Delay, delay then save the day.

I think I figured it out. I discovered Scott Morrison’s strategy for dealing with crises. Delay, delay then save the day.

Let a crisis descend to a state of utter desperation then announce yourself as the saviour of the nation. Propose a solution which is not of your making and which should have been implemented long, long ago, and take all of the credit.

I can see this clearly now. I’m not a political strategist, nor even a keen follower of party politics, but even I can see the strategy.

Morrison announces a plan in such a way that state leaders are presented as the impediment to personal freedom and as the architects of restrictive lockdowns. This strategy is dependant upon doing nothing effective to solve the problem when it arises. The LNP did nothing to facilitate a coherent vaccination rollout. The federal government did nothing to manage nationwide quarantine facilities. The LNP did nothing to effectively manage the arrival of people from overseas.

COVIDSafe was an expensive waste of time. It failed.

Vaccination rollout was so slow the states took it upon themselves to create mass vaccination hubs.

So incompetent is the government’s response to the pandemic that it has to have been deliberate. Even if bumbling politicians are inept and out of their depth, some of their staffers, advisers and department heads are competent and capable of dealing with a crisis. Australia should not still be in lockdown, and waiting for vaccinations, in July 2021.

At some point since early 2020, the federal LNP must have realised that they were incapable of managing the response to the pandemic, and decided that the only way to save the public reputation of their leader was to let the crisis deepen, then swoop in at the last minute and claim to save the day.

The prime minister did just that. He recently gathered state leaders, then the mainstream media, and announced a plan for guiding Australia out of the COVID crisis. The announcement included promises to end lockdowns and open borders, and to have most Australians vaccinated in the near future. Once these measures are taken, Australia can return to some form of normal.

Australians are sick of lockdowns, Morrison promised to end lockdowns.

Australians want borders open, Morrison promised to open borders.

Australians want international travel to resume, Morrison promised to allow international travel.

He didn’t say exactly when. He didn’t say how. His advisors cleverly used vague language to hint at positive changes which will occur at some time in the future.

The announcement was made in such a way that it presents Morrison and the LNP government as the saviours. It dismisses the efforts of medical staff, state leaders and competent people within Australia who have worked behind the scenes day after day to prevent the deaths of thousands of people.

And it works.

The strategy works.

Many Australian people will see Morrison as their saviour. It helps to have the entire NewsCorp media network serving as your private propaganda network. It helps to have the mainstream media reprinting press releases and failing to hold the government to account. It helps to have the Murdoch press launch a sustained and personal attack on Victorian Labor Premier Dan Andrews, and to defend the actions of Liberal premiers and the federal government.

It helps to have a compliant media serve as chief distractor. During the pandemic, and the recent floods and bushfires, distractions were always at hand to draw people’s attention away from the current disaster. Morrison went missing at some point during all of these major crises, even famously escaping to Hawaii and inviting himself to a G7 summit. He said and did nothing in the midst of the crisis, then emerged triumphantly to do what he does best; hold a press conference.

He conveniently took credit for a massive seizure of illicit drugs in Australia. A drug bust carried out by police, but announced by Morrison. Australians were also conveniently distracted when the government announced a multi-million dollar upgrade to the War Memorial in Canberra, and when Morrison decided to change one word in the national anthem.

Morrison will now be seen as the man who ended lockdown. The man who opened the borders. The man who fixed quarantine. The man who got Australia back to normal. This could all have happened long ago if it were not for one man…Scott Morrison.

Image:www.gettyimages.com

IOC announces new sport on eve of Tokyo games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has added Jousting to its official program in an effort to ensure the Tokyo 2021 games are completely COVID-safe.

“Jousting makes a welcome addition to the Olympic family,” read a statement from the IOC.

“We are very excited to add the ancient sport to the Equestrian program and did so for one very good reason: social distancing. Jousters will not pass within 1.5 metres of each other while competing because if they did, they would be smashed with a jousting stick and fall off their horse. In this way, Jousting is very much an extension of Fencing – a very long extension.”

“The sport forms the centrepiece of our COVID-safe games and it will not replace an existing sport. Jousters wear harnesses, or armour, which helps stop the potential spread of infection, and if they sneeze, they will sneeze straight into their full-face helmet and not onto anyone else.”

Jousters will compete on horses supplied to them, as all horses must have been in Japan for at least 12 months prior to competition, in line with strict quarantine rules. Riding a new and unknown horse is expected to add to the unpredictability and excitement of the event. Competitors, meanwhile, are ready to make their Olympic Games debut despite the very short notice.

“The IOC scoured the web for historical medieval re-enactment societies to find jousters, and the response was overwhelming. Jousters from all over the world immediately completed the application form and contacted their respective National Olympic Committees. Some even had patriotic medieval uniforms already made, and we look forward to seeing these on display in Tokyo.”

“Our other new sports also encourage social distancing. Skateboarders compete one at a time, sport climbers do not share the same rock wall, and surfers will never come together, as any elite surfer knows never to drop in.

Golf is largely risk free, because players can clean their ball at every tee, and sports such as Archery and Shooting are also guaranteed to be COVID-safe, because no one will get too close to a competitor carrying a deadly weapon.”

Traditional sports such as Boxing and the martial arts disciplines do present some challenges, the spokesperson conceded.

“Governing bodies and the IOC are still discussing a proposal to have wrestlers compete naked, like in the ancient Olympics, but to cover themselves in sanitising gel instead of essential oils. Boxers will coat their gloves in sanitiser before their match and between rounds.

Relay runners at Athletics will pass through a mist machine containing disinfectant at each baton change. In this way, the baton is sanitised before being passed to the next runner. High Jump and Pole Vault mats will be coasted in sanitiser, as will the bar. Likewise, throwers will select one Putt, Discus, Hammer or Javelin in round 1, write their name on it, and use the same one throughout the competition.

Rowing will see some changes. The 8’s become the 4’s, and the 4’s becomes the pairs and so on, because rowers must leave one seat between themselves and other competitors, just like on public transport. We’re certainly not expecting any world records in this sport, especially since the cox will be a robot instead of a person.”

The extended statement from the IOC then outlined further changes to existing Olympic sports amid the global pandemic.

“Handball poses a problem, even if just for the name itself. Meanwhile, a handball in Football will now result in an automatic red card and two week period of self-isolation for the offending player.

Water Polo will be played in pools so heavily chlorinated competitors will feel like they’re in a swimming lesson during an English winter, while Rhythmic Gymnastics coaches will use Super Soakers to spray the apparatus with disinfectant every time the gymnast throws it into the air.”

The spokesperson also conceded that Modern Pentathlon gives little cause for concern, not just because the 5 sports are all individual.

“It’s because nobody watches the event anyway.”

The biggest risk of transmission at any international multi-sport event is, of course, the athletes village. Asked what specific protocols will be implemented to separate the world’s fittest, healthiest, most athletically-gifted young people from all over the globe, the spokesperson replied:

“We’re not going to bother…”

Image: Vladimir Wrangel