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How to disassemble a state

Opinion

Thank you for choosing South Australia. We hope your product has provided many hours of service and enjoyment. Now that you have finished with your state, we would like to provide some simple, no-nonsense advice about disassembly and disposal.

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1.

Over the last few years you might have noticed your government becoming inefficient, slower, less able or willing to respond to your needs. This, of course, is built-in obsolescence. Like stars at the end of their life, governments are designed to expand and suck in all available matter before exploding in a bureaucratic super nova a hundred times brighter than the sun. Therefore, you would have noticed a disconnect between inputs and outputs (taxes and services). This is called the ‘Datsun effect’ (a common feature of all entropic systems). To make up for this, your government has defaulted to Propaganda Mode (see User Manual p. 24 Section D) to present a credible explanation for this decline. The millions spent herein have allowed South Australia (SA, the Festival State, the Wine State etc) a few extra years of life (an extended warranty, you might say), but as with the USSR, your product has a use-by date. To delay this decay, the government has spent its remaining resources on television advertising, radio, bus shelters and the like. Certain media outlets have benefitted from this spend. This has led to helpful editorial choices. Meanwhile, government functionaries have learned to walk towards oncoming media with the covers of high-gloss policy documents facing out, hip height.

2.

While popular support for government has declined, internal fortitude has been achieved by employing more public servants. The Soviets referred to this as a voting bloc, but this is misleading because the number of people involved in useful tasks has remained relatively static while the auxiliary services (media monitoring, policy advisers etc) has grown to 27% of the 81,305 full-time equivalents. This has been seen as a liability for some in government, but the present ‘Labor Party’ has carried on regardless. To use the maxim: ‘The point of a political speech is to persuade people of what we think right.’ (‘Erkenntnis und Propaganda’, Signale der neuen Zeit, NSDAP, 1934). Some public servants leaving their jobs (see User Manual p. 34 Section B) have had the option of returning as consultants. Sarcasm and humour have been banned from all government areas. Bureaucracy and form-filling have been introduced as a state priority. Risk management, also, has become a pre-occupation of most departments. Those holding opposing and unhelpful views (see Case Study 31: ‘Feel-good Friday’ and Case Study 32: ‘Citizen O’) have their files marked NOT FOR EMPLOYMENT. All of this, of course, has been denied.

3.

The disassembly of your state will require approximately 10 to 15 years. Follow the steps and you should have no trouble. Firstly, an increase in all levels of taxation. The rest of Australia will provide increasing GST revenues to compensate. Work your way up to a bank tax to ensure investment in the state is curtailed. Again, federal welfare should make up for the resultant job losses. If any of this sits uncomfortably with the population, government minsters can blame federal policies, negative nellies, critical thinkers (although by now most of these should have left the state). Disassembly should have been aided by population shift to other more viable centres. This should have also led to a loss of federal electorates. Secondly, scale back all public services (useful ones). For example, close or amalgamate schools (see Case Study 73: ‘Requiem for a School’, InDaily October 2016) and sell the land for real estate. There may be some backlash from the community but use the steps outlined in Manufacturing Consent (Chomsky and Herman, 1988) to justify these measures. As disassembly continues there may be rising levels of lawlessness and dysfunction. Provide adequate distractions. Football has proved useful in the past. You may also find many elected officials stuck to ‘personalities’ (for example Lance Armstrong, Elon Musk). This bond can be easily dissolved with the two-part epoxy called Facts and Time.

4.

Finally, return your state, repacked and boxed, to the federation. The parts can be distributed to other functioning territories. Please be sure to include all visions, endless toil and dreams, lost futures and the like. These can be recycled. Also, ensure this instruction manual is burned after reading. The remaining government officials will do their best to describe these practical hints and advice as carping, negativism. They may even attempt to ‘airbrush’ the case studies and statistics out of history (see User manual p. 98, ‘The Case of Comrade Aleksandrov’). Again, thanks you for choosing South Australia. We anticipate a better, improved model becoming available after March 2018.

Stephen Orr is an Adelaide-based writer of both fiction and non-fiction. His most recent book is Datsunland.

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