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  • Dougie

At least Nero fiddled while his Government did nothing

Updated: Jan 15, 2022

Tuesday was our first day back at work after the New Year holiday. And what a day it was in many ways, almost all of them connected to the COVID-19 mire into which Australia has sunk since Omicron took hold.

Today, it seems, Omicron is running wild through the population. Its spread is out of control, threatening to overwhelm our health systems and forcing testing arrangements to breaking point. The worst part, though, is that we're hampered by the very Governments (mostly the Feds but Perrottet take your fair share) who are meant to be present when we need them.

They are Governments lead by incompetent, incoherent, indifferent right-wing acolytes of a long-discredited Thatcherite tendency whose bankrupt ideologies are suddenly back in full view. We can see the rotting corpse. Laissez-faire, small government chickens are coming home to roost while inchoate troglodytes who are meant to govern go missing, leaving others to clear away the mess they've left us in.

And yet ... I worry that an electorate softened by years of duplicity, lies and calculating indifference may yet again ... even now ... be fooled by these buffoons. It beggars belief.

The Australian versions of exponential growth curves that we saw in 2020 and 2021 have been revealed over these last few days as nothing close to exponential. This week alone cases double every two days at levels which make our eyes water.

In Canberra -- a smallish city in which 98.5% of people aged 12 years and over are double-dose vaccinated -- we saw the record number of daily cases -- set just 2 days ago (500) -- almost double in 24 hours (to 950). In New South Wales there were more than 35,000 new cases in one bad day. And rising ...

So ... I sort of re-assured myself with a prescient thought last week (which did not require rocket science). It would be prudent to ask my work colleagues to not come to the office on Tuesday as planned. Instead, we worked from home.

We arranged an all-staff Zoom to appraise our situation. And our situation, it turned out, was pretty much as we expected ... uncertain, insecure, tentative, restricted, compromised.

"Fucked", might be a better word. But that's not what I believe. And I do not swear at work.

People we know and love have tested positive. Employees and their families await the suddenly old-fashioned PCR test results (delayed everywhere by the flood of a genuinely exponential curve breaking down the walls of the Australian Prime Minister's insular complacency and misplaced sense of superiority).

We all reckon it's only a matter of time before this variant calls on more of us. And we hope this sad story is as bad as it gets ... it's more transmissable but not as severe. That hope, however, does not eradicate the clear trends towards more people in hospital, ICU and on ventilators. And we are not yet at 'the peak'.

So ... I wonder ... finally ... maybe even the bungler-in-chief in Kirribilli House is starting to see a penny drop. No matter how far our big southern island may be from the rest of the world -- most of which has been through much harder times with COVID-19 -- there never was an actual universe in which this bad bug would not eventually be here, big time.

Got that yet, PM?

It's not so much that his 20th Century ideological chicken is coming home to roost -- although it most definitely is. It's simply that the immutable laws of science are operating as laws of science must. Like laws. Not like choose your favourite topping on a COVID pizza.

I wonder. Has this man never heard of King Knut? Or did he, like so many readers, misinterpret what the story serves to tell us?

Not even kings can stop the waves, you twit.

Regardless of whatever fairytales and fantasies our ridiculous, inept, gone-into-hiding, so-called national leaders told themselves in cloistered rooms then tried to pawn to passers-by as unsoiled goods, the Earth's not flat. And gravity -- not God -- makes apples fall from trees. COVID finds a way whatever the nincompoop who doesn't hold a hose may think.

They are tumshies (a Scottish word). The lot of them.

Morrison, Joyce, Hunt, Birmingham, Robert, ad infinitum.

They are not even snake-oil salesmen. At least those 19th Century 'Wild West' charlatans understood they had to hold-up bottled 'snake-oil' if they wished to make a sale and turn a buck ot two. This motley crew of teeny-weeny Morrisseenees lack the basic nous of even those base conmen.

Meanwhile -- in what I see as sublimely ironic asymmetry -- supplies of chicken in the supermarkets of Australia are being rationed because of COVID-related shortages of fit and healthy truck drivers. I'm a vegetarian so I don't miss the rationed chickens. But that's not my point. The failure of Australia's Government is what I'm worried about.

They do not hold a hose. They are too busy spruiking long-gone mates to put in calls to Pfizer. They disregard the science. They do not drive a 50-tonner.

