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What would Plato make of Boris Johnson?
June 22nd 2019 | the Economist | by Bagehot.

Classics (Literae Humaniores) is a wide-ranging degree devoted to the study of the literature, history, philosophy, languages and archaeology of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. It is one of the most interdisciplinary of all degrees, and offers the opportunity to study these two foundational ancient civilisations and their reception in modern times. The degree also permits students to take extensive options in modern philosophy......

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Mr Johnson’s failure to get a first continues to annoy him intensely—and to delight many of his rivals. But in truth it doesn’t matter a jot: the world is full of failures who got firsts, and successes who missed out. The really interesting question is not whether Mr Johnson’s results reveal some great intellectual weakness. It is what light the subject of his studies can throw on his qualifications to be prime minister. The classics corpus is full of meditations on the qualities that make for a good leader. And no classical author thought more profoundly about the subject than Plato, the philosopher who was put at the heart of Oxford’s classics syllabus by Balliol’s greatest master, Benjamin Jowett. What would Plato have made of the classicist who appears destined to be Balliol’s fourth prime minister since 1900?.....In “The Republic”, Plato argued that the most important qualities in a statesman were truthfulness and expertise. A good statesman will “never willingly tolerate an untruth”. (“Is it possible to combine in the same character a love of wisdom and a love of falsehood?” one of Plato’s characters asks. “Quite impossible,” comes the reply.) He will spend his life studying everything that he needs to make him a good captain of the ship of state—“the seasons of the year, the sky, the stars, the winds and other professional subjects”. .......By contrast, Plato argued, the surest signs of a bad leader are narcissism and self-indulgence. The poor statesman is an eloquent flatterer, who relies on his ability to entertain the masses with speeches and comic turns, but doesn’t bother to develop a coherent view of the world. Plato was particularly vitriolic about the scions of the upper classes who are offered the opportunity to study philosophy while young but don’t apply themselves, because they think they are so talented that they needn’t earn their place at the top table.......“The Republic” is haunted by the fear that democracies eventually degenerate into tyrannies. Democracy is the most alluring form of government: “the diversity of its characters, like the different colours in a patterned dress, make it look very attractive.” But it is inherently unstable. Citizens are so consumed by pleasure-seeking that they beggar the economy; so hostile to authority that they ignore the advice of experts; and so committed to liberty that they lose any common purpose......As democracies collapse under the pressure of their contradictions, panicked citizens look for salvation in a demagogue. These are men who love power, but cannot control their own desires for “holidays and dinners and parties and girlfriends and so on”. Plato calls them the “most wretched of men because of the disorder raging within them”. Citizens are so consumed by fear that they think these wretches have magical abilities to solve the country’s problems and restore proper order. Demagogues get their start by “taking over a particularly obedient mob”, before seizing control of the country. But the more power they acquire the worse things become, “for the doctor removes the poison and leaves the healthy elements in the body, while the tyrant does the opposite.”

The shadow on the wall
Democracies have proved more durable than Plato imagined. And his cure for the problems of democracy—the rule of philosopher-kings, who are expected to hold their wives and children in common—is eccentric to put it mildly. But he is right that character matters. Politicians can change their advisers or their policies, but character is sticky. He is also right that democracies can suddenly give way to populist authoritarianism...... The best way to prepare for a Johnson premiership is to re-read “The Republic”, hoping Plato is wrong but preparing for the fact that he may be right
Boris_Johnson  character_traits  contradictions  demagoguery  democracies  Greek  humanities  leaders  leadership  liberal_arts  opposing_actions  Oxford  pairs  philosophers  Plato  politicians  Romans  statesmen  truth-telling  United_Kingdom 
july 2019 by jerryking
Opinion: George Brown, the futurist
July 1, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by MOIRA DANN, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL.

Memories of the people present for Canada’s beginnings can teach us a great deal. Sometimes looking back helps you reconsider and reframe the present, so you can see different possibilities for the future.....George Brown often gets short shrift as a Father of Confederation.....know he was the founder of The Globe, let alone a founder of the country.....Brown wasn’t the charismatic lightning rod his confrère and rival John A. Macdonald was, nor was he as ready to dance and sing and flirt and play his own compositions on the piano, as was his Quebec frenemy, George-Étienne Cartier..... he was the most forward-looking of the lot......Brown came to Toronto from Scotland in 1843 via a short, five-year sojourn in New York working in dry goods and publishing.......It wasn’t long before Brown, defending the principle of the government’s responsibility to Parliament, was haranguing Governor-General Charles Metcalfe about public-service appointments made without the approval of the elected representatives. Brown soon enough made the leap from journalism to politics. ...... he was back wearing his journalist’s hat in 1867, writing a 9,000-word front-page editorial for The Globe’s July 1 edition when Canada’s Confederation became a political reality......While still publishing and writing for political-reform-minded Presbyterian church publication The Banner, Brown had foreseen a market trend: He anticipated the desire for (and the money-making potential of) a good newspaper directed less toward partisan believers and more at a general reader, a paper with a strong point of view and attempting a national perspective. He started The Globe on March 5, 1844.......After Brown started The Globe – it merged, in 1936, with the Mail and Empire, to become the newspaper that you are reading today – he was able to print and distribute it widely to extol Confederation because of some forethought: He had started investing in new technology. Just two months after starting The Globe using a hand press that printed 200 copies an hour, he went to New York and purchased a Hoe rotary press that could produce 1,250 copies an hour. His was the first one used in Upper Canada. He also made a deal with a rival publication, the British Colonist, to share the cost of using the telegraph to bring news from New York and Montreal......One thing Brown never allowed to lapse was his dedication to religious liberty, civil rights and the abolition of slavery. .....Brown was also a vocal advocate of prison reform...... the work he most loved: being husband to Anne and father to Margaret (Maggie), Catherine Edith (Oda) and George.
abolitionists  ahead_of_the_curve  Confederation  forethought  futurists  George_Brown  George-Étienne_Cartier  Globe_&_Mail  history  journalists  nation_builders  newspapers  politicians  prison_reform  Sir_John_A._MacDonald  technology 
july 2019 by jerryking
Past mistakes carry warnings for the future of work
May 21, 2019 | Financial Times | by SARAH O'CONNOR.

* Data can mislead unless combined with grittier insights on the power structures that underpin it.
* William Kempster, a master mason who worked on St Paul's Cathedral in the 18th century, left wage records that helped expose a flaw in our understanding of the past.

It is often said that we should learn from the mistakes of the past. But we can also learn from the mistakes we make about the past. Seemingly smooth data can mislead unless it is combined with a grittier insight into the structures, contracts and power relationships that underpin the numbers. On that score, economists and politicians who want to make sense of today’s labour market have an advantage over historians: it is happening right now, just outside their offices, in all its complexity and messiness. All they have to do is open the door
17th_century  18th_century  builders  contextual  data  datasets  developing_countries  economic_history  economists  freelancing  gig_economy  handwritten  historians  human_cloud_platforms  insights  labour_markets  London  messiness  mistakes  politicians  power_relations  power_structures  record-keeping  United_Kingdom  unstructured_data  wages  white-collar 
may 2019 by jerryking
Focus | Three things I wish I knew the day I became a Cabinet minister
March 27, 2019 | The Nassau Guardian | • Zhivargo Laing is a Bahamian economic consultant and former Cabinet minister who represented the Marco City constituency in the House of Assembly.
Bahamas  Caribbean  humility  lessons_learned  politicians  think_threes 
march 2019 by jerryking
Why further financial crises are inevitable
March 19, 2019 | Financial Times | Martin Wolf.

