Our Prime Minister knows his classics

With all that talk about cuts to arts and culture programs, it has been said, sometimes in terms barely suitable for a respectable broadsheet, that our Prime Minister has no interest for culture.

I beg to differ. Mr. Harper knows his classics. Given his recent political maneuvering, I think I know which book he keeps by his bed.

In 50 B.C., a politician named Gaïus Julius was in a similar predicament as Mr. Harper is now: Parliament was troublesome, but his coffers were full of cash and he had legions of troops spoiling for a fight. But Gaïus feared public opinion would turn on him if he appeared too confrontational. He needed some PR work done to avoid damaging his image. Thus, he sent his flacks to the capital to explain that while he would never think of doing anything drastic, he couldn’t allow democracy to be flouted by his opponents. He proposed a meeting with them.

In the book he wrote about the whole thing, he sums up his public stance:

“I was waiting to receive a reply to my own very moderate demands and hoping that a certain sense of fairness might be shown so that everything could end peacefully.” (The translation I have at home is livelier than the online text).

We all know what happens after that: having sufficiently demonstrated his unwillingness to take arms, Caesar takes a deep breath, crosses the Rubicon, wins his majority and goes ahead with Senate reform.

The only thing that doesn’t quite fit is the enemy, famous orator Pompeï. Surely that can’t be Stéphane Dion…


2 Responses to Our Prime Minister knows his classics

  1. A Non e-Moose says:

    Except Mr. Harper hasn’t proposed any “moderate” demands that we’ve seen. The only thing he’s said is that he wants the opposition parties to agree to forward his agenda.. before he’s said what it is.

    Also, I doubt Caesar was known to have distributed a book on how to disrupt democratic institutions before crossing the Rubicon.

  2. finalspin says:

    Actually, Ceasar’s party (“Populares”) was adept at disrupting democratic proceedings, both before and after the Civil War unpleasantness. Archeologists still haven’t found the manual though. And the other guys didn’t shy away from it either – just look at how Caesar ended his career (and his life).
    For the record, I am not implying in any way politicians should or might knife each other to death on the steps of the Senate. Not even Michael Ignatieff and Jim Flaherty, who look eerily Roman-like at times.

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