Morality in the time of Coronavirus

Imagine yourself in the following scenario:

You are working as a relatively well-paid consultant, on a precarious day rate contract. Your client is a large government agency. You’ve been hired to bring commercial acumen to a project that, by any reasonable measure, has been an abject failure (a year overdue on an 18 month timeline, tens of millions in overspend).

The supplier has a global track record of sharp practice and, a few years ago, was found guilty of bribing public officials.

In your work, you find two major errors or omissions in the supplier’s work and recommend these are used as commercial leverage to improve the outcomes for the taxpayer.

A peer actively works against this advice and commences a campaign of attacking you personally.

In your experience, this behaviour is highly suspicious. The best explanation is incompetence and commercial naivety, but there is also a not insignificant chance of corruption.

A cursory background search of the individual reveals almost a decade working at an organisation that was shut down due to deep and systemic corruption. The individual also has an active Ltd company, despite being a salaried public servant, with a contractual restriction against “moonlighting”.

What do you do?

Bill’s Opinion

At any other time of my career, I would be gunning for this person using the auditors and whistleblower legislation.

In this time of COVID19 shutdowns and imminent recession, I’m less keen to put my family’s financial well-being at risk however.

Any suggestions on how I can manage my way through this without utterly compromising my personal values?

Covid-19 proves the government is not your Mum or Dad

Judging by the comments on here, regular readers have a solid independent mindset and don’t tend to be victims of lazy thinking.

This is a useful character trait at the best of times but more so during a crisis.

Why?

Because the government is not your Mum or Dad.

A million Mums on Facebook are reading this and saying, “well, duh“.

(actually, they’re not, because only about 3 of us read this blog, but for the sake of keeping me motivated, let’s pretend).

At the risk of building a strawMum argument, these are often the same people who write long posts about how the government should tackle climate change but happily post family holiday snaps from Aspen or Hakuba each year.

The growing panic around the spread of Kung Flu is likely to rapidly challenge many people’s internally-held instincts that the government is concerned for their well-being at a personal level.

Breaking News; the government doesn’t have an opinion about you. In fact, as we’ve explained previously, the government doesn’t have an opinion. Period.

It’s an easy misconception to make though, one might see how someone could fall for it. From cradle to grave, the government is smoothing the path for us all, every single hour of the day:

When you wake up in your house built to government-defined specifications, you use government-provided water and plumbing services in the bathroom, make breakfast using government-regulated (or even owned) power, read the post delivered by the government-provided mail services, drive your government-approved vehicle on the government-built road to your child’s government school and then to your heavily government regulated place of work, probably whilst listening to your government provided radio station.

It must be quite a shock, therefore to find even a single crack in the facade that all this isn’t for you individually but us collectively. Sure, the two concepts don’t clash for 99.9% of the time but they are about to.

Let me offer some pertinent examples;

The use of masks to prevent catching Covid-19

The government message is that they are not effective.

Ok, so why do medical professionals and other key workers wear them?

The reality the government is grappling with is more likely that masks are somewhat effective but there is a finite supply which the government needs to secure for medical professionals.

There is not yet a requirement to close schools

Ok, but at some point a critical mass of schools will have an infection and pupils at those first schools to be infected will be at a greater risk than the ones closed before infection.

The reality the government is facing is that, by closing the schools too soon, they reduce the number of available medical professionals as a large percentage will stay home to care for their children.

There is no need to stockpile.

Ok, but we’ve now run out of toilet paper and don’t have any paracetamol in the house and our three nearest supermarkets are empty.

It turns out that early stockpiling makes absolute rational sense if you believe everyone else is about to start doing the same tomorrow.

Bill’s Opinion

As we’ve pointed out many times here, the government is a non-sentient being that responds to stimuli. Projecting an ability to feel empathy, guilt, or a sense of duty onto a mass of thousands of individuals just because they have a group noun is a massive personal misjudgment.

The government, at best, act in your interest as a member of a collective. It can never act in your individual best interest when that is in conflict or even at slight variance to the collective.

