Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Sunday reading.

- Daniel Boffey catches one of David Cameron's top aides saying what most Cons leave as an unstated assumption: that recession and depressed wages are good for business (as long as "business" is defined only to mean short-term profits based on exploitation):
The prime minister's adviser on enterprise has told the cabinet that the economic downturn is an excellent time for new businesses to boost profits and grow because labour is cheap, the Observer can reveal.

Lord Young, a cabinet minister under the late Baroness Thatcher, who is the only aide with his own office in Downing Street, told ministers that the low wage levels in a recession made larger financial returns easier to achieve. His comments are contained in a report to be published this week, on which the cabinet was briefed last Tuesday.
- And in case there was any doubt that the Cons and their provincial counterparts are working feverishly to apply the same concept in Canada, plenty of reports have pointed out that the majority of new jobs bragged about in the Cons' advertising and provincial messaging are actually being created for temporary foreign workers. The Canadian Labour Congress finds that a stunning 75% of net new Canadian jobs in 2010-2011 were filled by TFWs (despite the fact that the starting point for those years was obvious room to expand employment in the wake of the recession), while CBC looks in more detail at the 65% figure for Saskatchewan.

- Mark Janson offers 10 reasons why we should be looking to expand and strengthen the Canada Pension Plan. But Thomas Walkom notes that the Cons are instead trying to eliminate access to secure, public retirement options. And Carol Goar writes that the Cons' plans for privatized social services look doomed to fail from the start.

- And if the Cons' antipathy toward any spirit of giving weren't obvious enough, the inclusion of Santa Claus on their media monitoring watch list should eliminate any doubt.

- Which to say that there's good reason why Canadians have reached the impressions of the Harper Cons described by Andrew Coyne:
If today both Mr. Harper and the party he leads are actively disliked by more than seven voters in 10, it may be because they have gone out of their way to alienate them in every conceivable way — not by their policies, or even their record, but simply by their style of governing, as over-bearing as it is under-handed, and that on a good day.

When they are not refusing to disclose what they are doing, they are giving out false information; when they allow dissenting opinions to be voiced, they smear them as unpatriotic or worse; when they open their own mouths to speak, it is to read the same moronic talking points over and over, however these may conflict with the facts, common courtesy, or their own most solemn promises.

Secretive, controlling, manipulative, crude, autocratic, vicious, unprincipled, untrustworthy, paranoid…Even by the standards of Canadian politics, it’s quite the performance. We’ve had some thuggish or dishonest governments in the past, even some corrupt ones, but never one quite so determined to arouse the public’s hostility, to so little apparent purpose. Their policy legacy may prove short-lived, but it will be hard to erase the stamp of the Nasty Party.

Perhaps, in their self-delusion, the Tories imagine this is all the fault of the Ottawa media, or the unavoidable cost of governing as Conservatives in a Liberal country. I can assure them it is not. The odium in which they are now held is well-earned, and entirely self-inflicted.

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