Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Okay, this is very not cool.

This is really scary. That this passes for a reasonable political ad is quite beyond me.

But the closing line is the catch: "Traditional American Values." Apparently if you're not religious, if you're gay, if you are pro-choice (as he phrases it, you want to "kill a million babies a year,") - you don't have "Traditional American Values."

This, my friends, is the Republican Party:

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

OK, this is cool

The message in this video about two gay mounties who are getting hitched is that no one cares, Harper's gag order notwithstanding. Where's there any backlash? Where do we hear anyone complaining? As Gerald Keddy said, no one is upset: "Not a word. Not a whimper. Not an e-mail, not a phone call, nothing. It’s a non-issue." (Contrast this to the fight, 25 years ago, to let Sikhs wear turbans.)

This is precisely what those opposed to gay marriage don't want - they don't want people to see that really, the sky doesn't fall, the world doesn't end.

And what could be more gay than a Mountie uniform? God, I hope they take pictures.

O'Connor goes shopping

Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor is rumoured to have a nice big list of goodies for the Canadian Forces.

I've followed the Forces and their declining state of equipment for some time, and for those concerned with what our uniformed men and women work with, this is all good news. But nothing good comes for free and the C-17s are going to be somewhat controversial, as few nations our size can afford them. Even the UK had to lease theirs. However, Australia recently purchased 4 , so it can be done, especially now that Boeing is desperate for customers. The big advantage of the C-17 is that we no longer have to rely on US air transport, or rented aircraft, to get our Forces to where we want them to be. Theoretically, this means we can enact a somewhat independent foreign/defence policy. Not that this government seems likely to do so. But let's keep our eyes on the big picture (ie. the post-Conservative future).

The other sleeper in the wish list is the three transport/resupply vessels for the Navy. The ships as planned by DND seem to be a bit over the top, throwing every mission capability into the design requirements, resulting in a ship that can perform every role badly, instead of one role well. This critical angle will only appeal to defence analysts. For political purposes, the more important issue will be if the ships will (and, given the state of our shipbuilding industries, still can) be built in Canada. BC and the Maritimes will certainly hope so.

Estimated price tag for all of this is $8 billion. How will it be paid for? To quote the Post:

"Some Conservative policies have also been put on hold, including plans to buy icebreakers for the navy and station rapid reaction army units at remote bases across the country, such as Goose Bay, Labrador."

ie. the exact defence policies that Harper campaigned on.

Chretien used the EH101 helicopter deal to great advantage during his election campaign. This current shopping list should provide some fodder for the Liberal leadership hopefuls. Except for Ignatieff the hawk, of course. Should be interesting...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

On the image of your country

After last night's irritation with that ridiculous woman, I skimmed the testimony before the Senate on gay marriage. One comment by Senator Mitchell really struck me. In talking about the wearing of turbans in the RCMP, he stated:

Senator Mitchell: I would like to add a comment, and I thank you for raising that point. I was actively involved in that issue as an elected politician in Alberta and I feel strongly about it. One thing that debate hinged on was the sense of how to define the RCMP visually because a Canadian RCMP wears the traditional hat and uniform. My argument was that I do not see that image of Canada. My image of Canada is of an accepting, understanding, pluralistic society that takes people for what they are. Senator Joyal said in the house, in the context of language, that in Canada people can really be themselves. That is a powerful thought. All of you brought that out today, and I appreciate it greatly.

Heady stuff. And this is exactly right - there is not "image" of Canada and the Canadian people that can be put down on a mug or a photo. There's not "As American as apple pie" in Canada, save for "As Canadian as possible, under the circumstances." How much better to have your identity shaped by shared values, rather than some sort of shared image or identity? That is the message we send to the world: Come to our beautiful country. Keep your traditions, keep your faith, keep your culture, but join us by sharing our values of respect and tolerance. You can be who you want to be, so long as you tolerate those around you being who they want to be.

Canada cannot fail. As I have said before, it is the shining example to the world of a peaceful, tolerant (and somewhat boring) country. It is the sharp rebuke to all those in the world who say that different ethnic groups or linguistic communities or religions cannot live side-by-side. It is the rebuke to those who think that cities should be ghettoized (like my own city, Los Angeles, is). If Canada fails - if it self-destructs because of short sighted premiers or politicians who put their parochial interests above the common good - if our great and wonderful experiment fails, then to me there is no real hope for humanity.

