Manchurian OpEds part liǎng

Do you hate your country? Do you despise it’s history? Do you believe it was founded on dishonest principles by people who were evil? Is this loathing so great that you wish to see our enemies thrive and our country decline?

Ridiculous questions, right?

Most, if not almost every citizen of a first world country would not agree with the sentiments above. Sure, your country has a mixed past, with shameful episodes but, judged against its contemporary peers, most people would suggest the balance is tipped towards a favourable report card.

To sustain that level of self-loathing (or loathing of your country) would require a deliberate effort to ignore the relative positive differences between your day to day life and most other places in the world and, almost as importantly, the relative differences between your life and those of every one of your ancestors.

Walter Duranty was one such exception. He deliberately misled the public (and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for it!) about Stalin’s reign of terror. History should judge critically those useful idiots who are prepared to wilfully ignore mass murder and state-sanctioned famine for the vague promises of a future utopia.

A quote, possibly falsely attributed to Duranty but certainly used by other apologists for the Soviets explains, “In order to make an omelette, you have break a few eggs”. The correct response to which, is of course, that offered by George Orwell and Panait Istrati, “Where’s the omelette?”.

Or, more specifically, “where’s the omelette you made by murdering 100,00,000 humans?

We examined in the previous post how a supposedly objective finance newspaper in Australia is prepared to publish, without challenge, several hundred words imploring us to change our institutions and way of life, written by sources highly likely to be under the direct control of the Chinese Communist Party.

It gets worse, though. If our problem was just one compromised editorial team on one newspaper, we might not have such a big problem.

The chances are, our universities are riddled with people under direct or indirect influence of the Chinese Communist Party. An obvious Manchurian Candidate would be Professor Golley of the ANU.

The short version of the linked story is she relied heavily on CCP propaganda disguised as independent research to downplay the brutal humanitarian crimes being committed agains the Uighurs. When confronted, she then doubled down on the apologist standpoint.

Let’s pluck some quotes, in her own words, offered as her defence:

So that’s where I used my academic judgement, I’ve spent my whole life peer-reviewing articles. I read it and thought that there many points that make sense to me.

Because the article you referenced was so favourable to the CCP it should have made you consider its source and authenticity. “Inquiry” being the keystone of academia, after all.

“I know more about <the Uighur region> Xinjiang than Pompeo, I don’t want to sound cocky but I know more than what 99 per cent of Australians know about Xinjiang.”

Consider the possibility you don’t know more about morality than 99% of Australians, however.

“There are all sorts of fuzzy lines between what constitutes forced and what constitutes choice – what if 30 per cent of Uighers are choosing to work?”

She really said that out aloud.

Professor Golley said she still did not know the authors of the paper but defended their right to submit the paper to her anonymously via proxies saying they would be “persecuted” if exposed.

No alarm bells were harmed in the receipt of this anonymous report.

When the names come out there will be some Chinese names in the list and people will immediately assume that they’ve been subjected to Beijing’s orders when it might be the case that that’s just how they see the world and then they’ll be persecuted – they’re going to be labelled spies.”

People living in a country with an appalling human rights record tend to be loudly and publicly sympathetic to the regime. This should not be a surprise to someone whose career has been built on detailed knowledge of an authoritarian regime. A curious mind might ask questions, however.

Last year ANU was the victim of a massive data hack, with China considered the culprit. But Golley said she had seen little evidence of any foreign interference at the ANU. “There’s some evidence of it, we don’t know how widespread it is,” she said. “This is another example of needing to be very clear-eyed about the facts.”

Quite right, it was probably Bhutan or Andorra.

She said she had never been paid a single cent by the Chinese Communist Party but that had failed to stem an avalanche of “hate mail” “close to death threats” telling her to “f— off, you communist spy,” and calling her a “shill” for China.

This feels like it could be easily proven by listing the source of all research funding from which she’s benefited, and while we’re at it, the funding for the various international conferences she’s attended. I’ll wait.

“I feel so misjudged, if people knew me, I just want the best for the Uighurs,” she said.

Even those who have benefited from free “family planning services” or the 70% who didn’t choose to work.

She said her motivation for presenting the paper was a concern that academic freedom is being stifled in Australia but she is also concerned that exaggerating China’s human rights abuses could backfire if it emerged they were overstated.

