This question asked today is directly from the Bible; Book of Acts: 16. “What must I do to be saved?” Consider for a moment that most awful of scenarios in which I am running the province and have gotten to that position by getting elected. The problem is that I serve at the pleasure of the electorate. Ultimately, my fate will be in the hands of an electorate that can throw me out on my duff. What must I do to curry favour and thus be saved?
Well, I could look the other way and let health care costs spiral completely out of control. I could say we need more nurses and doctors and we will build hospitals all over the place and to hell with the price. That would be popular.
Another thing my government might try is to ignore declining school enrollments. Hire more teachers and keep ALL schools open no matter what the financial cost or number of students attending. The NTA would love that, and so would all the PTAs. Also, all the old school names from the days of denominational education can stay. Our Lady of Perpetual Motion can stay as it was. That will be popular.
The ferry services to tiny communities is a place where votes can be won. There will be ferries running all day everywhere. Twenty-four hour service to places where only a handful of people live. No waiting. You can roll right up and drive your car aboard.
There are also votes to be won in the little communities that might be thinking resettlement. We’ll keep the lights on and gasoline being brought in even if there are only a couple of people there. Coastal boats will bring mail and fridges and stoves and beer for the couple people still living there. Right up the government wharf. There is no fish or jobs there anymore, but don’t worry we’ll say it is our commitment to cultural heritage.
All fish plants will be kept going. We’ll help companies to keep fish plants open even if there is no fish to process and no prospects of getting any quota access. They can each process a couple of fish a day. It will be like it was when we passed out processing licences like a drink of rum from a bottomless election bottle.
Finally, and this is most important, ignore all warnings from financial institutions and groups representing business interests. “Bond ratings? We don’t need no stinkin’ bond ratings!”
We will continue to borrow money at usurious rates to pay the interest on our debt and keep our services humming along. Forget about the problem of being an aging population. Cling instead to the romantic notion that it will be alright and we can still sail the seven seas in square riggers just like the good old days. Don’t worry, be happy.
NTV’s Jim Furlong can be reached by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org