We learnt this month that the US Fed had decided not to raise the countercyclical capital buffer required of banks above its current level of zero, even though the US economy is at a cyclical peak. It also removed “qualitative” grades from its stress tests for American banks, though not for foreign ones. Finally, the Financial Stability Oversight Council, led by Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury secretary, removed the last insurer from its list of “too big to fail” institutions.

These decisions may not endanger the stability of the financial system. But they show that financial regulation is procyclical: it is loosened when it should be tightened and tightened when it should be loosened. We do, in fact, learn from history — and then we forget.....Regulation of banks has tightened since the financial crises of 2007-12. Capital and liquidity requirements are stricter, the “stress test” regime is quite demanding, and efforts have been made to end “too big to fail” by developing the idea of orderly “resolution” of large and complex financial institutions.....Yet complacency is unjustified. Banks remain highly leveraged institutions.....history demonstrates the procyclicality of regulation. Again and again, regulation is relaxed during a boom: indeed, the deregulation often fuels that boom. Then, when the damage has been done and disillusionment sets in, it is tightened again........We can see four reasons why this tends to happen: economic, ideological, political and merely human.

* Economic
Over time the financial system evolves. There is a tendency for risk to migrate out of the best regulated parts of the system to less well regulated parts. Even if regulators have the power and will to keep up, the financial innovation that so often accompanies this makes it hard to do so. The global financial system is complex and adaptable. It is also run by highly motivated people. It is hard for regulators to catch up with the evolution of what we now call “shadow banking”.

* Ideological
the tendency to view this complex system through a simplistic lens. The more powerful the ideology of free markets, the more the authority and power of regulators will tend to erode. Naturally, public confidence in this ideology tends to be strong in booms and weak in busts.

* Political

the financial system controls vast resources and can exert huge influence. In the 2018 US electoral cycle, finance, insurance and real estate (three intertwined sectors) were the largest contributors, covering one-seventh of the total cost. This is a superb example of Mancur Olson’s Logic of Collective Action: concentrated interests override the general one. This is much less true in times of crisis, when the public is enraged and wants to punish bankers. But it is true, again, in normal times.

Borderline or even blatant corruption also emerges: politicians may even demand a share in the wealth created in booms. Since politicians ultimately control regulators, the consequences for the latter, even if they are honest and diligent, are evident.

A significant aspect of the politics is closely linked to regulatory arbitrage: international competition. One jurisdiction tries to attract financial business via “light-touch” regulation; others then follow. This is frequently because their own financiers and financial centres complain bitterly. It is hard to resist the argument that foreigners are cheating.

* Human
There is a human tendency to dismiss long-ago events as irrelevant, to believe This Time is Different and ignore what is not under one’s nose. Much of this can be summarised as “disaster myopia”. The public gives irresponsible policymakers the benefit of the doubt and enjoys the boom. Over time, regulation degrades, as the forces against it strengthen and those in its favour corrode.

The cumulative effect of these efforts is quite clear: regulations erode and that erosion will be exported. This has happened before and will do so again. This time, too, is not different.
boom-to-bust  bubbles  collective_action  complacency  corruption  disaster_myopia  entrenched_interests  economic_downturn  financiers  financial_crises  financial_regulation  financial_system  historical_amnesia  Mancur_Olson  Martin_Wolf  policymakers  politicians  politics  procyclicality  regulatory_arbitrage  regulation  regulators  stress-tests  This_Time_is_Different  U.S._Federal_Reserve 
march 2019 by jerryking
After the SNC-Lavalin affair, we must strip the influence of political staffers - The Globe and Mail
Omer Aziz was a policy adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

From the outside, our government is a democracy with duly elected parliamentarians. From the inside, it can feel like an autocracy, with power concentrated in very few hands. There is a single node of power and all the channels run through it. That’s why the Prime Minister’s Office is colloquially referred to as “the Centre.”....At Global Affairs Canada, political staffers meet regularly with stakeholders, including human-rights groups, corporate representatives and anyone else who might be affected by our policies, and signals regularly came from above on how to manoeuvre on a certain file. If a message comes from “the Centre” to your office, you can bet that everyone will drop everything and make sure they are meeting expectations. Refuse, and well – these people hold your future in their hands.

It would be no stretch to say that most of the important decisions made by the Canadian government are made by only a handful of people. This has led to preventable errors and bad policy outcomes such as Justin Trudeau’s India trip or the SNC-Lavalin affair. As with too much accumulated wealth, too much accumulated power is ultimately bad for democracy.

There are more than 600 political staffers in Ottawa. These jobs are not publicly advertised and are notoriously difficult to come by if you’re not already well-connected. It’s no wonder that diversity is such a problem in government – and this includes viewpoint diversity as much as ethnic and racial diversity.

Pull back the curtain and it turns out the people in the backrooms mostly resemble one another. Within the political staff itself, there exists a hierarchy, with senior staffers in the Prime Minister’s Office at the top. This is where the real decisions are made.

We need to seriously scale back the influence of political staffers and legislate what the parameters of their jobs really are......The biggest problem with concentrating political power is that it leads to hubris and arrogance, and eventually to critical errors. It leads people to believe that they can overstep boundaries in the name of the Boss.

Absolute power not only corrupts, it is fundamentally corrupting to the entire operation. This is not how a parliamentary system of government is supposed to work. These people are not the mafia. The government does not belong to them.

We could cut the number of staffers in half and Ottawa would run better than it does now. There should also be a formal, publicly acknowledged policy process so Canadians can trust that the system of democracy is working from within and decisions that might shape the future of the country for decades are not being made by a cloistered elite.
centralization  Ottawa  PMO  political_power  SNC-Lavalin  politicians  political_staffers  Canada  Canadian  government  institutions  partisanship  GoC 
february 2019 by jerryking
Former finance minister, ambassador and businessman Michael Wilson dies at 81 - The Globe and Mail
TIM KILADZE AND ERIC ANDREW-GEE
PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 10, 2019

Michael Wilson, a former federal finance minister and stalwart of Canadian business who overcame personal tragedy in later life to become an advocate for mental-health support, has died at 81.

Under prime minister Brian Mulroney, Mr. Wilson helped negotiate the North American free-trade agreement and brought in the federal goods and services tax, initiatives that were controversial at the time, but have survived to become pillars of federal policy......Mr. Wilson went on to have a laurelled career after politics as Canadian ambassador to the United States in the late 2000s and then chancellor of the University of Toronto from 2012 until 2018....He was also a veteran investment banker with a career in finance that spanned more than half a century and included senior roles at UBS Canada, Royal Bank of Canada and, most recently, Barclays Capital Canada.

