Polygonic

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

“I didn’t know!” – the death throes of a desperate squirmer

The Conservatives are losing their favourite, time-tested tactic to reset public opinion: just say the word “sponsorship.”

For seven long years, anytime they could be criticised for ethical lapses, for cronyism and corruption, for pork and for secrecy (in a word, umm, always), they could simply refer back to “sponsorship” and be assured that the public would growl at horrific memories of Liberal sleaze, and we’d remind ourselves how grateful we should be that things are, at the very least, not that bad.

Except that they are. And you know that they are when a Prime Minister not only refutes something, not only ignores something, but says he “didn’t know about it.”

Paul Martin “didn’t know” about sponsorship. Jean Chrétien “didn’t know” either. The entire scandal was supposed to come down to the over-zealous shenanigans of backroom functionaries, whose fealty to their Party blinded them to fair play – and, in their fealty, they also knew better than to even tell their Party leaders anything about it. To protect them.

People see this as squirmery. For a leader to say he “didn’t know” about something, anything, absolutely reeks of it. Any politician volunteering that he is both ignorant and a poor manager will damage him, but he does it to protect him from the greater damage that the truth would inflict. And that missing truth is all that people see. 

No one believed that Chrétien “didn’t know,” or that Martin “didn’t know” about the actions of their own office. The Reformer/Conservatives didn’t believe it! For them, though, it’s now become nigh on impossible to trade on their old 2004 outrage, having themselves now sunk to having today’s Prime Minister, in all his micromanaging obsession, through his hawk-eyed economist’s lens, have to come out and say that he just “didn’t know.”

Outrage for sponsorship is no longer a tradeable commodity, desperate though Harper is to revert to familiar tactics. His TV address was effectively the very same speech he liked to give when he was Leader of the Opposition, eight, nine, even ten years ago: he’d like the Senate to be reformed, and believes Ottawa needs to be more transparent. 

After seven years in power, the Senate is worse, and transparency is markedly, shamefully poorer. And so, Stephen Harper’s ethical conundrum: the more he repeats his old adage about” demanding better,” the more Canadians actually will.

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New projects, new horizons

Hello, all you phenomenal followers of Polygonic, who’ve put up with both my obtuse rants and my long, long silences with absolute aplomb. Your stamina and support bends my actual mind.Image

I wanted to just update you on new projects (and, as the title suggests, new horizons as well… well, they were, at least last year…!)

Rather than blogging about politics lately, which seem to deteriorate into farce with or without me, I’ve been turning my attentions to writing about something I’m feeling more inspired by – travel.

Late last year, I undertook a long overland rail trip (and bus trip… and Lada trip…) from Hong Kong to London, passing through the Chinese provinces of Guangxi, Yunnan, Sichuan, Gansu and Xinjiang, before heading out to Kyrgyzstan, over to Uzbekistan, on through Kazakhstan and into southern Russia, before zipping back through Europe and beautiful (to me) Brixton, South London.

And I’m writing all about it! 

Which leaves me with two updates for you…. one is that Polygonic remains my politics blog for when the mood (typically one of exasperation and fury) strikes, but my blog specifically for the travelogue is A Eurasian Diary. It’s also on WordPress, and will feature the occasional pretty photo from the trip, videos, and excerpts from the book so far. And, on extraordinarily special occasions, poems about football.

The other update is that I’ve also got a pretty comprehensive photo album for the trip up on Flickr. Photos are organised by region, and are all annotated for your viewing pleasure…. Come and enjoy your face off.

With the book, I’m at roughly the halfway point, and I’ll eventually e-publish the completed version around August this year (all things going to plan!). But if you’d like to keep track of all that malarkey, read excerpts, or otherwise just witness my descent into rambling, head-up-arse, self-publishing pseudo-maniac, please do keep a note of the other blog, come say hi, and even sign up. Would be great to keep y’all on board.

Thanks folks 🙂 

http://twitter.com/liamtyping

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