"What's up, Jack?" - Murray Dobbin

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hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture
"What's up, Jack?" - Murray Dobbin

[URL=http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/murray-dobbin/2010/02/whats-jack]"What's up, Jack?" - Murray Dobbin[/URL]

hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture

Spot on again. Does the NDP actually listen to Dobbin? They should. Before anyone gets too upset, take heart, I voted NDP today.

ottawaobserver

Thank you for your support hsft !  She's a terrific candidate!

KenS

Murray Dobbin wrote:

This gauntlet is being thrown down [by the Liberals], not to the Conservatives, but to the NDP.

 

Gauntlet? If all the NDP ever got as competition was these supposed challenges from the Liberals, we'd already be at 100 seats.

Murray Dobbin wrote:

But the NDP team has an excess of tacticians who aren't very good at strategy.

Coming from Dobbin, I'll take that as a compliment.

Bookish Agrarian

Big whoop-di-do  The Liberals are making bs proclamations about childcare.  I have heard that one before.

Maybe Murray Dobbin is (I'll say it)  stupid and naive enough to believe such self-serving clap-trap but I'm not and neither is anyone with a memory.

George Victor

To Murray's fear of a 1993 outcome, one could respond:

"But then, Iggy isn't the little guy from Shawinigan, izzee? And there are no promises to slay the fire-breathing deficit dragon. The well's gone dry. "Local infrastructure repairs and upgrades" if necessary,  but not necessarity "Medicare, education or poverty reduction." Not without a local or national media to sell it for you.  Hell, Tommy Douglas railed at the fact that there were no newspapers onside (well, maybe one) 50 years ago. What's changed?"

 

I'm afraid Murray succumbs to the MS media fear of offending readers/listeners/watchers by not pointing to their role at this very, very difficult point in history. What is at stake, of course, is what the neo-cons have worked for with many years of election calls for lower taxes. Yes, Martha, history is not a plot, but there are plots in history. Suddenly, "state" (the enemy) involvement in social welfare - built up over the post-war period - is seen as dependent on economic growth, isn't God-given.

Lost in Bruce County

We New Democrats know that Murray Dobbin's analysis about NDP and the media hardly scratches the surface. We know that the media frequently ignores us even when we make many "news worthy" statements. We know that the same people who control the media also pay for Liberal and Conservative campaigns. We know the media has  a vested interest in reporting on these parties. Nonetheless, Dobbin's perception is one that is shared by the masses. People believe that the NDP does not get into the news because we lack leadership. People do not know that the Liberals are res-erecting the 1993 red book. Dobbin is right - the Liberals are posing major competition for us right now. How do we address this issue? I say we run a plan and simple campaign: Want a Democratic and Visionary Canada: Voting Liberal Is Not Enough! And then list off all their promises not kept followed by a list of NDP achievements. I think the best way to get this message is out is through training our members/supporters to pass the message on.

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

You know, when Dobbin writes about the right, he makes a lot of sense. When he writes about the left, he gets it consistently wrong.

The fact that he writes for a website whose very existence is premised on the (correct) notion that the mainstream media will never give a fair shake to progressive voices makes you wonder why he can't figure out the reason that he is "having trouble finding much media reference to the NDP these days". I heard Judy Rebick saying something similarly disingenuous on CBC Radio while ago ("If the NDP are speaking out on all of these issues, why aren't we hearing about it?").

On prorogation, the NDP proposed legislation to require parliamentary approval for prorogation. The Liberals scoffed at the idea, with some even pronouncing that it would be unconstitutional. Two weeks later, they introduced their own version of the plan (with many qualifications that actually weakened the proposal).

On pensions, the NDP proposed an expanded pension plan to cover workers who either never had a pension plan or who had lost it due to the collapse of their company. Two months later, the Liberals copied and pasted it, removed all of the specifics and put it out on their own letterhead.

On child care, the NDP actually introduced and passed legislation to create a permanent national child care program. All the Liberals can deliver is more promises.

On climate change, the NDP's efforts made Canada the first country in the world to pass legislation that enshrined Kyoto targets into law.