They do, however, triangulate the optics of each next day's Murdoch headline, put on their 'hi-viz' vests and don hard hats -- bigger than their brains -- then call us to their sideshow. They spew out 'strong man' platitudes and fatuous homilies because the challenges of governing are far beyond their wit or wisdom to address.

They live on fantasy island wondering why the rest of us aren't quite as taken by the view.

Down on the ground, in our tiny little patch of the real world, my colleagues at work do whatever they can to keep our slowly-rolling, somewhat old-school, not-for-profit show on the road. It is not an easy task.

We are one of thousands of small, non-government organisations -- all across Australia -- in the same boat. Ignored by the Feds at the altar of high-value donors.

We are not yet one week back, but we're reeling from the many tiny blows that bruise us all: too much work already; a colleague struggling to recover from our first attack by COVID (10 days before Christmas); a Chair laid low in 2022; groups in different family homes awaiting tests results that come in days now, when just two weeks ago they took but hours.

We have questions -- increasing exponentially -- that no one has the information (never mind the knowledge) to answer yet. Because it's moving much too fast for anyone. Resources we know we need, we cannot find a source for anywhere; not for love or money -- not if we beg, borrow or steal. Not if we deploy any combination of all the aforementioned tactics. Also know as desperate measures.

So, we do the only thing we know. We scramble on because what else can any of us do? It is exactly what we always do when those with power to act look only at their navel... or at their focus group results. The rest of us look for answers in the real world. We seek solutions, supporting one another to the best of our abilities. And we stick together.

We do our jobs. We solve the problems where and when we can. We then move on. Repeat.

This stuff is hard. But not impossible.

I think that simple truth requires us to stay focused on what's real. Try not to lose perspective or allow ourselves to shadow box with ghosts of other dragons.

Cos this, I think, is also true.

COVID is unambiguously bad, I completely get that. But this is not 'our' Bubonic Plague. It's not the genocidal folly of Hernando Cortes's conquistadors laying siege to Tenochtitlan early in the 16th Century and killing millions more indigenous people with smallpox than through war.

It really, really isn't resurgent eugenics. Although if you're feeling vulnerable and left behind, I can see, of course, that the shocking, callous disregard of those in charge is of no comfort as I split this particular hair of definitional precision.

It's not the Nazis (born again or new variant). It is not -- how quickly we forget despite the warnings from the WHO not to forget -- it's not even tuberculosis, as in the ages of Violetta or of Orwell (only one of whom died a fictional death from consumption). It is not AIDS in the 1980s. It's not Malaria now in any one or more of Nigeria, Congo or Tanzania.

It's a big, bad deadly thing the likes of which most of us alive (in the affluent OECD) have never experienced. But this is not 1348, 1520, 1939, 1950 (the year Orwell died of something that no longer plagues Australia but still killed 1.5 million people around the world in 2020 -- mostly very poor people in very poor countries).

COVID doesn't have to be the boogie man of all those worst things of the past. It's bad enough right now. There is no need to scare the horses more. They are already more than mildly anxious.

What I think of as my reasonable observation about putting COVID in perspective is, nevertheless, what makes our here and now far much worse than Omicron deserves.

Here's why ...

This the place and time -- here and now in January 2022 -- when the entire Australian population witnessed the Government of Australia go walkies. Missing through inaction. Absent without official leave. Hiding in plain sight. Washing its hands. Like Herod.

Blaming everyone else as it talks gibberish to itself.

We have a bunch of tedious, mediocre men in drab suits and unimaginative ties who prefer to fight like ferrets in a sack as they sit around the Government table, drawing Government salaries, misusing Government funds and salivating over Government superannuation schemes from which they'll benefit at our expense. Blokes who 'do' as close to next-to-nothing as they can -- and hope we will not see them for the jokers that they are.

And in their self-satisfied, self-righteous inglorious bastardry this do-nothing bunch of piss poor Circus clowns have the gall to tell the rest of us that they believe -- these sad sack architects of bad Government -- that they believe -- the rest of us have had our fill of Government.

That, I think, is their most dangerous lie. It is not true at all.

We yearn for good Government. We need competent Government. We want governments that listen, who understand and involve us then respond and act. In a functioning democracy. Accountable. Responsible.

Not these chancers.

We want shot of them before their negligence, incompetence and braindead fuck-wittery kill more of us. Because -- unlike the anti-vax, millionaire tennis guy -- the rest of us can't simply strike a pose then jump onto the next First Class flight out of town to leave the little people to their fate.

You know what I think?

An essential part of us defeating COVID is an early election. Australia needs a Government.

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