The Blatch Keys On Rob Ford’s Success

Dear Miss Christie Blatchford,

I am writing to you with a rather forward, possibly unseemly, request.

The next time you hold a gathering for your “downtown friends” would it be out of the question to extend an invitation my way? It doesn’t have to be anything fancy like a black tie dinner party although I can still cut a swath in my tails and top hat. It could simply be cocktails and canapés or a few brewskis over some ribs and slaw as those of you in possession of a mess of “blue-collar, working-class, anti-intellectual” bones might partake in.

We are neighbours after all. I do see you from time-to-time, out walking your dog while I’m window shopping at our local Home Hardware. It seems surprising to me that our paths haven’t crossed more concretely sooner. So let’s stop making strange and break some bread together.

Lest you immediately conclude that this is some appeal for a handout, let me be crystal clear that nothing could be further from the truth. It is for your benefit that I offer to foist myself upon you. Having just read your weekend newspaper column (Rob Ford: The Gadfly That Toronto Needs), it strikes me that you are being done a huge and mighty disservice by your so-called “smart friends”. Not to mention that they seem to be dangerously combustible and must be making a mess of your household interior with all the Cronenbergesque head exploding you claim they are prone to.

Allow me the opportunity, Miss Blatchford, as a long time downtowner with an “intellectual stripe”, to respond to your party trick of claiming “to be the tiniest bit on the fence” about Rob Ford’s candidacy for the mayoralty of Toronto. I can assure you that my head will not explode. My knickers will never bunch into “a complete knot” (and not just for the obvious reason of me rarely sporting any).

No, I will simply take the information, calmly and coolly, and respond by telling you why I think you are wrong on almost every level about Rob Ford and about many of us who oppose him. Dispassionately and as courteously as possible, I will endeavour to point out to you the errors of your thinking and why it is, I feel, that any flirtation with candidate Rob Ford reveals both a cold heart and empty head. After all, that’s what real friends do, isn’t it? Tell you the unvarnished truth in order to set you straight and to stop you from making a damn fool of yourself.

Maybe some of your so-called friends are those “gentle arty” types, “aghast at Mr. Ford at least in part because he seems so low rent”. But I am here to tell you, Miss Blatchford, that not all of us stand opposed to Rob Ford based on his appearance or his boorish, sometimes illegal, behaviour. To borrow your devilishly fine turn of phrase, we “don’t give a flying fig” about his physical stature or loutish public outbursts or his seemingly constant run-ins with the law on both sides of the 49th parallel. (Allow me a sidebar if you will: can we ascribe Mr. Ford’s promise to hire 100 new police officers once he’s elected mayor despite a wall of statistics pointing out a decade’s long decrease in the city’s crime rate as an attempt on his part to help reign in his personal excesses? With more cops on the street, there’s a better chance of Rob Ford getting caught before he can get himself into serious trouble. Very noble of him if true.)

No, Miss Blatchford. There are many of us anti-Ford urbanites who aren’t the elitist prigs you make us out to be. Who very happily sit down over beers with irascible folks, unperturbed when they “say something stupid, or do something stupid” even if it is something like getting behind the wheel of a car, legally impaired, and driving off. Damn the bunk mainstream media try shoving down our throats! Sometimes friends do let friends drive drunk.

Rather, Miss Blatchford, we cannot abide the notion of Rob Ford becoming mayor of this city because during his 10 years on council, he fought against many of the very things that might’ve helped those Average Joes he now claims to be defending. Like, for example, the extension of public transit into traditionally under-serviced areas. In fact he stands before us at the head of the polls still lacking any sort of comprehensive transportation plan whatsoever. A plan needed if we ever hope to finally be in good enough shape to start inviting in those 1 million newcomers Mr. Ford presently wants to keep out. As councillor, Rob Ford voted — almost alone – against the planned redevelopment of the Lawrence Heights housing project, siding with – again, virtually alone – the more affluent next door neighbourhood.

