21 January 2010

Leading the nation…

in a lamentable trend.

Via nottawa, here’s a link to Jim Travers’ excellent column on the decline of democratic institutions in Canada.

Regular readers of these humble e-scribbles will know that the local legislature and the government which has taken complete control of it in every respect is way ahead of the crowd in eroding the function of democratic institutions.

Everything Jim says about Ottawa applies equally in St. John’s.

The phenomenon is not a partisan one.  The current Conservative crowds in Ottawa and St. John’s have merely taken to the whole trend started under respectively – Chretien and Tobin - with an unnatural lust.

The root of the problem is easy to identify.

The cure, as Jim lays it out, is the same thing:

If war is too serious to leave to generals, then surely democracy is too important to delegate to politicians.

We – the voters – let the politicians carry on the way they do.

We - the voters – can change things.

You just gotta wanna.

-srbp-

12 comments:

Wm. Murphy said...

We - the voters – can change things

Unless someone credible and Premier worthy competes with Ms. Jones this fall...there will be no change. If there is not a change there will be a further erosion of democracy and we will let the politicians carry on the way they do....


You just gotta wanna have a viable and credible alternative to lead the province.... and Ms. Jones is not it

Ed Hollett said...

Horseshit.

You can change things by refusing to simply ignore what the current crowd of politicians are doing, fawningf prasie all over their assdes and then wondering how they got so out of touch.

All politicians, all the time need to know they cannnot take public support for granted.

It isn't about your obsession with who The Boss is. We need to get rid of bossism in all its forms.

Bossism is part of the problem since it devalues the individual MHA and makes the individual voter seem irrelevant.

Wm. Murphy said...

I assume you are crying horseshit because I said...."Unless someone credible and Premier worthy competes with Ms. Jones this fall...there will be no change"

Ain't gonna happen Ed...there will be no change. As you know I have been on this topic before and I guess that's means I am obsessed. If that's what it is ..then so be it. But in truth, that would be horseshit.

So here we are again Ed.......hmmm!
Now that there is a race and your glowing, yet veiled support of the Lib Leader continues...I guess you believe that Ms. Jones will invoke the change you reference. If so, then that would be horseshit!!

Wm.

Wm. Murphy said...

I assume you are crying horseshit because I said...."Unless someone credible and Premier worthy competes with Ms. Jones this fall...there will be no change"

Ain't gonna happen Ed...there will be no change. As you know I have been on this topic before and I guess that's means I am obsessed. If that's what it is ..then so be it. But in truth, that would be horseshit.

So here we are again Ed.......hmmm!
Now that there is a race and your glowing, yet veiled support of the Lib Leader continues...I guess you believe that Ms. Jones will invoke the change you reference. If so, then that would be horseshit!!

Wm.

Ed Hollett said...

I said horseshit because you are basically peddling the same view of politics (bossism) that got us into the current mess in the first place.

There are 48 politicians in the legislature. If we put all our weight on one and one alone, then we can expect to get a screwed up result.

A lot.

On top of that we have to expect the legisklature to do its job. That job is NOT to slavishly follow the will of The Boss which is - again - what it has tended to do since 1949 and especially so since 2003.

Change can come if we simply start refusing to accept all of the premises on which the current approach operates. One of those is to refuse to play The Boss game any more.

In a by-election people must reject the idea of having someone on the government side in order to get things done.

When a government punishes a district for voting "the wrong way" voters must extract their due by voting out another of the imcumbent party crowd (or the whole bunch) until the message gets through.

We have to change that ridiculous view that if your candidate of choice loses then your vote doesn't count. ("I lost my vote" as some say.) What utter silliness.

The change I am talking about has to come not from a boss but from individual voters deciding for themselves what they want to do.

Now make no mistake. I am not holding my breath that this might happen tomorrow. Change will take time, but change can't come if - like you - voters refuse to change.

If you are unhappy with the current look of politics in the province, look no further than the face staring back at you from the mirror in the morning.

