Murray Dobbin writes that our political system is ill equipped to deal with crises:
Our political system's greatest flaw is not the first-past-the-post voting system. It is the fact that it is gravely ill-equipped to deal with crises with which it has no experience. We have muddled through for decades tinkering with the perversity of capitalism. But capitalism has long since entered the cancer stage, as Canadian philosopher John McMurtry so prophetically described in his 1999 book (now updated), The Cancer Stage of Capitalism. It is no longer capable of recognizing the crisis it faces and like a cancer attacks its own body.
Crises must be met with big ideas. None of our political parties are generating them. The NDP used to do just that -- until it came close to power and dreamed of winning a majority:
The dramatic shift in strategy -- seriously going for a majority -- has been disastrous for the NDP. It led them to opportunistically defeat the Liberal government and give power to Stephen Harper. Inexorably, the NDP is becoming another liberal party in order to be competitive. Federally, they're badly trailing a Liberal Party with a pretty face and no policies. The tragic irony in this is, of course, that even if the NDP did win, it would have a mandate limited to liberal policies.
Social democracy in the developed world has already suffered the same fate -- as it has provincially in Canada. In Europe, New Zealand and Australia, it is virtually indistinguishable from neoliberal parties and is in decline. In Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and B.C., NDP caution has been rewarded by voter rejection.
Dobbin believes the NDP was a better -- and more effective party -- when it rejected the swan song of power. One wonders how many other Dippers agree with him.