Therefore, it’s very rational for you to think seriously about wearing masks in public, better still staying home from work, keeping your children at home, buying enough supplies for two or three weeks at home and preparing to sit things out.

Think positively; Netflix, YouTube, Skype, FaceTime are all available and, hopefully, your broadband stays up.

In the meantime, here’s a YouTube video to get you started. While watching it, consider quite how unprepared the world is for a crisis after we’ve accepted two generations of 100% career politicians as being appropriate leaders for our nations.

Seriously, there isn’t a single person in either the government or the opposition who has any experience even remotely appropriate to qualify them to lead a crisis response; they’ve gone from a PPE or Law degree, into a union position or legal firm, parachuted into a safe seat, to a cabinet position to being the leader of a major nation.

We would have done better by selecting the PM by jury service, lottery or Rock Paper Scissors.

Take it away Prime Minister Morrison, tell us all about the economic response, because that’s what everyone is really worried about isn’t it? We all care more about what’s going to happen to house prices rather than whether or not granny will end her life lying on a gurney in a hospital car park:

Scott Morrison’s blood sweat and tears speech.

Compare and convirus

Readers outside of Australia might not be aware of the slightly mad scenes in some Australian supermarkets over the previous week, with panic buying (“hamsterkauf” as the Germans call it) in preparation for the inevitable COVID-19 impact on daily life.

This is the status of the flour section of our local supermarket:

There’s suddenly been a spike in interest for home baking. They’ve wiped out both the plain and self-raising flour shelves.

Walking around the neighbourhood, the olfactory delights of home-baked sourdough and delicious sponge cakes are everywhere.

No, not so much.

The same scene is repeated in the dried pasta section.

Panic buying flour and pasta at least makes some sense; they’re sources of food with very long shelf life that wouldn’t be regretted if there were to be shortages later. You’ll use it all up eventually.

Toilet roll, however?

Nobody wants to be caught short of bog roll but, seriously, that’s the item you want to fill your spare room with in anticipation of the zombie apocalypse?

If you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of a billion Indians typing into Google, “toilet paper kya hai?”.

Imagine a world where, simultaneously, this happens:

And this:

Bill’s Opinion

In this age of “big data” it would be fascinating to learn what the Venn Diagram looks like describing the relationship between two schools of thought; those who believe Australia is about to enter a period of shortages and mass sickness and those who believe the price of property will continue to increase at multiple percentage points this year.

Speaking of which, our tracker is updated below.

The virus has reached Western Sydney University!

No, not Kung Flu, the “everything is racist” virus, (yes, I’m aware “Kung Flu” could be said to be racist, but it’s still funny).

Here’s an academic hot take on “whither quarantine?” in response to COVID19. Spoiler alert; you’re racist.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin:

The effectiveness of quarantines, however, is doubtful, raising the question of what value there is to quarantines if it’s not public health.

Said nobody on the uninfected side of a quarantine barrier, ever.

There is political value in the quarantine for those who implicitly believe biological-racial purity is a condition of health…

There’s also value to those who believe not catching a dangerous virus is a condition of health. Which group is the larger, do you think?

For some, the quarantine rationalizes xenophobia and calls for ethnonationalist separation.

Who are these people and why haven’t I heard any of their “calls for ethnonationalist separation”?

Drawing on a long history of anti-Chinese sentiment, the Australian government has prohibited the entry of noncitizens from China and proposed to transport Australian citizens—many of whom will have traveled to China to celebrate the New Year with relatives—directly into a period of confinement at the immigration detention center on Christmas Island.

Which is an interesting way of saying, “they were medically evacuated, at great risk to the airline crew and taxpayer’s expense, from China to a safe but contained part of Australia. You’re welcome“.

The effect of these policies on some 200,000 students (a proportion of whom are returning from China for the new academic year in Australia) is unclear but will be enormous.

As enormous as the consequences of a national infection? Oh, they’ll just have to postpone a term? That enormous.

