One of the themes of our summer audio entertainment The Prisoner of Windsor is that most of the chaps who matter in this world are people you've never heard of - by which I mean they are other than the omnipresent pygmies of the political scene: In a settled democratic society such as Canada, for example, if you wind up with an electoral contest between a woke mammy singer with a banana in his pants and a hollow husk less lifelike than his CBC election-night hologram whose only core belief is that he has no core beliefs other than that party donations should pay for his kids' schooling, you can take it as read that the real action must be elsewhere.
A lot of those chaps you've never heard of turn up in this video from the "World Economic Forum" - ie, the Davos set. After five months of Covid lockdown, you'll be happy to hear that all the experts have decided that 2021 will be the year of "The Great Reset":
I see my chums at the Heartland Institute headline this the "World Leaders' 'Great Reset' Plan". But, if by "leader" you mean an elected head of government accountable to the people, there is a total dearth. Indeed, it's a melancholy reflection on the state of "world leadership" that the nearest to anyone accountable to the people in this video is HRH The Prince of Wales, in whom one day in the hopefully extremely far distant future the executive authority of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, etc will be nominally vested but which cannot be exercised without the consent of the people's representatives. Yet even that token accountability is, as noted, in the future. So right now he's just another guy who's a "world leader" because he gets invited to Davos and you don't - and, even if you were minded to show up anyway, you'd need a private jet because all the scheduled flights have been Covid-canceled and the world's airports are ghost towns.
As is the custom among our big thinkers, the blather is very generalized. "Now is the time to think about what history would say about this crisis," says the head of the IMF. If you say so. Personally, I was thinking that now is the time to eat a meal in a restaurant, if they weren't closed.
But, why is it history's job to say something about this crisis? Why, don't you "world leaders" of the here and now say anything about it? "It is imperative that we reimagine, rebuild, redesign, re-invigorate and re-balance our world," declares the UN Secretary-General.
That's almost a full set, but he forgot "redefined". "Possibilities are being redefined each and every day," says the chief exec of British Petroleum, who as is his wont sounds like he's in any business other than petroleum.
There is, of course, an inscrutable Oriental, who is chairman of something called the "China Green Finance Committee". He's there as a not so subtle reminder not even to bring up the subject of China, whose lies amplified by their sock puppet at the WHO are the sole cause of the present crisis - and whose death-grip on our future is the thing that most urgently needs to be reimagined, rebuilt, re-balanced and redefined. As I've mentioned many times over the spring and summer, twenty years ago we were told to forget about manufacturing - from widgets to "These Colors Don't Run" T-shirts, that's never coming back; from now on, we're going to be "the knowledge economy". Yet mysteriously, with the 5G and the Huawei and all the rest, China seems to have snaffled all that, too.
So what's left for citizens of the developed world? Retail, restaurants, theme parks, low-paid service jobs... In other words, everything that the Covid has clobbered. Cities that grew in the age of manufacturing transformed themselves into giant shopping malls for an indolent post-industrial west - cheeseburgers, Macy's, multiplexes, sports stadia, concert halls, Miley Cyrus - The Musical ...all gone. A few years back, I took my daughter to a bankrupt shopping centre in Reading, England that had been converted into a "Zombie Shopping Mall", wherein for a fiver or so one could battle zombies through abandoned W H Smith's and Boots' and Tesco's. In Seattle and Portland and Chicago they're recreating the experience city-wide. In Minneapolis, as in that Zombie Shopping Mall, the rubble is being left in place: the city won't let storekeepers clear away the ruins of their incinerated businesses unless they pre-pay their end-of-year property taxes. America's cities are a whole new kind of business model: Zombie Shopping Mall With Paperwork.
~It's hard to see what's in front of your nose when you're so far-sighted all you can glimpse is the distant horizon, so the Davos crowd have nothing to say about any of that and instead retreat to their comforting tropes - mostly the "climate emergency", with a little light slathering of social justice, just in case the #BLM crowd get a yen to torch their charitable foundations. Still, one notices the absence of some once familiar bromides. Nobody's cooing over the "borderless world" beloved of brain-dead big thinkers of the day before yesterday. Unless you're a Davos jetsetter, a "Syrian" "refugee", a Covid-positive Mexican or member of some other approved group, there are borders everywhere now - around your home in many jurisdictions, five kilometres from your home in the Irish Not-So-Free State, between Australian states...
In almost all the great cities of the world, "two weeks to slow the spread" has turned into Groundhog Fortnight. In the Australian state of Victoria, "flattening the curve" has evolved into flattening you. Last week, our Wanker Copper of the Day was the Vicwit constable who throttled a young woman to the ground for not wearing her mask outdoors: It was subsequently confirmed that she had a medical exemption. In our comments section, Kate Smyth draws our attention to this Sky News story:
Police have been forced into the extraordinary measure of smashing car windows to get Victorians to comply with second wave COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria. 'On at least three or four occasions in the past week we've had to smash the windows of people in cars and pull them out of there so they could provide us their details because they weren't telling us where they were going, they weren't adhering to the chief health officer guidelines, they weren't providing their name and their address,' Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said.
I urge you to watch Mr Patton's remarks in full: They are remarkable in their assumptions about the relationship between the coppers and the citizenry. "Police have been forced" into smashing your car window? What else are Victoria Police being "forced" into?
Police have been forced to shoot through a 64YO driver's window after he drove at them at an Altona Meadows servo. It was 1.20am & officers asked him to stop so they could question why he was out after curfew. He's now in hospital (medical cond) under guard
Poor old plods: "Forced" to smash your windows, "forced" to put a bullet in you... Another day or two and they'll be forced to shoot your dog or off your granny.
Underneath the lofty generalities of the Davos set, this is what the Great Reset boils down to as a practical matter. "Each and every one of us has a vital role to play," says the Prince of Wales. His vital role is to think big thoughts, your vital role is to stay indoors on pain of a $5,000 fine unless given permission to leave for approved purposes during daylight hours.
~It was a busy weekend at SteynOnline, starting with a semi-Kamala/semi-Kamala edition of The Mark Steyn Show. Kathy Shaidle's Saturday movie date considered Charlie Chaplin's Monsieur Verdoux (there was a touch of Chaplin in the Steyn Show, too), and our Sunday song selection celebrated the town that Billy Sunday couldn't shut down ...but Miracle Mile looting could. My latest summer special saluted victims of the Chinese Coronavirus from James Bond's dialect coach to a Pushtun squash legend. Our marquee presentation was our current Tale for Our Time - my inversion of Anthony Hope's Ruritanian caper, The Prisoner of Windsor: Click for the lurid delights of a Coronation Command Performance; for the uses of lookalikes in a world of thinkalikes; and for tips on how not to be Spencer Perceval. If you were too busy going to remedial Kamala-pronunciation class this weekend, I hope you'll want to check out one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.