Tuesday, June 30, 2009

He's Good Enough, He's Smart Enough and Doggone it, People Like Hi

After eight short months, Minnesota finally will have a new Senator. Yes, Sen. Al Franken. That's 60 Democrats folks.

What A Difference A Year Makes

There's a debate in the blogosphere about Elizabeth May's electoral prospects in the riding of Guelph, ON. A year ago, I would have advised May to run in Guelph. Today, I'd advise against it. Let me explain. Last year, Guelph was entering a by-election. The Liberal incumbent was retiring and the seat was up for grabs. The race attracted a lot of attention from all four parties for different reasons. For the Tories and the NDP, there was a chance to put another nail in Stephane Dion's coffin. If the former Liberal leader couldn't hold Guelph in a by-election with a good candidate like Frank Valeriote, he was doomed. The Tories threw a lot at Valeriote as a result and the NDP perhaps put in a stronger effort than they normally would for a marginally competitive riding like Guelph. The Greens had an opportunity to build on the momentum of a good by-election result for May in London North-Centre. While Guelph is not London, another riding in Southwestern Ontario would have made a lot of sense, particularly if she could have made it into a four way race where 25-30% of the vote would have been enough to win election. Guelph has a well-earned reputation as an environmentally conscious place and there is a base of green support. In short, a pretty target.

Today, the only thing left for Elizabeth May is that latent base of green support. The numbers from last time are a little inflated by the length of the campaign providing better name recognition to Green candidate Mike Nagy. Put simply, its easier for a small campaign to get their message out if they have more time; there should be a levelling effect in terms of campaign strength. Still, I have no doubt that May could get 20-25% in Guelph. I don't think that's enough to win. The Tories in a general election are not going to make Guelph the priority they did in the by-election. Even if they feel, that they are in a position to attack Liberal incumbents, there are ridings in the 905 (Brampton-Springdale, Brampton-West) that are better targets for them. Frankly, I think they're going to be playing defense in Ontario and their attentions in that part of the province should be in holding their two very close pick-ups in Kitchener-Waterloo and Kitchener-Centre. That puts Guelph as a less likely target for Conservative cabinet ministers and even the Prime Minister. Frank Valeriote will get a boost from the incumbency as most politicians do. May wouldn't have a significant name recognition advantage over a sitting MP. Valeriote should also benefit from a leader like Michael Ignatieff pulling back some of the centre and centre-right Liberal vote that Stephane Dion lost last time around. The NDP, particularly if Elizabeth May jumps in, have no incentive to target Guelph. The last thing the NDP wants is the Green Party leader in the house and splitting votes from the Liberals there would not be in their interests. Like the Tories, they have other fish to fry in Ontario and the NDP is known for directing their resources to a small number of ridings which I can't believe will include Guelph. In other words, anyone looking to knock off Valeriote is going to need closer to 40% of the vote than 30% of the vote. I think that's a bridge too far for Elizabeth May.

Dan's got a pretty good list in terms of other potential targets. I might add Dufferin-Caledon to that list. Even though the Tories won easily there in 2008(David Tilson got a majority of the vote), I think the best chance for May is to get herself in a two way race with a Tory incumbent where she becomes the anti-government vote. Central Nova was a bad choice to try do that in, but without the benefit of a non-compete agreement with the Grits, she needs to find a riding where the Liberals are weak and the NDP weaker. Dufferin-Caledon fits that bill. It's also in that swath of Central and Western Ontario that seems to like the Green Party for whatever reason.

Issue Search 2009: The Economy (Domestic)

If you missed my introduction to this series of posts, scroll down or click here. The first two issues on my list are vaguely put, the future of the Canadian economy. With a couple of possible exceptions, I'm trying to look at issues that will be with us not only today but for the medium to long term as well. Today, I am going to go through some of the issues confronting the Canadian economy at home. I put domestic in parenthesis in the title because I want to differentiate this post from a discussion of trade which will follow at some point in the future. I'm going to try to set up a basic form for these posts here. I'll try to follow it as much as possible. The plan is to delineate the challenges first, the potential solutions second and then if there's a need the political implications or limitations. Without further ado...