As with the extralegal approach pursued by the Australian government…

Extralegal? Do you have any references to cite to back that up? I’ll wait.

There’s more:

These practices highlight what Howard Markel describes as “quarantine’s aggressive potential for harm.” The harm is—as Markel suggested in his history of the treatment of East European Jewish immigrants in New York at the end of the 19th century—exacerbated for those who happen to find themselves on the “other” side of a quarantine border; its spread cannot be restricted along those lines because a virus is neither synonymous with a group of persons nor can it be identified by a passport.

Right, so quarantine is really bad for those on the infected side of the barrier. What would be the corollary of that, do we think? Bueller, anyone?

Read the next paragraph closely:

Measures other than quarantine have been found much more effective in preventing widespread contagion. In a lengthy review of the research on the comparative effectiveness of a number of measures (short of vaccines and antiviral drugs) to prevent the transmission of respiratory viruses—screening at entry ports, medical isolation, quarantine, social distancing, barriers, personal protection, and hand hygiene—the use of surgical masks and regular handwashing emerged as the most consistently effective set of physical interventions.

Anyone spot the problem?

In any event, expenditure and focus on quarantine restrictions tend to represent a redirection of resources away from measures likely to be more effective in both the immediate and longer term.

So what you’re saying is, I should catch the virus because the survivors will get the vaccine quicker? I’m not liking that deal as much as I think you want me to, to be honest with you.

SECOND, the resort to quarantines draws on the biological-racial understanding of nations as discrete organic entities and prevents or displaces a social understanding of health and disease.

Or it’s just a rational response to not wanting to get sick?

It is however doubtful that humans could have evolved without the species-jumping, recombinant action of bacterial genetics transmitted through viral infections. More to the point, all vaccines involve the modified administration of an infection, and immunization is only effective at the largest (rather than national) population scales.

Are there any other events that happened half a billion years ago we should factor into our public health policy decisions in 2020?

…the privatization of health care and the socialization of ill-health remains largely ignored as a contributing factor in both infection and mortality rates.

She’s talking about China, that champion of the free market in all aspects of life. No, really.

China’s decentralized, commercially oriented health system and the lack of health-care coverage have, in all likelihood, worsened the impact of any single disease…

Yes, I miss Chairman Mao too. He’d have known what to do. Probably shoot everyone in Wuhan, but at least they wouldn’t be sick.

THIRD, therefore the combination of the declared emergency, quarantine confinement, and lower regulatory standards significantly diminishes the cost of human drug trials and inflates the value of and market for patented drugs.

What? A lowering of the cost to trial new drugs increases the value of the drugs? (Flicks through every economic text book known to man)…. erm, how do you draw that conclusion?

As it happens, the Australian government has required anyone interned at Christmas Island to sign a waiver—presumably one that indemnifies the government and the private contractors who manage the facility in the event that internment results in infection or other health issues.

In which the author demonstrates magical powers of remote vision.

In other words, the quarantine on Christmas Island will be little more than a means of observing people who are confined for the average time that it takes COVID19 to incubate—if, that is, the virus is present among those detained.

And then draws a conclusion based on the magic remote document reading.

Here comes the finale, Le Grand Salade des Mots:

By way of a summary, this recent history of quarantine measures does not exactly replicate the cordon sanitaire of earlier centuries. The practical importance of virology in the development of the biomedical and pharmaceutical industries means that quarantine zones are not outside circuits of value, even while the quarantine acts as a means of segregation. The contemporary quarantine represents a merger between the authoritarian governance of populations and the facilitation and growth of private, selective health-care infrastructure. Given the importance of nonselectivity and scale to public health, nationalist approaches to health are more accurately described as a way of privatizing public health by other means.

No, I don’t have a fucking clue what that means either.

Bill’s Opinion

Angela Mitropoulos is a political theorist. Mitropoulos is a fellow at the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, Western Sydney University, Sydney.

Btw, I’m not sure how many Nobel laureates WSU has produced but the winners hold their annual dinner in a phone box on Pitcairn Island every 2nd February 29th.

