There is only one way for Stephen Harper -- his way. It's been that way from the beginning. His treatment of the dissident members of his caucus underscores that point yet again. But, Andrew Coyne writes, he can only get his way when the mob rules:
This isn’t a team. It’s a mob: mindless, frightened, without purpose or direction except what the leader decides, and unquestioning in its acceptance of whatever the leader decrees. What we have been watching these past few days is an exercise in raw power politics, designed as much to humiliate the individual in question as anything else. And let it be noted that a good many members of Warawa’s “team” were more than willing to take part.
A significant number of those MP's who Harper slapped down last week have, until now, been members of the mob in good standing:
I don’t want to make the dissenters into heroes. As others have pointed out, they have been only too willing to run with the pack in the past, to repeat the same fatuous talking points and otherwise follow instructions.
Their timorous behaviour in the past has made what happened last week possible. They are a pathetic bunch:
This is what has become of MPs, then — the people we elect to represent us, the ones who are supposed to give voice to our beliefs and stand up for our interests. They may not vote, in the vast majority of cases, except as the leader tells them. They may no longer, as of this week, bring private member’s bills or motions, except those the leader accepts. They may not even speak in the House, unless the leader allows.
Pretty much the only role left to them is to read out statements or questions written for them in the leader’s office, to parrot talking points on TV panels, and to jump to their feet at regular intervals to applaud whatever tedious attack line the leader repeats in Parliament. If they do all these in perfect obsequiousness, they may be rewarded with a seat in cabinet, though even these have grown so numerous and thus inconsequential that most will find themselves with little to do but ride around in their ministerial cars all day.
Stephen Harper didn't get to where he is without his enablers. But the lesson from last week is that he treats his enablers with the same contempt he treats his enemies. For Stephen Harper, everyone is expendable. He is the Emperor of the North.