The Challenge: The challenge to the Canadian economy put simply is that we are heavily dependent on a series of industries with poor medium to long term prospects. The current decline in demand for Canadian exports simply exxagerrates this problem. Whether that's forestry in British Columbia, the automotive sector in Ontario and, yes, the commercial fishery out east. The underlying issues here diverge although cheaper foreign competition is a theme. The fishery is being hurt by declines in fish stocks. The forestry industry is being hurt by decline in global demand and foreign competition. Finally, the automotive industry which for so long served as major parts of the Ontarian heart of the Canadian economy is suffering from low global demand for cars and an historical relationship with the struggling big three auto makers. The challenge in all cases is to find new industries to replace the old.

A secondary challenge is the so-called productivity gap which Jeffery Simpson harps about endlessly. I'll discuss that briefly. Basically, the amount of money generated in relationship number of hours Canadians put in is shrinking. Put simply, Canadians are generating less GDP per hour. Economists this is a bad thing.

The Solution: There is a fair amount of debate as to whether or not government can really lead the way on the economic transformation that may be necessary in certain areas. There are two overlapping directions which are generally considered as "the way forward": go green or go tech. Tech has the stronger roots in this country. The failure of Nortel's management should not disguise its success for many years as a world leader. Research In Motion is the new big kid on the block and regardless of whether co-founder Jim Balsillie ever gets himself a hockey team, Balsillie and his partner Mike Laziridis have led a tech boom in Southwestern Ontario. They're beating Bay St. and Wall St. estimates even in the teeth of this recession. What makes RIM such a positive story is the amount that they've given back to the community of Kitchener-Waterloo in funding for the University of Waterloo and other major projects. Tech makes some sense as a way forward in Ontario. Ontario has a network of high quality, tech savvy universities and colleges within close proximity. In other words, there is the intellectual density to make this work. Governments can really only help push the train forward. The traditional government remedy is research grants which have shown some results in producing good research. Exactly what is needed to turn research into entrepreneurship in the tech sector is less clear but programs to support entrepreneurs and small business generally, certainly can't hurt.

The green solution is less evident in the current landscape. My problem with "green jobs" is they seem self-limiting. I'll explain. Most businesses which sell a product rely on that product either breaking down or becoming obsolete in some fashion be it technologically or just style. If you're selling windmills and solar panels, where do you go after everyone has a solar panel on their roof. While I generally agree that there is a large boom in the offing, I wonder how quickly that would be followed by a large bust. Solar panels are sold as long term investments that will pay off over time. Even if there's an advance I don't see people taking an old functioning solar panel down to replace it with the latest model. I'm not sure you can sustain an industry on something someone buys maybe once every twenty years if not less. Solar panels are probably the most sustainable of the green energy technologies. Things like wind mills are really only built once and require too few people to maintain them to be considered a significant industry. If we're talking about an industry that will keep Canadians working fifty from years from now, I'm not sure green is the answer.

The other solutions are less dramatic and perhaps less effective. The growing percentage of Ontario auto jobs that rely on non-big three auto companies is a positive sign. Magna's purchase of Opel may provide some jobs down the road. I'm not sure you can get the auto industry back to where it was on the strength of Magna, Toyota and Honda but it may be a way to keep something alive. There are a whole host of new uses such as wood based ethanol and it is possible that some of the failing pulp and paper mills in the country could retrofitted to new purposes.

It isn't entirely clear that the Canadian government can play a major role in shaping the ecnomic future of this country. This means to me, that there won't be a lot of contentious domestic economic plans as such in the next election. Tax cuts versus spending on research and development may be the extent of the debate. Productivity is not really the problem people think it is. Canadians aren't lazier than they were or even less efficient. More of them are working in less value-added industries. In other words, you're going to have higher productivity in manufacturing than you do in primary industries like energy extraction or in the majority of the service sector. As the Canadian economy has shed manufacturing jobs and added primary industry jobs, productivity has declined. I'd say its symptom and not a disease.

