Political Surprises

If We Were Having Coffee

Guest Blogger Paul Curran

Guest Blogger Paul Curran

Your Barista – Paul

Welcome to Willow’s weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today and I’m happy to be here once again. This week Willow is unable to access her Internet so we’ll be meeting here at Mark Bialczak’s Little Bitty in Syracuse, N.Y. Please come in and go through to the backyard. Mark, his wife Karen and their pooch Ellie B have prepared a nice, comfy place for us outside on the newly mown lawn of the Little Bitty, so I can tend to your needs for a cuppa, and sweets. The weather today here is hot at about 84 degrees Fahrenheit with an 80 percent probability of rain.

If the showers start we can move inside. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer. We have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our worldwide readership, and adult beverages for those who wish something stronger. We can relax with a cuppa and calorie-free electronic sweets while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. Ellie likes to be patted, so please indulge her when she greets you. How has your week been?

This week has been positive for me with warm and sunny weather. I haven’t moved yet as the manager and his crew have been very busy –- it being the end of a university year and the beginning of summer classes. This necessitates a lot of moving in and moving out as many of the units are rented by students. Each unit has to be cleaned, painted and/or renovated between renters. May and September are their two busiest months. Meanwhile, I’ve been cleaning (to try to avoid any extra charge) and organizing. This I have to do in small increments as my physical strength is limited. Besides it is a lot easier to get motivated when the tasks are small and manageable. Even with just a studio, it is amazing how much stuff one accumulates. Ha! I’ve been throwing things out all week.

Would you like another cuppa? Perhaps a sweet? So, on the international front, I see Britain has chosen to give Cameron and his Conservative party another term by awarding them 331 seats in a 650-seat house — a clear and comfortable majority. Scotland was swept by the Scottish National Party, which will definitely give the government some headaches in the coming years. The win was so unexpected that the leaders of all three of the other major parties resigned. One large complaint about the outcome of this election is that in Britain (as in Canada as well) the winning party that took the majority of seats actually only had 36 percent of the popular vote. The Labor party had 30 percent of the popular vote and now has no say in government policies.

Many are upset that this outcome is not representative government. The one biggie that Cameron has to deal with by 2017 is a referendum to determine the continued participation in the EU. A large number of the voters think that the EU is having too much control over Britain’s policies and economy. That would be a major shift in the European political scene. Time will tell. What are your thoughts on forming a government? Should it have to be representational? Some countries –- like New Zealand –- are set up so that the make-up of their government reflects the popular vote. Any thoughts on Britain in the EU?

Alberta New Democratic Party leader Rachel Notley, left, and her staff enter the Alberta Legislature Building via a spiral staircase for the first time as premier-elect in Edmonton on May 6, 2015.
(Dan Riedlhuber/Reuters) (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/alberta/the-alberta-ndps-rachel-notley-she-is-a-child-of-the-party/article24338069)

Alberta New Democratic Party leader Rachel Notley, left, and her staff enter the Alberta Legislature Building via a spiral staircase for the first time as premier-elect in Edmonton on May 6, 2015.
(Dan Riedlhuber/Reuters)

On the topic of elections, we had a really surprising election outcome in Alberta — the central Canadian province that is the source of most Canadian oil and is currently driving the country’s economy. This whirlwind of business and oilfield development just (Wednesday) elected a socialist leaning (called left here) party –-the NDP (New Democratic Party). The surprise was that the Conservative party ruled Alberta for an unbroken 44 years –- a right leaning party that is pro-business.


The NDP leader is a woman who is the daughter of an ardent NDP politician and grew up with politics. She is 51, well-educated and smart. It blows me away (as it did most Canadians and Albertans, for that matter) that the NDP formed the Alberta government. Typically the NDP comes in third after the Conservatives and Liberals in both the provincial and federal political landscapes. The best they normally do is form the official opposition. This is a very monumental and historic win and may very well be the harbinger of a political swing to the left in Canada. The Federal NDP has been basically leaderless since the premature cancer death of their charismatic leader Jack Layton. Possibly Rachel will end up as their leader and maybe even as our Prime Minister sometime in the future, if she does well in Alberta (which won’t be easy as their economy has dropped with world oil prices).

This is a very interesting scenario that is developing in our Canadian oil heartland. Any thoughts on the meaning of an electoral body putting a socialist leaning party in power in oilfield territory?

Give a pat to Ellie B (https://markbialczak.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/image71.jpg )

Ellie B checking out the yard before our arrival.

That’s about all we have room for this week, so it’s time to settle in with another cuppa and pat Ellie B. Sweets anyone? Please join me in thanking Mark, Karen and Ellie B for their invitation to tea. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Mark’s other posts while you’re here. Have a great week. We look forward to seeing you for tea next week back at Willow’s.

