Monday, November 22, 2010

NDP Infighting

Curiously,  the group of caucus dissidents within the NDP Opposition in BC  actually consists of at least two very different groups--that is, one group of the usual suspects like Jenny Kwan and Harry Lali who don't like the moderate, modernizing and centrist tack that Carole James has been taking, who cater to the old line power bases in the party, and who would probably like Adrian Dix to take over as leader;  and several people like Leonard Krog and Bob Simpson, who presumably approve of James's general philosophy and direction but who nonetheless think that they (or someone else) could do a better job of  leading the party.

Interestingly, Dix is lying low, like a snake in the grass, letting others do the dirty work for him.

From what I can see, Bob Simpson was sacked simply for stating the obvious--that Carole James has not yet sold herself to British Columbians. On the other hand, the rift is ironic, because Bob represents a pragmatic economy-oriented wing of the party that James has been trying to appeal to.

James is reminiscent of Mike Harcourt in more ways than one. On the one hand, she has the right attitude of modern progressive economics (listening to business, stressing social investment and the environment) that is absolutely essential if the NDP wants to get and retain power; on the other hand she has an unconvincing hold on her party and an unconvincing leadership style. Paradoxically, she has the right general attitude about leadership style (finding a balance between the extremes of Harcourt and Clark, with a greater emphasis on the former than on the latter), but there are serious doubts about her ability to implement it.

It may be that Gregor Robertson is the answer, but for the time being the NDP should support its leader--after she lets Bob Simpson back into the caucus.  Perhaps Bob can  make it easier for her by admitting that, while there is absolutely nothing wrong with what he said, perhaps it was linen best washed in private.

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