The make-over of FauxMo, a disaster recovery project, has been overtaken by circumstance. After his facile daggy dad routine was found to be not fit for purpose in the face of a crisis a revised personal brand was no doubt being worked on by the empathy consultants and image managers.
But a comprehensive and coherent national response to a virulent pandemic leaves no time for a re-branding. Or does it?
Wait, there it is....the practised choke in the voice, the wiping away of a tear. Unfunded empathy, albeit feigned, has been plucked from the disposable principles bin to serve the greater good - the resurrection of Scotty PM, V5.0.
Unfair? Too cyncial? If it was anybody but Morrison perhaps so, but we have here the master cynic and spinmeister, the leader of a cynical party that divides through invented fears to rule as they see fit. Now that we are confronted by a valid fear, one not of their own fabrication, FauxMo and the Tories were caught flat-footed. Weeks of denial, prevarication and incompetence left the country exposed.
Panicked into action, FauxMo and Co. have seen their beloved lifters-and-leaners feudalistic #Mefirst ideology founder, as useful as a concrete lifejacket. I won't lie - the schadenfreude of watching the rampaging, free-marketeers scramble for the sanctuary of the socialist life boat has brightened the gloom a tad and there's some small promise of a better society and a greener planet once the pandemic has passed.
But through it all Brother Scotty has maintained his Mammonite's faith in his elitist god, the dispenser of wealth and privilege to the deserving. He's spent time on his knees and on Zoom to check in with the Big Guy; he's not surrendered his core beliefs. Is the Corona virus his god's test for him and his like to rebuild new and improved means to serve the interests of the righteous rich?
Should this be so he'll need a marketing strategy and Flim-Flam Man will need a new persona to pull it off. Chubby, pie-stained, smirking dickhead won't cut the mustard.
There's BroSco's role model, Deranged Donny, who in his lucid moments is merely moronic. Mr Tangerine Man could blame syphilitic dementia or hairspray poisoning for his current psychopathy but his criminality and greed are life-long characteristics. Rumpled Thin Skin, a 150kg freezerpack of congealed hamburger grease with a spray-painted complexion applied from the exhaust fan of a Cheetos factory is a joyless, friendless, habitual liar and monosyllabic goon who, with his demon spawn, has never seen a grift he shouldn't graft, a charity he shouldn't steal from nor a child labour force he shouldn't exploit.
Trump's cloistered privilege manifests itself in a weakness for ostentatious, gold-plated, dictator kitsch as narcissistic displays of wealth and power, his fawning obsequiousness to despots is paired with a disdain for the disenfranchised and powerless yet there is a real prospect that, heart attack or criminal charges aside, he'll get a second term. Fat Donny and his crime spree is looked upon admiringly by many of our RWNJs - they see a test case for their own proclivities. FauxMo sees a populist hero. Despite Morrison's fawning even he will see the lack of appeal of a Trump-lite in the face of a crisis.
Boris Johnson, the rumpled defective currently squatting at 10 Downing Street, may get into knife fights for the cheap haircuts but he does have the toff background and scholarly knowledge to lend a jot of credibility to the Churchillian delusions he'd adopted with his treatment of Brexit as his Battle Of Britain, but it's a bridge too far from The Shire to the war rooms of Whitehall for our second rate ad man. Gravitas to BroSco is what he puts on his chips at Maccas so the British Bulldog theme is not credible.
So, another bespoke personal brand is called for.
Serious, take charge leader seems like the appropriate option for FauxMo to recover from the poor look of his cowardly Hawaiian decamping holiday, his partying at Kirribilli to a backdrop of bushfire smoke and his embarrassingly risible photo ops amidst the charred remains of people's lives.
Despite the new found, if belated, solemnity with the virus's arrival, the real Morrison is still there. The facile slogans ("Australians being Australian", "the Anzac spirit"), the hokey homilies, the condescending tone, the avoidance of scrutiny, the religiosity. The smirk still breaks through to remind us of the arrogance of this prick who's more Captain Mainwaring than Winston Churchill.
FauxMo hasn't changed, his elitist right-wing ideology has not changed and neither has that of the crime cartel working undercover as Tory MPs. Morrison's capture by the mining lobby is complete with his call to Nev Power, ex-CEO of Fortescue Metals Group to head a Corona virus task force ("I said Nev, I said love, I said pet"). Nev has no knowledge of epidemiology; his expertise is digging huge holes in the ground and sacking people.
The institutions that underpin a fair and functioning democracy are still on their shit list - unions, the ABC, the CSIRO, Medicare and Centrelink have all demonstrated their value during the pandemic. The Tory attacks upon them will be resumed over time if we allow it - FauxMo has said he wants things to return things to "normal". The Lib's agenda has been put on hold, it will be resumed camouflaged as recovering from the crisis.
Climate change, a greater threat than the virus, will be sacrificed in the name of "economic recovery". Mining will be accelerated, safeguards dispensed with, the environment will be exploited as never before. Democratic oversight will not be fully restored. Rules limiting the number of people allowed to gather will be used to silence dissent. The sports rorts crimes will be brushed aside as unimportant. Accountability for the Ruby Princess debacle will be dodged. The incompetence of Stewart Robert and the dodginess of Angus Taylor wll be swept under the carpet. Franking credits and tax cuts have already been ruled as sacrosanct. The spivs and grifters are working on their disaster capitalism business plans as we speak.
The positive steps that have been taken have a lifespan of 6 months, yet the negative aspects have no sunset clauses. Drought, fires, the virus and next up ... a plague of profiteering locusts.
I hope I'm wrong, I fear I'm not.
Also published in The Australian Independent Media Network