Political Implications: As I noted above, this isn't really an issue that political strategists are going to excited about. There just aren't enough wedges to drive here. It's a major almost existential question but it makes poor politics. Don't expect these kinds of questions to consume question period any time soon. Thus, the market will proabably decide the fate of the Canadian economy whether we want it to or not.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Issue Search 2009: Because We're All Policy Wonks At Heart

With this being Canada Day Weekend 1 (of 2) this year, I'd say we are well into summer. With the news cycle likely to be lighter (Honduran coups notwithstanding), I figure I'd delve into summer series of posts. I've been noticing over the last few months of breathless election speculation that there are no big issues on the Canadian political landscape, at least nothing tangible. I mean the economy is a mess and Canadians would like to see it improve but the stimulus package is generally popular and there's not enough day light between two major parties on the economy to kill a vampire. So, what I want to explore over the next few posts (with the news of the day in between when appropriate), is what are the major issues facing Canada today and tomorrow? What are the problems? What are the possible solutions? If we are going to drag Canadians to the polls in the next year we should probably figure out some reasons for doing so. Hopefully, I can offer some possibilities. So, for a start here are some of the issues I'm going to discuss in no particular order:
  1. The Death of Canadian Manufacturing and the Future of the Canadian Economy
  2. The What and Where of Canadian Trade
  3. The Role of the Federal Government and Canada as a United Country
  4. The Looming Demographic Health Care Crisis
  5. The Climate Crisis and Canada's Role in its Resolution
  6. The Role of the Canadian Military After Afghanistan/2011
  7. Childcare
  8. East-West Infrastructure
  9. The Role of Cities in Contemporary Canada
  10. Civic Engagement in the 21st Century
Topic suggestions are more than welcome.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Quick Hits Before the Weekend

Some quick thoughts before the weekend:
  • The suspense is killing me. Okay, not killing me but I am mildly interested to know who the new leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario is going to be. Too bad we have to wait until Saturday.
  • I love that "hiking the Appalachian Trail" is now a sexual euphemism. Seriously, cross Gov. Sanford off the 2012 list. Was I the only one both awed and confused by his explanation of what sin is and how the bible helps us to not sin. I didn't realize selfishness was the deadliest sin of all.
  • We should take a minute to remember the service that Romeo LeBlanc gave to this country. Canada lost a giant this week.
  • The Liberal poll numbers are down again. Um... yeah, this is why you don't jump to the polls every time your numbers go up a point. Seriously, I need help finding us enough seats to form government right about now. We need a seismic shift in Ontario and I don't see it before the next election.
  • NDP Mayor of Toronto + Conservative Federal Government = One botched streetcar project. Somebody needs to tell David Miller the one about putting all his eggs in one basket. Somebody needs to tell John Baird to watch his tongue.
  • Speaking of Miller, I just love that our Mayor has decided to play politics with the garbage strike. Miller needs to prove himself a centrist by standing up to the big bad garbagemen, so the city gets to stink for a few weeks. I guess the Mayor's political prospects are more important than making the city look decent for Toronto's summer festivals which begin in earnest this weekend with the Pride parade. Hey your worship, I've got yet another ad campaign for you: "Come to Toronto: The Stinkiest Place on Earth." We need a mayor that puts the city and its industries ahead of political gamesmanship.
  • The greatest hypocrisy in the whole thing is one of the main reasons the garbage collectors are so reviled in Toronto is because of the big shift in garbage collection that Toronto just endured. That shift of course was initiated by Miller in his continuing futile attempt to avoid incineration. So people are angry about garbage because of Miller's garbage plan so he tries to channel that anger by pitting himself in a war against the garbage collectors. This is just too rich.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Smells Like A New Mayor

Toronto's garbage workers are on strike. There are some, namely Marcus Gee, think this is an opportunity for Mayor Miller to guarantee his re-election next year. I beg to differ. The problem for the Mayor and Marcus Gee's theory is that he can't win this strike. There are really only two potential outcomes here. The first is that the Mayor caves to the union's demands which would be politically disastrous. The second is that after the residents of Toronto begin investing in nose plugs, Dalton McGuinty takes the same step Ernie Eves made in 2002 and orders the garbage workers back to work and both sides to binding arbitration. I can't believe there's a length of time that would see the union's strike fund depleted enough to force the union's hand but would not require the premier to act to forestall a public health crisis. Public sentiment may not be with the union, but Miller is not going to be able to walk away from a negotiating table in victory. At best, he'll get a somewhat favourable ruling from an arbitrator but even that may be unlikely. As Kinsella and The Toronto Star note, the Mayor's bargaining position is undermined by Toronto city council's recent pay hike in this same wintry economic climate. At any rate, when's the last time there was significant media coverage of an arbitrator's decision weeks after a strike ended?

