Friday, June 21, 2013

Coyne- Have Tories Lost Their Way or Have They Simply Lost Their Minds?

Andrew Coyne sums up what won't but should be on the delegates' minds at next week's Conservative Party convention:

Do they get it? Do the delegates understand what a fix the party is in, and why? And are they prepared to push the party to mend its ways?

It has become a commonplace of late to say the Tories have “lost their way.” That’s not about their navigational skills but their state of mind: an acute lack of self-awareness that blinds them to what they have become, a blinkered conviction of their own superior cleverness, a closed loop of defensiveness that interprets every criticism as proof of the rightness of the course they are on.

For if everyone — the courts, the bureaucracy, Elections Canada, the media, oh yes especially the media — is biased against them (for what else could possibly explain this heap of opprobrium?) then of course they must constantly be on the attack, and of course they cannot allow themselves to be weakened by internal dissent, and of course they cannot be open with the public about their plans. For that would only provide their enemies with ammunition.

This is the laager mentality that has taken hold in the upper reaches of the Tory party. It is the attitude of parties that have lost touch, not just with their principles or their supporters, but with reality. Toryism, in its current incarnation, resembles less an ideology than a pathology.

...a great many people of all persuasions or none have lately formed the same impression, that the Tories have taken politics in worrisome new directions. One has the sense, not just that they do not respect limits that had previously been observed, but that they don’t know where they are.

How to put this into words? Perhaps it is best expressed by what is not the case. You simply cannot count on this government to do what it says it will; to be straight with people; to take the high road; to behave with anything resembling spontaneity or goodwill. I mean it may, but you’re almost surprised when it does. Its default demeanour is sullen, wary, bullying, moronic. Its characteristic face is that of Peter Van Loan or Pierre Poilievre, and it is very much the face it deserves.
Several of Coyne's observations about the Tory government's failures are spot on but I think he misses the larger problem -  it's not that they've lost their rudder, they've never really had one.

Tom Flanagan, Harper's old sidekick and confidante, pointed this out in remarks he made last summer to a gathering on Saltspring Island.  He said Harper doesn't have a vision, he's not a "vision guy," and, if anything, he finds vision antithetical.  He focuses on narrow subjects, mainly on his notion of a Western Canada-driven economy and wastes no time on the larger questions and problems facing the country.

Harper Vision
It's the sort of chronic deficiency that isn't going to be fixed by a party convention.  They can't operate on Stephen Harper.  They can't open him up to fix what's broken inside.  And, unless they get rid of Harper, they'll just have to put up with more of his "sullen, wary, bullying, moronic" ways.


Owen Gray said...

Things have really tipped into pathology, Mound. If the delegates don't know this, their party -- and this country -- is in deep, deep trouble.

The Mound of Sound said...

Better check your waders for leaks, Owen. The water is rising - and it's lumpy.

Anyong said...

What you have stated is why Harper and the Newfoundland Priemier are not getting along. For Nfld it is worse than it has ever been in the past. Newfoundland wants 65% royalties from the newly discovered oil field which is going to be operated by Norway. Norway would understand that move since it refuses to take anything less than 75% itself. But you can bet your bottom dollar Mr. Harper will sell Newfoundland down the tubes

Anonymous said...

I would say very much both apply.

I could say having had one particular dream where a vision of Harper getting his just desserts. Only downside to that dream has to be that I ask myself if it was a nightmare or an actual dream ready to manifest itself at any time.

With the PM starting to get caught in a dungeon of his own lies brings me much schadenfreude. Now all we need is punting out PM Hitler. Trudeau, May & Mulcair want to see the country heading in a better direction.

I'd even call the "Calgary Cadre" as not even being from Western Canada. They would be more likely to leave when the oil dries up and leave the land hardly even fit for agriculture.

Anonymous said...

Not a 'western driven economy' but an independent west.

Harper is at heart a separatist.

Purple library guy said...

The problem isn't Harper's lack of vision. It's worse to the extent he possesses one.

Anonymous said...

Scenes from the Conservative convention.

CuJoYYC said...

"They can't operate on Stephen Harper."

What happens to a party that was built on a cult of (an admittedly bland) personality when the leader leaves or walks the plank? Well, to get Reform/Conservative split 2.0. I'm personally looking forward to watching them in the political wilderness for at least 10 years.

CuJoYYC said...

Conservatives have the world all figured out and hate to be told they don't.

The more ancient and less peer-reviewed a text is, the more these so-called conservatives trust it as factual.

Conservatism is not a political philosophy. It's a diagnosis.

Now back to my flood-ravaged city.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hey, Cujo. I,too, have wondered about the prospects of a PC/Reform split. Of course we thought the same sort of thing would beset the Republicans after Obama's re-election but that's not happened - yet.

Of course the neo-Conservative party here is a bit different having been structured on one-man rule with caucus mere place holders.

Stay dry and good luck with the flooding.

thwap said...

It's a party led by stupid people who believe and do stupid things.

Reality always intervenes and they grow increasingly frustrated and paranoid.

One aspect of their stupidity is a noticeable form of derangement that makes them loathsome to normal people but highly sympathetic to the sort of right-wing fucks who gibber and drool on the internet.

The Mound of Sound said...

I hear that, Thwap, all of it.