It is amazing how busy one can be under stage four China Flu precautions, like a lot of Melbourne folk I have found a bunch of little jobs around the house to keep me occupied and off the streets.

Fortunately, the complete ban on fishing has been lifted, albeit still constraining the hobby two a two-hour session within five kilometres of one’s home but being able to go out and drown some worms in the local creek just adds another fringe benefit to being paid to stay home.

If it seems as if I am enjoying myself it is because, to a degree, as a self-employed homebody I am having my cake and eating it too. The other segment of society who are having a field day under lockdown is the suburban dobbers and stickybeaks who, after years of peeping through their blinds hoping to catch their neighbours “in flagrante” have been given the green light to narc by the state government.

These are the turds who call the council if your dog is barking, if your trees overhang their fence or if you put your bins out the day before the garbos come and now, according to the media, they are lagging on an industrial scale.

The dobber has come into her own over the past six months with the COVID panic, the irritating suburban griefer has become a de-facto state informer on rule-breakers and mask dodgers and they are, no doubt, having a ball.

The thing about dobbers though is that they are colossal cowards. They would never approach a neighbour discreetly and have a quiet word with them about their social distancing efforts or their adherence to the current lockdown rules. No, they will immediately call the police at the slightest infraction, which opens up a whole can of worms.

Calling the Jacks should always be a last resort as they routinely make things worse when they show up to deal with trivial matters. If someone is in danger, by all means, call them, otherwise, it is always better to deal with petty neighbourhood grievances at a local level.

The problems are that most normal working people are not used to dealing with the cops and make the assumption that they have “rights” when, in fact, those rights are seen in an entirely subjective light by frontline officers.

This is why we have witnessed so many disagreeable encounters between law enforcement and otherwise law-abiding citizens under the stage-four regime. The copper who turns up to investigate on the day doesn’t care about mitigating circumstances or your rights, he is only interested in whether or not an offence has occurred.

If you kick off and argue with them, even if you are in the right, you are likely to find yourself cuffed and detained in front of your loved ones, before a massive on the spot fine is levied against you. This is an invidious position to be in, especially if it is as a result of some nosey parker observing a slight infraction on your part and imposing their petty mindset upon you.

Most people know when to take the COVID threat seriously, as adults they can assess the risk on their own, even if they keep their face mask in their pocket while out walking the dog, they certainly put it on to go down the shops; we don’t need priggish neighbours tattling on us to keep the virus at bay.

The other problem is that the narcs are causing a level of paranoia to add to the depression and anxiety which have taken hold in the Victorian community due to the lockdown.

Everyone has their little tricks and workarounds to cope with the draconian state of emergency rules, people really would go mad trying to stick to the letter of the law 100% of the time, it is simply not reasonable to expect otherwise and it is downright cruel to dob them in.

I would wager that almost everybody abroad in the community at present is doing the right thing and the risk of transmitting the virus is very low. This un-Australian response by petty-minded squealers is, I reckon, simply opportunism.

Much has been made of the Andrews cabinet seeking to deputise certain categories of people to police and enforce the COVID rules. The dobbers are seen as accomplices in this act of tyranny, but I disagree. The curtain twitching snitches are a fact of life: they sit in their houses, surrounded by their hoards of toilet paper and tinned vegetables, catastrophising and hanging on every word from the premier hoping he will give them another opportunity to rat on others. They are miserable to their abject core and so they seek to drag everyone down to their level.

So, the lesson to be taken from all of his is, be a cobber, not a dobber. If you see someone putting themselves and others at risk — go and have a word to them. Most of the time they’ll sheepishly oblige and usually the worst-case scenario is that they will tell you to piss off.

Think for a second whether calling the coppers and likely saddling your neighbour with a five-grand fine is in everyone’s best interests. In this time of mass unemployment such a hefty fine could send them broke, or worse, drive them to suicide. Then again, if they suspect you, they might don army fatigues, polish off the sniper rifle and do something fatally random.

Throwing someone into the maw of the justice system, humiliating them in front of their family and taking their money away is going to cause more trouble down the track than the damn disease ever will.

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