Thursday, October 2, 2008

John Horgan the next leader of the BC NDP?

The more I see of John Horgan, the more I am impressed with him. I still disagree with the NDP approach on most issues and think their anti-carbon tax campaign is a huge political mistake for them.

John Horgan has shown he has a strong set of skills as an MLA.

He is a good retail politician, his constituents know him and like him. The NDP is weak on this aspect at the moment as very few of their MLAs are good at that hand shaking thing and meaning it. Of the five lower island NDP MLAs he is clearly the best liked as a person.

He has shown himself to be a strong advocate for his constituency. The NDP has some MLAs that may become good at this down the road, but most of them still seem to be figuring out what it is they can really do as an opposition MLA. Some are clearly retiring after only one term because they seem to be at a loss about why they are there. John Horgan was up and running in 2005.

John is at ease in front of crowd, he can speak in front of a camera and come off relaxed and comfortable. This is not a skill most people can learn, look at Stephen Harper, he will never be relaxed and comfortable in front of any group of people.

In the turmoil and shotgun approach of the NDP opposition to the Liberals, he has been one of the few MLAs that has been able to really score points on a consistent basis. He knows how to play the game of politics.

After the next election when the NDP will be badly defeated by the Liberals - the few polls at the end of the summer indicating something close to a tie are not realistic in my opinion - the party will be looking to get rid of Carole James. Once she has resigned a leadership race will begin. The people I see in the race are:

  • Rob Flemming
  • Gregor Robertson
  • John Horgan
  • Adrian Dix
  • Bob Simpson
  • Bruce Ralston

I do not see any obvious women that would be running for the leadership in 2010/11. I am looking around at who there might be but honestly can not see any woman out there with a serious ambition to make a run for it. I think this is a serious problem that there seems to be no woman in the wings ready to be leader or make a serious run for leader. Any party that does not have a serious woman contender for the top job at this point has a serious problem they need to address.

Best I can come with would be Andrea Reimer, but she is still too young and without experience as an MLA or MP, or Dawn Black and she is 65 now. The other NDP women MPs and MLAs do not seem to have any indication of an ambition to be leader.

I did not include Mike Farnworth because I am not convinced he will make a run for the job.

John Horgan strikes me as by far the strongest person out there for the party. He has the sort of presence that would give the NDP a serious chance at winning the election in 2013 or 2017. Much of course depends on who the next Liberal leader is and if the Liberals retain their position as the only party to the right of the NDP.
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