The NDP/Liberal feud seems to go on without an end in sight, while surely Stephen Harper grins. I challenge anyone to find a transcript of a recent Jack Layton speech that doesn't reference the failed Liberals on several occasions. Likewise, please point to a day in parliament where Liberal questions aren't prefaced with the standard NDP criticisms. It is too the point where the truth is irrelevant, the perception is entirely negative. Has the NDP cozyed up to the Conservatives for perceived mutual benefit? No question, as evidenced by Harper's own words which describe the NDP as "constructive", while referring to Liberals as "obstructionist". Were the Liberals largely a complete failure on the environment, with little credibility? Yes Jack, and Canadians are well aware of this fact now.
It is no longer relevant who started the feud, what is timely is how these two parties move on to avoid this obvious mutual-suicide pact. IMHO, the only way to break this vicious cycle is for politicians to stop acting political- a massive task indeed. Make the point, based on your own philosophical tenets and let Canadians digest the merits. The NDP is developing a wonderful environmental agenda, which has great weight without referencing the failed Liberals. Equally, the Liberals need not worry about this perceived erosion on their left-flank, but instead should champion issues that will allow soft-supporters to return- again on the environment, we see a new sense of urgency developing that is attractive.
Ironically, if political fortune is the consideration, the party that breaks away from this pissing match will have the most to gain. Look positive, highlight your agenda and leave the other to wallow in the mud. Canadians are sophisticated enough to smell political opportunism (i.e see Layton's debate performances or Martin's pandering), so there is incentive to act in a "pure" way. In fact, if one party can actually rise above the mud slinging they in turn look attractive in their relative nobility. Rise above the naked partisanship, because ultimately this negative approach turns people off to no end anyways. Focus on the real target, where the philosophical disagreement is pronounced and points can be made from a place of natural conviction, as opposed to pure calculation. This is not to say that the NDP and Liberals shouldn't engage in the compare and contrast, but maybe it is more a question of degree. As it stands now, both parties seem to think of the other, before they think of themselves.