Who should be the NEXT leader of the B.C. NDP?

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Ken Burch
Who should be the NEXT leader of the B.C. NDP?

Obviously, the party is almost certain to do badly enough that Carole James will have to resign as leader.

(It would be great if an upset occurred, of course, but does ANYBODY still think a non-defeat is possible?)

Who will step in next?

Any chance it will actually be someone who defends workers, the poor, and the idea of public ownership and an economy not driven solely by profit?

Any chance, in other words, that the next B.C. NDP leader will actually disagree with the Campbell government more than she or he agrees with it?

This election obviously proves that centrism will never work again for the B.C. NDP.

Stockholm

1. I think we should wait for the votes to be counted on May 10. There will be plenty of time to discuss this if the NDP loses. If if they win, then it is all a moot point. I think winning is still possible.

2. I'm not sure what this has to do with "centrism". The BC NDP was very centrist under Harcourt and won. The NDP has been very moderate in Manitoba and Saskatchewan - and won. The NDP in Nova Scotia is about the most moderate of all and they are by all accounts about to win. Saying that "centrism" (if that's what you wnat to call it) will never work reminds me all those Republicans in the US who are convinced that they lost the election because McCain was too moderate and that if they just hand the part over the to Rush Limbaugh crowd - they will quickly regain power. This also reminds of lunatics in the US who think that Al Gore or John Kerry would have been elected president if only they had run on Ralph Nader's platform (I think not). Some people in the Labour in the UK were convinced that they lost to Thatcher because they were too "centrist" under Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan - so they got their wish, they brought in a leader from the far left, ran on a platform in 1983 that was essentially written by the loony-left "militant tendency" and suffered the worst defeat in the history of that party and it took them about 15 years to recover from the damage that was done. Then they finally regained power in a landslide under everyone favourite "centrist" Tony Blair.

"Any chance it will actually be someone who defends workers, the poor, and the idea of public ownership and an economy not driven solely by profit?"

I have no idea what you're talking about here. You can criticize specific tactics of the BC NDP campaign if you want - or issues of execution - but if you actually pay the least bit of attention to the campaign. Its all about public ownership, "Take back BC", no more privatization and P3s. That is the centrepiece of their whole campaign. You can attack tjem for not expressing it well enough - but the whole "ballot question" that the NDP is trying to put forward is "Who owns BC?"

madmax

There would be some irony in Carole James resigning after leading the NDP to a surprise victory.

brookmere

I think it shows that James is a lousy leader and the campaign is not well organized, but I don't see how it proves that "centrism", however you want to define it, will not work.

The BC NDP was more popular under Dave Barrett than any leader before or after. Was Barrett less of a centrist than Tom Berger or Bob Skelley? Most people would say more of a centrist.

Both Mike Harcourt in 1991 and Carole James in 2005 got a larger popular vote than Glen Clark in 1996, and most people would say that Clark was the least centrist of the three.

 

Ken Burch

Well, obviously, if there were any chance whatsoever of that happening.

The big problem has been that, because of the fear of talking about the economy, the NDP has largely reduced itself to promising to be better capitalists than the Liberals.  This is always a strategy that is doomed to failure, because a party that ties itself to "the market" is automatically going to be a party that abandons social justice, and because its going to convince those who've lost in the economic status quo that they shouldn't bother voting because things won't change.

The NDP could've run a mobilization campaign and been far more competitive.  There's no way they'd ever have been fifteen points down in the polls in a campaign like that.

They key is to make people who've been dumped on think that things can be clearly changed if the government changes.

Lord Palmerston

Not to mention that the campaign seems to be focused on opposing the carbon tax, getting tough on crime and Campbell being corrupt and a liar...not much of a social democratic vision from what I can see (albeit my view is from Toronto).

Fartful Codger

I think the real question is who will be the first to shiv the next leader of the BC NDP, making absurd statements like suggesting the NDP agrees with Campbell more than disagrees with him.

 

munroe

I think it is fair to say that much of the MSM has been myopic.  For instance, the major issues raised yesterday certainly included the corruption question, but also the dismal state of Seniors' housing and the high cost of education were the central themes.  Also, the question of the detriorating state of health care and cleanliness was raised.  Today, the issue is the environmental degradation along the coast caused by hydro projects and fish farms was central.

Thank heavens for CBC and the Tyee for taking a broader look.

Stockholm

"This is always a strategy that is doomed to failure, because a party that ties itself to "the market" is automatically going to be a party that abandons social justice, and because its going to convince those who've lost in the economic status quo that they shouldn't bother voting because things won't change."

If it were always doomed to failure then there would never have been a single labour party government elected in the UK nor would any NDP provincial government in Canada ever have been elected. How do you think Gary Doer managed to win three times despite NOT calling for armed revolution???

ReeferMadness

I think there is still time left in the campaign.  This thread is unproductive at best and potentially corrosive.  Unless you are wanting Gordon Campbell to win, it might be better to focus on something more positive.

Ken Burch

Stockholm wrote:

"This is always a strategy that is doomed to failure, because a party that ties itself to "the market" is automatically going to be a party that abandons social justice, and because its going to convince those who've lost in the economic status quo that they shouldn't bother voting because things won't change."

If it were always doomed to failure then there would never have been a single labour party government elected in the UK nor would any NDP provincial government in Canada ever have been elected. How do you think Gary Doer managed to win three times despite NOT calling for armed revolution???

