Wednesday, 15 May 2013



For months prior to the election, a relatively few people had announced that it was time for a change and that the election belonged to the NDP and Adrian Dix. We were instructed that pipelines, oil sands, Site C, cars, suburbs, houses over 500 sq. feet, and carbon dioxide were bad.  Bikes and leafy veggies were good. Anyone who follows twitter just knew that Adrian Dix had to win the election. That is what “they”  said. In Marxist terms, the Liberal Party was destined to “wither away like the state.”

Twitter is an easy way to learn what a relatively small, highly biased sample of  people including pundits and journalists are thinking. When you read week after week about the Mayor Gregor being against  pipelines, but in favour of walking and chickens,  you start to believe that human nature has changed. How profound can you be in 140 characters?  


The pollsters are more accurate than you think if you think they are less accurate than they are. ANGUS REID and IPSOS REID showed, months before the election that the NDP was significantly ahead.  (They are always first between elections.) Then in the last week or so the gap closed.  In a poll the day before the election it was very close but the NDP seemed to be ahead.

I suspect the pollsters themselves could not accept the possibility shown on the graph above that if  the rate of change accelerated the next day the results would be as shown.  Why were they so cautious?   If they are reading,  tweeting and retweeting  each other they were telling themselves that since great minds think alike,  the NDP could not lose. The mutual contemplation of navels on Twitter has limited use in the art of prognostication. I think the pollsters were afraid to follow their data to the last step.

The  Party Machines

The purpose of a campaign is to identify your party’s  supporters and then to annoy them to vote, if not to death. This requires a disciplined cadre of volunteers manning phone banks and knocking on doors.  In some ridings, the NDPs machine did not live up to expectations. In any event the polls do not evaluate the machines so that the main part of the equation is missing..

Campaign Issues

 Dix morphed into the  Apostle of Prissyness,. He felt that politicians were morally obliged  to ignore their opponent’s faults. He was confusing a dirty campaign with a hard hitting one.

The Liberals  ran devastating but truthful adds to wit:  Dix was forced to resign over taking some liberties with an affidavit.  After that he was portrayed as a vacillating weather vane.

Dix had a smorgasbord of mouth watering recent Liberal disasters: the scandal of proposed vulgar offers to apologize  to gain ethnic votes, the agreement to pay Basi and Virk's legal costs,  the cutbacks on the medical Therapeutic Initiative etc.  Dix, instead of attacking, gave a mute performance that challenged the finest work of Marcel Marceau.

File:Marcel Marceau (cropped).jpg
Vancouver’s Neo NDP government.

Since Vancouver is trying to win a prize for being the greenest city on earth, it should not come as a shock, that what  happens in Vancouver does not stay here.  Vancouver's ruling council may be accused of many things, but trying to hide their light under a bushel is not one of them.The public is aware of the breakdown of the civic administration, the focus on frivolous projects, the anti-democratic zoning processes,  the sale of zoning through amenity payments, urban chickens,  the policies that seek to induce  people into tiny suites and drive electric cars with short extension cords and subways on Broadway.  Since VISION is seen as the NDP farm team, people came around to the view that the Vancouver Government is what they could expect from the NDP in Victoria. Not that they loved the Liberals but turning Victoria into prime dingbat habitat was not conducive to  jobs, jobs jobs.

The Future

Between now and the next election the NDP will continue to rise in the polls. If they get a bright, young articulate leader, like for example, David Eby,  they might make it next time, providing they do not threaten to genetically modify people so that they can comfortably live in doll houses.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant as always Jonathan. My comment from Bula's Blog post mortum:

    Bill McCreery // May 15, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Understanding democracy is not straight forward. It can be a fickle, confusing, multi-headed and misleading exercise.

    The NDP nationally, as well as provincially, does have an identity crisis on its hands. Historically they purport to represent the worker. Some might say: what does the worker care about most? If it’s his/her job, and security of same, how does saving the planet relate to that priority? Evidently for some it does, for others, not so much.

    The urban NDP voter perhaps can be concerned about the environment because they do not have to be quite so concerned about the security of their jobs. Don’t forget, however, that the North Coast ridings voters are also very concerned about these same environmental issues. But, they traditionally vote NDP anyway.

    On the other side, not all workers are inclined to the NDP, but they too are concerned about the security of their jobs, and yesterday they voted for Christy.

    One of the limitations of party politics is that issues tend to become polarized, and in the process over-simplified and dumbed down. It’s too bad because it can get in the way of better, more balanced decision-making.