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The fright before Christmas: A COVID Carol


Politics as usual went out the window in 2020, as stay-at-home orders, prospective vaccines and the promise of ‘vertical consumption’ became our proverbial New Normal – not to mention the odd frightened moment as we approached Christmas.

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Nights before Christmas

But at this time of year, it’s traditional to take stock on the 12 months past.

While that might not be a pleasant reflection this time round, as Tom Richardson discovers: everything sounds better in rhyme.


‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through SA

Every creature was willing this crap year away.

The stockings were hung by the chimney in order,

With hopes that St Nicholas got past the border.


The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of home-schooling danced in their heads;

And the state’s politicians avoided polemics

As we all settled in for a global pandemic.


While back to SA expats flew like a flash,

With midnight restrictions pre-empting a dash;

When out at the airport arose such a clatter,

That the SAPOL Commish had to sort out the matter.


And just when he thought things were all back on track

Up popped deputy CPHO Mike Cusack,

Who insisted in quarantine all must sit tight

And declared that the virus cared not for midnight.


But a quick mea culpa and hasty deflection,

And the Marshall State Government’s planned re-election

Was right back on track, the bad news just a blip;

And with Labor’s determined bipartisanship,


The Libs have politically staved off disturbance

By passing the buck to their top public servants.

But while the world suffered through this strange disease

Steven Marshall was sidetracked by country MPs.


More rapid than eagles (with attention from ICAC)

They fell by the wayside, their allowances paid back:


On, PEDERICK! Dash away! dash away all!”


And just when the balance of power seemed entrenched,

Was backbencher Duluk forced to the crossbench;

And while the specifics remain in the vault,

The member for Waite’s facing ‘basic assault’.


And that wasn’t all for the Right of the party

With a Centre-Right splinter, and Stephan departing;

For while, after bus backflips, some might eschew him,

Alas poor K-noll, for we hardly k-new him!


While Labor thought: ‘Here’s an electoral solution’,

But was cruelled by an unforeseen redistribution.

Leaving Piccolo – hero of all things Barossa –

Taking flight back to Light, feeling kind of a tosser!


But then, in a twinkling, came Marshall’s new saviour,

With daily a lecture on COVID behaviour;

Bringing mostly good news like a pandemic courier:

I’m talking, of course, of CPHO Spurrier.


As she oversaw what, for SA, was a fair run

(And media asked, ‘Where do you get your hair done?’)

A lockdown, for three days, was kind of a pain,

But authorities pinned it on some guy from Spain.


But besides that, the drama was dealt with so quick,

We knew in a moment she must be Saint Nic.

So now for the most part’s a festive resumption

And vertical, not horizontal, consumption.


And all that aside, while a downer it’s been,

We’ve had relative fortune, re COVID-19.

So for all the above – and to all of SA

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a Fri-YAY!


– Additional reporting by Clement Clarke Moore

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