05 November 2010

Carole James Should Follow Campbell's Last Act

Remember back, oh, about a month ago, when leader of the BC NDP Carole James ousted 'rebel' MLA Bob Simpson?

Simpson had dared mild criticism of her speech to the Union of BC Municipalities. Now Simpson is an Independent MLA.

Still a loyal member of the NDP, his new status has not stopped Simpson from saying that, just as Gordon Campbell's resignation could/should lead to a change in direction or a rebranding of the BC Liberal Party, so should rebranding be on the minds of his party's membership.

I don't hold out much hope for it, though, not when I read things like this:

"James has said Simpson can return to the NDP caucus if he apologizes for the critical remarks he made about her leadership."

Here are the 'critical remarks' in question:

The Leader of the Opposition likewise had little concrete to offer the delegates other than a commitment to be more consultative than the current government and a promise to explore the possibility of revenue sharing with local governments. This is a timely concept which has the potential to address the resource needs of local governments, but the lack of specifics was a disappointment to delegates.

As Simpson observed today:

The party's message under James up to now has simply been, "we won't be Gordon Campbell... There is a lot of 'we wont's.... [New Democrats] have to sit back and think about what they need to do to tell British Columbians what they would be like in government and actually win a mandate to govern this province in 2013."

See the comments to that article. A whole lot of people agree with Simpson.

The NDP, in other words, must formulate policy - good policy - and let the rest of us know what it is.

British Columbians will not elect a fence post with hair. It is no more beneficial to this province to have a Gord Campbell government than one headed by someone who has demonstrated, over the seven years of her 'leadership' that she can't lead, can't take criticism, can't give substantive speeches, is clueless about smart political strategy and what British Columbians care about, and does nothing but whine.

The people of this province need and desperately want decent, viable political options. Minimally, we need a Liberal party that functions democratically and sits at its traditional centre. We need a New Democrat party that functions democratically and represents the perspectives of the left (not just the left perspectives of unionized labour). We need a small 'c' conservative party that functions democratically and represents the perspectives of the right. And we need one or more parties that function democratically, don't fit neatly into the left-right paradigm - e.g., the BC Green Party - and represent major interests.

With a minimum of four decent options and an emphasis on government, not just parties, that must function democratically, British Columbians need proportional representation.

Meanwhile, what we need most urgently is the resignation of Carole James and elbow grease applied to the internal machinery of the NDP. The party clearly needs a major spring cleaning.

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