08 July 2009

Of mice and antelope through the looking glass

In this summer of political problems across the province, of meltdowns and power lines, some old posts at Bond Papers take on a renewed relevance.

In November 2006, your humble e-scribbler brought out the idea of mice and antelope as a metaphor for the political problem of focusing on side issues  - trivial issues - rather than keeping eyes on the big prize.

A couple of years into the administration, its tendency to get distracted was plainly obvious.

Now a couple of years into its second term and the tendency has become the main operating method.

Around these parts, we’d say the mouse hunting is one of the big reasons why projects tend to hang around - unresolved - for years or why legislation is passed and then left to the sidelines or why major capital works projects are announced and then seem to take forever before a shovel is even waved above a sod let alone pushed into it.

The thing is that as time goes by, any government that tends to get distracted by mice will wind up having more things not accomplished than it has accomplished.  The magnitude of what it gets done, even if they are big things like offshore oil projects or a massive hydro project,  starts to look puny compared to the mountain of others things that hang around seemingly gathering dust.

That Lewis Carroll notion  - think “un-birthdays” - is one we’ve gone to before.  There is un-communication, for example.  Now it seems to be appropriate to start talking of the current administration’s un-accomplishments.

The Fan Club, at this juncture, is no doubt rushing about shouting something about shooting or lopping off heads, but in doing so they miss the point entirely, as usual.

People typically want their government to succeed.  They like it when schools are built, roads are paved, and jobs are created.  They like it when the party that wins an election actually does all the good things they promised;  sustainable development acts, improvements to open records laws, a New Approach that involves listening to people and giving them substantial input into how they are governed.

Pointing out the shortcomings is a reminder that there are antelope over there aplenty waiting to be slain.

It’s a call to the Fan Club and its idol to stop getting distracted by the mouse scurrying by.