My Two Bits - The NDP finds the road to the wilderness without a map

Manifesto? Really? I thought that word went out of politics with Karl Marx, or maybe Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez or other latter-day dictatorial types. Did not see it dominating today’s NDP federal party, as it now appears to be doing. To the party’s detriment, I might add.

Add that to the election results here in Saskatchewan where the NDP took a big step backwards; where it could not find a local candidate in Yorkton (Yorkton! The province’s fifth largest city and nobody wanted to carry their banner!) and had to bring in an outsider; and where the party leader lost his own seat to a political unknown.

Pathetic. Do we know how to spell w-i-l-d-e-r-n-e-s-s?

The NDP’s problem here in Saskatchewan, where they once were the natural ruling party, is that they have not advanced beyond the days when I first started covering politics in the late 1960s. The province has changed – younger people who have come from elsewhere or have come back, and others attracted here by economic opportunity no longer get excited about saving crown corporations. They don’t give a damn, quite frankly, about those tired old campaign issues.

Unions have lost a fair bit of their power and influence. Proof? They now have to buy self-serving billboards along highways and in cities so people know they even exist. But the NDP still caters to them.

When Saskatchewan could have used fresh ideas from a slightly left-of-centre alternative to the right wing Sask Party led by Napoleon Boyd… I mean, Premier Wall, the NDP provided a tired shop-worn out-of-touch blah blah blah that only inspired, not surprisingly, a blah response.

So here we are. Why would Premier Wall even think about leading the federal Conservatives when he is pretty much guaranteed the job of party spokesman until retirement?

The provincial NDP won’t be getting any hand-up from the federal party, which is now deep in the throes of the Leap Manifesto, a line of thinking that (simply by being a topic of discussion) puts the NDP far out in left field, where few Canadians play ball.

Like the Waffle faction of the NDP in the late 1960s and their Manifesto for an Independent Socialist Canada, Avi Lewis (grandson of 1970s NDP leader David Lewis) and friends do the NDP any favours with their radical document. Even their only successful provincial sisters and brothers in Alberta cannot stomach it.

And then they dump their leader, simply for carrying on the work started by Jack Layton to move the party more to the centre so they might, someday, be a viable alternative to rightwing politics.

Well, kiss that prospect goodbye. The federal Liberals now own the centre and the spectrum to the left, the Conservatives own the territory to the right, and the NDP is again relegated to the margins.

There will be lots of time for blah blah blah way out there. If there is wifi out in that wilderness, maybe one of them can let me know why Tom Mulcair would agree to stay on for the next two years as leader of a party that doesn’t want him. That is really the only remaining interesting thing about the NDP.

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