This is from the Toronto Sun.
The first order of business for political parties is to advance their own power and interests. They compete for the support of the ruling class but also for votes from the public at large. As the article notes this group is less than two thirds of those eligible to vote. Harper is quite business friendly as is evident in his choice for his advisory panel. He has to in the first place make sure their interests are met. However, he has a core right wing constituency that he regularly has to feed policy morsels to keep them happy. Although he himself shares most of the views of this group in order to remain in power he has to at times accomodate to other more centrist opinions.
You can be sure that both Harper and Ignatieff will make noises about co-operation to meet the needs of the very people from whom they are so disconnected. They may even be successful in toning down their competition over the short term. However the main needs to be met first are those of capital. 'The first order of business will be a stimulus to get the capitalist economy moving again. This will certainly help ordinary people to some degree as well especially in the case of infrastructure expenditure and job creation.
It is not really true that the polls are out of touch. They need to be in touch to keep their seats and always have their antenna out to detect the public mood. As Plato noted it is always necessary for the democratic politician to be aware of the moods of the great beast who votes them into power. The politician must understand these moods to use and manipulate them to serve the interests the politician represents and remain in power.
This is from the Toronto Sun.
Federal pols completely out of touch
Last Updated: 28th December 2008, 5:00am
Could Parliament be any more disconnected from the day-to-day lives of ordinary citizens than it is right now?
Will weary Canadians be treated to the same partisan goon show when the House of Commons reconvenes a month from now?
Most of all, do politicians and their spin doctors, holed up in fat city in Ottawa, even understand, much less care, about the mood of the country?
If, as leaders and MPs from all parties tell us, these are unprecedented times of economic upheaval, why are they still acting like partisan hacks, as if nothing has changed?
Do any of the political plotters involved in this increasingly meaningless dance realize the public has stopped listening?
That people worried about their jobs, pensions, life savings and hopes for their children's future, really don't care if Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, Jack Layton or Gilles Duceppe has the best 10-second sound byte on the nightly news?
Most Canadians (at least the fewer than six in 10 who still vote) see themselves as falling somewhere within the mainstream of the Conservative and Liberal parties.
That's where they want the government's response to address the ongoing recession to come from.
They don't want Harper and the Conservatives ruling as if they have a majority -- because they don't.
They don't want the Liberals and NDP, backed by Quebec separatists, defeating the government and installing an untested, rookie, Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff, as prime minister, presiding over an unstable coalition government.
Finally, they don't want to waste more time and another $300 million on a fourth election in less than five years, little more than three months after the last one.
They want Harper and Ignatieff to agree on an approach to addressing the recession that both their parties can support and then get on with it.
This isn't rocket science, since the outlines of such a political deal are known -- such things as going into deficit to pay for more infrastructure spending, worker retraining, improvements to Employment Insurance, getting credit flowing again.
One sign of the disconnect between politicians and the public is that while there's support or grudging acceptance among the political classes for the $4 billion Ottawa/Ontario loan package recently committed to the auto sector, Canadians are deeply divided on the wisdom of such a move.
We believe broad-based tax cuts -- letting people keep more of their own money to spend on their priorities, rather than having the government take it away to spend on its priorities -- should be a substantial part of any stimulus package.
When the House of Commons reconvenes next month, we'll see whether its 308 politicians still believe they know what's better for the public than the public does.
Sadly, the way they've all behaved up to now, it appears they still think that, indicating an arrogance almost beyond measure.