ONLY A FEW WEEKS AGO, Covid left the realm of present emergency and progressed to the field of history. The immediacy having gone, researchers and historians will be able to judge our collective response to it.
From now on, as Sajid Javid, our current Health Secretary, said “we must learn to live with Covid in the same way we live with flu”. And with this statement, England bumbled into freedom.
A couple of weeks ago, on February 5th 2022, in a far-away country of which most Brits know little, experts said something similar in their own vernacular. In Austria, a panel of experts set up just before Christmas last year and known locally as GECKO, short for Gesamtstaatliche Covid-KrisenKoordination, said that Austrians should learn to deal with Covid “like dealing with a flu”.
Far from the citizens of this beautiful Alpine country stumbling, as the English did, into normalcy, Austria fell back into a darker past.
Last weekend, the Government, a coalition of Environmentalists (Greens) and Conservatives (OVP), with the support of Socialists (SPO) and Social Liberals (NEOS) passed one of the most repressive laws in Western Europe since 1945. The four parties signed their Faustian Pact late in November last year to push through the vaccine mandate come what may, even before the arrival of the benign, fast spreading, and French sounding Omicron.
The deed has now been done. Alexander Van Der Bellen, the Austrian President and life-long Green activist signed the Vaccine Mandate Law on February 4th 2022.
Karoline Edtstadler, the Constitutional Minister, had said in November 2021 that “the introduction of compulsory vaccination naturally interferes with fundamental rights”. Waving the wand of expediency, however, she added with a toothy smile that the step was “necessary and justified” given the circumstance.
A large minority of Austrians suddenly woke up and saw in the full light of day that their Constitutional and Fundamental rights meant nothing. They were no match for what the Austrian authorities themselves conceded was nothing but a flu.
Small carrots have been dangled and large sticks brandished in front of the wayward. Monetary bribes of EUR 500 per jab, along with a national lottery to incentivize them are being touted on the one hand; social ostracising on the other.
Fines of up to EUR 3,600 for “ordinary procedures” are now on the books. Given that on average, Austrians earn around EUR 2,900 per month before tax, or EUR 2,300 net, the penalty seems particularly vicious.
This is especially so when one considers that, with close to 90% of the population over 50 years old vaccinated, the law seems designed to target the country’s youngest and, therefore, poorest.
Peremptory job losses, in an economic climate that oozes uncertainty, will lead inevitably to state enforced bankruptcies. These have the potential to become regular enough to act as a perverse, but effective, inoculation against the visuals of daily human degradation.
The bullying, of course, doesn’t just stop at reducing a large minority to penury. Larger, darker threats now hang over the heads of the recalcitrant. As the Law was first being introduced to the public, prison sentences were mentioned. The topic of incarceration was quietly dropped but the mechanics leading to it haven’t.
Unpaid debts owed to the State lead to a mandatory four-week jail sentence in Austria!
Around 25% of the total adult population is not vaccinated.
However, the definition of “fully vaccinated” has not yet been clarified and is, as we saw with the “one jab, two pricks and a third booster” combination, a moving target. Gecko, the men in white coats and syringes, are already talking of a fourth inoculation by September 2022.!
The lack of clarity on this crucial point is a cruel joke.
Paranoia mixed with the elation of short-term survival will become a constant emotional roller-coaster and push many to the margins of society. From today, they will fear every interaction with police officers. We know from past experience that as night follows day, they will be denounced by their neighbours; be accosted in the streets; and become the subject of quiet defamation and rumours.
Each engagement with a person outside a shrinking number of friends will lead to heart-palpitation. In short, they will be made criminals, living a day-to-day existence, unable to go about their business without some underlying fear that they will be found out.
Every doorbell ring, phone call or text will bring with it a sense of dark foreboding.
The manpower is not yet available for the implementation of these policies, although a great deal of effort is going into recalling retired police officers, allocating budgets at a national and regional level to recruit the civil servants, the State of Austria will now need to harass and persecute a totally contrived, and hitherto law-abiding, minority.
The crime perpetrated by the Austrian State is two-fold: Firstly, it has acted as a shield for the legalised persecution and discrimination of the equally ill-defined “unvaccinated” in Germany, Italy and France. Secondly, it has stripped, with the support of the European Union, a large minority of their humanity and with it the idea of Natural Justice.
The Jacobin “General Good” – the idea that “we can sacrifice the individual to protect society at large” – now threatens to rule uncontested.
While the darkest point of the night in 21st Century Austria has not yet been reached (it will be when the state apparatus is in full swing), a new dawn is dimly perceptible.
A local election took place a week ago in the State of Lower Austria. The ruling party (OVP) lost over 30% of its support since the last election in 2017. The party is down to around 40% from over 60%. All the parties who supported the vaccine mandate either lost ground or just kept their share of the vote.
A new party, the MFG (Menschen, Freiheit und Grundrechte), loosely translated as the party for “People, Freedom and Fundamental Rights” received 17% of the votes from a standing start a few weeks ago.
In other words, it was a direct transfer from the ruling parties to this new challenger.
In a country run on a proportional representation system, this suddenly means that between 20% to 30% of the electorate that has been attacked so profoundly could become a rock-solid political formation. This has the potential to play a key role in the politics of Austria for a long time to come.
In other words, the post-1945 political settlement is, like Covid in England, history.
A new political constellation beckons.
The parties that placed individual freedoms above State Power will be remembered and rewarded, in particular as the Covid Post-Mortem accelerates.
Their support will grow. And not just in Austria.
Source Brexit watch – Article: Alex Story