On Afghanistan, the NDP called for withdrawal in 2006 (remember all of the Taliban Jack epiphets?) when Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals were conspiring with the Conservatives to extend our stay, first until 2009 and then until 2011.

I could go on, but I think I've made my point. Time after time, the NDP has met the challenge on all of the major issues of the day. The Liberals can only play catch up.

So, Murray Dobbin can go on believing what he reads in the mainstream media if he wants, or he can do what an alternative columnist is supposed to do and cut through all of the BS.

 

Slumberjack

Scott Piatkowski wrote:
  On Afghanistan, the NDP called for withdrawal in 2006 (remember all of the Taliban Jack epiphets?) when Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals were conspiring with the Conservatives to extend our stay, first until 2009 and then until 2011. 

They called for an end to the current mission, not withdrawal from Afghanistan.  Show me anywhere on their website or policy statements words to the effect that they would remove all troops from Afghanistan.  Such a statement doesn't exist.  They've left themselves room to undertake another mission in a safer region of the theatre, similar to some of the European nations.  They can't be trusted anymore than the liberals and cons with decisions involving life and death.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Good grief, not left enough again.  Do you pay attention to people IRL?

George Victor

"Life and death," Jack?   I think Gabriel should check his facts before such flights of rhetoric.

Lola 101

hsfreethinkers wrote:

[URL=http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/murray-dobbin/2010/02/whats-jack]"What's up, Jack?" - Murray Dobbin[/URL]

Also interesting to see the strong Liberal pushback (see Paul Martin) on the skepticism to Ignatieff's child care proposa (even in the Liberal Star). This is good news for getting progressive issues front and centre in the federal debate.  Bring on the GST discussion! Let's just hope the well is not poisoned with the HST provincial campaigning and we can find a way through the next round of deficit debating.

Slumberjack

George Victor wrote:
"Life and death," Jack?   I think Gabriel should check his facts before such flights of rhetoric.

What do you call war...a sunday picnic?

Slumberjack

How left does one have to be to say emphatically that one shouldn't partake whatsoever in corporate inspired violence and invasions of other countries?  Apparently slightly left of the NDP.

There is no need to trouble oneself in producing proof of the duplicity on this point, regardless of attempts to falsify the clearly stated intent.  A platform of collaboration buried near the back of the national website is meant to return people to the calm of their routine affairs, comforted in the knowledge that while it surely can't remain possible indefinitely, we'll do our part in line with more traditional 'values.'  Instead of attempting to reveal to the public the source of the horrors, the bombed villages and victimized citizens, staying on in some other supportive role is apparently meant to console and assure those who might become momentarily shocked and concerned, that another form of engagement to the same end is possible.

hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture

The reaction so far to Dobbin's piece confirms my present opinion that many of you don't appreciate, or you give undue weight to, the most significant reason Dobbin writes as he does about the NDP. Dobbin wants to see a coherent policy focus - a plan - a vision for the country. In other words, we need to see the NDP's reason for existing. Currently, what most people see is a leftish party with no clearly defined vision, but one solely focused on tactics and getting that soundbite. It's like the NDP has given up on the Canadian people, and can't be bothered to communicate properly with them and convince them they should vote NDP. You know, some people find that insulting. I don't think it's good strategy to expect people to choose a third option by default. Most will alternate between the Liberals and Conservatives. Here are the key points of the article - that media stuff is just the excuse to say this again and again - yet you guys keep missing it or think it isn't important:

Murray Dobbin wrote:

It may come to nothing, but if the tentative forays into the realm of real issues by Ignatieff continues, he will be out there with a list of progressive policies while the NDP is still tinkering with tactics.

But the NDP team has an excess of tacticians who aren't very good at strategy. Unless the House is in session and they can do their magic to get that day's 15 seconds of TV coverage, they don't know what the hell to do. It's time to trade a few of them in -- and put the strategists in charge.

Unionist

Slumberjack wrote:

They called for an end to the current mission, not withdrawal from Afghanistan. Show me anywhere on their website or policy statements words to the effect that they would remove all troops from Afghanistan. Such a statement doesn't exist.

