Three things I found interesting

Here are 3 recent events ranked in terms of my own interest:

  1.  The Manitoba NDP government’s leadership crisis:  How does a sitting premier survive 5 cabinet minister resigning from cabinet out of a lack of confidence in said premier?  And then how do those erstwhile cabinet ministers vote to support the premier in office a few days later? Proof that politics is not a vocation for those short of ego or uncomfortable with hypocrisy.  Seriously, this got me thinking about a model of intra-party politics and leadership challenges.  I’ll post a model in a few days.
  2. Sweden’s December Agreement:  the teetering Social Democrat-Green government comes to a last-minute deal with the centre-right bloc to avoid a snap election and freeze out the populist Swedish Democrats (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30610500).  I find this whole situation fascinating.  It got me thinking about Sartori’s model of polarized pluralism, the roots of populism, and whether the cordon sanitaire established by the December agreement will ultimately succeed in suppressing the nationalist cleavage that the Swedish Democrats ave animated.  I’ll try to offer some more or less systematic analysis of the situation in a few days.
  3. The leader of the Alberta opposition up and quitting and crossing the floor to join the governing party.  I never really thought of outright surrender as a political strategy… but there you have it.   Sure, MPs switch parties all the time (we even have poli sci models of this phenomenon), and it’s easy to recall instances where a party splits in two, but I can’t really think of a parallel to this.  Bonar Law joining the Liberals in coalition in 1914, perhaps?  But this is not a merger or a coalition; it’s outright surrender.

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