Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Island NDP Leadership Phone-In

Found this at They Hate Us For Our Freedoms: Link.
Island NDP leadership phone-in on Eastlink

Dean Constable and Mike DesRoches will appear on Eastlink Television tonight, where they will discuss the leadership and direction of the Island New Democrats with Wayne Thibodeau, Chief Political Reporter for The Guardian. They will also take calls from viewers. You can watch throughout PEI and Nova Scotia, and the toll-free number, 1-877-788-5999, is good throughout PEI.
What I'm sure they won't be expecting are hard questions from literate people armed with statistics and a keen ear for logical fallacies and platitudes. Have you ever tried to debate an NDP party loyalist? It's like talking to a little man in a box who thinks no one comes to visit because his furniture isn't arranged in the optimal way, but has no idea exactly who it is he wants to come to his house or why, or why they go to visit his neighbours instead.

The party blames its utter failure on the backward nature of Island politics and voters, and get to take satisfaction of a colony of monks who live near the simple folk, who think they know better then the poor famers and labourers, but who don't care to hear about their problems or change their ways to suit what the population might really be wanting.

Take the last by-election, they couldn't even be bothered to find a candidate from the riding to even run. If they even bought a single campaign sign for the race it will have meant that the couple of dozen votes it did get were probably the most costly exercise in also-ranism in years.

The dirty little secret of the NDP party is that it's populated by school teachers and artists wh odo quite well from the generous social democratic state we have, yet they try and speak the language of radical reform and idealism. Populist ideals were a powerful force when espoused by depression-era farmers, no so much when it comes from comfortably middle-class people who largely aren't living at the mercy of the market economy.

Everyone you talk to knows that politics on PEI is a rotten little game of connections and favours, and to see the one party that isn't totally mired in this game be so ineffective is sadder than anything else, because they like to say they know better. But what is more sueful to an entrenched system than a limp, emasculated opposition that siphons off the energy of real reform?

By al - 10:29 a.m. |

Entertaining. :)

I don't disagree that the NDP suffers from some of the problems you mention. However, you engage in some stereotypes, which are inaccurate, and taint the way people perceive the party and its members. This isn't a problem with so-called "backwardness" of Islanders (your words, not mine), and I don't know of an NDPer that thinks so. The problem is one of perception, and it is the party's to overcome. We know that people are not unreceptive to progressive policy, otherwise Liberals wouldn't campaign like leftists.

The challenge for the next leader will be to reach out and connect with people, with policies and leadership that mean something to them.
It's sentiment I've definitely heard in many a conversation, but conflating it directly with the party perhaps isn't fiar, but the thought among the would-be progressives on PEI does exist, even if the perception of it is overblown. Even if it's just perception, no one seems to be engaging that perception.

And handwringing about the liberals is ZZZZZZZZzzz.... inducing. If they campaign like leftists and win, why not campaign like them? I.e., hard and smart and with the intent to win?
Even if it's just perception, no one seems to be engaging that perception.

Very true. And I don't deny that the elitist attitude, "Why don't the stupid peasants understand that we have all the answers," is all too common amongst self-described "progressives." Of course, not all "progressives" are NDPers.

That said, the way forward is not to get defensive and say Hey, we're not really like that. It's a matter of putting our quality people and policies front and centre, make sure our message gets out.

And handwringing about the liberals is ZZZZZZZZzzz.... inducing.

Actually, my point was only that there is sizeable number of people who are willing to vote left. I agree 100% that if you're in this, you have to play to win.

IMO, the one of the biggest problems the NDP suffers from, strategy wise, is having no ability to get out the vote (e.g. drives to the polls).
I'm not going as far as this, but here's a broader critique from a conservative perspective: The Left's Dogma: Holy Inquisition Against Conservatives
"What I'm sure they won't be expecting are hard questions from literate people armed with statistics and a keen ear for logical fallacies and platitudes..."

Perhaps not, but that doesn't detract from their ability to engage such questions. Dean and Mike are both very able as are a number of we NDP loyalists. By all means, send off a note to the leader when elected to discuss policy. And feel free to punch holes in any argument I present at my blog, georgejmarshallndp.blogspot.com. I love a good debate and if it helps make this a better country in any small part, please speak up.
Wow, I don't even know where to begin.

I'll completely ignore your total generalization of "NDP loyalists" in that first paragraph. Maybe you're basing this on those few left wing people affiliated with the party like Leo Broderick, I'm not sure.

I don't think the NDP blames its failures on the backward nature of Island voters. The fact is that the NDP still has a stigma around it that people are afraid of, much like the Conservatives were considered "too right wing" to run the country in the last federal election, the NDP are viewed by many as a bunch of socialist nutjobs. Evntually that will change, if you told most people a year ago that Stephen Harper would be Prime Minister, they'd have looked at you like you were crazy, times change. I know provincial and federal politics are two completely different relms, but I'm just using that as an example.

Also, since when is it a "dirty little secret" that the NDP is made up of teachers and artists who "do quite well from the generous social democratic state that we have"? I'm pretty sure that's common knowledge to anyone who knows ANYTHING about politics in PEI, or the party. And why is it a bad thing to have these "middle class" people fighting for those less fortunate, who might otherwise not have a voice.

I don't even know where you're going with that last comment. But calling the NDP a "limp, emasculated opposion that siphons off the energy of real reform" is ridiculous. First of all, they don't even have a seat in the legislature, so I don't see how you can say that. Second of all, comments like that are exactly what I was talking about when I started this rant, and mentioned the stigma that was attached to the party. Eventually, once people start realizing that the NDP ARE a real option for the opposition, we can get out of the mindset that PEI is a two party system, and we may actually see some changes on this Island.
Wow! The original post had me thinking this is about Saskatchewan politics, cuz I'll tell you, talking to some of the conservative NDP loyalists is more difficult than talking to Conservatives when it comes to progressive ideas!
the NDP is made up of teachers and artists

Funny, I can't think of a single NDP teacher just now.

Artists? Perhaps a few. One that comes immediately to mind is Brian Pollard. Who else? Dean Constable is a behind-the scenes theatre guy, I guess that kind of counts.

The suggestion that artists "do quite well" sucking from ample teat of the PEI Arts Council is a laff, that's why most of them have 2nd and 3rd jobs (e.g. Brian's a taxi driver most of the week).
way to back down completly from your point when challenged.
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