The Agony of Distance

The images from the streets of Tehran are increasingly heart-wrenching. We are witnessing a desperate government exercise its monopoly of force upon its own citizens. I don't think there are many people in the West who are not cringing at the seemingly hopeless struggle of the brave protesters on Tehran's increasingly bloody streets. We continue to watch and pray because we can do little else. For all the miracles of communication that have allowed images, video and tweets to escape the iron grasp of the Iranian police, we can give nothing but moral support. There are those in this world on both the left and the right who would like to see the world get more involved in the domestic affairs of other countries. However, no foreign soldiers whether fighting under the flag of the United Nations nor the flag of the United States could resolve this conflict in the manner that so many want it to. No amount of aggresive diplomacy is likely to influence events in Iran either.

The United Nations is, as it is all too often, useless to help. While the West watches the bloodshed with horror, I doubt that horror is felt the same way in the halls of power in Beijing. People power is not popular in the People's Republic. There is little hope of China turning down oil shipments from Iran in order to punish the Iranian government for putting down an increasingly powerful protest. Without China, no sanctions or other action of meaning will get through the United Nations. So New York watches with interest but not with an interest to act.

In Washington, Barack Obama sits helplessly. Even if his army were not hamstrung by wars on Iran's eastern and northwestern borders, he knows that the only thing that could immediately reconcile the protesters in the streets to their government is American intervention. It is true that Iranians have a generally favourable view of the United States. They also have a very strong sense of national pride which, much as it does in Canada, tends to have an adverse reaction to foreign governments trying to dictate their domestic affairs. Obama's trepidation to speak more forcefully may befuddle his critics on the American right and the Iranian left, but he carries the baggage of previous sins of commission in Iranian politics made by previous American Presidents. So he, like so many others, watches and hopes and speaks softly when at all.

Friday, June 19, 2009

At Issue Issues

As is done elsewhere this time of year, I will provide my answers to the questions posed to the at issue panel last night.

Most Underrated Politician: Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Okay, loyal readers know my distaste of the NDP knows few bounds, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Horwath may never be Premier of Ontario but she is clearly more of a politician than people give her credit for. First, she won a leadership that was supposed to be Peter Tabuns' to lose. Since then she's been a competent leader in the house. It may not be high standards, but the bar is so low for Horwath after Hampton and Rae that she's leapt over it.

Most Overrated Politician: Elizabeth May

Who? You remember the lady nobody talked to in the debates? Yes, the Green leader has fallen off the face of the earth. So much for the breath of fresh air everyone was raving about a few months back.

Honourable Mention: I know the rules say one, but what the heck happened to the once bright electoral prospects of BC NDP leader in Carole James?

Most Underreported News Story: Free Trade With The EU

This has the potential to signal a shift Canadian trade policy and were entrusting it to be managed by Stockwell Day with no discussion? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for free trade with Europe, but can we talk about it? Anyone?

Political Play of the Year: Iggy Takes Charge

I agree with Rex on this one. Taking over the Liberal Party of Canada without a fight may be the political play of the century.

Political Misplay of the Year: The YLC Amendment to OMOV

This may seem harsh but I'll explain. A lot of the other nominees (Harper in Quebec; Iggy's quasi-ultimatum) in this category rely on future events punishing their stupidity which is impossible to predict. This one is in the books. The YLC made itself less relevant while failing to stop OMOV from passing as is. It is yet another reminder of how pointless it can be for an organization to act when its membership isn't fully behind it.
Honourable Mention: Fair Vote Canada and the Vote STV folks for turning almost sixty percent to almost thirty percent in only four years.

Most Shamelessly Exploited News Story: Barack Obama's Visit

Both Harper and Ignatieff are guilty. Although bonus marks to Iggy for the advertising in Times Square.

Next Election: Fall 2009, E-Day November 16

Hey, pointless prognostication is useless unless it's impossibly specific. Seriously, I don't buy that either the NDP or the Bloc see their political fortunes in serious jeopardy. The Bloc should be able to hold on to most of its seats as should the Dippers save maybe one or two. I also don't see Jack Layton or Gilles Duceppe saving the government just to save Canadians the indignity of yet another election.

