Wednesday, October 15, 2008

NDP: They just don't get it.

One of the most amusing events of last night was Mr. Layton's speech.

The NDP had just put itself into to hock up to its eyeballs. For that effort they had gained about a half dozen seats and were still relegated to fourth party status in a Parliament of four parties.

Yet, Jack Layton had this silly shit eating grin on his face.

That grin pretty much sums up the NDP. For them victory is taking just a few more seats. From that they construct this dream that they will go on to become the Official Opposition and then who knows?

I saw the same thing in 1984. That was the last time the NDP reaches such dizzying heights in the seat count and they were entralled with these delusions of grandeur. Of course 1988 brought them down to earth and then they spent most of the '90s fighting to maintain official party status.

One of the things that last night's election proved is that Canadians still believe that there are only two parties that they trust to form a national government. That is the Conservatives and the Liberals. Every few years Canadians become disenchanted with the Liberals and they begin to look for alternatives on the centre left. The NDP usually benefits from that. However, eventually, those same Canadians grow tired of the Conservatives and they go back to the one party that can replace them, the Liberal Party.

Unfortunately for the NDP, that disenchantment with the Liberals can only go so far. Last night has proven that. For the NDP to really step up to the next level they are actually going to have to re-invent their party. They are going to have to take it out of the 1960s and bring it into the 21st Century. The Conservatives and Liberals re-invent themselves all of the time, which is why they are the only two parties that Canadians trust with power. Until the NDP can accomplish the same thing they will always be the junior of junior partners in Parliament.

That grin on Mr. Layton's fact last night would seem to indicate that he will not be the one to lead the NDP reinvention.

Expect the NDP "tide" to begin receding soon, maybe even during the next election.


Blogger Steve V said...

I would argue, this election proves the NDP has a ceiling. They spent the max, they went up against a historically weak Liberal Party, Harper fumbled, the Bloc supposedly ripe, and yet they have basically the same vote total as last election. Amazing, the Libs at a low water mark, and we still have twice as many seats as the supposed "victors". One MP per committee, a couple questions in QP, no chance whatsoever of implementing any of the theoretical policies, pretty much irrelevant, fourth place, and yet it's a great day.

If not now, then when??

October 15, 2008 8:01 PM  
Blogger saii said...

I guess the party that we need to renew is the Liberal party. We should rebuild it grassroots up. We can achieve this if the grassroots become more engaged. How can we do this? maybe inexpensive barbecues, like what westerngrit in his post suggested, to establish deeper friendship with people. And maybe we can give people more voice through electronic voting in conventions.

October 15, 2008 8:11 PM  
Blogger Robert McClelland said...

The NDP had just put itself into to hock up to its eyeballs.

No they didn't. The NDP has been raising more cash than the Liberals.

October 15, 2008 8:45 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...

Sure Robert. Focus on that and ignore the broader argument.

Works for me. If the NDP ever did try to reinvent itself they would become a real threat to the Liberals.

Then again, if they did reinvent themselves I might actually consider voting for them.

However, that is not going to happen any time soon so get used to seeing them in fourth place.

October 15, 2008 9:23 PM  
Blogger Robert McClelland said...

Sour grapes is not a broader argument. But do carry on, it's very amusing watching a supporter from a party that has lost over half its seats over the past 5 years lecture a party that has tripled its number of seats in that time.

October 15, 2008 10:13 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...


It does my heart good to know that most NDP partisans are like you.

Enjoy your delusions but ignore the voices.

October 15, 2008 10:26 PM  
Blogger Frankly Canadian said...

Mr. McClelland, I agree there has being a shift in voters who are generally left of centre, however lets not forget Brian Mulroney rise and fall in fame and fortune, be careful not to gloat too loud it may come back to bite you in the ass sooner then expected.

October 15, 2008 10:49 PM  
Blogger Steve V said...

"But do carry on, it's very amusing watching a supporter from a party that has lost over half its seats over the past 5 years lecture a party that has tripled its number of seats in that time."

And, we still have double the seats. Amazing isn't it. Our vote didn't show up, yours stayed the same. Woohoo, I can just smell the revolution.

We're embarrassed with our vote total, you're ecstatic, completely different mindset, sort of practicality vs wishful thinking. 19th century socialism is so yesterday.

What Robert and the rest of the rabid can't grasp, the only way the NDP moves any further is too BECOME THE LIBERALS. Unless of course, sitting in the corner, screaming about nothingness is a decided goal. Yes, Jack voted against the government a zillion times, and NOTHING happened, just like the next parliament. Man, what a night for the NDP.

October 15, 2008 11:24 PM  
Blogger ch said...

The NDP gained seats because of the weak showing of the Liberals. Had the Liberals maintained 30% of the vote, the NDP would have been static. Some of this can be attributed to the NDP campaign where Layton went on the attack of carbon taxes and repeated the Dion is a weak leader stuff. Reinforcing the same messaging as Harper is effective, but a lot of it is that the Liberals didn't get their own message across clearly and didn't have the hefty organization to pull it off.

From watching him, I doubt Layton would be as happy if he got 37 seats and the Liberals formed the government. Words like "better than a liberal" come too easily to him. Also, Layton really doesn't want Canada to implement a carbon tax (well, except for Quebec, where he doesn't want to kill his chances by opposing their carbon tax).

Best to recognize Layton and the NDP for what they are and focus on rebuilding the Liberals in that environment. The Harper-Layton duo attacks are not going to go away. Their deal against May showed they feel comfortable plotting with each other behind the scenes.

October 16, 2008 5:44 AM  

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