Some quick hit thoughts (some related to the election, some not)

  1. Sweden’s December Agreement has collapsed.  The government looks like it will be able to survive by relying on a lack of coordination and co-operation among the Right Bloc parties.  But as I noted a while back, there would be significant pressure on the Right Bloc parties to start staking out clear positions on immigration or risk losing votes to the Swedish Democrats.  And lo it has come to pass, with the Moderates urging a tougher immigration policy. I think this whole episode is fascinating.  I’ll have to discuss it further.
  2. Homer-Dixon has a column in the Lunch & Pail on how the Conservatives pushing of the niqab issue damaged the NDP to the extent that progressive voters could clearly coordinate on the Liberals as the best alternative to Harper.  Two thoughts: a) H-D argues that making the niqab an issue was a monumental blunder because it worked to break the coordination problem on the left.  But really, that was an unintended consequence; you can’t judge the rationality of the action on the basis of ex post outcomes.  Ex ante the Tories were looking at a bunch of polls that showed 70% of Canadian agreed with them on the issue.  How often do you see majorities that size?! And if both The Spaniel and Mulcair disagreed with the Tories’ stance on the issue , why, ex ante, would the Tories see this as an issue that would upset the coordination problem on the left? b) Funny, but I pushed this same thesis to my colleague, Fred Cutler, in the hallway at work the other day.  Fred led me back to his computer and made a pretty persuasive pitch that the NDP slide did not start with the niqab but before.  Perhaps, the Liberal leap-frog of the NDP on deficit spending was a stroke of genius?  Really, I don’t care:  I’m a legislative scholar; elections are just things that periodically shift parties’ bargaining power.
  3. But let’s do pity, Tom Mulcair: he’s been a principled adult though this whole affair, and he’s very likely to lose his job.  I do not see the NDP backbench and base taking this defeat well.  The move to the centre was supposed to deliver victory; it failed.  I predict a lurch to the left, with somebody like, say, Olivia Chow(?) as leader.  Naomi Klein would be my preferred choice as successor, however.  What can I say, I like watching train wrecks.
  4. It looks like we are heading toward a minority government w. the Spaniel as PM.  Two good things about the Spaniel’s coronation:
    1.  I get to call him “The Spaniel”. In deference to the office, I will capitalize “The” and “Spaniel”.
    2. Canada is truly the land of opportunity: having no intelligence to speak of (or none at all even) is no barrier to the highest office in the land. (I mean even Bob Rae noted on the CBC that “well, sure, he’s not the smartest guy in the room”… Wow.)  Let’s be optimistic.  What did Oliver Wendell Holmes say about Roosevelt:  secondclass intellect but a firstclass temperament. Sure, we’ll have to substitute for “second-class”… “third”, “lower”, “economy”?
    3. Question Period should be a hoot!  Jason Kenney, Naomi Klein, and The Spaniel… imagine. 

…and people say I’m cynical. Me?!  OK, next 2 posts will be a serious again.  I’ll  consider two questions: 1) what does all that campaign spending do? 2) what is the nature of minority government?

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