In our last article, we wrote,
- and political parties - are probably less internally "coherent" - in a
psychological sense - than are individuals. Governments and parties are
not people but collections of individuals and groups who seek to serve
their interests through acquiring political power..
However, the desires and interests of the various groups which found a
party may, at times, come into conflict. The temporary resolution of
conflict most likely indicates that one side has, for a while,
surmounted its adversary (the adversary may die or disappear only to be
replaced by another later on as the new balance of power generates a new
generation of the disaffected, those left out in the cold or who feel they
have lost former advantages)."
Here is a recent example of what happens when internal conflicts within a party or government threaten to explode in internal dissention (one also recalls the Chrétien - Martin feud which undoubtedly crippled the federal Liberals' leadership during their last years in power).
It would appear that Harper is attempting to muzzle the Right wing of his party who wish to debate 1- abortion in general and 2- sex-selective abortion of female fetuses (a practice alleged to occur in some ethnic communities in Canada).
It is interesting to note how these contentious issues actually span the conventional political spectrum. Many conservatives vigorously oppose abortion in general or would put severe limitations on its use. But sex-selective aborting of female fetuses is also opposed by the traditional Left (feminists).
One suspects that Harper is playing the game following a traditional piece of political wisdom: "campaign from the Left / Right, rule from the center". Once in power, parties tend to moderate their rhetoric and move toward the pragmatic center of the spectrum in order to govern. However, I wonder if Steven has received good counsel on this issue. Given that sex-selective abortion is a "Left wing issue" - with the added advantage of being supported by many of his own people! - would it not be better to crack down on sex-selective abortion and win kudos from both Left and Right? This would certainly win votes. In addition, if played right, such a move could pull the sting of his own hard Right who oppose all abortions. This would further enhance his appeal to the political center, winning more votes. I get the impression that our PM is not the brightest of political strategists (??) Not when it comes to thinking outside the box at least..