But, of late, he was perhaps best known for his dedication to raising awareness of mental-health issues after his son Cameron died by suicide in 1995, at the age of 29​. That work included serving as chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada for the past four years......Anthony Fell was Mr. Wilson’s boss as CEO of RBC Dominion Securities when Mr. Wilson was a partner in the investment bank, before entering federal politics. The two stayed close friends.

“It’s been said that one of the best thing you can leave behind is a sterling reputation for integrity and for making a positive difference in peoples’ lives, and this Michael Wilson has done throughout his life, in very full measure,” Mr. Fell said on Sunday.
Canada  Canadian  crossborder  Bay_Street  FTA  GST  investment_banking  leaders  mental_health  Michael_Wilson  NAFTA  obituaries  politicians  Progressive_Conservatives  RBC  UBS  UCC  uToronto  public_service  Tim_Kiladze 
february 2019 by jerryking
Joe Clark is regarded as a failure. He deserves better
January 3, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | MICHAEL HEALEY.

Joe Clark was Canada’s prime minister for nine months, 39 years ago (1979). He was 39 years old when he won the job. The portrait, by Patrick Douglass Cox, excellently captures the essence of Mr. Clark at that age: He’s forthright, sincere, slightly goofy and not entirely comfortable in his own skin. That unemphatic hand betraying whatever argument he’s making to the House of Commons.......He quit in 1993, then came back in 1998 to take over as leader of a severely diminished PC Party for the second time. He was bent on resisting a merger with the Alliance Party. He lost that principled fight, too. By 2004, even though his party no longer existed, he still referred to himself as a Progressive Conservative.

......The single unequivocal success he managed, in his nine months in power, was this: He brought 60,000 South Asian refugees, fleeing chaos in Vietnam and Cambodia, to the country. He did it in record time, and he had to invent the private-sponsorship model to do it. Sure, that was an initiative created by the previous (Liberal) government, but Mr. Clark didn’t care where a good idea came from........... He also managed something incredible – as minister responsible for constitutional affairs, he got two territorial leaders and 10 provincial premiers to agree to constitutional reform through the Charlottetown Accord. .....Sure, the Accord failed in a national referendum. But that had everything to do with Mr. Mulroney’s permeating unpopularity. Few people recognize the immensity of Mr. Clark’s feat because of how things turned out......These qualities: stubbornness, idealism, a willingness to subsume his ego to get things done, made him an effective statesman. Hence the strong poll numbers at the end of his career.
'70s  Canada  Joe_Clark  politicians  statesmen  Progressive_Conservatives  Brian_Mulroney  Pierre_Trudeau  red_Tories 
january 2019 by jerryking
The AI arms race: the tech fear behind Donald Trump’s trade war with China | Financial Times
Shawn Donnan in Washington YESTERDAY

While the headlines about the Trump administration’s trade war with Beijing often focus on raw materials such as steel, aluminium and soyabeans, the underlying motivation of the new protectionist mood is American anxiety about China’s rapidly growing technological prowess.......
At a time when the US is engaged in a battle for technological pre-eminence with China, the ZGC project is exactly the sort of state-backed Chinese investment that American politicians across the political spectrum view with scepticism.

“China has targeted America’s industries of the future, and President Donald Trump understands better than anyone that if China successfully captures these emerging industries, America will have no economic future,” .....US tariffs on $34bn in imports from China that are due to take effect on Friday as part of a squeeze intended to end what the US says has been years of state-endorsed Chinese intellectual property theft. But it is also part of a broader battle against what the White House has labelled China’s “economic aggression”......Viewed from America, President Xi Jinping’s Made in China 2025 industrial strategy is a state-led effort to establish Chinese leadership in the technologies of the next generation of commerce and military equipment — notably AI, robotics and gene editing.

Many US officials are now questioning one of the basic assumptions about how the American economy operates: its openness to foreign investment....While some technology executives extol the potential for co-operation in areas such as AI, the Washington establishment increasingly sees them as central to a growing geopolitical competition....Many Chinese investors are looking for US companies that they can help move into China. .....Even though Mr Trump’s focus on Chinese technology has strong bipartisan support in Washington, its tactics have been heavily criticised. The biggest blunder, many critics argue, has been the Trump administration’s willingness to wage concurrent trade wars. The IP-driven tariffs push against China has been accompanied by one that has hit allies such as Canada and the EU that might have joined a fight against Beijing.

........“We’re treating the Chinese better than we are treating our friends,” says Derek Scissors, a China expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, who sees the tariffs Mr Trump is threatening against European car imports as a similar bit of malpractice.
arms_race  artificial_intelligence  China  CFIUS  Donald_Trump  economic_warfare  economic_aggression  FDI  geopolitics  international_trade  investors  investing  intellectual_property  industrial_policies  protectionism  politicians  robotics  One_Belt_One_Road  security_&_intelligence  Silicon_Valley  SOEs  start_ups  theft  U.S.  venture_capital  Washington_D.C. 
july 2018 by jerryking
How one skilled speech shamed the Trump administration | Financial Times
Sam Leith 4 HOURS AGO

Sam Leith is the author of ‘Words Like Loaded Pistols: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama’ (Basic Books
speeches  public_speaking  shame  brevity  logic_&_reasoning  rhetoric  books  politicians 
june 2018 by jerryking
Letters responding to Secrets and spies: can espionage ever be justified? | Financial Times
Please use the sharing tools found via the email icon at the top of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy ad...
letters_to_the_editor  espionage  SecDef  security_&_intelligence  politicians  tools  confirmation_bias  Pakistan  François_Mitterrand 
june 2018 by jerryking
From climate change to robots: what politicians aren’t telling us
OCTOBER 26, 2017 | FT| by Simon Kuper.

Most politicians bang on about identity while ignoring automation, climate change and the imminent revolution in medicine. They talk more about the 1950s than the 2020s. This is partly because they want to distract voters from real problems, and partly because today’s politicians tend to be lawyers, entertainers and ex-journalists who know less about tech than the average 14-year-old....ronically, given the volume of American climate denial, the US looks like becoming the first western country to be hit by climate change. Each new natural disaster will prompt political squabbles over whether Washington should bail out the stricken region. At-risk cities such as Miami and New Orleans will gradually lose appeal as the risks become uninsurable......American climate denial may fade too, as tech companies displace Big Oil as the country’s chief lobbyists. Already in the first half of this year, Amazon outspent Exxon and Walmart on lobbying. Facebook, now taking a kicking over fake news, will lobby its way back. Meanwhile, northern Europe, for some years at least, will benefit from its historical unique selling point: its mild and rainy climate. Its problem will be that millions of Africans will try to move there.