I’m thinking “virologist”, “emergency ward doctor”, “mathematician” and “economist” would be the best disciplines to determine responses to pandemics.

Hi, emergency services? My kids have severe upper respiratory problems, get me a political theorist here as soon as you can”.

Everybody was Kung Flu fighting

99% of everything written about Covid19 seems to be uninformed speculation at best and more likely, just made up bullshit.

So, just for a bit of light relief, here’s some random thoughts on the subject:

  1. If your first action after thinking, “hmm, it might be time to stockpile”, is to panic buy toilet paper, you might have misunderstood the relative use of fluffy white arse paper in a national emergency, compared to say, dried beans or medicine.
  2. Related; people are about to learn how good modern supply chains are. They are akin to modern witchcraft. As fast as you can fill your spare bedroom with bog roll, Coles and Woolworths will restock the shelves. The supply chain for nearly everything you are going to need has not yet been materially disrupted. Sure, we might run out of some items but there will be plenty of adjacent replacement versions for a long time yet. Well done for helping an Account Sales Manager make their Q2 2020 numbers early though.
  3. Most business travel is frivolous and businesses can manage just fine without it. Seriously, nearly all of it is just status-driven bollocks that a phone or video call could replace and still achieve an adequate outcome. If you’re really contrarian, now might be the best time to book a luxury holiday in Asia this December. Rajasthan is lovely that time of year.
  4. The IT department have been lying like a cheap Chinese Rolex about their capacity to simultaneously support lots of remote workers (*waves at Wokepac). Some scrambling to buy more licences might save a few IT Infrastructure Managers’ careers but most of the bottleneck will be in physical infrastructure. Best get those CVs tidied up and in the market, chaps, and beat the rush.
  5. No Australian manager under the age of 55 knows what to do with their P&L in a downturn. Not. A. Single. One. A bit of a clue; cancelling the magazine subscriptions and daily flowers in reception or calling the landlord and asking for a discount on the office rent isn’t going to help you.
  6. Consider the possibility it might be better to catch it early; you’ll get the best medical care and then it’s done. Later means you’ll get the mass-treatment quality, if any treatment at all.
  7. Stay clear of French people (a great excuse in case they win the Six Nations).

Bill’s Opinion

Isn’t it absolutely wonderful the Woketivists have been shunted off the news now we’ve got something requiring adult attention?

Inviting the kids into the candy store

“What did you learn in school today, kids?”

“I learned you’re a cisgendered bigot, Mummy”.

Remember, you’re the bigot:

“You just know that the people pretending to be livid that a drag queen read a book in a school are also the people who run out to buy their kids the latest Grand Theft Auto on release day.

“Your homophobia is transparent.”

That’s Mhairi Black, SNP MP tweeting at you.

Here she is sitting at the table to the right of Cruella DeVille.

When we drop our children off at primary school every morning, what are our expectations of what will and won’t happen to them during their day?

Well, obviously a collection of educational outcomes; they will be better able to read, write and count than they were yesterday, for example.

Perhaps also some level of improvement to their ability to function socially, learning how to behave reasonably around others.

Perhaps the most obvious requirement is that they will be kept safe, both physically but also mentally. We shouldn’t be setting them up for nightmares.

Erm:

Bill’s Opinion

Does it need to be said?

Men who perform sexualised acts in nightclubs whilst dressed as women should not be allowed in our children’s schools.

When did we forget this?

For fucksake, these people shouldn’t be allowed within 500 metres of a school.

In other news, the Scottish education system is going backwards in its most basic responsibility; teaching kids to read, write and count.

Keep voting SNP, Scots. I’m sure they’ll improve things for you eventually.

UPDATE

A rather clever Twitter thread on the subject here.

Periodic fable

More dispatches from the ABC’s correspondent in ClownWorld;

The backlash to inclusivity was real

Last year, Ms Harrison ran a handful of focus groups in her community to hear more about peoples’ experiences with menstrual taboos and stigma.