We can all be concerned about academic freedom. Based on the evidence in front of us, she is still able to qualify for research grants and can also have her opinion written in national newspapers, one might conclude Australia isn’t the country stifling free speech. Who can name a country that is? Bueller? Anyone?

She also urged Australians to consider its own genocidal past against Indigenous Australians, saying while it did not justify abuses in Xinjiang it was not “completely irrelevant either”.

Straight out of the CCP playbook. Can anyone guess which we should consider more urgent, a crime committed 200 years ago by people long dead and crimes being committed right now by living humans?

“Sovereignty was never ceded,” she said of the British settlement of Australia as a penal colony in the late 1700s. “I’m revolted that the Australian War Memorial doesn’t have any memorial for the Frontier Wars.”

But is she revolted about the genocide and continuous human rights abuses by the CCP over the last seventy years to the present day? Not so much.

Bill’s Opinion

There’s almost no point being shocked or disgusted by the treasonous self-loathing of these people. You won’t change their minds.

Professor Golley hates you. She’s hates the country and system in which you live. She would be the first to denounce you to the secret police if the People’s Liberation Army ever marched into Australia.

She knows she is right and you are too stupid to be anything other than wrong.

Keep paying your taxes, as she needs to spend a few more years researching why Common Law and individual freedoms are not as righteous as the Chinese Communist Party’s rule.

As for her academic freedom, here’s two recent sources suggesting most of our institutions are riddled with CCP influence; Spectator and Washington Examiner.


Finally, there is a special place in hell reserved for those who try to draw moral equivalence across generations.
People who looked like you did something terrible 200 years ago so how dare you criticise an actual living human for doing something terrible in the present”

Hanlon a minute

Hanlon’s razor is a principle or rule of thumb that states “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”.

This describes my default position whenever I try to parse the statements of politicians. Only their words however, not their actions; the motivation behind these are usually painfully obvious as the trusty revealed versus expressed preferences test explains.

Politicians’ words are often a tricky minefield to navigate though. For example, should the public be wearing masks to combat the virus? Well, no AND yes and you’ll be fined if you don’t keep up with the changes.

Experience has taught me to use Hanlon’s Razor as a safe heuristic to quickly make sense of a politician’s pontificating. For a single statement made by a single politician, it’s rarely wrong. They’re all dumber than bag of hammers and usually a one off statement is simply that lack of intellect revealing itself in verbal form.

When several, seemingly unconnected, politicians make similar or even identical statements, we should probably consider being a little more sceptical of relying on Robert Hanlon’s shaving device.

For example; in the same 24 hour period, Boris Johnson claims lockdowns, not the world’s 2nd largest per capita vaccinated population, reduced deaths and Greg Hunt’s suggestion that, even if Australia ever got its shit together and vaccinated the population, we won’t be leaving the country for several years.

Well, aren’t we just living in a very connected world, eh? Two senior government officials on different sides of the globe decide to downplay the effectiveness of vaccines, one of whom has spent the previous 6 months reminding his country on a daily basis that “normality” would return once enough people had done their civic duty and had the vaccine.

Coincidence? Conspiracy? Collective incompetence? Cowardice?

Your guess is a good as mine.

The one thing we can probably bet the house on is we will not be getting on a plane to an overseas holiday or be welcoming friends and relatives from overseas any time soon, regardless of vaccination status, vaccination passports or any other factor.

Bill’s Opinion

There’s been too many of these coincidences to be ignored. From the lockstep changes over last year of every national leader’s position on masks, school closures, lockdowns, herd immunity, not overwhelming the hospitals and now the effectiveness of vaccinations, the pattern has become too obvious to be ignored.

Hanlon’s Razor suggests we should consider a kinder explanation before assuming bad intentions. My view on these frequent coincidences is now not that we have incompetent leaders, I’ve always assumed that, but they compound their stupidity with cowardice.

No democratic leader is going to risk being accused of having “blood on their hands” by returning those freedoms we used to believe were rights while there is a risk of a single death by this virus. Regardless of any other cost.

Lastly, if your income relies on incoming tourism or overseas visitors such as students, what would the rational response be to Greg Hunt’s latest statement?

Yep, close up and go do something, anything, else.

“I felt a great disturbance in the force, as if a million Australian hospitality workers cried out and were suddenly silenced

Hot dog, boiling frogs, Albuquerque

We’ve all got different limits.

In the film Falling Down, the main character reaches his after a long and difficult day when a store owner refuses to give change to make a telephone call.