On the upside, many Africans will soon, for the first time ever, have access to energy (thanks to solar panels) and medical care (as apps monitor everything from blood pressure to sugar levels, and instantly prescribe treatment). But as Africa gets hotter, drier and overpopulated, people will struggle to feed themselves, says the United Nations University. So they will head north, in much greater numbers than Syrians have, becoming the new bogeymen for European populists....The most coveted good of all — years of life — will become even more unfairly distributed. The lifespans of poor westerners will continue to stagnate or shorten, following the worldwide surge in obesity since the 1980s. Many poorer people will work into their seventies, then die, skipping the now standard phase of retirement. Meanwhile, from the 2020s the rich will live ever longer as they start buying precision medicine. They will fix their faulty DNA and edit their embryos, predicts Vivek Wadhwa, thinker on technology. ...Troubled regimes will also ratchet up surveillance. Now they merely know what you say. In 10 years, thanks to your devices, they will know your next move even before you do.
climate_change  politicians  automation  Simon_Kuper  slowly_moving  Vivek_Wadhwa  imperceptible_threats 
november 2017 by jerryking
The ever-shifting policies are always grand in this kaleidoscopic new world
June 2017 | Financial Times | by Bachu Biswas

Sir, Gillian Tett (June 17) coined the acronym FUCU, observing that the letters F, U, C and U point to four important cultural shifts among voters in the western world (“fragmentation”, “untrusting”, “customising” and “unstable”). I would argue that her acronym is missing another important letter, and that letter is K, which should be added after the letter C.

The letter K stands for “kaleidoscopic”. The Oxford dictionary describes the kaleidoscope as “a toy consisting of a tube containing mirrors and pieces of coloured glass or paper, whose reflections produce changing patterns when the tube is rotated”. The patterns in today’s politics in the make-believe worlds of Make America Great Again and Brexit are policies that are either big on the nostalgic promises of past glory or economic solutions whose time has passed; but which, when confronted with reality, are often changed instantly, modified or claimed to have been fulfilled by “alternative facts”. The facts reflected in the mirrors of alternative facts create illusions that allow voters to believe whatever they want to believe. And if that belief is not adulatory enough, the political leaders rotate the tube again to create different illusions hoping that the new images will be more favourable.

Promises are short-lived in this world of “FUC(Kaleidoscopic)U” politics, but policies are always grand.

Bachu Biswas
Gillian_Tett  kaleidoscopic  letters_to_the_editor  short-lived  policies  Brexit  politicians 
august 2017 by jerryking
'That was then': Mulroney on his role helping Trudeau, despite rivalry with dad - The Globe and Mail
ALEXANDER PANETTA
WASHINGTON — The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, Apr. 05, 2017

“The name that kept coming up again and again was Prime Minister Mulroney’s,” said one person involved in the Nov. 9 talks.

“Almost everybody we called with even a tangential relationship with Trump said Mulroney was the guy to talk to.”

Mulroney has since had several phone chats with the prime minister, that source said. He’s also volunteered in three ways: establishing connections, offering advice, and conveying one country’s perspective to the other.

For example, the source said, if the Americans were upset about trade deficits, Mulroney might point out to Ross how the deficit with Canada was a non-issue — largely attributable to swings in oil prices beyond any government’s control.

Mulroney wasn’t the only bridge-builder: Chrystia Freeland set up the initial meetings in New York between the Trudeau and Trump teams.

He credits everyone for making the most of these new connections.

“I can tell you I’ve heard from two leaders of the American administration... telling me the Canadians... were the best and the nicest people the Americans were able to deal with anyone around the world,” he said....
Mulroney is equally laudatory of the opposition’s behaviour: he says Rona Ambrose and the Conservatives have lowered the partisan temperature on a critical issue of national interest, and sent a letter offering help wherever possible.

“This is a national challenge,” Mulroney said.

“If we were ever to lose NAFTA you’d see grave challenges in Canadian society. So in something like this there’s not a Conservative, or a Liberal way to look at this. There’s only a Canadian way.”

He said that example of Canadians sticking together got noticed in Washington. In comparison, U.S. politics has been riven by partisanship even on touchy international matters, like the handling of Russian meddling in the last U.S. election.

This spurt of bipartisanship also contrasts with another important national moment, which Mulroney recalls with sadness: the effort to reach permanent constitutional peace with Quebec.
relationships  crossborder  politicians  Brian_Mulroney  political_capital  nonpartisan  Justin_Trudeau  NAFTA  advice  bridge-builders  Communicating_&_Connecting  national_unity  Conservative_Party 
april 2017 by jerryking
Political leadership in the Caribbean –
Feb 05, 2017 Features | Kaieteur News | By Sir Ronald Sanders.

The aspirations of today’s Caribbean leaders are no different to Castro’s; their circumstances are different. Caribbean economies are small and, when there is an economic downturn or some major calamity in the countries with which we trade or from which our foreign investment comes, our economies become constrained. It’s not that the leaders would not like to do better, they are operating in restricted circumstances, and they do the best they can. They have no champion as Castro had with the Soviet Union.
But, they miss opportunities by not doing more together. .....CARICOM is a valuable tool for the advancement of the Caribbean people and for Caribbean countries individually and collectively. Unfortunately, since independence, a kind of false nationalism has crept into our psyche; one which, in some cases, cannot admit to being as much a citizen of the Caribbean region as a national of a country within it. Part of the reason is that leaders don’t give effective leadership on this issue.....In almost every Caribbean country, there exists an anathema to migrants from other Caribbean countries, displayed particularly at Airports where Caribbean people face discrimination.......There has not been sufficient advocacy of Caribbean integration by the leadership of the region to help people to understand that, whether or not we came in the same ship, we are now in the same boat and that boat is in turbulent waters. All of us in that boat have to row it together, if not we will sink together....The point is that our circumstances are such that we need each other; no single country in the Caribbean – none, not Trinidad and Tobago, with its oil and gas resources, not Guyana with its vast land and natural resources, not Jamaica with its large population can survive on its own.
The world is tough, and it is only by the marrying and integrating of our resources at all levels that we can hope to do better. If we continue to let integration languish, I am afraid we are writing our own suicide drama and we are acting it out. We have to overcome it. And, political leadership matters – from governing and opposition parties alike.............
leadership  politicians  Caribbean  Caricom  missed_opportunities  parochialism  competitiveness_of_nations  nationalism  integration  loyal_opposition  small_states  human_psyche 
february 2017 by jerryking
Emerging markets offer clue for investors in 2017
December 31/January 1 2017 | Financial Times | by Gillian Tett.