She wanted to be inclusive of the fact that not everyone who menstruated was a woman.

Wait, what?

“I put a callout asking for anyone who menstruates to come along and I was very surprised by the responses,” she said

As one does.

“People definitely put up a wall and made it very clear that they thought only women can menstruate and that if you don’t menstruate, you’re not a woman; this idea that that’s what defines an individual as a woman.

Your post-menopausal grandmother might have something to say about that. But, as a general rule, it’s a good indicator.

“Considering the spectrum of gender identities, this is a very narrow way of looking at things. Your femininity and your identity is so much more than whether you do or do not bleed.”

I’m starting to wonder whether Ms Harrison is really that interested in helping people with toiletries or just has a weird obsession with periods?

The backlash has not stopped Ms Harrison from working to make her movement more inclusive, starting with the language she uses to describe periods and the people who get them.

Backlash“, or as 99.9% of the world calls it, “biological reality“.

Who is highly likely to experience homelessness?

Generally, I’d take a guess that those with severe mental illness make up a large ratio.

There are currently no reliable figures on the number of trans and non-binary people in Australia, according to Australian Research Centre for Sex Health and Society researcher Jennifer Power.

No shit? Given that, about five minutes ago, we were told self-identification is reality and the alphabet people’s categories expand annually (Q? Plus sign?). Jazz hands up who’s surprised nobody can accurately measure who fits in which demographic?

“We just don’t have that population-level data in Australia for transgender people or for people of different sexual identities.”

Dr Power says this means we cannot know how many trans or non-binary people experience menstruation.

No, that’s wrong, we can solve that numerical question for you; it’s all the trans people who have “female” on their birth certificate who aren’t taking testosterone and haven’t experienced the menopause yet. You’re fucking welcome.

But the most comprehensive available data on trans homelessness rates in the country, in 2016, reported 22 per cent of trans people aged 14-25 had experienced either accommodation issues or homelessness.

See the comment above about mental illness.

Speaking from his lived experience as a trans person who has periods, Mx Blundell said menstruation itself could distress trans and non-binary people.

“Trans people can be really terrified of getting their periods. For me, it meant that puberty had started and that my body was no longer in my control.”

Really terrified“, or in other words, “reminded of biological reality“. Oh, and if you think you are in full control of your body before puberty, you might want to read about a thing called “disease”.

“Even the idea of opening a pad or a tampon packet and that being heard by people [in the men’s toilet], there’s an added anxiety,” Mx Blundell said.

{note to readers: if you’re feeling disoriented at this point, don’t panic, it’s the ABC that’s insane, not you}

“And sanitary bins are often limited to women-only spaces.”

Oh just fuck off.

But there’s more. Christ, there’s always more:

What can we do to erase the gender-based stigma surrounding periods?

Hands up who, until just now, didn’t realise there was a gender-based stigma surrounding periods?

To start, Mx Blundell says we need to get the language around periods right in the first place, whether they are being discussed in schools or on the labels of period products — but not for the reasons you might think.

We need to get the language around periods right“. Oh, we do, do we?

Do we get to express an opinion on this language change, the like of which hasn’t been seen since The Great Vowel Shift?

No? We just have to fall in line, right?

Yes, ma’am sir. What else should we change, pray tell?

“It’s not just about including people, it’s about being factually accurate,” he said.

“If you’re talking about a cervix, call it a cervix, if you’re talking about ovaries, say ovaries rather than ‘the female reproductive system’.

“And if you’re [using the phrase] feminine hygiene products, just call them pads and tampons.”

This may come a surprise, but the number of occasions I’ve found myself speaking about any of those nouns in the last 12 months is about zero. I have spoken about my (female) wife’s periods however, and subsequently picked up a packet of tampons for her whilst I was doing the weekly shopping.

Guess what? I managed to buy them without stigma too. Stunning and brave.

The stream of consciousness from the Bedlamite continues;

The companies behind period products have a role to play too, he said.

“The images used of bodies on packaging are often thin, hyper-feminine-looking bodies. Maybe go for some diversity there.”

