Fragments of thoughts fluttering in the wind as I contemplate the songs and shouts of a Canadian general election campaign and the commonsense requirements for an advisor’s job in a Prime Minister’s office.
On the campaign trail, where all candidates are offering guarantees of happiness if their party forms the next government, and disaster and misery for the electorate if any party other than their own wins the keys to the kingdom, I am reminded of the words of Allan Clark a British Tory of 1990’s vintage:
“There are no friends in politics. We are all sharks circling and waiting for traces of blood to appear in the water.” An honest appraisal and not hard to accept, as we watch and listen to all the promises of improvements to our lives “if you will just give us a chance” – or the in the plea of the Conservatives “give us another chance.”
James Boswell once asked Samuel Johnson why he always laughed at schemes promising political improvements: “Because,” answered Johnson “most schemes of political improvement are very laughable things” – and so many being offered this year in Canada as the sharks circle.
On advisors to First Ministers:
As we suffered through round one of the Harper-Duffy-Senate-as-a-cash-cow event I found it painful to learn, from their own testimony, that several key advisors in the PMO appeared to be lacking in commonsense. In addition PM Stephen Harper himself appeared unaware or uncaring about the bonfire of incompetence his palace guard had built around Duffy – a fire now crackling merrily in his PMO for all to see.
Then, just as I was feeling depressed about other countries viewing with laughter our lackadaisical approach to ethics, honesty and commonsense in politics, Prime Minister David Cameron of England burst on the scene to show me Canadians are not alone in keeping political vaudeville alive.
Cameron, who led his Conservative party from minority to clear majority status a short time ago, cheerfully announced on August 26 the appointment of 45 (stay calm, don’t spill your coffee as you repeat) 45 new peers to the House of Lords. In Canadian language that reads 45 new members to the Senate. The appointments astonished the political world and roused a political storm of criticism when it was learned three of the new Lords had been had been embroiled in the great House of Commons expense scandal a few years back. One of them Doug Hogg had won unenviable international fame at the time by claiming close to $5,000 in expenses to have the moat around his Lincolnshire Mansion drained and cleaned. He subsequently resigned his seat in the Commons.
He’s been quickly named “Lord Moat” by British Media but will shortly be taking his seat in the House of Lords where he will join his wife Sarah whose been wearing the Ermine and scarlet since John Major elevated her during his term as PM. Together they bring membership in the Red Chamber to 837 – the second largest government body in the world – number one being the Chinese National People’s Congress.
The only comfort I offer: It makes the Duffy affair look minor league, and PM Harper a model of restraint – equaled only by Prime Ministers sadly lacking in commonsense.
A final fragment and change of scene, but on the same theme of commonsense:
In Friday’s (Aug.27) Times-Colonist, the daily newspaper in Victoria BC which remains understandably shy about listing David Radler as captain of the production crew, announced it had conducted a search of Ashley Madison.com (have an affair) hacked registration data. It discovered close to 200 addresses of local people who may have been looking for sexual experiences outside their marriage. But, confessed the T-C, “addresses in the file could have been entered by someone other than the person associated with it, or be bogus.” Almost with a note of sadness the story adds: “None belonged to politicians, and none originated from inside the BC Legislature.”
So – three questions: (1) What was the TC hoping to find – a rich list of high ranking politicos or well known men and women seeking entertainment in beds other than their own? (2) Had they come up with a glory list of prominent names did they intend to publish them and if so to what purpose? (3) Who gave a good reporter like Cindy Harnett such a daft – and potentially dirty – assignment?
Just asking – in the interests of transparency and commonsense.