Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Political strategy and Canada’s NDP

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  • Rich of Observationz,

    Canadian politics. If you could combine that with data-based political analysis, you could market it as a cure for insomnia.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    But besides:

    optimistic self-images about “hard work” is textbook political strategy, employed by left and right parties alike

    See also "hard working keeeewwwees".

    It's a political narrative that came from the right and is all about dividing the people you want to vote for you from an Other, who are condemned as lazy, dishonest, violent, abusive, etc. Depending on the precise alignment, the Other might include beneficiaries, drug users, immigrants, indigenous people, Muslims or atheists. The choice of Other doesn't matter, it's about giving people someone to hate, fear and require the government to protect them from.

    A radical narrative (such as Corbyn may be moving towards) rejects this in favour of an inclusive approach that recognises that real problems stem from the crisis of capitalism, not from people who dress or behave differently. Articulate strongly enough (see Syriza) and one might just get elected. (The other option is the way UK Labour got elected in 1973, which was to fuck stuff up badly enough for the government that people were forced to vote them in just get the lights back on. Unfortunately, once elected, they fumbled it).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    So then, on this basis, would you say that if they do lose they are using the wrong tactics? Or is it that if they do lose their policies were too close to Corbyn's (the only major difference in the 4 points that I can see is Corbyn called on freezing small business taxes while NDP want to cut them)?

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/03/canada-election-parliament-stephen-harper

    Because it is first past the post it is all in the riding results.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    The choice of Other doesn't matter, it's about giving people someone to hate, fear and require the government to protect them from.

    On the other side of the fence, Shock Doctrinists are an obvious target. But they tend to have the sort of fat chequebooks at their disposal - and hence a much louder megaphone - that the 'Other' don't.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    The Canadian left may not get everything it wants, but it will get a lot of things it wants. That’s what victory looks like in a modern democracy.

    So a whole bunch of my best friends are lefty Canadians. What they want is 'shot of Stephen Harper'. I've never heard any of them mention the opposition parties. Their main issues are environment, inequality, and women's rights, but it's all "Harper is doing it wrong", not who might be going to do it right.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    enact stridently left policy on other issues that matter to the left.

    Because poverty is something only the strident could possibly bother their little heads with?
    Clever politics isn’t quite so patronising towards its base :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2109 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    I'm curious as to whether this theory applies as well to the right. Don Brash was no centrist, yet he was at least partially successful in kicking the early 2000s National Party out of electoral doldrums, and while he didn't quite get over the line, he did enough damage to Act to reduce their political clout, and solidify National's overwhelming dominance of the right. Then the mistakes Labour made in responding to that resurgence lost them Maori support, and once Brash had left the scene, that lost support in the Maori Party could safely ally with National . It was almost a five year game of bad cop, good cop, assuming it was deliberate.

    It's not a safe bet to say a right wing politician is too crazy to be electable. I'm not up to play with Trump's likelihood of presidential success, but he's certainly eating the other Republicans' lunch.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Ieuan, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Are you kidding? Toronto mayoral politics alone are awesome. Rob Ford doesn't even make the top five.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Ieuan,

    But then, he was taking enough drugs to overcome all need for sleep...

    (yeh, I suspect Rich was actually being a little facetious.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1930 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Ahh yes, Canada, the other country that had a viable Social Credit movement

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1025 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to B Jones,

    I’m curious as to whether this theory applies as well to the right. Don Brash was no centrist, yet he was at least partially successful in kicking the early 2000s National Party out of electoral doldrums, and while he didn’t quite get over the line, he did enough damage to Act to reduce their political clout, and solidify National’s overwhelming dominance of the right. Then the mistakes Labour made in responding to that resurgence lost them Maori support, and once Brash had left the scene, that lost support in the Maori Party could safely ally with National . It was almost a five year game of bad cop, good cop, assuming it was deliberate.

    I sometimes wonder if NZ Labour attempted the same wedge politics thing with 'Chinese house buyers'.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    They might have been trying to do something similar, but it's not the same for them. You need something populist but convincingly left-flavoured - it looks insincere if it's not been part of your recent political history. Labour would need to cannibalise the Greens in the same way that Brash ate into Act's support. I'm not sure that's possible or a good idea. Certainly the long term outcome of the Brash effort has been bad for the racist right, who no longer have a powerful political advocate.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to B Jones,

    Certainly the long term outcome of the Brash effort has been bad for the racist right, who no longer have a powerful political advocate.

