Tuesday, June 12, 2007

MODERN POLITICS...

... where the personal is political, where the private sphere intrudes on the public, and where "ordinary" is not simply a description, but a virtuous end in itself.

Immediate update
: It would be somewhat hypocritical to adopt an overly declinist tone on this issue, as I so often criticize others for the very same. Further, I am well aware that the conflation of private and public lives is nothing new, subsumed as I am in readings of the court and parliaments of George III.

However, I still don't see why the private lives of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition should have any bearing on mine, or anyone else's, political judgments.

Posted by Matthew @ 9:22 PM :: (0) comments

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

ORDER OF THE DAY

As I write this, June 6th has already passed in Europe and Britain, and the day is fading across the West, but I will still link to Mader's regular post, if only to keep the tradition going.

These things are not just to be remembered on anniversaries at multiples of five and ten.

Posted by Matthew @ 10:06 PM :: (1) comments

CASEY REFUSES TO BE WHIPPED

I don't have an unequivocal opinion on whether Nova Scotia MP Bill Casey was right or wrong in voting against the budget - but he gains my utmost respect for voting based on what he thought was right and not on the basis of party discipline.

Some, I'm sure will argue that Casey was motivated by nothing more than a desire to get more tax money for his riding, which might be the case. However, Alan notes that Casey argued that the Federal government had broken its word and gone back on a contract it had made with Nova Scotia. Now honouring contracts is the very essence of what allows us to live in a society, so if Casey feels the government has not honoured a contract he is quite right to call attention to the fact.

Stephen Taylor, naturally, spins the party line on the Casey... case, and further, argues that parliamentary tradition provides the precedent for turfing Casey from the Conservative party.

The thing about tradition is that there is always an older tradition to look to. As long time readers know, I prefer to look to the parliamentary tradition that separates the executive from the legislative powers - rather than conflating them. There was a time, in the pre-confederation British North American legislatures, and in the British parliament itself, when the "government" was understood to consist of the Cabinet exclusively, and "maintaining the confidence of the house" meant that the Cabinet had to earn the votes of members of their own party without relying simply on whipping them to vote.

With a little less party discipline, and a clearer definition of where the executive power ends, parliament might be a lot more dynamic, and representative.

Posted by Matthew @ 3:24 PM :: (5) comments

Monday, June 04, 2007

NOT SINCE GHANDI

Via Paul Wells come these outrageous remarks from Russian dictator Vladimir Putin:

Q: Gerhard Schroeder called you a "pure democrat." Are you?

Putin: Yes, of course! Of course I am a pure and absolute democrat! The tragedy is that I am the only pure democrat in the world. Look at the United States: Horrible torture, the homeless, Guantanamo. Look at Europe: Violent demonstrations, cruelly put down. Even the Ukrainians have discredited themselves and are heading toward tyranny. Since Gandhi died, I have nobody to talk to anymore!
Only a megalomaniac authoritarian could seriously talk like this.

By the way, that pure democrat is aiming his nuclear weapons at Europe again.

Posted by Matthew @ 5:43 AM :: (2) comments

Sunday, June 03, 2007

OXYMORON

With regard to Quebec politics, Adam Daifallah recently wrote:

"For months, I've been telling anyone who would listen that the ADQ is not an ideologically consistent conservative party."
Fine.

But I would challenge Daifallah to point to any moderately successful political party in a Western democracy that is ideologically consistent in any way. "Moderately successful" being defined as currently being in government, or having the reasonable expectation of being in government at some point in the near future.

As the current federal Conservatives have shown, and I believe as the recently defeated Congressional Republicans showed, the erosion of ideological consistency is directly proportional to a party's proximity to power.

I would further argue that political parties are much more susceptible to ideological inconsistency than individuals are; which is why we should vote for individuals and not parties.

Posted by Matthew @ 11:54 AM :: (1) comments