Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One-Two-Three-Four....Are We In A Class War?


At least a couple of more folks in the Lotuslandian Bloggodome today began to wonder if, perhaps, the HST referendum vote breakdown was all about class.


First it was Ian Reid, who used the recent Ipsos-(no relation)Reid poll numbers to make his point:

Ipsos Reid released a poll this morning on the HST Referendum. The first question perfectly describes why the yes side carried the day, despite being outspent about 40 to 1.
1. In your opinion, what will be the impact of scrapping the HST and returning to the GST/PST system on each of the following? Select one response per row.
Positive ImpactNegative ImpactNeutral/No real impactDon’t Know
You and your family43%25%24%8%
The overall BC economy17%49%20%14%
43% said scrapping the tax would be good for them and their family. And a similar 49% said it would be bad for business. In other words those voting to scrap the tax voted for their personal economic interests ahead of the BC economy......
{snippety doo-dah}
...People didn’t vote against BC’s eonomy, They didn’t vote against “economic experts” as the Globe suggested this morning. They didn’t vote against rich people.
They voted in their own interest.
And isn’t that what you are supposed to do?
Now I get what Ian is saying.

But even if they did it only in isolation, in terms of their own situations and interests (ie. no one was out to deliberately 'screw' someone else), it still means that a whole lot of folks were voting by socio-economic class.


Second, Paul Willcocks invoked both the riding income level/voter preference correlation and the I-R poll results cited by Mr. Reid above to come to the conclusion that this just might signal a real seismic shift in public opinion:

The HST referendum result might signal a greater political shift, something beyond a tax revolt or anger over an arrogant, untrusted government.

The idea of class-based politics, for want of a better term, after being considered largely irrelevant for the last 60 years, could matter once again...



This is all fine and good.

And as I've already said a bunch of times, I really do think it mattered in this specific instance of the HST referendum where the folks who were personally affected the most did vote to get rid of an egregious tax shift while folks that were more well-off, who the tax shift affected much less severely, were happy to vote to keep it. And I also figure that lots of the latter group voted to keep the tax because they perceived that they would be contributing to an enhancement of government revenue that would contribute to the public's greater good.


It is going to be interesting to see if the majority of British Columbians in the middle (class?) can still be, like our brethern to the South, bamboozled into voting in their own worst interests in the future.

Because if they refuse to head back over to the 'screw me, please!' side of the fence I do think it could really affect general election voting patterns.

To be honest, though, I dunno which way it will go.

However, a number of folks in the Lotuslandian bloggodome including now, Harvey Oberfeld, have noted that the propaganda pushback has truly begun in earnest to try and re-herd folks into that mystical corp-friendly swampland where their own worst interests lie.

Which is encouraging.

What is more discouraging, however, is the fact that this transparent propaganda pushback is not being called out for what it is by the proPundits who are most able to move (or stabilize) public opinion in this province.

Which, I suppose, in and of itself, probably says something pretty important.




Ian said...

Very interesting RossK. That question is why I posted the riding profiles you first posted from CCPA BC, because they seem to show that in this instance, many middle class voters joined with lower income voters and voted against another consumption tax that increased their costs so business can get another break. The riding info on the vote seems to show that you get well into the middle class before ridings start turning positive towards the tax.

Nevertheless, as I sit here staring out a window at Toronto Western Hospital, I am reminded that the middle class lie behind the insanity that is Mayor Rob "what's a library" Ford. So, unity on these questions is never a foregone conclusion.

RossK said...


I'm actually working on a serious longform post about this which may turn out to be way off the mark (and/or never see the light of day), because this stuff really is not my forte.


I think it's worth considering that if you were currently in Calgary looking out that window you might feel very differently.

My only point here is that folks are clearly starting to wake up and wonder why, despite how often they are told that things are so much more wonderful now than they were a generation ago, they cannot, for example, afford to live in the neighbourhoods they grew up in.

Can these same folks still be bamboozled?

Of course they can....In fact, if I remember correctly Mr. Ford himself promised them he could drastically decrease tax revenues without decreasing public services.

Thus, the real question in my mind is....How do we stop the bamboozlement in its tracks?

I have argued long and hard, most often on the prog-blogs down south, including Firedoglake, that 'better prop' from our side is NOT the way to go.

Instead, I honestly (and perhaps naively) believe that all it would take to jam the breaks on, hard, on the Bamboozlement Express is a proMedia that would just start calling demonstrable falsehoods what they actually are.

And, way more importantly, wtf are you still doing in that damnable H-room anyway?