The writer is in Australia.
WELL, knock me down with a feather. The Covid dictator’s Covid dictator, the still seemingly unassailable Daniel Andrews, has declared that what he terms ‘Covid exceptionalism’ is over. And one of Victoria’s tame academics, Catherine Bennett, who was regularly wheeled out to frighten the you-know-what out of Victorians during the Covid ‘exceptionalist’ phase, agrees with the Premier. Her strategy now, despite an increase in the already large number of current cases in Victoria, is simply ‘just using common sense by managing your own risk. That’s the important thing.’
You couldn’t make this up.
Andrews and Bennett are of the ‘move on’ school of post-Covid policy denialism, used in recent times by the Daniel Andrews of Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford, to avoid any scrutiny of his own tyrannical actions during the Covid fiasco. The world has ‘moved on’, he said. Nothing to see here. The ‘issue attention cycle’ has moved through its inexorable process.
There is a variety of strategies used by the increasing number of Covid exceptionalists who, as decision-makers or journalists, are now trying to concoct their alibis. I have identified seven.
First, there are the ‘pretend it never happened’ brigade. Simply ‘look over there’, look at the floods (inevitably linked to climate change), look at Putin, look at the cost-of-living crisis (which is absolutely not caused by our own maniacal fiscal policies during Covid). Look at anything except Covid policy.
Second, and related, there are the ‘it would have been much worse except for our decisive lockdowns and mandates’ types. The ‘I saved lives’ claim is a tendentious refrain that is pure speculation, unprovable, certainly misleading and probably plain wrong. The lives saved (if any), of course, have to be counted against the lives lost through the vaccines, the lockdown policies and the use of dangerous medical responses like remdesivir and ventilators. But we won’t look too closely at all that stuff.
The third strategy used to escape the wrath of the now seemingly awoken punters – if the latest polls on vaccine hesitancy are to be believed – is to blame the virus. For example, it is Covid, not Covid policy, that has caused the global economy to collapse.
Fourth is the aforementioned ‘move on’ bluff used by Andrews, Drakeford and countless others.
The fifth strategy is the Peter Dutton response as expounded in his reactions to the Shergold whitewash, I mean review, of the Covid policy era, which somehow managed to confine its discussion of vaccines to two paragraphs in 97 pages. I discussed it here. This is the ‘mistakes were made’, 20-20 hindsight approach. Massive medical and social experiments are passed off as ‘we did the best we could with the information we had’ in the ‘fog’ of early 2020, as Peter Shergold called it in the ‘independent’ (in reality, insider/technocrat) inquiry he led on behalf of the Paul Ramsay Foundation. No, the ‘mistakes’ descriptor is way too kind. What was done to the Australian people was unconscionable. Arguably, it was evil. This type of reaction by politicians is self-serving in the extreme. It is revisionism, pure and simple.
The sixth strategy is to tell blatant lies. ‘We were sceptics ourselves all along.’ There are quite a few of these about. Like Britain’s third prime minister in two months, Rishi Sunak. Well, if you felt that strongly, why didn’t you speak up at the time? Better still, resign in protest.
The seventh and last strategy is the double-down. Don’t just defend government tyranny, and certainly don’t apologise to all those forced to be vaccinated and those who avoided the jab. No, keep at it, the lies, the insults, the official narrative, the we-had-no-choice line. Go even harder, where necessary. Perhaps not unexpectedly, the leader of the charge here is ‘Jack the Insider’, journalist Peter Hoysted, from the pro-vax Murdoch stable. Jack is having none of a recent poll showing a massive increase in the number of Australians who regret the jab and/or who think it was all BS, now well over half the population. This number is reflected in the decision of many to avoid boosters and to refuse to inject their children at all costs. A huge wake-up moment, no doubt encouraged by the recent admissions by Big Pharma that they never tested the vaccines to see whether they stopped transmission, and by the data showing that, in terms of hospitalisations, we do, after all, have a ‘pandemic of the vaccinated’. Jack the Insider’s latest diatribe against Covid’s Club Sensible was headlined ‘Anti-vaxxers II: the sequel we don’t need to have’ and the argument ran as follows: ‘One might think that the anti-vaccination movement might be in full retreat with the pandemic fading into memory. Rather, this shameless movement has grown during the pandemic.’ The deranged demonisation of hate figures is a tried-and-true method of suppressing dissent. It was used to effect by Stalin and described in detail in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Hate Week once a year, and two minutes of hate each week. Jack the Insider’s position, to the extent that its details can readily be discerned, is in stark contrast to that of Mark Sharman, a self-described ‘old school’ senior British broadcaster and director of the film Safe and Effective: A Second Opinion (inevitably taken down by YouTube). As Sharman put it in conversation with Mark Steyn last week, research from around the world shows there is ‘something seriously wrong’ with these vaccines. ‘If there is something wrong, it should be stopped before more people are hurt.’
So, politicians, academics, public health panjandrums, media moguls, in-house journos, pharmaceutical companies, tech titans et al, take your pick. Choose your own method of avoiding your democratic and truth-telling responsibilities. Then you can sail off into the sunset, buoyed (in the case of Covid decision-makers) in the knowledge that your political opponents agreed entirely with your own version of Covid tyranny. Even though many of you should be in jail, and/or writing compensation cheques to the victims of your miserable miscalculations.
This article appeared in Spectator Australia on November 5, 2022, and is republished by kind permission.