You're correct, of course, about the official policy and statements by the leader. But the rank and file delegates, and some MPs of conscience, have been [url=http://www.billsiksay.ca/default2.asp?active_page_id=765]very clear[/url]:

Quote:
Last August the federal NDP convention passed a very clear resolution and that resolution called for a safe and immediate withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan, that we should continue our aid, undertake diplomacy, support our troops and participate in peacekeeping missions through the United Nations in other areas of the world.
I, like many Canadians, support a full withdrawal from Afghanistan. I do not believe we can play a significant peacekeeping role there now that we have been a combatant on one side of the conflict.

That was Bill Siksay.

 

 

hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture

Scott Piatkowski wrote:

You know, when Dobbin writes about the right, he makes a lot of sense. When he writes about the left, he gets it consistently wrong.

The fact that he writes for a website whose very existence is premised on the (correct) notion that the mainstream media will never give a fair shake to progressive voices makes you wonder why he can't figure out the reason that he is "having trouble finding much media reference to the NDP these days". I heard Judy Rebick saying something similarly disingenuous on CBC Radio while ago ("If the NDP are speaking out on all of these issues, why aren't we hearing about it?").

On prorogation...On pensions...On child care...On climate change...On Afghanistan...

I could go on, but I think I've made my point. Time after time, the NDP has met the challenge on all of the major issues of the day. The Liberals can only play catch up.

Yes, you've made your point, and you've confirmed mine. Listen to all those examples of how the NDP has outmaneuvered the Liberals, or is better or different from the Liberals. Being on the left on some of the major issues of the day isn't enough for some. That's reactionary politics: What are the big issues right now? Where should we be on those issues? Is that stance different from the Liberal position? Will it get us in the news? Will it win votes? Great... we want you to step back and look ten years down the road. What kind of society and world do you want? What policies will get us there? What are those policies? Tell us.

Slumberjack

Anyone can say anything Unionist, but until it becomes policy, it amounts to hedging ones bets as a party in support of plausible deniability if the outcome is to shift from combat operations to maintaining an armed peacekeeping footprint in another area. Why hasn't the resolution become policy and clearly reflected as such? Why hinge the statement upon withdrawal from the 'mission,' instead of an emphatic withdrawal entirely from the country? There's a purpose to the ambiguity. Here in this very thread you have people using the ambiguity as fact that it means total withdrawal.  They either choose to believe the intent despite the absence of a clear statement, or are using it in a disingenuous manner to imply something that just isn't so.  There's nothing new here, and nothing democratic for that matter if motions are passed and not put into effect through policy statements.

Unionist

Slumberjack wrote:

Anyone can say anything Unionist, but until it becomes policy, it amounts to hedging ones bets as a party in support of plausible deniability ...

I was trying to agree with you, SJ. The NDP leadership, acting primarily through Dawn Black at the time, distorted the convention resolution into a withrawal from the "combat mission" in "southern Afghanistan". Bill Siksay never hedged his bet, but he doesn't speak for the NDP - any more than the convention delegates do. A very small number of people determine party policy, and they do so in private.

hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture

Unionist wrote:

Bill Siksay never hedged his bet, but he doesn't speak for the NDP - any more than the convention delegates do. A very small number of people determine party policy, and they do so in private.

 

That sounds ominous. Is it any different in other parties? I'm asking as I don't know much about internal party procedure.

Unionist

hsfreethinkers wrote:

Unionist wrote:

Bill Siksay never hedged his bet, but he doesn't speak for the NDP - any more than the convention delegates do. A very small number of people determine party policy, and they do so in private.

 

That sounds ominous. Is it any different in other parties? I'm asking as I don't know much about internal party procedure.

I'm sure it's far far worse in the Libs and Cons. At least in the NDP, dissent, debate, and democracy have a better chance of being heard.