Jesus loves you, just not what you do.

I was accosted today by an angel of Christian mercy. Wonderful.

Let me set the stage (writing this with a red haze of anger). It's a beautiful evening in LA. I had dinner with two of the boys whose company and friendship make living here worthwhile. We went for a drink, and ran into other good people. We want a quiet night, so leave early. I'm walking home, basking in the glow of a pleasant, chill night with people I care about, enjoying the cool, pretty night.

And then I run into this fat, scruffy, hippy-esque woman, who's passing out flyers or posting them or something. I assume it's for Topanga crafts fair (painted rocks) or the latest in chakra healing crystals or something.

Oh no.

Apparently, she's a messenger from God. Now, when I look at the lutin Benedict, with his fabulous clothing (um, and he doesn't like gays why?), and I hear he's God's messenger, and I contrast it with this woman, who also claims that, I get confused.

Before I go further, let me also say that I don't just not believe in God, I believe there is no God. I have two degrees in First World War history. I don't see how you can be a serious student of history - the study of human misery and the unlimited capacity of human beings to be cruel - and not believe there is no God. Any God that is all-powerful, but does not stop the suffering of humanity, from the trenches to the Holocaust to the poverty in Africa to the misery of the slums here, is a God worthy only of contempt, not adoration. Any God that cannot stop it is not omnipotent and not a God.

I digress.

She walks past me, and says "Jesus loves you, just not what you do."

I stop. I turn around. She smiles sheepishly, "He doesn't love everything I do, either." (Like judge?). (Aside: How did she know I'm a 'mo? I mean, granted, I was wearing a pink Abercrombie polo, and have short hair, and am in shape, but seriously, my hips weren't swaying that much as I walked!)

I confront her: "Is this some crazy Christian anti-Gay thing?"

She says yes, and explains that she knows this. I ask her how it is that she, out of the six or so billion people in the world, is personally favoured with divine wisdom (as opposed to, for example, the wisdom of the Moderator of the Church I was baptized in, that has absolutely no problem with gay marriage and testified before the Senate of Canada that not allowing gay marriage was religious discrimination against them). She explains that Jesus speaks to her, and that the Bible tells her that. I don't mention the Bible also bans wearing two kinds of cloth, and she's clearly wearing polyesther along with unbleached cotton.

When I start to substantively challenge her, she walks away. Of course. That's the Christian tactic - quote the Bible (unauthenticated hearsay) and then walk away. You can't argue - they win by saying, "Jesus says." See my earlier posts on "National Security."

At the end of the day, I don't get it: if I'm going to hell, let me go. Why should she care? Let her live in her self-righteous bubble, believing that God speaks to her. If I'm wrong, I'll burn in hell forever. Why should she care?

Conclusions on this later, when I'm not seething.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

OMG So funny

Listen to this - to the tune of "Fever." Hysterical. Here's the opening verse:

With elections round the corner
When the voters start to care
About the mess we have created
We give you issues that aren't even there

We give you Homosexual marriage
Gonna wreck your family's life
Gay men want your husbands
Lesbians will steal your wife

Friday, May 26, 2006

Religous Right using Mary Cheney

Americablog is reporting that the nutcases on the right are now using Mary Cheney for fundrasing. Great quote:

We have our work cut out for us as you know. In the past few weeks, the media have been filled with appearances by Mary Cheney and others who are working to undercut the importance of marriage to our survival as a society.The media have delighted in the fact that Vice President Cheney's daughter publicly opposes the very convictions that brought her father's political party into the White House.

Well, isn't that just peachey. But let's remember: When Kerry and Edwards brought it up in the election, she threw a hissy fit, as did all the Republicans. It was a-okay for them to demonize us homos, pass amendments, talk about how we were destroying families and turning us all into heathens, but it wasn't okay to say, um, some of you who say this have gay family.

Will the Cheneys come out, along with Dubya, Laura, and the whole GOP with the same comment: that her sexuality is private, her own business, go away?

I doubt it. We'll get the "we can't control fundraisers" or some nonsense like that.

