I post this for four unrelated reasons:
1. It’s relevant to current events (cf. what John Tory did to his public image yesterday).
2. Tomorrow Michael Coren is interviewing Clash drummer Terry Chimes, who (like many of us punks, Johnny Rotten included) is Catholic.
3. In the Social Blemishes (pre-Nasties), we met and jammed one afternoon with PIL’s drummer, fellow Albertan Jim Walker. True story.
4. You all needed to be educated about where U2’s The Edge stole his guitar sound (and the actual riff to ‘I Will Follow’) from.
My old colleague Tonda gets the scoop, here.
If true about Mac Harb, very disappointed to see. I knew him when he was an MP, and considered him to be a hard-working constit guy.
From: Doyle, Ryan firstname.lastname@example.org
To: Warren Kinsella
Just wanted to say it was a pleasure to go back and forth this morning. You are welcome on my show any time!
All the best,
What’s better, politically? Small or big?
Well, a few years back, Conservative MP Peter Van Loan called Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty “the small man of Confederation.”
Van Loan shouldn’t have made remarks about a political rival’s size, of course. At the time, Van Loan was big enough that he could have applied for his own time zone. But the then-Conservative House leader was upset that McGuinty had demanded Ontario get more House of Commons seats – along with B.C. and Alberta – due to population growth.
Van Loan was against that notion, then. (Now that pollsters are saying that the Conservatives may win another majority thanks to those new seats, he isn’t nearly as opposed to representative democracy.)
What rankled many Liberals, at the time, was Van Loan’s characterization of McGuinty as a “small man.” Calling a political opponent “small” suggests that they lack vision and courage. It’s kind of mean. (Although, when compared to the Rubenesque Van Loan, everyone looks small.)
But what if we live in an era wherein “small politics” is the order of the day? If you survey the political landscape, that certainly seems to be the case.
There was the President of the United States, for example, last week delivering his State of the Union speech, and it was all about small. The New York Times characterized it as “the diminished State of the Union,” and they were right. For 6,786 words, Barack Obama went to great lengths to remind everyone that he now lacks the ability to do big things.
So, he said, he would go around a gridlocked Congress, and think small. He plans to “take steps without legislation,” he said, to do fewer things. What they are, we know not. The Keystone pipeline, which is of critical importance to the Harper government (and which they have critically mishandled) was not mentioned once. Gun control (a year after the slaughter of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School) received two paltry sentences.
The reaction of the media? The Times approvingly decreed that “big, muscular” government was “a dead end.” The Washington Examiner and Post, respectively, called it “small bore” and “modest.” Neither seemed upset about that.
Up here, politicians have taken note. Tom Mulcair’s New Democrats have discarded Venti-sized policies, and are now purveyors of the picayune. Their latest preoccupation isn’t the Constitution or free trade: it’s ATM fees. The Conservatives, similarly, aren’t busying themselves with nation-building so much these days. Lately, they’ve seemed most energetic about the duration of cell phone contracts. The Liberals? They spent a Summer talking about cannabis, but not Syrian genocide or Quebec’s racist secular charter.
Small is big. The Globe’s Jeff Simpson pithily derides it as “small ball politics,” and he’s right. But it’s a strategy that has worked for Harper’s Conservatives for years, Simpson says, and he’s right about that, too.
Visionaries, I once remarked to no less than Dalton McGuinty – who, full disclosure, I proudly helped out – “start religions and wars”. They can often be the most dangerous people in a democracy.
But, as we look around our Lilliputian politics these days, where only political pygmies like Peter Van Loan now wield power, yearning for a bit of the vision thing is understandable.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a leader who thinks big, and does big things, once again?
People sometimes ask me if I ever miss the profession – its traditions, its decorum, its grace. In the future, I intend to refer them to Mr. Casino’s commercial, which ran in Georgia during the Super Bowl. Makes those Diamond and Diamond ads during Raptors games look like something out of the august chambers of the Supreme Court, doesn’t it?
My view on Sochi remains the same – we shouldn’t have gone and ignored/validated Putin’s gay-hate.
My friend Strombo just tweeted something, however, you should read: a member of the LGBT community is behind the curtain in Sochi. His/her stuff is here.
Keep watching. I know I will.
Under Harper, of course, the size of ministerial budgets and staffs have ballooned. Some fiscal conservatives, eh?
Was a fun read, by Beeby, here.