With the anticipated triumph of France's Socialists obviously weighing heavily on his mind, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has donned the robes of an Old Testament prophet and taken to making apocalyptic predictions about the fate of Europe.
Europe is running out of runway, the Prophet Harper warned us last week, conjuring up the picture of a flaming plane wreck at the edge of the airport. Or maybe the picture is of the crash of a flaming wheel within a wheel!
Whatever… Europe's in trouble all right, but because it's been enacting the neo-Con "solutions" Harper and his fellow market-fundamentalist ideologues propose, not because France is sensibly turning away from them.
Thanks to the success of his Socialists in yesterday's French elections, recently elected President Francois Hollande should have the mandate he needs to push through bold stimulus policies instead of the destructive market-fundamentalism favoured by France's previous president and Canada's so-called Conservatives.
Toronto Star national affairs columnist Thomas Walkom recently suggested Harper's comments mean our sour neo-Con prime minister is preparing us for the punishing regime he intends to impose on Canada in the months ahead. "This time around, his government won't respond with another stimulus package to boost jobs," the Star correspondent wrote. "Instead, Ottawa will forge ahead with its current strategy of deregulation and wage reduction, a strategy aimed at reducing costs for business."
In other words, Walkom concluded, the PM's "brief flirtation with Keynesian economics is over and he is reverting to the Harper of old."
Now, let it be said that this is a perfectly reasonable explanation for Harper's behaviour, entirely in character with what we know about the man and his core beliefs -- which are quite capable of withstanding both logic and empirical evidence. It doesn't take a professional "mentalist" to figure that out.
Still, taking into account the principle of Occam's Razor -- that is, that the simplest explanation is usually the right one -- it seems more likely that Harper's petulant outburst was merely the public expression of his fear that the French Socialists' plan might actually work.
Where will he and his bench mates from the Conservative Party of Canada (Manningite-Harperist) be then?
How's he going to keep us down on the farm now that we’ve seen Paree -- especially if the Socialists in power in that city manage to restore their economy to health using the Keynesian economic techniques our prime minister and other followers of his primitive 19th Century economic cult despise as heresy?
This is a particularly upsetting state of affairs for Harper given the increasing popularity of his opponents in the House of Commons -- New Democrats led by Thomas Mulcair who advocate roughly the same economic approach as is likely to be adopted by President Hollande.
After all, the historic success rate of the ideas of the British economist John Maynard Keynes is actually pretty good. If they work again in France -- grind his teeth and tear his garments though the Canadian prime minister may -- Canadians might just conclude the solution to their problems is political, not economic.
As Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman observed recently about the economic problems in Europe and North America: "None of this has to be happening. We didn't have a plague of locusts, we were not hit by a tsunami, there wasn't some act of God that created this terrible situation. It was acts of man."
Men like Stephen Harper, as a matter of fact.
Under these particular circumstances, if more Canadians start to see Mulcair as the obvious solution to their political problem with Harper, even the Opposition leader's famous French passport won't help the Conservatives!
This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.