This got me all teary

I've never, ever, ever been to a sporting event here in the US (and I've been to a lot) where the audience belts out the anthem like this. A few lines in, the singer stops and lets the audience take over. I may be a cheese ball, but wow.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

More use of Terror

As I mentioned before, the fact that you can shut down debate, or get what you want, by playing the "terrorist threat" or "national security" card is really ridiculous.

This morning, NPR was talking about the new immigration "crisis" we're facing. And I heard some southern congressman drawling away about how this would let in one to two hundred million Mexicans (huh?).

Let me say from the outset I think that the anti-Mexican-immigration thing is nothing more than racism, pure and simple. I live in Southern California and, as a group, the latino immigrants to this area are some of the hardest working people I know. I complain about my hours, but they're not half as bad, and I get paid a ton of money more. These are decent hard working people trying to make their lives better (which, I had thought, was the whole point of the USA). The announced motives to exlude them are, to be honest, horses*it. They aren't taking jobs from Americans? How many white southern Californians do you see clamouring for gardening or cleaning or busboy jobs? And the unemployment rate certainly doesn't reflect any sort of theft of jobs from "Americans."

No, the only reason I can see that all these Republican nutjobs want to get rid of them is that they're dark skinned and don't speak English as their first language.

But what a gift Sept. 11 gave to racists everywhere. We don't need to show our colours and say we don't like them because they're different. We can say that they're threats!

Now, I don't know about you, but I haven't seen all that many terrorist luchadores troups or Mariachi bands. Can anyone tell me the last time a terrorist snuck across the border from Mexico? Or from Canada? I seem to recall that terrorists entered the US lawfully via an airport. Any danger from terrorism comes from nutjob islamic extremists, not hard working Mexicans who want nothing more than a step up.

But in this present climate, National Security always works. Don't like immigrants? National security's your ticket. Don't like garbage? It's that dangerous terrorist garbage! Don't like abortion? Remember, every dead foetus helps the terrorists! Journalists reporting on government abuses? Giving comfort to the enemy.

What a great country we've become.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


In an interview with Macleans, Liberal leadership hopeful Maurizio Bevilacqua mentions his extensive travels from coast to coast in Canada. Coast to coast? Um, excuse me, only two coasts? He failed to include the popularized-by-Martin-and-now-mandatory 'coast to coast to coast' ! And this man wants to lead the Liberal Party? The party of inclusion? He's finished, I tell you, finished!

We need a leader who represents change! Generational change! Renewal and national unity! Coast to coast may have sufficed in the past, but in the new modern productive Canada of the 21st century, ready to compete on equal terms with Chindia, our leaders and aspiring leaders must recognize that we are a nation stretching from coast to coast to coast. Including the coast of Hudson Bay, because it's still ocean, and all the coasts around the Arctic islands that are now coasts, because of, you know, the global warming and icepack thawing and all that. And the Great Lakes coasts. Because they are borders. Kinda.

On a more serious note...he makes interesting comments about his rather surprising exclusion from cabinet. He seems to blame it all on the with-us-or-against us Martinites, but then turns around and lays it all on Martin's feet.

Perhaps Martin preferred three-coasters in his cabinet.

Just a hunch.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

More thoughts on using the law

As I drove home last night, and watched horse races today (losing twice as much as I won, huzzah), I was thinking more about why it is that here in the US there's such an effort to conscript people to living a certain way, and why in Canada there is not.

I think it comes down to history.

Now - I certainly hate the fact that Canadians generally don't know that much about our history. But, at the end of the day, Canadian history, our outstanding military achievement notwithstanding, is pretty dull, particularly in contrast to the United States.

And perhaps the greatest achievement of multiculturalism has been the creation of an idea of Canadian-ness that has nothing to do with race, or religion, or apple pie. Who's ever heard of "all-Canadian looks"? Being Canadian just means subscribing to a certain set of values - tolerance, kindness, the Charter - and once you do that, you can do what you want. As a result, Canada is the shining beacon to the world, the rebuke to the rest of the planet saying that it is possible for different enthnic groups to live side by side, for different languages to co-exist together, that you can become propserous and wealthy as a poly-ethnic, multi-cultural, bilingual state. But - if you had to draw an architypal Canadian, Bob and Doug McKenzie notwithstanding - what would you draw or describe?

