Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Derek Mackie: Trev & Jacinda's Protest Debrief

J: Come in Trevor. Take a seat. Leave those big steel toe-capped boots at the door, please. 
T: Will this take long, Prime Minister? I urgently need to get back to the steps outside parliament. 
J: Why? Are you trying a new initiative to move the protesters on? 
T: I’m convinced that the power of my withering glare is making them buckle and get off my lawn. I’m sure the numbers are dropping. 

J: Really. How many have left, do you think? 10%? 20%? 
T: Two 
J: Percent? 
T: No, just two. But they looked really intimidated. 
J: I hate to burst your bubble but the police reports say the protest is growing, Trevor. I hope you have something better than that to hit them with, but strictly metaphorically speaking. Because, as you know, I abhor all forms of violence. 

T: I’ve been taking all practical steps to restore privileged access to the nation’s parliament grounds for government officials. 
You know, I think the seed for all this protest malarkey started when we allowed the public to take parliamentary tours. They were able to “case the joint”, so to speak. 
J: Don’t be ridiculous. I think you’ve been watching too many action movies. 
My seat of power should be open freely to the public - just as long as I don’t have to come in contact with them and be forced to answer any unapproved questions. 

J: So let’s review progress, or lack of, to date. 
T: Well, we tried water torture first. But the parliament sprinklers don’t have much pressure and the Wellington City Council enforced their water restrictions which severely limited operations. 
Anyway, it’s only really effective if you can tie the protester to a board, tip them back and put a cloth over their face. My advisors tell me that would take too long and the protesters would have to line up in an orderly queue to be abused. 
J: I don’t like the term torture. It implies contravention of human rights and immoral behaviour. Crowd management is much better. 

T: But I thought that was the whole point. They’re protesting about being coerced into have a medical procedure which is explicitly in contravention of the NZ Bill of Rights and, if they refuse, being discriminated against with mandates. 
J: I view that document as a guideline rather than a statutory responsibility. 
T: Hey, you won’t get any argument from me. 

J: Carry on then. 
T: Next we tried sleep deprivation torture. Oops, sorry! I mean "crowd management". But they just started dancing and singing along. 
I have to admit there were some real toe-tappers in that song list. I'm a big fan of Barry Manilow, myself. 
The police near the loudspeakers weren’t too happy. Nor were the law-abiding residents that live near parliament who were trying to sleep, judging by my in-box, next morning. 
J: Lucky we repealed the three strikes rule otherwise one more failure and you’d be out. So, where do we go from here? 

T: You know, I thought the Police Commissioner was one of us but now I’m not so sure. Back at the beginning, I suggested he cavalry charge the protest and apply liberal use of tear-gas and rubber bullets but he refused. Came up with some lame excuse about the rights of citizens to protest and the old chestnut of hurting innocent women and children. 
Anyway, I’m certain my next “crowd management” strategy will work. Finally got the Police Commissioner on side. 
J: And what’s that then? 

T: Well, I was watching a cold-war movie the other night, set in Berlin. I love those old period dramas. And it just hit me. One of the best “crowd management” control measures in history. 
J: I think I know where this is going. Does it involve a wall, by any chance?
T: How did you guess? We build our own Beehive Wall around the protest. You start off small and pretend you’re just managing the traffic. Each night you install different sections - complete with strategically positioned “crowd management” towers. Whenever protestors leave the walled area they’re not allowed back in. 
J: That could still take a long time. The MSM are fully on board and only report negative coverage but you never know how long that will last. I said I wanted a quick solution. 

T: And this is where I got really clever. 
J: Oh, no! How many times have I heard that only to be disappointed? 
T: Hear me out. We move the portaloos outside the wall. Every time they need a number one or two they have to leave and can’t get back in. 
J: But they’ll just start doing their business inside the wall. The smell will be awful. 
Admittedly many could contract a serious gastro-intestinal illness and have to be taken to hospital. That would get the numbers down but ambulances turning up en masse is not a good look. 
T: And that’s when you blame them for overloading the hospitals during a Covid pandemic. 
Just link most deaths to Covid, however tenuous the connection, and the death rate spikes. The public blames the protesters and you come out of this, reputation intact. 

J: Hold on, Trevor. I think you may have actually had a bone fide good idea for once. This could work. 
And when the protest is over the wall could become a permanent feature. Paint some publicly funded Maori artwork on it and some environmental scenes and people won’t even see it as a wall. It will be a beacon of light against the oppression of public protest and civil disobedience. 
In summer, we could encourage peaceful public gatherings, outside the wall, of course. Organise organic vegan picnics, show movies on apocalyptic climate change and hold family-fun Te reo classes. 
I could watch safely from inside as my citizens enjoy the benefits of my governance. 

T: You could even create some more civil service jobs with a Beehive Wall Security Management Department and employ security guards 24/7. 
J: Yes, I can see it now. Giving the public comfort and security knowing that their political leaders and representatives are fully protected and isolated from the outside world. 
Free to rule within their bubble and safe in the knowledge that public discontent can’t reach them. 

J: The security work sounds like a perfect fit for our newly announced Maori Employment Action Plan. 
Carmel, Nanaia and Willy will be pleased. 
T: So, are we done, Prime Minister? 
J: Yes, I believe we are, Trevor. If this works, your position as Speaker is assured for as long as I wish to remain in power. 
T: Good to know. I’m just heading back to try my crowd glaring technique again. May not need the wall, after all. 
J: And there’s the old Trevor we all know and tolerate! 

Derek Mackie is a geologist with a keen interest in current affairs.

1 comment:

Ray S said...

You must have a hidden microphone in the PM's office, I can tell.
You couldn't make this up.