For starters, and just for the record, here are Rafe’s three axioms of politics.
I. You make a serious mistake in assuming that people in charge know what the hell they’re doing.
II. You don’t have to be a 10 in politics, you can be a 3 if everyone else is a 2
III. Never deliberately create an unpopular issue that will still be there on the next election day
Let me get ahead of myself with an illustration of the operation of Axiom III from when I was in government.
The Bill Bennett government, of which I was a member, came to power on December 22, 1975. The Barrett government that we had replaced had created the Insurance Corporation of BC and in a year and a half, with a monopoly on car insurance, had managed to lose $186 million. The provincial cupboard was bare.
In March of 1976 we brought out our first budget; we needed money and the Finance Minister, the late Evan Wolfe, proposed we raise the “sin taxes” starting with booze, Evan told us we would have to raise the price on Rye, Scotch, Vodka, and Beer - whereupon the Premier got one of those dark scowls for which he was famous and said “No! Don’t raise the price of the workingman’s beer! Do you want everyone having a beer during the election cursing us every time he/she has a beer in the pub with their mates?”
The price of beer stayed the same, For while this was lousy logic it was damned good politics.
I needn’t deal, I’m sure you will agree, with the application of Axioms I & II to Gordon (Pinocchio) Campbell but Axiom III very much comes into play.
There are three main aspects, leaving aside Pinocchio’s utter lack of credibility.
1. Fish farms. Campbell has, it almost seems deliberately, built this issue up from the beginning and while it didn’t form much of a part of most voters’ political consciousness, in the last election it’s there well and truly now and undoubtedly will be there in May 2013.
2. Private power is becoming and will in fact be a huge issue by the next election time. This fall with The Common Sense Canadian (www.thecanadian.org) Damien Gillis and I will be visiting 30 communities raising awareness of the incredible damage this horrible policy is doing.
3. The HST is a wonderful example of Axiom III at work; it will be a daily reminder from here until Election Day and will be a great issue for the opposition.
The HST started with a barefaced lie to the people having them believe that in May 2009 this tax wasn’t even on the Liberals’ “radar” screen yet six weeks later it was policy.
Issues, like mining stocks, need a story for them to sell. Promoters of penny stocks know this well having learned that the last thing you need to sell is the technical aspects of your product – what you need is a “story” that attracts support.
What was the Campbell’s story re HST?
Why, more taxes are good for you, folks. Moreover, you better off people will hardly notice it and who, besides the NDP, cares for the poor anyway? And here is the best part, the business community loves it and says that they will save millions on bookkeeping which they’ll pass on down to you. John Kenneth Galbraith aptly, if inelegantly, described this “trickle down” theory thusly: “If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.”
Not only is the HST proposition preposterous, its only supporters are those who would support Campbell no matter what he does.
Axioms I, II, III are immutable though I suppose you might get away with violating either or both I & II – but to violate III is fatal.
This government violates all three of Mair’s Axioms and all that remains to be done is calculate the carnage before we throw the bastards out.