Friday, April 17, 2009

Flanagan whistling past the graveyard

Updated (Friday 5:30 pm.) below...

Tom Flanagan, bending himself into pretzel-like contortions today: "Whistling up the coalition from the dead." Flanagan tells us the Liberals will have to "...reactivate the coalition with the socialists and separatists against which Canadians reacted so strongly last fall" in order to force an election, whenever that may be. Really, he is. In his effort to conjure up the good ol' days in December of Conservative fear mongering and inflammatory rhetoric, Flanagan has hauled out the "coalition" spectre, mentioning it about 9 times in his piece.

Flanagan, stalking horse of trial balloons for the Conservative faithful, argues neither the NDP nor the Bloc will likely play along with Ignatieff when the time comes to force an election. Not respectively in either's interests, he says, to accede to a Liberal motion. Well, it would be very surprising, in the fall off your chair variety, if the NDP were the lone party to prop up Mr. Harper and hold out against an election. It just doesn't seem likely, not even going to go here.

As for the Bloc, they don't seem more susceptible to Conservative persuasion either. If polls like the Ekos one last night recur, in which the Bloc is projected to keep their seat total, they may not have cause to fear an election. Harder to say what the numbers will be in the fall, but their staying power hasn't receded over the last 3 elections, being consistently in the 50 seat range out of 75. Further, we need only imagine the optics in Quebec of Gilles Duceppe making some kind of deal with Mr. Harper to prop up his government. First of all, how Mr. Harper could do this given his rhetoric in the fall is hard to conceive (Tom? Short memory about "separatist vetos?"). It just wouldn't play in Quebec where the Conservatives are at 10% in the polls. Mr. Duceppe would be in for a world of trouble if he made a deal with Mr. Harper who has offended Quebecers so loudly and mightily, as Flanagan puts it, for "some extra drops falling on Quebec."

The rest of Flanagan's piece is essentially a mind dump of wishful but no doubt brewing Conservative thinking on raising the spectre of a coalition to deploy against the Liberals. Difficult though to see an anti-coalition backlash like December's being resurrected successfully when much time will have passed. When the economic consequences post-coalition have angered Canadians, at Mr. Harper's expense, it's more likely to bite him ("...69 per cent say they still blame Mr. Harper for causing an unnecessary political crisis late last year when he should have been focusing on the economy.") Really, how much traction will there be for coalition seances in an election that will largely be fought on economic issues? It's not serious.

Probably giving too much credence to the piece but it's tough to resist having a go at popping Mr. Flanagan's trial balloons when they so frequently populate the pages of the national daily...

Update (5:30 p.m.): BigCityLib opined in his inimitable way earlier today that the NDP could be had for a vote principally due to environmental difficulties...sticking to my thought above, no go on that. Neither money nor political considerations are justifiable reasons for NDP to say no to an election, they have been very vocal about that.

Shout out to blogging Senator Elaine McCoy for a hullabaloo...and of course, CV, who is similarly fascinated by the "eminence grease" factor at work here...:)