Friday, December 3, 2010

And again the people speak their mind about Carole James - more thoughts about the revolt in the NDP

Yesterday CFAX had yet another online poll about Carole James, this time the wording was (Personal politics aside) Should BC NDP leader Carole James resign?

The result was 760 Yes and 209 No, that is 78.43% Yes and  21.56% No.

I know that this is not scientific poll, but there have been many of them over the last few months and the results have been roughly the same each and every time.    These results also mirror the popularity Carole James gets in the scientific polls.

The results were yet again in the same range - 20-30% for Carole James.   Over and over again Carole James has been getting the degree of support that the NDP get federally in BC.  What this says to me is that there is a core of people in BC that will support whoever is the leader of the NDP no matter who they are or how good they are.   Carole James is running at the same personal level of support that Ujjal Dosanjh had in the 2001 provincial election.

To put it simply, Carole James is at rock bottom personal support from the people of BC.   Her support is lower now than support for the HST.

If we look at the people in the caucus that are most supportive of Carole James they are long time hard core New Democrats.  When one looks at the dissidents, many of them only joined the NDP shortly before running for office and do not have a long term personal connection to the party.  

One reason that this revolt is stronger in rural BC is because in rural BC the slavish loyalty to NDP/BC Fed/CLC is not there in the same way.   Rural New Democrats have to spend more time working with people with other political views and are not nearly as partisanly tied to the NDP.

As an example, I remember in about 2003 CUPE was touring BC with a campaign to oppose the government cuts of the time.   In Lillooet there was a gathering of all the union reps and two other people (one of them was me).  The woman from CUPE was running this session of how to organize locally but had her mind made up on many points.   At one point she asked who would good allies for the labour movement to work with to stop the cuts in a place like Lillooet.   The answer from all the people there was the Lillooet Chamber of Commerce.  In an urban setting you would never get the labour sector suggesting the chamber as an ally.

The more I look at this dispute in the NDP, the more it looks like hardcore small tent New Democrats versus the people in the big tent NDP.   The NDP has to be the big tent party to win an election in BC.   The small tent people are demanding that the people in the big tent toe the line, this is a huge mistake because the party needs these people to have any chance to govern.   The big tent people are not nearly as tied to the party and will walk away if treated like shit.

The choice within the NDP is you can either work towards government or you can have Carole James manage the party as is doing now, you will not be able to have both.
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