Self-indulgent Flagellation

Dear Reader,

From the moment the magnitude of the fires became apparent, countless talking heads — from both here and abroad — have tripped over themselves in the rush to apportion blame.

Most important to them is who and what to blame. For if you are going to have a victim, surely you need to have a villain. Otherwise, how else is the story going to hold together?

The victims are, sadly, only too easy to recognise. They are the people you see in every country town you have ever been to.

The bloke who’s kept the local footy club running for the past 30 years; the lady who will always find time to mind someone’s kid when their parents go to work.

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And pity the farmers. Burned cattle wondering around aimlessly, or which have already gone to God.

Kilometres of fencing burned to nothing. No feed left at all for their livestock. The arrival of a truck with feed from down south is enough to bring them to tears.

Not an ounce of pretence or self-importance is any of them. Just an earthy self-reliance and resilience, and the ability to start again. If only the meek really did inherit the Earth.

But the media’s baying for a villain is far for problematic…and pathetic.

For a start, it won’t help those rebuilding their lives. Nor will it bring people together.

And worse, some have used the poor honest buggers sharing their souls on camera, as nothing more than props to further promote their own cause.

Like the full abandonment of coal mining and the immediate switch to 100% renewables. Pfft…as if it can all happen just like that.

The energy consumed to run just one of those super bright lights in a television studio would likely exceed anything a wind turbine or battery could muster. Yet the irony of that is lost on the presenter.

So too the irony of an ex-PM joining the pile-on of the current PM, claiming he is not fit for office. That the ex-PM’s colleagues considered him to be unfit for office and booted him out is perhaps lost on him.

Day after day, every carpetbagger in town has been only too willing to exploit someone else’s grief to get their face and cause on the news.

Like all catastrophes, however, the media will soon move on. And so too the talking heads looking for an audience. We will be back to talking about gender-neutral toilets and which pronouns to use before you know it.

This morning, a live cross to Los Angeles for a story about the Golden Globes. A sprightly, tuxedoed reporter excitedly treading the red carpet.

And soon the footy season will start. We will get to hear all about each team’s prospects, including any shiny new recruits and any unfortunate pre-season injuries.

Perhaps, in one way, that might be a good thing. Without the media trying to snare a villain, everybody can get about their work.

And when all the dust has settled, those that actually have something to offer can try to put all the pieces together.

The climate changes is not lost on anyone

That the climate changes is not lost on anyone. The mere fact that we once had an ice age, and today we do not, is enough to prove that point.

Yet on and on the argument will go about how much humans are to blame.

Will the arsonists that lit the matches be held to account? So far, the media has them as little more than bit players.

And will the way councils and state authorities, whose job it is to manage the bush, be subject to cross-examination? For decades this has been ignored.

Perhaps the various state fire authorities would like to conduct more burn-offs prior to summer, but too many objectors stand in their way. For the first time in living memory, discussion about land and fuel management has come to the fore.

But more important than any of this is that next time they’ll have a plan. A way to cobble together all the various bodies, with back up where it is needed.

Hopefully a full review, a royal commission or whatever the government decides, will allow the hard heads to make some objective decisions. For if the fires are truly becoming more intense and widespread, then this is what we need.

In the meantime, the same old faces will flit about the globe, lecturing everyone on how to manage the climate.

A conference in Spain, then jetting off to another in New York. Bitching and moaning about the inaction of others.

Yet if they really did believe that the ‘science was in’, they certainly would not get about in jet planes. Nor would they even drive into a television studio to share their knowledge with the masses.

And they certainly wouldn’t try to block the construction of a wind farm, on the basis that it might upset someone’s view from 50 miles out to sea.

No, the greatest way to manage our land and resources is to avoid all those talking heads. If they come on screen, hit the ‘off’ button.

Let them flagellate with all the other like-minded souls on panels that no one ever watches. In doing so, allowing those who actually have something to offer the chance to help real victims pick up the pieces.

All the best,

Matt Hibbard,
Editor, The Rum Rebellion


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