Thursday, January 21, 2016

Who Are They?


You may not like the Conservatives, Tom Walkom writes. But they know who they are. In the last election, Canadians decided that they didn't like the New Democrats, either -- but for a different reason: the Dippers didn't know who they were:

By comparison, the New Democrats are fuzzy. Party insiders might be able to decipher the amalgam of prairie populism, left-liberalism and Swedish-style social democracy that informs the NDP.
But most voters can’t. Indeed, as New Democrat stalwart Tom Parkin wrote for the Postmedia chain this week, too many “promiscuous progressives” think the Liberals and NDP are interchangeable.

Ironically, the NDP itself is to a large extent responsible for this confusion. In an effort to attract voters, it has downplayed its historical connections to democratic socialism and its ties to unions.
Instead, it has deliberately embraced policies — such as balanced budgets and low taxes for small business — that it thought would appeal to centrists.

In their quest for power, the New Democrats sold theirs souls. Tom Mulcair didn't begin the sellout. That started under Jack Layton. Layton's sunny disposition allowed him to get away with it. But people realized what was going on when Angry Tom took over. Angry Tom was perfectly suited for opposition. Canadians just couldn't imagine him as prime minister.

The Dippers will have to take a good look at themselves. And they can only do that under another leader.


thwap said...

Sadly, I think Mulcair will stay on. Nobody is rallying around anyone different. I don't know of any fire-breathers or true believers for the left.

The morons who have directed one losing campaign after another (except for 2011 when the Liberals self-imploded) retain their iron grip on power.

Owen Gray said...

Mulcair has given no indication that he intends to leave, thwap. But the party will go nowhere until he goes.

Lorne said...

It seems almost axiomatic that the closer a party gets to power, the more cautious and conservative it becomes, Owen. We saw it in the last Ontario election with Andrea Horvath, resulting in an undeserved Liberal re-election. Until leftist parties do some real soul-searching about the reasons for their existence beyond a bald thirst for power, I fear the pattern will repeat itself endlessly.

Owen Gray said...

Acton was right, Lorne. Power corrupts.

ron wilton said...

Nobody is happy or content trying or pretending to be something they are not.

That is why there are so many divorces.

Canadians have at least three clearly defined personalities.

Some of us veer left of the political spectrum, others right and the in-betweeners.

The cons of course are on the right to one degree or another, the Dips staked out a rigid deep left spot for contrast and are mired there at least in the public mind.

The Libs are a little right, a little more left but less so than the Dippers, and prefer to straddle the divide.

Today's voters apparently think the Cons swerved too far to the rigid right and the Dippers were too thin to spread too much to the middle.

This time we made a hopeful choice and after the honeymoon is over we will know if this marriage is a good one or not.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, ron. The Liberals are still on their honeymoon.

Kirby Evans said...

I am not sure that any of the parties know who they are anymore. The Cons talk libertarianism on one side of their mouths and Bill C-51 on the other. They claim to want free markets but they control the markets in favour of their friends. The Liberals try to be middle of the road but they are full-boar Neo-Liberals on trade issues. The NDP talks about Pharmacare but are balance-budget wackos. I think they are all lost for one reason or another. The Cons are lost because if they were honest about their intentions they would never get elected. The Liberals are lost because they think you can still have international Neo-Liberalism and not destroy everything and everyone in the process. The NDP are lost because they aren't willing to admit that they need to be outspoken against the shape of modern capitalism. THere is no doubt in my mind that if we see Neo-Liberalism as a Kondratiev Wave, then it is on the down slope. But we need a political movement that will help to lead the way through to the next wave. Mulcair has demonstrated that he is not the leader of that movement.

Owen Gray said...

The destruction that Neo-liberalism has wrought has not sunk in yet in Canada, Kirby. If it spawns the kind of right wing populism that gave rise to Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, then we are truly in trouble.