It’s been a while since the last post. I’ll get to the reasons for that shortly, but I first want to say thanks, an enormous thanks, for the response to that last piece. It had over 12,000 views, which I’m told is a good number for a blog post.
It’s a good number for other reasons, not the least of which is the interest it shows in the future of BC’s traditional centre left party.
If comments are any judge, the BCNDP faces a tough few years as it gets back on track. Aside from the rotten campaign, which few seem interested in defending, the party itself seems tired and defeated with few good ideas and an antiquated understanding of the way to get them across to ordinary citizens.
But more than that, like the left in general, the BCNDP seems unable to grasp the implications of the important and rapid social and economic changes that have taken place in the last two or three decades.
For example economic agreements – starting but not ending with ‘free trade’ -eliminated the possibility of low skilled living wage jobs at the same time as new work practices and organization mitigated against union organizing.
The result of these and other changes in BC with its trade dependent economy is a very real decline in the middle class, growing poverty and a small and growing pocket of extreme wealth.
This kind of transformation was inevitably greeted within the NDP with calls to block trade agreements (TILMA anyone) and increase union protection, policies that are stop gap at best and counter-productive at their worst as employers counter with capital strikes and other wait ‘em out strategies.
Those agreements and work arrangements aren’t going anywhere fast. The same is true of hundreds of other social and economic changes that challenge the goal of a better life for all, not just the few.
Tilting at windmills too often seems to be our slogan. No issue is too small, no windmill too quaint for the BC NDP to attack. A BC NDP platform is generally easy to identify. It’s thick, it’s unreadable and, taken as a whole, it’s of little interest to the majority of voters.
I wrote the last post because I believed that despite everything that’s wrong with the BCNDP my province desperately needed a change of government and desperately needed an NDP government that would pay attention to the plight of the middle class, would seek to at least slow growing inequality and would start to deal with our dependence on a carbon culture.
That is not to be because of the sheer incompetence of the BC NDP campaign. That they could blow such an insurmountable lead still seems surreal to me. And it still makes my blood boil.
Out of government it will be harder to change the BCNDP into a winning machine. But that or building a new better machine is what must happen.
The right is feeling its oats right now. But a quick look shows a lot of problems. Campaign promises are unlikely to be kept. They have cut way past the bone and now they are cutting again, when they promised prosperity.
Their leader is still a wingnut with a healthy dose of corruption and incompetence following her everywhere she goes.
More importantly, the emptiness of their campaign made the NDP look policy mad. If the NDP tilted at windmills, the BC Liberals ran a Potemkin campaign, slapping up the rosy billboards to cover up a host of problems they themselves created. That they got away with it is enough of a reason for the NDP leadership to go.
Just like 2009 it won’t take long for the threadbare policies of the winners to show. The middle class will continue to shrink, inequality will rise and the environment will continue to sicken. In short most British Columbians will be worse off.
BC’s elite forget that fewer than 20 per cent of the voting population put this government in power. On Election Day the right was returned but not joyfully. A smart opposition ready to prosecute its case and offer an alternative that puts the average person first will be in a position to beat this, pretty mediocre, government.
They just have to be in a position to run a decent campaign.
Can they do it? That’s something I hope to look at this summer and just this summer, because the sad fact is that I won’t get to play in this sandbox.
As my cancer grows I will post less and less. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been in and out of the cancer clinic, getting tests and treating symptoms. The cancer is past beating.
This blog will pretty much stay the same to the end: politics, maybe a little music, a little social commentary; also some pictures and videos. The big change is I’m going to talk a bit about living with and dying from cancer.
I doubt I have anything new to offer, but it’s hard for me to avoid right now. I just hope I don’t bore you to death.