gear. He never retreats. Never admits. Never concedes. Never yields. Trump is never embarrassed. Trump never feels ashamed. When something goes wrong, it is always the fault of someone else.
Bill Barr SLAMS his former boss:— Republicans against Trump (@RpsAgainstTrump) June 11, 2023
“He’s not a victim here. He was totally wrong that he had the right to have those documents. Those documents are among the most sensitive secrets that the country has…He had no right to maintain them and retain them”pic.twitter.com/VViNFpwbzt
And Trump never repents.
Trump can feel this way because Trump is waging war on behalf of his armies in “the final battle” for the future of the county. In his first, fiery post-indictment speech in Georgia, Trump said, “They’ve launched one witch hunt after another to try and stop our movement, to thwart the will of the American people. In the end, they’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you … “Either we have a Deep State, or we have a Democracy…Either the Deep State destroys America, or WE destroy the Deep State.”
It is a powerful formulation, and his true believers love it.
Hours later, In North Carolina, Trump mainlined his distilled message for the Republican crowd:
“We are a failing nation. We are a nation in decline. And now these radical left lunatics want to interfere with our elections by using law enforcement.
It’s totally corrupt and we cannot let it happen.
.@RepDanGoldman: "Donald Trump believed the law does not apply to him, and that he would do anything he could to conceal and maintain possession of highly, highly classified national security information that would jeopardize our national security." https://t.co/IfX8bV4EVk pic.twitter.com/Gvjv8aNFkn— The Hill (@thehill) June 11, 2023
This is the final battle.
With you at my side we will demolish the Deep State.
We will expel the warmongers from our government.
We will drive out the globalists.
We will cast out the communists.
We will throw off the sick political class that hates our country.
We will roll out the fake news media.
We will defeat Joe Bide and we will liberate America from those villains once and for all.”
Any lesser mortal would be staggered by these events. Any other presidential candidate would be driven from the race. But not Trump.
Debase and disgrace
Trump is using the same playbook today as he successfully triggered after being charged in New York: debase and disgrace the legal process by terming it completely political. Trump said the federal indictment is “election interference at the highest level.”
Almost every other Republican running for president has adopted this line, insulating Trump from pressure to leave the field.
Trump’s chief opponent, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said after these indictments: “The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society. We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation.”
Republican congressperson Nancy Mace: “This is a banana republic. I can’t believe this is happening.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: “Democrats are arresting their political enemies. and they work together in their corrupt ways to get it done.”
Trump is using his affliction to raise millions of dollars from his base.
Trump will likely face Arraignment Day III in Georgia in August. A state prosecutor is expected to charge Trump with criminal interference in the certification of Georgia’s vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
As of now, there is no sign of cracks in Trump’s support among Republican voters. There is no surge to another candidate. What remains to be seen is whether Republican voters, as they see Trump spend his days in courtrooms and his evenings at rallies around the country, reach a conclusion that this is a spectacle too far, too much to bear, and that they want to turn to another conservative populist who stands for them in the political trials— and not the criminal trials – of 2024.
Donald Trump’s legal woes will serve him well
It’s not often that a U.S. President faces federal indictment, but if it’s going to happen to anyone, it might as well be Donald Trump first.
The news that Donald Trump is facing a federal investigation over the removal of secret documents from the White House in 2021 came as no surprise.
Keen watches of the Washington soap opera have seen this playbook before, albeit in a different form.
There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a Washington outsider. But as seriously damaged as he may be (thanks to the events of January 6), his support base has only grown whenever he faces scrutiny.
For his supporters, his legal woes mirror their own relationship with the government – a giant, unfair beast that picks and chooses its fights.
Trump is accused of storing sensitive documents—including those concerning matters of national security—in boxes, some even in a shower.
The documents were seized last August when investigators from the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago.
The Department of Justice has historically avoided charging people who are running for public office. Whether they should do that is a debate for another day. But it’s happening now. And it’s making it all too easy for Trump to claim there is a concerted campaign to get him away from the White House.
Trump exposed the deep state. IF they exist, they probably don’t want him back in power. Whether they exist doesn’t matter really, because plenty of Trump’s supporters agree with him, and believe the secret state is working against them. Call it QAnon, call it a conspiracy – it doesn’t matter in a democracy.
The DoJ now has to go all in. Failing to secure a conviction would be a serious embarrassment for the department.
This is the second time Trump has been indicted in recent months, yet the opinion polls show he only increases his popularity among MAGA and Republican voters. It leaves the Republican party in a difficult position. Support their leading candidate or support the law?
As other Republicans rallied around the embattled candidate, Trump held on to his loyal base of supporters.
For the Democrats, and for Biden, another reality will soon sink in – if Trump becomes President, and they lose office next year, how will a Trump-run DoJ deal with them?
Broadly, the tit-for-tat one-up-manship of U.S. politics is breaking tradition and potentially breaking the country.
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