Fascist? Maybe not. Racist and Nationalist? Definitely

Paul Wells and Mark Steyn have warring columns over at Macleans. Steyn is a tad worried about the success of far-right racist parties in the recent European elections. Wells sees it as a meaningless blip. I think the two are both right and both wrong. Mr. Steyn is right to be concerned about the rise of the these parties. Wells is right that the problem is not exactly unmanageably large as yet. A couple of small points of disagreement with Wells. If he's going to accuse Steyn of stretching the numbers, he shouldn't do it himself. Wells argues that "fascist" parties won only 26 or 3.5% of the 736 seats available. While technically true, it is a distorted picture. One must remember that the largest electoral prize in Europe, Germany, is off-limits to such parties for obvious historical reasons. If you count how these parties did in the rest of Europe, the number rises to 4%. Of course, I'm not sure why either writer limits themselves to just non-aligned parties. This limited view of things ignores parties that are technically more "mainstream" but often equally as xenophobic parties such as Italy's Northern League and Denmark's Danish People's party (11 seats between the two). Those two parties alone raise the total of radical right wing MEP's to 5% of the total and 5.8% outside of Germany. Of course, this does not represent the toal vote for these parties as many, such as Sweden's Swedish Democrats, fell short of winning seats. In otherwords, while we are probably not witnessing the rise of the next Franco or Mussolini, one shouldn't understate the rise of the far-right in European politics.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The World Watches Iran

A friend of mine once commented that it seems ingrained in the French psyche that every thirty years or so they have to go out and build barricades in the streets of Paris. It's just part of the political culture. Well, apparently the Iranians have taken a page from the French playbook. In all seriousness, thirty years after the Shah was expelled, Iranians are back in the streets. Will it be a full scale revolution? Probably not, for the reason that all potential revolutions are unlikely: the power lies with the people, well, in power. You can look at anything from the Rebellions of 1837 in Canada to the riots in the streets of Paris a few years back that had people pondering the birth of a new French Republic for historical comparisons. Here's what's clear. The election was highly irregular. Check out Nate Silver's analysis if you have any doubts. There is significant popular anger over these irregularities. It is also evident that Pres. Ahmadinejad has a base of support. Mousavi's supporters were always thinking that there was enough support for Ahmadinejad to make for a close election. There also appears to be broad support for Ayatollah Khamanei. What does this add up to? I don't know. The Iranian people will come to some sort of resolution.

Side Note: We aren't going to the polls this summer? You mean bringing down a government less than nine months after it was elected in the middle of a major recession didn't make sense?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

I watched the country's most watched conservative political panel a.k.a. The At Issue Panel along with Rex Murphy last night. It is remarkable to see the reaction when a politician acts like a somewhat rational human being. I'm not saying Michael Ignatieff's four non-ultimatum non-conditions/questions that require answers/government action/plans for government action is going to win any awards for cunning political strategy. I will say that for all those people who seem to like the idea of minority governments (I'm looking at you PR advocate Andrew Coyne), you have to like the almost conciliatory that is being struck by both our Prime Minister and the the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. Question Period yesterday is a prime example of government actually, you know, working. Michael Ignatieff asked a couple of questions (mostly actual questions as opposed to "will the minister resign?" political barbs) about the isotope supply and lo and behold (after a little theatre from our Prime Minister) the Minister of Health rises in the house to announce some good news on that front. Actual news too. That's a functioning minority government. We Liberals may not like what's going on all the time, but parliament appears to be working. Opposition raises issue that needs solving. Government tries to solve it. Partisan brinksmanship aside, that's how this whole thing is supposed to work. However, according to the talking heads this was variously a terrible day for Michael Ignatieff or proof positive that he takes after a certain Danish prince made famous by William Shakespeare.

It is disheartening to see how poorly any attempts at adult behaviour go over with the chattering classes. Actually reading a government report before passing judgment? Indecision! A serious-minded list of questions? Incomprehensible! Meet with your opponents and work out the differences? Cowardice! Apparently good government is bad for the media business.

Oh. If we end up in a summer election, all four parliamentary whips should lose their jobs.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Problem With City Councillors Running For Mayor

Anyone know who these fine people are?