1)In 1945 and 1964, the  British Labour Party was NOT promising to leave capitalism unchanged.  Neither were they in 1929(although their leader that year James "The Boneless Wonder" Ramsay Macdonald did end up surrendering to the right and forming a national unity government for no good reason).  In 1997, Labour would have won on any manifesto, and the one it chose to fight on made a Labour meaningless.  I hope you'd agree that no 'social democratic"party should ever fight an election on a program THAT right-wing again(a program that not only committed the UK to a militaristic foreign policy but left Thatcher's labour laws in place forever, despite the fact that by 1997 people in the UK didn't hate the unions anymore.  And in case you haven't noticed, Labour in the UK is now likely doomed to a massive defeat as a result of a concerted policy of treating its core supporters as if they have no right to expect anything from a Labour government.  And the Scandinavian Social Democrats, even with their moderation, always made it clear that they were committed to moving their countries left and increasing the solidaristic portions of their economy.  They never promised to be just as capitalist as the right.

2)"armed revolution"? where the hell did you get that?   It never had to be a choice between Blairism and Guevarism.  It is perfectly possible to be a committed socialist without supporting violence.  You owe an apology to most of the left for that crack, Stocks.

My point is, a left-of-center party needs to create excitement to win, especially in a place like B.C.  Bland only works in other provinces.  There needs to be a real connection between the NDP and the down-and-outs.   We can assume that the "winners" in the Campbell economy wouldn't ever bother voting NDP anyway, so why run a campaign based on appeasing them?

With that, perhaps this thread should be closed.  Seeing the fifteen-point gap made things look pretty horrible.  I'd be glad to be proved wrong.  But it's hard to see how running a "safe" campaign has actually achieved anything. 

The NDP should belong to the activists and the workers and the poor.  Nobody with an "I'm alright, Jack" mentality is worth trying to get.

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________ Our Demands Most Moderate are/ We Only Want The World! -James Connolly

 

 

remind remind's picture

well reefer perhaps that was the plan to be corrosive?

Stockholm

Bland seemed to work well for Harcourt too. The thing is that if the BC NDP was a fringe parrty trying to get from 15% to 18% - it might make sense to try to fire up the ideological bookend. But they took 40% last time and to win they need to get up to 43% or so. The extra votes they need are in lower middle class suburbs and resource towns like Kamloops and Prince George. The 5% or so of British Columbians who want an unadulterated socialist message are already in the bag or else they live in supersafe NDP seats anyways - they don't matter. The swing vote is in places like Burnaby among people who may be federal Liberal voters etc...

"The NDP should belong to the activists and the workers and the poor. "

The NDP could win 100% of the votes of the "activists and the workers and the poor" and still lose by a 2 to 1 margin. There simply arent enough of those people to win an election - its as simple as that.

Aristotleded24

Stockholm wrote:
How do you think Gary Doer managed to win three times despite NOT calling for armed revolution???

In 1999, Gary Doer won the election on a promise to "end hallway medicine" and on the anger over privatisation of what was then the Manitoba Telephone System. Since then, the opposition PCs and Liberals, partisan politics aside, is quite weak in this province. They have not been able to capitalise on many questions raised during the Doer government's tenure, including persistent poverty and urban decay, Crocus Investments, problems with health care especially in rural areas, school division amalgamations, questionable practices around paying the provincial debt, and allowing for massive urban sprawl in southwest Winnipeg. It also helps that there haven't been any severe economic downturns in this province for 20 years that can be blamed on the government. Under Doer's watch (and Romanow in Saskatchewan and Blair in Britain, for that matter) average voter turnouts have declined, because as the NDP moves to the centre, the differences between the parties become increasingly more marginal, and people think, "well, they're all the same, they do whatever they want no matter who makes it in, what's the point?"

And it's funny that you want to dismiss "unadulterated socialists." These are the people most active in the party, especially around elections and volunteering for them. These are the people who do drop brochures and phone the voters, they have individual contact, and they can sway voters. You should never alienate these people, because when you look at swing polls and swing ridings, added up it makes a huge difference. The NDP lost Brandon West in the last provincial election for precisely that reason.

Stockholm

"In 1999, Gary Doer won the election on a promise to "end hallway medicine" and on the anger over privatisation of what was then the Manitoba Telephone System."

Sounds just like the BC NDP campaign this year - Take Back BC and stop privatization and cronyism, plus attacks on declining health care and dirty hospitals etc...If it worked in Manitoba in '99 - why shouldn't it work in BC in '09?

Aristotleded24

For one, in Manitoba the NDP started consistently polling ahead of the PCs about 2-3 years ahead of the general election. They actually entered the election tied with the PCs, and at no point were they trailing by 15 points as was pointed out above. Additionally, Doer comes across as a very likeable, charming person, while James comes across as uninspiring. Manitoba also lacks the cutthroat political culture of BC, and the Campbell Liberals appear to have gone on a massive offensive.

no1important

 Corky Evans would be a good choice as would Gregor Robertson but he is busy being mayor of Vancouver but down the road i could see him being leader.

Stockholm

"For one, in Manitoba the NDP started consistently polling ahead of the PCs about 2-3 years ahead of the general election."

I don't remember it that way at all. Filmon and the Tories were ahead when that election was called and the conventional wisdom was that he would win again and that Doer was an uninspiring three time loser.

There are other examples of "bland" people winning elections for the ND like Harcourt or Lorne Calvert in Saskatchewan. In Ontario in 1990, the ONDP said very little about policy at all - they accused the Ontario Liberals of making sleazy deals with developers and they won.

