COVID-19

Australians love rules but the Covid coercion won’t work

“(Eff) Joe Biden — and De Blasio too! (Eff) Joe Biden – and De Blasio too!” Joe Biden is, of course, the US President.De Blasio is Bill De Blasio, the socialist mayor of New York City who has turned the Big Apple into That 70s Show complete with junkies, random shootings and mountain ranges of trash piled high on every street.And the people chanting were not right-wing yahoos, members of the 12 per cent of Manhattanites who voted for Donald Trump last year, or Christian fundamentalists protesting some new attempt to put sexual deviancy front and centre in the curriculum.Instead, they were New York City teachers — as a rule, some of the most left-wing people you will meet this side of Havana or a university English department — livid at a mandate requiring them to get a Covid-19 jab before returning to the classroom.Of course, you don’t need to go to America to see how the politics of Covid are evolving from a traditional left-right fight between restrictions and freedoms into a sort of civil war within the left, between a lockdown-loving Zoomerati elite and their ­traditional working class allies. Just look at what happened recently in Melbourne, where members of one of the most militantly left-wing unions in Australia engaged in days of running street battles with police in arguably the most left-wing state in the nation.Images of over-the-top violence by the cops there was likely what inspired the marchers in New York to keep going after protesting at ­Education HQ, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to finish up outside the Australian consulate. In one amazing bit of footage seen on Twitter, a man believed to be a teacher yelled to a cheering crowd: “What’s going on in Australia is not just going to be Australia. And when it shows up on our doorsteps, we’re gonna punch it right in the f —king teeth!”Now, again, just maybe this guy was a closet Trump voter.But let’s not kid ourselves. The biggest opposition to lockdowns and particularly vaccine mandates is coming not so much from the right but the left, led by the people whose livelihoods are most affected by edicts handed down from on high by technocrats and health bureaucrats.And while many prefer to pretend this is not happening, the effects on politics in Australia and around the world are potentially profound.While the vaccines are marvels of modern medical technology, mandates for workers to take them feel to many like something forced on them by the elite — if today it’s a jab, they wonder, what could they be made to do to keep their job tomorrow? Opinion surveys tell the story: An August Newspoll found that Labor and Greens voters were more likely to be vaccine-hesitant, while Coalition voters were more like to have already got the jab.In both Australia and the US, startlingly large numbers of nurses and other healthcare workers are protesting vaccine mandates, coming together in Facebook groups to share scare stories and tips on how to get exemptions and keep their jobs.Nor is it hard to find footage of protests against vaccine passports and mandatory jabs that have taken place in cities around the globe.To put it simply, 20 months of ­restrictions are now testing the limits of how far people can be pushed in the name of public health before they start to push back.Even in Australia, which loves its rules and regulations and where ­dobbing is a high art, it is clear that you simply can’t coerce your way out of Covid. While Gladys Berejiklian was all too often in the thrall of health bureaucrats trumpeting alarmist and incorrect models to justify restrictions, NSW under her premiership did a far better job of managing things than Victoria with its insane rules around curfews and picnics and so much else. Dom Perrottet seems to be off to a good start in this regard, speaking ­eloquently on Tuesday about “(getting) back to the life that we love and the freedoms that we hold dear”.And when you compare NSW with Victoria it may be that Berejiklian’s relatively lighter touch, much derided by the aforementioned Zoomerati on Twitter, is part of the reason why local jab rates are so high by comparison.Daily Telegraph – News Feed latest episodeAs one Melburnian told me, explaining why fewer Victorians had gotten the jab: “It’s about control. Dan Andrews has taken so much from us, this is one of the only ways to push back.”In other words, if you don’t force things, people often make good ­decisions.Recall how at the start of the ­pandemic Australians started distancing off their own bat, pulled their kids out of school, and thought Scott Morrison was mad for wanting to go to the footy.Now, a casual walk around town suggests most people are sensibly evaluating risks, despite the snail-like road map that will technically see us under some restrictions even at 90 per cent double-jabbed. If at the start of the pandemic it was time for people to follow the lead of governments, now governments should follow the lead of the people.The Zoomerati, of course, are free to vent their anger on Twitter as much as they want, while the rest of us get on with our lives.NAT – Stay Informed – Social Media

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