Thursday, August 20, 2015

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Alex Munter discusses the connection between public health and economic development, along with the need to take a far longer-term view of both. And PressProgress points out Matthew Stanbrook's message (PDF) that the Cons are undermining Canada's medical system through malign neglect.

- Doreen Nichol comments on the relationship between low-wage, precarious work and food insecurity. Michal Rozworski points out how the NDP's plan for a $15 federal minimum wage will have an impact far beyond the people who receive that wage directly, while James Armstrong reports that there's serious reason to question whether the Libs' apparent counteroffer to workers (limited to the ability to request flexible schedules) would help anything at all.

- Andrew Coyne notes in order to consider Stephen Harper's continued spin on the Mike Duffy payoff to be true, one would have to conclude that his staff was systematically lying to him at every opportunity. And Jeffrey Simpson examines just a few of the laughable claims being made by the Cons.

- Christopher Waddell sees the Cons' defining "lying piece of shit" moment as the natural outcome of the stage-management of events to overpower reporters and their questions. And Aaron Wherry raises the question of whether we'd be better served as an electorate if our campaigns were less scripted.

- Finally, George Monbiot takes Labour's leadership race as an opportunity to discuss why progressive parties and candidates need to articulate and defend their own values rather than reinforcing opposing viewpoints:
Across three decades New Labour strategists have overlooked a crucial reality: politicians reinforce the values they espouse. The harder you try to win by adopting your opponents’ values, the more you legitimise and promote them, making your task – and that of your successors – more difficult. Tony Blair won three elections, but in doing so he made future Labour victories less likely. By adopting conservative values, conservative framing and conservative language, he shifted the nation to the right, even when he pursued leftwing policies such as the minimum wage, tax credits and freedom of information. You can sustain policies without values for a while but then, like plants without soil, the movement wilts and dies.
Rebuilding a political movement means espousing what is desirable, then finding ways to make it feasible. The hopeless realists propose the opposite. They assemble a threadbare list of policies they consider feasible, then seek to persuade us that this package is desirable. If they retain core values, they’ve become so muddled by tacking and triangulation as to be almost indecipherable.

So great has the damage been to a party lost for 21 years in Blair’s Bermuda triangulation that it might take many years until it becomes electable again. That is a frightening prospect, but the longer Labour keeps repeating the same mistakes – reinforcing the values it should be contesting – the further to the right it will push the nation, and the more remote its chances of election will become.

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