Thank you for your service

Have you been “jabbed” yet? If not, are you angry at the tardiness of the vaccine roll out or are you unconvinced of its long term safety?

Your answers to these questions have become the new line of division within Australia. How you answer identifies you as part of the “in group” or the “out group”.

The in group have decided the vaccine is both effective and safe, or at least, safe enough. The out group are unconvinced.

And, without throwing lots of links to various medical studies, statistics on the at risk age groups of death by covid, or the current logged instances of reported complications with the various vaccines, the schism is right there.

Full disclosure; I am in the out group. Everyone has their own personal reasons for taking or declining the vaccine. Mine are as follows:

  1. My age and underlying health suggests I would not have a severe outcome should I catch Covid
  2. I’m unconvinced by the evidence so far presented that the vaccines have been tested to an acceptable standard
  3. I’m unconvinced the inevitable cases of side effects are being reported to the correct authority to be collated and assessed
  4. In New South Wales, there is fewer than 1 case for every 100,000 people
  5. There is no evidence from countries ahead of Australia in rolling out vaccines that international travel will resume any time soon – one of the key promises made by our leaders
  6. Game Theory – I can still benefit from a vaccine without having to take an additional risk by taking it if enough of you lot do first

Even more helpfully, Australia’s favourite virtue signaller, Peter Fitzsimons, has been loudly and somewhat threateningly writing in his grammatically-challenged Sydney Morning Herald column about how it is our civic duty to take the cure. His latest offering is sub-headlined “Don’t forget where this pain in the arse disaster came from”.

I suspect he wants you to think, “the Liberal state government” in response to that prompter, whereas most people will racistly think, “erm, ‘Peter Daszek’s gain of function laboratory in Wuhan, China“.

But I am grateful to Pirate Pete for holding an opinion on this as it saves us all time from having to think too hard about it, as my handy decision tree below illustrates:

Bill’s Opinion

My decision is to not take the vaccine for probably another 2 years until I’ve seen enough evidence on the severity and distribution of side effects and the effectiveness of other prophylactic and therapeutic treatments of Covid.

The more people such as Fitzsimons label me as a “denier” or”anti-vaxxer”, the more entrenched in that view I am likely to become.

When it comes to other vaccines that have undertaken full scale clinical trials, I’ve had an arm full of them. Previously, before the Covid Curtain fell across our international departure gates, I had travelled to a full and diverse range of shithole countries (nearly all of which have the colour green on their flag, which may or may not be a coincidence), so had to take more precautions. I bet I own one more Yellow Fever certificate than most people reading this.

I’ll take the vaccine once my evaluation of the risk/reward ratio suggests it’s a good idea for me personally. In the meantime, I will respond as follows to people who loudly proclaim their righteous virtue and membership of the vaccine in group:

“Thank you for your selfless service by agreeing to participate in the trial, the results of which I eagerly anticipate reading in 2023”.

Deck ‘em, McManus

One of the more high profile union leaders in Australia was somewhat vexed by the recent agreement between the UK and Australia, suggesting it will increase competition for jobs to the detriment of the locals:

It’s unusual for the unions or indeed anyone on the left to say the quiet part about immigration out aloud.

She’s right, of course. It’s not a difficult mental exercise to realise immigration would have a negative impact on employment prospects for the exisiting population and their ability to negotiate wage increases.

But it’s an interesting ideological contortion for someone on the more left of politics to attempt. It’s the side of politics most associated with the open (or at least more open) borders position, and yet here’s McManus pointing out immigration isn’t all upside for existing residents.

She’s not alone in being an immigration sceptic on the left, either. This opinion piece by Kristina Keneally from early on in the pandemic makes a similar point, which McManus also endorsed on social media when published.

So what’s going on? Is it cognitive dissonance or simply the often knee jerk reaction of one team opposing whatever it is the other team say and do? Perhaps there’s a third explanation.

I’ve recently been rereading Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. My first reading was a decade ago and, although I took some interesting insights from it, my reading was more of a skim than in depth. I stuck at it this time and have been rewarded with some absolute gems, of which this is one:

Bill’s Opinion

Perhaps Sally and Kristina’s disdain for immigration is driven by concern for Australian workers.

