I am sure that the puritanical prig Oliver Cromwell meant well when he organised the regicide of Charles I. Many tyrants do when they start on their path to untrammelled power.
In 1648, the Long Parliament stood in the way. Many of its members, more than a majority, were reluctant to put Charles I on trial for treason.
This was easily solved. Colonel Pride took two regiments and purged the parliament of 55% of its members, leaving what became known as the Rump Parliament, a group of barely accountable zealots who were quite happy to do as Cromwell and his henchmen suggested.
It did not end well, although Cromwell himself did not end up with his head on a pike until after he was dead.
Another regime which did not end well was that of Benito Mussolini who, after being given the premiership of Italy by a weak king, held fresh elections in 1924 under laws which were loaded in a way which gave his party a majority of seats. No more multiparty elections were held until 1946.
Benito himself ended up hanging from his ankles in Milan, although he too was dead by then.
Premier Andrews has today sought to ban from the Victorian parliament any members who refuse to reveal their health status – supposedly a public health measure to prevent the spread of covid.
Given our MPs are all elected in fair and free elections, I consider this to be a serious affront to the nature of our democracy in this state, a way of purging those who will dare to dissent from the views held by Andrews, and who feel so strongly about it that they will make a strong statement about it.
Members of Parliament hold their seats through their mandate from their constituents. Purging them for their beliefs is antithetical to both the spirit and the word of democracy, and is a disgraceful proposal on the part of the Premier.
To harken back to our friend Oliver Cromwell, the Rump Parliament dragged on for five more years until he dismissed it in 1653. His words in dismissing it serve as a salient message to our appalling technocratic premier:
‘You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately… Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!’
Yes, I see your point. But…
An acquaintance recently responded to a Facebook poll – Should you be required to let your employer know your vaccination status?
“Hell no!” she responded, “What’s next? Reporting who our sexual partners are?”
My first instinct was – oh, the “what’s next” argument. Great. All this argument requires is the laziest of debating skills: What’s next (insert anything you want, unsupported or not). An example comes to mind from the 2017 plebiscite on marriage equality in Australia where disciples of the Christian right declared “What’s next? People marrying their pets?”
Well, that hasn’t happened, nor do I find it a realistic expectation of what marriage equality leads to.
But the choice of her “what’s next?” retort, being sexual partners, provides a great opportunity to highlight the situation as it is.
I pose this simple question ‘would you expect your new sexual partner to disclose if they have an STD?
If you think it’s their business alone if they have a life threatening, or simply fertility affecting, or just plain itchy STD, well then you might at least want to bring up this second question ‘are you willing to use protection?’
If their answer is no, you would be right to scold them and banish them from your bed until they showed more respect for your health.
Now, COVID 19. More transmissible than an STD. Spread by breath, by touching objects, by talking to someone. More threatening to your life than syphilis, or gonorrhea, yet those offended by the notion of mandatory vaccination or even disclosure take such offence. Would they be so offended if their sexual partner asked them to use protection, or asked them to tell them if they had AIDS, herpes or any other STD? Would they be stupid enough to agree to sleep with someone who refuses to tell them their STD status “because it’s my business” and “it’s my choice not to use protection?”
So yes, I think common sense would prevail here. There is an obligation that comes with partaking in society, and we should expect that to be of the highest level when it comes to our members of parliament, our leaders.
And here we have politicians who couldn’t give a brass razoo about keeping their work partners safe. And what happens when this disregard for their colleagues leads to shut down if parliament through the infection of others?
You might bring up the argument of such a policy being an act fascism, and so many who refuse the jab whine along. Yet the only signs of fascism likened to brown shirts kicking the in the teath of jews on the streets appears to be the actions of anti vaxxers setting their dogs on complying citizens in parks or spitting on health care workers.
We must not be held to ransom by the idiot in the room, and we must not pander to their ill informed view of a very real and dangerous virus.
They may spruik faith in their own immune system, but it becomes very clear that they don’t give a damn about yours, or anyone else’s.
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