Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Second Derivative of Political Accountability

This morning before work, I was watching a bit of CTV Newsnet, and the ticker along the bottom noted that the Conservative government's support is continuing to drop (sorry, no link).  To a casual observer, it appears that this decline began with the prorogation (is that even a word?) of Parliament, and has just kept going for the past month.

If you're cynical like me, you're pretty sure that a big reason that the Conservatives prorogued Parliament was to shut down the Afghan detainee scandal.  By extension, it's my guess is that it was the cynicism of the move that has hurt the Conservative government.  Ironically, I hadn't noticed much evidence that the inquiry into the Afghan detainee abuse issue was actually hurting the public's opinion of the Conservative government (your humble writer notwithstanding).

Scott H. Payne wrote a post a little while ago (quoting a certain author of this blog) suggesting that if the Conservative government had just come clean at the beginning of the scandal, admitted mistakes were made and vowed to get to the bottom of things, they could have come out of the whole thing pretty much unscathed.  The implication being that, a la Nixon, it wasn't the crime; it was the cover up.

But since the government seemed to be doing fine throughout the fall, it appears that it's not even that.  The public may have tolerated the crime; they may have even tolerated the cover up of the crime, but they were simply not willing to tolerate the cover up of the cover up of the crime.

God bless second derivatives.

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