For Britons, perhaps it’s the passing of this law later today, banning “non essential” overseas travel, at almost the precise point the herd/vaccine immunity makes itself clear on the offical statistics.

Sorry. WHAT?

Over the 806 years of Common Law, the principle has been consistent: if something isn’t explicitly banned, it’s allowed. Look at how lightly the current crop of politicians are prepared to flip that on its head.

Previously, if a citizen (synonym; “free man“) wished to travel overseas, they would only be prevented for a small list of reasons such as to flee prosecution for a criminal offence, or there was a reasonable expectation they were intending to commit an offence overseas (child abuse, for example).

In 2021, we now have just ten reasons a citizen can cite to not be detained in domestic captivity.

These reasons are listed below, you’ll read them and think, that’s reasonable.

But you’d be wrong. Dead fucking wrong.

It’s so unreasonable, it justifies outrage. Not violence, we’re not there yet, but we should be doing everything within in our capability to fire the people who thought this was a good day’s work in Westminster and never allow them to hold public office again.

If you’ve committed no crime, have no intention of committing a crime, perhaps you’ve even had the bloody vaccine like you were told to, who the fuck should be able to prevent you from departing the country?

Some wanky bureaucrat making a decision to hand out five grand fines at Dover because their interpretation of your reason to leave the country is that it isn’t good enough? Fuck off. Fuck right off.

Those ten reasons:

Study

Work

Weddings

Legal obligations

Moving, selling or renting property

Childcare or to be present at a birth

Visiting a dying relative

Attending a funeral

Medical appointments

Escaping a risk of harm

Bill’s Opinion

That last reason is a doozy.

It’ll be interesting to review the final wording of the act to look for the opportunity to cite, “taking a mental health break from an authoritarian government, operating for over a decade without a credible opposition, imposing arbitrary and unscientific laws on citizens” as a valid interpretation.

I no longer recognise my country of birth and its supine, compliant, frit citizens.

This is a country who produced someone capable of delivering this speech with a straight face and honest intentions. An iron curtain has indeed fallen across the continent.

Take it away Byron:

“England! with all thy faults I love thee still,”

I said at Calais, and have not forgot it;

I like to speak and lucubrate my fill;

I like the government (but that is not it);

I like the freedom of the press and quill;

I like the Habeas Corpus (when we’ve got it);

I like a parliamentary debate,

Particularly when ’tis not too late;

I like the taxes, when they’re not too many;

I like a seacoal fire, when not too dear;

I like a beef-steak, too, as well as any;

Have no objection to a pot of beer;

I like the weather, when it is not rainy,

That is, I like two months of every year,

And so God save the Regent, Church, and King!

Which means that I like all and everything.

Our standing army, and disbanded seamen,

Poor’s rate, Reform, my own, the nation’s debt,

Our little riots just to show we are free men,

Our trifling bankruptcies in the Gazette,

Our cloudy climate, and our chilly women,

All these I can forgive, and those forget,

And greatly venerate our recent glories,

And wish they were not owing to the Tories.

Covid numberwang

Have we reached the point where there is any credibility left in academia or the news industry when they present numbers to us?

Here’s an example. London bus drivers three times more likely to die from Covid.

Well, that’s bad, obviously.

I came across this article because I’d been waiting for data to appear to help answer a question that’s been nagging my brain for some time. That is, what’s the relative rates of infection, hospitalisation and death for the workers who’ve been unable to work from home for the last year. I’m thinking of bus drivers and supermarket cashiers, specifically.

Read the article for yourself, but data points offered include:

  • 51 bus drivers have died of covid.
  • This equates to “three times” the rate of other workers (but the actual rate isn’t offered, nor is the denominator).
  • “….an earlier introduction of the lockdown on 23 March 2020 would have saved lives“.
  • The report confirms driving a London bus is one of the most dangerous jobs during the pandemic.”

If we accept the UK population is about 67 million, give or take a couple of million illegal immigrants, and the offical total of covid deaths is about 126,000, then the population fatality rate is just under 0.2%.

Despite the BBC article not bothering you with this detail, a search would suggest there were approximately 24,500 bus drivers in London in 2014. So, 51/24,500 x 100 = a death rate of 0.2%.

Obviously the UK-wide calculation is using the overall population, including retirees who would skew the ratio up, but also children who would skew the ratio down. But, as a sniff test, it suggests there’s not something wildly different going on with bus drivers, despite what the report claims.

