These are hard days to be a New Democrat on the Federal scene, without a doubt, and as the Fall election gets closer, it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. An EKOS poll came out today that had the Orange Team in 4th place nationally, well behind the Greens in British Columbia, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The party’s platform launch hasn’t been overly well received by the media. And despite there being opportunities to make up ground on their opponents, it doesn’t seem to get any better.
Folks, it’s rough right now, the roughest it’s been for almost a couple of decades. So in moments like these it makes sense to cast around to look for help, for ideas, or maybe a bit of inspiration. That’s a totally normally thing to do. Today something came across my Twitter that seemed to fit that sentiment, but was probably the best/worst example of how this normal activity can go so wrong:
In by gone eras it wouldn’t be a shocking or problematic thing to see an NDP Leader reaching out and comparing notes with a UK Labour Leader. Labour MPs are known to attend NDP conventions and both the New Democrats and Labour are members of Socialists International. There is a long standing relationship between the two parties, so under normal circumstances seeing a Tweet like that wouldn’t raise many eyebrows.
But folks this is 2019, and if anything can be said about this year and period for both the New Democrats and Labour, it is most certainly that these are not normal circumstances. Not even close to that. Jagmeet Singh is struggling and the NDP are having their issues, but you know who is having them even worse? Effing Jeremy Corbyn and the UK Labour party. Here is just a taste of life under Mr. Corbyn’s “leadership”:
It’s hard to explain to most lay people how unpopular Jeremy Corbyn is these days. This is a guy, as Opposition Leader, who is facing a minority Conservative government, propped up by a far-right minor party from Northern Ireland, that is single-handedly managing to blow the United Kingdom up. Between the entire Brexit episode, the “leadership” of Theresa May, her recent resignation and now the real potential of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, all that Corbyn should need to do to win a huge majority government is role out of bed in the morning and not spill his oatmeal in his beard. But folks, somehow when faced with an unprecedently unpopular government, Corbyn himself is even more unpopular. Labour is sinking in the polls, now behind Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and the Liberal Democrats, and also finished behind both of those parties in the recent European elections.
Long story short, by any objective measure, Jeremy Corbyn has been an unmitigated disaster for his party and I would argue in these hard times, for the United Kingdom. But Corbyn has his hardcore constituency, and some on the far-left of the NDP look at him as a “model”. The fact that the man hasn’t won a general election and is now facing complete obliteration whenever the next General Election is called in the UK doesn’t seem to bother these people at all.
Corbyn is the last person that any credible progressive leader should be reaching out to in any way to compare notes on anything, or at least should be if that leader wants to be seen as credible. Yet that Tweet went out into the World, getting re-Tweeted and snickered at all over, the sure sign that you’re getting seen as a credible potential Prime Minister in Waiting. I couldn’t possibly think of a worst time to have this conversation, but given everything that’s been happening, maybe it seems all too fitting that this would happen now.
Either way I’m gobsmacked by this and I’m shaking my head. This is the kind of thing that makes many wonder what the heck is going on. This is just bad judgement, plain and simple. I don’t expect the New Democrats to formally shun Corbyn and his team but I would expect them to keep a respectful distance. But yet, here we are. It’s 2019, yada, yada, yada. I continue to hope and pray that my party turns this around and gets it right, but as we get closer and closer to the Fall the cliff seems to just get closer and closer. Maybe it will take a “Thelma and Louise” kind of run over that cliff for things to finally get better, but you have to survive that fall in order for that to happen. I still hold out up that it doesn’t come to that, but episodes like this don’t leave me feeling great about those odds.