I must say I am encouraged to see that we have a full class for the opening of the political school. For some time I have felt there was a need for this type of school. After all, we have schools for other occupations, such as plumbing, journalism, law, cooking, etc., so why not a political school? Looking at all you students eagerly awaiting training in this political school tells me just how much you all want to be involved in the political management of the country. It is good to see such interest.
I see from your resumes that you all come from various political backgrounds. Some want to be Socialist politicians, others Liberal and still others Conservative, with a small sprinkling of Communists, Greens and others. This is good, for we are a non-partisan school and with the blurring of political ideology, floor crossing, and double-crossing these days, political labels mean nothing. The job is the thing, and of course the remuneration that comes with it. With a starting salary of around $150,000 dollars a year plus expenses, pensions, and perks, this is a dream job (but a nightmare for the people who elected you). That is, of course, provided any of you reach the pinnacle of your political aspirations, which I am sure you will.
Where else can you get a starting salary of around $150,000 a year with no experience needed, no training, and no knowledge of how the political system works? Of course this is where the political school comes in: we will give you the tools to make a success of your political career should you manage to persuade the people to elect you in the party of your choice.
Now let us get down to the first lesson. When running for political office the first thing you must do is make nice sounding promises. Tell the people that you have a vision for the country, that you have a plan. What will your vision and plan be? This is entirely up to you. Visions and plans come in all shapes and sizes. Remember that old saying: “Throw the dogs a bone.” Well this saying holds true for people. Mind you, I am not saying people are dogs (much laughter from the class) but people do like to be fed things especially monetary promises from the taxes they have already paid. So promising them a financial inducement is always good bait in an election. Should you succeed and get into office and be government you can always renege on your promise. This is how politics works. First you ask for a cross next to your name at the ballot box then you double cross the stiffs, oops, I mean the people, once you are elected.
(More laughter ensues and the trainee politicians bang their desks just like the elected politicians do in parliament.) The teacher continues: Wow, I see most of you have learned the desk-banging trick; well done. Now as I was saying before the interruption by your quickly-learned “parliamentary procedure,” a good example of this reneging on a promise is the hated Gobbling Suckers Tax (GST). Now it is accepted and brings in billions of dollars to government coffers, and now there is another tax in the offing called the Hammer the Serfs Tax (HST) But, I digress.
Another important lesson you will learn at our school is Political speak or Poli-speak as I like to call it. I will give you an example, seeing it is your first day, but we will go into Poli-speak at length in your next lesson. Here is an example of words you will have to learn in a crisis situation: “We must move forward in this complex situation, with a measured response, but it is a challenge and challenges are good. We can become better persons because of them and fulfill our hopes and dreams in the process. Read my lips no more taxes.” So what does that all mean? It means nothing, nothing at all. They are just words to use or should I say political B.S. in a crisis situation and something for the media to report and for the masses to read in the newspapers. But the words sound good and that is what I call Poli-speak.
Notice all the words I’ve used are positive, and this is the way you will learn to speak even when, as politicians, you are, as the old saying goes, “caught with your pants down” and in poop up to your eyeballs. But, if you know the right words, all can be made clean. (More laughter ensues, and all the class seem to be enjoying the course.) And so ended the first day of the political school.
Stephen J. Gray
June 26, 2010.