Saturday, 25 April 2020

Poor decisions makes tough problems worse

Scott Morrison gives a coronavirus update at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra on Friday. Picture: AAP
Scott Morrison gives a coronavirus update at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra on Friday. Picture: AAP
It is certainly instructive but also bracing and just a tad unsettling to discover that we are ruled by very stupid people.
The disturbingly operative word is “ruled”. Our elected leaders and accompanying self-defined “experts” have seized with relish and gusto the responsibility — more accurately, the opportunity — to release the inner authoritarian; to rule over us, effectively by fiat, like some medieval monarch surrounded by acolytes and activists.
The reference to stupidity is not pejorative, simply a statement of reality. I offer for consideration a few contemporary examples, starting with – who else? – our supreme leader.


During the week, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison demanded that the powers of the World Health Organisation (WHO) should be dramatically increased — for it to become the UN inspectors of health like those of weapons.
It is certainly in keeping with his authoritarian mood of the moment: an organisation already answerable to no one other than perhaps China, and certainly subject to no effective oversight, should be given the powers of global gauleiters, to storm into countries unasked.
It seems to have escaped our PM that UN weapons inspectors have a less than stellar record. Think, as he did not, North Korea and Iran, to say nothing of how they “helped” to create the context which led to the disastrous Iraq war.
But at its most basic and immediate, here we have a PM who wants to increase the powers of an organisation which has just revealed itself as a co-conspirator with China in unleashing the virus on the world.
And a co-conspirator, which as a matter of policy and practice simply refuses to recognise the country that has the single best record of success in fighting the virus, and is a democracy answerable to public opinion, fact and reason, unlike either the WHO or its co-conspirator China: Taiwan.
As of yesterday, Taiwan, population 24 million: a total of 428 cases and just six deaths. Not for the day, in total. It makes our effort — 6675 cases and 78 deaths — look a bit ordinary.
Why has Taiwan succeeded? Because, when WHO was co-conspiring with China to conceal the virus, Taiwan was taking active steps to protect itself from China and the WHO. They knew only too well what they were dealing with.

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