Contrast that with the US. Here, I think there's a very clear idea of "American." And as such, it's easy to see what is not "American." And because there is a national idea (which I would say is a myth) of what it is to be "American," it becomes easy to demand that others conform. "If you want to be American, you must do this, and behave like this, and speak like this."

The problem is, of course, that no one stands up to defend Canadian nationalism, because it's vague and amorphous. Canada might expire simply because, as Trudeau said, "We peer so suspiciously at each other that we cannot see that we Canadians are standing on the mountaintop of human wealth, freedom and privilege."

Friday, May 19, 2006

The US - Where law is used to divide

Sometimes it makes me sad, seeing what passes for politics here. For all the talk of freedom that gets bandied about here, the whole country is rife with people - conservatives, generally - who want you to live your life the way they live theirs.

First, there's the gay marriage amendment, which, incidentally, has also been passed in 19 states.

Now, there's a bill to make English the "national language."

Prayer in schools, teaching creationism, pledges of allegiance, gay scouts, flag burning - it's all about one group trying to get another to behave like it.

Why don't we have these problems in Canada? (I realize I'm using we both as Canadians and Americans. Sorry.) We've had gay marriage for a few years, and there's no big problem. The sky hasn't fallen. Straight marriage hasn't gone away.

We function just fine with two languages - and even in a third (Inuktitut - notice this pic of the GG with the earpiece for translation). Parliament works fine in two languages. The court systems work fine. The federal civil service functions just fine. I recall once being at a friend's place watching TV - nothing was on the English stations, so we watched a French one. No big deal. No one, apart from of course a few nutcases (oh yeah, and the Gov of Quebec) want to force kids to speak one language or the other.

We have gay scouts (the US top scouting rank is eagle scout. In Canada, it's a Queen's Scout. Go figure). My mom is a high school principal (was in Canada, is in the US) and she one said to me, "We used to say the lord's prayer every morning (this is in the 90s). And then we said, hm, we probably shouldn't be doing this any more. So we stopped." And no one kicked up a fuss, no one talked about war on christianity. No one cares if you burn a Canadian flag - happens all the time in Alberta and Quebec (and in Danny Williams' backyard, no doubt).

The Lutin really is quite scary

Okay. For one, I'm really glad we have a hot head of state. But Benedict is just a little terrifying. He looks like he belongs under a bridge somewhere.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The nation relies on law students?

I was listening to NPR's coverage of the Michael Hayden confirmation hearings. Sen. Feinstein (D-Cal.) asked him about the Fourth Amendment's probable cause requirement. To which he responded that he'd spoken to relatives - who were in law school - about the subject. Not that he'd consulted with proper lawyers, or judges, or law professors - but with relatives (I assume a niece or something) who were in law school.

Now. I took four criminal procedure classes in law school. My clerkship was all criminal law. I've worked on a major white collar criminal case. I'm a practicing attorney. And in spite of all that, I would not feel comfortable giving advice to the head of a government agency about the full contours of the Fourth Amendment. When I look back at just how absolutely clueless I was in law school (and I had good grades) compared to how I am now as an attorney, it terrifies me that we have heads of agencies turning to law students for advice on just how that agency can and cannot violate the constitutional rights of citizens.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Border Madness

The whole plan by Dubya to put national guard on the Mexican border is nonsense which, as the Post points out, is geared more for cameras than for reality.

But then, this is the Bush administration's MO: High, lofty rhetoric, with no results. No Child Left Behind: sounded good, great sound bites, but underfunded. Rebuilding in New Orleans - um. Uniter - right. This is the same thing - Bush is desperate to be seen to be doing something about the border "crisis" and he thinks a speech and a meaningless if expensive solution will present that image.

It also goes to my point about national security, below. There's no crisis. Nothing is any different than it was years ago. And those Mexicans coming across really aren't smuggling any weapons of mass destruction. But now all the white red-state rednecks, who hate the idea of anyone not-white and non-english speaking in the country (except when they're cleaning their back yards) don't have to seem racist - they can just say "National Security."

The idea that somehow we have to fix the border with Canada and Mexico to prevent terrorist attacks is hogwash and completely ignores the fact that it was the Americans who gave the 9-11 attackers visas and let them into the country lawfully.

