Saturday, 31 January 2009

NDP is all that's Left

The Militant Dipper: Falling for Jack. <read full post.

Any one who stands opposed to Stephen Harper has only one choice. Smilin Jack Layton period. The Liberal, Conservative coalition government can only be opposed by New Democrats.
Left leaning Liberals I implore you, stop taking abuse from your own
party, stop apologizing for Gaza and for Afghanistan and join me at my
new party. It's great to have a leader who you can agree with once in
awhile. The blood is already coming off my hands too.


Skinny Dipper said...

The moment the Liberals and NDP agree to vote non-confidence in the Harper regime, the Bloc will support les Bleus.

The moment the Liberals and the Bloc agree to vote non-confidence, the NDP will figure out a way to support the Harper regime.

The Conservative budget is Liberal focused this time. Next time, it will be Bloc focused. After that, the NDP will grudgingly support Harper.

We have a classic game theory parliament. Five points go to a majority winner. Zero points go to the absolute losers. Three points goes to the minority party in power. One point goes to the opposition party that supports the government. Two points goes to each of the opposition parties and supporters if they could form a governing coalition or force an election. The problem is that they all want the five points. Most will end up with zero or one point.

Militant Dipper said...

Thor, Right on. thanx for pointing attention to my humble little post. The Ignatieff bump will be short lived. Many others will come to my way of thinking when it comes to Iggy. As far as I'm concerned from now on when ever we refer to Jack Layton we should call him the leader of the opposition. Skinny Dipper, I find your theory very intriguing but I don't understand why the Bloc or the NDP would be motivated to prop up Harper.

Jennifer Smith said...

I don't understand why the Bloc or the NDP would be motivated to prop up Harper."

Me neither, but it happened. November 28th, 2006.

Cicely said...

Jennifer - I assume you are talking about the Nation vote which had the overwhelming support of all the parties in the HOC (including Libs). I would argue that this vote is a-typical and that one should not judge the track record of support (or abdication of ones opposition responsibilities) based on this particular vote. Don't hold up an example of an apple and compare it to a bushel of oranges.

Jennifer Smith said...

Typo - I meant 2005.

Cicely said...

Jennifer: if you are talking about the vote to bring down the Martin govt...for god sake are libs never going to let go?

If Martin had been willing to work with the NDP on a fix to health care, instead of more corporate tax cuts the NDP might have continued their support.

I would also point out that it was Martin himself who said that he would go to the polls once the Gomery report was completed and so in the end, I believe that the Martin government fell 6 weeks or so before its inevitable fall.

Finally, the fact that Liberal activists choose to blame the NDP (or the Bloc or Tories for that matter) when they lost government is ridiculous. If the Liberals were able to convince Canadians they should have power - Martin would have won or Dion would have won.

You can't blame others for the electorates lack of faith or interest in your party.

Canadians are increasingly looking for a party that has a real connection to the grassroots. Tories were but are losing that connection. The LPC first showed its contempt for its own grassroots when it aborted its leadership race and again when Iggy turned his back on the coalition option.

Jennifer Smith said...

Cicely -

Believe it or not, I agree with most of that. At the time and under the circumstances, it was as good a time as any for the NDP to vote with the Conservatives to bring down the Liberal government. Although I don't believe it had much to do with Martin "not working with the NDP", given that the Liberals had worked so well with them on the budget that the Conservatives accused Layton of having written it.

I'm not sure who you consider to be "Liberal activists", but I only bring up this incident when I see NDP supporters jamming themselves into a position of moral absolutism, holding themselves up as purists who would never, ever compromise their values for the sake of pragmatism or political strategy.

Politics is all about compromise and consensus between disparate points of view. Pretending that the NDP is somehow above all that is not only dishonest, it encourages the same tribal trench warfare approach to politics we've seen in the U.S. over the past few decades. I don't like that sort of 'political fundamentalism' any more from the NDP than I do from the Conservatives.

Cicely said...


I don't think that NDP supporters are the only ones engaging in absolutist rhetoric in blog land. Often, I see the dipper rhetoric get ramped up after the Liberal blogger or supporter has engaged in their own version by going after Jack in a personal way or when it is implied that the NDP should simply lay down whenever the Liberal party is in electoral peril.

As a partisan, I clearly believe that the NDP is a more progressive party than the Liberal party. I will do my best to point out how they are more progressive whenever I can because I do want non-aligned progressives to choose the NDP and I would like progressive Liberal supporters to really consider whether their party will act on progressive values or whether they simply give them lip service to attract and maintain progressive support during elections.

I don't doubt that there are some self-righteous dippers (just as there are self-righteous libs). It is my experience as an active member that most dippers understand that political parties should be able to compromise when necessary.

To sign on to the coalition the NDP and Bloc both had to set aside the issue of Afghanistan (which displeased or was a concern to many of their supporters) but overall NDP supporters seemed to understand that on balance a Coalition government that would be more progressive than Harper's Cons was necessary given the worsening economic crisis we are facing.

Iggy's decision to kill the coalition further demonstrates to me that the LPC has moved even further to the right and I think it is only appropriate that the party and its supporters actively contrast the prog creds of the NDP vs the non prog creds of the LPC.

Jennifer Smith said...

Iggy's decision to kill the coalition further demonstrates to me that the LPC has moved even further to the right

Well, at least Iggy is further to the right. No argument there. But don't forget - technically, the coalition didn't actually exist until and unless the government fell.

Maybe it's just that I'm older, but having grown up with Trudeau, I tend to perceive the Liberal Party as being a fundamentally progressive party that has gone astray instead of a fundamentally corporatist party that had a brief period of progressivism. With that in mind, I choose to stick with them in order to show them the error of their ways instead of simply abandoning them to the Martinites.

I guess I can't get over the fear that if I and every other left-leaning Liberal were to defect to the NDP, it would only result in the hollowing out of the middle and ultimately a perpetual Conservative majority under a two-party system.

And just from my own experience, I've found that self-righteousness is far more common on the far left and right than it is in the centre. After all, it's pretty hard to be self-righteous when your biggest selling points are cooperation, consensus and compromise.

Me? I'm a pragmatic idealist.

Cicely said...

I would call myself a pragmatic idealist as well. My family is Liberal, in fact VERY and I had a close relative who was an MP and a member of my immediate family worked on Paul Martin Sr leadership campaign.

I am not young (although I note you assumed I was). I was literally a Trudeau baby. My experience of the Liberal party is one of repeated promises followed by repeated disappointments.

As a lesbian I worked to get LGBT rights for 20 years and each and every right had to be ordered by the courts and each and every time a lower court ordered a recognition of rights a Liberal government appealed the decision to the supreme court.

I am pragmatic because I have learned that the only party that has consistently stood by me and fought for my rights is the NDP.

I also question whether we would have gotten medicare and CPP from LIberal governments without a strong NDP pushing the LPC to the left. So as a progressive I have decided that the most practical way forward is to support the party that most reflects my values and to keep working to draw more pragmatic idealists to that party with my impeccably logically debate ;)

I respect your position in that you would like to push the LPC back to being a centre left party but I would humbly suggest that you are less likely to succeed in that endeavour and would be far more likely to find your values reflected in the NDP. That's my pitch anyway. Thanks for the chat. Cheers.