And I Thought *I* Was Cynical
"The Conservative platform is stupid, but because the middle class is stupid and selfish they will vote for it, so it is a political winner."
You think I'm exaggerating but I'm not. Let me demonstrate.
"The government will cut the GST because Liberal income-tax cuts, while more efficient, appear illusory"
"Toughening penalties on gun crimes may be counterproductive at a time when overall crime rates are in decline, but in the face of impotence on the part of politicians, judges and police to curb the rise in gang violence, any action looks better than no action at all"
"Banning corporate donations to political parties and slashing limits to personal contributions, while proscribing lobbying by former government employees, may well be inefficient and excessive"
"Finally, sending parents money for child care, while encouraging employers to create daycare spaces, will not lead to a coherent national daycare program"
"the experts may shake their heads at the impracticality or uselessness of what has been promised"
So I think that pretty much covers the 'Conservative policies are stupid' part of my summary.
The idea that middle class voters are stupid is pretty much implicit in the argument that they will support stupid policies but John spells it out, just to be clear,
"Bureaucrats, academics and analysts warn that these issues are complex, that these fears are generally unfounded, and that change must accommodate competing interests.
But that's not what middle-class voters want to hear."
Ibbitson suggests that policies which help the poor or address aboriginal issues are pointless (politically) because "the poor don't vote", and "there aren't that many middle-class, voting, aboriginal Canadians." The assumption that the middle class is unconcerned with issues which don't affect them directly or with the problems faced by minority groups is an assumption that they are selfish.
As for stupid policies aimed at middle-class fears being a political winner, Ibbitson makes this claim explicitly in the first paragraph,
"Stephen Harper has offered a Speech from the Throne that, barring the truly unforeseen, will lead to the re-election of the Conservative government in 2007, because he understands what his critics do not understand: the hidden fears of the middle class."
So, is John Ibbitson right? Is a platform of stupid policies (none of which will do anything to benefit the nation) targeted to address the fear and greed of a stupid and selfish middle class, the road to success in Canadian politics? I guess time will tell, but I sincerely hope not.