Dr. Dawg

Silk-pursing at NDP HQ

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silk pursing.jpg

“[There were] no serious and devastating errors. There were certainly moments where I wish other decisions had been made, and I take full responsibility for that. On the other hand, I think the NDP went in in a position that we’d never been in before. I think we emerged from this with a lot of hope about where we can go from here.” ~Anne McGrath, NDP National Campaign Chair

Making the best of a bad situation is one thing, and, in the recent aftermath of a crushing defeat, perfectly understandable. But telling us that it’s not all that bad a situation after all, and that no “serious and devastating errors” were made, is quite another. In a word, it’s dishonest—intellectually, morally, and in fact.

It’s this kind of thing that makes me wonder why I ever got involved, even tangentially, in party politics.

The facts are ice-cold and clear. The NDP started out the election campaign as the leading contender, with 37% of the decided vote in August. It ended up in third place. It dropped from 103 seats to 44 in the House of Commons. Its share of the popular vote dived from 30.6% in 2011 to 19.7%.

Solid reasons have already been given for this mega-plummet, and I have nothing more to add. A bizarre variant of strategic voting certainly played a considerable role, where an “ABC” strategy, “vote Liberal where they’re strongest, vote NDP where they’re strongest” became simply, “Vote Liberal”. But the NDP could barely have done more to sabotage its own cause if it had done so deliberately. A sharp economic turn to the Right, by a leader who embraced Thatcherism in the past. Public purges of pro-Palestinian human rights activists. A colourless, vapid, don’t-scare-them-off campaign waged when the electors were hungry for real change.

The NDP didn’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory; it slowly winched it out. Don’t take my disgruntled word for it. NDP strategist Bill Tieleman says it all, in far more detail, right here.

Now, what do we get in the aftermath? Drowning NDP partisans, clinging madly to that anchor named Tom Mulcair. Rationalizations, feeble excuses, piss-proud faux-triumphalism through the tears—“44 seats, second-biggest showing EVAH,” reminding me of Orwell’s chocolate ration story.* Anne McGrath’s delusional (Tieleman’s word) let’s-pretend silk purse waved madly in the air.

In fairness, the hapless campaign director is not alone. Here’s Mulcair’s “special advisor” Brad Lavigne: “Mr. Mulcair ran an incredibly strong campaign and had the support of a good number of Canadians for, I think, 55 of the 78 days, so a lot to be proud of.”

Good grief. Are these people listening to themselves?

Carry on sewing, folks. You have a ways to go.
*The new ration did not start till tomorrow and [Winston] had only four cigarettes left. For the moment he had shut his ears to the remoter noises and was listening to the stuff that streamed out of the telescreen. It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be REDUCED to twenty grammes a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours?… Was he, then, ALONE in the possession of a memory?

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on October 28, 2015 11:58 AM.

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