Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Mulcair mojo [updated]

Well, I'll be damned. When was the last time a shadow cabinet shuffle in the federal NDP made the national news? I have a sneaking suspicion the answer to that question is 'never.'

[Update: The Macleans interview this week is with Dawn Black, there's a big story in the Globe and Mail this morning, and the National Post is leading their election speculation story with the headline "NDP demands new government direction" (with the Bloc in paragraph seven and the Liberals in paragraph eight). I think we have a trend, folks.]

[October 1 update: From the Globe and Mail, more on Mulcair and the NDP. Hat tip to my fellow oxymoron at Accidental Deliberations.]

23 comments:

Ben said...

I'm guessing that the media are guessing that if there's an election, it's possible that this team might end up in Stornaway...

Jaker said...

All of them Ben? That would be awful cosy. ;)

Ben said...

They're socialists, right? Communitarians, all -- tight-knit bonds. :-)

Josh Gould said...

Well, the Liberals were reduced to third-party status in Manitoba and Sask and are on a downward trajectory in NS (not least because no one really has any idea what the Liberals stand for anymore).

All it would take would be a swing in Ontario, giving the NDP about an additional 10% of the vote, and we'd have a veritable three-party system nationally.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Josh,

Um...we have a three-party system now! Or, arguably, a four- or five-party one.

Candace said...

Actually, if I recall the last election, my riding at least had about 12 parties. Although I'm guessing that Josh meant three "national" or "almost national" (as in seats in all or most provinces) parties.

And you're probably right about the "never," IP.

Josh Gould said...

Well, what I meant was a system where three parties aer serious contenders for power rather than two, which is pretty much the situation in NS now... though the Liberals are weakest.

janfromthebruce said...

Sweet~!
Progressives need to unite under one banner.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Jan,

Ugh ugh ugh, no no NO. It was a bad idea when the Liberals suggested it, and it was a bad idea when Jame Heath suggested it, too. Are you saying that we should abandon our commitment to electoral reform as soon as we're their idea of successful? You're talking about one of the only scenarios that would see me leave the party.

And that goes for Josh, too, who's talking about "serious contenders for power" as if we didn't favour a system in which coalition governments were the norm. Come on, guys.

Ryan said...

The problem with the "progressives uniting under one banner" idea is that Liberals just call for progressives to come to their party. They would never approve a separate "left" party because half of them are right-wingers with a red logo. I think most people still think that the Liberals are still the party of Trudeau, when in fact, they have cut social spending in the last decade like any conservative party. I know most people vote Liberal because they see them as centrist or centre-left, but their policies are far-removed from the days of old (when they stole NDP ideas and legislation all the time, by the way).

Josh Gould said...

And that goes for Josh, too, who's talking about "serious contenders for power" as if we didn't favour a system in which coalition governments were the norm. Come on, guys.

You've misinterpreted me!

I simply want the NDP to be *leading* these coalitions, rather than serving as a perpetual junior partner. Let the Liberals serve in that capacity! :)

Ryan said...

Come to think of it, I'm pretty suspicious of this press coverage. From this article, I think that Tom Flanagan and the rest of the Conservatives agree with many Liberals, in that they believe that the NDP will split the vote with the Liberals.

http://www.rbcinvest.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/
ArticleNews/PEstory/LAC/20070917/COMARTIN17/
Headlines/headdex/headdexComment/2/2/8/

So... I think that the far-right National Post et all might agree with Mr Flanagan, and home the NDP will split the vote. I don't agree, but that might be the tactic.

Summitcrazy said...

And even more good news for the NDP in Quebec as now their is a movement from the Quebec Liberals to turf Stephane Dion! And as a result disgruntled liberals will continue to blead to the NDP and unfortunetly to the Conservatives. This is the same sort of conditions that allowed the NDP in Nova Scotia to do well when the Liberals started to have serious problems in finding a strong leader!

Simon said...

