Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Saturday, 23 April 2005

In the name of God, go

In the long history of the British Parliament, few occasions have rung with greater drama than the Commons debates of May 7, 1940. In the aftermath of the debacle of the Norwegian campaign, and with the British nightmare of the ages - of continental domination by a hostile power - fast crystallizing into reality, the house of cards of Baldwin’s and Chamberlain’s 1930s “policy of peace” came finally and fully crashing to the ground. As real fear at last broke upon Britain - a visceral realization of the enormity and gravity of the crisis, and how badly it could truly turn for the nation - Parliament was suddenly baying for the government’s blood. Churchill himself tried valiantly and selflessly to shoulder the blame, at least for Norway, but no one was having it. It was all too obvious that Churchill was not the villain but rather the man of the hour, for it was exactly his prophecy - urged for years in the face of scorn and abuse - that had now become fact; and exactly his remedy – to fight, come what may – that was now so obviously recommended. Indeed, Lloyd George remarked that Churchill “must not allow himself to be converted into an air-raid shelter to keep the splinters from hitting his colleagues.” No, the anger of desperation fell exactly on target: on Neville Chamberlain and his ilk, whose true guilt lay not in any mishandling of the Norwegian campaign, but in their misguided and irresponsible rule over many years that had brought the nation, one step at a time, to this point. No actions or words of theirs could by then redeem that guilt. The mortal blow was delivered by Leo Amery, who in his speech to the Commons quoted Oliver Cromwell’s words to the Long Parliament: “You have sat too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

Recalling this brings two things to front and centre of mind. First: that anger at mismanagement and misconduct tends, generally and ultimately, to be directed at the proper point, and tends to be greater and less susceptible to mitigation the more protracted and constant the offence. And second, that there is only one truly workable correction to a condition of persistent ineptitude and unpardonable or even criminal mismanagement; and that is for those guilty of such misconduct to step down and disappear, and to leave the business of governance to others. With that in mind, on the morrow of Paul Martin’s television address to the nation pleading for understanding and more time in office, and reflecting on the palpable mood of the country in the face of the now overwhelming evidence of Liberal misconduct, I can scarcely do better than to echo Cromwell and Amery. You Liberals have been here long enough, for any good you have done; in the name of God, go.

It is obvious at this point to everyone - except, apparently, to Martin and his Party - that the Liberals are no longer in a position to govern, and that nothing they can say or do, with the possible exception of spending some contrite time in Opposition and reforming themselves from bottom to top, can now alter that fact. Presuming that the current national mood survives until Election Day, whenever that may be - as all reason, honour and sanity demand it must - the Liberals’ eviction from the government benches is now certain. What remains to be established is the exact scale of the damage they have wrought upon our country.

For the catastrophic legacy of the past odd-decade of Liberal rule is to be measured not only in the damage directly attributable to Adscam, which is breathtaking enough. No; as in the case of 1930s Britain, the real rot runs deeper, has been longer in the making, is greater in its impact and its consequence; and therefore, is now all the more unforgivable and compelling of change.

Where does one begin the litany? How about with health care, the sacred cow that the Liberals invariably trot out as the Alamo only they can defend? We do indeed still have a public health care system in Canada, but it is obvious to anyone who attempts to use it that it is failing badly, costing ever more money, and delivering ever poorer service, ever more slowly. I would wager that not a single Canadian, coast to coast, would assert that our health care system is in better condition today than before the Liberals took power. Yet the Liberals instantly and self-righteously quash any attempt to explore any means of improving the system, of raising the return to Canadians on the vast sums of money they invest in it. The Liberal attack on such attempts always begins with the word: “privatization”, uttered with mock horror. That a large measure of private payment already exists within our system, in the form of pharmaceutical, dental, and “supplementary medical” coverage, the Liberals never mention. Nor do they admit that most other countries with public health care systems raise not the slightest objection to private payment for virtually any service – indeed, they are glad to see the burden on the public system eased. Nor are the Liberals honest, or intelligent, enough to see or admit that something this profoundly broken, needs some kind of a fix. No, the knee-jerk attack against anyone bold enough to consider out loud alternatives and changes to our obviously failing system constitutes too easy and self-serving a weapon for the Liberals to discard.

