Cold Hard Wonk

No sentiment but politics

A Crime Under Any Elizabeth

Posted by JJ in Federal Elections, Doubletake/Doubletalk (Tuesday November 29, 2005 at 5:46 pm)

Having sat through a few high-school English classes, I remember this much: ambition was a serious problem in Elizabethan England. Enough so that it is offered as a justification for the murder of Caesar, and the force for the treacheries of Claudius and MacBeth.

And now, it seems, Canadians have their own little drama. A national election (oh, perfidious treachery), brought about most foully. I therefore offer you a selection from “The Weary Wonk of Windsor”:

Wherefore these honeyed words, purchased so dear
Wrought but of wind and air, that pray for ear?
Why pleads the Captain at the seaman’s door
For right to render him his servant more?
‘Tis Steven Harper, saith Martin’s son
And his ambition which hath brought this on.
Now, Martin says that Harper is ambitious.
It is a grievous fault, if it be so.
I speak not to disprove what Martin spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.

When Chretien left Paul Martin in the House,
With many alllies more than those opposed,
Why sought Paul Martin succour from the vote
Two years before the need for it arose?
Was not this early plea the cause of strife
Which has since sapped the House of Commons’ Life;
And so, the cause of Paul’s minority
And of its fall (through meanest treachery)?
But Martin says that Harper is ambitious,
And Martin is an honorable man.

As nationwide, the Gritty runners spread
To paint the many ridings with their red,
Were not the placards of the Liberals faced
With Martin’s smiling visage and his name?
Sought he a prize for others in that race
Or other victors in th’elect’ral game?
Whose power was he seeking to augment
Or to whose will willed he the public’s bent?
But Martin says that Harper is ambitious,
And Martin is an honorable man.

Chretien withdrew from leadership, they say,
When party stalwarts undercut his stay.
How could he shepherd janus-faced flocks
Who played the ally whilst they plied the knife,
But for that Martin thickly laid his plots
To gain the object of his father’s life –
The Premiership? For which he wrought
Grave wounds on that whose leadership he sought.
But Martin says that Harper is ambitious,
And, sure, he is an honorable man.

Then, Harper, too, is honorable now.
So are they all now, honorable men.
I speak not to disprove what Martin spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
O, Canada, when were you wont to trust?
What cause have you such honour to bestow
And leave such men as these to hold your faith?
O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason…. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with thought,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

My deepest thanks and sincerest apologies to William Shakespeare

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