Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Harper: The (Post-Election) Great Uniter?

One thing this election has made abundantly clear -- progressives can't or won't work together.

And Jack Layton is delusional if he really thinks he can work with the Harper Regime.

So I was thinking. From DJ!'s ongoing efforts to divide the right, an odd thing became apparent. There are quite a few issues that left and right can agree on.

Harpie's lying, cheating, and scheming to stay in power.

His contempt for democracy.

HIs authoritarian fetish made manifest in the G8/G20 police state and proposed legislation on Internet privacy and freedom and copyright issues.

And smaller matters too like the closure of the prison farms.

Here is John Moore in today's NatPo.
I want an open government where cabinet ministers have the latitude to run their departments. I want a Prime Minister’s Office that doesn’t hold caucus and cabinet in such a vice grip that no one dares speak or propose policy without first asking permission. I want transparency and an atmosphere where high-ranking civil servants offer counsel without fear of cabinet ministers hanging them out to dry. I want to know what major policy initiatives are going to cost.

Mostly I want fiscal conservatism. Is that too much to ask?

The Conservatives have spent five years pandering to pocket constituencies with conniving tax breaks and cash handouts. It’s not the government’s job to favour tradesmen over managers or to subsidize hockey and piano lessons. Rationalize spending, simplify the tax code and let individuals decide where to spend the extra money in their pockets.

Stimulus spending was necessary to cushion the economic plunge, but when you take out a mortgage you don’t blow it on bandstands and jungle gyms. Major spending must always be on the kind of legacy projects that benefit the future generations that will pay for them. If there are to be large cash layouts in the coming four years it should be for necessary and justifiable initiatives, not photo opportunities.

The Conservatives have grown rather than shrunk government. Each year spending has gone up beyond the rate of inflation and GDP growth. The Tories have spent more on polls, focus groups, advertizing, travel and outside consultants than the Liberals ever did. Rein it in. Health-care spending wouldn’t be a looming crisis if money wasn’t being bilge-pumped out of the treasury. Jim Flaherty rivals Paul Martin in the mastery he brings to the Finance Department. It’s time he was allowed to bring in a budget dictated by national need, not political canniness.

On every front, the time has come for the Conservatives to plot a course for Canada and not just for their electoral aspirations. Conceive of a crime strategy that addresses public safety, not fear. Embrace the family values of newcomers without tacitly nurturing the sexism and homophobia that may go hand in hand. Chart a foreign policy that does not first involve data mining the nation’s ethnic communities. Show respect for the institutions that create the framework for the privilege you now hold. Respect for Parliament should be a core Conservative value.

Yes, I know. But disregarding that fantasy about Deficit Jim Flaherty, I can agree with much of the rest of it. For reasons other than fiscal conservatism, of course.

Throughout his reign as Slime Minister, Stevie Peevie has faced a Fucking Useless Opposition®. Arguably, the new opposition will be even more fucking useless.

The Sixth Estate has laid out a Manifesto for the Next Opposition*, including five reasons why 'we' lost the election.

Among them:
Third, it is fiendishly difficult to challenge a government in power when it is supported and endorsed by 90% of the media. The reasons for the media’s complacence vary: rich corporate owners favour low-tax Conservative governments, and lazy journalists favour cheap and easy stories based on press releases and innuendo rather than genuine but time-consuming investigative journalism. But the polls show conclusively that 90% of the media only speak for about one-quarter of Canadians. That’s a problem, and it’s a problem that we can do something about. I’m going to return to that in a moment.

He says we need credible new media.
I can’t do much about the above at the moment, but I do want to return to the third problem. We’re reaching a point where the mainstream corporate media is so unvaryingly compromised and corrupt that it is mostly useless. They opposed the NDP by reflex, they endorsed the Conservatives because they were pro-business, and we can count on them to do the same for the next four years. The majority of people in this country are not politically active outside of election campaigns and are mostly trusting of the media, mostly because there are no trustworthy alternatives and because finding those alternatives would take effort.

He goes on to lay out the challenges and advantages the blogosphere faces in trying to fill the gap.
The problem we have is coordinating our efforts and getting people to notice. Those are big problems, but not as big as the problem the Internet solved for us in the first place.

Internet freedom is going to change, too, as the result of the death of Internet neutrality. But we have an unprecedented window, and while it is closing, for the moment it’s still open. And I continue to believe that a large majority of Canadians do care about democracy, about healthcare, about the health of the planet, even if they’ve been temporarily dazzled by tax breaks and bamboozled by scaremongering about separatist coalitions. I have to believe that. There is no other choice. I refuse to believe that this country has raised multiple generations who are ignorant enough, selfish enough, and narrow-minded enough (not to mention in brazen denial enough) to genuinely support the government they just voted for.

How do we go about seizing this opportunity? Haven’t a clue. But we have four years to find out, and now’s a good time to start.

I too believe that a majority of Canadians -- from right across the political spectrum -- care about democracy, accountability, transparency, fiscal responsibility, and rational policy-making.

It's up to us to hold this government to account through a Citizens' Loyal Opposition.

Because this isn't funny anymore.

*I don't do that 'MUST READ' thingy, but I strongly recommend people read the whole thing.


Beijing York said...

Well fuck me. I just did a 5 paragraph postmortem post that disappeared into the ether. The tone was bitter resignation.

Saved y'all from TL;DR.

fern hill said...

What is TL;DR?

Beijing York said...

Kid speak for "Too long; didn't read".

fern hill said...

Ah. Thanks. dBO just used it on me in an email. I was beginning to think that you two were gaslighting* me.

*Family term for changing things around to drive another family member nuts.

Beijing York said...

I love that film, fern. It's so sinister and believable.

Post a Comment