Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Left Hands Joined

No doubt that the increasing prospect of this is making this an even more attractive prospect to others:

A new poll, released as two more left-leaning candidates prepare to enter the Liberal leadership race, suggests a merger of the Liberal and New Democratic parties could be an electoral winner.

The Decima Research poll found that 25 per cent of Canadians believed the two parties should unite.

Voters who supported either of the two parties in last winter's election were even more receptive to the idea: 36 per cent of Liberals favoured a merger and 32 per cent of New Democrats.

Moreover, a Decima analysis of the 2006 election results suggests that had the two parties joined forces during last winter's election, they could have blocked the Conservatives from winning a minority government.

Before left-leaning voters start celebrating the possibility of eternal "progressive" government in Canada, they should take a few cautionary notes from the Conservative Party's example.

First: One plus one does not always equal two. Even if the Liberals and NDP are both left-leaning parties, certain factions within both parties will decamp because they just will not work together.

Fiscal and social conservatives in the Liberal Party, increasingly marginalized among their own kind, will likely go to the Conservative Party rather than share a tent with hot-blooded socialists and pro-abortion, anti-family activists.

Hardcore environmentalists will be just as unwilling to be swallowed up by Liberals perceived as all too friendly to big business polluters. The Green Party awaits their arrival.

Expect loudly proclaimed defections if such a merger comes to pass from both sides.

Second: You can throw a party together at the last minute, but don't expect it to win at the last minute either.

Those of us who were disappointed by the failure to win in 2004 after a short-lived mid-election rise in the polls collapsed, in retrospect, proved to be more grateful for what was achieved than resentful about what was not.

The Conservative Party had to run an accelerated merger and leadership process, and throw together a campaign team and platform from scratch. What normally takes two to three years had to be done in less than six months.

We were fortunate to have some of the shine come off Paul Martin's image, even though the full extent of Adscam and the Liberal Party's corruption had yet to be known.

A united left will likely not have the same benefit of scandals and a tired leader and government with heavy baggage going into the next election. And it will still face all the same organizational challenges.

Third: Don't run ahead of your own membership.

Most people will agree, eventually, that merger is a good idea. But they will not actively pursue it until they're convinced of the futility of the status quo. It took three elections and the near-collapse of both Alliance and PC Parties before hope and fear overcame inertia. The time was not ripe in 2000 when Reform tried to unite the right all on its own. Three years later, everyone wanted on, fast.

Finally: Remember that the media will not want this merger to fail. It will work long and hard for the consummation of its greatest hopes. One liberal party, indivisible, with patronage and entitlements for all.


Robert McClelland said...

You're as dumb as the person who wrote that article. Did you even read it? It says 25% of Canadians think it's a good idea. That means 75% think the idea blows.

Loyalist said...

Did you even read the article yourself?

Voters who supported either of the two parties in last winter's election were even more receptive to the idea: 36 per cent of Liberals favoured a merger and 32 per cent of New Democrats.

The idea of uniting the two parties has passed from the fringe to gaining significant support.

Look at the way the wind is blowing in the Liberal Party; right in your direction.

You should be pleased.

Anonymous said...

Let's get this straight. The liebrals have 103 seats the NDP have about thirty. They merge, they become the Government, without an election? How does that work?

wilson61 said...

Would Jack be leader of the merger? The GG would not hand Canada to a leaderless party.

wilson61 said...

You would bring the gov't down because it was keeping it's promises? Jack would agree even tho on this next budget he gets what he wants?

McGuire said...

Here's what i've written on the united left subject:

CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

A merging of the left of centre is inevitable. This does not necessarily mean a merger of the NDP and LPC; it could take place as a leaching of support from the NDP to the LPC, as voters come to realize just how extreme – in Canadian terms – the New Tory party under Harper is.

The New Tories are not at all a merger of the old Alliance/Reform party with the old Progressive Conservatives. It is a party which resulted from a takeover of the PCs by the Reform/Alliance party, aided by the sellout of the PC leader. As a result the policies and value systems of the New Tories are solidly rightwing Alliance/Reform ones. Most voters do not appreciate that yet, but policies do become laws and programs, and the results will be apparent to all within months.

The NDP is probably doomed to shrink substantially on the federal scene once the LPC has a new leader, and has finished a review of its own policies. I expect the LPC to move leftwards from Martin's amorphous Tory-like policies, and to have a harder edged demarcation of its policies as compared to the New Tories.

Layton asked voters to lend him their votes. Some did, and Harper took power as a result. Now progressive voters will consider the impact of a rightwing neocon government under Harper brought into power and propped up by Layton's colossal blunder, and lend their votes for mainstream Canadian values, by voting for a reinvigorated Liberal government.

Layton will then become another footnote on the Canadian political landscape, along with others who gambled and lost, such as Joe Clark.

Dave said...

I want some of whatever Curiosity is smoking. Presumably Joe Volpe will be the leader of this mythical Liberal master race .......