The groundhog grind of po-faced pollies is killing me

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Po-faced pollies, the viral bus to Kambah, a wriggling health minister and the Doona Guy of Mitchell, it’s all in “Seven Days” with IAN MEIKLE. 

NEVER mind the looming menace of coronavirus, the grinding daily media brief of local po-faced pollies and health bureaucrats is starting to take its toll. 

Ian Meikle.

The schadenfreude guilt of the how-many-today announcements is tripping me out. It’s becoming like sports scores. Did we win today? How many? The triumph of only five, the failure of, what, nine more? 

Like the ACT version of cruise-ship shame, the flicker of real community fear of the viral bus to Kambah went nuts on our website when ACT Health called for anyone who caught bus number 31 from Dickson on March 17, to self-quarantine after a passenger was confirmed to have coronavirus. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, it was running 17 minutes late!

Next day there’s Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith consoling fearful passengers with the news the self-isolation edict was “highly precautionary” and that the poor bastard who was succumbing to COVID-19 apparently wasn’t especially symptomatic at the time. 

But buses, unlike the community one hopes, won’t be getting any better anytime soon with reticent Transport Canberra quickly abandoning its “we’re listening” promise to revise the flawed timetables because of the coronavirus disruption. 

Pity the ACT Transport Minister Chris Steel, who only weeks ago was puffed up with boastfulness at the astounding, amazing, arguably unbelievable levels of patronage in public transport, having to tell us that if you have to catch a bus stay clear of the driver; oh, and avoid other passengers, and, well, really it’s probably not especially wise to even catch the bus!

His cameo performance took some of the attention away from Education Minister Yvette Berry who was left haplessly wriggling and writhing over the bungled no-kids-will-be-turned-away assertion as principals were sending out notes to parents saying keep your ankle biters elsewhere, we’re pupil-free.

The minister sort of put together a social media apology on Facebook and, as if this whole farrago wasn’t funny enough, we learn that the pre and after-school care, at least in the south, is open. For whom one wonders if Tarquin and Taylor have been at home watching ABC Kids all day.

AMONG the good news was that people in the ACT had recovered, which shouldn’t be entirely a surprise given the overwhelming majority of reported infectees are self-quarantining at home with presumably mild symptoms, much like Australia’s dauphin Prince Charles, toughing it out in darkest Scotland. 

INTERESTINGLY, innovative technology is allowing 2CC afternoons’ star announcer (he made me say that), the affable Leon Delaney, like his morning station mates Alan Jones and Ray Hadley, to broadcast comfortably from home with producer Eddie Williams pivoting the program from the highly sanitised, state-of-the-art studios in Crace. 

MEANWHILE, an accountant mate writes that she decided to close the office and send her staff off to work in splendid self-isolation at home. “Knowing I had parcels on the way to the office, I rang Australia Post to find out what to do. 

“I asked for the Kingston Post Office and was advised they don’t have a phone and that, as a business operator, I was obliged to present myself at Australia Post to prove that I am who I say I am. 

“I pointed out that I am self-isolating on the basis of medical and Prime Ministerial advice. Of no moment, I was told, that is what has to happen. Even in this pandemic? Yes was the answer.” 

AND, as some businesses wrestle with an income vacuum, others can’t keep up. I heard from Mitchell’s “Doona Guy”, the irrepressible Julian Kusa, in a caring note to ensure I was fine, confirmed he was too, but “inundated with people wanting their quilts cleaned and ready for quarantine”.

“Occasionally, we’ve given out complimentary toilet rolls to our senior clients as well. I never knew this thing had such high value!” Gotta love Therma Quilts. 

HERE’S some advice for the times from the only caring-sharing lawyer I know – and it’s free. Mediator Iveta Bales emailed her “beautiful people” with some things she’s getting solace from.

  • Bringing myself back into the present – spending five minutes focusing on senses; what can I hear, see, feel, smell, taste.
  • Loving kindness meditation – a mantra is helpful, something like “may you love with ease, may you be happy, may you be free from pain.”
  • Deep breathing – using the breath to calm the nervous system. Inhale through the nose for four counts, hold the breath for seven counts and exhale through the mouth for eight counts. Repeat.

BUT let’s finish with a joke only an editor could love, purloined from the UK gossip newsletter “Popbitch”:

A priest, a vicar and a rabbit walk into a blood bank. The rabbit says: “I think I might be a type O.”


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Ian Meikle, editor

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Ian Meikle
Ian Meikle is the owner and editor of "CityNews".

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