Sunday, July 31, 2022

Derek Mackie: Ignorance is Bliss

In recent times, our attention-seeking Prime Minister has shied away from domestic public appearances and now only undertakes stage-managed performances in front of our tame mainstream media. This ensures no awkward questions or hecklers, which send her fleeing for the safety of her security detail and a group hug with the press gallery. 

 By contrast, she’s only too happy to fly all around the World, face-mask free, and be feted by the international woke brigade on chat shows and at ivy league universities. Some countries even wish she was their leader - “please take her, by all means”, right-thinking Kiwis shout. “We’ll throw in the Maori Caucus for free!” 

 She’s become a hermit PM at home, cocooned in the Beehive, surrounded by those who are happy to tell her just what she wants to hear, and only visible to the population on smiling posters or tightly scripted television interviews. 

 History is littered with out-of-touch leaders who convinced themselves they were adored when, in truth, their citizens despised them. In the end, they unravelled as their house of cards came tumbling down. 
Imagine how Jacinda’s grip on reality might loosen if her insecurity blossomed and overseas adulation really went to her head. 

 Here’s a fictional scenario of what may ensue if our elected leader, who abuses the power granted to her and exploits the trust of those she serves, reaps the whirlwind of paranoia and delusions of grandeur. 

     J: Prime Minister 
    L: Health Minister 
    S: Jacinda’s private secretary 

L: Ready to see me, is she? 
S: Yes, you can go in. 
Just a warning - it’s a fairy dress day, today! 
L: Christ on a bike! Not that again. 
S: And she may spontaneously start humming “My Favourite Things” from Sound of Music. Which wouldn’t be so bad but Julie Andrews, she ain’t.
And she’s had her office redecorated - pink, with stars that glow on the ceiling! 
And she’s got more pictures of herself on the walls. 
I think that’s all since last time you were here. Oh no wait, there’s a new sign on her door - 
         STOP: Good news ONLY beyond this point 

L: It’s getting worse. Am I first cab off the rank? 
S: No. Grant was in first, wearing his suit with the $ signs all over it . 
Then Chris, sporting his new police hat. 
She’ll be disappointed you didn’t get into character. Did you miss the memo? 
L: This place is like a fancy-dress party. She needs to get a grip! 
S: I agree, but she’s impervious to reason. And, without her, Labour’s slim grasp on power is well and truly down the dunny! So you need to humour her. 
Oh, if she asks about the opinion polls, play dumb. The last real one we showed her was well over a year ago. She still thinks we’re riding high at over 50% and she’s the most popular PM ever. 

L: Labour’s plummeted since then! We’ve lost about 20 percentage points.
S: You don’t need to tell me. 
Her burgeoning PR and Comms Department are devising their own poll which just samples the public sector workforce and union membership….then they fiddle the result to get it up to 50%.
Luckily, the media’s still playing ball to some degree and only reports the most favourable independent polls….but they still look bad. 
Thank God she stopped watching television. She’s convinced that the public can see her when it’s on and will start asking her embarrassing questions.

L: It’s just a matter of time before she hears the truth. 
S: I’ll be taking extended leave that day. 
One more thing. Watch out for the magic dust. 
She haphazardly flings it around when she hears bad news. Got me in the eye this morning when I brought in her chamomile tea and told her we were out of TimTams. 
L: Ah! I thought you’d been crying because she’s lost the plot! 
S: No. That usually happens later on in the day. 
Anyway, good luck. In, you go. 


J: Andrew! Come in, sit down. 
L: Thank you, Prime Minister. 
J: Where’s your stethoscope and white coat? 
L: I decided to leave them at home. I’m not a real doctor, remember. We discussed this last time. 
J: Nonsense! I can make you a real doctor with one wave of my wand. I have the power! 
Tea, coffee…biscuit
L: No, definitely not! 
I’m fine. Must watch my weight. 
J: Don’t want to end up in hospital. You’re not Maori, after all - ha, ha! 
L: That’s very funny, Prime Minister. 
My…you look fancy today! 

J: It’s bespoke! Stella McCartney made it for me on my last overseas trip to Europe. 
I was inspired by the kind and caring fairy godmother in Shrek 2 - my second favourite film of all time. 
L: I thought she turned out to be rather ruthless and calculating in the end.
J: Not at all!   She was a strong, powerful woman, surrounded by weak men, who had difficult decisions to make. I so sympathise! 
Can you guess what my favourite movie is? 
L: Em….it wouldn’t be The Sound of Music, by any chance? 
J: Why yes!! I empathise with that poor family fleeing the authoritarian forces of fascism. 
If Germany had been “progressive” socialist, like us, that never would have happened. They would simply have had to isolate for the duration in a nice motel. 