It is this faux populism Mr. Ford has unfurled as his banner (and that you help propagate) which elicits much of the enmity toward him from many of us who don’t dwell in the suburbs, Miss Blatchford. Where you see a “pink and porky” businessman, we see a scion of privilege; an inheritor of wealth whose entire political career has been devoted to nothing more than the furthering of his own interests. Low taxes. Low wages. Deregulation. A big wet kiss to the business community of which he constantly brays about being part of. His only nod to the notion of noblesse oblige or giving back, as you more down to earth people might say, is his devotion to high school football. A commendable impulse, to be sure, but a minor repair of the damage he inflicts on society as whole with the heavy-handed neo-conservative, anti-government stance he takes.

See, Miss Blatchford? I said all that without my head coming so much as close to exploding. Maybe it is you who needs to get out more and stop mingling “primarily with others of the same ilk”. Find yourself some new friends.

Or at least, find some friends who aren’t made entirely of straw. You know the sort. Those ingratiatingly spineless types who let you walk all over them in the hopes that you’ll still want to hang out. A one-sided relationship that’s all give and no take, ultimately amounting to little more than a preening illusion of having actually taken part in something of substance.

Surely, Miss Blatchford, you want more from a friendship than that.

So let’s do lunch. Have your people call my people.

Yours in truth,


26 thoughts on “The Blatch Keys On Rob Ford’s Success

  1. If anyone knows faux populism, it’s Christie Blatchford. Congratulations on making it all the way through her column without throwing the paper down in disgust.

    • Dear Andrew,

      We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke says WHAT?!

      Justify your reasons?! Might indicate that you’ve put more than just a passing thought into the democratic process. Call us old fashioned but we’d like to hear more than “I like the cut of his jib” from those planning on voting.

      Otherwise it smacks of intellectual laziness.

      • I love, LOVE sassy woman and to go drinking with men whom I like the cut of their jib.

        Politics is visceral and decisions are not often made by applying a Socratic method to the candidates.

        Actually old fashion politics was based on good old fashioned arguments, based on substance, what the people they represented wanted, their own passions and beliefs. If the polls are any indication, someone knows what the people want.

      • I have to wonder if Andrew chooses his doctors, lawyers, or contractors with the same criteria. “I like the look of ‘im”

      • I use a different set of standards for choosing my lawyer and doctor.

        My lawyer needs to sing in a retro 80’s band and my doctor needs to have nice big, warm hands when he asked me to turn my head and cough.

        You sound pretty sassy McFlash…hmmm…sassy!

  2. “Intellectual laziness”, eh?

    Didn’t we just have a Mayor who was not “intellectually lazy”?

    Getting Council to work for their salaries isn’t going to be rocket science.

    • Dear Peter,

      We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke are stumped by your question.

      Is our current mayor “intellectually lazy”? You seem to think so. Feel free to elaborate. Otherwise, you`re simply casting baseless assertions.

      • I think what he’s saying is that having an intellectual mayor led us down some imaginary road to ruin, so let’s switch tacs and seek out the most brainless, bigoted person we can find! If only Homer Simpson were real and could somehow mate with Archie Bunker, AMIRITE?

        Look at our city after Miller, torn asunder and bleeding money (what?) with nary a new project (forget about the waterfront and Nathan Phillips Square please) to make it a better place. What we need is some good old fashioned ignorance at City Hall.


  3. Oooo…that Miss Blatchford is pretty condescending. Dining with her could be digestively challenging….
    Perhaps kebabs…then you could skewer her – figuratively and literally.

