Last week’s trash journalism from Miranda Devine suggested “greenies” should be strung up from the lamp posts given they’re the real cause of the Victorian bushfires.

This morning on the Weather Zone forums, an anonymous poster, associated “horsey people” and drivers of expensive cars with the tragedies.

I have driven almost all these spots with my work and they are deathtraps waiting to happen. It beggars belief that they were allowed to be built. And still the development goes on. Sheoak road is ridiculous, for the houses and for the speed humps and diversion roundabouts that make using the road above 15km/h almost impossible.

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Idiot city yuppie tree changers with their mercedes and BMW 4WD’s with no connection, common sense or vision to the land around them other than the “pretty” view and lovely trees. They secure the ultimate destruction of the landscape they so desire.

I also know first hand that the CFS here will not enter properties that are deathtraps. Happened more than once in the recent Mt Bold fires. My mate on their truck recalled an owner begging them to save his house. It was surrounded by metre high phalaris. They refused to enter. Ultimately saved their lives.

I’ll say nothing of the stupid horsey people who tried to hold up a truck trying to battle the fire while they attempted to run their animals up the road.

There are dozens of other examples of culture war baggage being stapled to the terrible events of 7 February.

Like every other widely discussed topic of these times, it doesn’t take long for an incredible range of irrelevant or unrelated war cries from the cultural warriors to get joined to a terrible fire disaster than killed hundreds of people.

Tree huggers, “greenies”, climate change deniers, climate change zealots, BMW drivers, horse owners, and the viciously intolerant like Danny Nalliah — who claimed it was God’s punishment of Victoria for supporting abortion — or Miranda Devine’s advocacy of blaming and hanging “greenies”, are all fuelling a conflagration of indignation, entitlement, prejudice and hate.

Some of the stories, about people being fined for tree clearing that protected their homes (only 257 trees) flirt with agendas supporting the clear felling of more land for farming.

Others, like this morning’s opportunistic call by the National Association of Forest Industries for an urgent bushfire summit lead-off with the big lie that “the current process of locking forests up in conservation reserves and national parks with no on-going fire management regime has proven to be fatally wrong.”

This is straight from the playbook of former Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment, Joseph Goebbels, in the packaging of a deeply flawed summary of an issue into a few words that resonate with popular prejudice, and then promoting solutions that will benefit the sectional interests of its backers under the guise of desirable public policy initiatives.

The naked greed in this is to carve more roads into wilderness areas and convert national park resources into immediate profits.

Let’s not forget that significant parts of the fire zones on 7 February had been burned three years ago, or that grass fires can be as lethal as forest fires.

Hundreds of people died on that day because they had nowhere to go when the fires came. Not because they were “greenies” or drove expensive cars, or dared to live in our beautiful countryside.

If there had been simple fire rooms in the properties that burned, as shown in the home video by Jim Baruta at St Andrews, there would have been widespread destruction of property but not of people, and far fewer deaths in cars while trying to flee when it was no longer safe to do so. (Baruta was interviewed on the 7.30 Report and this download includes his video and an interview in which he shows the bunker and describes his experience.)

Last Saturday would have been an insurance disaster, but not a human catastrophe.

Surely there is some reason amid all the unreason to hope that the Royal Commissioners will do their own culture wars hazard reduction, so that the many things they must consider are not cluttered up by envy, prejudice, social hatreds and vested interests.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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