Thus Spake Mungo: ahh the Spike

Australia awoke last week to the strains of Spike Milligan’s poignant refrain, ‘I’m walking backwards to Christmas.

It may not be all the way to Christmas, but it could be even further – well into next year, and perhaps beyond that. We don’t know and we can’t tell.

But it is sadly clear that our dream run over the coronavirus pandemic has come to a sticky end. And it has happened on both fronts, the medical and the economic. The cluster of hot spots that emerged from Victoria does not yet constitute the dreaded second wave, but it is worrying, and defies explanation.

For readers of The Australian, of course, it is all too simple: Daniel Andrews unleashed the beast by not clamping down on the Black Lives Matter protests. But hang on – there were protests in other states as well, without clusters emerging, And in any case, not one of the cases in Victoria can be traced to the demonstrations.

So perhaps the problem was that Andrews mismanaged the Cedar Bay abattoir outbreak? Or ignored communicating COVID-19 information to the ethnic communities? One way or another, we have to blame the socialist totalitarian for something.

But apart from the partisan bullshit, the fact that there are clusters at all must serve as a warning, because across other parts, around the world, COVID19 is still raging. It is out of control in Brazil, spreading dangerously in India, working its way through the southern United States and, most disturbingly, making huge inroads in parts of China, where it was thought to have been tamed.

The global infections now number close to ten million, with nearly half a million deaths. And despite the predictions of the optimists, we are not yet in reach of a vaccine. This is not good news

The global infections now number close to ten million, with nearly half a million deaths. And despite the predictions of the optimists, we are not yet in reach of a vaccine. This is not good news.

And for the government, the worse news is that the easing of restrictions has not just stalled, but has been reversed in some areas, notably the urgency of opening state boundaries.

It appears that we are reverting to the old maxim: think globally, act locally. The national cabinet was never much more national than our mish-mash federation, or the constitution that birthed it; it was a useful conceit and helped us muddle through the early emergency, but it was always gesture politics rather than reality.

Victoria has gone backwards – even toilet paper is back on the rationing list. This is serious, folks

And now the premiers have declared that it is every state for itself. Some are derestricting like mad, others are more cautious, playing for time. And of course Victoria has gone backwards – even toilet paper is back on the rationing list. This is serious, folks.

And at that stage Andrews called in the army – not to guard the state’s vital supplies of dunny wipe – but mainly as prison wardens, preventing desperate returned travellers, immured in five star hotels, from making a bid for freedom. However, after a brief contemplation, Andrews apparently decided that this was a mission not in the finest traditions of ANZAC.

So the troops were pulled back, and the long-suffering cops sent to do the job. A few were retained to assist emergency testing stations, presumably to look intimidating, to warn of the dire consequences if people with runny noses refused to co-operate.

Policing municipal boundaries would be all but impossible – unless, of course, vast numbers of troops are to be redeployed

It seems that the lockdown may not just return, but will be micromanaged. Crash testing has begun immediately in trouble spots, and if they can be confirmed and isolated, they will become mini-gulags; no-go areas. Good luck with that. Containing state borders has been hard enough. Policing municipal boundaries would be all but impossible – unless, of course, vast numbers of troops are to be redeployed.

And that would entail considerable political risk. There is already talk of ignorant ethnic populations – by which, of course, is meant Muslims – breaking the rules, holding illegal gatherings for their Eid celebrations. To turn these areas into closed ghettoes would not be a good look, especially in these sensitive times.

Gladys Berejiklian has made it clear that Victorian holidaymakers will not be welcome in her pristine domain – in fact, she has bluntly told them to bugger off

And it appears that the other premiers are less than sympathetic. In NSW, Gladys Berejiklian has made it clear that Victorian holidaymakers will not be welcome in her pristine domain – in fact, she has bluntly told them to bugger off.

Australia is still doing fairly well by world standards. Moody’s rating agency and the International Monetary Fund have both offered commendation, ticking us off as one of the best in a fairly miserable bunch.

But the IMF have warned that shutting down the stimulus measures designed to dampen unemployment too abruptly could lead to awful consequences – it has urged caution; a gradual easing, rather than a sudden shut off.

Morrison and Josh Frydenberg seem, reluctantly, to be getting the message. The strictly temporary JobKeeker program, scheduled to end in September, may have to be extended, at least for the most vulnerable sectors of the economy.