Aristotleded24

Stockholm wrote:
"For one, in Manitoba the NDP started consistently polling ahead of the PCs about 2-3 years ahead of the general election."

I don't remember it that way at all. Filmon and the Tories were ahead when that election was called and the conventional wisdom was that he would win again and that Doer was an uninspiring three time loser.

I've lived most of my life in Manitoba, Stockholm. Your memory is quite faulty. If the Tories were ahead, they weren't by that much (basically within the margin of error is where they would have been). The election was held after the summer that the Pan American Games came to Winnipeg, and Filmon was hoping to ride on the good will of the Pan Am games to victory.

And the fact that you can name other examples of bland NDPers winning does not necessarily mean those circumstances apply to the BCNDP. (By the way, how has the Ontario NDP been doing in the past 14 years anyways?)

Stockholm

I'm not a big fan of Howard Hampton - but I wouldn't call him "bland". If anything he tried to be just the kind of petulant, foghorn leghorn type that that a lot of people here seem to think attracts voters.

Every election has its own "zeitgeist" and sometimes you get lucky and are in the right place at the right time. We will see what happens in the end in BC, if we win everyone wuill want to take credit and if we lose there will be a million theories about what went wrong. But, I don't think that the party would be doing any better if it was running on a radical platform inspired by the socialist caucus with lots of very dated talk about class struggle etc...in fact I think that whatever popular vote the BC NDP gets on May 10 - you can subtract about 20% and you have what they would get if they followed that strategy.

If the NDP wins we can pop some champagne corks (though I get the impression that some people on babble deep down would rather that the NDP lose than that they win while not being sufficiently "doctrinaire") - and gird oursselves for having to be in power during the next few years when BC is almost certain to face massive economic troubles and a hangover after the olympics and a soaring deficit etc... If the NDP loses, I tend to say that it will be because the election was early enough in the recession life cycle that people were in the phase of wanting to huddle under the security blanket of the governing party, plus some backstabbing by some pseudo-environmentalists who made a very calculated decision to help eco-terrorist Campbell stay in power. One thing that sure as hell won't be a factor will be whether or not Mable Elmore should have apologized for saying the word Zionist.

Aristotleded24

Stockholm wrote:
dated talk about class struggle

What, then, is all this talk in the main media about CEO compensation if not "class struggle?"

keglerdave

A few comments. First off, the votes are counted on May 12th, not May 10th. Second of all...  in the midst of the election campaign people are already talking about who the next leader of the party should be. To me, alot of the bumbling and stumbling that has occurred in the run up to the election and afterwards, falls squarely on provincial office and people employed in there.  Ultimately though, success or failure is either credited or blamed squarely on the leader of the party.  The campaign hasn't been a total clusterfuck, but the bumbling over candidate vetting falls on the same shoulders as it did federally. So one wonders why the same person who was responsible for Julian West and the other 2 candidates dropping out, is in charge of vetting provincial candidates?  And why, in candidate schools, did they not talk about Facebook and social sites and the posting of positions, pictures and comments on them by candidates.  Don't get me wrong, today's province and a letter to the editor hit the nail on the head when it came to Ray Lam. Someone mentioned Convict Gordo and his DUI and his mugshots (which the province was nice enough to republish along side of the letter and adjacent to a Kreiger cartoon showing the 2 love birds (campbell and kinsella) in a tender embrace.

But this is basic politics 101. You come clean about who you are, your past etc. You make sure you don't embarrass yourself or the party you run for.  But the letter was right, if a convicted criminal can be Premier of the province, whats wrong with some juvenile pics on facebook? I suppose it speaks more to the type and quality of candidates that the party is attracting these days.  If you play fast and loose with your privacy and your pics, and are running for public office, your judgement gets called into question.  If it does happen that Carole does resign after an NDP defeat, I will have mixed feelings.

I supported her campaign for the leadership in 2003. I thought that the direction the party had decided to go in 2003 would lead to a win in 2009.  The 2005 was a building election.  This election was to be the big battle, all guns blazing, and getting rid of an arrogant and out of touch government.  For a variety of reasons, the BCNDP lost its way between 2006 and 2009. It got sidetracked by people's individual flavours of the month, and pretty much has behaved like a rudderless ship alot of the time.  In opposition they have had their moments and a lot of them. But with Campbell in government, a blind person could throw mud at the barn and still hit the target.  The problem to me is that Carole has allowed herself to be played like a marionette, with people in the back pulling the strings.  I have doubts that this was of her own doing, but rather backroom manoevering but those same people who got turfed in 2001, and a couple of special interests within the party.

In this campaign, I've chosen to support my candidate but not the central party. I only can hope that in November 2009 that people don't just think changing the leader is going to fix things. Because with respect, she's not the real problem.  The real problems exist internally, and there needs to be a big broom taken to those who really pull the strings.  To do anything else is to do nothing but shuffle the chairs on the titanic.

theleftyinvestor

A lot of people were saying Gregor Robertson, but he kinda burned his NDP bridges recently, ya think?

Ken Burch

I wasn't arguing that the leader of the BCNDP should exclusively "play to the activists".  Instead, what is needed is for the BCNDP(or any party that claims to seriously be part of the "left")is a leader who will say "we have different values than those of the government, our's are better for the province, and hers' why".  There was and is a clear need not only to commit to preserving the existing level of public ownership, but in using that ownership to democratize the decnsion-making process, and to actually make the case for why public ownership is a good thing and should be, at least in some cases, expanded(again, with this ownership being under democratic rather than traditional bureaucratic state management.