Harper moves against one of the Ks

Lawrence Martin put forward the four Ks as Harper's weak points (or as Chantal Hebert would have it, his four Achilles' Heels):

Kyoto, Kandahar, Kelowna and Kids.

With It-Girl at the climate change conference this week, Harper seems to be managing the country's abandonment of K1, Kyoto, with a minimum of fuss.

Now he's moving against K2, Kandahar, with some very clever politics. Harper has managed to outmanoever the Bloc and Liberals and place them in a very tricky spot.

K3 will be the next test. Just a thought, but I suspect Ignatieff will use federal-aboriginal relations and the abandonment of the Kelowna accord in his leadership campaign. First, he can't use the Afghan mission, he's vocally in support of it. Second, he's all about rights. And third, David Peterson is McGuinty's envoy to the current land-claim dispute in Caledonia. In an interview, he was quite adamant that the whole mess was the fault of the federal government. Hmm...David Peterson is also Ignatieff's campaign chair...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Money for war, not to help

Kudos to Stephen Lewis, the UN AIDS guy, who recently said

"I would like to throttle...those who've waited so unendurably long to act, those who can find infinite resources for war but never sufficient resources to ameliorate the human condition."

Exactly. Somehow random African dictatorships can always find the cash for war. Somehow Western Democracies can cut welfare or medicade or taxes, but have no problem financing armed conflict. That isn't to say that sometimes armed conflict needs to be paid for, but the fact it's effortless to find money for a new aircraft carrier or fighter jet and yet to make sure there are fewer poor people is a Herculanean struggle is sad. One day, schools will all have books and enough teachers and libraries, and the government will have a bake sale to buy a new tank.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Is terrorism the answer to everything?

It seems these days that the instant you want to make debate go in your favour, you somehow cloak your argument with "national security" or "fighting terrorism" and voila, you win!

Take, for example, a recent CNN piece on garbage from Toronto going to Michigan. Now, some senator from Michigan is getting all hysterical about the garbage coming over the border. Now, he's been up in arms about this forever. Only now - he can invoke the magic "national security" talismanic words, and suddenly it's a serious issue.

Apparenlty, there's some huge danger that trucks carrying Canadian garbage might instead be carrying a weapon of mass destruction.

[Aside: one could make the argument that guns could be smuggled. However, that argument defeats itself - why would someone import guns from Canada, where they're highly controlled and hard to get, when you can just buy an AK-47 at any of a thousand stores and gun shows?]

So, let's see. Last I checked, the only land border Canada has is with the US, unless the Danes have finished that land bridge from Denmark to Iceland to Greenland to Hans Island to Ellesmere Island to Nunavut. This means that either a) someone is building weapons of mass destruction somewhere in Canada - you know, from all the abandoned nuclear warheads - or b) someone is smuggling weapons of mass destruction into Canada and then taking them across the border via a garbage truck coming from Canada's true capital largest city.

Let's look at the more likely - option b.

First, how are the smuggling said weapon in? Assuming port secutiry is the same in both countries, why not just go direct, if you're going to use a port? If you're going to ship it across yourself, last I checked, not that many zodiacs are capable of making the trip from, say, Ishfahan across the northern Pacific to the BC mainland.

And then - as opposed to the thousands of kilometres of land with no border or guards, or the great lakes that are essentially unpatrolled - no - we want to risk a land crossing over a guarded and inspected border.

I.e., it's all nonsense.

But the amazing thing is, people take him seriously, this senator. At least one Toronto City Council member had the sense to point out that most young men killing other young men with guns are doing so with guns bought legally in the US and brought illegally into Canada.

However, the next time I'm arguing with anyone about anything, I'm going to invoke national security. Because once you invoke that, anyone who questions you clearly is helping the terrorists win. ("You don't want sushi tonight? You're helping the terrorists. Why do you hate freedom?")

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Oh please

He's doing it again. Andrew Sullivan, the moralizing expat who will give Bush the benefit of the doubt on virtually everything ("he's a closet tolerant! really! Even though he's called for a federal marriage amendment countless times, he really genuinely likes gay people!"), but never gives the left or any other country the same treatment - now he has another reason to hate the UK. Oh yes.