The assertion that driving a bus is one of the most dangerous professions seems to be doing a little heavy lifting and one many cycle couriers and North Sea divers may want to take issue with.

The report’s conclusion seems suspiciously in line with precisely what Sadiq Khan paid them to write was expecting, i.e. evil and stupid Boris Johnson should have shut down the country earlier.

In other news, if nobody ever travelled by car again, there would be no more traffic fatalities and, in a specific example, if James Dean had taken a train instead of driving Little Bastard he might still be here today. Just because a statement is true doesn’t mean it’s helpful.

If you wish to bypass the useless reporting, the full 87 pages of the UCL report can be found here. Fair warning, it won’t improve your confidence in the existence of objective science, though.

The report attempts to parse diverse data sets on areas such as age, ethnicity, health, social status, housing, and methods of commute to work to produce a conclusion on why the death rate was so high (a prior assumption which we can challenge) and what could have been done or can still be done to ameliorate it.

Judge for yourself whether this was achieved and whether or not objective scientific analysis was used.

Bill’s Opinion

Personally, I’m none the wiser on two important questions:

Have front line workers been disproportionately infected or killed by the virus, and if so, why?

The report has convinced me of one fact, however; this is a multi-variable problem and seeking a single reason is pointless. 87 pages of pointlessness, in this case.

Some clues can be found within the report, if one looks hard enough though. Once you get past the headline conclusion of, “keeping everyone at home earlier would have stopped bus drivers from catching a virus and dying from it“, there is a tell tale admission in the second recommendation:

2) In the longer term, early interventions on ill-health prevention are needed to reduce obesity in the population as a whole, with responsible employers playing their part. In particular, measures are needed among younger London bus drivers who have higher rates than other young people of the same age.

Finally, he who pays the piper, calls the tune. This is a flawed and political study, primarily for the purpose of shifting blame on to the Mayor of London’s political opponent.

The clue is even in the organisation name, the Institute of Health Equity.

Equity. Whenever one sees that noun, it’s a clear signal you are dealing with disciples of Critical Theory and should treat the call for action with the same credibility as the Heaven’s Gate Cult.

A year on and we still can’t trust any number offered on the subject.

Jenna Hates…..

.…the Australian David Icke.

Don’t bother clicking the link; it’s little more than an emotional rant about MP Craig Kelly whilst cheering her favourite female MP.

Jenna Hates has written the definition of a Canberra circle jerk about the most “inside the beltway” story of the year. Literally nobody with a life outside of Canberra or the media gives a damn about it.

In fact, the reporting on Kelly is the epitome of laziness.

Why?

Because the media have a wild eyed conspiracy theorist to report on, they don’t have to be inconvenienced to ask any of the questions more curious minds would like to hear the answers to.

Sure, the Aussie version of Alex Jones is an annoying tool, but why is he the only person with a platform taking about treatments for the virus?

I’ve not read a single report anywhere about the therapeutic treatments of the virus since about June last year when we were all working out how to build a ventilator using parts available from the hardware store. Remember when the supermarkets ran out of paracetamol?

Think for a moment; when was the last time you read or heard a news report about treatments? Is it not strange that dog isn’t barking?

How is it being treated around the world and what’s proven to be effective? The medics in the UK and USA must have learned a load of lessons now.

Is nobody other than MP Craig Kelly curious about what works?

When did medical treatment become a political litmus test?

Bill’s Opinion

I hate all media. Loathe them. The industry is no longer fit for purpose. The vast majority of journalists are low IQ, low rent automatons at best, partisan mendacious hacks more likely

I can count on the fingers of one foot the number of objective good faith and intelligent people working in the news industry.

Their adherence without question to a received narrative shows a lack of imagination and curiosity of mind. There is simply no room for nuance and we are all the poorer for it.

As for Jenna Price, one imagines the last time an original thought entered her head, it was politely but firmly shown the door.

…and don’t do it again!

…unless you want to.

Well, that certainly gave President Xi a piece of our mind. I hope he reads it carefully and has second thoughts about his nasty policy of reneging on the 50 year agreement to not impose Chinese legislation on Hong Kong.

One can only imagine the reaction in the inner circle of power in Beijing, they must be absolutely shitting their pants.

