A Modest Proposal For Liberal Re-Branding in Response to Kinsella
Dear (Liberal Official),
I read with great interest your candid and sincere response to news that Canada`s social democratic movement may soon adopt a name more reflective of its unique character as an open, transparent 21st Century political party and status as an enduring national institution. While your enthusiasm for this impending re-appellation is much appreciated, and we`ll be sure to take all your delightful suggestions under advisement as New Democrats meet in Halifax next week, courtesy dictates that we offer a few similarly unsolicited suggestions for our Liberal compatriots to consider while Iggy twiddles the summer away. Most Canadians are aware `brand` loyalty remains the primary personal motivation of many Liberals - they`ve found their stale box of cornflakes and they`re sticking with it - but nonetheless here are some helpful suggestions to help bolster you own flagging organization:
The Hyper-Elitist Party: This name reflects the fact that your leader is an effete, out-of-touch elitist who believes he is smarter, better than, and morally superior to all but a few fellow cronies who paid big money to access a handful of the world`s most exclusive universities. Asked before a lecture by a journalist if his staff ought to better reflect the socioeconomic diversity of Canada, or Canadian academia at all, given the extremely disproportionate representation of Harvard graduates, Iggy was incensed, responding: "that's outrageous, we've got some Cambridge men and Yalies too! U of T, UBC, U of A, U Ottawa, McGill, Queens... pffffffff... some of us have real ambitions." He then left to deliver an address to the Kings Queen Duke College, Oxford on Isaiah Berlin's theory of Liberal Liberalism of Liberalized Neo-Liberals. Later, over drinks, pipes and monocles were smoked and worn, respectively.
The Seinfeld Party: Those few Canadians who witnessed the grim, vaguely Stalinist spectacle of the Liberals` recent `convention` in fair Vancouver, BC, will instantly appreciate this proposal. A one-man Paul Martin-esque leadership race, a rigged executive election, a series of monotonous, heavily scripted speeches (excluding Jean, of course, cuz he is a timeless national treasure, and incidentally his shots at Harper were just damn funny), and the debacle of several John McCallum-hosted "policy sessions" where the long-time Finance critic rolled his eyes and huffed resentfully as the astroturf attempted in vain to influence party policy at a forum meticulously designed to prevent such grassroots decision-making from infiltrating the leader's top secret platform ideas. Don't worry though, Canadians, your riding's very own parachuted Grit automaton will be talking down to you about it come election time. That means you, Gatineau!
The Conservative Party of Canada: This name is technically already taken, but given the virtually unlimited policy rapport between Canada's two enamoured power machines, which after nearly 100 consecutive confidence votes, two years and as many leaders now constitutes the most durable Parliamentary coalition in Canadian history, the Reformatories surely concede that their fellow travellers on the road to right-wing consensus in Canada have at least equal claim to the formal title the two movements have long shared in spirit. Might get your ass sued by the PMO, though, as a down side.
The Party Whose Senior Political Staff Contort Punk Beyond Recognition and Use It To Justify Right-Wing Policy the Punk Movement Was Originally Established to Vociferously Oppose (or, the Fair Weather Friend Movement): You'd think, given the fact that Count Iggula is still lagging behind an extremely unpopular, radical Conservative PM during the worst economic bust since 1929, most Liberals would exercise some caution in exhibiting that infamous sense of political entitlement. Yet certain un-named over-the-hill war room chiefs who've never fought a national election against any viable opponent on the left or right and possess an almost pathological predilection towards frivolous lawsuits are exhibiting a remarkable, if characteristic, bombast. These same strategists, who are associated with the sponsorship whitewash like stink on shit and jump ship as clockwork whenever a difficult period for Federal or Provincial Liberals appears on the horizon promise their faithful a return to the halcyon days of 103 seats in Ontario and the milk and honey of interminable Liberal majorities. Thankfully for the many opponents of permanent one-party rule in Canada, such political direction not just reckless, but outright delusional. But don't worry, Grits who stuck it out during the Martin/Dion era Federally or the Bradley-McLeod period in Ontario, the fair weather wing is back just in time to take all the senior positions in your organization. And without a real leadership race, at that. Phew!
Addendum: Many have remarked that as Libs undertake this unofficial brand re-assessment, the term Grit ought to be abandoned, since Liberal campaigners exhibit the least "grit" in practice of all the political movements in this country. History... yes. Tradition... yes. Patronage and corruption without limit or scruple... undoubtedly. Real political grit and hard work... not so much. Just sayin'.
The Party of Yesterday: (Or, the Dirty Kitchen Sponge of Canadian Politics): You know when you keep a kitchen sponge too long and it just gets nasty? Yes, it's true, today's Liberal Party is a lot like that rancid piece of foam. For all it`s success, the Liberal Party has a serious creativity deficit. What they lack in vision, however, they more than make up for in intellectual cleptomania. Thus, Liberals in the early King era could rail against Tommy Douglas as an insurgent communist before stealing his big idea of public Medicare once the post-war winds of public opinion shifted, and Libs from Turner to Chrétien could vilify free trade as a sell-out of epic proportions before seizing from the right the mantle of the economic boom it occasioned once in Government. Like that sponge, the Party absorbs a lot but smells terrible.
The International: In the epic film The International, a group of dedicated activists strive selflessly and at great risk to oppose a reactionary political conspiracy aimed at exploiting society's most vulnerable people. You don't. Perhaps it'll mask your movement's repeated moral failures in the face of Canada's most divisive ever Government. Anything's possible.
There are countless other possibilities for Liberals looking to re-invigorate their beloved "brand," and finally grab the upper hand in the pantomime Coke versus Pepsi battle that is the lovers' quarrel which divides Conservative Liberals and Liberal Conservatives today. I would close, Warren, in due deference to your inimitable style and grace by echoing another classic adage: there are times in politics, as life, when if you fail to take a stand you risk standing for nothing.
Yours sincerely, blah... etc.