Humiliation and Re-Birth
In the hubbub and brouhaha of the pitched battle between Christy Clark and Sam Sullivan for the NPA mayoral nod, a simple fact has been almost missed by the chattering class in this town: the left is in really big trouble.
Casting our memories back three years, we all recall the virtual electoral wipe-out of the NPA at the hands of Larry Campbell grafted onto an unreformed old-school COPE. It took Larry about four minutes before he realized his dreadful mistake in agreeing to join that rag-tag crew and he spent the rest of his term dealing with a caucus that included unrepentant communists like Tim Louis and anti-everything, Anne Roberts.
Instead of being able to unite the entrenched left with more liberal elements disenchanted with the NPA, he ended up bouncing back and forth between COPE Classic and Lite, before calling up the ultimate “if you don’t play my way, I’ll take my ball home” gambit and forming Vision Vancouver with pal Jim Green.
You could almost see the relief in his eyes when the Federal Senate appointment was announced – at least he’d no longer have to grind out an electoral victory with half the left in one camp and half in the other.
Jim Green, however, was not as fortunate. No Red Chamber appointment for him – he’d have to take a deep breath and pick up the reins where Larry let them drop.
And that place, unfortunately, is at the mid-point between total annihilation and utter embarrassment.
Not three years ago, Geoff Meggs, Tim Stevenson and Neil Monckton, to name just a few, were crowing about a new era of socialism and government-knows-best bureaucracy at 12th and Cambie. Now, with the left split between enemy camps, it looks almost certain that the re-born NPA will capture back a significant number of city council seats – and maybe even the mayor’s chair.
After the stunningly ugly defeat of the NPA last time around, pundits and commentators were sure that the NPA had outlived its time and that a new civic organization – one with a clear program and ideologically driven policies – would emerge onto the scene. In those dark days after the loss, there was no shortage of finger-pointing and name-calling.
And then, almost as soon as it started, the naval-gazing thankfully stopped.
A dynamic younger group took over some positions and tired horses stepped aside for fresh blood.
Suddenly, the NPA was raising money again – a key part to the rebirth of any political organization - and people were showing up to coffee parties and evening meetings.
The disarray on the left, not to mention COPE’s near-disastrous fiscal policy while in office, provided some additional incentive to those wanting to see change in the City.
And now, after this weekend’s dust-up which crowned Sam the king of the centre, the momentum is clearly on the side of the NPA. Sullivan, with his long service to the City, will be able to reach out in the way that Larry Campbell wanted to, if he hadn’t been so hampered by the ideologs around him.
Humiliation and rebirth. There are no new stories in politics – just different characters.
As seen today in 24 Hours Daily.