Friday, February 01, 2013

On disillusionment

John Warnock's response to last week's column (which focused on how anybody with an interest in Saskatchewan's future direction should be interested in acting on that interest through party involvement) is worth a read in its suggestions as to the policies the NDP should stand for. But Warnock looks to go thoroughly off the rails on at least two points.

First, there's his assertion about the content of the leadership debates so far:
The next election, like the last, will focus on the state of the economy, ownership and control of the resource industries, and general taxation policy. Brad Wall has made this clear. But these issues have been ignored in the NDP leadership debates.
To which I can only question: has Warnock actually watched a single one of the debates? Because they're fairly readily accessible - and I don't recall a single one where it would be accurate to describe Warnock's preferred slate of issues as being "ignored" past the end of any of Erin Weir's opening addresses. (And to be clear, Weir has been far from the only candidate raising such issues: some of the most noteworthy exchanges between all of the other candidates have also involved economic choices, tax policy and perspectives on public enterprise, with a range of choices including strong stances on Warnock's priorities along with more reserved positions.)

That wilful blindness leads into the other and more fundamental problem. By limiting his focus to perceived slights from past NDP governments (some fair, some not) instead of listening to what the leadership candidates are actually discussing, Warnock only sends the message that he has no interest in doing anything which might actually bring about the goals which he appears to share in common with many NDP members and leadership voters.

Fortunately, there isn't much evidence to suggest others are following Warnock down his path to nowhere. But it's well worth keeping in mind that even if they succeed in achieving their intended purpose, gratuitous demotivational rants serve only to limit the possibilities available to any political movement.

[Edit: fixed typo.]

25 comments:

  1. Steven Lloyd11:23 AM

    Well said Greg. I don't know how anyone could watch any of the debates and say, for example, the issue of "ownership and control of the resource industries" hasn't been addressed. You may disagree with what one or more of the candidate's has to say, but you have the full spectrum of positions on the issue from Erin Weir on the left to Cam Broten on the right.

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  3. To all,

    Warnock is approaching this in an emotional & confused manner. This has affected his analysis for the worse.

    IMO, deep down, he yearns for the populist & spiritual movement that Tommy Douglas forged into existence. That movement, for whatever reason, evolved into a technocratic administration...which, obviously does not impress Warnock.

    You all have pointed out the inaccuracy of his evaluations. It is a bit absurd to compare Roy Romanow to Ronald Reagan. And it is quite absurd to ignore the presence of an economic hawk like Erin Weir in this current leadership race.

    I would also point out that his evaluation of the electorate is the product of delusion. Warnock insists that the majority are committed social-democrats, unimpressed with some perceived doctrinal heresy. In fact, the electorate are humans...materialistic, short-sighted, fearful.

    Past NDP governments successfully directed those dark impulses towards the creation of a capitalist system that insured stability (social ownership), the safety of risk-takers (social insurance), and a raised standard of living (social programs).

    Covered by the short-term spoils of a resource boom, the Sask. Party wish to channel those impulses towards the creation of a rigged and unstable economic system...inspired by the economic anarchists who rule the contemporary United States.

    The tragedy here is that Sask. Party intellectuals do not realize that the United States achieved its superiority through massive state intervention, trade protectionism, and union generated growth of an educated & dynamic middle class. This resulted in the unimaginable military superiority & subsequent reserve-currency status that the U.S. now enjoys (and is apparently in the process of shedding),

    Warnock's insistence on superficial imitation of the past will leave the NDP incapable of recognizing, speaking-to, and prevailing-over...the challenges of today.

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