Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Harper Tipping-point, Hope or Fear ?

I tend to agree with Heather Mallick in her recent interesting (and surprisingly forthright) article on why people like Trudeau over Harper. And I agree with what many commentators (and most of the polls) suggest, that we have finally reached the tipping point of Harper's political currency. Outside of conditions of extreme nationalism and social turmoil, it is very difficult for any politician to maintain power and popularity with a political persona of anger, hate, fear, and extreme secretiveness. Harper's zenith was inevitable and we now have a confluence of events which are dragging the Con's political machine ever downward. This confluence consists of typical voter weariness, growing evidence that economic and social inequality is drastically increasing, clear signs that Harper and his cabal are not simply strategic in their negative/secretive political style but that their nastiness is at the very core of their political identity, the rise of a very likeable opponent in the person of Trudeau (and let's face it, regardless of one's political stripes Trudeau is a likeable public persona), ominous signs that an over-emphasis on oil extraction is not only environmentally dangerous but economically short-sighted, and (perhaps most importantly) a slowly percolating mood in the country that we have been sleep-walking through a kind of collective nightmare of a government that is actually trying to destroy the positive aspects of democracy, good-will, hope, and peacefulness, that many once thought defined our country.

But even as we teeter at the tipping-point, there are stormy clouds ahead. For one thing it appears that, in the face of political disaster, Harper is intent of dragging this country further into the dark waters of hate, fear, and violence. Deep inside, I believe that Harper is desperately courting war in any arena, as a strategy to stay in power. In what we might call the Falkland Island gambit, Harper is increasingly ramping up his war rhetoric in every part of his foreign policy and, I believe, really hopes that the nationalism and rhetoric of a war will do for him what the Falkland Islands did for Thatcher.

Another disturbing political development is found in the fact that Harper has created a classic political vacuum around him. Harper has surrounded himself with yes-men, flunkies, and Ministers who he knows cannot pose any kind of national competition to his power. Men like Baird, Kenney, and James Moore, Oliver, and Fantino, are all (for different reasons) probably unelectable as party leaders. Not only is Harper's growing unpopularity potentially fatal political baggage for anyone who was part of his cabinet, I believe that Harper has consciously chosen ministers with their own kinds of political baggage so that they cannot challenge him in the way that, say, Martin did with Chretien. This kind of political vacuum may only be bad news for the Conservative Party, but such vacuums often create political chaos that can engulf entire nations. I would never put it past Harper and his flunkies attempting a coup in the face of an electoral defeat and with nothing but yes-men around him, people whose political careers essentially depend upon Harper himself, there may be no dissenting voices among his own.

Any kind of tipping point creates interesting events. But the curse of living in interesting times is a very real possibility now. The question is will the Harper years end with a bang or a whimper??


Owen Gray said...

Good question. Kirby. At this point, I wouldn't make any predictions.

the salamander said...

.. more enlightened critical analysis .. merci
Should be front page of any credible newspaper/web

Pamela Mac Neil said...

Geat article. Sums up Harper perfectly.

Anonymous said...

I wish everyone ould stop blaming Harper. We make it appear that, if he were to go, the Tories wouldn't be such a bad lot.

Harper is symptomatic of the whole Reform/Conservative alliance. Win at any price, say anything you have to say, villify any opponent (your with us or against us, divide asnd conquer is the name of their game.

It was not Harper who promised the Progressive Conservative Party he would not merge with Reform. And that's just one of the lies.

Anonymous said...

Well if Harper can get a war going, he can cancel the election, can he not?

Harper promised he would back Israel to the hilt. Harper encouraged Israel, to make war on Palestine. Now Israel is, appropriating land from Palestine, to build new settlements for themselves.

Harper did his utmost to, grab control of the Supreme Courts. Then Harper would be, supreme dictator of Canada.

Harper is also buying up ethnic votes and those numbers are really adding up.

Harper's Ministers are, useless, spineless, gutless wonders. How they can lower themselves to support that monster, completely boggles me.

Harper will use, every dirty tactic in the book, to cheat this next election too.

Anonymous said...

A war can NOT be used to keep harper in power. The war measures act would allow him to postpone an elxn but only with the agreement of 7 provinces & 70% support from a free vote in HOC

Simon said...

hi Kirby....Great post. And it reflects how I feel exactly. Caught between the hope that the nightmare is ending, and fear over what a desperate Stephen Harper might do. But as for your question I can't seeing it end with anything less than a bang. As you point out Harper's succession is not strong, and the party itself is still a delicate coalition that could blow apart at the seams the moment Harper leaves. Of course Harper doesn't want to leave, but if his numbers stay as low as they are, he may not have much choice. He's reached a point where time is his worst enemy, which is BTW why I think he is desperate for a chance for an early election. And will use any excuse to try to trigger one.
He's blowing a lot of smoke right now, but cold reality will set in eventually. And it will be fun to watch...

Rural said...

An excellent summary of the reality that is the Harper Regime Kirby, as I said recently on my own blog they will do ANYTHING to retain power.