Friday, January 06, 2012

To the NDP and You Dippers. Thanks But No Thanks.

The holiday spirits seem to have finally cleared our collective bloodstream and it's back to the old nonsense.  Stuff like pathetic pleas from Dippers who can't think of anything else but for the Libs to admit they're whipped, fold their tent and submit themselves to their new masters, the New Democrats.

They may or may not believe it themselves but they argue that their modest 2nd place victory last year justifies Canada becoming a two-party state, the better to take down the Awful Harper.


Now I know how riled up you Dippers can get if someone says anything honest critical about your late Saint Jack but that's just too bad.   Don't use the Awful Harper line when it was Jack who possibly did more than anyone else to get Harper into power, to keep him in power and to finally hand him his blessed majority.  You'll say that's blasphemy.  I don't care, it's true.

Jack knew everything he needed to about the Awful Harper well before the last election and, unless Jack was as dumb as horse dung, he also knew the danger a Harper majority would pose to Canada.

To Dippers, Jack is the Moses who led them out of the desert.  To me, Jack is the jackal who smelled the scent of decay coming off the last Liberal leader, saw his opportunity, and pounced on the Libs to take their spot even if it meant a Harper majority.  I know you don't like to hear that.   I don't care.   Not a bit.

Your problem is that your Prophet made it out of the desert only to die just as he reached the oasis.   The last election was Jack Layton's victory far more than it was the NDP's.    A lot of people voted NDP for two reasons - they were fed up and they were impressed enough by Jack's leadership in a miserable leadership vacuum.

Another problem, just one of several, is that the NDP's second-place finish was based on the transformation of the party into a Quebec-dominated caucus.   Your party achieved a breakthrough in Quebec where voters can be notoriously fickle.   You've got a long way to go before you can claim those seats will remain yours in the next election which, I suspect, is why you're focusing on siphoning off Liberal supporters today.

As Rick Salutin recently noted, the Left in Canada is dead.   The NDP has become the very thing they once reviled, a party of the centre.   They despised the Liberals so much they couldn't wait to become a liberal party the moment they got a faint whiff of power.   You not only gave Harper the leg up he needed to snatch his majority, you've also been immeasurably helpful in his prime quest to shift the political centre of Canada far to the Right.   The Liberals and the NDP, hand in hand, directly helped Harper move Canada to a place where the forces of corporatism run far more freely than ever.

Yet another problem is your party's underwhelming performance over the past six months.  I spoke with an old Prog-Conservative buddy at Christmas, a veteran Ottawa backroom insider.   He's not particularly fond of Harper but he said the Awful Harper is acting like there's no opposition because there is none.   The Official Opposition, he noted, is a hopelessly amateurish farce.   From everything I've seen, he's totally right on that score.

So I'm sorry Dippers.   This time that scent of decay is coming off you and far faster than I would have imagined.   Does that mean I'm going back to the Libs?  Hardly.   They've got a long way to go before I'll vote for them again.   What it means, for me, is that opposing the Awful Harper is something much too important to entrust to the opposition parties.   Harper is effectively unopposed within Parliament and that's not going to change for another four and a half years thanks to Jack.

Harper doesn't fear the opposition but he does fear the Canadian public and he does fear his own caucus should he run afoul of the voting public.   Harper doesn't govern by consensus, not even within his cabinet.   He governs like Julius Caesar and that creates as many enemies within as without.   But it's the enemies within that usually prove by far more dangerous.

So I'm not going to take the silly way out, the NDP "default option."  It's an empty vessel, meaningless.  I'll be content to do what I can to change as many minds as possible.  If I succeed and that leads them to choose the NDP that's their business and if the Liberals choose to let that happen, well that's on them.


Paul Morrison said...

Regretfully,I have to agree with your analysis - but that doesn't seem to leave anyone to vote for! Are you suggesting another political movement/party - maybe based on Occupy?

The Mound of Sound said...

Hey Paul. Good to hear from you and a happy New Year to you.

I suppose, like many others, I feel there is no one to vote for. It's why I park my vote with the Greens.

Another political movement/party? It's a great idea but I don't know of anyone with the resources, energy and time for such a Herculean task.

I would much prefer to see the Liberal Party purge itself of its corporatist instincts and rededicate the party to a firmly, centre-left progressivism. I can think of two fine leadership possibilities - Louise Arbour or Lloyd Axworthy. Both of them are of the calibre that would be essential to pull Canada's political centre back to the centre where it needs to be. Both of them have the intellect, courage and vision that would be needed to re-establish genuine and powerful progressivism within the Liberal Party.

Oemissions said...

I campaigned and voted for Elizabeth May . You ignore the role the Greens have played in this Harper majority and for the election before where they in many cases stopped the victory to a progressive

The Mound of Sound said...

Do you have any information on the deleterious impact of the Greens in the last election, OEM? How many seats were lost to opposition parties because of the Greens?

Bear in mind also that a lot of people who voted Green would not have voted at all if the Green option wasn't available. You can't assume that every Green vote was one that otherwise would have gone Liberal or NDP. Far from it.

And please indicate what you mean by "progressive." If you define the word so loosely as to incorporate anyone other than a Harper Conservative it loses much of its meaning.

