Friday, March 8, 2013

Harper and His Cabal, When Men get Desperate. . .

I haven't watched the thursday political panel on The National for a while but I caught it yesterday and was somewhat surprised by what I heard. The conversation was further evidence that the political mood is changing. Chantal Hébert said that it seems clear now that even Harper and Flaherty can no longer believe that their government is in anyway transparent, and that they must surely understand that their cabal is considerably more opaque that any previous government. Andrew Coyne took up the conversation from there and suggested essentially that Harper is gradually becoming something of a liability to the Conservatives as he paints himself further and further into a corner. Coyne said that there is a core of support of about 30% below which Harper probably can't drop and an upper level of about 40% above which he could never go. Now, while Coyne is correct that Harper, like most autocrates, has a core of support below which he can't drop, I am fairly certain that it is considerably lower than 30%. I believe that it is probably closer to 20% than 30%. In fact, the latest Nanos survey puts Harper's government very close to 30% and if one follows the graph he is still dropping. But wherever you put the core support of Harper and his cabal, Coyne is correct that there is growing voter fatigue with what, even Conservative supporters must understand, is the most secretive and nefarious government in our history. Furthermore  Coyne is correct that this voter fatigue is on the upswing and it will eventually become an insurmountable problem for Harper and the Conservative Party if he continues down this path of secretiveness and aggressive attacks of everything and everyone that opposes them.

I am fairly certain that even a few months ago we would not have heard this kind of matter of fact talk from a guy like Andrew Coyne. This change has come about, I believe, because like Christy Clark's Liberal government in BC, Harper's government is on that downward swing towards unpopularity. And while Harper's stonewalling, secretive style has been relatively effective while he was not perceived to be the leader of a corrupt government of patronage and pork, now that his government is in fact becoming associated with exactly this, his style is becoming counter productive. In other words, a secretive, aloof personality might be perceived as strength in a righteous leader, but in a corrupt one such traits are bound to be perceived  as weak paranoia. And though Coyne didn't use these words, it was exactly this phenomenon to which he was pointing.

In a case like that of Christy Clark, it is probably too late. It dosen't matter what she does at this point because everything she does will be perceived as a desperate effort to cling to power. But Coyne was suggesting that Harper still has a chance to recover if he changes his tune now. The problem is that one surely has to doubt if Harper could change this basic MO of his entire political life. To believe that such a change is possible one would have to believe that Harper's secretive, aloof, and aggressive style is a political affectation adopted for strategic reasons. However, most of us are convinced that these traits are central to Harper's very identity and that as he slowly loses support and an election loss looks to be inevitable. Harper will only get worse as his paranoia takes over his political life.

It is this very point which seems to have motivated Steve Pakin's latest article in which he suggests that Harper might soon resign rather than face a gradual decline into ignominy. While I appreciate Pakin's thoughts on this subject, I think he is overlooking the degree of darkness in Stephen Harper's soul. I am not convinced that Harper has the ability to favor the interest of his Party over his own interests. Niether am I convinced that Harper will ever willingly give up power, even if he lost an election I suspect that Harper and his cabal would seek to keep power through some illegal move, particularly if he lost to someone whose last name is Trudeau.


Ryan Spinney said...

Trudeau would be nearly as much a disaster in his own way as Harper. Its not enough to stop Harper, we have to stop that corrupt Silver Spoon dunce as well.

Thankfully Mulcair is up the task, but we have to do our part and expose Justin for what he is.

Mulcair can beat Harper on the battlefield of ideas, but Trudeau is a dangerous illusion built around a rotten core. An incompetent rotten core.

the salamander said...

After watching Alexandra Morton's 70 minute feature documentary.. Salmon Confidential.. created by Twyla Roscovich.. I'm even more certain the Harper Government is rotting like a fish from the head on down.

Its simply no longer conceivable that Gail Shea and Keith Ashfield, both Ministers of Oceans and Fisheries were not directed by Stephen Harper and his PMO regarding suppression, denial, obstruction and scientific muzzling re sea lice and tests for ISA infection in Atlantic farmed salmon on the west coast.

There are astounding moments in the film. One in a sushi restaurant when Alexandra and an associate are putting samples of farmed salmon into vials for ISA and norovirus testing. Or hoping an eagle will drop a sickened salmon it seized from an open fish pen (it does)

The distorted infected farmed salmon in grocery stores are frightening.. some missing the front of their jaws and heads.. some with mushy heart muscle, yellowed skin, ulcerations or sickly shapes.

This is not about voter fatigue.. This is about the 80 % of all Canadian farmed salmon we are exporting in violation of accepted disease reporting protocols and international agreements. Malfeasance.

This is about ignorant and arrogant federal & provincial governments deciding the collapse of a keystone species in the marine food chain is quite acceptable.

When the humpback whale, sea otters, orca, bald eagles, seals, bears, clams and all interconnected species become part of an appalling eco system collapse, we'll fully understand the legacy of Harper and his political animals .. and the wonderful environmental record they bluster about incoherently.

Head of the class Joe Oliver ! Come on up Christy Clark, you too Peter Kent ! And Gerry Ritz can stand up there with Keith Ashfield and Gail Shea. We now have ISA or piscine reovirus or Salmon Alphavirus infected salmon being rinsed in kitchen sinks across Canada & around the world and draining into watersheds and marine systems.

thwap said...

You don't allow someone like harper to "change their tune" after they show contempt to Parliament and to responsible government in general.

You overthrow them as quickly as possible and make sure they don't run for political office ever again.

kirbycairo said...

@Ryan - while I generally agree with you Ryan, and I don't think I harbor any delusions about the Liberal Party or Trudeau, I will say this much. While many of the corporatist policies of the Harper Conmen originated in the Liberal Party of the 1990s, the distinctly anti-democratic tendencies of the HarperCons make them considerably more dangerous. This danger derives from the fact that as bad as the actual policies of a government are if they continue to allow the rules of our democracy (as flawed as though arguably are) are intact we can still move forward and struggle toward better policies. However, once a group like the HarperCons destroy our House of Commons, our Courts System, and our electoral system then we have little hope left.

So while I won't be voting Liberal and have little hope that Trudeau's economic policies would be much better than Harper's (though a few would surely be), and I am right there with you in many ways, I also think that there are important qualitative and quantitative differences.

As for Mulcair, I also have little hope for him. The NDP has moved quite far into the centre and Mulcair is rather an old-style politician in my mind. Furthermore, his approach to Israel and Palestine makes my hair stand on end.

sassy said...

What thwap said!!

Dana said...

I am beginning to become concerned for Justin Trudeau's well being.

All of us have read and heard some Harperite followers over the past 7 years who come across as seriously unbalanced.

Justin is now being presented as a serious threat to their idol.

It concerns me.

kirbycairo said...

@ Dana - Yes, I agree that a number of the inner-circle of the Harper gang are rather unstable and if Trudeau becomes a real threat to Harper's power you never know what might happen.