L: Interesting view of WWII. 
Gosh, the way the sun shines off that dress is quite dazzling. Can we pull the blinds? 
J: Look - I’ll give you a twirl, arms out. Just like Julie on the top of an alp singing “The Hills are Alive…” 
L: Very becoming, Prime Minister. Especially the tiara and the wand. 
J: And my magic dust…ta, ra! 
L: Good God!      INCOMING - TAKE COVER! 
J: Why are you hiding under the table, Andrew? 
L: I thought I dropped something, Prime Minister. No, it’s all good! 

J: I trust you bring your Queen good tidings, sir knight. 
L: Sorry, what? 
J: I’ve been having an excellent morning up to now and I don’t want it spoiled. These days my temper can flare up suddenly - IF I’M DISAPPOINTED! Oh dear, deep breaths, deep breaths. 
I blame it on the stress of being the World’s most successful and beloved leader. Don’t Kiwis know how lucky they are to have me!! 
Sometimes, in my darker moments, I imagine I’m not as adored as I once was. 
Could it be true, Andrew? However unbelievable that sounds! 

L: There, there. I’m sure that’s not so, Prime Minister. 
Most Kiwis hold you in the utmost .........affection. 
You probably just need another well earned, all-expenses-paid “trade” trip overseas. Must be over a month since your last one. 
A couple of celebrity interviews on prime time TV and a high-profile speech to the converted and you’ll be fine. 
J: You may be right. 
Perhaps you could examine me, Andrew, in a professional capacity, just to set my mind at ease. 
L: Remember, Prime Minister, I’m not actually a doctor. In fact, I do my best to avoid them, both personally and professionally. 
So, I believe the Finance Minister’s already been in. 

J: Yes, Grant was very kind. 
After that nasty man, Seymour, kept asking unvetted questions in the House yesterday about….what’s that money thing called that makes life difficult for ordinary Kiwis? 
L: Inflation? 
J: That’s it!  Grant said it was nowhere near 7.3% and I was quite right to say “what cost-of-living crisis?” 
L: Right.  And the huge amount of borrowing - what did Grant say about that? 
J: Disinformation! 
He told me everything’s on track and we are top of the world rankings for economic performance. 
L: Maybe I will have that coffee, after all. To wash down my Valium. 
Seen anyone else? 

 J: Crafty Chris was here just before you. He’s flourishing with that extra portfolio I gave him. 
Education and Police go so well together. 
L: Unfortunately, the news is not so rosy on those fronts, Prime Minister. 
J: I don’t know what you mean, Andrew! 
Chris showed me some hand-drawn charts of our educational achievement against OECD countries and we are in the top three for English, Maths and Science. I pretended to be rather cross and said he needs to do better, then gave him a good sprinkle of magic dust. 
After his coughing fit, he announced that our new Revised History Curriculum has secured us first place in the prestigious International South-West Pacific Progressive Indigenous Education Awards. 
See…my magic worked immediately! 

L: Funny, I’ve never heard of those awards. 
Excellent news, though. What about Police? 
J: After I got rid of Poto, despite giving her a thorough dowsing of magic dust and a few good whacks with my wand - some people really are beyond help - I made it clear to Chris that he had to do something about the minor gang nuisance which I’m told is an issue at the moment. 
L: Gangs are a perennial problem and impossible to fix for left-wing governments who are “progressive” on crime. 

J: Well, he’s fixed it. So there! 
L: That’s fantastic news. Have the Aussies agreed to take them all back? 
J: No, Chris met with the gang leaders and gave them a stern telling off. They’ve promised to be good and hand their guns into Commissioner Coster. In exchange, we’ll let them run more taxpayer-funded drug rehab programs to make amends. 
Chris also suggested making them Crime Ambassadors who can visit businesses, look at their security systems and advise them on how to get the best protection
L: Mmmm…OK. Let’s hope that works. 

J: It’s been ages since I’ve seen an opinion poll. 
Labour still over 50% of the party vote, I assume? Thanks entirely to me. 
L: Eh…yes, most probably. I don’t pay much attention to them myself. 
J: It’s funny, I used to be shown them all the time back in 2020 but they seem to have gone out of fashion these days. 
Probably not worth doing when the result is always the same. How demoralising for our poor opposition. 
Now, Andrew. What good news do you have for me? 