Now (people = politicians = capriciousness/alternatively, unpredictable waves of populism) are shaping events, not established party platforms or policy programmes....the pricing of political uncertainty has moved from being an emerging market phenomenon to an emerged market issue....Is there any way for investors to adapt to this new world? ....(1) Start by abandoning the idea that asset values can be predicted by using neat economic models alone. ...investors urgently need to think about the difference between "risk" (i.e. events that can be predicted with a certain probability) and "uncertainty" (i.e. unknown future shocks). Until now, investors in developed markets have tended to focus primarily on risks and assume that these can be priced (and hedged against). But 2017 is likely to produce uncertainty. That cannot be easily priced or hedge--and investors should recognize this. (2) Investor should also embrace "optionality": the only way to prepare for a world of uncertainty is to stay as flexible and diversified as possible. Now is not the time for investors to put all their eggs in one basket, or bet on just one asset class. Nor is it time for businesses to be locked into rigid business plans: political and geopolitical upheaval could strike almost anywhere. (3) If 2017 does deliver more risk and uncertainty, expect financial markets to be "skittish" about "news" of all types, and not just economic....Bad news for those who despise market volatility (expectation: we're in for volatility like we've never seen before)....Uncertainty can deliver huge opportunity alongside risks..."good" surprises....Surviving 2017 in the developed economies requires that investors use tools beyond those found in the realm of economics: psychology, sociology and political science. Also, talk to successful emerging market investors to find out how they practice their craft.
concentration_risk  Gillian_Tett  emerging_markets  political_risk  unpredictability  Brexit  investors  Donald_Trump  uncertainty  risks  optionality  geopolitics  financial_markets  politicians  volatility  tools  economics  psychology  sociology  political_science  FT  institutions  rule_of_law  Gary_Cohn  populism  indicators  human_factor  assets  asset_values  asset_classes  diversification  dislocations  bad_news 
january 2017 by jerryking
The Women Who Met Hillary, and Spotted a Future Political Star - The New York Times
DEC. 24, 2016 | NYT | By SUSAN DOMINUS.

Hilary Clinton started changing American political culture for women as far back as the early 1970s — not through a candidacy of her own, but through a series of small, but crucial, networking moves.

The number of women who laboured in basement meetings, in consciousness-raising groups, in boardrooms, in unions, in news organizations and in their own kitchens to expand possibilities for women are far too many to count....Prominent among those who did were a few key friends of Mrs. Clinton whom she helped find paths to the cause, including a Texan political player named Betsey Wright....I’m ushered in to the National League of Women Voters headquarters, and Hillary tells them, ‘This can be your youth director.’”

Ms. Piercy, representing the league, went on to attend the Republican and Democratic conventions in 1972, a key inflection point for female activists. “We realized that the only way we could be accepted as equals was to be in office,” she said. “But the parties were not interested in cultivating women. So we realized we would have to train them ourselves.”...while Mrs. Clinton was a law student supporting the presidential candidate Senator George McGovern in San Antonio, she met Ms. Wright, the person she thought could galvanize and prepare potential female candidates.....Ms. Wright had previously worked on individual women’s campaigns. Yet it was Mrs. Clinton who suggested that Ms. Wright move to Washington to spread her expertise, by joining Ms. Piercy and Ms. Griffith to work for what would become known as the National Women’s Education Fund, an unofficial training arm of the National Women’s Political Caucus, with no formal affiliation. “Hillary was saying they really did need to get somebody who understood local races,” Ms. Wright said. “And she strongly urged me to go.”....Wright created seminars and training sessions that taught women how to maneuver within the political process.

She also formed a powerful partnership with Ruth Mandel, who had recently created the pioneering Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. It was not just that they needed to train women, Ms. Mandel said; they needed to “help women overcome their own resistance to gaining political power in their own right.”...Wright knew that revolutions start with pragmatics: She created a training manual that the Education Fund and the Political Caucus relied on heavily for years, a guidebook that broke down the logistics of opinion polling, reaching the news media and recruiting a staff. The training sessions offered advice on every aspect of campaigning, including details specific to women.
Hillary_Clinton  politics  political_campaigns  discipline  political_infrastructure  institutions  politicians  institution-building  women  networking  training  consciousness-raising  grass-roots  inflection_points 
january 2017 by jerryking
National Black Caucus of State Legislators: Preparing for the Age of Trump
BY: CHARLES D. ELLISON
Posted: December 4, 2016

As bad as that may look, however, don’t sleep on the NBCSL. With those numbers, none of the above eliminates the NBCSL’s truly massive importance as an august national body of black political power. Even if we can’t link to its website at the moment, it still manages to somehow connect and coordinate these 700 legislators, occasionally corralling crucial policy coordination on a wide range of issues when needed.

Black state legislators are like a first line of defense standing between national sanity and the global tempest that is Donald Trump, plus a fully decked GOP Congress. Need to change police-conduct standards? Call your local black state rep or senator because that’s in their wheelhouse. When Trump’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan rolls out and trickles to states, black state officials will be key on oversight. And issues like education reform, charter schools and vouchers can’t really move without black state legislators’ eyes on them....."expressing frustration that the census woefully undercounts the national black population and that, unfortunately, many black constituents don’t help the situation by avoiding it. The significance of redistricting and racial gerrymandering cannot be underestimated: It plays a central role in structurally consolidating Republican political power to a gargantuan and potentially tyrannical degree."....New Jersey state Sen. Ron Rice (D-Newark), argued that’s why black elected officials must press aggressively for more collaboration among the state-, local- and federal-level groups, like NBCSL, the Congressional Black Caucus, the African American Mayors Association and the National Black Caucus of Locally Elected Officials. “This day and age, we can’t be playing around,” said Rice.

“We have to acknowledge the need to coordinate on a number of issues, like jobs, crime, education, and know what the other is doing,”
African-Americans  politicians  redistricting  constituencies  census  under-representation  undercounting  gerrymandering  organizational_capital  collaboration  coordination  policymakers  policymaking 
december 2016 by jerryking
Jim Prentice was the man at the helm as the Alberta PC dynasty ended - The Globe and Mail
IAN BAILEY AND BARRIE MCKENNA
VANCOUVER/OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Oct. 14, 2016
Jim_Prentice  obituaries  Alberta  politicians  lawyers 
october 2016 by jerryking
Blame the politicians, not Metrolinx, for UPX fiasco - The Globe and Mail
OLIVER MOORE AND ADRIAN MORROW
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Feb. 12, 2016
UPX  Metrolinx  politics  Toronto  transit  white_elephants  politicians 
february 2016 by jerryking
Recharging the Canadian right - The Globe and Mail
PRESTON MANNING
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Jan. 18, 2016

As Henry Kissinger once observed, politicians in office use up their intellectual, human and organizational capital rather than adding to it. Time out of office, wisely employed, can be used to restock the cupboard....

.....This is not to say that personal attractiveness and communications capabilities should be ignored in the recruitment of the next generation of political leaders. But if the aim of conservatives is not only to recharge the right politically, but also to be better able to govern the country as a result, putting all the renewal eggs in the charismatic leader basket would be a mistake for both conservatism and the country....
1. Greater recognition of the character traits that Canadians want to see in their elected officials – openness, honesty, transparency, integrity, compassion, humility – and making the possession of such traits a much more important factor in recruiting candidates, leaders and staff.

2. More clearly embracing those Canadian values – such as freedom, responsibility, equality of opportunity, stewardship, respect for life, democratic accountability – that conservatives want to strengthen and apply more rigorously to public policy.

3. Continue to strongly communicate the importance of trade liberalization, public-spending constraints, balanced budgets, debt reduction and tax relief.

