Monday, April 16, 2007

Winners and losers

Angelo Persichilli highlights why the much-discussed Lib/Green attempt to squeeze out the NDP is likely to backfire (note: click on the column link):
The Liberal leader's decision not to run a Liberal candidate in the riding of Nova Scotia in order to support Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, is first of all, a gift to NDP Leader Jack Layton (Toronto-Danforth, Ont.) and another nail in the political coffin of Dion (Saint-Laurent-Cartierville, Que.).

The agreement means he's abdicating the duty of his party to defeat Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay (Central Nova, N.S.). It's a concession of defeat even before the vote.

This is unheard of in the history of a national political organization. Basically Dion is telling Liberals, "Sorry folks, we cannot win this one, let others try."...

Ms. May doesn't understand that there's no "green electorate." There are disgruntled voters unhappy with the conventional parties and looking for a new leadership. Most of them are coming exactly from the Liberal Party. Through her agreement with Dion, she's telling disgruntled Liberals–who in the last polls most likely appeared under the "Green Party" support and did not like Dion's leadership, to go and vote for Dion...

The agreement in Central Nova is nothing but a naïve attempt of desperate people who believe they can fool people and reach the top through short cuts and expediency.

There is a good chance that most of the people that thought to go to the Green Party in search for a new leadership, are now having second thoughts and, I'm sure, the name Jack Layton is often coming up in their minds.
Of course, the Libs and Greens who aren't angry about the deal are spinning non-stop trying to claim that they've now managed to re-draw the political lines as Lib/Green against Con/NDP (the latter based of course primarily on a combination of sheer conjecture and a "repeat a lie until it's believed" strategy). But the reality is something else entirely - and the sheer implausibility of the Lib/Green lie looks to play right into the NDP's hands.

After all, the NDP has always been a distinct third national party which isn't willing to be a subsidiary of either of the Libs or Cons. And the NDP can clearly claim a stronger position as the more committed opposition against the Cons based on its continued status as the only party in Parliament not to prop the Cons up on a confidence measure - not to mention the obvious fungibility of Lib and Con MPs in the game of floor-crossing musical chairs over the past few years.

As a result, nobody with even the slightest bit of political knowledge has reason to buy into the Lib/Green spin. And those with even a basic understanding of the facts will only be likely to lose trust in the two parties who can't make an honest argument against the third.

As it stands, the awkward Red Green alliance is thus only strengthening the NDP's position in comparison to both the Libs as an alternative to the Cons, and the Greens as an alternative to politics as usual. And Stephane Dion's cries of "unfair" will seem even more hollow when the Libs' own actions are the cause of their further slide.

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