In the age of COVID 19 it’s sometimes hard to remember that less than two months ago one of the biggest stories of the year was breaking. A long-running investigation by 60 minutes and The Age had discovered the Victorian Labor Party was rotten to the core. Industrial-scale branch stacking had been occurring and shadowy figures including party kingpin Adem Somyurek were found to be pulling the strings of the party.
Nobody achieved anything in the party without their approval, and if you got on their wrong side they would make an example of you using the full power of the party and the cooperation of those who feared them.
Perhaps even worse, this investigation exposed the hypocrisy of the party. A party that over the last 10 years had been leaning heavily on identity politics rhetoric and policies, was suddenly shown to harbor sexism, homophobia, and racism as something that was not out of the ordinary for day to day conversation.
Adem frequently referred to women he didn’t like as “b*tches”, he described his staffers as “slimy little f***ers” and “f***ing gay kids”, and openly boasted about how he controlled or manipulated various groups of races with labels such as “Anglos”, Indians, and Chinese.
Perhaps the Labor faithful in metropolitan Melbourne could have stomached a little bit of corruption, but the casually callous indifference to the core ideologies of identity politics may indeed be a bridge too far. Things were looking dire for the Victorian Labor Party, and as corruption investigators moved in, state and national party leadership scrambled to salvage the situation.
Fortunately for Victoria Labor, the solution to their problem came within a week. COVID 19 was back, it was spreading rapidly and seemed to be unstoppable. The left-wing media was all over it instantly. Finally, they had some clickbait material that wasn’t uncomfortable to report on.
As the fear porn reached fever pitch, Dan Andrews must have realized the relief that Bill Clinton felt when his 1998 four-day bombing campaign in Iraq finally got the press off his back about the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Fortunately for Dan Andrews, a unique surge of aggressive testing undertaken shortly after the Labor corruption scandal broke eventually uncovered higher and higher numbers of people with COVID 19.
Victoria Health reported that the massive increase in testing was due to a surge in locally acquired infections, pushing the rate of testing past 27,000 tests per day, a national record.
Whatever the reasoning, Dan Andrews sent his army of healthcare workers out door knocking and within days they had results. Victoria was under attack. COVID 19 was here and infecting all in its wake.
Suddenly Andrews was no longer the figurehead of a corrupt party, no longer a former “very good friend” of Adem Somyurek. He was the man that was going to wield the full power of the state to attack and destroy this virus and save Victorians from the pandemic. No longer would the media or the people question the corruption or his close ties to China. They would be too busy in fear for their lives and looking for a saviour.
Today, there are still some elements of the media criticizing Dan Andrew’s response to the coronavirus, and rightfully so. There is a strong case to be made that he has not done a good job. But it’s likely you won’t hear that opinion from a resident of Melbourne. One only needs to follow comments on Dan Andrew’s Facebook page to see the love and devotion that many of the demographics of Melbourne express towards their Dear Leader.
A recent Guardian Essential Poll has only a small minority, 30% of Victorians disapproving of Dan Andrew’s response to the coronavirus. Whether that changes over time remains to be seen, but you can rely on the left-wing media to keep people afraid and in need of a hero, a hero who will never flinch at an opportunity to wield state power, whatever the cost.
By Jon Boughton