Le deluge, c'est moi

Hi. This is Highland Flood, Muse of Stagehands and Civil Servants, and Keeper of a Straight Face. I invite you to visit the Musehome, at http://h2g2.com/h2g2/guide/A420661" >http://h2g2.com/h2g2/guide/A420661. />
I am a man of fairly conventional tastes as far as nutters go. For example: jazz, Red Dwarf, the English language (and from what little I know of other languages, they're even better!), the writing of Italo Calvino and Nick Hornby, Truly Madly Deeply (the film), Steven Sondheim musicals (which are to other musicals what George Orwell is to other socialist thinkers - that is, a whole lot more insightful, well-written, and intentionally funny), politics, curry, lager, lemons, and trying to get skyscrapers and electric tram lines built in my car-worshipping suburban neighbourhood.

As far as what bugs me, I hate to dwell on the negative, but I seem to recoil instinctively from cellular phones (particularly if they have been programmed to ring to the tune of a classical symphony). Ditto for the voices of 3 political leaders: George Bullsh (oops, I mean Bush), Tory Blair, and the bloke in charge of my own little province, Gordon Campbell (see below). The fact that they're all reckless drivers on the superhighway of ideology is secondary to the fact that they're just so annoying.

Late breaking news....


Loch Ness Monitor
February 31, 2002
Caledonia Rivers, staff reporter

Campbell privatizes electricity, ferries, buses; lashes out at "socialist" policies of W.A.C. Bennett

(Victoria) The BC Liberals have never played down the fact that they want to undo just about everything the NDP did in its ten years in power. But it was clear from their election platform that they have even more radical changes in mind.

Just how radical?

They gave a clue several weeks ago after passing laws that struck out provisions in public sector collective agreements. The oldest provision to be done away with was from 1969, three years before the first NDP government came to power.

Now, BC premier Gordon Campbell and his government have confirmed the speculation: They plan to return British Columbia to the 1950s.

The announcement was made at a news conference where the province announced the privatization of several Crown corporations, as part of a new piece of legislation called the Back to the Future Act.

The first privatization announced was of BC Hydro and BC Transit, which are to be amalgamated into a single private company. The Hydro move was expected by many, but selling off bus systems around the province took most observers by surprise.

Finance Minister Gary Collins explained it this way: "Up until forty years ago, the province's electricity and transit systems were run by a company called BC Electric. Then W.A.C. Bennett turned BC Electric into a provincially run company.

"A lot of people hold up W.A.C. Bennett as a defender of free enterprise and competition," Collins went on to say. "But let's face it, he went a little soft as he got older. He ended up turning into the worst socialist outside of China or the Soviet Union."

Public transit advocacy groups like Better Environmentally Sound Transportation and the Bus Riders' Union denounced the privatization of transit, claiming that it will lead to a further decline in the quality of service. In fact, the service cuts have already begun, with the province turning the SeaBus into an artificial reef and ripping up the SkyTrain line on the grounds that they are both "too modern".

Transportation Minister Judith Reid responded to the groups' criticism by pointing out that transit users are not the only group who will be affected by the reversal of the last forty years of government megaprojects. The Alex Fraser Bridge will be dynamited, she said, and the George Massey Tunnel filled with concrete.

Reid added that her ministry is "reconsidering" an initial decision to tear down the Second Narrows Bridge as well, after learning that it was completed in 1958. "We may have been too hasty there," she admitted.

Campbell fielded questions from reporters after remarking that the new headquarters of BC Electric will be its old headquarters, the "Electra" office tower in Vancouver. "Didn't someone turn that into a condo complex?" one reporter asked.

"That's correct," Campbell replied.

"What will happen to the people living there now?"

"As I've said before," Campbell reiterated, "BC needs sweeping changes to put its fiscal house in order. And there's no question, there's going to be some pain and dislocation."

"You don't mean you're going to throw the current residents out onto the street?"

Campbell repeated his previous answer verbatim, and repeated it several more times, before someone gave him a sharp kick and he came unstuck.

Also to be privatized is BC Ferries. "In 1960," Collins explained, "before the province took over all ferry service, there were several privately run companies, most of whom were in the process of going bankrupt. We feel the private sector is better at providing this kind of service than government is."

Education Minister Christy Clark was at the press conference with her young son Hamish, and she put the government's latest move in more positive terms.

"Look, we all want a better future for our children," said Clark. "We can do that by returning BC to a time before all this heavy-handed government intervention in our lives began in earnest. A happier time. A simpler time. And that time was the 1950s."

When a reporter pointed out to Clark that she wasn't born until the 1960s, she could be seen hurrying over to consult with the premier.


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