“No-one Could Anticipate This”: A Reality Check


Historical change is generated through crises.

And clearly we are facing one now.

But as General Stonewall Jackson put it: “Never take counsel of your fears.”

Clearly, it is not being governed by our fears that we will do the kind of resiliency reset we need to address and to set in motion an approach which can allow for the liberal democracies to deal with realities which they have clearly not wanted to address.

Our colleague, John Blackburn and his team, have been highlighting for years the need to face the downside of globalization and to rebuild our supply chains and to shape more resilient societies, notably when dealing with the 21st century authoritarians who are working the global disinformation game to further sow disunity in our midst.

The challenge is clear — get real and make significant change.

According to Blackburn:

No one could have anticipated this” – Absolute Rubbish.

I listened to the Services Australia bureaucrat on the ABC this morning say just that in response to the dismal performance of the Centrelink system.

It is time that we stop hiding behind such statements and admit that, as a society, we have been complacent to the significant changes in the world and our lack of resilience.

It is not as if the issues have not been raised. Bill Gates has been loudly stating the issue of pandemics for years and has been largely disregarded.

A multitude of think tanks and commentators have raised issues regarding a range of risks, only to be dismissed as irritants by politicans.

In my supply chain risk and resilience work I have been dismissed by Ministers from both sides of politics; a Labor Minister once told me to go away and focus on “defence issues” and a current serving Liberal Minister told me that my concerns were not valid and that the “market” could address any issues that arose.

Clearly the market cannot address the range of issue that we are facing now.

So stop the excuses, accept we have stuffed up and get on with addressing the crisis of our own making. After the crisis, we need to have a very difficult conversation in this country.

We will have to face reality.

He posted this on LinkedIn and two comments posted in response to his comment further underscore the challenge.

The first underscores the reality check and its significance.

I think you would agree that a lot of people have found it hard to imagine this would be our reality, others have seen it coming for a long time.

I’ve learnt over the years that its not until a lot of people can touch, feel, live the experience are they able to process the reality of it.

This is definitely a time when a fair percentage of the population is beginning to ‘get it’ – let’s try to help them see the bigger picture now we’ve got their attention. 

The way they think, plan and act is now no longer sufficient and they’re finding out the hard way.

Your expertise in this area is invaluable and it would be great to turn all our attention to how we can learn from you (and others) and be able to process what’s happening so we make better decisions from here on. 

Let’s turn the negative into the positive. 

What do you say, shall we have a go?

The second highlighted the impact of reality shock

John, couldn’t agree more.

Our society has been very complacent with our political leaders not understanding and not willing to understand the sovereign risk they faced.

The COVID-19 outcome is the classic result of putting something off and hoping it won’t happen on my watch – except…it did.

It is not a response based on our fears that will allow for the policy challenges we need to be met to indeed be met.

It is by addressing issues which have been percolating for years that simply have not been mainstream ones but now they are.