 

Unionist

[wrong thread]

ottawaobserver

Murray Dobbin is going to wind up wishing he called Layton to ask first, before penning a column accusing him of being invisible for a few days, I surmise.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

hsfreethinkers wrote:

Unionist wrote:

Bill Siksay never hedged his bet, but he doesn't speak for the NDP - any more than the convention delegates do. A very small number of people determine party policy, and they do so in private.

 

That sounds ominous. Is it any different in other parties? I'm asking as I don't know much about internal party procedure.

The larger the "tent" the more control gets sucked into fewer and fewer hands. The Liberals and Neo-cons in federal politics are very bad. In provincial politics the BC Liberals are corrupt and evasive and the BC NDP is tightly controlled by a group of insiders.  That is one of the reasons we need PR because then there would be room for four or five parties with varying views and the party members would be more cohesive and possibly able to get their views presented to the public as part of a platform at election time.

That is not to say their structure is not designed to be democratic it is just that human organizations often don't actually have the control structure that is on the hierarchy chart.  I think most people have worked at places where some person who is not high up on the "official" charts has huge control over their higher ups.  Guarding against control freaks is the one of the most difficult tasks of any progressive organization.  It is so difficult because often control freaks do far more work than the average member does and that is part of how they gain control. 

KenS

 

Unionist wrote:

Bill Siksay never hedged his bet, but he doesn't speak for the NDP - any more than the convention delegates do. A very small number of people determine party policy, and they do so in private.

hsfreethinkers wrote:

That sounds ominous. Is it any different in other parties? I'm asking as I don't know much about internal party procedure.

I'll just say I dispute the how unionist has characterised this- and spefically even about who was responsible for the original Afghanistan Convention resolution.

I don't dispute it has been effectively waffled from. But unionist and i have been around about who is responsible for that resolution- and Jack pushed for it and called attention to in the media ahead of Convention. He wanted it featured, it was not as unionist and others said, and unionist presumably still thinks, that Jack just went along with it because the rank and file were pushing it.

And while the positioning since wouldn't be my choice, I'll bet you a majority of people who voted for the original resolution are saisfied or satisfied anough with the positioning since.

That is not a case of the party elite pushing something regardless of the membership.

Lost in Bruce County

Here Here Scott Piatkowski!

Unionist

KenS wrote:
But unionist and i have been around about who is responsible for that resolution- and Jack pushed for it and called attention to in the media ahead of Convention. He wanted it featured, it was not as unionist and others said, and unionist presumably still thinks, that Jack just went along with it because the rank and file were pushing it.

Actually, I agree with you, and I praised Jack personally for his stance at the time (on babble). In fact, he made a powerful statement about withdrawal before the resolution hit the floor. I don't think Jack dictates party policy (I'd likely agree with more of it if he did). He has taken many good stands that he has had to back away from (this is one, the Clarity Act is another...).

Quote:
And while the positioning since wouldn't be my choice, I'll bet you a majority of people who voted for the original resolution are saisfied or satisfied anough with the positioning since.

You'd know that better than I - but no one asked them.

Quote:
That is not a case of the party elite pushing something regardless of the membership.

That's where we probably differ. The membership needs leadership. This amounted to something more than leadership.

 

JimmyRiddle

What's up Jack?

Oh, only dealing with cancer.

I look forward to an abject apology, Mr. Dobbin.

Unionist

JimmyRiddle wrote:

What's up Jack?

Oh, only dealing with cancer.

I look forward to an abject apology, Mr. Dobbin.

Very profound comment. Thanks for the contribution to the discussion here.

 

Tommy_Paine

Voting Liberal Is Not Enough!

 

I like that as a slogan.

George Victor

Hell, for 80 per cent of the 20 somethings around here, voting would be a breakthrough.

hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture

JimmyRiddle wrote:

What's up Jack?

Oh, only dealing with cancer.

I look forward to an abject apology, Mr. Dobbin.

Apology...nonsense. Anyway, the article is really about the NDP not Jack Layton.

Polunatic2

Quote:
My Fellow New Democrats,

This year, more than 25,000 Canadian men will be diagnosed with treatable prostrate cancer and I have recently learned that I’m one of them. I wanted to ensure you heard it from me directly.