  4. There was much on Council and in the TO Administration that needed to be addressed, hence the broom. Mayor Miller did not address those problems and that has given RF a reason to run. You could look at Maggie Thatcher’s legacy and come up with something good to say. I wouldn’t but you guys could. IMO, it’s mostly those who are ignorant about what truly is wrong in TO Council that fear RF – the intellectual types who don’t really like the democratic process because a non-intellectual might get office. I wish you girls would lighten up and get out into the real world some time soon – and I don’t mean via your cartoon channel. I mean go to City Hall at 2pm on a Friday, see who’s still working for their $100 grand. Attend a Community Council, or two, and see if you can spot the patterns (gravy trains) RF is incapable of articulating intelligently (by your standards) but which are there nonetheless. The vast majority of RF supporters are those who’ve been pissed off by the system we all know needs correcting.

    • Rob Ford is working for his money? Does that include not showing up to work, not getting along with his coworkers, and not causing conflicts of interests by running a side business?

      Because doing any of those things would get me fired from my job.

      Rob Ford is very capable of creating the PERCEPTION of working for the people and being ‘the common man’ when he is none of these things. He’s also very capable of projecting the message that he’s going to clean up this or that when the guy can’t even get support from the most right-wing of councillors. Wake up dude, the mayor’s office isn’t a monarchy and Robbie can’t and won’t do this stuff unilaterally.

      No one’s saying, hopefully, that Council doesn’t have its problems, but is throwing the baby out with the bathwater and then electing an even bigger baby the solution? I sure hope not.

  5. So, don’t vote for him. Vote for somebody who appeals to you, but don’t put down the choice of others. You lot are making this a “them v us” thing with you against the “stupid people”. I think that is a naive political strategy. We survived Mel Lastman (and I’m sure some would say he had successes too) and we’ll survive RF, but if you’re serious about Toronto’s best interests you should start working now to make things better. Somehow though I don’t think you have it in you. You’re too much of an intellectual to get things done. Stay in the bath, watch the Simpsons, you’re good at writing cute stuff. But, don’t worry others will fight for what needs to be done at City Hall.

  6. I very much will continue to put down the choice of others. We’re not talking about your choice of sandwich at Subway – YOUR choice affects ME, in a very direct way. YOUR choice to elect Ford (or whomever) can very well drive us into another strike when CUPE’s contract comes up again. Politics isn’t about sitting back and respecting other people’s choices, it’s about making the choices that benefits the most people. Being nice and respectful while the other side tramples all over the rules is how we ended up with pylons like Stephen Harper and Dalton McGuinty.

    • Your argument has a problem, it’s all about YOU. You are not the only person living in this city. What YOU want is not necessarily what I want or someone else.

      Electing a mayor is not about asking a handful of people what they want. If the majority of voters vote in a mayor not of your liking, are you going to stomp your feet and have a tantrum in the political aisle?

  7. Yes, it is all about ME. I make decisions every day for *my* interests. Even if I give a dollar to a hobo, it’s at its root a decision that will make ME feel better. If we’re being honest with ourselves, everything we do is selfish when you boil it right down.

    But that’s getting philosophical. When I see someone making what I think is the wrong decision about something, I’m not going to shut up about it and be ‘tolerant’ of the fact that they want to elect Chris Farley’s Bloated Corpse to the most important job in this city. If the majority of voters vote in Ford, then there’s not much I can do about that. What I can do is try my best to convince them that they’re casting a vote for ignorance, xenophobia, and anger issues BEFORE the election.

    • You are only perpetuating the nanny state and it also smacks of elitism and being contemptuous, because “you know better” than the unwashed masses in the suburbs.

  8. “Politics isn’t about sitting back and respecting other people’s choices, it’s about making the choices that benefits the most people.”

    That’s the power of politics but the word itself is derived from “polite”.

    “Being nice and respectful while the other side tramples all over the rules is how we ended up with pylons like Stephen Harper and Dalton McGuinty.”

    The Council that just ended trampled all over the rules but it’s only RF who has made it an election issue. What does that tell you? It tells me that all the other councillors are content with the situation that even Rossi is now noticing. RF is not one for turning a blind eye. There’s a sinister culture at CH that needs to be corrected.

    Have you ever spoken up about that, or are you like 70% of the people in TO who are simply just ignorant about what has been going on?

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