Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Tilted Pendulum

After last week's speculation about an "ideal" election result, it is perhaps time to come down to Earth and realize that  after a week of Christy Clark doing what she does best (hysterical economic drum-beating and mugging in front of cameras) the polls have narrowed to single-digit numbers and that we are about to have a normal B.C. election after all.

That the NDP never wins landslide elections  was evident even in 1991, when the Vander Zalm Socred government's  torch was passed to a hapless Rita Johnston and a large group of alienated swing voters went to...the Liberals. 

The irony is that Adrian Dix's cautious image is actually a pretty good indication of what he will be like in government: a cautious, control-and-spin incrementalist in the Stephen Harper mold.  In this he largely represents  the cohort of people who came as youngsters to Victoria in 1991 and who now have a decade of government as well as a decade of opposition under their belts.

Recklessness was a product of Glen Clark's youth  and predisposition, reinforced by his early successes.  Hesitancy and myopia was a product of Harcourt's decency and lack of experience in non-municipal government. Dix is not especially prone to either one of these flaws. What remains to be seen is whether someone who is so purely a political animal can actually make good public policy that isn't overly subordinated to communications strategy. That would be a pleasant surprise.

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