The damage done

Next weekend, provincial New Democrat party officials will discuss proposals that could put their leader out of a job. At least five constituency associations have drafted resolutions calling for a leadership convention in 2011. Working to put down that uprising is the party's apparatus and its commitment to solidarity forever. Which means it's highly unlikely those resolutions will pass. But it's also highly likely concerns about Carole James will remain.

After seven years, judgements have been made about her leadership - judgements Ms. James has been unable to change. So now that those complaints have been aired, I can't see the party being able to bury them.

So what does Mr. James do? Limp along until the 2013 election, hamstrung by party members who will continue to speak out against her, close their wallets or sit on their hands. It is an untenable situation for any party leader to be in, causing me to wonder how Ms. James will get out of it.

4 Comments

When the complaints began to gain momentum, Carole James should have been capable of stating clearly her vision for forming government. The only apparent strategy has been to sit back, avoid controversy and wait for the Liberals to come apart. BC has a giant political vacuum in the middle, waiting to be filled. Perhaps too many of the NDP faithful simply don't want to go there. They are actually happier being part of the fractious fringe.

Sean, let us have your considered thoughts on who the players are in this NDP game. Are the true socialists behind James' trouble? The union lobby, or what?

If disaffection comes from across the board, she might has well write the final speech now. If it comes from a single interest group, she needs to stand up, show strong leadership and kick butts.

Am I the only one who thinks that the strategy since the last election of "waiting for the BC Liberals to come apart" is working pretty well and that sticking with that course still seems like a decent idea.

It would be absolute insanity for Carole to come out and put a platform on the table right now - and anyone in the NDP who says she ought to doesn't know politics. Basic rule of politics number 1: when your opponents are setting themselves on fire, let them and watch very very quietly.

I predict Carole James will weather this storm and will head strongly into the next election, with the chirpy, don't donate jack-all but their opinions, complainers well isolated. (i.e. Corky Evans, BC's most passionately inarticulate politician)

And, at the right time, I expect Carole will lay out a platform. I hope it will be better than the 2009 platform - because this time, it will be about governing - and Carole and the NDP will have to do what the platform says.

Mark, what you say is indeed tradition Political Science 101. However, when you have a party such as the BC NDP that is seen by the public to be devoid of policy, fiscally inept and capable only of criticism, you have to prove yourselves capable of governing. The only way to do that is to put forward policies, digest reaction and feedback and be ready with a solid platform for the next election.

I don't want the party's platform from Carole James but I want her to demonstrate that she has a vision for the province other than not being Gordon Campbell. She has the NDP well ahead of the Liberals while it is led by a person who is politically dead with voters. Were the Liberals to install an attractive leader and dump their policies that pander to big business, the game would change for the NDP. It is at risk as long as its leader has not convinced common people of her qualities.

The NDP has been way behind the curve on all the issues that turned the Liberals from a success to a failure in the eyes of citizens. You cannot credit the opposition with that, nor the traditional media. It is new media that has driven the discussions.

The NDP is not in the 21st century when it comes to new media. Look at their website. No further proof is needed. I suspect Campbell's motives from the beginning but, until he burned out, he understood politics in the real world. Not the politics of those limited to cliches.

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