4. Undertake a fresh round of policy development to strengthen the creative application of conservative values and principles to those areas where conservatives are, rightly or wrongly, seen to be weak or disinterested, such as poverty, inequality, health care, education, environment, science and culture.

5. Investing heavily in training conservative-oriented Canadians for more effective participation in the country’s political processes; providing more and better training for volunteers, constituency executives, campaign managers and candidates.

6. With respect to all of the above, consulting and involving ordinary Canadians at every stage – not just party insiders and elites.
Preston_Manning  conservatism  revitalization  intellectual_capital  human_capital  constituencies  rebuilding  think_tanks  political_infrastructure  institutions  politicians  institution-building  right-of-center  Canadian  values  training  Henry_Kissinger  organizational_capital  renewal  character_traits  charisma  APNSA  right-wing 
january 2016 by jerryking
A Wealthy Governor and His Friends Are Remaking Illinois - The New York Times
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE NOV. 29, 2015

For an idea, just read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" to get an idea of pre worker rights America. Or, even Charles Dickens would be useful here; like "Oliver Twist", "David Copperfield" or "A Christmas Carol".
moguls  politicians  politics  Illinois 
november 2015 by jerryking
Dear MPs not picked for cabinet: Get over it - The Globe and Mail
Nov. 04, 2015 | The Globe and Mail | BARRY CAMPBELL.

The political arena is not for the meek. There is much to learn and some of that is hard: how to create distance between brain and mouth so you are not the subject of an unfortunate headline and a nasty call from the Prime Minister’s Office; how to make everyone still like you even when you couldn’t do much to help; and how to be patient knowing that you can’t fix everything. Victories may be few and small, but still worth it.

You will learn from your caucus colleagues (each of whom thinks he or she is as smart and deserving as you) and learn how to give credit when it is due and when to keep your own counsel. Learn how to live to fight another day, how to speak at caucus meetings and be noticed (humour helps) and how to be a partisan loyalist and a relentless self-promoter without losing your soul and the still be the person who came to Ottawa to serve their country.

My advice is this: Your power will come through how well you develop and manage relationships – with the cabinet, your colleagues, Hill staff, civil servants and even the opposition. Your lack of an official portfolio means that you can be more objective and provide cabinet ministers with an unvarnished perspective they’ll appreciate (mostly).

Pick both your battles and causes carefully. Most important, pick an issue and be its voice. Make it yours. (or...use your political_capital wisely)
advice  appointments  Justin_Trudeau  politics  politicians  serving_others  political_capital  wisdom  humility  self-promotion  self-starters  House_of_Commons  influence  PMO  relationships  speaking_up  the_Cabinet 
november 2015 by jerryking
Confederation: Canada’s early lesson in tolerance - The Globe and Mail
MOIRA DANN
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Oct. 12, 2015

It wasn’t dissimilar in 1864 Quebec. Many of those top-hatted, suit-coated fellows could do little more than tolerate each other because of political differences and ancient slights. But they had gathered in Quebec a little more than a month after an initial meeting in Charlottetown that had sketched an outline of what a new Canada might look like. They were following up to colour it in.

John A. Macdonald and George Brown of Canada West (Ontario) and George-Étienne Cartier of Canada East (Quebec) were the primary instigators of the Confederation discussions; now they had to make sure all the goodwill flowing from September’s conference in Charlottetown would be shaped into a document. They had never been anything like friends but they had shelved their partisan, political and personal rancour when they took part in what’s known as the Great Coalition and then approached Maritime leaders about uniting British North America.
anniversaries  Canadian  Confederation  George_Brown  George-Étienne_Cartier  history  leaders  nation_builders  politicians  Sir_John_A._Macdonald  tolerance 
october 2015 by jerryking
Let’s give R.B. Bennett his due - The Globe and Mail
ARTHUR MILNES, FRANCES LANKIN, STEVE PAIKIN, DAVID LOCKHART AND ZACH PAIKIN
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Aug. 20, 201
history  leaders  politicians  Canadian  far-sightedness  nation_builders  anniversaries 
august 2015 by jerryking
The murky world of Chinese influence - The Globe and Mail
CHARLES BURTON
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jun. 17, 2015

Indeed, it’s worth noting that Canadian officials and politicians who favour closer economic relations with China – playing down concerns about human rights, espionage, unfair trade practices, support for repressive Third World regimes and so on – have generally not been of Chinese origin. It’s troubling that many of these same people, after they leave politics, end up making serious money in China-related trade or lucrative China-related board of directors’ appointments. This most recently applies to Mr. Baird himself and very much so to his predecessor David Emerson, but also to former prime ministers, former Canadian ambassadors to China and many others, of all political stripes. Chinese money is seemingly welcomed almost everywhere in Canada, but it inevitably comes with strings attached: expectations of reciprocal “friendship” that lead back to the Chinese Communists and their ever-more influential global business conglomerates headquartered in Beijing.

This is not a reciprocal relationship. It is unlikely that there are many telephone calls going on between any of our consuls-general in China and influential Chinese political actors comparable in rank to our Michael Chan.

Canada could be managing these concerns much better. The Chinese money is there, but not the Canadian political will.
China  security_&_intelligence  influence  influence_peddling  intimidation  naivete  political_power  Chinese  politicians  CSIS  lobbying  revolving_door  Canada-China_relations  Charles_Burton 
june 2015 by jerryking
The test of true political leadership is to risk change - The Globe and Mail
BRIAN MULRONEY
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, May. 28 2015

The most essential ingredient for any “Big Idea,” however, is leadership.

Leadership that not only anticipates the need for change but is determined to implement change. Not in pursuit of popularity but to serve the national interest.

The test of true leadership hinges on judgments between risk and reward.

Change of any kind requires risk, political risk. It can and will generate unpopularity from those who oppose change. The choice for Canada or the United Kingdom in a fast-changing global environment is either to adapt quickly and take advantage of the changes happening or watch from the sidelines....As Reinhold Niebuhr reminded us: “Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope. Nothing fine or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we must be saved by faith.”(jk: the importance of having a long-term vision & exhibiting faith in pursuing it).

It is in this perspective that great and controversial questions of public policy must be considered.

History tends to focus on the builders, the deciders, the leaders – because they are the men and women whose contributions have shaped the destiny of their nations, here and around the world.

From the bloodied sands of Afghanistan to the snows and waters of the High Arctic, the Canada of 50 years from now will be defined by the leadership we are given today.
Brian_Mulroney  speeches  Oxford  leadership  politicians  Cold_War  9/11  NAFTA  '80s  history  leaders  risks  transformational  courage  political_risk  fast-changing  free-trade  public_policy 
may 2015 by jerryking
The lost art of political persuasion - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Apr. 25 2015

Talking points are hardly a 21st century political innovation. But they have so crowded out every other form of discourse that politics is now utterly devoid of honesty, unless it’s the result of human error. The candidates are still human, we think, though the techies now running campaigns are no doubt working on ways to remove that bug from their programs.

