Crawl Across the Ocean

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Dividing the Herd

I remember, way back, reading a story in the book Taran Wanderer (by Lloyd Alexander), in which the protagonist, Taran, is forced to divide a herd of cattle between two untrustworthy locals (their herds have been mixed together). Since neither of the two locals would trust him to divide the herd fairly, he comes up with a clever solution - one local will divide the herd into two halves and the other one will choose which half he wants.

I've been thinking about various potential government policies with economic implications (such as Kyoto, or environmental protection in general) and I've decided that we need a somewhat similar solution for our Federal politics (the ones that influence the economy anyway):

I propose that the NDP decide what our priorities should be and set targets, and the Conservatives are put in charge of getting as close as possible to these targets.1 The Liberals would of course still retain all the official reins of power including titles and the ability to make patronage appointments.

The way I figure, everybody wins. The NDP gets what they really want, which is improvements to our overall quality of life, the Liberals get what they want, which is the trappings of power, and the Conservatives get what they want, the ability to prevent all those crazy socialists (in their view) from building up a big welfare state and bankrupting the country.

OK, that's bit cynical and unfair (especially to the Liberals), but I still think it could be an effective model.

1 Actually this isn't all that far from the Green Party platform in the last election.

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  • "and the Conservatives get what they want, the ability to prevent all those crazy socialists (in their view) from building up a big welfare state and bankrupting the country."

    That's not what the Conservatives want. It may be a small part of the whole picture, but its is definitely not the ultimate goal of the CPC.

    By Blogger Kirith Kodachi, at 6:54 AM  

  • What is their goal? I went to their website and looked (briefly) but couldn't find it.

    To join with the States? To lower taxes to some level? To privatize almost all of government?

    I'm not being sarcastic, I really don't know what their ultimate goal is (I figure what I listed above all seem reasonable based on what is on their website and from what I've heard from various conservative politicians in the past).

    By Blogger Simon, at 9:20 AM  

  • Keep in mind Bill that I was only referring to economic issues. And it's true that the Conservatives want to do more than stop the growth / increase the shrinkage of the welfare state, but I think it's fair to say that's their primary economic goal.

    But, now that I look at their website, you may have a point. According to the site (which is pretty vague but presumably will get more detailed after the policy conference in March) their economic priorities are:

    lower taxes
    more military spending
    more money for seniors
    more money for roads
    more money for students*
    more money for farmers
    more money for fishermen

    Presumably something will have to give in order to cut taxes and simultaneously give more money to the military, seniors, roads, students*, farmers and fishermen - but they don't say what.

    So perhaps I was wrong and what they want is for the same old welfare state only more in debt and with the money going to different (generally more rural, less urban) interests.

    * what they actually call for is a modernized student loan program - but I don't really know what this means (what makes a loan program modern vs. pre-modern?) so I'm assuming it means more money.

    By Blogger Declan, at 11:02 AM  

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