I am not talking partisan politics, as you seem to be talking. I am talking about a fundamentally different approach to politics, period, full stop, end of story.

To steal someone else's words, here's the problem:

"For the mass of the people the words Tory and Grit, Conservative and Liberal, referred neither to political ideologies nor to administrative techniques. They were regarded only as meaningless labels, affixed to alternatives whicb permitted the auctioneering of one's support; they had no more meaning than bleu or rouge, which eventually replaced them in popular speech...

"In such a mental climate, sound democratic politics could hardly be expected to prevail ...".

The change that has to come is between people's ears.

Mark said...

Wm - you've fallen into the mistaken assumption that we elect our Premier. We don't. We elect Members of the Legislature, and in thPremier, in turn derives his authority and legitimacy from that elected body. True, there are nuances that have shifted us away from that - like the popular election (or purchase) of any party's leadership, and a media frame that has rendered local representation virtually irrelevant.

But the simple fact is, our House of Assembly is in far, far greater need of an intervention from the electorate than the dyfunctional Commons in Ottawa. This isn't Williams' fault, as it goes back before his arrival, but it has certainly worsened. And having an weak or incompetent Opposition isn't any reason to support the status quo. If anything, it's a reason to work to build a better alternative.

WJM said...

a media frame that has rendered local representation virtually irrelevant.

As much as the media does have some culpability, I wouldn't lay the whole blame at them.

Exhibit A: "Pfff."

Ed Hollett said...

Backbenchers are as irrelevent as they want to be.

The current crop seem to be an especially nose-to-backside bunch but then again, they likely took the object lesson of Fabian Manning to heart.

They also have the quiet way in which Ray Hunter and Wade verge (there's your guy Wally) have been shunted to the crappiest seats on the government side.

The media frame is a contributing factor and the tendency to focus on the caudillo is only exaggerated by the fact that for the moist part the media with the impact is driven from St. John's. Witness the coverage of the two by-elections.

They'd have been better covered if they were in a Third World country instead of beyond the overpass.

Wm. Murphy said...

Wm - you've fallen into the mistaken assumption that we elect our Premier. We don't. We elect Members of the Legislature, and in thPremier, in turn derives his authority and legitimacy from that elected body.

Thanks for the grade 8 lesson on Party Politics, but I breezed through that year thank you.

The weak and incompentent Opposition that you speak of is so disfunctional that I will put my energies behind the raving lunatic that we have as Premier. You see, Leadership takes may forms and one of those forms is also surrounding yourself will competent people. Just look at Iggy's office...Donalo is now hired as he attempts to surround his Leader with competent people.

The same cannot be said about Jones and the sorry group that are in her inner circle. Wells Peckford, Grimes Williams et al; all had inner circles that, to some degree, influenced the Leader. When I see the same sense that this Party is getting serious about forming the gov't, then I will have "a reason to work to build a better alternative."

I will hold my nose and take the status quo until the Prov Libs find a leader that is ready and able to Lead the gov't. That's the intervention we need...

Wm.

Mark said...

It wasn't a lesson on party piolitics, it was a lesson on how Parliamentary systems are supposed to work. If you think the Opposition benches are useless, then go out and elect a good one in your riding next time around.

Wm. Murphy said...

I passed the lesson on how Parliamentary systems work....actually that was the gist of my dissertation...thanks though.

Btw, I have a great member in my riding. Couldn't be more happier. Now, if only the prov Libs could attract a competent candidate for leadership.

Can't wait to see all the names came forward during this fall's Leadership race. Maybe there is a lesson on how these processes work...I am a bit rusty on that....especially when no credible alternative puts their name forward

Wm.

Ed Hollett said...

Or by the same token if you think the MHA representing your district - who sits on the gov side - is useless then make a change there too.

If you focus relentlessly on the leader then you can elect a pack of dunderheads who will be shagged up if there is a sudden heart attack or a runaway bus accident.

It seemes to me a rather silly idea to put the entire fate of the province or what have you into the hands of one mortal human being regardless of who that one person is.