Monday, June 10, 2013

N.D.P.= No Dix Please

I told you so, sort of. Okay, Okay, I was as gullible as everyone else in assuming the public media opinon polls would translate into an NDP victory on May 17.  But I did say this a year and a half ago, on January 28, 2012, on this blog: "[in the unlikely event that Dix's bubble bursts and the electoral chips fall in such a way as to sustain the Liberals for another term, don't worry: that could be a blessing in disguise."

I had at least three reasons for thinking so, spelled out in a dozen different blog postings and newspaper columns stretching back to late 2010.

1.     First, I argued against dumping Carole James in favour of Adrian Dix  in late 2010 and early 2011, because even though Dix's toughness and media-savviness counted in his favour, his record as Glen Clark's best friend , roommate and closest advisor did not--especially his roles in the fast ferry and casino application files.  The way he clinched the leadership race by drawing upon his Clark and Sihota connections to deliver a magic busload of invisible instant members from Surrey was a reminder of the same old Dix, and of his fundamental nature as a hard core political operative. As I put it back on March 20, 2011: "To paraphrase Clemenceau,[who once said that war was too important to be left to the generals] , democratic politics is too important to be left to the ultra-politicians."

2.  Win or lose, Dix would be hard to get rid of , because of his personality, his safe seat and the position of his support group within the party. That could block the path for a more attractive leader without close ties to the Clark government to come to the fore---such as Gregor Robertson.

3. On the  level  of policy, I had argued that the best policies came  from leaders who brought some form of excellence from outside of politics, and who could channel the deep roots the party has in both the labour and environmental movements.. not from  "someone like Geoff Meggs or Adrian Dix reading opinon polls." In other words, the  "purest political animal and most professional politician in the Legislature" would probably not make the best premier.   When Dix looked at (misleading) opinion polls early in the campaign, he made the mistake of cautiously sitting on the lead. And when he looked at polls late in the campaign, he tried to capture Green votes with his Kinder Morgan announcement--which was not a good policy and not made according to a good policy process (i.e. one that was widely consultative of both workers and party activists).

Vaughn Palmer's column a week or so ago warning that Adrian Dix might not step down voluntarily as leader of the B.C. NDP was a reminder to me that we should not make the same mistake with him as he made with the Liberals, i.e. we should not let our collective foot off of his neck.
Here is an excerpt from that  Palmer column of  May 22, 2013:
"His dramatic reversal — opposing the pipeline 11 days after saying that as “a matter of principle” he would not take a stand until it was in the formal application stage — cost the party support in the north, Interior and even the Metro Vancouver suburbs.
The flip-flop substantiated the message in the Liberal attack ads, that the Dix-led NDP was the party of “no.” It set the stage for an effective follow up spot, the one that portrayed him as weather vane.
The Dix-authored change of position also blindsided his own party and candidates. “I heard it that day, like everyone else,” as co-chair of the party platform committee Carole James confided in a mid-campaign interview with Justine Hunter of the Globe and Mail.
Former leader of the party. Forced out in a bitter showdown in the fall of 2010. Still, she put aside ego, stuck with the party and helped Dix heal the wounds.
 For all that loyalty and dedication, she had to learn about “our position” (as Dix persists in describing his solo venture into policy-making on Kinder Morgan) through the news media, same as everyone else.
Nor was that the only measure of accountability that he ducked Wednesday. He made no mention whatsoever of an issue that dogged the party throughout his leadership, namely the memo-to-file that he fabricated during his time as chief of staff to the premier."


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