That weren't no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive

A royal visit

Cue the ticker-tape! Crank up the misplaced national vanity machine! Canada’s future Head of State (from circa 2040 or so? Is it morbid to take bets?) is coming to survey his most expansive royal hunting ground. One hopes one approves of what one sees.

And what will the Royal Couple see? It’s a fascinating itinerary.

Alberta: Doubtless there will be some Columbia Ice Fields trekking, some Lake Louise paddling, and potentially some calf-wrestling at the Stampede. What’s less certain is whether His Royal Harperness will recommend to His Royal Highness a jaunt to Fort McMurray to see one of our government’s most ethical investments.

Northwest Territories: Thank god it won’t be Nunavut, with all its unculled seals flipping about. What will they do there? Ride ATVs, crying out “We make the rules!” perhaps? Visit a diamond mine? Which would be kind of underwhelming after a lifetime of looking at Queen Elizabeth’s hat.

No, I know what it is. Some cultures hold that the Northern Lights help you conceive lucky babies. Wink, wink.

Quebec: They couldn’t not, really. Perhaps Will’s toothy grin and Kate’s now-ish fashion sense will instill new enthusiasm for British imperialism along the Saguenay. Or perhaps they’ll play it safe and spend the whole time in Lennoxville.

Prince Edward Island: God knows. They’re going to Atlantic Canada, and their only stop is PEI. Charlottetown, to see where it all began? Will there be some Anne and Gilbert-style picnics in the meadow? Or just a tailgate party at the Duffys’?

Ottawa: You have to, don’t you?

I’m sure that, as a proud, exuberant, mostly-sovereign nation, we will fill their hearts with splendour, and that they will return the favour. There’s a slim but not-impossible chance that Will will want to make a strong impression on us – rock the boat a little. Perhaps by declaring himself permanently unavailable for the title of King of Canada in the future, sermonising that “you lot ought to get your own Head of State already.” Tough love and everything.

Sadly, the odds of that seem to be about the same as their being greeted at the airport in June by one Prime Minister Ignatieff.

Sigh. Long live what we’ve got.

Filed under: Canada, UK, Uncategorized, , , , ,

Common sense news-flash: Non-voters’ non-votes won’t be counted

The surreal mind-game seems to have wound down. And with that, a woot woot. Imagine this. The democratic chamber has overruled the undemocratic chamber (green with envy, Canada?)

MPs reject 40% threshold plan for the AV referendum

MPs have overturned a proposal to make a referendum on the Westminster voting system non-binding unless 40% of the electorate take part in the poll.

Peers backed the measure earlier this month but the Commons rejected the proposal by a majority of 70.

Cabinet Office minister Mark Harper said there was a “compelling” case for voters to make the final decision.

It’s fun reading about someone with the last name “Harper” taking the position that the unelected chamber should bow to the elected. Hee.

The referendum, slated for 5 May, now has a much better prospect of being staged at all, and of being a fair account of the democratic will. The battle for Alternative Vote supporters now is going to be to try to disassociate “Brand Electoral Reform” from the toxic “Brand Nick Clegg,” which will not be easy, nor fun. Many erstwhile supporters of the abolishment of first-past-the-post will now potentially use the referendum as an occasion to simply bludgeon the Lib Dems and rob them of their platform mantlepiece, sadly, which is going deep into cutting-off-nose-to-spite-face territory. Call the Lib Dems what names you will, people – this is your chance to enact one of their platform policies (ones which you voted for last year!), despite Clegg’s apparent Toryboy sycophancy.

That battle will be waged over the next few months. For now, at least, we can be glad that the referendum on the UK’s voting system won’t be subject to quicksand regulations that go beyond those which govern the election of MPs themselves. It’s a goose and ganders situation, which the HoC has cottoned onto. No good setting a precedent whereby turnout thresholds threaten to scupper the voices of active electors.

So, in conclusion – phew. For now.

Filed under: Politics, UK, , , , , , ,


February 2011

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 40 other followers