Sleepwalking to new leadership

I’m talking about dumb-old-codger jokes, although I haven’t heard any so far. Probably the youngsters are too polite to crack them.

Remember Polish jokes? Dumb jokes lampooned immigrants’ troubles in navigating a new homeland, and maybe I’m doing exactly that.

I’m talking about dumb-old-codger jokes, although I haven’t heard any so far. Probably the youngsters are too polite to crack them.

According to a popular figure of speech, oldies are immigrants to the realm of electronic technology. Kids are the native citizens. Therefore seniors could suffer the same ridicule the Polish people endured.

Some seniors of my acquaintance refuse computers, and others, like me, skim along the surface of the electronic world and do not own any hand-held gadgets.

I can’t help pondering my electronic status as I wrestle with thoughts of tomorrow’s vote for the federal NDP leadership, which really is the first major political e-event in this part of the world. About 131,000 NDP members will be able to vote online or, perhaps less likely, by mail.

For me it is a dream-like process, far removed from logic. Each candidate’s body-language, cut of the jaw, tone of voice and policies enunciated on the Internet all melt together into some kind of political porridge, from which I am asked to spoon out samples and judge them in order of merit.

In the light of reason it can’t be done, but thousands of people are doing it anyway, groping toward a decision like inspired sleepwalkers.

Some onlookers may see the deciding factors in the choice of a chief to be a fluent, persuasive presence and an overall sense of calm, superior strength.

But the record of political change casts doubt on that standard of judgement. Father Arizmendi, the priest who sparked the awakening and rise to prosperity of the poverty-stricken Basque region of Spain, created the Mondragon co-operative federation. He was a lackluster speaker devoid of the charisma leaders are supposed to have.

But he was the right man for the time, and his inventive thoughts were in tune with the mood and the talents of the people in the region.

Putting the co-op  ideal to work in a practical revamp of Canada’s political economy seems the right move for the present time of uncertainty and threatened economic breakdown.

It is a formidable ideal — economic democracy, one person, one vote, any profits divided between co-op worker-members and the well-being of the community. It isn’t pie in the sky; it’s the guiding strategy for tens of thousands of people who signed on to it, and it could work for us.

That’s the main reason why I’m inclined to favour NDP leadership candidate Brian Topp, who combines political organizing skill with a creative trade-union background, and seems receptive to strengthen faltering factories by turning them into worker-owned co-ops.

If Thomas Mulcair should win and persist in supporting a North American Free Trade Agreement which trashes Canadian environmental laws, his colleagues have shown the courage it will require to make him change his views.

All candidates (including 30-year-old Niki Ashton, probably the best-organized thinker among the seven) offer political-economic plans that seem testable, flexible and integrated.

Such planning makes nonsense of the outdated image of a left-to-right political scale. That is my thought as I ramble through the current sleepwalking political process, hoping to avoid becoming the target of a dumb-oldie joke.

gemort@pacificcoast.net

—G.E. Mortimore is a Langford-based writer and regular columnist with the Gazette.

 

 

Just Posted

Saanich police are seeking suspect in sexual assault report

Incident happened early Saturday morning near Rudd Park

Saanich to hear update on regional sewage treatment plant

Likely subjects of presentation include fate of trees along Grange Road, costs

Canadian students are smart cookies

Canadian teachers also among highest paid in the developed world

Local fundraising initiative addresses tampon recall

Period Posse checking donations during 10-day campaign

Langford light up celebration was the biggest one yet

The city spends about $25,000 annually on Christmas lights

Langford elementary school kids test their hand at entrepreneurship

Students sold their own products at a Young Entrepreneurs Fair Friday

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

Most Read