And those swing voters need to be won over and can best be won over NOT by promising to keep more things the same than are changed, but by actually making a serious-minded case for why change is a good thing.

What is needed was for the BCNDP to campaign on its own terms, to unashamedly make the case for change, and to defend its core values from all right-wing attacks.  All of the above was what DIDN'T happen in the run-up to the election, a run-up that was dominated instead by an obsession with looking "safe", when the truth is that you can never make a left-of-center party look "safe" enough to magically immunize it from right wing accusations of "socialism".  What would stop those attacks would be to actually make the case for why things that the right calls "socialist" are good things that a decent party would defend without apology.

That isn't left-wing extremism.  It's just strength and self-confidence.

brookmere

Stockholm wrote:
"The NDP should belong to the activists and the workers and the poor. "

The NDP could win 100% of the votes of the "activists and the workers and the poor" and still lose by a 2 to 1 margin. There simply arent enough of those people to win an election - its as simple as that.

Well of cousre there are more than enough workers to win an election for the NDP or any other party. I mean the capitalist vote is pretty small isn't it?

I don't see why anyone would think the NDP doesn't belong to the workers right now, since there couldn't be more than a handful of party members who are independently wealthy.

The problem of course is that when people on the left talk about "the workers", they don't literally mean "people who work". They really mean "people who work who agree with my political viewpoints:".

 

 

NorthReport

One thing for sure it isn't going to be Gregor Robertson. There certainly is a time to criticise but it is not during the actual election campaign. His recent rah-rah Gordon Campbell comments are about as brain dead as can be.  

Stockholm

In a sense - everyone is a "worker". A CEO who makes millions of dollars a year is a "worker". he or she works - they just happen to be over-compensated for their work. A lot of us cling to these very dated stereotypes of a "worker" that tends to out of some social realist Soviet propaganda short from the 1950s showing grimy miners and women in kerchiefs in a factory. Nowadays, a much smaller proportion of the population works in those environments and people who work in offices don't tend to identify themselves as "workers" even if they work and get low wages etc...

brookmere

Stockholm wrote:
Nowadays, a much smaller proportion of the population works in those environments and people who work in offices don't tend to identify themselves as "workers" even if they work and get low wages etc...

Of course they identify themselves as "workers". They just don't identify with organized labour. Don't conflate the two.

 

Fartful Codger

NorthReport wrote:

One thing for sure it isn't going to be Gregor Robertson. There certainly is a time to criticise but it is not during the actual election campaign. His recent rah-rah Gordon Campbell comments are about as brain dead as can be.  

This (as the cool kids say).

Dipper friends I've talked to who were pulling the vote for him in November are saying they won't work on his campaign in 2011 because of his eagerness to plump up Gordo.  He has alienated a lot of people and will be lucky to hold onto his own job, much less go looking for another.

Peter3

Aristotleded24 wrote:

And the fact that you can name other examples of bland NDPers winning does not necessarily mean those circumstances apply to the BCNDP. (By the way, how has the Ontario NDP been doing in the past 14 years anyways?)

If this is supposed to imply that the NDP leadership has been too centrist or bland for the last 14 years, it reflects a lack of historical insight.

Howard Hampton won the leadership of the Ontario party with the party activists' support.  he beat the party establishment candidate (Frances Lankin) with a call for a return to the party's traditional positions.  His election campaigns have been about oppositng privatisation of power, health care and public services, tighter regulation of industry, and increased minimum wage and the like.  the standard knock from the news media has been that he comes aross as too strident, not too bland.

As for the claim that it is some mythical socialist base shows up to drop leaflets and phone when the writ falls, on what planet?  

I've worked a lot of campaigns in a lot of places. It is a very mixed bag of folks that puts in the hours, but the policy dogmatists are seriously under-represented on the volunteer sign-up sheets.  They volunteer en masse for "communication committees" or any other function that involves gassing on endlessly while doing nothing useful; they turn out in droves for convention delegate selection and submit reams of resolutions on "issues" nobody else has ever heard of and throw hissy fits when they aren't supported; they are extremely loud at AGMs.  I've had to fire canvassers from this crowd who turned up to canvass with their own literature and were found to be distributing only their own wacko stuff at the door, completely refusing to distribute the official material.  if we could get one hour's legitimate work out these people for every ten hours they spend yapping on about arcana and sitting around the campaign office wasting everybody else's time with tales of their own genius, we would be unbeatable.

brookmere

Peter3 wrote:
If this is supposed to imply that the NDP leadership has been too centrist or bland for the last 14 years, it reflects a lack of historical insight.

Being bland and being centrist have nothing to do with each other. You can be blandly leftist or flamboyantly centrist.

I would offer Bob Skelley and Dave Barrett as examples respecitvely.

I also don't think there's much correlation between blandness of the leader and electoral success, either at the federal or provincial levels. Ed Broadbent was a lot more bland than Tommy Douglas or David Lewis but won a lot more seats.

 

 

Peter3

brookmere wrote:

Being bland and being centrist have nothing to do with each other.  

Agreed.

ghoris

Peter3 wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

And the fact that you can name other examples of bland NDPers winning does not necessarily mean those circumstances apply to the BCNDP. (By the way, how has the Ontario NDP been doing in the past 14 years anyways?)

If this is supposed to imply that the NDP leadership has been too centrist or bland for the last 14 years, it reflects a lack of historical insight.

