Monday, March 03, 2014

No Solutions

Jeffrey Simpson writes that, in what used to be called "The White Commonwealth," Margaret Thatcher's children are in charge:

Mrs. Thatcher’s children, intellectually speaking, are prime ministers in four countries: Tony Abbott in Australia, Stephen Harper in Canada, David Cameron in Britain and John Key in New Zealand.

They are obviously not carbon copies of the Iron Lady, as their respective countries’ different political and economic circumstances require different approaches. But these conservative prime ministers are Thatcherites at heart. They see the state more as an impediment to growth and social progress than an asset, they think tax rates are too high and they believe the private sector can run most things most efficiently.

None of these leaders are what we used to call "moderate conservatives:"

In Australia, if one goes back a few conservative leaders, one recalls Malcolm Fraser and Robert Menzies. Canada had Robert Stanfield, Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney. In the United States, there were the northeastern “Rockefeller” Republicans. And in Britain, there were Mrs. Thatcher’s “wets,” who she replaced, banished or marginalized – men such as Edward Heath, Michael Heseltine and Francis Pym.

Like the Iron Lady, they believe that "there is no such thing as society." And so, they don't look  to government to solve problems; nor do they have the vision to solve them.

With the future of the planet in the balance -- as Britain floods and Australia burns -- they have no solutions.


Lorne said...

I sometimes think, Owen, that as the intractability of these ultra conservatives only seems to grow in the face of the more immediate consequences of climate change that we are likely experiencing today, it will take wide-scale rioting in the streets before any of them start to govern on behalf of the people.

To borrow from Doctor Johnson, "The prospect of hanging concentrates the mind wonderfully."

Owen Gray said...

I think you're probably right, Lorne. We have plenty of contemporary evidence of people taking to the streets.

But Thatcher's children firmly believe that "it can't happen here."

The Mound of Sound said...

It is interesting how Thatcher is only now really being given close scrutiny. Much of the credit Conservatives heaped on her was really the result of simply squandering Britain's North Sea oil treasure. It went out slightly faster than it came into her hands but it was enough to prop up this myth of her economic miracle.

Reagan set in motion the utter ruination of America's economy and the collapse of its middle class. Cameron's austerity fetish has inflicted open wounds on Britain. Harper has damaged Canada but still rides the coattails of prosperity he inherited from his predecessors.

Tony Abbott is a disaster in the making, especially if Australia spends massively on coal only to see it transformed into a stranded asset.

Owen Gray said...

What is puzzling, Mound, is that these folks hold sway even after the financial meltdown of 2008.

It was the inevitable result of Thatcherism. But that fact seems to escaped Cameron, Harper, Abbott and Keys.

John B. said...

The problem is that the fact has escaped the followers who will consider no alternative to supporting these troubled children of the market libertarian reaction. Any cause-and-effect relationship other than the immediate or the overnight will overwhelm the attention span of the situational rugged individualist. “Well all I know is …. .” The Harpers, Bairds, Jason Kenneys and Hudaks of the world know their people.

Alison said...

Quite amazing how Canadian media continue to run these stories about curious coincidences amongst commonwealth govs without ever once connecting the dots to the International Democratic Union, of which UK, US, Canada, Australia, and NZ are all members.

"The IDU provides a forum in which political parties holding similar beliefs can come together and act cooperatively, establish contacts, and present a unified voice toward the promotion of centre-right policies across the globe."

Here's a map of current membership, no longer quite "white commonwealth."
The front webpage has nice pic of Thatcher.

Former Oz PM John Howard is IDU Chairman.
Patrick Muttart, of Con dirty tricks campaign in 2011, advised John Howard's election campaign in '07 and brought Howard's micro-targeting election campaign techniques back home for Harper.

Tony Clement is a vice chairman and Doug Finley, Steve's former in-and-out-scandal campaign director, was a deputy chair.
Clement assistant Erin Wall attended an IDU conference sometime before joining Front Porch Strategies, the US Republican robocall firm who campaigned for Rick Dykstra and Julian Fantino in Canada in 2011.

IDU's Standing Committee on Elections and Campaigns are meeting in Washington DC on March 20th.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the Thatcher/Regan supporters is that they are blind to the fact that they are destroying social society for the aggrandizement of big corporate wealth. What Thatcher squandered by way of lost North Sea oil revenues started here in Canada with Ralph Klein, Mr. Privatization himself. When he took office the royalties on oil were @ 30% when he left, 16% and oil sold to the US discounted @ 30%. Royalties are the amount a government charges oil companies for being allowed to extract and sell the country's oil. Royalties in Alberta in 2013 were 6% and have dropped to 1%, so the people who own the resources, Albertans, are giving said resources away so foreign corporations can collectively realize trillions in profit. The government of Canada and the provinces are giving the petroleum extraction corporations (oil companies) subsidies that even the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) warned that both Alberta and Canada were giving their petroleum resources away. The US alone gets more than $35 billion dollars per year in subsidies in the way of a $40 dollar per barrel discount on Canadian crude.