Intuition, ideas and passion used to matter in politics. Now, data analytics aims to turn all politicians into robots, programmed to deliver a script that has been scientifically tested...The data analysts have algorithms that tell them just what words resonate with just what voters and will coax them to donate, volunteer and vote.

Politics is no longer about the art of persuasion or about having an honest debate about what’s best for your country, province or city. It’s about microtargeting individuals who’ve already demonstrated by their Facebook posts or responses to telephone surveys that they are suggestible. Voters are data points to be manipulated, not citizens to be cultivated....Campaign strategists euphemistically refer to this data collection and microtargeting as “grassroots engagement” or “having one-on-one conversations” with voters....The data analysts on the 2012 Obama campaign came up with “scores” for each voter in its database, or what author Sasha Issenberg called “a new political currency that predicted the behaviour of individual humans.
Konrad_Yakabuski  persuasion  middle_class  politicians  massive_data_sets  political_campaigns  data_scientists  data_driven  data_mining  microtargeting  behavioural_targeting  politics  data  analytics  Campaign_2012 
april 2015 by jerryking
Let’s train our leaders to be ethical - The Globe and Mail
PRESTON MANNING
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Apr. 06 2015

How about establishing an Institute of Political Managers and Directors, along the same lines as the Institute of Corporate Directors, with a similar commitment to ethical training and conduct? Such an institute would need to be cross-partisan, not non-partisan, since it would be providing ethical training for participants in the real political world, which is intensely partisan, whether we like it or not.

Its training emphasis should be heavily focused on ethics – promoting truth in communications and knowing where the lines are drawn among truth, spin and lies; advancing guidelines as to what constitutes ethical behaviour in an adversarial system and defining the limits to partisanship; demanding unwavering adherence to the rule of law by those who make laws; and inculcating a trusteeship ethic among those responsible for the handling of public money.

For training resources, the institute could draw in part upon business schools with well-developed courses in ethics, as well as Carleton University’s graduate program in political management. Carleton already includes an ethical component in each of its political management courses.
Preston_Manning  training  leaders  boards_&_directors_&_governance  Carleton  political_infrastructure  institutions  politicians  institution-building  ethics 
april 2015 by jerryking
The loneliest of all prime ministers - The Globe and Mail
JEFFREY SIMPSON
The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Feb. 21 2015

Prime ministers are always alone. Although surrounded by ministers and aides and civil servants, and cheered on by partisan crowds, they are ultimately alone at the top.

On their shoulders does the political fate of the government repose. On their decisions is the shape of the government determined. On their personalities and preferences are priorities established.

Prime ministers are not first among equals. They are first, period. It has always been this way.......Prime minister Pierre Trudeau, formidable to say the least, had around him people such as Gérard Pelletier, Jean Marchand, Marc Lalonde, Allan J. MacEachen, Donald S. Macdonald, John Turner (for a time), staffers such as Jim Coutts and Ivan Head and advisers such as Keith Davey and Martin Goldfarb. Each was formidable. Of course they were all pro-Trudeau and did his bidding when decisions were made, but they could and did push back from time to time.

Prime minister Brian Mulroney had a no-nonsense chief-of staff in Derek Burney, and talented ministers such as Don Mazankowski, Michael Wilson, John Crosbie, Lucien Bouchard (for a little while) and Lowell Murray, among others, and Paul Tellier, as cabinet secretary for seven years.

Prime minister Jean Chrétien had ministers such as Paul Martin (with whom he had a sometimes conflictual relationship) and Lloyd Axworthy, and a very powerful chief-of-staff in Jean Pelletier.
Jeffrey_Simpson  politicians  Stephen_Harper 
february 2015 by jerryking
Training Wheels for Treasury Secretaries - WSJ
By HOLMAN W. JENKINS JR..
Updated Dec. 11, 2002

Public choice holds that politicians and government officials have interests, like anyone else, and understanding these interests is a better guide to their behavior than some disembodied notion of the "public good." In the words of Prof. Buchanan, "If you want to improve politics, improve the rules, improve the structure. Don't expect politicians to behave differently. They behave according to their interests."
public_choice  appointments  Holman_Jenkins  interests  politicians  organizational_structure  public_servants  politics  U.S.Treasury_Department  incentives  self-interest  public_goods  behaviours 
february 2015 by jerryking
The perils of the career politician - The Globe and Mail
DONALD SAVOIE
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Oct. 06 2014
career_paths  politicians  public_service  public_servants 
october 2014 by jerryking
Holman Jenkins: What the Taxi Wars Teach - WSJ
Aug. 19, 2014 | WSJ | Holman Jenkins.

"wasn't the arrival of ride-sharing apps supposed to obliterate the traditional taxi industry? It turns out the new operators have been expanding the pie more than gobbling it up, creating new rides where taxi service was scarce (such as New York's outer boroughs), luring users out of private cars and off buses, and enabling trips that previously wouldn't have been taken at all.

In Chicago, taxi medallions appear to have stopped trading amid current uncertainty but are likely to end up holding much of their value. The traditional conspicuously yellow taxi (as in New York) that can be summoned with the raise of a hand is likely to find that its highly regulated niche survives even as new options proliferate. Value still adheres to the old medallions not least because of the untapped scope for efficiency improvement, ignored till now.

America is an interesting place, a society ruled by organized interest groups where nonetheless new things can happen. It's true that taxi operators have used regulation and litigation to slow the newcomers and force compromise with regulatory edicts on insurance coverage, vehicle age and driver training.

Laws exist and can't just be ignored. Organized interests like taxicab companies have every incentive to make noise about everything, demanding concessions.

Yet despite certain tropes about our dysfunctional political system, politicians also have every incentive to avoid maximalist positions on behalf of constituents, seeking to expand the groups they can make happy."
Holman_Jenkins  taxis  Uber  Lyft  medallions  mobile_applications  lobbying  ride_sharing  constituencies  interest_groups  upstarts  politicians 
august 2014 by jerryking
Pressure Mounts on Nigerian President - WSJ.com
By HEIDI VOGT, DREW HINSHAW and GABRIELLA STERN CONNECT
Updated May 11, 2014
Goodluck_Jonathan  Nigeria  politicians  Boko_Haram  kidnappings 
may 2014 by jerryking
Seeking to define voters by their skin colour is sophistry - FT.com
April 27, 2014 7:25 pm
Seeking to define voters by their skin colour is sophistry
By Ken Olisa
United_Kingdom  identity_politics  Black_British  sophistry  African-Americans  politicians 
april 2014 by jerryking
Family, friends bid farewell to Jim Flaherty at state funeral - The Globe and Mail
STEVEN CHASE and ADRIAN MORROW

TORONTO — The Globe and Mail


Published Wednesday, Apr. 16 2014
Jim_Flaherty  tributes  politicians 
april 2014 by jerryking
Flaherty helped save the world from economic meltdown - The Globe and Mail
JAIME WATT

Contributed to The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Apr. 11 2014
tributes  Jim_Flaherty  politicians 
april 2014 by jerryking
Flaherty to receive State Funeral Wednesday - The Globe and Mail
Bill Curry, Gloria Galloway and Josh Wingrove