Howard Hampton won the leadership of the Ontario party with the party activists' support.  he beat the party establishment candidate (Frances Lankin) with a call for a return to the party's traditional positions.  His election campaigns have been about oppositng privatisation of power, health care and public services, tighter regulation of industry, and increased minimum wage and the like.  the standard knock from the news media has been that he comes aross as too strident, not too bland.

As for the claim that it is some mythical socialist base shows up to drop leaflets and phone when the writ falls, on what planet?  

I've worked a lot of campaigns in a lot of places. It is a very mixed bag of folks that puts in the hours, but the policy dogmatists are seriously under-represented on the volunteer sign-up sheets.  They volunteer en masse for "communication committees" or any other function that involves gassing on endlessly while doing nothing useful; they turn out in droves for convention delegate selection and submit reams of resolutions on "issues" nobody else has ever heard of and throw hissy fits when they aren't supported; they are extremely loud at AGMs.  I've had to fire canvassers from this crowd who turned up to canvass with their own literature and were found to be distributing only their own wacko stuff at the door, completely refusing to distribute the official material.  if we could get one hour's legitimate work out these people for every ten hours they spend yapping on about arcana and sitting around the campaign office wasting everybody else's time with tales of their own genius, we would be unbeatable.

::standing ovation::

munroe

Where does one begin?  How about with the class issue.  The Union I work for represents many "office workers" and non-traditional union members.  I make a point when I address people of talking about the working class, although the leadership prefers other terms like "ordinary Canadians" and "working families".  I profoundly disagree with this rhetorical change as it tends to put people in differentiated and inaccurate units.  It lessens the potential for real change and discourages real action.

As for political leaders, you look and assess.  I left the NDP in the 1980s because they had a purely focusssed electoral message with a wink and a nudge on important issues.  The message in my mind was that they knew and workers should not be educated or trusted. 

I strongly hope the NDP wins in BC as it is so much better then the assholes now in control.  I loathe the corporatists and am beginning to loathe the Greens who have no idea of how the human world works, regardless of their message.  I heard a debate today with the two parties and the Greens as an add-on, and the Greens were disgusting in their myopia.

A "centrist" NDP government is much better then a right-wing Liberal regime.  Better for workers, the displaced and the environment.  Not utopia, however.  The stupidity of raising single issues as all-encompassing is nonsense and counter-productive.  Get us lefties back to the place where we have room to make a difference.

keglerdave

Hmm. As an aside to this thread, other than Gregor Robertson, I haven't heard any names bandied about. That's a good thing as a matter of fact as people seemed more focused on getting elected than taking out the leader right now. Munroe.... couldn't have put it better myself, particularly your last paragraph.  I know that people are sick of hearing it, but this election was lost between the 2005 and 2007 BCNDP conventions. Because for whatever reason, the original plan of build in 2005 run to win in 2009 went off the rails during that time.  For whatever reason, people took the 2005 election results as an excuse to go back and let the people who ran and hid after 2001 back in the door and allow them to set the agenda.  And the results are for all to see. A relatively rudderless ship, province wide.  There is an immense amount of talent individually within the BCNDP. But no cohesive plan. Everyone is going on ad nauseum about the stance on the Carbon Tax, like its THE ONLY issue.

What about Campbell's lies about how great a job he's done at managing the economy. One only needs to look at New West to see what havoc he's created in the forest sector thanks to his uncomprimising support of the softwood lumber sell out. 3 separate mills, out of business. The industrial property tax base in New West is in shambles now. But to coin a phrase from that socialist ideologue himself Bill Vanderzalm, according to Campbell everything is "FAANTASTICK!!" People in the north have been ravaged by his policies, the "heartlands" can be called the "hurtlands" yet... in 2005 they all returned Fiberals to the legislature, particularly in Kamloops and Prince George.

Over the past couple years, there's been a move to silence criticism from within the BCNDP. That move has resulted in people closing their wallets to the party. I support my candidate, Dawn Black, but because of the funding policies of the BCNDP, won't donate a dollar to the campaign for fear that Provincial Office, home of the Quality Candidate Vetting People, Joy's List and other things that piss me off, will get their hands on half of what I give to Dawn, as there funding policies dictate. Another question to ask.  How come Phil Hochstein's attack ads on Carole James are now playing completely unopposed or answered to?

Have some of the unions packed it in on 3rd party campaign ads? Why is no one riding to the rescue of the BCNDP. And my final point, how did Carole allow herself to put out that the BCNDP was not running a negative campaign in this election? Of course they are, because there's nothing good you can say that Gordon Campbell has done for the people of BC. But for whatever reason on the radio debate, she held to the argument that the campaign being put out by the BCNDP isn't negative.

Now all the media is playing it up like a gordon wilson moment, trying to build momentum for the greens. Did her handlers not expect to be asked the question about negative campaigning during a 90 min. radio debate? My opinion only, but they need to go after Campbell not only on the BC Rail deal, but also play up the mugshots from his Maui Owie thing. Put up that mugshot alongside pictures of children looking for a meal, 1 in 4 in BC below the poverty line. How can you run a positive campaign against such a negative, arrogant opponent.  Acknowledge it for what it is, and move on.  There would have been nothing wrong in admitting that the BCNDP was going negative while at the same time putting out their own positions. That strategic mistake will be part of her undoing in November.  Head shaking moment on that one. Come clean, be honest and people will respect you. Hell Campbell's running negative as well, through Hochstein.

