Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Tiger Talks Tactics

Forgive the unnecessary alliteration... Head is still "bumping" after an unexpected wild one through the Turf ("if you don't love the Turf, you don't love pubs"), Chelsea v. Manchester United (Tiago unexpectedly scores the prettiest of the year), King's Arms ("everyone in the entire city goes here every night"), and then Balliol's Holywell Manor (whose history begins in the Doomsday book!) last night after discovering that Shakespeare sold out (tickets Thursday). Excellent evening all around - only at Oxford would you find yourself asked about the upcoming B.C. Referendum on Proportional Representation by an Aussie. Classic. Lots of new Dan Bern discovered as well. How have I not heard of this guy before?

Anyway, an election now seems inevitable. Does Paul Martin wake up this morning imagining that he still might pull through to the end of Gomery on the basis of a tied vote? Overwhelmingly, you get the sense of a Government clinging to power up until the end of the allowed 5 year Parliamentary window. Not good. Bob Rae and Glen Clark can attest to the ultimate success of that sort of plan.

So, the question becomes one of strategy. Scharma seems to have awoken at the ungodly hour of 6:57AM to post suggestions for the CPC's ultimate campaign strategy. Focus on the positives, essentially. He's right. Harper needs to run on a straight-up, simplified campaign of few pledges. Hammer home a few key priorities relentlessly, and find an effective one/two-line talking point rebuttal to the "secret agenda" attack and repeat ad nauseum. And no speculation as to the end result/possible composition of the House before the night of the polls.

The democratic reform/renewal plank will be crucial. It is how Harper implicitly draws attention to the scandal-plagued years of Liberal management without appearing overly negative. Kinsella's proposal for an advertisement is a good one, and the Tories should resist the temptation to run negative spots about waste and corruption. The issue is already paramount and needs no emphasis.

This is how we will fix the mess in Ottawa, he says. "What mess" goes without saying...


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