Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"The Party That Tells It Like It Is"

Andrew Coyne presents an interesting perspective from which Liberals can approach their predicament. Rather than entirely depressing, our new found lowly status in Canadian politics provides an opportunity, relative irrelevance frees of us politically correct shackles, allows us to breathe without fixating on focus group tested politics. Viewed within the lens Coyne puts forth, there is really the possibility for exciting ideas, rather than being everything to everybody, be something to someone.

I quibble with Coyne's assessment of the recent Liberal renewal document. Truth be told, I'd didn't read the Liberal achievement tripe portion, but was solely interested in the infrastructure stuff, the "process". This document isn't supposed to be a philosophical treatise, I don't want my party hacks carving ideological direction at this point. The document, to my mind, lays out the playing field from which the "bold" Coyne speaks of can nurture itself, cultivate organically, find an inviting environment that brings healthy and open debate. Viewed in this limited sense, that road map achieves something noteworthy, it allows for someone armed with ideas to make a case without pandering to a self determined base, it allows for what Coyne argues, someone to step on some toes, offend here and there, but present a coherent "tell it like it is" platform. Opening up the process allows for someone to catch fire without pandering to a limited audience, the feedback loop of self affirmation.

Coyne correctly diagnoses the predicament, it is bleak, unprecedented and above all the sense that the Canadian public owes nothing to the Liberal brand, the starting point. I've argued forever that our own sense of lineage is a handicap, the almost sentimental reiterations of past achievements perhaps good for the "troops", but of no consequence whatsoever to the average Canadian. Rather than go back and find ourselves, rooted in past achievements, we must embrace the future, which may step all over past predispositions, some blasphemy required. Again, Coyne's use of the word "opportunity" is correct, the question becomes: can Liberals appreciate the circumstance enough to embrace what that designation requires?

We might be dead, we might not be, anything that is unequivocal at this stage doesn't seem particularly wise. However, unless we embrace a "bold" path, our fate is more predictable, merely left to languish until we finally wither away. Much, much more attractive to "go down" fighting, to dispense with the niceties in Canadian politics that turns everything into vanilla, that keeps people away, that doesn't get the blood flowing, generates messy and HEALTHY debate, something to get behind or oppose. We can't be afraid to offend, we do need to forget about "tents" and spectrum considerations, we need to take stands, hold to them, based on a vision we think is best for Canada. Third party status allows us certain freedoms, and we may just be rewarded if we demonstrate a true revolutionary spirit, not band aids and platitudes, but in your face, uncompromising politics, that says "this is me", DEAL with it.

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