So he's mad that they might try to regulate how fast food is sold. That, to me, does not a nanny state make. And, more importantly, let's remember that this alleged nanny state happens to be a democracy. The people choose to have broader social protection. I once had an argument with some Republican nutjob who said that the US was the most free place in the world. I asked about, say, Canada, or Netherlands, or you know, all those countries in Western Europe. He said we were more free in the US because we had lower taxes. Um. Those countries elect their governments (and they even do so legitimately, pace Katherine Harris) and they choose to exercise their freedom that way.

So Sullivan thinks it's apostacy to have a "nanny state" and have the government regulate the selling of fast food, but never seems to wax apoplectic about the transgressions of Republicans in the same way.

And really, these alleged nanny states do things like regulate health, and education. They don't try to force prayer in schools, say, or fight over text books, or try to ban the teaching of certain branches of science. You want to talk about overregulated, Andrew? Look no further than the US, whever every nutcase right wing legislator has some pet project to improve morality that he wants to ram down other peoples' throats.

The Four Ks

Lawrence Martin writes about poor Peter Mackay in today's Globe&Mail and suggests he was placed there on purpose, so as to frustrate his leadership ambitions. He compares Mackay and Harper to Clark and Mulroney, but warns that Mackay's ability to bounce back is remarkable.

Aside from the near-mocking tone levelled at Mackay, which is somewhat fun, I think the column is most notable for the expression "the four Ks" on which the government is vulnerable. Kandahar, Kelowna, Kyoto and Kids. We'll see if it catches on.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bush III

This would be the most horrific thing ever. (Hat tip: David O.)

Please. Bush I was bad enough. And we thought, oh, hey, let's go for Bush II. And we know how great that is. So when Bush I and Dubya are singing the praises of Jeb, you know he's just got to be good.

Note to Chantal

Dear Chantal Hebert,
As you'll see below, Harper has run out of heels.
Perhaps you should talk to your headline writer.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sullivan the apologist

I'm really over Andrew Sullivan's constant willingness to see the good in the Republican party.

For years, he defended the Bush administration, and then came up with this belated semi-mea culpa which still sounds like he loves the Bushies.

And so he's happy - Condoleeza Rice was nice, once, to a transgendered person. Dick Cheney, in spite of his party's record on gay rights (ahem, Marriage Amendments), is nice to his daughter and hasn't disowned her. Bush has some gay friends.

Great. Well done. So we'll ignore the fact that the Republican party happily wants to pass anti-gay laws, brings up the gay card every single election, and we'll forgive Bush and Cheney and Rice for not taking a leading role in their parties - all because they were all sweet and gave someone a pat on the head. It's like someone who announces he things minorities should be kicked out of the country, but then says, "Oh, but some of my best friends are black."

Give it up, Sullivan. Every time you open your mouth to say abusive things about Democrats, and to find some hidden silver lining in Republican policy, you get more delusional. You hearken back to the "old Republican party" - which you claim is the party of freedom or some other nonsense. So what are you looking back at? Ronald "Ignore AIDS" Reagan?

Keep you head in the sand, buddy. It's worked all this time for you.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Budget and Students

As a graduate student who receives a scholarship from the government, and then gets wacked at tax time when the government claws a big chunk of it back, this is the single best news for students I've yet heard in a budget as far as I can remember.

-Elimination of current $3,000 limit on amount of scholarship, bursary and fellowship income a post-secondary student can get without paying federal income tax

The limit made sense when tuition was $750, and a $3000 scholarship satisfied most of a student's needs. Nowadays, tuition exceeds $6000 on average, and scholarships have increased to compensate.

Martin was hounded on this issue by the Canadian Federation of Students, he said he supported the idea as Finance Minister but never acted on it, and when he became PM? Lost amid the bajillion priorities that were The Most Significant in a Generation.

So amid the bad tax cuts and the dumb tax cuts, I'm quite pleased with this little jewel.

RIP Kyoto

Flaherty: "we will present a made-in-Canada solution crafted by our very own Minister of the Environment" will give $1,200 to parents so they can make their own emissions reductions?

The Budget and the Bloc

Layton won't 'vote' for it.
Graham won't 'support' it.

We haven't yet heard from the Bloc.

But they are terrified of an election.

Let the accusations of 'unholy alliance' begin...