To my thinking, none of the Petro-Pols on Parliament Hill is even remotely progressive and yet the seats on both sides of the Commons, including the NDP and Liberal ranks, are full of them.

Robert McClelland said...

Actually we don't want you in our tent anyway.

The Mound of Sound said...

You've got a tent? Since when?

Anonymous said...

I'd vote for Rick Mercer :P I agree that there really is no one to vote for, greens seems to be the way to go for me. Then again there is no point in my riding in voting unless I want to boost the ego of my CON mp with more votes...

Oemissions said...

In the election previous to this last one,here in Saanich Gulf Islands,Lib candidate,Bryony Penn lost by 2800 votes to Gary Lunn. The Greens had 3600 votes that year.
There's one.
And there are others,I just don't have time right now to go and backtrack, but I noticed them at the time.
Tonight I went to an evening with Lloyd Axelworthy here on SSI,I was impressed. He makes Liberals look good.
A women from Victoria, on her way to the Lib convention, asked what was the essential thing the Libs needed to do. He said, Take a clear stand on Climate Change.

Oemissions said...

Axworthy, that is

Anonymous said...

"In the election previous to this last one,here in Saanich Gulf Islands,Lib candidate,Bryony Penn lost by 2800 votes to Gary Lunn. The Greens had 3600 votes that year."

The NDP had 3600 (greens had 6700 actually). And the NDP candidate was no longer running. Yet just before the vote robocalls asking for people to vote NDP were made throughout the riding... from the NDP fax line?! Plus there were interesting questions about third party advertisers supporting Lunn and if their finances were in agreement with the Elections Act. I blame conservative elections fraud, myself.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi OEM. I'm not surprised at Axworthy's straightforward position. The sad part is that it should take a man of his intellect and character to make a point that is so obvious. Ask yourself why the LPC or, for that matter, the NDP aren't really taking up this issue. It's because their hearts lie elsewhere and they're afraid of standing up for future generations. Governments inevitably fail their people when rank cowardice prevails among their legislatures.

Beijing York said...

I am no NDP partisan but was an active supporter back in the 80s-90s. They are my go to party for most of my life. But since Harper first got in, things have changed.

I only contributed to two parties recently - directly to Bill Siksay and to the Bloc Quebecois. I also voted Liberal since moving to what was a Liberal stronghold highly threatened by a Conservative this past election. It was close, but Harper's last minute ex-Liberal candidate took the riding from Anita Neville.

I really don't see much hope in the LPC and can't see any leadership contenders that could stop Harper. I also dislike the Greens since Jim Harris took over and screwed with their mandate.

As frustrating as the NDP have been since trying to move to the centre, I do like Romeo Saganash. I think that if he were to lead the party, things could really get interesting on the political front. I think it would be a welcome change to have a statesman and indigenous person as leader. He values our land and waters, is critical of corporate exploitation, has incredible compassion for those who suffer, and seeks peaceful resolution over aggressive conflict. He strikes me as genuine and committed.

Should he win the leadership of the NDP (a super long shot), I would support him and the party fully.

Oemissions said...

Dr Andrew Weaver, climate scientist prima don, has endorsed Thomas Mulcair

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi BY. Brother McClelland's comment in which he declared I'm not wanted "in our tent" anyway has given me a lot to mull over.

What is the NDP "tent" these days? Where is it pitched? That was the next thing on Layton's agenda when he sadly got called to the Choir Invisible. Was the NDP going to break with its avowed socialist past? Was it going to step cleanly beyond the Left and into the power band that only lies in the centre?

At the time it caused a good deal of deep but softly-spoken consternation among the true believers. Everyone, it seems, used Layton's passing to drop that hot potato.

Political philosophy spans an impossible gamut. To be digested at all it must be broken into bands or sectors. We each gravitate to one or more of the defined options although the more breadth of thought the less likely a person is to find any one entirely suitable. It is why some parties become slack, to attract, shall we say, the "disaffected." The Libs, ensconced in the centre, were masters at this game.

The NDP of the past, reprising its then role of the "conscience of parliament", only occasionally suffered from slackness. In the main it remained comfortably rooted in the Left. Friend or foe or disengaged alike pretty much knew where it stood and what it would not abide. No longer.

The NDP grabbed second place by convincing enough voters it had abandoned its strident ways, it had embraced slackness. Layton went so far as to announce the path forward for his party lay in centrism. Then he died before he could settle it into its new neighbourhood.

Where is it now? I don't know and I doubt anyone else does either. Perhaps a leadership contest will clear the air but that's by no means assured.

The Mound of Sound said...

(I decided to continue the previous comment into another due to its length.)

With Jack at the helm, the challenge of this transition was comparatively endurable. But Jack was very much a "one off" guy.

The next leader faces a far greater challenge. It will be much harder for Jack's successor to keep the party as expansive as Jack left it. There are those who wouldn't raise their voice to Jack who won't hesitate to object to his successor. There may be a tendency to fall back into smaller, safer constituencies. In other words, the New-New Democrats may not survive the loss of Layton. Without the stability only Jack could provide the party may not be able to withstand the strains of reincarnation. It's a formula for disastrous compromises.

In any event the myriad of problems that trouble me have, I fear, outgrown today's Canadian politics.