Paradise Lost

Was going to post a lengthy comment in response to Mick’s shock–SHOCK–that Canada and the UK have long been sliding down the slippery slope of corporatist contempt for civil liberties.

But then I thought “why bother with COMMENTS, since I have main page privileges?”

Now, I’m feeling pretty under the weather, so I apologize if the following is sloppy, confusing and/or incomplete. With that said, BBC News Online has a good overview of Tony Blair’s legacy with regards to civil liberties. Money quote: “Criminologist David Wilson says Tony Blair gave to Labour a social authoritarianism which ran counter to the party’s traditions. ” Additionally, a somewhat out of date round up of New Labour’s contemptuous attacks on civil liberties can also be found here. Liberty UK’s website is also full of many examples.

And this is, of course leaving out the ascendancy of the anti-immigrant far right in UK civil society (including within New Labour itself).

As for Canada, Bill C-36, our sweeping, scary anti-terrorism law, was cobbled together post-9/11 by former PM Jean Chretien’s Liberal Gov’t. An example of the consequences are detailed in this 2005 Globe and Mail op-ed – written before the Tories were elected in Jan ’06. Maher Arar’s rendition ordeal occurred under the Grits, too.

Chretien also initially got us into Afghanistan. Our more aggressive combat role in southern Afghanistan was originally engendered in 2005 by Chretien’s hapless successor, the dithering former Minister of Finance Paul Martin. Oh, and when in opposition, 30 Liberal MPs voted with the Harper gov’t to extend Canada’s Afghanistan mission.

Speaking of Mr Dithers, in 1995, Martin set Canada on the road to neoliberal hell with his Bay Street-approved slash-and-burn tax cut budget, which, in Martin’s own words at the time, “[redesigned] the very role and structure of government itself. Indeed, as far as we are concerned, it is … the very redefinition of government itself that is the main achievement of this budget.… This budget overhauls what government does.”

Time and time again, the current Conservative Gov’t under PM Stephen Harper has simply (but eagerly) taken what was begun years ago by the Liberals to the logical extreme, pandering to ideological partisans such as the Fraser Institute and the Tories’ burgeoning (but still largely marginal) social conservative base.

[edited slightly for clarity]

19 Responses to “Paradise Lost”

  1. Cliff says:

    Have you read ‘Dead Centre’ by Jamey Heath? It’s all about how Canadian progressives need to get past the idea that the Liberal party is in any way…liberal.

    This party is not on our side. This party is led by Stephane Dion a self described ‘economic right winger’. This party betrayed workers on the anti-scab law and would do so again at the drop of a hat. Any hat.

    This party will – GUARANTEED – vote for Stephen Harper and his neo-con agenda after next month’s throne speech rather than face a fall election they are terrified of.

    At least the Conservatives are open and up front about being a right wing party – the Lieberals actually think Canadians are still dumb enough to think they are a left wing party.

  2. Now, where have I heard this before?

  3. matttbastard says:

    Hi Cliff – nice to see a fellow ProgBlogger drop by!

    Haven’t read Heath’s book, but I’ve noted it down as one to procure ASAP. Always felt he was one of the more astute party strategists (or at least one who could properly discuss issues, rather than memorize daily talking points). Can remember numerous CBC News Sunday panel discussions where Heath made Paul Martin’s wonderboy Scott Reid look like a complete prat–which, admittedly, was no great feat.

  4. mick says:

    Now, where have I heard this before?

    Um, it does sound a trifle familiar, don’t it?

  5. xranger says:

    Methinks you guys in blog kookville have to realize you are in the distinct minority – not only in the US, but in other western countries.

    Part of the problem is that you speak in horrified hyperbole: “Bush has trampled ALL of our civil rights; NOBODY wants to fight the war on terror; DAILY TORTURE exists in Club Gitmo; anyone who’s a Republican is a FASCIST.”

    No matter how hard you yell it, it doesn’t sell to the majority. By engaging in this diatribe, you forfeit the ability to have any civil discourse with the opposition.

    Dailykos and MoveOn will hinder your debate. The country will not elect anybody to Prez if they are too far right or left. Look at Rudy’s polling numbers now – he has a comfortable lead over Hillary and Obama. Why? he’s a conservative on foreign policy and fiscal issues, but socially moderate.

    Hillary is too polarizing for the swing middel, and Obama’s waaaayyyy too left.

  6. Cliff says:

    Got to love the ‘more-in-sorrow-than-anger, just looking out for your best interests, really, trying to help you out here’, helpful advice from right wingers. Particularly when they just make shit up like ‘Rudy is polling a comfortable lead’ over Hillary or Obama.

    Rudy, as Matt Taibbi recently quipped is a ‘fascist ex-mayor itching to take his prostate pain out on the world’. He has so many skeletons in his closet, so many knives being sharpened behind him, so much rage addiction and so many self destructive tendencies that Democrats should be praying that the GOP are dumb and/or crazy enough to pick him – if he doesn’t flame out in the primaries he certainly would in an actual campaign. McCain is a busted flush, Thompson is a nice relaxing Quaalude for the right wing soul and Romney is the dictionary definition of an empty suit hack.