Well, imagine no further; we’ve been very fortunate to have access to a secret recording of President Xi’s reaction.

Helpfully, it has been translated for us by Kevin Rudd. Many of you may not be aware, because he doesn’t like to mention it, but the former Australian Prime Minister is fluent in Mandarin:

(Presidential aide passes the text of the Australian response to the arrests to Xi)

(Pause while he reads it)

(Xi scrunches the paper into a tight ball and aims it at the basketball hoop on his wall. Throws and gets it in).

President Xi: Three points! Yao Ming eat yer heart out!

Bill’s Opinion

In August 2019 I wrote about Australia’s quandary on how best to deal with China.

This piss weak response to a further incursion in to the freedoms of the Hong Kongers, supposedly protected under international law, tells us which side of the Chamberlain/Churchill spectrum the current Australian Federal Government have chosen to sit.

That’s fine, we can choose appeasement and cowardice if that’s what we feel is best for our interests. But let’s just admit it then, rather than pretending we’re some kind of moral arbiter and guardians of objective truth.

Without Chinese trade links, Australia is more fucked than a Wan Chai whore after a weekend when a US aircraft carrier has been in town.

They know that, we know that and they know we know that. Which means China can do what the fuck they like and we won’t lift a finger, except perhaps to wave a piece of paper thus:

Dine and discover unintended consequences

There’s a trial underway in New South Wales which apes Boris Johnson’s “Eat out to help out” stimulus from earlier in the year.

The NSW version is the “Dine and discover” programme.

It’s being trialled in The Rocks area of Sydney, later to be rolled out to the rest of the state.

It differs from the UK version however, as the business categories eligible for the stimulus are far greater, including “scenic and sightseeing transport”, “recreational activities such as go-karting, indoor climbing, mini-golf, billiards, bowling or ice-rinks”, “outdoor adventures”, and “travel agencies and tours.

Can anyone see a flaw in the scope of the trial and what do we think happens next?

Bueller? Anyone?

There are plenty of pubs and restaurants in The Rocks, but go-karting and outdoor adventures? Not so many. Similarly, there’s not a huge number of travel and touring businesses based out of the small historic part of Sydney.

Why is this a problem?

Well, what won’t be tested as these $25 vouchers are rolled out is whether there’s an opportunity for misuse and fraud.

Anyone who’s ever previously met another human will instinctively know the axiom, if fraud is possible and a large enough number of people are involved, fraud will occur.

Bill’s Opinion

It’s an absolute certainty there will be multiple cases of newly-registered or previously dormant businesses making a load of free money from innovative use of these vouchers.

At its simplest, a scam might simply launder part of the $25 back to the consumer, say, $20 in cash back to you while my “scenic tour business” pockets a fiver and nobody says anything.

More imaginative minds than mine will be working on various elaborate and profitable versions of this idea right now.

This is little league stuff compared with some of the Bernie Madoff-esque scams surely underway already in financial markets, though.

2021 is going to be the “everything bubble” party. Perhaps 2022 is when the hangover kicks in?

2021 surely can’t be any worse?

Gonna sleep down in the parlor

And relive my dreams

I’ll close my eyes and I wonder

If everything is as hollow as it seems

When you think that you’ve lost everything

You find out you can always lose a little more

I been to Sugar Town, I shook the sugar down

Now I’m trying to get to heaven before they close the door

Bob Dylan

Last year’s predictions weren’t too far off the mark, with the minor exception of missing a global pandemic and subsequent complete overreaction by practically every national government…..

“Other than that, Mr Waite, how was your holiday in Beirut?”

On to this year’s predictions then:

Australian Politics

Internal borders will continue to open and close like a hooker’s legs throughout the year. The two week quarantine for international travellers will remain all year.

An Australian university will threaten to declare bankruptcy and will be bailed out by the federal or a state government.

An interviewee will point out to a Sky News Australia talking head that they can’t simultaneously berate Dan Andrews for his response to Kung Flu whilst complaining the rest of the world are overreacting to a virus with a 99.93% survival rate.

Global Politics

Kamala Harris will take over the presidency from a medically-impaired Joe Biden. For this selfless act of bravery, she will will receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

A proxy war between China and the western powers will be fought in SE Asia.

The USA will return to the Iran nuclear deal. Somewhat related, mysterious explosions will continue to occur at various locations in Iran followed by an innocent face and shrug of the shoulders in Jerusalem.

