This is Kelly Joe Phelps in a recording studio in Vancouver performing The Holy Spirit Flood. There's some pretty intricate fingerpicking here.
May 24, 2013
Remember that court challenge to the results of the 2011 federal election in six ridings? A number of electors, with the financial support of the Council of Canadians, felt that fraudulent robocalls may have sufficiently affected the results in six ridings where the Conservatives won by a slim margin that the results should be thrown out and byelections held.
You can be forgiven if you actually needed that reminder since the hearings were in December and it really hasn't been in the news since then — until yesterday when Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley rendered his decision. And it's interesting to compare the media coverage on one aspect of that decision. This is from the second paragraph of the Globe and Mail report:
The ruling cleared Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative Party, its candidates and two phone marketing firms of wrongdoing in the so-called robo-call controversy.
The ruling did no such thing.
May 23, 2013
A narrative is like a frame only bigger. It's an overall frame that fits most of your policies together and sums up why you object to the other guys. It's a story that says what you stand for and why not standing for that means the other guys are standing for something bad. You might say it's the bare skull of an ideology--not even the skeleton, just the thing you can hold up and say "Alas, poor Yorick" and people can grok that there can be a whole body associated with that. I think it helps if it's substantially true, although right wingers seem to get by without that part.
The underlying narrative for the NDP, and for all progressives and leftists, comes down to one accurate insight: The interests of the richest are not the same as, are often opposed to, the interests of everyone else. And so the story is, we're on the side of everyone else. But the other parties are not, they're on the side of the richest, which means much of what they do will hose everyone else. They're betraying the public in return for plenty of filthy lucre from the very well heeled.
In a post at Creekside about Stephen Harper's handling of the scandal involving his Chief of Staff's cash gift to a sitting legislator — and it was a cash gift even if there were terms attached — Alison adds a message to the leader of the Official Opposition that bears repeating:
Dear Mr Mulcair : Stop giving Steve an assist by helping him frame this as being just about the need to reform/abolish the Senate. Bigger fish here, Tom. Knock it off.
Making this all about the Senate may give the NDP the opportunity to say "We told you so" because they've advocated the abolishment of that body in the past, but it skirts the more fundamental issue and it actually helps the Conservatives. It makes it easier for them to characterize this as a distraction from the business of government when the whole problem is the way they conduct the business of government. (And as an aside, it makes it easier for the mealy-mouthed editorial board at the Globe and Mail to publish editorials where the strongest thing they can think to say about Harper's behaviour here is that it's "regrettable.")
May 19, 2013
May 17, 2013
May 16, 2013
Well, having had my whining rant, I might as well get in on the post mortem. I'm substantially in agreement with Greg Fingas of Accidental Deliberations' column here, which helped crystallize some of this. So this is a piece of my take on what the NDP should do and didn't. I'll start with the summary:
Stick it to 'em. Have a strong narrative. Use the strong narrative to build strong positions. Use that strong narrative to attack, and never back up or apologize for it no matter how the pundits try to dismiss. Relate both our policies and opponents' attributes, not just obvious failings but even perceived strengths, to that narrative.
Adrian Dix did not have a strong narrative. He was too busy being moderate, which is to say fearing his own message.
CBC News on Monday night:
I have to confess to being caught by surprise when Labrador MP Peter Penashue suddenly announced his resignation from the House of Commons and his intention to run in the subsequent by-election. It made a lot more sense when it was later reported that Elections Canada was putting pressure on him to address the problems with his 2011 campaign and might continue to press. And while things may not have worked out quite the way Penashue hoped, the Conservative Party might be just as happy that now the whole thing will go away.
May 15, 2013
So, the BC Liberals won last night's election. I'm sure there will be lots of post mortems over the next week or two, and some soul searching going on well past that. People will point out the flaws in the campaign, whinge about media coverage, wonder whether the NDP had the right leader, and so on. All of it will no doubt have some validity.
But ultimately, this is a democracy. The people choose. And they'd had years and years of the BC Liberals, who had spent the time taking bribes from cronies and systematically hosing the public. They shouldn't have needed the media or the NDP campaign to remind them of half this shit. The speed of forgetfulness required to ignore their consistently awful record is staggering; it's not like they'd ever stopped fucking up right until the election campaign began. Meanwhile Christy Clark is the emptiest suit I have ever seen, her desire for power so completely lacking in any notion of what she might want to actually accomplish with it that she was like a deer in the headlights every time there was occasion for her to have to make a decision. Her campaign was polished--but so polished it was obvious there was nothing there but the high gloss. Anyone voting for her had no choice but to realize they weren't electing a candidate but a slick hairdo.
And yet they did just that. I can only conclude that the majority of my fellow British Columbians are morons.