Tuesday, June 7, 2005

We need more independents

It must be tough being a local politician, having to try to make politically necessary bland and uninformative platitudes sound interesting in response to completely unnecessary bland and irrelevant questions by London Free Press reporters. Khalil Ramal (Liberal MPP for London-Fanshawe) succeeds in response to one junior reporter's disinterested probing for reaction to Pat O'Brien's (ex-Liberal MP for London-Fanshawe) defection:

No doubt about it, his office and my office had a good relationship. And now with the new circumstances, I don't know how we can serve this constituency . . . it will be confusing (for the constituents).
Yes, it will be confusing, but only for those people who pay absolutely no attention to what's going on around them and placidly toil in the government's taxing and regulatory wake. Wait a second… maybe that is the Liberals' constituency. Khalil Ramal simultaneously demonstrates the contempt the ruling Party gentry has for the intellectual maturity of citizens and for the tradition that parliaments, like provinces and countries, may be represented by more than one party's interests. Ramal also demonstrates his ineptitude for office if he is at a loss trying to serve a constituency that is represented by someone who stopped paying their dues to the same country club.

Happier London-Fanshawe Liberal days.
Little Khalil Ramal always liked ketchup at the ritual Liberal glad-handing camp days, but his photo-opp-badge buddy Pat likes mustard now. Ewwww… ketchup and mustard?!

In other indolent Free Press reporting, Londoner Bruce McIntyre is canvassed for his happened-to-be-standing-at-this-corner "word on the street" political insight:
I don't personally agree with his take on things, but he is standing up for his principles. Most people vote for the party, though, so it may not be fair to a lot of his constituents.
Pretending to vote for parties is easy, but unless a couple of hundred years of parliamentary tradition has been turned on its head in the past day or so — a possibility I must admit — people are still in law and in practice voting for individual representatives. Party affiliation is a very useful instruction — or can be a less useful ornamentation — to the voter for gauging the compatibility of a candidate's interest with his own. But Voting-for-PartiesTM is lazy or negligent thinking and practice by citizens at best, and at worst an enfeebling meme that corrupts the traditions and ideals of that informed modern liberal parliamentary practice and helped to create and support the now-antique notions of subordination of representatives to independent citizens who used to reciprocate by demanding that deference . Apparently, I won't be supporting PR anytime soon.

Update: I'm not implying that being an independent means that a representative is any more trustworthy or principled than a party-affiliated representative. That's the responsibility of the voters to ensure — in which case, Polspy finds that independents and Canadians may be in big trouble:
(David) Kilgour said a meeting in Mill Woods only an hour earlier went smoothly — until one woman stood up and made it known that being an independent doesn’t have as much influence as sticking with the Grits.

“I would vote for chimpanzees if they were running for the Liberal party,” she told the crowd of 20 gathered in Mill Woods, Kilgour recalled. — La Nouvelle Beaumont News


Anonymous said...

“I would vote for chimpanzees if they were running for the Liberal party,” she told the crowd ....

Well, she wouldn't be the first ....

Paul said...

Did I miss the ballot where candidates' names were replaced by the names of the political parties?

Or is this another reporter who would fail Civics 101?