    Brash always dissembled when pressed to substantiate the racist implications of the Orewa speech. Hardly surprising once it was revealed that Michael Bassett was the author. As the recent Chinese surnames fiasco has demonstrated, the Labour Party continues to attract cynical opportunists.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/9/pope-francis-bernie-sanders-and-the-moral-imperative-of-systemic-change.html

    I'm with Corbyn, Sanders and the Pope. We need systemic change and bugger the centre.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Cecelia,

    bugger the centre.

    Arguably, the centre is already buggered...bring on the change!

    "All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come."

    Victor Hugo.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Cecelia,

    We need systemic change and bugger the centre.

    I'm hoping enough of us will get on this train :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2109 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Cecelia,

    I’m with Corbyn, Sanders and the Pope. We need systemic change and bugger the centre.

    A lot of us would agree. But some incredibly strong forces would be needed to pull it off – and a lot of these forces are too big to be done through the political system. Like an act of Murphy’s Law such as a housing bubble burst.

    Then again, someone might be able to invent a device that will cause every fish tank in the country to overflow.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    See also "hard working keeeewwwees".

    It's a political narrative that came from the right and is all about dividing the people you want to vote for you from an Other, who are condemned as lazy, dishonest, violent, abusive, etc

    I've been mulling over this. I didn't like it when Shearer, then Cunliffe and now Little started mouthing "hard-working New Zealanders". This post has finally made me realise why that ghastly expression is used.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Cecelia,

    I’ve been mulling over this. I didn’t like it when Shearer, then Cunliffe and now Little started mouthing “hard-working New Zealanders”. This post has finally made me realise why that ghastly expression is used.

    It's somehow related to 'Aussie battler' rhetoric. John Howard milked it for all it was worth.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    "Hard-working" could signal a different sort of other, though - those who are wealthy enough not to need a proper job. It depends on the context of course - if you use the term when you're talking about exploitative businesses it means something very different than when you're talking about people being on the dpb for however many years. I haven't analysed what's actually been said, but it's got potential either way.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Rob's unrepentant Blairism continues to believe in the tooth fairy - that the ideological state apparatuses of neoliberal capitalism will give the left a fair suck of the sav if we just get the tone right, if we are just a bit reasonable, if we just carefully tailor the appeal to hard working New Zealanders.

    It's total bullshit dude. The gilded age is back, complete with the need to fight capitalism by every means at our disposal, no more appeasing the unappeasable greed of the boss class.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Locke,

    Rob, the only example you give of a "centrist" NDP policy is lowering business taxes. The government supporting innovation is a left policy, not a centrist one, as you claim. The government helping to get more manufacturing jobs is favouring the working class, not the "middle class", as you claim. The left is not against "slick messaging", as you claim. By the way, Corbyn's policy to raise the corporate tax rate in Britain would still put in below that in National's centre-right New Zealand.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2014 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac, in reply to Cecelia,

    Not to mention working families trotted out daily by Labor on this side of the pond while they were still in.

    So, if you can't work, fuck off? If you're not living in a family unit (I don't), ditto?

    Yeah, I get appealing to the core subscriber base; the part these parties seem to fail at is the "...not at the cost of alienating chunks of our non-core support" c.f. evil Chinese property owners.

    I think it's best to shut up about demographical stereotypes and just focus on actual policies. We don't actually need to be told in so many words that cutting payroll tax on companies with less than 6 employees will benefit small business owners. Saying that the tax change will help small businesses hire additional staff and reduce compliance costs would do nicely.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    So how has the NDP claim the middle been going? http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34431009

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Landslide to the liberals, with what looks like a clear majority. Compared to seats held in the last election the Conservatives will have about 60% of the seats they had, NDP will have about 35% of the seats they had. If this was, as Rob suggested a month ago, the NDP carefully targeting the middle of the road as a winning strategy, they appear to be roadkill as a result.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

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