What, like a builder in a dress waving a box of Tampax around at his colleagues on the construction site? Maybe to a Motörhead soundtrack?

Mx Blundell has a great future career ahead of zher in the advertising industry, clearly.

And then there is the wall of pink packaging in chemists and supermarkets.

“I personally love pink, but we’ve got to stop linking periods so explicitly to womanhood,” he said.

Yes. Quite right. We should probably do more to link periods to crop rotation in the 16th century or the pentatonic musical scale. What were we thinking, with our insensitivity linking periods to womanhood. Madness.

Mx Blundell explained using the right language and having the right imagery was important because calling and depicting things as they are would help break down society’s gendered notions of periods, making menstruation itself less likely to distress trans and non-binary people.

“.…calling and depicting things as they are“.

Yes, I think we can all agree that’s important.

From there, Mx Blundell said talking to trans people about their needs when it came to periods was paramount.

Paramount (adjective): more important than anything else; supreme.

We’ve solved all the other big issues in the world then, phew.

I’m getting bored now. One more quote:

There are some things that should happen regardless of location though, he added, such as ensuring access to specialised bins for period products in all bathrooms.

How many public bathrooms do we think there are in Australia? Maybe somewhere between 1 and 2 million?

Let’s say a quarter of those are gender neutral. Let’s estimate a tampon disposal bin costs $100.

That’s about $75,000,000 we’ll need to find from public coffers to install a new sanitary bin in every male toilet in the country to satisfy the demands of perhaps 1,260 people in Australia.

You read that number correctly. The 2016 census found 1,260 “non binary” people.

Let’s assume that number is too low by a factor of ten. We’re still expected to spend $6,000 (not including labour and administrative costs) on for each “non binary” person to put a new bin in every male toilet, to help them not feel stigma. Probably double that, if we assume only half are women people who menstruate.

Bill’s Opinion

Here’s a thought experiment for you to try:

Imagine you had a time machine and a universal translation device. Go back to various points in human (and even pre-human) natural history and ask the question, “who has periods?”.

When would be the first time someone answered the translated equivalent of anything other than “women“?

Probably about 2012, right?

This is a bizarre social experiment, isn’t it, the aim of which is something like; throw away all language and definitions of everything we rely on to navigate around life without serious daily conflict, and see what happens.

In fact, if you read the works of Rousseau and Foucault, that’s exactly what this is. It’s an attempt to destroy “constructs” to enable the tabula rasa to be re-written upon.

It’s my strong suspicion there are three broad categories of people pushing this crap;

1. Those who know what it is, or at least suspect, and are enjoying the destruction and their new super power to get people to act as they please. Mx Blundell, for example.

2. Those who just want to be kind and haven’t worked out what’s really going on and the likely highly-negative consequences. “Useful idiots”, in other words. Ms. Harrison, most likely.

3. Those who are utterly petrified of expressing an impure thought and having the mob completely destroy them forever. The journalist Yasmin Jeffrey, would seem to fall neatly into this description.

Perhaps there’s a quiet 4th category; the 99.9% of the population who are reading this in utter despair and rage.

Defund the ABC, it’s long past its sell-by date.

Kwality sports gernalisming

“It’sh bloody good of you to shhout me thish lunch, Mazzo, are you shure the paper won’t mind?”

“Nah Singo, no problemo maate. What’s the use of a corporate Amex if you can’t splash the plash on an old mate, hey?”

“Bloody solid of you, mate. Thish Grange is bloody lovely, fancy a top up? What do you want to yarn about anyway?”

“How about how we would fix the utter clushterfuck that bloody awful Kiwi woman is making of rugby? What would we do differently?”

“Bloody oath. Get the shport out of the weshstern shuburbs, for a shtart, the islandersh are ruining the shport. Remember when the Wallabies were nearly all from Joeys, apart from the couple of token Shhore twats?”

“Yesh! And what’s thish shtupid crap about shending coachesh to shtate schools? Who the fark wants public shchool oiks playing God’s own shport?”