And some extra spending is being rolled out; the beleaguered arts are finally getting a boost, although a very minor one, and in the wake of the Qantas stand down, assistance for the airline industry is on the table.

The universities, and most of all the ABC, have been singled out for clobbering. Some of us are in this together more than others

But it is still all about industry and business. Individuals – casual workers in particular – are not considered essential. And of course enemies are still to be punished. The universities, and most of all the ABC, have been singled out for clobbering. Some of us are in this together more than others.

And Morrison is hell-bent on ramping up the nation for business – whatever the consequences. ‘We can’t go “stop, go, stop, go”, we can’t flick the light on and off,’ he insisted, blithely ignoring the fact that this is precisely what he is planning to do with JobKeeker. ‘We’ve got to just keep the focus on keeping the economy open and getting people back into jobs.’ And there is absolutely no need for anxiety about the Victorian outbreak, because ‘we were expecting it.’ Perhaps he was – the rest of us were somewhat taken aback.

But it’s time to forget about the health crisis – so 2019-2020, We need a new narrative to turn the page into the new financial year. It’s the economy, stupid – and we do mean stupid. Back to Spike Milligan. As the Great Goon might have warbled:

I’ve tried walking backwards

And walking to the front

But all the people stare at me

And ask: who is that silly…’

Yes, quite so. Moving right along…

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13 responses to “Thus Spake Mungo: ahh the Spike”

  1. Barrow says:

    ECHO could you please explain the reasons why
    On the Back page of the Latest echo our
    Prime Minister Was called a Religious Extremist ?
    Now if our Prime Minister Was a person of the
    Muslim Faith would the Echo be of the same
    Opinion ? Or a Buddhist ? Etc .
    No Religion is better than the other right ?
    And most religious faiths support full respect
    Of other religious faiths and beliefs !!
    Surely this was a mistake and moderation was overlooked before print Echo .
    Black lives matter !!
    All lives matter !!
    All religions Matter !!
    Some very good people work at the Echo
    Its our local newspaper however lets be respectful.
    As i know you all do !!

  2. Yep, Mungo. We need to ‘give it a go’…….. but how!
    Andrews mismanaged? Or was it the sad luck of
    the draw? Many moons must pass before we know
    what we think we knew but didn’t. The universities
    “cop that”. The ABC “to be or not to be.” Questions
    aren’t options anyhow. ScoMo mug-ins says we
    can’t turn the lights off & on because ‘the economy’
    must stay open?’-+!!x It’s not going to help the job
    -less… the ones on the ‘basic wage’ / part-timers. So
    Let us call on Spike (my hero) Milligan who wrote
    “How I Won The War Against Hitler”… & Triffids &
    Anything Goes.

  3. Amanda says:

    A stab at partisanism Mungo.. a slightly hypocrtical moment there! He said the muslims she said the abc he said the socialist premiers she said the selfish right wing premiers.

  4. Emily Stewart says:

    While still in bed In the dull light of an Australian morn many an Australian last week opened one eye for they had to rise as they had to go to the loo and then on the wireless were the wafting strains of Spike Milligan’s poignant refrain, ‘I’m walking backwards to Christmas.’

  5. Barrow says:

    Most of all the ABC have been singled out for a clobbering Mungo ? Yes so they should .. use taxpayer’s money for there own agendas, eg chasing some Russian Collusion and spending
    Millions Mungo , what was the outcome of such
    Goodwill hunting !! Zero Mungo Zero , or Advertising for business for any Racism just contact the ABC we wiil expose them , well the Green left content that this organization promotes
    Tax increases , self indulgence, virtue signaling,
    Hypocrisy, these elites who sip the Lattes in Ultimo
    Who pretend to be at one even the Westies
    Could not be further from the truth ! Millions have lost there employment including 6 thousand from
    Qantas. Well here is some advice Move your head
    Quarters to America and take that Planet America
    With you .. because our ABC covers more of Trump
    And Trump And Trump . Go woke go broke ABC
    But not at Taxpayer’s expense.. Mungo for the record we are doing more then Fairly well regarding
    Covid19 we are the Envy of the World as is NZ ..

