Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The UK and Canada Converge

We’ve been back in the UK for a while now. And for some reason the confluence of Canadian and British politics has shined fairly bright to me. The overall story arcs have followed similar tracks, though the Dominion has pulled slightly ahead this lap.

Years ago, there was a Tory government in power that brought in massive changes, privatized several major publicly held companies, pushed the free market as a panacea for everything, cosied too tightly to the US, and truly wore out their welcome. This Tory leader overstayed their time and got dumped by their party. Mulroney walked before being pushed; Thatcher was pushed but when she walked away her cabinet was able to retrieve their knives.

The replacement was a placeholder and little more. Their interregnum time may or may not have had its successes but at the election they managed to take their multi-majority winning party and use their guile to begin “the Wilderness Years.” Campbell and Major disappear.

Red signs go up everywhere and the other party takes over. Because the third party wasn’t going to win, apologies to the New Liberal-Democratic Party. (See what I did there?) Our new leader gets multiple majorities and stays in power a long, long time. And their popularity withers with this time. But they stay on more or less to piss off their annointed successor, the Finance Minister, who looks on at the leader spitefully keeping them from their dream job with thinly veiled contempt. But then rather than be ridden out of town on a horse, the leader steps down and takes off into history, leaving their money manager to pick up the pieces. Said money manager pisses their life’s ambition up the wall in a matter of weeks. Martin and Brown take note because you know it’s true.

Now in the background the Tories regroup. And slaughter several leaders as scapegoats before finally ending up with someone who’s a bit cleaner, a bit fiestier and able to survive in front of the cameras, but most of all understands that it’s just a matter of time before their in.

The election came a bit sooner in Canada, but the story will be repeating itself here in a few months. Harper took over in a minority government, and David Cameron will at least do the same next spring possibly even getting a majority. He would do well to get a few back issues of the Globe and Mail to see what happens next.

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