Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Your first hate

You never forget your first, I guess. I certainly remember mine. Those blue eyes, that chin, that eminently punchable face...

Oh no, not that first, I mean the first politician you ever really, truly hated.

This would have been the mid-80s, so lord knows there were plenty of candidates. I could have hated Regan, but he always seemed too senile to get a good hate on. I could have hated Thatcher, the mad woman of England. But she was kind of too distant. Plus, bonus, so many creative types loathed her they actually produced some decent music and comic books. Law of Unintentional Consequences, I guess.

There were politician earlier, like Trudeau, I could have hated. But I was still kind of too young. And there was local. I could have hated Brian Peckford. I'm not sure why I didn't at the time, really. I mean, I grew to hate him. Everyone in Newfoundland pretty much had their hate on when they realized how stupid he made everyone in the province look over the Sprung Greenhouse.

But no, it was Mulroney who provided my political awakening. I guess that he always seemed like he was such an arrogant prick. Or that his government seemed to reel from one scandal and corruption charge to another. Singing Irish songs with Regan didn't do much for me either.

I'm certainly not alone in this regard. When he left in '93 there was collective outrage that he quit before we could can his ass. If he had run in '93 and Hitler was running for the Liberals and Satan for the NDP, Mulroney still would have lost - he was that hated.

So look, the latest report saying he's basically a scumbag who took money that he shouldn't have and did his level, lying best to hide it...let's just say I'm not typing this from on the floor, where I lie in shock. Columnists are writing that this is a crippling stain on his legacy. Folks, the majority of Canadians are united by few things, but our hatred of Mulroney surely must be one of them.

It doesn't matter that he was probably right about free trade, that the GST worked out and that he took a stand against apartheid. It's overwhelmed by a visceral loathing of the man. I bet if you ask most Canadians why they hate him, they probably couldn't articulate all the reasons they do, they just do. It's bred in the bone at this point. Genetic, even.

So yes, he's a bad man. Yesterday's news, I'm afraid.

Last Five
1. My name is nobody - Ron Hynes
2. Williamson's garage (live) - Spirit of the West
3. Boogie Street (live) - Vicki Hynes
4. Sulk - Radiohead
5. The body says no - The New Pornographers*


SRD said...

Ed Broadbent gave a really good talk here a few months ago, can't remember the exact topic, but it was mostly about the neo-liberalism, and in particular how the Canadian PCs used to have a 'Red Tory' wing that had been squeezed out, also how the Liberals had moved from the old sense of Liberal to the new. Afterwards, in the discussion, I said, that as a child of the 70s, I was really surprised not to hear him mention Mulrooney (there were murmurs of agreement from the audience), and that given that he;d known him, and been in Parliament (and Leader of the NDP) for his entire Prime Ministership, I'd be interested to know what he thought of him. Broadbent was actually very complimentary. Said Mulrooney _was_ one of the old Tories, not into cutting for the sake of it, and how under him welfare spending had increased, and a few other examples. And of course, Mulrooney is credited with having been very strong on anti-apartheid, unlike Thatcher, Reagan etc (good book by Linda Freeman on this). Broadbent did mention the scandal and said he was surprised by it, and saddened, but clearly still though Mulrooney had left an important legacy and not a bad record.

George said...

Funny that you mention the Brian and Ronny Reagan singsong that night. There's a Newfoundland connection to that "incident"...none other than figgy Duff were onstage and started playing the song when they started in at it.

Nancy Crozier said...

Well said!

Jason B said...

I'm still trying to digest your statement of how 'he was right about free trade and the GST worked out"?

towniebastard said...

The GST did work. Look, nobody likes a sales tax, but there's always going to be one on stuff. And before the GST, if memory serves, it was a confusing mess. So yeah, it was hated. I hated it. But it did simplify things.

As for Free Trade, look, it's a complicated issue and I don't pretend to be a trade expert. All I know is the past 20 years, through accident or design, have been some of the most prosperous in the country's history. Plus we weathered the recession better than nearly any other western democracy.

Is that all due to Free Trade? No idea, but I'm willing to bet we've done better with it than we would without it.