Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Martin Papillon offers up some lessons for the NDP in Francois Hollande's French presidential victory:
Being ideological does not have to mean being radical. It means anchoring your platform in a clear, coherent set of ideas that will resonate with the electorate, including more centrist voters who could lean your way. Under the current political climate in Canada, there is little risk for the NDP in campaigning on a progressive platform, as long as it is perceived as the main, credible, alternative to the Conservatives.

The socialists under Hollande used this approach with great success. Listening to some of his key speeches, it was striking to note the prominence of classic progressive themes such as equality, social justice, and solidarity. The key, of course, is how one deploys these foundational ideas. Hollande’s progressive discourse was tied to concrete themes that resonated with the French electorate. When socialists spoke about social justice, it was in reference to the growing gap between the well-heeled elite and the middle class. This was a gap that Sarkozy, nicknamed “president bling-bling,” embodied for many French.

Hollande was not afraid to ruffle some feathers, either. He demonized the greed of a “faceless” financial sector and challenged his future European allies to privilege economic recovery over austerity measures. Hollande campaigned on themes that made sense to the middle class. This is why Mulcair is on the right track with his approach to the environment and the oil sands. Development may be good, he has suggested, but it comes with a cost. Let’s be honest and make sure we don’t simply pass on this cost to future generations.
- Meanwhile, Tim Harper rightly notes that despite some highly-coordinated faux outrage from the Cons and their fellow corporate shills, it's Mulcair who occupies the reasonable ground as the NDP and Cons debate whether to make all other Canadian interests subordinate to the whims of the oil patch.

- Jim Stanford points out out that the Cons are proudly taking credit for pushing jobs toward disposable temporary foreign workers rather than developing sustainable industries in Canada.

- All of which goes a long way toward explaining the Cons' war on brains. But fortunately, they haven't been able to shut down intelligent discussion just yet - as exemplified by Charmaine Borg's effort to take the lead in studying the privacy implications of social media.

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