Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- James Bloodworth discusses the most important challenge facing Ed Miliband and Labour in the UK - which largely matches the task for progressives around the globe:
People have never put all that much stock in politicians of course, and the expenses scandal did a great deal to erode trust further. But to some extent voter apathy (not the ‘frauds and liars’ sort, but the more common sort of fatalism) might also be blamed on the limits within which today’s managerial politicians operate: voters are only too aware that there is only so much today’s politicians can do, therefore they don’t put much faith in those they elect (if they vote at all) to change things.

For better or worse, most questions today tend to be decided ultimately and by all three parties on the basis of what works best for ‘the market’. It is not a question of what you would like the government to do, it is a question of what government can do without creating ‘instability’ in that market.
Even popular policies which propose modest corrections to market distortions are viewed with fatalism by an electorate which doubts the ability of politicians to make a real difference.

In convincing the electorate to back not only his energy policy but also his party’s whole cost of living agenda, Ed Miliband is tasked not only with drowning out the rhetoric from the Conservative Party and the right-wing press, but also with persuading a sceptical electorate that government can intervene in the market to create better outcomes.

To say that this won’t be easy would be an understatement: Miliband is not only taking on some of the most powerful people in Britain, he is pushing back against a public fatalism about the power of government that has been some 30 years in the making.
- Which is to say that we shouldn't go too far in accepting Andrew Coyne's assertion that the Cons' Senate scandal serves to indict an entire system of government. But the combination of bribes and partisan cover-ups does signal the problem with both an illegitimate, unaccountable upper chamber, and a Prime Minister who's conspicuously avoided finding or telling the truth about his government's actions.

- The Star highlights the futility of declaring that the Cons' ritual flagellation of First Nations schools will continue until morale improves.

- Rick Salutin tells one story of the type of immigrants Canada stands to lose if it measures immigrants solely in terms of dollar values.

- Finally, Matt McClure reports on Alberta's disastrous attempt to bundle the construction of multiple schools into a single P3 contract - which looks to have failed entirely due to a lack of bidders. And Murray Mandryk rightly questions the Sask Party's insistence on following a similar path even when it figures to cost an extra $10 million per school.

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