If you said Karen Stintz and Denzil Minnan-Wong you would be right. Now if we could only get 2.5 million more people to know that. I know that city councilors have gotten the top job (see Miller, David) but the name recognition issue against an incumbent mayor is a huge hill in an election where name recognition is everything.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Expected Yet Unexpected

That's the only way I can think of to describe the election results from last night. Yes, everyone thought that the NDP was going to win in Nova Scotia and Creigh Deeds was going to be nominated in Virginia when they woke up yesterday morning. However, a few months ago such a possibility would have been viewed as remote. The NDP knocking off the Tories isn't particularly shocking because the Tories lost, only that the NDP has found itself in government in the Maritimes. It marks just the second NDP government east of Lake of the Woods. We'll see if they can do better than the first.

The more interesting election last night may have been the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Virginia. Former DNC Chairman and Clinton loyalist, Terry McCauliffe had been the front runner until about a month ago when his poll numbers plummeted. Frankly, I can't say I'm unhappy to see Terry McCauliffe get his butt kicked. The man was a disaster as DNC Chairman.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Strange and the Scary

Well, most of the European Parliamentary Election results are in. Outside of some outstanding votes in the UK (specifically Scotland and Northern Ireland), we know who's going to Strasbourg/Brussels. What emerges is a whole host of new MEP's who are far less mainstream than their predecessors. In the Netherlands, a party whose leader whose views are seen as so incediary as to have been banned from visiting the UK has won four seats in Parliament. In Sweden, as I discussed earlier, there will be an MEP from the Pirate Party (which opposes intellectual property and copyright rules). In Hungary, a party which maintains a paramilitary wing has elected three MEP's. In the United Kingdom, people have been shocked by the election of two members of the British Nationalist Party. The BNP has a rule which bans people of African descent from joining their party or even attending their meetings. Racist is an understatement. There are those who often look to Europe as a place of progress that we in Canada need to emulate, it is important to look at the whole picture.

Swedes Elect Pirate to European Parliament

Yes. A pirate. Here's the pirate party's website. This is internet piracy not the Somali speed boat kind but still. 7% of the vote and a seat in the European Parliament. Wow. More on the hilarity across the pond otherwise known as the European Parliamentary Election as it develops.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Strange Bedfellows

It has been remarkable to watch this week as the Government of Ontario and Government of Canada embarked on a risky foray into the auto industry to almost no debate or criticism. Remarkable, but not surprising. After all, the Conservative Prime Minister had little choice but to bail out the stumbling auto giant lest he be accused of pushing precious manufacturing jobs south of the border. The same can be said of the Liberal Premier of Ontario. The two men, Prime Minister Harper and Premier McGuinty, have much much in common. They both took over their parties after disastrous election campaigns (McLeod 1995 and Day 2000). They both faced the obstacle of overcoming the "natural governing parties" that held power. They both lost their first election. They both defeated the short term replacement of a long serving first minister. They both are proof that in the words of another Premier of Ontario, "bland works." However, the one thing they have rarely had in common is policy.

By agreeing on this issue, if at the end of the barrel of a gun, they have in effect inoculated each other from criticism. Mr. Harper is not likely to see David McGuinty or any of his colleagues rising from their chair in the House of Commons to criticize a plan that is as much a Liberal plan as it is a Conservative one. Likewise, it is unlikely that either Mr. Hudak or Ms. Elliot will come out against the plans dreamt up by former Harris cabinet members, Mr. Flaherty and Mr. Clement. The NDP was never going to be against a plan to save union jobs. Thus, Ontario's three major parties, provincially and federally, have a sort of agreement on what otherwise would be a massive issue.

It is always kind of eerie when there is political consensus. It generally means one of two things: either it's so smack-you-in-the-head-obviously right that no one can disagree, or everyone's drinking the same bad kool-aid and it's a terrible idea. Time will tell which is the case here.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Happy European Parliamentary Election Day!

Yes, today is the start of voting in the world's second largest democracy (almost 500,000,000 people in the EU these days). Expect turnout to be terrible in this election. It seems not even proportional representation can compel people to vote in an election they don't care about. The United Kingdom is up first today. Apparently, the thought is that people will vote against the party supported by the increasingly unpopular Gordon Brown in a possible preview of the looming parliamentary election in the UK. It may be deeply unpopular and mostly pointless but it is still fascinating to watch an exercise in democracy on this grand a scale. It isn't quite India but it is still an overwhelming concept to think about.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Here's A Thought...

Don't bring the secret documents to the media outlet. I wonder how this kind of thing plays in Halton.
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