A lesson from the past

Like so many have done through these six months of lockdowns, to maintain my sanity from the depressing news continually being spewed out to me by our mainstream media, I have relied upon an unending movie marathon through movie streaming services such as Netflix and Prime to relieve the stress.

Last night I found myself watching the Outlaw King starring Christopher Pine on Netflix for a second time and could not help but draw comparisons from this story to our current times. The film revolves around the life of Robert the Bruce and picks up from where Mel Gibson had pretty much left off with Braveheart.

     Longshanks the Tyrant

It starts at the period of time where King Edward Longshanks had quelled the Scottish uprising, William Wallace had been betrayed and captured and the King was oppressing the Scottish people with a tyrannical oppressive rule. (Yes, Longshanks didn’t die at Wallace’s execution as portrayed in Gibson’s Braveheart film.) The Scottish people were reluctantly obeying the law while tolerating injustices and crimes against them enabled by those same laws. They also suffered the indignity of being reminded that they were a conquered people by the various laws and ruling put in place under Longshanks rule.

In the initial scenes of the film Robert the Bruce and other nobles meet with King Edward in an attempt to set terms for a workable peace. They then encouraged their fellow Scots to tolerate this arrangement to live with their enemies in the hope for a better future. What followed though was an oppressive rule with unfair tax grabs, overzealous law enforcement, Scottish sons, fathers and brothers forcefully being recruited into the English army and finally the straw that broke the camel’s back, the execution of Scottish statesmen and warriors, most notably William Wallace himself. Even worse the indignity of Wallace’s executions was magnified when his body was dismembered and put on display across England, including Scotland.

Aas I watched the film, I realised that the similarities of what we have been through in Victoria resonated with me, despite the differences in time and place.

From my viewpoint, we have a Premier on a power trip who doesn’t know how to let go, we have a police force being poorly led and managed that is disparaging in their public comments towards a considerable part of our community. That same police force tolerates and some would say encourages over the top behaviour that is lacking in common sense and fast losing the confidence of the wider public. Through all this, draconian measures have been implemented to keep the population under control with how they can move, who they can associate with and how they can trade and do business.

            The Legislative Council

Now the Legislative council is actually considering what can only be described as Orwellian laws that would equate to people being arrested and detained for their “potential” to break lockdown laws and restrictions. If you have seen the Tom Cruise film “Minority Report”, then think along those guidelines.

If you think this is an exaggeration, then tell that to the Victorian and Australian Bar Associations and a bunch of retired preeminent legal minds who have all publicly spoken out against this Omnibus Bill which contains these measures.

Having endured over six months of the toughest lockdowns in the world, a growing section of the Victorian and in particular, the Melbourne population is becoming restless with their loss of freedoms and liberties. They are also becoming exasperated with the behaviour of the Victorian police force that is sworn to protect them but is increasingly seen as an oppressive weapon of what many are calling a police state. Once more if you think that is an exaggeration go to the police force’s twitter account and look through some of the responses to the police’s various requests for assistance. It isn’t unfair to judge that our police are currently held in a manner of contempt by many within our community that few of us could have imagined previously.

Our batshit crazy commissioner

I have no doubt that this section of our community will continue to grow until the police change much of their behaviour towards these lockdown restrictions. Calling this growing group of the community bat-shit crazy by a senior leader within that police force simply doesn’t help.

There is also another similarity between the film and our current situation. To begin with, those rebelling against Longshanks rule were only a minority, were held in disregard and were largely on the run from Longshanks forces. As time went on, however, and as Longshank’s forces engaged in further atrocities against the Scottish people, more and more of the Scots joined the ranks of Robert the Bruce.

Eventually, they became strong enough to shrug off their southern oppressors to regain their independence and liberties.

Taking this into consideration it is not unfair to compare what we are currently going through to the early stages of totalitarian regimes from the past and even those that are with us in current times. The seeds of rebellions against oppressive rule are generally always started with an underestimated minority.

Am I saying we will end up in anarchy or civil war? of course, I’m not, I think we are well away from that. Reflecting on human history as I watched this film however simply reminded me of the difficulties of maintaining the delicate balance of a civilised society. That same civilised society can be one that ends up at each other’s throats if a ruling party believes it is there to control people’s lives as opposed to being there to serve them and there best interest.

There is always a tipping point in society and we are seeing in the USA and even in England at the moment, how perilously close any society can come to a point where a rebellious section of the community can rise up, rebel and even take control. This is especially so if a large section of society feels oppressed neglected and abandoned.

Currently, in Victoria how many of our community are unemployed? How are having their businesses destroyed? How many are selling assets they never thought they would need to just to survive? How many are significantly worse off financially than just twelve months ago? Most importantly how many blame their government while enviously looking at government fat cats?

History has shown us that when you have these conditions, that time and again that revolution will come if the

    Vladimir Lenin preyed on desperate                            Russian citizens

pendulum swings too far.  While in Hollywood the good guys most often always win in these situations, in reality, that rebellious intent can give rise to real totalitarianism.

Films can not only be entertaining, but films that are especially based on real events can also act as “red flags” of what is on the horizon if wiser heads don’t prevail.

I fear that if restrictions aren’t lifted shortly and even worse more draconian laws are passed and implemented by a police force that has lost significant respect within the community, then out of desperation,  that community can look to alternatives we preferred they didn’t.

Once more if you think that is an exaggeration, just wait to see what happens if the economy is still in recession when jobkeeper and jobseeker payments expire and much of the current lockdowns are still in place. That tipping point may not be as far off as people think.

The questions is, are our fat cat politicians and bureaucrats capable of seeing these dangers from their padded ivory towers? If you had of watched any of the just-completed inquiry, you like me would have some serious doubts.

For all our sakes I hope we never get to that point and that the film “The Outlaw King” just remains entertainment from a distant past.