“The International Monetary Fund recently released a report on global energy subsidies -- now topping $1.9 trillion -- estimating global carbon emissions could be reduced by 13 per cent by eliminating inadequate taxation. Canada ranked in the top 15 per cent of developed nations for public giveaways to the energy sector.” –From;

What does that mean for Canadians? The feds deficit in billions was -$55.6 in 2010, -$33.4 in 2011, -$26.3 in 2012, -$18.9 in 2013 and projected to be -$16.6 in 2014, -$2.9 in 2015 and a surplus is forecast in 2016 of +$6.4 billion. -From Chart 4.1.1Budgetary Balance After Measures, Sources: Public Accounts of Canada, Department of Finance.


Even though the budget will be ‘balanced’ we will still owe a whopping $600 billion to the worlds bankers. The interest payments will be factored into these new con budgets but we will still be needlessly indebted. The Harper-feds are ‘balancing’ the books by eliminating Canada Post home delivery. Destroying world-class science research projects, putting science on ice, avoiding the inevitable closing of the valve on GHG emissions like CO2. Denying climate change is a reality even though the shellfish fisheries are literally dying on the coast of BC due to acidic oceans from absorbing an overload of atmospheric CO2. – Look here:

Eliminating environmental oversight at the federal level when it comes to industrial crimes of pollution. “As far as pledges to restore the area around Fort McMurray, Warrack is not optimistic. "Anybody who thinks the environment [at oil sands operations] is going to get fixed is smoking something. I mean they will just declare bankruptcy and they are out of Dodge. Is there any doubt?" –From; Alberta's Oil Wealth and the Big Question for Harper by Allan Warrack, who is a professor emeritus of business economics at the University of Alberta and former minister of lands and forests in then-premier Peter Lougheed's cabinet in the early 1970s.

to be continued…


Anonymous said...


“One of the largest accidental releases of oil in Alberta’s history isn’t a burst pipeline and it doesn’t involve a train of tanker cars derailing into a river. It’s also not a thing of the past. It’s been going on for about a year and it’s still happening. An estimated 12,000 barrels of bitumen and water has now risen from giant cracks in the forest floor at an underground oil sands project run by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. …” (CNRL) “…CNRL may have over-pressurized the underground formation causing the cap-rock closer to the surface to fracture, which is allowing the bitumen to seep upwards.” –From;

Not only does the tax payer have to subsidize big oil, we ultimately will pay the cost of the clean-up. Meanwhile Harperville Ottawa is busy cutting EI, Pensions and Health Care Eliminating federal jobs and social services across the board, closing down search and rescue operations, eliminating Veterans Benefits and etc. The list is so long and depressing, I wonder how a geek like Harper can face himself. And mostly I wonder, which sector of Canadians has Harper not pissed off? Obviously not the large wealthy corporations foreign and domestic (gathered around the subsidy trough) and wealthy Canadians who do not care for the rest of us, the environment or that which makes Canada a special place in the world.

Harper is destroying Canada piecemeal and giving away that which could make us rich like Norway who profits handsomely for allowing oil and gas developments.

“Canada has the third largest proven oil reserves in the world, … and Canada's national debt stands at a whopping $600 billion (CAD). …Norway, which this year alone will enjoy a $44 billion budget surplus. The country has the 22nd largest proven oil reserves in the world and about 40-percent less oil is produced by that country, compared to Canada. On top of massive government budget surpluses, Norway also has no foreign debt, and $634 billion set aside as a public savings fund.” –From; If Canada is 'Oil Rich' Why are We So in Debt?

Resources on how and why Norway is sitting pretty, yet Canadians are being sold out;

If Every Norwegian's a Millionaire, Why's Alberta in Hock? Norway cut a proper deal with oil corporations. Canadians got screwed. By Mitchell Anderson, 15 Jan 2014,

It's not within the frame of mind that created a problem, to be able solve it; the frame of mind needs reframing. Unfortunately these not "moderate conservatives:" are of the wrong frame of mind to solve Canada’s pressing problems and they are part of the problem. It is obvious that Harperville Ottawa is what needs excessive cuts to who should be sitting in parliament, fresh with a complete frame of mind change.

Who else is sick of this Harper theft from all Canadians in order to gift foreign interests, corporations, banks and the agenda of the elite? I am.


Owen Gray said...

Their power is rooted in ignorance, John. And -- unfortunately -- there's a lot of that going around.

Owen Gray said...

They claim they are "competent," Mogs, but the evidence keeps piling up. They can't do basic math -- and that doesn't bother them at all.

Owen Gray said...

That kind of information is not widely circulated, Alison. And I'm sure they work hard to keep it below the radar.

The players are all part of what John Le Carre called the "Deep State."