Feral politics

Political Point of View

“Politics makes for strange bedfellows.” Charles Warner twisting Shakespeare’s “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.”

Eyeing the possible merger talks between the Liberals and the New Democratic Party is going to be like watching a Discovery Channel program about the mating habits of black widow spiders. You know there’s a good chance that the lusty little male (usually half the size of the female) is going to have to strum the web upon which she sits in order to seduce her into languorous lassitude whereby he will then seize his chance to scramble close, connect his naughty bits, and get the heck out of there before she injects him with liquefying venom. His last thoughts are probably hopes that a new batch of young ‘uns will have made it all worth it.

Human political antics are not much prettier. Remember when the Reform Party came along, took over the Progressive Conservatives and, much like lions in Africa, eliminated the hierarchy and put their own stamp upon the species. Since the NDP and Liberals only used to be differentiated by their electability anyway, this transition will probably take a little time, produce a few minor convulsions and result in no great changes to the Canadian political cosmos.

That big change happened long ago under Trudeau. Whereas he said that the government has no right to interfere in the bedrooms of the nation, he did make it his business to interfere in the pocketbooks of the populace. Under him, peacetime deficit spending became entrenched in the body politic until sovereign deficits leading to debt became facts of life. To be fair, other countries’ governments also believed that borrowing to finance programs rather than reducing spending was the best way to get re-elected. Sticking the unborn with massive debt was never a good idea except for those who won’t be around when the stuff hits the fan.

The recent drama in the U.S., where both parties have no clue how to rein in spending, reveals that the time has now come. Downgraded debt, expensive borrowing costs and reduced basic services are the immediate consequences. The public sector unions are tossing aside basic civility to protect what they claim is rightly theirs. When Scott Walker of Wisconsin made his state employees pay 12 per cent of their pension rather than 5.6 per cent, the unions stated that this was a full frontal assault upon all working people. They all went on strike, illegally occupied the legislature and then realized after a few days that the rest of the state got along fine without them. Pundits like me who wondered why the workers didn’t pay 100 per cent of their pension were ignored for being out of touch.

When governments routinely consume 50 per cent of GDP in order to “redistribute” to themselves, the prevailing mantra becomes “get what you can while you can”. The results will be like the riots in London and Vancouver—people will go feral.

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