THE most sinister aspect of the lockdown in Victoria and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere in Australia and overseas is the corruption of the role of the police in civil society. Well before the pandemic, we had already seen the British police become somewhat akin to the Stasi. Seemingly unconcerned with catching the perpetrators of the sexual exploitation of young girls in Rotherham, to cite but one example, they have been zealously trawling the internet to catch those expressing politically incorrect opinions, following up with intrusive visits and arrests. It seems astonishing that mainstream politicians, including Conservatives, and an acquiescent media have scarcely deigned to notice the attack on the foundations of a free society.
With the role of the police already compromised, Boris Johnson’s purportedly Conservative government was happy to unleash a police state on its subjects when the coronavirus arrived. Truly, governments in Britain and here now see themselves as the masters, not the servants, of the people. The totalitarians of yesteryear would commend our notionally democratic governments for making progress in the right direction.
But, I hear you cry, didn’t we win the Cold War against the Soviet Empire? I seem to hear a low chuckle from the totalitarian Left.
And so to Victoria to witness Premier Daniel Andrews, leader of his party’s social Left faction and lord and master of his domain, happy to sign up to theChinese Communist Party’s Belt and Road initiative and a new world order, led by the paramount leader for life Xi Jinping. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, if Wuhan could be ruthlessly locked down by edict of the CCP, why not lock down the put-upon subjects of Melbourne? If Premier Andrews has not yet ordered that the doors of troublesome citizens be welded shut it is only because he has been too busy inflicting other manifestations of authoritarian asininity on his subjects.
Victorian Police are now Daniel Andrews’s goons. The members of the force are no longer citizens in blue, pledged to protect fellow citizens from the bad guys. Instead, they enforce restrictions and a mindless curfew not mandated by any professional concern about health. We have seen the chief health officer, Dr Brett Sutton, deny that he recommended such a drastic assault on personal freedom. Premier Andrews has likewise denied being responsible for making it illegal to leave one’s home after 8pm. In Victoria, traditional freedoms are stripped on the orders of no one, apparently. One doesn’t need to be in the terminal stages of clinical paranoia to mull the unhappy explanation that the pandemic is providing cover for a far Left attack on our civil society.
We have witnessed the spectacle of a young and pregnant mother being handcuffed in her own home, another internet protester having his front door bashed in by heavily armed police, an elderly woman sitting quietly on a park bench with her companion being accosted by a police posse (one of whom snatches her companion’s phone), and the spectacle of a journalist from Rebel Media, (good heavens, what a dangerous individual!) being crash-tackled by a gaggle of just-following-orders goons that brought to mind First Beast Napoleon setting the dogs on Animal Farm’s dissenters. As in Orwell’s classic, blatant inconsistency must be ignored, as in the video below which contrasts Premier Andrews’ rationalisation for not proceeding against Black Lives Matters demonstrators with Deputy Commissioner Luke Cornelius vowing that anti-lockdown demonstrators will be given no quarter.
Can we not see the terrible danger to the future of our democracy? We need a strong police force, but that strength, that moral authority, can be tapped only by operating within the confines of a liberal democracy. The ‘defund the police’ movement in the US, spurred on by the far-Left fringe of the Democratic Party and led by Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM), threatens to plunge large parts of urban America into a murderous and anarchic abyss. Does any sane person want this?
The terrible danger is that the police, especially in Victoria, will be delegitimised in the eyes of ordinarily law-abiding citizens. Below, another scene from the state where, 120 years ago, the very first Parliament was convened. Once again, the officer known derisively by rank-and-file cops as ‘Planet Cornelius’ provides a dictionary illustration of political policing.
Indeed, the police will become the enemy of the people the longer this lockdown continues. Being branded as ‘batshit crazy’ for expressing concern that a once-great state is led by a liar and policed by brass-encrusted apparatchiks is hardly likely to restore confidence in a force that fell on its face after framing a cardinal and, as the Lawyer X Royal Commission has uncovered, debased the law by activating a lawyer against the best interests of her clients. (If there is reason to see any improvement in Victoria at the moment it is in Assistant Commissioner Cornelius’s memory and command of language, which has lifted markedly since his three turns earlier this year in the royal commission’s witness box, where ‘I don’t recall’ was a much-heard response to questioning.)
Meanwhile, as Victoria accelerates down a Himalayan gradient to economic ruin, a man is arrested for being a guest on his neighbour’s front lawn.
In a Melbourne park on a sunny day, two elderly ladies are surrounded by police, one of whom sleazes about behind the duo to grab one of the seniors’ phones which is then examined, presumably for evidence of geriatric hooliganism.
In his home, an Andrews critic has his door stoved in.
Civil disobedience and civil disorder could become the order of the day, with dire consequences. We don’t want this to happen, just as we don’t want to see another heavily pregnant woman being harassed in a park for the ‘crime’ of sitting down to catch her breath.
This is the final opportunity for Daniel Andrews and his minions to change their ways. If common decency is beyond them, perhaps mere common sense will be enough.
There are many things that a half-decent Liberal Opposition should commit itself to. Not least is the restoration of civil society and the bedrock principle that government is the servant of the people, not their master.
An essential element in any roadmap — a popular word these days — charting the return to decency must be a purge and cleansing of Victoria Police.
This article was first published on the Australian website Quadrant on September 12, 2020, and is republished by kind permission.