Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Pope: The one man who can save Spain.

Spain’s problem can be solved by one man: the Pope.

How? Simple. The Pope invites (commands?) the two leaders of Spain and Catalonia to meet with him and his advisors, in the Vatican.

As part of the public invitation, the Pope sets out a few topics that he will raise at the meeting, and the terms that will govern the meeting(s).

Without prejudice talks:

First, the discussions will be without prejudice. What that means is that nothing said by any party at the meetings will be politically, morally or legally binding on any of the persons there. It's as if the meetings never happened.

Select a Mediator:

Second, the Pope will be asking the two leaders to agree on a method to select a mediator acceptable to both of them, who will help guide the discussions at the meetings. This will not be an arbitrator, just a mediator - one who helps people talk to each other. The mediator will not have any authority apart from helping them.


Third, the purpose of the meeting(s) will be to explore differences in interests (not just stated positions - ala the interest based negotiations set out so brilliantly in the Harvard Business School publication Getting to Yes). The aim is a possible resolution of differences between Spain's government and the Catalonian government.


Fourth, all meetings will be in camera unless all three parties agree otherwise for specific meetings.

The People must decide:

Fifth, if such a resolution is reached (which is highly likely if done this way), then any agreement will be put to the citizens of Spain for approval, and will require a majority vote (50% plus 1 vote) in favour in a referendum, to pass.

There must be such a majority of Yes votes by all those citizens who cast votes, PLUS there must be a majority of Yes votes by citizens residing in Catalonia, for the agreement to become legally, politically and morally binding. There will be no minimum number of votes needed for either referendum.

Solution is nigh:

If the Pope takes up this suggestion today, then a method to resolve this crisis will be set in motion this weekend.

The proud citizens of Spain deserve a means to resolve their differences, and the Pope is the only person of standing who can help achieve this.

The ball is in the Vatican's court.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Good news coming on electoral reform says Andrew Coyne

In a thoughtful article Coyne ranges over the positive news springing up at levels below the federal level, regarding changes to our undemocratic first past the post electoral system (the one that PM Trudeau favours, given his decision to walk away from his campaign promise to end it).

Ontario is showing political and democratic leadership, starting with optional changes for municipal elections:

Ontario has passed legislation allowing the province’s municipalities, if they choose, to use ranked ballots for their elections: earlier this year, London became the first to take them up on it, while Kingston will hold a referendum on the idea in 2018. This isn’t proportional representation: it’s still one member per district, winner-take-all, rather than the sharing of representation among several members on which PR is based. But it’s something other than the status quo.

And in BC, with the conservative, money-grubbing Liberal Party thrown out of power and fresh faces in the Legislature, a referendum with a better than even chance of passing will be held next year:

With the coming to power of the NDP, however, the issue is back on the table: both the NDP and the Green Party, on whose support it depends, had made proportional representation part of their election platforms. Refreshingly, the government may even keep its promise — I take nothing for granted — with a referendum now scheduled for November of next year. 

Unlike the two previous referendums, a majority of 50 per cent plus one will be sufficient. 

Another key difference: this time the government will be campaigning in favour of reform.

That still leaves much to be decided: how many questions to ask and what kind; what sort of reform proposals to put on the ballot, and how many; and so forth.

Let’s hope three things take place within months:

First, that the Ontario model of letting local governments choose more democratic systems of election town and city members, spreads to other provinces, including BC.

Second, that the Ontario government either hold a referendum similar to the one planned for BC, or  change its own laws so that elections to the provincial legislature become more democratic.

Third, that Canadians take advantage of the opportunities becoming available by forming groups to vote for candidates for city and provincial governments who will adopt the new democratic methods of electing representatives.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Brexit: How's this for framing?


This is going to hurt PM May's government, and the opposition framing of the issue is brilliant:

Davis himself struck an emollient tone on Thursday, seeking to reassure MPs about the scope of the so-called Henry VIII powers, which will allow ministers to make changes to any laws necessary to achieve Brexit – and for two years afterwards.

Read the rest of the tussle here.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Trump: The asymmetric revolutionary warrior

Asymmetric Beaver

Why are Americans reeling in dismay over the state of politics? Why is the American media locked into total disbelief every day? What has happened?

A revolution.

Donald Trump is President, the result of a campaign that was totally different from any other; and is governing in a manner that is different from any previous president.

To understand Trump, read thisarticle; here’s the gist:

Donald Trump is revolutionary in that he not only has evolved the use of those same tools, but because he has flouted the rules of engagement. Trump has been engaged in asymmetric warfare from the very beginning. His detractors detest him for it. His supporters relish it.

We see it in how he governs. He declares for reelection within days of assuming office. He opens the White House press corps to blatant propagandists. He credits the fired FBI director when it suits him, disparages him when it doesn’t, and refers to any media report that doesn’t fit his narrative as “fake news.”

Why? Well, why not? Traditionalists wag tongues. Trump cackles and holds rallies. Asymmetrically.

Like asymmetric warriors throughout history, Trump doesn’t give a whit about the institutions at work or the normal rules of engagement. He has thereby created advantage from disadvantage. It’s not just the Democrats who are caught flat-footed. The establishment GOP candidates who had all the right credentials, funders and staffing got their clocks cleaned because they failed to adapt to the changing landscape (See, for example, Jeb Bush).

Trump is a distrupter, just like Google, Amazon, Uber etc.

Disrupters disrupt.

Chaos results as past patterns are shattered and competitors nonplussed.

The jury is out as to whether most disrupters will survive; they might in turn be pushed aside by other disrupters.

But if the turmoil in Washington puzzles you, take one step back, shed your traditional prism, and look at events there through a new prism: your disrupter prism.

Think Amazon when you try to understand what The Donald is doing.

It helps.

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