Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Mr. Ignatieff, ignore the noise and focus

Modern politics seems to conspire to distract political parties from what is important. It is a function of a media that gave up reporting the news in favour of infotainment a long time ago and the fact most modern politicians are so bereft of ideas that they have to resort to hyper-partisanship to appear relevant.

Mr. Ignatieff you need to rise above all of this.

It is a reality that most people vote against something as opposed to voting for something. That is why negative advertizing works and that is the root cause of partisanship. If it were the other way around our Parliament would be a hotbed of debate about different ideas on how to make the lives of Canadians better instead of the juvenile crap we see there now.

However, despite this reality a political party still needs to be able to present ideas and, dare I say it, vision to really enjoy success. That is one reason why the Conservatives have never won a majority government. They have figured out the "vote against" reflex of the average voter but they have not been able to take it to the next level because they are a complete failure on the "vision" front.

The Conservatives have been presenting you with all sorts of ammunition for you to begin convincing Canadians that they need to vote against these clowns. I do not believe they have gone one week since Parliament resumed where they have not been defending some kind of bonehead decision, the Fake Lake being the latest in a long line. You and I both know that these are the kinds of things that plant the seed in the electorate that will germinate into a desire for change over time or during an election campaign.

However, you need to do more. You need to present a vision or at least an election theme. The campaigns of seemingly random election promises are not working. They have not worked for the Liberals in the last three elections and they have only been marginally more successful for the Conservatives.

You do not need to present individual policy proposal yet. The ground is not ready for that anyway. When the time comes you will need to present these proposals in the context of an overarching theme if you are to take increasing anger at the Conservatives and turn it to Liberal advantage.

Last Fall, when you gave your non-confidence speech in the House of Commons, you articulated just such a theme. I blogged back then that the theme you talked about was a proven winner in this country and I urged you to follow through on it. I am quite disappointed that you did not, however it is not too late.

You have a summer BBQ season coming up so you should spend that entire period talking about your vision. At every event talk to Canadians about how you believe government can be an agent of good in the lives of Canadians, using topical examples such as the oil spill in the Gulf to demonstrate your point. Talk about your vision for Canada and where you would like it to be in the next 5 to 10 years and beyond. In short, establish the broad objectives of a Liberal government under you so that when you begin to present individual policy proposals during the next election Canadians can put them into some context and see how they would achieve the objectives you have outlined.

The Conservative have been planting the seeds of their own defeat since Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament the first time. They will be ripe for the taking during the next election so you need to prepare Canadians to accept the idea of a Liberal government. Letting the Conservatives self-destruct will go along way in doing that but if you really want to seal the deal you will need to provide them with an alternative that they can like.

You only have the summer to do that so I would suggest you focus on that and not worry about the rest of the political noise out there right now.

5 Comments:

Blogger Jim said...

Heh, nice pep talk.

Sadly, most of the noise Ignatieff is hearing is the unsheathing of knives from behind him.

Ignatieff has proven himself to be a worse ditherer than Martin.

There is no hope for the LPC, especially if current events continue to unfold as they have today.

I am all for a strong opposition, but I think that latetly, the Bloc or the NDP are the winners on that front.

Good luck, but remember to untie the rope before it pulls you under water.

June 09, 2010 9:20 PM  
Blogger Issachar said...

"You do not need to present individual policy proposal yet. The ground is not ready for that anyway."

So until an election is called, the Liberals should be "the party of no"? I thought that was a party below the 49th...

Overarching theme this, vision that... If the man keeps blithering on about sunshine and puppies without concrete details, why on earth would we suddenly decide he has a clue when he presents policy like a rabbit out a hat after the election is called?

Ignatieff needs to create some real policy. Signing on to badly thought out private members bills on bilingualism from the NDP that contain the right "vision" but alienate the vast bulk of the country are not the right way to go.

June 09, 2010 9:58 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...

Geepers Issachar you commented on my previous post that the Liberals have to do something to make Canadians vote FOR them and then take issue with the idea that the Liberals should state what they stand for in very broad strokes before adding flesh to those bones during an election.

Make up your mind.

Policy is great but for it to be really effective it has to be in context. The Liberals have done policy announcements without any context for the last three elections and they are 1 for 3 in them.

It is time for a different approach.

As for focusing on the many foibles of the Conservative Party they would be idiots to stop. Before voters will consider an alternative they have to want to consider it first and what makes them do that is disgust, anger and a general dislike of the incumbant. The Liberals would be beyond dumb not to attempt to facilitate that by playing up the many acts of stupidy and questionable decisions of this government.

Jim, mark by words, before 2015 the Conservatives will sitting opposite a Liberal majority government.

There is a reason why the Liberal Party of Canada has been the most successful political party in Canada's history. It's opponents right it off at their peril.

June 09, 2010 10:49 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Ottlib, I admire your moxie, but I would venture a guess that without a change in our electoral system or a major f*ck up by the CPC, you will NEVER see the LPC for a majority government ever again.

They may win a minority in the next few years (if they don't merge)but inder our current system with so many parties, majorities are a thing of the past.

Take that to the bank!

June 09, 2010 11:14 PM  
Blogger Issachar said...

The broad strokes of a Liberal platform are obvious. Liberal values haven't changed radically in the last 20 years. The issue isn't the values, it's how to go about implementing them when values conflict. (ie. everyone wants balanced budgets, but no one wants taxes or spending cuts)

What the Liberals have done is small scale and sometimes contradictory policy announcements. Jean Chretien was successful for a number of reasons not the least of which was a fractured opposition, but he had the red book. Mr. Ignatieff needs to meat on the bones for "broad strokes".

The broad strokes of a Liberal platform are obvious. Liberal values haven't changed radically in the last 20 years. The issue isn't the values, it's how to go about implementing them when values conflict. (ie. everyone wants balanced budgets, but no one wants taxes or spending cuts)

What the Liberals have done is small scale and sometimes contradictory policy annoucements. Jean Chretien was successful for a number of reasons not the least of which was a fractured opposition, but he had the red book.

I don't see a contradiction between my two posts. An Ignatieff red book would be "something to vote for". Of course it has to be the right "something".

June 09, 2010 11:23 PM  

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