In The Australian, Mark Steyn explains yesterday’s Canadian election results and Stephen Harper, Canada’s new Tory prime minister to those readers Down Under:
John O’Sullivan, a former editor of National Review and Thatcher’s long-time adviser, observed that post-war Canadian history is summed up by the old Monty Python song, “I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK”, which begins as a robust paean to the manly virtues of a rugged life in the north woods but ends with the lumberjack having gradually morphed into some transvestite pick-up singing that he likes to “wear high heels, suspenders and a bra” and “dress in women’s clothing and hang around in bars”.
I’m not saying Canadian men are literally cross-dressers – certainly no more than 35, 40 per cent of us are – but nonetheless a nation that in 1945 had the fourth-largest armed forces in the world has undergone such a total makeover that it’s now a country that prioritises the secondary impulses of society – government health care, government day care, rights and entitlements from cradle to grave – over all the primary ones.
As I said, Scary Stephen’s no Ron or Maggie. But as a young man in the ’80s he was spurred into politics by his clear understanding – unlike most so-called Canadian “conservatives” – that his country had missed out on Thatcher-Reagan economic liberalisation. Essentially, he’s a political economist with a libertarian streak: he thinks that if you leave taxpayers with more of their money they’re more likely to spend it in ways that do more social good than letting the government disburse it.
My kind of guy–though I don’t want to know what he wears under his Brooks Brothers suit!