The Bubble Boys

March 8, 2012

There seems to be a correlation between a lessening grip on power with a diminishing grip on reality for Team Ford. While for most of us that would be seen as a problem, they appear to like it that way. Reality has a way of refuting most of what they say and claim.

So they move about in an operational bubble that is permeable only to views and opinions they agree with and remains unassailable to everything contrary. The Toronto Sun. Friendly AM radio. Scarborough malls and Tim Horton’s full of well-wishers and 100% stay-the-coursers.

Having assumed control of Newstalk 1010’s Sunday afternoon municipal politics radio show, The City, brothers Mayor Rob and Councillor Doug have had two weeks of pretty much uninterrupted airtime to crank up the rant to eleven. Naysayers were few and far between on their first show, entirely absent the next. It was a whole lot of high-fiving and ‘I couldn’t agree with you mores’ all round. All Ye who enter, leave your facts and figures at the door.

Last Sunday, during what appears to be a regular weekly St. Clair right of way has been a disaster segment, Councillor Ford claimed that the streetcar had been shut down a few days earlier because of two inches of snow. A quick check of TTC service notices couldn’t actually pinpoint the incident. The best guess was that some slippery driving conditions had caused an automobile accident at Yonge and St. Clair which blocked up streetcar traffic.

So, using the councillor’s logic, since cars had trouble navigating inclement weather, maybe we should take them off the roads?

No. Since the brothers believe any form of public transit running down the middle of the street is a streetcar, a trolley when they’re feeling particularly disingenuous, and streetcars are nothing more than a weapon in the war on the car, congestion and all other traffic problems are to be blamed solely on them. Case closed. Fingers in their ears. La-la-la-la-la-la-la! I can’t hear you. What are you saying? Streetcars suck? I agree. La-la-la-la-la-la-la!

After this week’s drubbing at city council where Mayor Ford was relegated to mere observer status at the TTC, his brother went on the PR offensive not so much to preserve the mayor’s transit vision as to salvage his own reputation. Fingers were pointing in his direction as the main culprit in driving a further wedge between the mayor and any sort of face-saving compromise. Councillor Ford’s ‘all taxes are evil’ tirade last week only further alienated the mayor from even normally reliable allies like Councillor Peter Milczyn who, on transit, has stepped noticeably away from Team Ford. “Councillor Ford has had a tendency to continually add fuel to the fire when others of us have been trying to douse the flames,” Councillor Milczyn said on Metro Morning.

Now, a reasonable, rational politician would step back and reassess the situation. Hell, what good businessman would suffer a setback and not listen to advice from people generally thought to be on his side? Not Councillor Doug Ford, nope.

“I guess their game plan over the last couple of days is to try to silence me until I don’t tell the public what’s really going on,” Mr. Ford said in a radio interview. “We know what the public wants. The public wants subways.”

No retreat, no surrender!

None of this is the councillor’s fault, you see.

“The print media, they’ll twist it any way you can and you can’t defend yourself.”

Poor, poor put upon rookie councillor Doug Ford. Media types and devious, backstabbing politicians criticize him and there’s no way he can defend himself. Except on his own radio show and every other talk radio station in the city. But that’s no match for the pages of say, the Toronto Sun, who, as we all know, have been absolutely savage in their treatment of Team Ford.

In the little bubble world the Fords have created, only they know what ‘the people’ want, constructive criticism is nothing but political treachery, one unfriendly newspaper chain constitutes the print media and subways reign supreme as first and world class.

Unfortunately for them, their reality has banged up hard against the other, bigger, grim reality of facts and informed opinion that the rest of us exist in. It turns out in the real world you have to actually pay for the subways you want and, even then, subways aren’t always the best use of public transit money. There’s the very real possibility of them not being first class at all but out and out money sinkholes that inhibit healthy neighbourhood development rather than enhance it.

It also turns out in the real world bullying and bluster will only get you so far. Their effectiveness is directly proportional to the power you wield. Threats suddenly become idle. Former cowed allies start to find their own independent voices. You find yourself more and more alone inside your bubble until, finally, it doesn’t so much burst as collapse into itself.

pokingly submitted by Cityslikr


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