“Don’t get me shtarted; with their parents’ crappy Holdens in Kings’ car park for gala days. Another bottle of Grange or shall we try a bottle of shticky?”

Bill’s Opinion

No, this article doesn’t really go like that but it’s not far off. Remember when you’d pay for a paper and read it as if it contained relevant information?

Roy Masters, filing his best copy after lunch since 1967.

Bravely fighting last century’s battles

The alphabet people have been feeling “more distressed” since the law changed to allow same sex marriage.

Spoiler alert; questions not asked in the article include, “measured how?” and “are all LGBTQ+ people equally distressed?“.

Those missing questions do seem somewhat pertinent, however.

How “distress” might be objectively measured would be fascinating to learn. Sadly, the Social Sciences haven’t made this breakthrough yet, and simply fudged the issue with a questionnaire on SurveyMonkey.

A slight digression and a useful heuristic; if your chosen academic discipline has the word “science” in the title, it probably isn’t. See also, “Centre of Excellence”.

The more interesting unasked question is how this fuzzy “distress” is broken down by the letters and symbols. Are gay men more or less distressed than the plus sign people? And if so, what is the favoured explanatory hypothesis?

The SMH article offers the example of Mitchell (photo below) as an illustration.

Mitchell is so distressed and concerned about the general public’s reaction that he has to hide his true self from the world, and daren’t let others know he’s not a heterosexual man.

Oh, wait.

Bill’s Opinion

This is the year 2020. Why are we still fighting the battles of the 1970s?

Is there really anyone left who seriously gives a shit about who other people choose to have sex with?

In an earlier generation, Mitchell might well have been an extremely repressed man living a daily lie. He may even have been stuck in a passionless marriage of convenience to avoid scrutiny and reduce the risk of imprisonment by the authorities.

In 2020, presumably he doesn’t feel so distressed that he can’t walk the streets of Darlinghurst sporting green hair and lipstick in constant fear of being physically or verbally attacked.

It’s seems to me this is a massive improvement, exponentially so, in fact.

This is not to deny there aren’t places or individuals who are victimising others on the basis on their sexuality, but that’s not the situation where the vast majority of us live and work.

Actually, most residents of those places where homophobic attacks are common, when given a choice and a travel visa, choose to move here, regardless of whether they are gay or straight.

In the real world, the non-Twitter, non-media bubble world, most of us haven’t heard an anti-gay statement or a disparaging joke said with unkind sentiments since disco died.

So why are we still being berated in hand-wringing articles like the one in the Sydney Morning Herald about our falling short as “silent allies“?

One hypothesis, and the one this organ considers most likely is, “projection” on the part of the authors of this fantasy.

The rest of us just don’t care who other people shag. We really don’t.

Down is up when you’re in “The Club”

Remember our explanation of “The Club“, that part of the world you and I can’t visit, where good things always happen to the members?

When you’re in The Club, other members of The Club will plant sympathetic stories in the press on your behalf, such as this one (paywall).

“Scapegoat”.

Obviously Lord David Steel is the victim here, not the vulnerable young children he suspected this sweaty fat bastard was sexually abusing:

That’s right, David Steel, who by his own admission had strong suspicions Smith was abusing children and didn’t mention to anyone, might be expelled from a political party from which he retired over a decade ago as punishment.

That’s it.

Yet some of his friends think it’s worth planting sympathetic stories to prevent this minor and inconsequential slap on the wrists.

Bill’s Opinion

When you’re in The Club, you never need to feel shame or regret for past actions; the greater good and your inherent righteousness balance out any minor transgressions you may have made, obviously.

Your actions don’t have consequences, your failures are forgotten, your errors are forgiven. It’s a great club!

In other news, Lord David Steel’s entire adult life has been spent achieving absolutely NOTHING at the UK taxpayers’ expense.

40+ years in opposition. What an utter waste of carbon, oxygen and water.

Somewhere in the world, there’s a tree working really hard. I think you owe it an apology“.