  6. Joachim says:

    The Spike with his “I’m walking backwards to Christmas ” whilst at the moment here in OZ it, “Sleepwalking to the future” with ScoNO our modern day Pied Piper.

  7. Joachim says:

    Hi Stefanie. ScoNO and jobs and people in general. His slogans ( JobSeeker, JobKeeper, JobMaker, HomeBuilder ) roll continuously off his tongue but now it seems that ‘JobKeeper’ slogan is set for ScoNO’s dumpster like the hundreds of thousand of workers that ScoNO deliberately denied from his ‘JobKeeper’ – ScoNO describes ‘JobKeeper’ support payments as an $11millions per month….. ‘CASHBURNER’. There you have it, people that were lucky enough to score on the ‘JobKeeper’ are now burdensome cash burners. But then what do expect from a dude that still celebrates his catastrophic ‘RoboRobberyDebt’ scheme ( the biggest state sponsored fraud in Australia’s history ) that for years visited untold misery upon innocent Australians.

  8. I had a parrot back when I was just a kid.
    It talked the talk all day every day for
    years. The only time he shut up was
    when I fed him. Can’t remember his
    name. To this day some people copy

  9. Liz L says:

    The situation in Victoria just goes to demonstrate that a week is a long time in politics and Saint Daniel has suddenly slipped to bungling Daniel or Socialist Sympathiser Daniel all of a sudden. How the public love heaping on the blame – the new Vic outbreak is all because DA did not attempt to issue fines to 10,000 odd demonstrators but, shock horror, attempted to manage a volatile situation with some diplomacy and with meeting to plead with organisers. And clearly if people decide to ignore advice to physically distance the excuse ‘but they didn’t’ totally absolves them from any responsibility.

    We can’t lay the same blame though with Tough Tory Gladys who really sent a clear message that things were deadly serious in NSW by attempting to outlaw the march. Let’s forget temporarily that the Supreme Court overturned this on appeal – that in no way undermines the message that was clearly the only thing standing in the way of a NSW second wave.

    It’s very convenient to have a contagion that is so new, with so little really known about it, that when anything goes wrong the narrative can be shaped to fit any political agenda. Speaking of which, Mungo, you might need to fact check your assertion that ‘not one of the cases in Victoria can be traced to the demonstrations’ – SBS and the ABC have reported somewhat differently. And while contact tracing is suggesting there are far more dominant factors, who can say definitively the sum of the sources of this worrying new spike. What might safely be conjectured though was that gathering in huge numbers – despite the precautions and the urgency of the cause – cannot have helped and wasn’t/isn’t currently a good idea.

  10. Yes, the terms of JobSeeker, Keeper & Maker……… are
    on the way to the ‘dump’. The land of OZ has become
    a laughing stock. The latest hit just had to be the ABC
    again – this time it joins the loss of ‘The World Today,’ &
    ‘PM’. That’s right… we must not be allowed to listen let
    alone learn anything that smacks of intelligent news
    briefing even if lives could or would be at stake. The
    axe will fall on another flagship program listened to by
    Regional, Metro Conservatives & Progressives alike.
    Naturally it’s Radio, The ‘07.45 a.m. Bulletin’ that most
    country people & townies set their body-clocks news
    get-on by. Murdoch will giggle-fit over this. After all
    he’s our new owner. He’s bought us out.

  11. Joachim says:

    Barrow old son, how can you say with a straight face that Australia is the envy of the world when it comes to the Covid. Try telling the dead and their families and all those that feel ill from the catastrophies that are Ruby Princess, Newmarch House and Dorothy Henderson Lodge – the only thing to be ‘envious’ about is that the mismanagements, by your ScoNo and Gladys Governments, of these three events did not result in even more needless deaths than what was delivered.

  12. Joachim says:

    Hi Stefanie, yes Parrots are just wonderful aren’t they. They have no idea what they talking about but it doesn’t matter because it feels and sounds great, they just keep regurgitating the same words, telling you what you want to hear. Ah, How Good is Australia!

  13. Hi Joachim; ScoNo’s list gets longer by
    the day. NB: he’s now given his old
    mate Murdoch 50 million to make up
    for the loss of newspapers incurring
    a loss in profit – or something silly
    like that. Seems to think the loss of
    loot is worse for him than the people
    who rely on Murdoch owned local
    news. Give ‘n take’s gone to pot.

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