 

All you can do is focus locally on your local BCNDP candidate and work to get them elected. Its almost like everybody for themselves now. With 19 days to go.

keglerdave

Ken Burch wrote:

I wasn't arguing that the leader of the BCNDP should exclusively "play to the activists".  Instead, what is needed is for the BCNDP(or any party that claims to seriously be part of the "left")is a leader who will say "we have different values than those of the government, our's are better for the province, and hers' why".  There was and is a clear need not only to commit to preserving the existing level of public ownership, but in using that ownership to democratize the decnsion-making process, and to actually make the case for why public ownership is a good thing and should be, at least in some cases, expanded(again, with this ownership being under democratic rather than traditional bureaucratic state management.

And those swing voters need to be won over and can best be won over NOT by promising to keep more things the same than are changed, but by actually making a serious-minded case for why change is a good thing.

What is needed was for the BCNDP to campaign on its own terms, to unashamedly make the case for change, and to defend its core values from all right-wing attacks.  All of the above was what DIDN'T happen in the run-up to the election, a run-up that was dominated instead by an obsession with looking "safe", when the truth is that you can never make a left-of-center party look "safe" enough to magically immunize it from right wing accusations of "socialism".  What would stop those attacks would be to actually make the case for why things that the right calls "socialist" are good things that a decent party would defend without apology.

That isn't left-wing extremism.  It's just strength and self-confidence.

 

One of the biggest problems with the BCNDP is that in all reality, its a warehouse of ideas, ideologies, positions, and people. Within the party you have environmentalists alongside woodworkers and truck drivers and construction people. You have small business people alongside the BCFED. You have "roosevelt new democrats" alongside marxist leninists. Moderate centrists and hard left leaning people. And after the 2009 election, its more likely than not going to implode again.

melovesproles

Yeah, its important to find some key principles and to build coalitions around them.  If government is the goal then there needs to be a fair amount of mutual respect and egalitarianism within the party.  A big problem with the BC Centre-Left(from the city to federal level) is that they like to blame the progressive wing for everything and alienate and purge them at every opportunity.  The BC NDP could have made a small gesture to the democratic reform crowd by supporting a 50%+ referendum and they would have locked up support and could have focused completely on other issues.  Likewise, they could have come out swinging on environmental issues while maintaining that in their view the gas tax was bad policy and could be replaced by other revenue generating policies.  Instead they made 'Axing the Tax' a central plank and pissed off the environmental movement.  There are a lot of issues where the party could have shown a commitment to party principles without going out on a ledge and continuing their core 'Centrist' strategy.  Although I certainly wouldn't complain I don't think its necessary for the NDP to turn hard left but a little bit of mutual respect would have gone a long way.

Aristotleded24

Stockholm wrote:
In a sense - everyone is a "worker". A CEO who makes millions of dollars a year is a "worker". he or she works - they just happen to be over-compensated for their work. A lot of us cling to these very dated stereotypes of a "worker" that tends to out of some social realist Soviet propaganda short from the 1950s showing grimy miners and women in kerchiefs in a factory. Nowadays, a much smaller proportion of the population works in those environments and people who work in offices don't tend to identify themselves as "workers" even if they work and get low wages etc...

What are you talking about, that a CEO is just a worker? Do you not realise the far-ranging impacts of the decisions that CEOs make, decisions which have a far greater impact than the decisions made by average people? That the decisions they make impact such things as where to locate facilities, opening them, closing them, and laying off workers has large impacts, and the only way the vast majority of people can respond is to try and find work wherever they can get it and accept all sorts of conditions they may not like? It might not look like your caricature representation, but class exists, different classes have different levels of influence on society, and it's being talked about all over the place, not just in left-wing circles.

Peter3 wrote:
As for the claim that it is some mythical socialist base shows up to drop leaflets and phone when the writ falls, on what planet?

That's what I've seen in Manitoba. There is a large amount of dissilusionment from people who stuck with the party through the low period of the Pawley years in the 80s.

Stockholm

"That's what I've seen in Manitoba. There is a large amount of dissilusionment from people who stuck with the party through the low period of the Pawley years in the 80s."

Meanwhile the NDP in Manitoba just keeps winning election after election. Its as if they more to so-callked activist socialist base gets disillusioned - the bigger the majorities that Doer keeps winning.

Aristotleded24

Stockholm wrote:
Meanwhile the NDP in Manitoba just keeps winning election after election. Its as if they more to so-callked activist socialist base gets disillusioned - the bigger the majorities that Doer keeps winning.

Doer's playing his good fortune well. If the opposition ever does find its feet, then the NDP will be in serious trouble here.

Besides, what is the point of celebrating an NDP victory if they just leave key PC policies intact?

NorthReport

My wish perhaps, more than what will probably happen.

Because the odds on favourites right now would be Gregor for the NDP and Dianne Watts, Mayor of Surrey, and she's hot, for the Liberals. And she'll mop the floor with Gregor's new age team.

Fartful Codger wrote:

NorthReport wrote:

One thing for sure it isn't going to be Gregor Robertson. There certainly is a time to criticise but it is not during the actual election campaign. His recent rah-rah Gordon Campbell comments are about as brain dead as can be.  

This (as the cool kids say).

Dipper friends I've talked to who were pulling the vote for him in November are saying they won't work on his campaign in 2011 because of his eagerness to plump up Gordo.  He has alienated a lot of people and will be lucky to hold onto his own job, much less go looking for another.

NorthReport

North Shore Credit Union caught funding Liberal candidate - maybe a new thread needs to be started on this latest BC Liberal scandal.

