Another endorsement for Stelmach: Sir Humphrey Appleby

(This was posted December 2 at 6:53am)

I was laying in bed unable to sleep, and suddenly it hits me like a ton of bricks. I've seen the Ed Stelmach situation before.

In the past I've explained to you how Ed Stelmach is a bad choice for Premier of Alberta. He is not a drinker. I've explained via photos that he is a coward. Long ago when he first put in his name for Premier I chastized him for enabling Edmonton Police Services to corruptly disobey the law, which I feel is still his most damning failure, and the primary reason I will not be voting for Stelmach at all today.

However, the possible rise up the middle of Ed Stelmach alarms me, and at this 11th hour [eleventh and a half, surely! -ed] I came upon another criticism of Stelmach that seems to suddenly become important the more I ponder it.

Consider this exchange from the Yes, Prime Minister 1984 premiere "Party Games" between Sir Arnold Robinson (recently retired Cabinet Secretary) and Sir Humphrey Appleby (recently appointed Cabinet Secretary):

Sir Arnold: So, will the new PM be our eminent Chancellor, or our distinguished Foreign Secretary?
Sir Humphrey: Well, that's what I wanted to talk to you about. Which do you think it should be?
Sir Arnold: Difficult. Like asking which lunatic should run the asylum.
Sir Humphrey: The trouble is, they're both interventionists. They both have foolish notions about running the country themselves if they became Prime Minister.
Sir Arnold: Have we any allies?
Sir Humphrey: Oh quite a few yes, the Chief Whip particularly. But he's worried that whichever gets the job will antagonise the other's supporters and split the party.
Sir Arnold: So we're looking for a compromise candidate.
Sir Humphrey: Hmm. Malleable.
Sir Arnold: Flexible.
Sir Humphrey: Likeable.
Sir Arnold: No firm opinions.
Sir Humphrey: No bright ideas.
Sir Arnold: Not intellectually committed.
Sir Humphrey: Without the strength of purpose to change anything.
Sir Arnold: Someone who you know can be manipula--professionally guided.
Sir Humphrey: And leave the business of government in the hands of the experts.
To which, of course, the two of them realize Ed Stelmach Jim Hacker is precisely the sort of dimwit automoton they need to control the strings of power. As the discussion later goes when they are joined by Hacker's Personal Private Secretary Bernard Woolley:
Sir Humphrey: Bernard, just let me ask you something. What would you say to your present master...as the next Prime Minister?
Bernard: The Minister?
Sir Humphrey: Yes.
Bernard: Mr Hacker?
Sir Humphrey: Yes.
Bernard: As Prime Minister?
Sir Humphrey: Yes.
Bernard checks his watch.
Sir Humphrey: Are you in a hurry?
Bernard: No I'm just checking to see it wasn't April the First.
Sir Arnold: Are you suggesting that your Minister is not up to the job of Prime Minister?
Bernard: Oh, no, Sir Arnold, it's not for me to, uh, er...well, I mean...of course, I'm... I'm I'm sure he's, uh...Oh, gosh!
Sir Arnold: There is a considerable body of opinion that can see many advantages in the appointment.
Sir Humphrey: For Britain.
Sir Arnold: For Britain.
Bernard: Yes, well, yes...
Sir Humphrey: So we trust you to ensure that your Minister does nothing incisive or divisive over the next few weeks.
Sir Arnold: Avoids anything controversial.
Sir Humphrey: Expresses no firm opinion about anything at all. Now, is that quite clear?
Bernard: Yes, well I think that's probably what he was planning to do anyway.
So there you have it: there is some precident for Premier Ed Stelmach. If we elect him, we will end up having the provincial Civil Service in charge of the province. Quite obviously, he is the candidate they would like us to choose. I cannot for the life of me think of any better argument against it. Party brass might enjoy the notion, but honest-to-God conservatives should be horrendously against it. Whatever the outcome of a fractured PC party, it can't be much worse than a toothless wimp of a government at the whim of those who it is supposed to be in charge of. Lobby groups and the status quo will obtain a frightening hold over the cabinet, as the size and scope of government slowly advances as civil servants both real and fictitious tend to desire an overreaching centralized power at the very core of our legislatures.

Naturally I should link you to the sticky Morton post from yesterday for more election coverage.