Ottawa — The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Apr. 11 2014
Jim_Flaherty  tributes  politicians 
april 2014 by jerryking
As Mandela is remembered, a moment of praise for F.W. de Klerk - The Globe and Mail
BARBARA MCDOUGALL

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Dec. 11 2013,
South_Africa  history  politicians 
december 2013 by jerryking
Lincoln Alexander Becomes Canada's First Black Lt.-Governor
September 20, 2013 | Globe & Mail | Karen Howlett

As the first black to hold a vice-regal post in Canada, he was a symbol of society’s growing intolerance for racial prejudice. Lincoln Alexander, the son of a railway porter and a maid, was sworn in as Ontario’s 24th lieutenant-governor at the age of 63. He had grown up in an era when blacks were denied the basic rights and opportunities enjoyed by whites, something he experienced firsthand when he could not get a sales job at Stelco - he was told customers would not want to deal with a black man. His appointment as the Queen’s representative capped a distinguished career for the first black member of Parliament and the first black federal cabinet minister. “I want to believe it served as a beacon of hope for the black community," Alexander wrote in his memoir. He died last year, his beacon still bright.
Lincoln_Alexander  African_Canadians  trailblazers  anniversaries  lawyers  politicians 
november 2013 by jerryking
If Machiavelli were prime minister
Mark Kingwell

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Oct. 15 2013

Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, that classic manual of harsh political wisdom. The Florentine intellectual’s defence of deceit, cruelty and fear in the pursuit of political power, his merciless advice to potential rulers about hiring mercenaries and dispensing favours, have made “Machiavellian” a handy shorthand for realpolitik.

The students love what everyone loves about Machiavelli’s story: the early ambition and connections to crazy Florentine politics, the tangles with the mad monk Savonarola and the suave Medicis, his eventual torture and exile. The famous letter in which Machiavelli describes donning his robes of court before entering his study (“Fitted out appropriately, I step inside the venerable courts of the ancients, where I am unashamed to converse with them”) offers an unforgettable image of a political thinker whose fame and influence have far outstripped that of the men who defeated him....Not only does Machiavelli vividly describe the contingencies of politics, using the figure of Fortuna and her fickle wheel. Many politicos and pundits like to cite the idea, as if losing an election were equivalent to being slain on the battlefield, burned at the stake or punished with the shoulder-tearing torture known as the strappado, all proximate realities in Machiavelli’s time. In addition, and despite all his apparent cynicism, Machiavelli has a clear idea about why political power is worth seeking in the first place.

The answer, he says, is glory – but not the merely personal kind. The successful prince is not some incumbency-shadowing hack, hanging on to this privileges and influence as a matter of entitlement or arrogance. Nor is he willing to use any means at all to gain victory: “By such methods one may win dominion but not glory,” Machiavelli notes. The great leader is a servant of history, using the sharp-edged tools of the political trade to carve out a legacy – in this case, a glorious Florence, whose culture, art, architecture and lasting presence will inspire generations to come. Glory is a gift, and it alone justifies and motivates the true prince....A prime minister who blandly abuses position – the muzzling of MPs, the casual prorogues of our only house of representation – is, if nothing else, nicely calibrated to widespread citizen indifference and a culture of trivial distractions....Machiavelli knew better; he was, finally, a humanist. And if he could still believe in the idea of glory after torture and disgrace – no soft return to Bay Street or Harvard for him – then surely the rest of us can exercise our citizenly spirit a bit more. Can we not demand a more glorious Canada, and leaders who will work to realize it? Bonus: We could even keep the words to O Canada – except it’s all of us, not God, who should do the heavy lifting.
Stephen_Harper  Niccolò_Machiavelli  leaders  legacies  shorthand  political_power  politicians  glory  Florence  mercilessness 
october 2013 by jerryking
Uneven Election Success for Black Politicians - WSJ.com
August 27, 2013 | WSJ | by PETER NICHOLAS and NEIL KING JR.

Uneven Election Success for Black Politicians
Five Decades After Washington March, Candidates Rack Up House Seats, but Few in Statewide Races for Senate and Governor
African-Americans  elections  politicians 
august 2013 by jerryking
True democracy starts with the municipal - The Globe and Mail
Preston Manning

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Aug. 15 2013

there are more than 25,000 elected municipal officials in Canada, not counting elected school boards and health boards in many jurisdictions, and some 75,000 to 100,000 Canadians likely gave serious thought to running for their municipal council over the past three years.

And while there are numerous think tanks, interest groups, party organizations and communications vehicles that provide intellectual capital and training opportunities for politicians at the federal and provincial levels, candidates for municipal office are not nearly as well served. This is a situation that needs to be remedied – not by bringing federal or provincial party politics to the municipal level, but by creating and supporting more think tanks, training programs, and communications vehicles dedicated to the provision of better ideas and training for those willing to run for municipal office.

Of course, political innovation of this type at the municipal level will run into the same criticism and opposition that invariably greets political innovation at any level in Canada.
Preston_Manning  municipalities  democracy  political_infrastructure  institutions  institution-building  politicians  political_innovation  think_tanks  training  training_programs 
august 2013 by jerryking
A new challenge for the new Mandelas
Jun. 29 2013 | The Globe and Mail | Doug Saunders.

Most of this improvement is propelled by the continent’s extremely rapid economic growth. Economies and real incomes have grown about 5 per cent annually for most of the past decade, and are now beating China and are projected to grow even faster in the coming years. At least some of this is reaching the people: Three out of four Africans now own a cellphone, a significant possession in poor countries.

All this being said, there is a disturbing lack of more lasting progress on the ground. It has become popular to claim that there are now 300 million “middle-class consumers” in Africa, almost a third of the population. This is not true in any meaningful way.

“Across Africa,” Ghanaian businessman Bright Simons wrote recently in the Harvard Business review, “incomes are rising fastest among those engaged in brokering trade in goods and services across fragmented markets … These people are rarely well-educated, though, and they share none of the cultural traits seen in the West and Asia as prerequisite to middle-class life.” Meanwhile, young and educated Africans are unable to earn anything close to the incomes that would be considered “middle class” elsewhere.

In other words, almost nobody in Africa is actually middle class: most countries are sharply polarized between a very wealthy elite and a poor who, while rising just above the level of hand-to-mouth poverty, are still unable to purchase more than the most rudimentary goods....Africa’s problems are largely self-created. Much of the continent’s new wealth comes from resource extraction (which is twice the size of any other industry). But, with a few important exceptions, governments remain unable or unwilling to keep much of this wealth within their borders or use it to create other, more lasting economies.

Now that Africa is close to solving the old problems of absolute poverty and democratic stability, it needs to overcome the new challenge of creating a real middle class – a challenge that will require another generation of Mandelas.
Doug_Saunders  Africa  middle_class  movingonup  natural_resources  resource_extraction  commodities  cultural_values  leaders  politicians  fragmented_markets 
june 2013 by jerryking
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