A Game of Fords

September 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

Its true, the Toronto hit show’s current season is ending, but unfortunately, it seems as if it is still popular enough to avoid cancellation.

OK, OK. When I saw Globe and Mail Marcus Gee use this expression in a column last week, two thoughts struck me:

1. Did he think of that himself or did an uncredited assistant?

2. Why is this the first time I’ve heard the expression?

For those who aren’t hiding under a rock, the deal was this: Current Mayor Rob Ford was running for re-election. His brother Doug, current ward 2 councilor (Rob’s old seat) was not running for re-election, but their nephew  Michael was running to replace his uncle. Got to keep that brand alive!

And then…Rob was diagnosed with a tumour and dropped out of the race for mayor. So… retiring brother Doug switched into the race for mayor, while Rob registered to run in ward 2, and Michael was relegated to running for school board. The cynicism behind it is really quite stunning. I wonder if the Fords have a dog that’s available to run. (Sorry for that).

It seems unlikely to work though. While Rob will almost certainly be re-elected to his old seat, and nephew Michael will get by on the Ford name, Doug is almost certain to lose. For one thing he is widely seen as more (if it’s possible) as an obnoxious bully that his brother, and while it seems likely that a large swath of the so-called Ford nation will support him,  he will be unable to draw support beyond it.

As an interesting side bar, when I got home last night and checked my messages, I had a robo-call from Douggie inviting me to Ford-fest, an annual free barbeque. Now I recall one Christmas, Doug handing out twenties to voters defending himself saying he hadn’t had time to buy Tim Hortons gift cards. The message didn’t say whether people would receive money if they attended, so I’m uncertain whether to bother going 🙂

But despite the antics of the Ford family, the mayoralty election is style (or lack of) over substance. Leaving aside the well-documented buffoonery of the Ford, who are the other candidates? John Tory, a former mayoralty candidates, former Progressive Conservative leader and current radio personality has a large lead over over candidates.

Tory has positioned himself as a smoother alternative to Ford, with little political difference over the fundamental needs of capital. And while it looks to be a coronation, Tory has managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the past. Most notably when as PC leader he mused that a PC governemnt would fund all religious schools.

Olivia Chow, once the woman who would topple Ford, has slid into third place. Instead of playing to her social-democratic base and the old David Miller coalition, Chow too tried to position herself as a reasonable alternative to Ford painting herself as an immigrant who knew the value of a dollar. The leftist International Socialists and Socialist Action organizations have noted these positions too, but instead of seeing Chow for what she is, they have lined up to give advice to how she can reinvent her campaign.

While it seems unlikely a Ford will sit in the Mayor’s chair come the election, neither tory nor Chow will make a fundamental difference. Tyrion Lannister once noted that most people don’t care who is King or which God said king follows. They just want to be left alone to live their lives. But they never are.

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