Sunday, June 22, 2014

Following The Weather Vane

Charles Pascal writes that there were several low points in the Ontario election campaign. However,

When Horwath said in defence of her non-platform that she “walks in the footsteps of Tommy Douglas,” I felt faint with incredulity as I instantly recalled my most treasured moment when it comes to my fascination with politics — a long and deeply memorable lunch with Tommy in the fall of 1983. He said something to me on that late September day that those aspiring to replace Ontario’s current NDP leader at some time, sooner or later, should heed.

Pascal recalled that, at a time when New Democrat numbers were going nowhere, Douglas told him:

“While it would be wonderful if we were higher in the public’s favour, I actually cherish these times when we are forced to get back to our core principles unencumbered by those occasional cocktail party socialists who want us to be something we are not.”

Horwath and her supporters will point to the fact that the party has the same number of seats in the legislature as they had before she triggered the election. But, Pascal writes:

With Wynne’s sense that Ontario, like Canada, is a place of fairness and Horwath’s dalliance with the mushy middle, we would all be better off with an NDP that is truly informed by Tommy’s compass. The continued use of a weather vane will take Ontario’s NDP further down the road of irrelevance.

Both the provincial and the federal Dippers are following the weather vane.


Lorne said...

Pascal's searing assessment of the politics of expediency is something that all NDPers should take to heart, Owen. Under Horwath's leadership, the party has lost its way, and a serious re-examination of both the its principles and her leadership is clearly in order.

Owen Gray said...

Clearly, people like Gerry Caplan and Michelle Landsberg are calling for such an examination, Lorne.

It will be interesting to see if the party heeds their call.

The Mound of Sound said...

The venerated Jack Layton bears a lot of responsibility for the Blairification of the NDP federally and provincially. That Mulcair of the Quebec Liberals carries Layton's torch today is as obvious as it is lamentable. We also see in many New Democrats how many of them had the loosest bond with the principles their party stood for in decades past. The lack of outrage shows that, like Libs and Tories, the ranks of New Democrats are well stuffed with hangers-on of little substance.

Owen Gray said...

The "evolution" of the NDP is truly sad, Mound. They have become as cynical as the other parties.

Scotian said...

The devolution of the NDP you mean Owen Gray, the devolution.

MoS is entirely correct about how much Layton is responsible for the fundamental shift within the federal NDP, it is only a point I've been making since he first assumed the leadership and started making such changes. Worse, as I noted then the leadership and rank and file of the party just let him do as he wanted, they did not make him submit it to a Convention despite the reality that he was fundamentally changing the nature of the party. I called it out then and got scornful responses from Dippers about how upset I was that the NDP were finally playing the game of power and how much I as a Lib operative must hate that. Of course they completely missed the point they were proving in that statement about what I was saying, not to mention the false assumption/accusation of my being a Lib operative, especially since I'm not a member or even a Lib partisan. Although these days I do feel like they are the only choice left to me, but more because they have changed the least over the past couple of decades and still maintain values I recognize and trust them to keep, even those I may not agree with. The NDP and the PCPC/CPC, not so much.

Listening to Horwath and Mulcair claim the mantle of Tommy Douglas sickens me, because I know how much of a sham it truly is. Instead of being the voices and beacons of the progressive agenda they are selling it out in the interests of gaining more power for themselves, whether they consciously see it or not. As I have repeatedly pointed out the demographics of our voters makes clear that the largest group is not either left or right, it is centrists, and that under honest circumstances neither right nor left ideological parties can win government (Harper not being honest finally managed it, but he didn't start being a dishonest leader until after the 2004 defeat). This is the key to Liberal success over the decades, and the NDP are trying to eat their cake and have it, especially while being so sanctimonious about their hypocrisy on this. It was bad enough listening to their moralizing when they actually practiced what they preached but these days is is truly grating beyond description.

Owen Gray said...

Like you, Scotian, there are long time Dippers who have gone public with their disillusionment.

Only time will tell if they still have any influence.