Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Good Old Fashioned Class Warfare

While many members of the chattering class have heralded Stephen Harper's election as the beginning of a bright and beautiful future, Linda McQuaig has always seen it for what it is: a concerted and vengeful attempt to turn back the clock.

In today's Toronto Star, she writes that, by waging a successful bait and switch campaign, conservatives have been able to obscure a good old fashioned class war:

The class war has been relentlessly proceeding. While incomes at the top have steadily climbed, incomes of ordinary Canadians have steadily eroded. The real median Canadian family income hasn’t risen since the late 1970s — even though today’s typical family now has two earners, compared to just one earner 30 years ago. In other words, Canadian families are working about twice as hard to keep up to where they were a generation ago.

One of the Conservatives' prime targets has been unions.They have become what welfare recipients were for the Harris government -- straw men who serve to focus public anger:

With unions weakened in the private sector, conservatives are turning their sights on the last bastion of union power — the public sector, where unionization rates remain a healthy 71 per cent (compared with just 16 per cent in the private sector).

Conservative commentators like to portray public sector workers, struggling to protect their hard-won gains, as a pampered elite. (Meanwhile, the royals, among the most pampered people on the planet, are portrayed as down-to-earth whenever they flash a smile.)

This is an old story. It rests on the axiom that the elect -- religious or social -- are the acknowledged inheritors of the kingdom. And  the poor -- who will always be with us -- have to get with the program.


ck said...

Off topic totally, but during the Royal visit in Montreal, some of the Quebec separatist protesters drew outrage from Gazette columnists and their friends (right winged postmedia, don't forget) because some of the signs referred to Royals as "Parasites". I'm not going to say whether I agree or disagree, and that's not really what that is about. Only to say that I find that outrage really rich when they use those exact terms to describe the poor,the downtrodden, welfare recipients and yes, unionized labour--public servants. When you think about it, the Royals don't work. They're very wealthy, but they do live off the backs of the taxpayers. Yet, not many have a problem with that.

Owen Gray said...

I have to admit that I'm not outraged by William and Kate's visit, ck. They appear to be more substantial than Charles and Camilla.

On the other hand, their visit does not argue for the return of privilege.

The real hypocrisy behind modern conservatism is that the so called party of the little man is steadfastly devoted to the empowerment of the wealthy.