Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Lib-NDP Fratricide

So Jason Cherniak is slamming the NDP for doing what the Liberals could not - win seats two elections running:
I know a lot of people who vote or consider voting for the NDP. They are mostly good, idealistic people who are trying to improve the world. The problem is that they have been siphonned off from the rest of politics.
See, in Mr. Cherniak's world there are only two parties who qualify as real politics, and really only one party you should vote for. Which makes this statement kind of funny:
The NDP response to this last election has finally put me over the top. The joyous reacting to less than 10% of the seats was embarrassing. The positive reaction to a Conservative government was unprincipled. Now, the Stalinistic removal of a life-long member of the party for advocating strategic voting has proven that the extremists really are in charge.
See, Jason, when you're arguing that only one party should ever be in charge of government, it's not us who are Stalinist.
I do not want the NDP to merge with the Liberals because the NDP has too many extremists who I would rather not work with.
So why should we want to work with you, Jason? You mock us, call us worthless, and assume that our votes are yours by divine right, and you wonder why some of us might be turned off by your arrogance?
I do, however, think it is time for reasonable NDP supporters to reconsider what their political goal is. There are certainly enough of them to help us Liberals mend some of our worst ways.
See, and I think it's time for actual progressives (read: Not Jason Cherniak) to look around with open eyes for once. The Liberals have never done anything progressive without an NDP knife to their throats. So cut out the middle man and put the NDP in charge.

To respond to Cherniak's anecdotes with some of my own, let me just say that while I was willing to consider strategic voting at the beginning of the election campaign, the insane arrogance of every single Liberal I spoke to when I told them I usually voted NDP made it impossible for me to stomach a Liberal vote. From Paul Martin on down, every single Liberal I saw on television or spoke with personally acted as if my vote for Paul Dewar was an act of theft.

My vote doesn't belong to the Liberal Party, Paul Martin, any of his successors, or Jason Cherniak. My vote is mine, and I used it to get an actual progressive elected. If Mr. Cherniak is upset that NDP voters were trying to do that all across the country, then he needs to reconsider his politics.

1 comment:

CuriositykilledTheCat said...

This is a comment I posted on a Liberal blog; you might enjoy it.

Go left, young man!
Or, asymmetric strategic voting and its dire consequences ...


I was wondering whether Liberals would wake up to the fact that the NDP under Layton has far, far more credibility among many voters than it had under more recent leaders. His personal credibility outstrips the willingness of voters as of now to vote for his party. This could change, if the Liberals do not change.

Jack Layton ran a very astute campaign, given that his party stood no chance of becoming the government, and the attacks from Liberals for voters to vote strategically. Unfortunately for Liberals, voting strategically will not work every time – voters will balk at simply voting for Liberals in order to keep some other party out of power. There is no longer any need to call for strategic voting on the right wing, though – a very significant change.

Voters need to vote for something, not just against something.

Harper has done one remarkable thing: negotiated the amalgamation of two parties on the right wing spectrum of Canadian politics. In so doing, he effectively caused the demise of the old Progressive Conservative Party, and ended up in full possession of the centre-right political space.

On the centre-left, we have the Liberals and NDPers. The logical thing to expect is a merger – not takeover! – of the Liberal and NDP parties, to form a new party – let’s call it the Liberal Democratic Party, or Democrats for short.

To do so would mean the Democrats would have to fuse the social policies of the old Liberals with those of the NDP, to arrive at a centre-left mix.

On the economic front, the fusion would result in a centre-left set of policies, which would incorporate many of the worker-protection policies found in European parties.

I could see an agreement to incorporate individual economic rights in the next round of constitutional amendments; protection of union rights; policies designed to educate young people as a right; protection of the aged and others falling between the cracks, accompanied by a commitment to capitalism. Tony Blair moved his party to the centre; Jack Layton could easily do so.

Such a merger, resulting in the Democrat Party, would give voters a solid choice: the centre-right of the new Tories under Harper (similar to the Republicans), and the centre-left Democrats (similar to some European parties).

The voters in Quebec would be faced with three choices: two national ones and a local separatist movement. I would expect the Bloc’s support to drop to around 35% with the other 2 parties sharing the balance, but the Democrats taking the lion’s share.