Given that the Australian minimum wage is the second highest in the world, just behind Monaco, and Australians can access comparatively generous unemployment benefits, free medical treatment and subsidised child care, why wouldn’t a socialist want to share this wealth with others?

Because, as Hayek points out, they’ve thought it through to its logical conclusion and realised it is diametrically opposed to their agenda.

A dreamtime story

Sit down and listen to my story.

Once upon a time, a school teacher published some of his works of fiction. They sold well and he decided to continue his career as an author rather than return to teaching snotty kids.

The Australian theme of some of his works found popularity with his domestic audience and, over time, he wrote about Aboriginal matters, highlighting injustices and the egregious way they suffered since the Europeans arrived.

His writing about Aboriginal issues brought him fame and fortune, he was fêted by the media and enjoyed invitations to conferences and events. Life was good.

Over the decades, he felt an increasing affinity with the subjects of his writing. In his mind, fiction and fact mixed and his own creation story became a blurred conglomeration of truth, wishful thinking and false memories. He was becoming Aboriginal.

Maybe it started with just a little dishonesty in an interview with a journalist, a hint of a suggestion of an indigenous ancestor. He was rewarded with even more sycophancy, further publicity, more revenue flowed.

So he continued; the half-truths, the lies, the falsehoods became easier to pile on, the accretive process gained a life of its own.

He became the “go to” commentator about injustice and discrimination against Aboriginals, displacing the voices of those who actually experienced this first hand.

Perhaps, once or twice, he’d catch himself wondering about the morality of the path he’d chosen, whether it was right to allow a false narrative of his genetics and ancestry to promulgate in the public mind. Perhaps he reasoned that the good he was doing by publicising these issues outweighed the small matter of the dishonesty.

And then, one day, someone said, “BULLSHIT”.

Bill’s Opinion

In completely unrelated news, Bruce Pascoe has experienced a brutal takedown by academics who actually study the subject he writes about.

However, in Pascoe’s defence, I suspect there’s a large helping of total bullshit on the other side of the argument too. For example:

In 2017, her work took her to Sturt Creek in the Kimberley, where she was asked to examine burned bone fragments at a place called “the goat yards”, where more than a dozen Aboriginal people were alleged to have been massacred in 1922. The examination found nothing to dispute Aboriginal accounts of the massacre and a “very high likelihood” that the remains were human, based on the intensity of the fire in which they were burned.

If only there was a trusted scientific method of testing whether biological remains were human. CSI: Kimberley? Bueller? Anyone?

It seems to me that the people who make the most money from matters Aboriginal are those with the least Aboriginal ancestry and connection. It’s a self-saucing industry, efficiently siphoning public and charitable funds away from those living in the Red Centre, in what we might refer to as the Indigenous Monetary Complex.

Are any of them studying maths?

Universities will foot the bill for international students to return to NSW within weeks, with 250 students to arrive each fortnight on charter flights before quarantining in special accommodation.

The pilot program is expected to start within six weeks and will be scaled up by the end of the year to 500 students each fortnight.

As we discussed recently, in a normal year, Australia brings in about 650,000 students on the “pretend to study for a degree to get permanent residency” scheme.

So, at 250 students a fortnight, the university sector will be back to full capacity in about /checks calculator/ ten years. Five years if they got to the 500 a fortnight rate quickly. Assuming none of those students graduate in the meantime, obviously.

UPDATE: Yeah, my maths was shite today too. The point remains though, it’s lipstick on a pig.

Which is probably a fair assumption given they’re not really spending the money for the quality of the education, but the sticker in the passport.

Bill’s Opinion

I’m willing to bet there was recently a conversation along these lines:

University Chancellors: You’ve got to do something, we’re dying on our arses here. Where our bail out?

State Treasurer: Ok, if you foot the bill for the quarantine accommodation, you can bring in as manly as you want. Roughly how many would that be?

University Chancellors: (stares at shoes, awkwardly).

(By the way, apologies for the lack of verbosity here recently; I’ve been a little distracted. Normal service will be resumed now).