Some recent polls suggest that Justin Trudeau may be the next Prime Minister of Canada. New Democrats are despondent while Conservatives are looking around for the nearest defibrillator. Liberals, on the other hand are so ecstatic that you might think Trudeau is the second coming of.. well, Trudeau.
However, Justin Trudeau is not the long awaited savior. He is not Aragorn. He is not the long-lost philosopher King, come to usher in a new golden age and restore the white tree to life.
It is true he is descended from a line of kings, albeit a short one, and he has spent many years wandering in the literal and figurative wilderness. No-one recognized his greatness. Like Strider he was viewed as a slightly disreputable sort with his often incomprehensible statements and his long wild hair. Some even called him dangerous. Most said he wasn’t ready and disputed his right to lead.
And like Aragorn he did surround himself with a worthy band of companions; a team was the only way he was going to defeat the dark lord.
But let’s not get carried away, shall we? Whereas Aragorn was denied by many, none was more negative in his appraisal than Aragorn himself. Trudeau, on the other hand, does not seem to suffer from self-doubt, though he hasn’t crossed the line into arrogance. Yet.
And Trudeau probably listened to his advisors but always followed his own course – often to the frustration of those same advisors.
It is clear – to me at least – that Trudeau will be an improvement on the current model but I have little expectation that the reality will be as fine as his supporters will have us believe. The Liberals have a long history of campaigning from the left and then governing from the right. As an old New Democrat, I have deep suspicions of the Liberal party. While I never bought into the mantra that the Liberals and Conservatives were the same, I do know they are deeply pragmatic (much as NDP governments have been in Canada) and not inclined to let ideology get in the way of either a good idea or a political winning strategy.
Still, it has been a fascinating thing to watch as the younger Trudeau has, step by step, followed the path of his father from obscure celebrity to fumbling politician to heir apparent to the leadership of Canada. The Conservatives always knew that the greatest threat to their power was always going to be the Liberal party, which is why they turned the full force of their wrath on that party and its leaders in an effort to destroy them once and for all. It is why the NDP, even as official opposition, faced less vicious attacks. A cynic might say it is why Harper granted Jack Layton an unprecedented state funeral.
The Conservatives know the history of the West; when there is a clear choice between left and right, the right wins 60% of the time. When the choice is between the right and the centre, the centre is more often the victor. It must be particularly bitter for Sauron… er, I mean Harper, to see a Trudeau standing in his way to long-term victory. But that hardly makes Justin Trudeau into Aragorn.
I think he’s more like Luke Skywalker.
And that’s ten minutes.