The UK will have a new Prime Minister, most likely Dishy Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss.

An EU-sceptic party will win an election outright or by enough to form a coalition government in one of the 27 states.

The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell will result in weasely apologies and withdrawal from public life of several high profile figures.

A Black Lives Matter leader will be arrested for embezzlement and fraud.

Zeitgeist

The new “Trump TV” internet channel will overtake CNN’s viewing figures within a week of being launched.

As crowds return to sports matches, nobody will kneel before kick off for fear of ridicule.

A new hedonistic and illegal music/dance/drugs genre will emerge as teenagers and twentysomethings kick out against the societal restrictions. It will be inspirational for about as long as the northern hemisphere summer lasts and then it will crash and burn.

Alec Baldwin launches a charity with Rachel Dolezal and Shaun King to help sufferers of the newly identified condition, TransEthnic.

Harry and Megan Windsor-Markle’s podcasts and Netflix output is quietly dropped due to awful listening/viewing figures.

Sport

England wins the Grand Slam in the Six Nations.

The British and Irish Lions tour will go ahead in empty stadia and will be won 2-1 by South Africa.

The Olympics will also go ahead but will be a dull collection of the sports you wouldn’t normally pay to watch, as always.

Economy

Gold will reach new highs and stay above $2,100 an ounce all year.

Bitcoin will reach $35,000 and also fall to $18,000 and back again.

Tesla will reach a market capitalisation of $1 trillion but you still won’t personally know anyone who owns one.

All major stock indices will have and maintain major rises.

Several major airlines will be nationalised.

Bill’s Opinion

Some serious, some jokingly serious.

On verra, on verra.

So what’s the point of the vaccine then?

WHO’s chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan told a virtual press conference that there was no evidence yet that people who had been vaccinated could enter countries such as Australia without the risk of spreading the disease.

I have questions…..

Asked by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age what this would mean for Australia’s quarantine program, Swaminathan said “I don’t believe we have the evidence on any of the vaccines to be confident that it’s going to prevent people from actually getting the infection and therefore being able to pass it on”.

I have more questions…..

Dr David Heymann from London’s School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene went further.

“No matter what we’ve done to date, it will continue to spread, despite vaccines, despite therapeutics, despite diagnostic tests,” he said of the virus. “We have to learn to live with this and use the tools that we can in the best way possible.”

He likened the current pandemic to smallpox and the use of the “imperfect vaccine” to control and eventually eradicate the disease.

Smallpox? That disease with a 30% infection fatality rate?

We’re comparing smallpox with a virus from which 99.35% of people infected recover (and that percentage rapidly improves for those under 75)?

How is that useful?

Bill’s Opinion

Several of my friends are convinced the pandemic is a global conspiracy. I constantly argue against this from my experience of dealing with large organisations and governments, where I have learned hive minds are incapable of such efficiency.

Generally, if you want something really fucked up and not achieving the stated outcome, ask a government department to do it.

However, it’s hard to not sympathise with my tin foil hat friends given we’ve just spent the best part of a year cowering in our spare rooms waiting for the miracle to come, then we were told multiple vaccines with 90+% efficacy rates had been produced and now, as they’re being rolled out, we are told cool your jets, you’ll still need to spend two weeks in quarantine when you travel.

The chances of me voluntary taking a vaccine in such circumstances just became significantly less likely. What would be the point?

Jenna hates… fireworks

It has become obvious to me we need a new category here; Jenna hates…

Unfortunately, the Sydney Morning Herald’s readership has declined in recent years so the original opinion pieces by Jenna Price don’t receive the widespread acknowledgment they deserve. We hope to rectify this by providing a summary here to give her the audience she so richly deserves.

This week’s insight into the mind of a visiting fellow at the Australian National University and a regular columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald won’t disappoint:

There is no justification for having New Year’s Eve fireworks, none. Not this year, not any year.

I agree, utter waste of taxpayers’ money.

Years ago, I felt differently. I would take my children down to the nearest view of soaring Catherine wheels, of sparkling flowers and hearts. One year, we even ventured down to the Rocks. It was awful. Drunken brawling, men catcalling my not-yet-teenage daughters, all for the best possible view of six million bucks going up in smoke.

Why on earth would you take kids younger than 13 to a location where people do pub crawls on stag nights… at midnight? Talk me through the thought process resulting in that parental decision.

