Saturday, October 9, 2010

Carole James - why I think she is a weak leader

I have to start with that she is a not a great communicator or speaker, I listen to words she speaks and it sounds like she is a bad actor reading from a script, beyond the words do not convey any sense of a message of what she wants to do as premier or how she would govern.   Whoever writes for her is a wooden writer with an aversion to content.

On the strategic level, as a leader I have utterly no idea where Carole James is headed with the NDP.   There are those that say she is a centrist, but I do not see it.   I do not see her setting out the vision of an NDP government.   When the Socreds under Bill Vander Zalm were collapsing the NDP under Mike Harcourt only needed to wait for the dust to settle, but I still had a very good idea of the direction the NDP would be going under him.   On most of the issues I most closely work on I have not got the faintest idea what the NDP would do as government.   I have no idea what they would do with the environment, energy, forestry and aboriginal issues - and it is not as I am not trying to find out.  At best I can guess they would not be doing what the current government is doing.   Carole James has no plan to tell us about and this is a dramatic failing as a leader.

Next there is a lack of any ability of the NDP to coordinate themselves and be an effective opposition to the government, to really hold the balls to the wall.   There are no shortage of very good stories that the NDP could run because all governments have more and more flaws as time goes by.   Carole James has the biggest opposition caucus in BC history and more staff to work with, she should have the resources to be able to take the government to task.   What I see is an issue raised by the media and the NDP lazily coming to comment the government is bad - when bored I try to predict the words the NDP MLA will use to comment on an issue, it is humourous how close I can get.

I also do not see Carole James either inspiring people to join the party or make sure the party executive is working hard to have a lot more members.   In fact I see very little evidence of the NDP growing as an organization.   As the presumed government in waiting, I would expect people to be flocking to the party, I would expect the NDP to have 50,000 or more members, not 10,000.

At 10,000 members the party is in really, really serious trouble.   If we assume that 15 ridings have 500 members, this only leaves 2500 members for the other 70 ridings in BC, that is 35 members per riding.   Even if we were to give the NDP 13,000 members and assume they were all in the ridings they were competitive in in the last election, this means only 250 members per riding.    If I were the leader of a party where the ridings my MLAs won had memberships of less than 500 I would be looking for someone to rip a strip off.   There must some NDP MLAs with riding association memberships of less than 100 - that speaks to very weak MPAs and a very weak leadership.

There are people that have something that means people trust them and follow them, this is something Carole James does not have, but without being able to communicate well ,without policy or tactical plan, and a weak political party she has nothing to rely on.

I guess a better way to to look at it all is to ask it as a simple question, what is Carole James doing?  What has she done that indicates she address the issues of policy, party, strategy or tactics of politics?

What does Carole James have going for her?   There is no obvious and clear successor to her.
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