My treatment plan is now underway and everything is on track.   Like my father, who was diagnosed with the same kind of cancer, I am a fighter, and I will beat this.

I want to assure you that I remain committed to our work together to build a more caring, greener Canada.  This won’t slow me down and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and working with all of you to make our dreams for this country a reality.

Thank you.
Jack

hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture

Well, nobody really addressed my points. I win this round.

remind remind's picture

Scott Piatkowski wrote:
The fact that he writes for a website whose very existence is premised on the (correct) notion that the mainstream media will never give a fair shake to progressive voices makes you wonder why he can't figure out the reason that he is "having trouble finding much media reference to the NDP these days". I heard Judy Rebick saying something similarly disingenuous on CBC Radio while ago ("If the NDP are speaking out on all of these issues, why aren't we hearing about it?").

Ya, with friends like these.......

West Coast Lefty

Scott Piatkowski wrote:

You know, when Dobbin writes about the right, he makes a lot of sense. When he writes about the left, he gets it consistently wrong.

On prorogation, the NDP proposed legislation to require parliamentary approval for prorogation. The Liberals scoffed at the idea, with some even pronouncing that it would be unconstitutional. Two weeks later, they introduced their own version of the plan (with many qualifications that actually weakened the proposal).

On pensions, the NDP proposed an expanded pension plan to cover workers who either never had a pension plan or who had lost it due to the collapse of their company. Two months later, the Liberals copied and pasted it, removed all of the specifics and put it out on their own letterhead.

On child care, the NDP actually introduced and passed legislation to create a permanent national child care program. All the Liberals can deliver is more promises.

On climate change, the NDP's efforts made Canada the first country in the world to pass legislation that enshrined Kyoto targets into law.

On Afghanistan, the NDP called for withdrawal in 2006 (remember all of the Taliban Jack epiphets?) when Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals were conspiring with the Conservatives to extend our stay, first until 2009 and then until 2011.

I could go on, but I think I've made my point. Time after time, the NDP has met the challenge on all of the major issues of the day. The Liberals can only play catch up.

It's a good post, Scott, and of course you are right on all the specific issues you cite.  I also agree that Dobbin is being incredibly naive and hypocritical in giving any credence to Iggy's opportunistic blather on child care, abortion, etc (though Dobbin says he knows it is probably all lies, he still seems to praise Iggy's rhetoric despite the lack of substance). 

But for all that...Murray does get one thing right; as other posters have said, the NDP hasn't been able to tie the individual policy strands in your post into a coherent vision so far. 

And we do tend to fall into the 15-second sound bite trap - for example, on Kennedy's GST hike speculation, rather than the NDP seizing on the need to talk about fair taxation to avoid drastic cuts to services and programs in the next round of deficit hysteria, Mulcair and other NDP reps simply piled on about the Libs and the HST and attacked the Kennedy trial balloon.  Yes, we are correct about that issue in isolation, but when we fall into the tax-bashing mode (i.e. "Scrap the HST") we actually help advance the Harper frame of taxes being a burden on people and something to be fought, rather than the "price we pay for living in a civilized society" or "supporting the public services we depend on like health care and education", etc.  As George Lakoff says, when you buy into the right-wing frame on issues, the left always loses no matter how much we argue on the facts or merits of individual proposals.

To be fair, Paul Dewar and Fin Donnelly in particular have talked about needing to "have a mature conversation about taxes" but we haven't said anything substantive on taxes yet.  It's finding that courage, the same courage Jack had on Afghanistan, that he had in the 2004 campaign about homelessness, to take a clear stand despite the pundits and the polls, that I think Dobbin is calling for, and I agree with him on that point at least.

thanks

Fairness: It's not fair to completely ignore the wealth aquired by financial speculators.

private finance must be audited publicly and taxed.

to do this would also have the happy result of finally getting some clarity and accountability in the financial system.

you can't regulate what you have no clarity about.

you can't have a vision when clarity of the planet's most influential sector is lacking.

 

Fairness demands clarity,

clarity leads to Vision.