Our Gracious Hosts

Our Gracious Hosts all dressed up and looking sharp.

Our Gracious Hosts this week have been, in order: Ellie B. at top photo, and Karen B., and Mark B above.

Thanks, Paul! And, everybody, be sure to drop in for a cup at Willow’s always interesting blog by clicking here. Thank you for sending Paul our way this fine Sunday, Willow.


32 thoughts on “Political Surprises

  1. Thanks very much for the opportunity to guest post Mark. I realized reading this, that I have grown so used to picking topics for the weekly “If we were having coffee” that would appeal to Britons – this being their national election week – that it may not appeal to your readership. I hope this post is OK.
    🙂 You are very kind to give me space here. Please pass along my thanks to Karen and Ellie and I hope your week and that of your readers, goes well.


    • Thanks, Paul. You have expanded horizons, my friend. Anyway, I have many of the readers that Willow does. It’s a small world in WordPress BloggyVille. Have a good Sunday in Ottawa.


  2. Thanks for your thoughtful post. As someone who has just voted for the Liberal Democrats in the UK election I agree wholeheartedly that our voting system needs changing. The ‘first past the post’ system was introduced way back when there were just two parties to choose from and worked well. In the 21 century it is no longer fit for purpose – but no government is going to want to change a system that brought them to power, however unfairly. There has to be a push from the public. You may be interested in the blog I have just posted regarding the recent election and the rise of nationalism within our shores.


    • Hi Rebecca! Thanks so much for the visit and the comment. You are exactly right -Canada started the first past the post system when there were only two parties as well. Now we have 5 or 6 parties and it is failing abysmally. Imagine a government (actually you don’t have to imagine) that declares a clear majority that only had 35 or 36% of the vote. They are writing legislation and passing laws and spending money when they do not have the permission of the majority of the population. We tried election reform here some years ago and it would not pass because of the lack of interest by current politicians – who, of course, felt threatened. i don;t know how we get the power away from them and make the changes but it has to be done. thanks so much for dropping by, I am honored by your presence Rebecca.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. One very good…perhaps the best…reason for the UK to remain in the EU is that throughout human history the nations of Western Europe have been at war on average about every 15 years. However, in the 70 years since WW2 and following the bonding of the likes of Germany, France and Great Britain the necessity to flex muscles and fight each other has not been there. A UK exit my herald the breakdown of the Union whereupon the beast is unleashed and mothers will lose son’s, wife’s lose husbands as history repeats itself. Plainly there are countless other ‘plus’ reasons yet the general public of this once ‘powerful’ nation seem, in large part ignorant of history and economics preferring instead to be content Little Englanders. I despair!


    • Indeed Mike. many people have very short sight lines when it comes to politics. You are, of course, correct – as difficult as it is, the EU guarantees that battles are fought with words instead of bombs and bullets. I’m afraid that many people the world over, are nervous of collaboration with other cultures. they are always concerned that they will lose in the partnership. The hard part is that they are right – there will be some loses, but there will also be many more gains , such as the one you mentioned and no one looks at that. Excellent points and I am so glad you dropped by today Mike. Please come by again.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Paul great post as always. What a great setting you had and what gracious host. I haven’t got time to comment on politics today but I will get back to you. See you all back here as normal next week xxxxx


  5. Nice work, Paul. Glad I was able to catch this one too. I know I had a blast on Ab election night. I’m an Alberta baby with a distinctive non-conservative bent 😉 , so the FB posts and tweets were flying like feathers in a chicken fight. I’m glad I lived to see that one! Have a great week, bud!


    • Bwahahaha! “feathers in chicken fight”Such a great description. Ha! Thanks for the read and comment Robyn. It is always a pleasure to have you drop by and join the discussion. You must really feel good after 40+ years of conservative government. It may not have been clear from my post, but i like it when the dark horse comes in for the win. It shakes up the establishment and makes things happen. That being said, i lived in Ontario when the NDP reigned supreme here and they are a bit scary. They spent too much time ignoring business when much of their revenues come from there. However, Rachel appears to be a horse of a different color. I have a feeling she has seen a lot of what works and what doesn’t having grown up in a political home. It should be interesting to see what happens. Maybe the NDP have matured into a ruling party – we shall see.

      Thanks again for dropping by for a visit Robyn. Y’all come back now, ya hear? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, the UK and the EU. Let me give a different perspective. There are many people in the UK who feel bogged down by the “freedom of movement” policy that allows EU citizens to come into the country to work and study. The natural reaction from the Coalition government was to create tighter controls on non-EU immigration, even for the spouses of British citizens. In the meantime, because of the loss of British manufacturing since the Thatcher era, a lot of Britain’s best and brightest have gone overseas to places like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the US to actually do the jobs that they were educated to do. Many of them got married and had children. However, these immigration policies are leaving these people in exile. The Britons would be let in. Their children would be let in. But it would be a crap shoot whether their spouses would be let in. Meanwhile, if a German man and his American wife were already living in Germany and decided to live in the UK, they would be able to move without a hitch, since it is all within the EU.

