Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Harper's Magic Act Politics. . . . .

Anyone who is even vaguely aware of politics has witnessed and even commented on the Harper political strategy. It is a strategy that he employs in office as well as in his campaigning. The strategy is now being referred to as the "bubble-boy" approach, but I think I have a more inclusive definition.

Much of Harper's strategy centers around essentially cutting the government (both MPs and the Prime Minister) off from the people, from House, and from the media as much as possible. Don't talk to people if you can avoid it, shun the media, and if issues or scandals arise try to simply ignore them, and if necessary divert attention by blaming someone else, or when things get really bad suggest that other people/parties do the same stuff so it doesn't really matter anyway. Another control strategy in dealing with any controversy or scandal is to keep repeating the claim that "people don't care about that" until many people really don't care. I call that the "these aren't the droids you're looking for" strategy. In other words, tell the people what they think and a certain percentage of people will believe you no matter how far fetched the idea is.

When governing, Harper essentially limits himself to either governing by stealth or only pursuing those legislative strategies for which he and his cronies can whip up fear and anger like terrorism, prisons, weapons etc. Governing by stealth essentially amounts to doing as much as possible through non-legislative means such as ending the long-form census, cutting funding to any organization that promotes education and knowledge etc. And his fear-based legislative agenda amounts to whipping up the public concerning problems that don't really exist in a significant way in terms of social impact and making the public think that these issues are dangerous, pressing, and real concerns for fear.

So what these approaches amount to overall could be called "Magic Act" politics. Harper runs politics much like a magician deceives an audience. It was well summed up by magician/comedians Penn and Teller in their classic explanation of How Magic Works.

First you Palm, which means to hold and object in an apparently empty hand. The Harper regime employs this strategy all the time when they continually hides things from the public, including the costs of their own programs and the opinions of their MPs.

Second you Ditch, which means to secretly dispose of an unneeded object. And of course we have all seen the Harper regime ditch ministerial aides or young women at their rallies.

Third you Steal, to secretly obtain an object you want. We all know that the Harper regime steals, like when they stole your money in the In and Out Scandal. They also constantly attempt to steal information about their political opponents such as when they bugged an NDP caucus meeting.

Forth you Load, to secretly move an object from one place to another. Again, the In and Out scandal comes to mind, moving money around in the hope that no one will see it.

Fifth is Simulation, to give the impression that something that hasn't happen actually has. Remember when Stockwell Day told us that there were lots of crimes out there going on that weren't being reported and that is why we need to spend billions on new prisons? Classic simulation.

Six is Misdirection, to divert attention away from what you don't want people to look at. This is the central core of Harper's strategy, constantly divert people's attention from your own corruption by blaming others or suggesting your opponents sympathize with terrorism etc. Without misdirection the Harper regime would have fallen long ago.

Seventh is the Switch, to replace one object with another. This is a simple form of the old 'Bait and Switch.' This has been central to the Harper regime from the very beginning. Their most notable bait and switch was to point to the corruption and lack of accountability of the last government and suggest that they would be different. Of course, when they switched places it turned out that they were more corrupt and less accountable.

Like a cheap magician, the Harper regime is essentially attempting to convince you that they are doing something that they are not. They are not governing in a meaningful way, they are simply playing tricks on people in order to stay in power and give as much money as they can to their friends and large corporations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This needs to go viral