Vansterdam Kid

Ken Burch wrote:

Obviously, the party is almost certain to do badly enough that Carole James will have to resign as leader.

(It would be great if an upset occurred, of course, but does ANYBODY still think a non-defeat is possible?)

Who will step in next?

Any chance it will actually be someone who defends workers, the poor, and the idea of public ownership and an economy not driven solely by profit?

Any chance, in other words, that the next B.C. NDP leader will actually disagree with the Campbell government more than she or he agrees with it?

This election obviously proves that centrism will never work again for the B.C. NDP.

A) Yes, the NDP is going to lose. Badly. I hope not, and NDP chances have improved slightly with a few Liberal stumbles in the last few days. But things are not looking good.

B) Who will step in next? Ideally, someone like Gregor Robertson would be my choice. But I'm not sure the timing works for that seeing as he was just elected mayor. Did he burn his bridges? Maybe. Granted, hard-core, old-time activists won't be happy with him, but to be honest, I don't think they ever were. But he's one of the few people I could see bringing in new blood, or people who have drifted away (ie. myself). Perhaps Derek Corrigan, the long time mayor of Burnaby would be a good choice though. There are a lot of people out there. Let’s just get rid of our Stephane Dion and do it soon. I would be a little worried about a Mayor, simply because they're not naturally partisan, and I think we'll need an agressive leader. But I think they have governing chops. Also, though people might accuse her of being a re-tred, and she's probably not interested. I wouldn't mind Joy Macphail, because decpite the fact that she's one of the few female "good old boys" I'd argue she was more effective as opposition leader with a two member caucus than James has been with a 34 member one. Hell at this rate the caucus might not be much larger than 01-05 (just kidding - it will be, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the NDP only win 20 seats, this in a larger legislature btw). Though I'd have avoided Adrian Dix as a potential leader years ago, cause I don't necessarilly like that old-fashioned "good old boys" NDP style, I think he's been one of the few NDP legislative stars in the last parliament so he could be effective. At least I think the NDP would have better message discpline under him. Though I think Keglerdave makes some very good points about the leader not being the sole problem. So while James will need to go, unless by some miracle the NDP actually wins on the 12th, the so-called NDP "braintrust" will need to be lobotomized and replaced.

C) Almost certainly the next BC NDP leader will disagree with Gordo more than agree with him. The next leader, if they're smart, will realize that Carole James' "new tone" was a complete disaster. Granted, the NDP is being stridently negative now that we're in a campaign. But the legislative period is the time to plant the seeds of doubt in the voters mind about your opponents, and then hope your opponents fuck up when governing. This new tone robbed the NDP of that process and has left that clawing at inane disjointed issues that most people don't really care about. Lets keep in mind that BC Politics is a blood sport and Gordo should've been demonized as much as he was in his first term because, at least before James' 'new tone' changed this, he was always seen as a determent to the Liberals' electoral goals. Do you know that the BC Liberals are now touting "Premier Campbell and the BC Liberal Team" on their election signs? They wouldn't have dared do that back in '96, 2005 or even the disasterous (from our perspective) 2001 election. To be fair to James though, Gordo has (somewhat successfully) tried to project a moderate image in this second term (not that he substantivley is) that he didn't care about doing earlier in his provincial career.

The new leader will also, if they're smart, realize that they should actually take a position on the issues - and not take years to come to one, then realize that it's politically unpopular, and flip-flop. Ie. James' ghastly position on twinning the Port Mann. For those who don't know, the NDP was split between suburban New Democrats who were for it, and Vancouver/Burnaby New Democrats who were against it. James took a couple of years to come up with a position, then finally in 2007 came out against it and then suddenly this year came out for it. But somebody didn't bother to tell some of her candidates this!

D) I don't think the party's perceived 'centrism' is relevant. If you ask me, it’s not that the party is too ideologically centrist. They've been talking about the spectre of privatization a lot. This is not to say I think they're particularly left-wing either. The objection to a carbon tax, for instance, and the populist pandering might hurt  the NDP in the long-run because despite my and many other progressive objections to this Carbon Tax, a Carbon Tax will have to be, in coordination with various other methods, part of a serious climate change strategy. The problem is that the party lacks the ability to talk about things people give a fuck about. Hint: With regards to its vision, the party should be talking about the fucking economy for fucks sake. Oh, and I realize that the NDP is scared about people talking about the 90's. But if they don't start challenging that conventional wisdom they're always going to lack economic credibility with the average person. Yeah, they'll never completely win over Howe Street, or the editorialists at Can West, but fuck them - they're hard-core Liberals anyways. The NDP needs to learn how to talk to the average person and project a vision of economic comptence, oh, and also a vision period. This could include things like affordability, which they've sort of talked about, but only in a plithy way (see the "Gas Tax" for case in point).

 

Ken Burch wrote:

What is needed was for the BCNDP to campaign on its own terms, to unashamedly make the case for change, and to defend its core values from all right-wing attacks.  All of the above was what DIDN'T happen in the run-up to the election, a run-up that was dominated instead by an obsession with looking "safe", when the truth is that you can never make a left-of-center party look "safe" enough to magically immunize it from right wing accusations of "socialism".  What would stop those attacks would be to actually make the case for why things that the right calls "socialist" are good things that a decent party would defend without apology.

That isn't left-wing extremism.  It's just strength and self-confidence.

 

I completely agree.

