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Bookish Agrarian

Positioning is much different than strategy.  Positioning is making sure you are in the right spot when things come your way.  Layton and the NDP can also be seen to have been about as well positioned as they could be.  When positioned you are then in place if things bounce your way.

As for the Conservatives gaining government

The massively strong in the polls Martin couldn't decide what he wanted to do once he gained the PMship -that's not strategy that's luck

Martin, like a fool, let the sponsorship scandal define him, rather than anything that might be seen as new.  Chretien would never have made that mistake - ineffective Liberal leader continually pushing the story of the scandal - the luckiest, luck ever

Let's review the actual trend the election that brought Harper to power.  Pre-Christmas Martin and the Liberals are leading and seem to be on the verge of gaining government, perhaps even strength- then along comes the intervention by the RCMP in the election turning things on a dime - that's either luck or collusion.

Matin steps down and the Liberals elect the weakest of all the candidates, well ignoring Volpe - no strategy in that - just luck

Instead of growing in the position Dion actually gets worse and worse - culminating in a disasterously run election campaign- even a mid-wieght Liberal leader could have made a difference with a Canadian electrate that clearly does not want Harper with a majority- no strategy involved - just continued good luck thanks to poor Liberal decision making.

Then we get a completly scared and ineffectual GG - no strategy there either.

Now if your argument Benjamin had been about high skill in positioning that would be different.  The Conservatives have shown themselves to be very good at that - but strategic masters- no way


Stephane Dion spent far too much time attacking Jack's proclamation that he was running to be PM for claims that it was not taken seriously to be even remotely credible. Nobody (Jack included, I'm sure) believed the NDP would form government, but there were plenty of people who believed that there was a chance Dion could be taken down far enough that the NDP could take over as Official Opposition. Insofar as the Official Opposition is supposed to be the gorvernment in waiting, Jack's message made perfect sense. It would have required a great deal of good fortune and a weak enough Conservative campaign to shake loose almost the entire Liberal strategic vote.  It didn't line up.  Nothing ventured nothing gained.

One of the first things you learn in politics (at least if you're paying attention) is that there is nothing worse than being ignored. If they really think your message is stupid and self-defeating, the other parties just ignore you. Everybody in the game knows that once you get people responding to your message, they're not talking about their own. Jack's strategy worked just fine in that regard.

Lots of people sneered.  Who gives a shit?  I've had a dog set on me at the door. Sneering is easy to take, and it makes no difference to anything.


"Should the NDP lose all three (the BC, NS and NWC byelection), then it may be time to look at a change in the federal leadership."

I've gotta disagree with you there. It would be great for NDP morale across the country if the party won all those contests, but I don't think that it should have any bearing whatsoever on Jack Layton's leadership if the NDP wins or loses provincial elections in BC or Nova Scotia. These are provincial elections with provincialo issues and with provincial parties that have their own strategies. If the NDP wins or loses in Nova Scotia it will have nothing whatsoever to do with Layton's federal leadership. Just like Dalton McGuinty winning reelection in Ontario in '07 had nothing to do with Stephane Dion!


Stockholm wrote:

We don't measure the success or failure of the strategy of running for PM in terms of whether or Layton actually was elected PM. We measure it compared to the likely result of any other strategy. I feel 100% certain that if the NDP had NOT run to win and had instead had a stratgy of "we know we can't win and we just want to be the conscience of parliament", the NDP would have won half as many seats and the election would have been a fiasco.

I agree that we don't measure success or failure just on whether Layton became PM - we measure success or failure based on how close the NDP came to forming the Official Opposition, and in that respect the last election was a failure.

In 1984, the Liberals only won 40 seats and the NDP came close to displacing the Liberals and there was a real possibility that the NDP could have eclipsed the Liberals during the 1980's and that Ed Broadbent could have become the alternative to Brian Mulroney instead of John Turner and the Liberals.

That's what needed to happen in October's election - the NDP needed to win more seats than the Liberals or come close to it in order to displace them as the Official Opposition.  That didn't happen and therefore Latyon's campaign was a failure in that regard.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Closing for length.


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