Not that we mere mortals ever get the best possible view. That’s reserved, this year more than others, for those with real estate privilege: Green Zoners, those who live or have a reservation in the CBD or the lower north shore of Sydney (that bit’s not too far from plague central also known as Avalon) will have access to city venues with “valid passes”; Yellow Zoners, those who live a little further out, can go hell-for-leather, untethered, unmasked, unsurveilled and a danger to all. Pyrmont Park and Potts Point will each have to be renamed Peril Park.

Envy is the ugliest of emotions.

This is what real estate privilege does for you; Gaia knows who has those reservations to swanky harbourview restaurants and berths in CBD boltholes but my money is on some of Daryl’s mates or similar, developers of one kind or another, various tollroad builders, airport establishers, G8way to heaven, United World Enterprises, icare or some other bit of dodgery.

Real estate privilege.

165 million Bangladeshis would like to have a word with you about your real estate privilege, Jenna.

Good move to cancel the acknowledgment of frontline workers with a front-row seat at the fireworks. Let’s acknowledge them the best way possible. Give them a bloody pay rise, all of them.

Beautiful virtue signal there; pay other people more of other people’s money.

The recent behaviour of those in Sydney during COVID-19 times has confirmed for me that the government should cancel the fireworks this year. It’s Christmas Day at Bronte Beach and idiots are cavorting in board shorts and Santa caps, chanting at the top of their lungs as if we don’t potentially have the plague on every breath. The Sydney Fish markets attempted to pull itself together on Christmas Eve by taking temperatures and enforcing QR check-ins, but it didn’t insist on masks. Attending police tried to persuade but weren’t wearing masks themselves. My favourite fishmonger didn’t even have staff wearing masks. Not too many masks at the Hillsong light display in Bella Vista, even fewer at Westfield Parramatta.

There were seven cases in NSW yesterday after over 300,000 have been tested this week.

7/300,000 x 100 = 0.0023% of the people who thought they might have the virus. As a percentage of the population of the state, that’s 0.00009% with a virus that 99.97% of people fully recover from.

Perhaps people see those odds and feel it’s an acceptable risk, Jenna?

But while it is true that we have many excellent citizens who had had their swabs, that’s more of an “ohmigod, I might be sick and I should really get that checked out” action as opposed to the more purely selfless behaviour of those who wear masks at the shops and on public transport. Of which there is not enough.

Not enough? I was one of only three in the local supermarket not wearing a mask yesterday. I don’t wear a mask because I understand probabilities; the car journey to the supermarket is more dangerous than the virus.

Not enough? What’s your proposal to solve that, Jenna?

Which brings me back to the fireworks. Yes, they are lovely and exhilarating. Soaring, popping, being in large groups of people all aahing and oohing at once, as if they’ve rehearsed for months. But last year was a warning. As Australia burned, fireworks snipped and snizzled across our land. We had a few reflective thoughts about whether we should add more to our already poisoned air, whether we should heap particulate on particulate, but mostly went ahead anyhow, even as people were losing their families, both human and animal, and their homes. The spectacle mattered much more than our consideration of others.

Got a climate change reference in there. That’ll please your colleague Peter weather is climate Hannan.

This year, just broadcast the fireworks on various platforms. And next year, ditch them altogether.

Actually, this is a perfectly reasonable position to take if you’re being asked to pay for the fireworks.

Remember how we celebrated Earth Hour?

Yes! We have an annual tradition; we run a competition to see how quickly we can make the little dial on the electricity meter spin, by getting the kids to rush around the house switching on every electrical device they can find.

We give off so much heat and light for that hour, astronauts on the ISS can probably see Chez Ockham from space.

Switching off all the lights, watching the stars and contemplating how lucky we are, how lucky to be alive.

Oh, that’s not what we do. Are we misunderstanding Earth Hour?

Bill’s Opinion

As with the previous target for Jenna’s hatred, golf, I agree somewhat with Jenna about the fireworks.

My view is they are overrated but, if people want to use their money to fund them, fill yer boots. A subscription service or GoFundMe campaign would work. Just don’t use my taxes to fire 6 million bucks of gunpowder up in the air.

As with most of Jenna’s opinion pieces though, this one tells us more about her emotional state than the specific subject itself.

Jenna has more issues than Vogue. It’s nice of the Sydney Morning Herald to allow her to share the details of her ongoing therapy with us.