The focused vs the floundering 

In Newsletter Editorial5 MinutesBy Dave McCoidOctober 22, 2021

Years ago, I was involved in organising fund-raising events, held here in Thames, called Cycle for Life. Once a year for three consecutive years, teams rode spin bikes for 24 hours in relay while entertainment was provided on stage to keep everyone amused and motivated. We raised more than $100,000 for ground-breaking cancer research undertaken by Dr Michael Jameson at Waikato Hospital, a world leader in selenium’s role in cancer prevention. The events were the brainchild of a close friend who survived an encounter with one of humankind’s great nemeses.

One of the messages we constantly conveyed was cancer’s absolute dedication to task as opposed to the distractions that frequently blur the vision of humanity. “I think therefore I am” was both our greatest moment and our likely undoing. Cancer is merely an existence, without conscious, or conscience, the encapsulation of relentlessness. We are its opposite on all those counts.

Covid-19, of course, holds to the same traits as cancer. That makes dealing with it via the political system tricky because the politics of democracy are founded on attempting to please as many people as you can at any given time, so they’ll vote you in again. Of course, the paradox is that the better you are at keeping people happy, the greater their sense of entitlement, and therefore the harder it is to please them.

Like everywhere else in the world, Delta’s arrival here spelt the end of elimination as a strategy, even though a vain attempt was made to affect that goal, and do what we always try and do – prove to the world we’re special, different, and better.

We missed the golden window of opportunity to incentivise a rapid vaccine roll-out in the first half of the year, which would have been the best defence against Delta. Instead, we spent that time gloating and meandering around sporadic regional alert levels.

Now the government finds itself in the last place it wanted to be. Pinned down by a more focused version of foe No.1, with an idle and ever-more frustrated populous and economy, propped up by money it’s yet to earn. The fact that Jacinda and co are in this space as they race to achieve an equilibrium between a vaccine conditional freedom and the health system’s ability to cope is entirely down to them.

Yet this morning’s 10am announcement was still high on dreams, goals, and aspirations, weak on rules, boundaries and terms of engagement. There was no ‘this is the absolute date’ wake-up call for those unvaccinated.

I’m utterly pro-choice, but all choices have consequences. We’ve built a health system the unvaccinated deem doesn’t meet their needs on this occasion. Great! All the best. That’s democracy in full flight.

Yet, how ironic we’re panicking about ensuring that very health system can cope with a population who don’t want the same system’s first line of defence. They’d prefer the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff rather than the barrier at the top. And how ironic also, that the longer they stall us all, the weaker the health system their own grandchildren will have available to them. If that’s not entitlement… .

And while we flounder around with all this appeasing, the other party in this fight remains completely focused. It only has one goal, and its entire population is in agreeance on that. Kill mammals.

Oh well, at least Grant’s found some more ink and paper for the money Gestetner. What’s another billion or two for the grandies to pay off while we all fiddle amongst the flames?

All the best

Dave McCoid