I wonder how Thomas Mulcair's sudden promotion to deputy leader is being received within the NDP caucus, however. You often don't hear about any serious infighting in the NDP caucus in part because everybody is genuinely committed to more important goals of social change, but also in part because they're so small that it's just irrational and petty to get involved in that stuff.

Regardless, theses are politicians and they do have egos and most of them have been around the party a long time. All of a sudden, they have a big name, former Liberal from Montreal as their deputy leader. I wonder how that rubs people like Judy Wasylecia-Leis.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Ryan,

Huh? I don't get what that issue could have to do with increased press coverage for the party, sorry.

Simon,

Actually, the party has been through a period of smarting egos like that after the last leadership race--veteran MP Bill Blaikie wanted to take the party in one direction, and then Toronto city councillor Jack Layton wanted to take it in a different one, and the guy who'd never even run federally was the guy who ended up winning. This was awfully hard on Blaikie, who had really worked hard to win the leadership, especially since the new leader didn't even win a seat until much later. If that didn't splinter the party into warring ego-camps, this won't, either.

Much more likely, I think, is that people are simply going to be wary of Mulcair's social democratic cred--and that goes for both MPs and ordinary party members. Which only makes sense, I think. He may be a great guy and a terrific politician, but if there are major ideological differences between him and the rest of the caucus/party membership, that's going to cause problems.

Ryan said...

I think the National Post might believe that Flanagan's assessment is true, therefore they want to get the word out on the NDP in hopes to "split" the left vote.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Ryan,

Ah. I don't believe that there is a conspiracy among journalists to manipulate electoral outcomes, so it didn't even occur to me that you might mean that. Anyway, nah, don't buy it.

Ryan said...

I'm not saying it's a conspiracy among journalists. I'm just saying that it's possible that could have something to do with the National Post's willingness to print NDP stories as of late. The editorial line of that paper especially is notoriously conservative, so I am simply suspicious as to why they are suddenly printing NDP stories after virtually ignoring them before. Like I said, regardless I think it's going to be good for the NDP since I don't buy the left-splitting argument anyway.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Ryan,

The NDP gets the real social democrats and some of the socialists, the Liberals get most of the centrist vote, and the swing vote, well, swings. That's been true for a while, and that swing vote is all that is meant by "splitting the left." This time around is no different, so even if the National Post were out to manipulate people's minds against the NDP, it would be no different from last time, or the time before.

Anyway, I don't think journalists are that calculated. Good journalists are motivated by telling good stories and informing the public, and bad journalists are motivated by laziness, but unless you include the writers of editorials, pretty much none of them are motivated by trying to swing public opinion over to the opinions they personally hold.

Ryan said...

I'm not saying it has anything to do with journalists at all. Journalists merely submit the stories. The Post chooses which ones to print, and the Asper family has been known to have tight controls over the stories printed in that paper (same thing with SunWest Media). Nor do I think it has to do with hurting the NDP. I think it has to do with an intention of hurting the Liberals by presenting the NDP as the alternative to centre-left voters to "split the vote" as Tom Flanagan suggested in his book I linked earlier. Look, I'm not into conspiracies. I'm also not suggesting that I think this is 100% the case, but it wouldn't surprise me. I just know that the Post, and the vast majority of papers in the country don't have a desire to see the NDP succeed and have omitted them from the picture countless times before to portray them as "irrelevant."

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Ryan,

I just know that the Post, and the vast majority of papers in the country don't have a desire to see the NDP succeed

This is where we're disagreeing. I don't believe that the Post or any other news organization in this country cares much at all about whether or not the NDP succeeds, one way or the other. Journalists and their editors pick and choose stories based on whether or not they make for interesting narratives. And apparently, we've suddenly become an interesting narrative. (I'm not complaining.)

Ryan said...

Hmmm, well I suppose you probably don't read the Calgary Sun then ;)

Neil MvcKenty said...

I ran into Tom Mulcair at a social meeting the other evening in Montreal.
In my view he's not leadership material (as a Globe columnist suggests this morning.)
Let me tell you, folks, there's less there than meets the eye.