L: As requested, I’ve brought you the latest MoH Covid stats which are presented in my CCHAFF report. 
J: CCHAFF?   As in “sort the wheat from the chaff”? 
L: Exactly. Only in this case it’s “bury the wheat in the chaff”…with a bloody great spade…6 feet under! "
J: I don’t follow. What does CCHAFF stand for? 
L: Corrected Covid Hospitalisation And Fatality Figures. With the emphasis on “Corrected”. 

J: So, if I understand you, the original figures are wrong in some way and you make them right. 
L: Couldn’t have said it better myself, Prime Minister. 
J: How are they wrong? 
L: Well, wrong’s not the right word 
J: I’m not stupid, Andrew. I do know that. Will you stop talking in riddles or I’ll have to sprinkle some magic dust on you. 

L: NO! Please, don’t do that. Let me explain. 
The original figures are right but for our purposes they’re wrong, so we “doctor” them. Pardon the pun. Does that explain it? 
J: Here comes the magic dust! 
L: WAIT! Let me have one more try. 
The original figures are right but make us look bad and completely undermine our Covid vaccination and lockdown strategy. What they show is that the fully vaccinated - about 95% of Kiwis, and the boosted - about 70% of Kiwis, have worse outcomes when it comes to hospitalisation and death than the unvaccinated. 
So we massage them, tweak them, remove them…ensuring they support our position, before we present them to the public. 
Have I made myself clear? 

J: Are you saying that YOU are deliberately lying to the people of Aotearoa, Andrew? 
L: “Lying” is a very strong word, Prime Minister, but in this case accurately sums things up. 
I would actually prefer “protecting” or “shielding” them from the bitter and harsh legal realities of signing a water-tight contract with Pfizer, who are probably worth more than the GDP of New Zealand. 
J: But, I report your figures on my podium of truth. Which makes me look like a liar. And, I NEVER LIE! 
L: If you’ll let me explain in more detail it will all make sense. 
J: No, no….I’m not listening! La-la-la-la-la…can’t hear you! 
I’m putting my pink, fluffy fairy muffs on now which protect me from nasty liars, like YOU! 

L: OK, Prime Minister, I believe you when you say you never lie! 
Nudge, nudge, wink wink. 
J: Have you got some magic dust in your eye? 
L: No…sorry! Look, I’m just trying to protect us…you, I mean. 
Luckily, most of our mainstream media love you, and those that don’t couldn’t investigate the contents of a paper bag or have been paid off, otherwise this story would have broken months ago. 
There are some concerning rumblings on "extremist" centre-right websites so if Kiri could hurry up with that Hate Speech and Disinformation Legislation, which Kris spectacularly bolloxed up, we can shut it down, pronto. 

J:Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens 
      Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens…” 
L: That’s lovely, but why are you singing, Prime Minister? 
J: I’m trying to keep CALM, Andrew! 
    “Brown paper packages tied up with string 
      These are a few of my favourite things…” 
L: Are we finished then? 
J: Nope, you’ve ruined my morning. 
    “When the dog BITES 
      When the bee STINGS 
      When I’m feeling sad…” 
L: Well, I’ll leave you to it then. 
J:  “I simply remember my favourite things 
       And then I don’t feel so BAD” 

 MAGIC DUST! Take that…and that…and that! 

 L: Not the wand, Prime Minister, please!


S: That went well, then. 
L: I CAN’T SEE! I’ve got that effing dust in my eyes. 
So much for kind and bloody caring. She’s unhinged! 
Call an ambulance! 
S: Really? Are you sure? 
L: I’m the Minister of Health. Of course I’m sure! 
S: That’s my point. Not exactly the most popular man in the health sector right now. They’d love to get their hands on you, strapped to an operating table! 
L: Yeah…OK. Call Southern Cross instead then….hurry! 

S: Hold on a minute, the phone’s ringing. 
Yes, Prime Minister?
J: Is Nanaia here yet? 
S: Expecting her any minute. 
J: Tell her if she hasn’t got wonderful news about Three Waters, she better get her behind on a plane and try being Foreign Minister for a change. 
S: I’ll pass that on. 
J: I need some more magic dust and a new wand. 
And get me some TimTams, NOW!! 

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

1 comment:

Ray S said...

Fiction apes real life.
Wouldn't mind some of that fairy duct tho'.