    Viewed from the outside, this is the strongest Democrat line up of candidates in years – barring a few hacks of course, but that’s inevitable, and they’re up against the saddest slate of burnouts, freaks and losers in the GOP field anyone has seen in generations.

    Now if Democrats can just get past their inexplicable habit of listening to advice from right wingers ‘who only have their best interests at heart’…

  7. matttbastard says:

    Holy shit, that has to be the most rote concern troll EVAR.

    Here’s another contribution to ‘civil discourse’: Go fuck yourself.


  8. I want to first agree with Cliff, and I know that’s not unanimous around here, but I do think this is a real strong field of Democratic candidates, and it’s hard to remember when you get in the trenches, but a lot of the field is strong. We really do have a situation where democratic primary voters get to pick who they want and not who they hate the least.

    By contrast, the GOP still seems particularly unsatisfied with its field and it’s been a few days since i checked in, but Fred has failed to wow anyone.

    As for X… Dunno where you’re getting your numbers from, but you kinda exemplify irony in your comment. You talk about hyperbole, and then you engage in it yourself.

    Hillary is a polarizing figure, and yet espite that, she still manages to eke out Rudy Giuliani in the national polls. Meanwhile, I think actual way left folk might take umberage at the idea of Obama being waaaay left. Further, recent polling data (look up my post “Convention”), and other evidences shows that Obama has a vast appeal not only on the left, but also in the middle, and even on the right from those who actually want to see an end to the left vs. right everything goes type of politics that this country is plagued with.

    Your claim that Giuliani has a comfortable lead over clinton and obama is outright laughable by the way. go check which is more reliable than any one data point that you can dig up. In general, Rudy and Clinton have been close, but just recently, within the past few weeks, Clinton has started to overtake Rudy, meanwhile, Obama continues to spank Rudy in the polls by a wide margin.

  9. xranger says:

    Will do, Kyle.

    Hey Ratbastard, fuck you too.

  10. xranger says:


    I received the poll data earlier today, and it was in swing districts only:

    “The survey by the Democratic pollsters Lake Research indicated that both Mrs Clinton and Barack Obama, second in the Democratic race, trailed Rudy Giuliani, the Republican front runner, in 31 swing congressional districts.

    The private memo, leaked to The Washington Post, painted what researchers described as a “sobering picture” for Democrats who believe that President George W Bush’s disastrous favourability numbers almost guarantee they will capture the White House next year. ”

  11. matttbastard says:

    Hey Kyle,

    not responding to anyone (or anything) in particular, but I wouldn’t put much stock in push poorly worded polls conducted by Joe Biden’s pollster (information the Post didn’t feel was pertinent enough to include in the original article).

    Not to suggest that the Biden campaign would have a vested interest in playing down the swing favourability of the two main Dem front runners (while raising the scary prospect of a Giuliani presidency–EEK!!!1*).

    Both of whom, it should be mentioned, just happen to be royally kicking Biden’s ass. Pure coincidence, I’m sure. BTW, that Obama is SO articulate, hmm?

    In other news, Romney is A SCARY MORMON!!!11. So said Sam Brownback some rogue Brownback staffer, for which Brownback was deeply, sincerely sorry and had NOTHING to do with. Srsly.

    Catholics aren’t allowed to lie, dontcha know.

    Anyway, is very interesting to see how this conversation, which initially focused on the rise of soft authoritarianism in the UK and Canada suddenly became all about the endless Donkey/Elephant dick-swinging contest.


    *I’m with Matt Taibbi – I’m more frightened of Thompson’s empty vaudeville routine striking a cord with a shallow electorate (who I would wager are more inclined to translate their affection for Thompson’s familiar TV persona into an election day victory than vote for America’s [loathsome & socially liberal] Mayor).

  12. xranger says:

    Well, ratbastard, my point was that your brand of kook liberalism is getting its clock cleaned around the western world, and it could happen here too. (God help us all if it doesn’t).

    BTW, if you didn’t see my earlier post, you can ignore those of us who troll for boobs like you – I understand.

    We make you look stupid, cause you can’t debate us. I’ll try and spell slowly and e-n-u-n-c-i-a-t-e next time, so you can keep up.
    I swear, I won’t use any big words, neither. :0

  13. Barrack’s not well spoken?!1?!1?!eleven!!??

    Seriously, no, that’s why I kinda gave up the ghost on following any single data point when it comes to polling anymore. Trend analysis is a little more rewarding, and amalgamations are in my opinion the way to go, hence why I hit up pollster whenever I hear of a poll that doesn’t quite sit right with how the playing field is situmicated. Really really fascinating stuff going on over there if you like polls, by the by.

    Anywho, yeah, well, the ass and packyderm playing light sabers with their penii pretty much is the main event… I don’t know… really got nothing for ya on that, really, funny how that all came about now that I think about it.

  14. matttbastard says:

    Rumour has it he’s clean, too.

  15. matttbastard says:

    really, funny how that all came about now that I think about it.

    Hint: DNFTT.

  16. HOLY SHIT HE’S CLEAN?!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111one hundred-eleven!!1!!!!!

    Doood, we should look into this guy maybe being a president or something.

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