Wednesday, March 14, 2007

United Left Isn't Right

There has been a lot of talk lately about “uniting the left.”

The idea being the only way to stop the "Evil, Neo-Con Harper Juggernaut" is for the Liberals and New Democrats to join forces.

Let's leave aside the fact that far from being a juggernaut, the Tory government has only a slight minority and no real prospects at a majority.

Does it really make sense for Canada's "progressives" to unite under a single banner.

I don't think so.

After all, in politics 2+2 often does not equal four.

In other words, combining the Liberals and the NDP into one party would not result in combining their vote totals.

Many NDPers are more populists than socialist and would likely bolt from such a party and many “Blue Liberal” voters might fear socialist influences and also bolt from such a party.

What’s more, for the Liberals having a separate left-wing party is a distinct advantage.

Unlike the Democrats in the US they don’t have to worry about a “loony left wing faction” since such voices are safely contained in the NDP.

Yet, when the Liberals need to court the “progressive” vote the NDP serves as sort of a holding tank.

What I think the Left really needs to do is modernize a bit: Drop the class warfare rhetoric, dump the link to union bosses, tone down the anti-American rhetoric.

In other words, the Left needs to be more Right.

Media Update:

I will be discussing this issue on Adler Online at about 3:00 PM EST.


Anonymous said...

The big winner in my opinion if the NDP and Liberal merge,(besides the obvious Harper), is Elizabeth May's Greens who if they play their cards right and expand their policy base could fly under the radar with voters. So far, she's the better and more level-headed leader. More so than either Layton or Dion.

Miles Lunn said...

In the short-run this would probably work as the Conservatives won a pretty weak minority, but in the long-run it would fail as most Canadians aren't left wing, despite the fact we like to think we are. We may be to the left of your average American, but we are still more conservative than most European countries. That being said, I don't think uniting the right was as successful as some claim. While it is true the Tories are now in government, they still got 2% less then the combined vote in 2000 and never mind the Liberals were far more popular in 2000 than 2006 so the combined right vote probably would have been in the high 40s had the two parties not merged. Many Progressive Conservatives were centrists and were more comfortable with the Liberals than the Reform/Alliance party and likewise many Reform/Alliance voters were protest votes as opposed to right wing votes so as soon as the party lost its position of being a protest vote those votes would go elsewhere. In reality the centre is where elections generally are won and loss so neither party benefits from moving further from the centre.