 I may not want as left-wing of a platform as you on this or that issue, or maybe I do on other ones, but that's all semantic. The Liberals are going to call anything the NDP does "socialism" so what they say really doesn't matter. If the NDP doesn't sell its self as strong and self-assured, they're going to loose again in 2013. While some say that governments aren't defeated, so much as they defeat themselves - oppositions aren't just given government by default.

 

Fartful Codger wrote:

NorthReport wrote:

One thing for sure it isn't going to be Gregor Robertson. There certainly is a time to criticise but it is not during the actual election campaign. His recent rah-rah Gordon Campbell comments are about as brain dead as can be.  

This (as the cool kids say).

Dipper friends I've talked to who were pulling the vote for him in November are saying they won't work on his campaign in 2011 because of his eagerness to plump up Gordo.  He has alienated a lot of people and will be lucky to hold onto his own job, much less go looking for another.

Most people have a short memory. This is not to say he won't have strong opponents within the party, but he always had (I'll get to that in a minute). Frankly, he will be judged by Vancouverites based upon his effectiveness (or not) as Mayor. Not some stuff he said about some guy, which has pretty much no effect on civic service delivery or addressing issues such as homelessness, transportation and affordable housing policy. Not to mention the fact that Mayors and Premiers need to have a working relationship. Though some might have liked him to fling-shit at Gordo, and though I think he was unnecessarily praiseworthy, not to mention naive if he thought the Liberals wouldn't use those quotes (though I suspect he did it as a last jab at James), I doubt many people will (as the cool kids say) give a fuck by then. In fact, I think it may help give a Robertson-led NDP credibility when the NDP starts advocating a Carbon Tax, as they probably will need to. To be perfectly blunt though, James gave Robertson some pretty shitty critic roles for a guy they touted as a star that would not only give the NDP environmental credibility, but also business credibility, the ability to connect with young people and give the party a certain coolness that it lacks. Not to mention the diss the "good old boys" (the club includes the occasional female) gave him when it decided to go with long-time Clark-era hack Harry Lali as deputy caucus chair. So, I doubt Robertson gives a fuck if he puts one more nail into her, or their, coffins. Don't believe me? Look at the way he resigned his seat through the media and could barely hold his tongue on the handling of the Carbon Tax issue when he was in caucus.

Politics101

If James steps down how soon will she do it - Given that Campbell is likely to step down perhaps as early as 2011 would it be more practical for the NDP to see who replaces him and then find someone who can challenge the new leader.

I agree with the statement that if you are mayor of the largest city in the Province you need a working relationship with the other levels of governments if you want funding for transit, sewers etc.

remind remind's picture

Robertson did his resignation through the media to further his own profile. He is a political opportunist and nothing more.

 

Fartful Codger

Vansterdam Kid wrote:

 

 

Fartful Codger wrote:

NorthReport wrote:

One thing for sure it isn't going to be Gregor Robertson. There certainly is a time to criticise but it is not during the actual election campaign. His recent rah-rah Gordon Campbell comments are about as brain dead as can be.  

This (as the cool kids say).

Dipper friends I've talked to who were pulling the vote for him in November are saying they won't work on his campaign in 2011 because of his eagerness to plump up Gordo.  He has alienated a lot of people and will be lucky to hold onto his own job, much less go looking for another.

Most people have a short memory. This is not to say he won't have strong opponents within the party, but he always had (I'll get to that in a minute).

You're right that most people have a short memory. Party insiders, the ones who do the work on the ground to get people elected, are not most people.Those people are very angry and that anger will only increase if Campbell is elected to a larger majority and we lose close Vancouver ridings (think Spencer Herbert and Jenn McGinn) even in part because of Gregor's antipathy toward Carole James.

Gregor has alienated a lot of those people. His most ardent supporters, in terms of people who can help win elections, is reduced to a small cadre of insiders who hold the same animus towards the current NDP leadership and inner circle. I know and I'm hearing from a lot of people who did a lot of work on his campaign. Disagree with the NDP all you want, but helping Gordon Campbell to a bigger government caucus is more than just an annoyance to the insiders I've talked to.

Lost in all this is whether A) Gregor wants to be leader/premier and B) whether he's the kind of leader that will thrive in the legislature. The ledge is not civic politics. It's a bloodsport and if you ever saw him in his few forays in question period, you'll note that he often looked lost. He's not well suited to the legislature. I suspect he had a vision of a quieter, gentler kind of political life, and I think he's more comfortable at City Hall. I don't think he'd be back, notwithstanding whether the party would coalesce under him or not.

KenS

"Who should be the NEXT leader of the B.C. NDP?"

 

I think it should be the person who wins the leadership race after Carole James resigns.

Stockholm

"With regards to its vision, the party should be talking about the fucking economy for fucks sake."

What about the economy? You mean like - "Elect the NDP and BC will be the only place on the planet earth that is completely insulated from the global recession"?

I'm not just being provocative. I would like to hear form some of the "know it alls" here what exactly you would do as Premier of BC to ensure that while the whole world goes to hell in an economic handbasket - BC will be the one little island of prosperity.

Lord Palmerston

remind wrote:

He is a political opportunist and nothing more.

And Carole James?

KenS

Thats not fair Stock.

It was that the BC NDP should be talking about the economy.

Just because what provincial governments do has very minmal effect on recessions...

Stockholm

I return to my question. What ABOUT the economy. It isn't enough to just say "economy, economy, economy..." you have to have something to say about it. What exactly shoudl that something be? I think its a waste of time to say "When the NDP was in power we actually weren't any worse than the BC Liberals are" (who's have thunk it??)

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