Toby S.: What do you think the odds are that the shenanigans unfolding in Wisconsin will have any lasting effect on US internal politics?
About even, I think. It’s still too soon to tell whether the uprising that’s begun in the midwest over anti-union shenanigans is going to have staying power. If it does, you’ll see lasting effect. If it doesn’t, you’ve seen the last gasp of the labour movement until they need to start really rioting again, which should probably come when corporations reintroduce company towns or similar abusive practices – give it twenty or thirty years and it’ll happen.
Menamebephil: What do you think of David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’? Do you see it as a workable scheme?
No, not really. I see it as a clever marketing attempt to sell social service cuts. Now, elements of the Big Society idea are workable in certain areas: youth centres, for example, could probably be run primarily on a volunteer basis (if they weren’t already, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find that that was the case). You’d need some paid staff, but volunteers could pad out the ranks and make the centers more cost-efficient. But the fact that occasionally there are areas where volunteerism can make for more efficient operation of social services doesn’t make it a universal plan.
Moreover, the fact that a lot of this volunteerism will almost certainly be church- and religious charity-driven makes little economic sense if you think about it, because rather than giving churches a tax break and then asking them to organize social services, you could instead just tax them and pay for it yourself, which would almost certainly be more efficient, but I doubt the Tories are interested in that sort of efficiency.
anthony: a) what will it take to have the green party to elect a member
b) how do you think the regional loggerhead will solve itself
c) how do we prioritize cities in the current canadian political context
d) what will it take to get ignatieff into the pmo
A) The other parties spontaneously dissolving.
B) Massive malfeasance on the part of a given political party that inspires populist outrage nationwide.
C) I have no idea. If anybody else does, let me know.
D) This assumes we want Ignatieff as Prime Minister, you realize. Honestly, I’d almost rather see Gilles Duceppe in there.
Silent g: What are your thoughts on Mayor Flounder 100+ days in?
In a shocking twist, he has turned out to be a stupid joke of a man whose smarter brother is really running the show and everybody knows it. I know: you’re totally surprised!
Magic Love Hose: If you had to recommend one single book on how Canada first implemented its single-payer health care system, which would you recommend?
There isn’t really a definitive history book on the topic, to be honest, mostly because it’s pretty straightforward. The Wikipedia entry gives you most of the basics you need to know.