No matter. The provinces will, as they must, go their own ways on health care and find sustainable solutions, no matter what the Liberals say. They will be lead by Alberta, which has already declared – explicitly – its complete indifference to the federal Liberals’ opinion on the matter. Indeed, Albertans’ indifference to the federal government is now pretty much absolute and across the board. Long gone are the days when “western alienation” was the hot anger of the few; today, it is the profound and probably irreversible indifference of the majority. The Liberals have, for better than a decade, confirmed on every occasion their contempt for Western Canadians, and for Albertans in particular. In the run-up to the Second Gulf War, the Liberal government went out of its way to mock Albertans’ views on the idea of Canadian support for the effort, dismissing those views out-of-hand as “un-Canadian”. Western Canada has struggled for twenty years to gain a greater voice in Ottawa, one in fairer proportion to – if nothing else – its financial contribution to the country; whether through Senate reform, or through the Reform Party, which Westerners built from the ground up. But in truth, at this point, particularly with a torrent of oil money flooding in, they really no longer care. The latest Liberal slap in Western Canada’s face: Martin’s appointment of two Liberal hacks - probably the last two people Albertans themselves would have picked – as Alberta’s newest “representatives” in the Senate, in quite deliberate spite of Albertans’ democratic pre-selection of two candidates; didn’t raise much of a fuss, for it came as anything but a surprise. Albertans, and with them many other Western Canadians, have simply moved on. I do not know exactly where this new breed of western alienation will lead, but it cannot be anywhere that would warm the heart of any Canadian federalist.

Western Canadians as a whole, and Albertans in particular, have long been accustomed to seeing their net cash exchange with Ottawa stuck deep in negative territory. So too have they long been aware that most of their money ends up in Quebec. But with Adscam, the Liberals have accomplished something truly remarkable: they have managed, through a criminal destruction of taxpayers’ wealth, to shock and insult Western Canadians and Quebecers in roughly equal measure – and all in the name of national unity! For Western Canadians, Adscam is insult added to injury, and confirmation that the cesspool of Liberal immorality and corruption runs much deeper than even they had imagined. For Quebecers, the scandal carries the further sting of disillusionment. It reveals, suddenly and shockingly, in what fantastic contempt the Liberals hold them, that the Liberals consider bribes, kickbacks and dirty appointments to judicial posts to constitute business as usual in the province. As Stephen Harper put it last night, the Liberals have offered Quebecers a choice between separation and corruption. Quebecers’ reaction so far to Adscam makes clear what, between those options, they are apt to choose. Again, I do not know what the ultimate fallout will be, in terms of Quebec’s future in Canada, but again, it cannot be anything good from a federalist’s perspective. What is crystal clear is this: that if anyone can restore Quebecers’ faith in and respect for the federal government, it is not the Liberal Party of Canada.

I cannot think of a single way in which the Liberals - who claim to hold as their central principle a commitment to a federal Canada, underpinned by a strong and useful national government - have helped rather than injured the federalist cause. Indeed: the one policy sphere that has historically and universally motivated, required and justified the very existence of a national government – foreign and defence policy – the Liberals have more or less declared irrelevant and meaningless, in addition to making a hash of it for more than a decade. From every perspective, our most important foreign relationship is with the United States, and our relationship with that country is at its lowest ebb in living memory. I believe that the people and government of that country have never held Canada and Canadians in lower esteem. This is something for which Canada will pay a heavy price in the years to come, and the situation has come about not because we came to hold opinions different from the Americans’, but because our Liberal government could not be bothered to get past a childish smugness, and actually put some adult thinking into those opinions. On the supreme geopolitical questions of our time – the war in Iraq, the global war on terror, ballistic missile defence - the Liberal government has behaved with incredible – but, incredibly, perhaps calculated – incompetence and apparent indifference. The Liberals have consistently declined to devote any meaningful thought to these issues. Instead, the Liberals point to polls that ask trite questions along the lines of: “should we spend money on health care or on weapons and death”, as “proof” of Canadians’ support for their policies. It is a breathtaking abdication of responsibility, as if the executives of a major company were to cease the hard work of formulating and executing strategy, and instead just divvy up the cash and give everyone a year off – because “that’s what the people want”.

The list goes on and on. Our once respected Armed Forces have been attrited and abused to a point from which they may never be able to recover. Our tax burden has never been higher, and our federal bureaucracy has never been so bloated. Our economic productivity growth last year actually hit zero.

There is little else for Canadians to now say. You Liberals have been here long enough, for any good you have done. In the name of God, go.

Walsingham (originally posted here)

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