    So, if the UK does remain part of the EU, the EU should have one uniform policy regarding non-EU immigration to make it a fairer system. They can’t do immigration with half measures because it is only causing more problems than solutions.


  7. Hello TB-AL. Thank you so much for dropping by and joining the conversation. I was not aware of the non-EU immigration rules in the UK. There are a lot of issues around immigration here in North America as well. Different problems but still problems. There is a growing division between the haves and the have nots – between countries as well as within countries. That is the basis of our issues – what do you do with poor or endangered illegal immigrants? Send them back to die of starvation or to be incarcerated or even shot? Most cannot feel comfortable doing that even though the rules are clear – no papers = deportation. The Americans are struggling with the DREAM act – which partially addresses this very issue.

    I really am not sure how this issue should be addressed – and yet it is becoming a larger and larger issue worldwide. Thanks so much for your input This British-American Life. I am honored that you dropped in for a visit. Thank you and lease come by again.


  8. great post, great hosts. very informative, paul. i’m not in any position to comment on politics other than american, but i learned a lot today. )


    • Thanks so much for the visit Beth. it is wonderful to have you drop by. Interestingly enough, there are many commonalities between the problems that countries the world over are grappling with (like dangling participles). In the case of non-EU citizens: the EU is basically a who’s-who of the well to do countries so often “Non-EU” translates as “Poor” (not always but the majority of the time).

      Thanks so much for the visit Beth. I hope you’ll drop by again.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi CM! Thanks so much for dropping by. I was pleased that Mark agreed to host this post this week. So many in the Word Press community are kind and caring. I find a lot of similarities in politics between countries. it is an interesting subject – one which many of us ignore until there is a situation or rule we do not agree with. I know that I am too often that way.

      Thanks again Chatter master for the read and for joining in the discussion. Please drop by again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome Paul. I do find it interesting. Though to be honest, often it is difficult to follow in one’s own country. I believe politics are purposefully twisted and difficult. And I will own that I too ignore too much of it.


        Liked by 1 person

  9. I applaud that you are cleaning and organizing. I’m afraid I will be unable to retain everything I just read in the morrow, for politics makes my head explode. I only wish I could cast my vote for a right-leaning party that is pro-business for the next 44 years.


    • Hey Kerbey! thanks so much for dropping by. It’s a pleasure to see you here. Yep, the business oriented conservative party did well in Alberta. They happened to be in the right place at the right time when oil was discovered in the province. As a result employment has been close to 100% and wages are the highest in Canada. Of course real estate and food and such are also expensive. But now that world wide oil demand has softened, there have been lay offs and the suspension of projects. I think many Albertans are finding themselves out of jobs or unable to afford housing because their pay has dropped. They obviously voted for the NDP for the social programs. Which actually makes the new government’s job harder – higher expectations.

      Thanks again for the visit Kerbey . please drop by again.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. The day after we, in the UK, were told the result of the election, there were anti-government riots in the centre of London right outside the Prime Ministers official London home in Downing Street. Don’t worry if this is news to you, it didn’t get reported much here either – thank goodness for social media. There were demonstrations and marches in other cities as well. People are very angry and also very scared by the unchecked power of the current government. And angry about the unrepresentative voting system. One of the things the government plan to do is to re-introduce legalised hunting with hounds even though 80% of the population are opposed to it. We no longer have government for the people, but for the elite yet powerful minority. So no wonder people are clamouring for a more representative voting system.


    • Thanks so much for dropping by for a read RR. I wasn’t aware of the demonstrations. You are right, more and more government is for the elite. We in Canada have the same problem with our gov’t not being representative. Thanks so much for the visit RR, please drop by again.


    • I’ll leave it to Paul to comment about the U.K. government, as this is his guest post, Roy. But I’d like to say, good to see you here. I haven’t seen a new post other than a reblog at your place in a bit. Are you back?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been busy on another blog for work and so by the time I get home I have had enough of computer screens so, in that sense I have been away for a while. It also meant that I have not been able to keep up with the blogs I follow. So tonight I’ve been doing a bit of a catch-up. But doesn’t look like I’ll be back for a while – there’s lots going on in my life at the moment. Things should get easier real soon. I have made a life-changing decision that will kick in in about three weeks time. Watch this space. In the meantime i’ll try and drop by from time to time and say Hi. Roy


      • Thanks for filling me in here, Roy. I’ve been missing the friendship. I hope the change will be a great one, and that you will be a happy photographer, poet and philosopher. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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