Daily shorts Nov 4

A newly formed security task force will protect presidential candidates on the stump. And they’re taking it very seriously; there’s enough firepower here to start a small war. Let’s hope they won’t be needed—violence on the campaign trail has not been a major issue in Taiwan since the early ’90s, but high profile shootings of CSB and Sean Lien on the stump (regardless of the unclear circumstances surrounding these incidents) have obviously forced a reaction. But, given that the majority of election related violence in recent times has come after the election (indeed in reaction to the election results), it is interesting to note that this crack force will disband on the stroke of midnight on Election Night.

The most recent TVBS poll and the China Times Poll both see Ma ahead, but would you expect any different, really? I imagine the Soong effect will take a while to gestate and may not be immediately evident in the polls. Today, the KMT is urging party members to refrain from attacking Soong, but if Soong’s campaign gains traction that diktat will quickly change. I think one reason people want to see Soong in the race is to witness his odd relationship with the KMT play out some more.

No change in graft levels: Taiwan’s levels of corruption and bribery in business and government remain unchanged. Er, is that good or bad news? Oh. Taiwan tied for 19th place with Turkey and India. Proving that removing the government (all government) instantly reduces levels of corruption, Belgium came in 3rd.

WSJ catches up on the piggy banks story. No doubt you read Paul Katz’ take here first.

Jerome F. Keating calls Ma’s presidency an era of Smoke and Stagnation. He writes, “Ma’s campaign team claims that of the 400 policies proposed by his administration in 2008, 90% have been fulfilled. That translates into 360 fulfilled promises, but can anyone name at least even 25 of those 360 fulfilled promises?” Good point. Then again I can’t even remember what I had for lunch.

Finally, organizing my files I came across Ma on 全民開講 a couple weeks back. Nothing to see here, I’m just posting it so that I have an excuse to promote a regular feature that I’ll be starting on Monday next week; Taiwanese shorts. I realize that title doesn’t sound especially attractive (or maybe it does) and it may not survive the weekend. In essence, it will be a daily collection and summary of stories and analysis coming out of the Taiwanese media and from the candidates’ campaign media.

Mail me at jonathan.sullivan@nottingham.ac.uk, follow me on Twitter @jonlsullivan, or access my published and working papers at http://jonlsullivan.com