It was important for Victorians to have low expectations about Dan Andrews’ roadmap for reopening. Dan at his daily press conferences has repeatedly said there is no other alternative to manage the coronavirus pandemic than lockdowns.
Victoria recorded only 63 new coronavirus cases and 5 deaths all linked to age care outbreaks. But despite the consistent downward for weeks, today’s daily cases being a tenth of their peak Dan has said constantly that if we reopened now cases would explode and our health system would be overrun.
Dan has made clear he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks whether they be other medical professionals or those in business and industry who are the lifeblood of our day of life. He doesn’t care about how draconian Victoria’s Police enforcement of the lockdown rules is despite growing concerns from the legal fraternity and human rights groups about police heavy-handedness and limitations on civil rights.
What has kept Dan or Dictator Dan as he has become known fixated on his hard lockdown approach is the constant trending on Twitter of #IStandWithDan plus polling for now backing up his lockdown rules.
#IStandWithDan hasn’t simply been a Twitter hashtag, it been a mob of vicious social media bullies who make an aggressive profession, character, and personal attacks on journalists and other Twitter users who are critics of the Dan Andrews lockdown, or question his failures in hotel quarantine, constant tracing or confusing lockdown rules.
The #IStandWithDan cult as they have become known have developed a fixation on four female NewsCorp journalists who ask Dan too many critical questions in their press conference, or report too many unpleasant truths or opinion pieces in NewsCorp papers. The cult has bombarded them on Twitter with viscous and threatening replies and messages.
These four brave female journalists are Rachel Blaxendale, Alex White, Sophie Elsworth, and Gabriella Power. Despite the #IStandWithDan cult being made of the same people who preach about radical feminism and decry misogyny many of the attacks on these for journalists are gendered and sexual in nature.
The principles of feminism aren’t the only left-wing ones the IStandWithDan cult has abandoned. Care for the vulnerable, poor, migrants and multicultural communities during lockdown has gone out the window. They expressed some concern when Dan Andrews put nine public housing commission towers under Stage 5 Wuhan level lockdown where they couldn’t leave their units. But they have forgotten about those people now.
The #IStandWithDan cult cheered on Victoria Police’s aggressive crackdown on Muslim communities in Dandenong and Broadmeadows last week revolting against the lockdown. Both these suburbs, the public housing towers in Flemington and North Melbourne, plus the initial ten postcode lockdown are all in safe Labor seats at both the state and federal levels. Dan has enforced the lockdowns strongest against his own voters.
The #IStandWithDan cult were the same people who supported and excused the Black Lives Matter protests that took place with no social distancing in June when public gatherings were limited to 20 people. This week they cheered on the Victoria Police arrests and incitement charges against Zoe Buhler, James Bartolo, Fanos Panayides, and Anthony Khallouf.
Yesterday the #IStandWithDan cult cheered Victoria Police arresting and fining participates in the ‘Freedom Protests’. They also laughed at the detainment of Rebel News correspondent Avi Yemini.
These were the same people three months ago demanding Victoria Police be defunded. Today they cheered on Dan Andrews stage 4 lockdown extension which had very minor tweaks to allow for limited social interactions with another person for six weeks starting on September 14.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelious has defended his police’s use of force to shutdown ‘unlawful’ protests stating “By all means, protest online, be the keyboard warrior, say all sorts of unpleasant and uncharitable things about people urging you to behave sensibly, but do it online”.
It is certainly the case that more Victorians are saying unpleasant and uncharitable things about Dictator Dan online and since his most recent media appearance fat-shaming Luke ‘Chief Wiggum’ Cornelious. Facebook comments sections about Dan Andrews’ coronavirus lockdown are receiving much more critical comments than supporting.
On Twitter, the #IStandWithDan hashtag is more often now used in a mocking way than a serious way. Hashtags #DictatorDan and #ResignDanielAndrews trend regularly. Dictator Dan was a nickname only used for many years by maverick state Liberal MLC Bernie Finn. Now almost the entire Victorian Liberal Party room uses the name Dictator Dan.
The #IStandWithDan Cult is crumbling by the day with its online shaming, bullying, and threatening of Dan’s critics having less of a silencing and chilling effect. Over the past eight and half weeks of varying degrees of lockdown cult of Dan has lost more and more members and seen many of his supporters flip and become vocal opponents as the economic damage and mental health impact of lockdowns increase.
Victoria is not able to reach stage two for curfew removal, increased outdoor gatherings, more retail, and hospitality openings until the fourteen-day case average is less than five by October 26th. This looks more like an elimination strategy than the suppression strategy agreed by in Australia’s National Cabinet.
By that date it will be interesting to see how much of a rump the #IStandWithDan Cult is. Plus what spin the cult puts to an even more lockdown fatigued Victoria about why Dan the man is still the man to lead Victoria’s enormous economic rebuilding effort and why we should be thankful that he defeated the coronavirus for us while every other Australian state and territory did so six months ago