first day of winter in the Blue Mountains and some more work before I go away briefly, to the warmth of Queensland. As part of my understanding of what it means to be a stranger in another land .. and many of us are born elsewhere ... I'm aware of Aboriginal issues in relation to country. I'm aware of history. We have a process of reconciliation in Australia, which is flowing as an undercurrent through the national conciousness. The issue and importance of the need for a national apology is sadly misunderstood by our present Prime Minister...ah well... as Aboriginal occupation is measured in the tens of thousands of years, a few more of waiting aren't critical. 'Sorry' is a wonderful and precise word. Our Prime Minister can only manage 'Profound regret.' Why does the difference in meaning matter so much to me? Because it's personal ... the deepest wrongs of our lives are always personal. Many of these wrongs could have been soothed, and some of the pain, a little disapated, by timely use of that word. 'Profound regret' isn't sincere. It's the response of a lawyer ... no offence to that profession. It disturbs me that our leader can't differentiate between national and personal guilt. He's not stupid. Anyway, for what it's worth, I get fired up and write the odd letter to the editor, which seldom gets published. I offer it here because apology is so bloody difficult for so many. Dear Sir, Of course John Howard is right when he says that this generation has nothing to apologise for in respect to Aborigines. On an individual level this is generally going to be true .This is also an extremely narrow and divisive view and not worthy of a Prime Minister. The Japanese and Germans had to and continue to endure hatred for the mistakes of previous generations. This is surely part of the meaning of the saying ‘ the sins of the fathers will be visited on the following generations.’ Genetic inheritance is another way in which this saying manifests. A sort of ‘guilt by association’ which, on the surface, doesn’t seem fair. Well ... good intention is no guarantee that evil won’t occur and life isn’t obviously too concerned about fairness.. I’ve always understood the Aboriginal perspective on apology to be far more generous than that of the Prime Minister. It’s an apology on behalf of all our citizens from our national inception to this time now, for national not personal mistakes. It’s not about grovelling. If John Howard needs a speech writer, he could do no better on the subject of reconciliation than to watch the great Australian actor, John Howard, deliver such a speech on an episode of ‘The Games’, presented in the lead up to Sydney’s Olympic Games. Fact of life. You can’t move on without recognising that you have somewhere and something to move on from. This requires honesty not clever words. Sorry. What for precisely? One of the eternal questions. Yours Sincerely David Griffith Worked in the garden and wrote another song. Not far off from recording again and excited about having the material.