Sunday, April 23, 2006

Left Right Left

Political Staples points to an Ivison piece on the much talked about "move to the left" contemplated by the Liberals in their leadership campaign. One excerpt:
So if a union on the left is a non-starter, does it make sense for the Liberal
party to drift in that direction? One Liberal strategist points out that the
party lost the election mainly because it hemorrhaged votes to the Tories,
rather than to the NDP. The numbers seem to bear this out -- the Conservative
vote rose by 6.7 percentage points to 36.3%, almost the same amount the Liberal
vote dropped. NDP support rose just 1.8 points. Of the 30 seats the Liberals
lost, only five were won by the NDP.
This will likely prove a much repeated refrain in the months ahead, but it's pretty much all bollocks. While the fact that more votes were lost to the Tories than the NDP is irrefutable, it is far from clear that the voters who switched away from the Liberals to the Tories did so because they are inherently more "Conservative".

I would posit that these voters were sick of (a) actual/preceived Liberal arrogance, (b) actual/perceived Liberal corruption, (c) the failure of the Liberal party to conceive of and articulate new policies, (d) the growing gap between Liberal rhetoric and results in areas like environmental policy. In short, the votes swung to the Tories more because it was the only legitimate "government in waiting" than out of a rigid ideological bent.

The Liberals need not look too closely at the shifting tide of political numbers. That's a mug's game, and likely the main reason that the poll-driven Martin PMO failed so spectacularly. Put forward reasoned, comprehensive policies that resonate with Canadians - leaving the "left" or "right" analysis for the journalists. This talk of planting the party firmly in the "center left" of the spectrum will mean little to the average voter who look at the concrete proposals put forth. Do it correctly and the you'll drag the so-called "middle" along with you.


Blogger The Tiger said...

Probably true.

This also applies to parties on the right as well. (In other words, Mike Harris is much more electable than Ernie Eves.)

7:35 PM  
Blogger The Tiger said...

(And Ronald Reagan was more electable than George Bush. And Jean Chretien was more electable than Paul Martin.)

1:28 PM  

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