Flat White

Happy New Year and do what you’re told

2 January 2021

2:03 PM

2 January 2021

2:03 PM

While taking a rare trip one day on a suburban bus, I noticed a very small discreet sticker on the window next to my seat which read, “Do not enter bus through this window.” It was a source of great comfort to know that the authorities had given some thought to establishing which windows were preferable to use when entering the bus. There were no such signs on any other window. Of course, there was no explanation, perhaps it was obvious and I just couldn’t see it or maybe it was not my place to question such things. 

A strange kind of societal demarcation appears to have developed where, we the people, have very little opportunity to make contact with a decision-maker. Politicians, only interested in our opinions on one day every four years, are generally in the thrall of untouchable bureaucrats. Computer-generated communications and the ubiquitous call centre are all widening the gap between the mere mortals at street level and the intelligentsia in their metaphorical ivory towers. The plethora of government service providers has also added to the schism between us and them. The task of identifying who might be accountable in any given circumstance is becoming nigh on impossible. The elites have adopted an attitude of “we know best” and one is reminded of the words of Lord Tennyson;  

Someone had blunder’d;

Their’s not to make reply,

Their’s not to reason why,

Their’s but to do and die: 

It not just the mundane things, however, where this kind of superior attitude exists amongst decision-makers. The Covid pandemic, climate change and political correctness are fertile grounds for examples of silliness and as a general rule, the sillier the idea, the more is the likelihood of an ulterior motive. Cutting down trees and burning them instead of using coal to generate electricity would have to be a classic in this regard. The list is endless but below are just a few to be going on with. 

1 The social justice warriors demand that women occupy at least the same numbers as men on company boards, political structures and the like. The same people are offended should anyone refer to a person as being, in fact, a women. Figure that out, if you can. 

2 Australia is the world’s largest gas exporter and yet in July 2019 we had an announcement that plans were afoot to build 5 specially designed terminals for gas importation. Again we are expected to take comfort in the establishment of the cutely named Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism (ADSM).  Imported gas will be cheaper, so they say, even though it comes from Australia in the first place. That’s all well and good but hanging in the air like the smell of those prawn heads in the garbage bin at this time of year, is the question “how on earth did this ever happen? Answers are scarce.  

3 The Australian newspaper this week brought us the story about a study programme instituted by  Mount Gambier’s Tenison Woods College, touted as the first of its kind in Australia  to offer hands-on solar and wind farm learning with its STEM program as part of a TAFE course. Lachie Price, 18, the School’s “environmental captain” is quoted as saying “It’s crazy that people think climate change isn’t real or that it’s something we can ignore,” The school principal, David Mezinec said the principle of “integral ecology” — where every action must be checked against its impact on the environment — was one of the pillars of the school’s strategic plan. 

Bob Brown, the father of the Australian Greens has been quoted as saying that windfarms are an eyesore and they kill birds. This was in particular reference to the proposed windfarm on Robbins Island, where amongst other things he listed 24 bird species as being under threat.  

The newspaper article was accompanied by a photo of Mr Price and three other smiling and happy students with a windfarm as a backdrop. Apparently we can’t ignore climate change but we can ignore the chief greenkeeper while burying thousands of tonnes of concrete blobs all over the landscape and wiping out bird species. No wonder the principle of integral ecology is difficult to figure out when in actual practice it makes no sense at all. No more questions, please. 

4 The New South Wales Treasury is looking for a couple of bureaucrats to help in the department’s reconciliation journey. At around $135,000 p.a each, plus the usual add-ons; can someone ask a question? Reconciliation is the most basic of bookkeeping skills, surely they would have mastered it by now, or have I missed something? This is the same department which is up to its armpits in genderless pronouns and safe spaces. The Treasurer himself (oops!) is opposed to all of this and yet it flourishes unabated. Begs the obvious question about priorities, what with Covid and all that.  

5 In NSW the Covid rules for the Christmas/New Year period, said that we could have no more than 10 people in our houses. Outdoor groups of more than 50 are banned from watching the New Year’s Eve crackers in Sydney. The Third Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground starts on January 7th and crowds of up to 20,000 for potentially five consecutive days will be allowed to attend and good luck to all concerned but honestly, I just shake my head sometimes. 

It has been at least a couple of years now, since asked the bus company about that window but as yet no reply. If I ever get one, you will be the first to know. 

Happy New Year to everyone and let’s hope the powers that be don’t bowl too many wrong’uns in 2021. 

Peter Scammell blogs at Dinosaur Diary. 

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