Beware the bogeyman: Premier’s childish scare tactic




AS CHILDREN, my siblings and I were admonished by our parents with the warning that if we didn't do as we were told, "the bogeyman will get you".

The bogeyman has become COVID-19 and we are constantly being told that if we don't do as ordered by our politicians, it will get us.

The problem here, of course, is that we are not children and object to being treated as such.

Last week the bogeyman took the form of a revelation by Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk that modelling she had seen had projected 33,000 deaths in Queensland.

This was a childish scare tactic. We could have been treated as adults and been shown the full range of scenarios, from "absolute extreme and highly unlikely" to the far less scary "likely and most probable", but we weren't.

The Premier says the statistic caused her to lie awake at night. She must be a very light sleeper, because she knew it was absolute "worst case".



People will generally react reasonably to reasonable requests, but will question and ultimately rebel against those they deem to be unreasonable.

A young woman sitting under a tree and reading a book with no other person with 50m of her being told to move on by three police officers is unreasonable, but I watched this scene unfold in New Farm Park last week.

Being able to stand beside a park bench, but not sit on it is unreasonable. Being barred from walking along a beach is unreasonable. Being told you can't get in your car and go for a drive to nowhere in particular just to get out of the house is unreasonable. Taping off every available seat in a shopping plaza so elderly people have nowhere to rest is unreasonable.

Two people can sit in a boat and fish, but not three and 10 people can attend a funeral in a cavernous church that can seat 500 but not 20. Unreasonable? I think so.



Politicians love crises that are not of their making as they allow them to be seem to be tough, for being tough is seen as good politics.

At Easter, it is traditional for them to be photographed with police and announcing they will be tough on speeding.

This Easter, it was being tough on the virus, but there is a fine line to be walked between taking a responsible stance on an issue and being seen to be milking it.

You could, for example, be forgiven, if you were of a sceptical bent, of suspecting that there has been a competition among state premiers of late to see who can be the toughest when it comes to handling the virus issue.



The overwhelming majority of us have acted reasonably to date, despite some of the unreasonable restraints being placed upon us, but it won't last.

If the authorities fail to relax those restrictions that lack reason, then civil disobedience will follow.

People are not frightened of the bogeyman. What they fear is being fed misinformation that suits a particular political agenda and being treated like children.

There is, however, a gleaming titanium lining to this gloom, for it is now at least three weeks since I last read, saw or heard anything about climate change.

It can't last, I know, and it is but a matter of time before someone links COVID-19 with melting ice caps, but I savour every moment that it does.





Originally published as Beware the bogeyman: Premier's childish scare tactic