Monday, February 16, 2015

60 Revolutions Per Minute

Today, because I'm really bored with this stupid leadership race, I would like to outline the process by which the PC Party of Ontario manage uprisings of one sort or another. They've had to get very good at doing this, as it comes with the territory.

To begin with, whether you're a PCPO rank and file member or the most powerful person in the party, you most likely share a characteristic of the late and unlamented Sun News- you think that just because you're not the corrupt and dirty Liberals, you deserve everyone's unquestioned support. You do not have to do a good job- you just kind of have to be....there?....and everything will kind of just fall into place.

The base doesn't really want to be involved in driving the party (though they really like complaining about how the party is run), and the party brass doesn't really feel like working too hard to get people involved (because the less complainers they have to manage, the better). So we're on cruise control for 90% of the time here.

This is how you end up with a campaign like Christine Elliott's, and really, a leadership race like the one we're having right now. The PCPO should not be able to handle all the requests for memberships and donations with the way the Liberals are driving this province into the ditch, but why would people be actively trying to build the party when people are just kind of gravitating towards Christine without her really doing anything? Who's going to stop her from not really giving a crap about the grassroots, or not really building a Big Blue Tent? Not the PCPO base, that's for sure.

So, not really much has to happen until the party, which has been on cruise control, blows it massively (as it often does). Then the gears start turning, because then people start getting pissed off.

First, those responsible for such debacles usually pen op-eds saying that they are proud to have been involved in the debacle in question, that nobody foresaw the particular result, that everyone else had advantages that they didn't, and that the bitter, jaded, and clearly very wrong individuals who think differently are entitled to their untrue and incorrect opinions. 

Then we have public complain sessions which are done not for the purpose of identifying any actual problems, but to give members a chance to spout off so they don't actually get together and start plotting the removal of the party elders. 

Then we arrive at a solution that is not a solution at all, but merely sets the stage for an even bigger screwup that "nobody could have foreseen". 

The most current "solution" is the one being pushed by the Christine Elliott campaign, which, not so coincidentally, is the campaign that most of these establishment folks are working on. Basically, we, the PCPO, have to put a nicer face on the party and stop saying mean things about the Liberal government. We lost in June because we looked critical, snarly and mean and we alienated Toronto.

Before that the solution was that we were light on policy and that we needed a bunch of white papers that nobody read or cared about.

Before that, the solution was that we needed a tougher, more boldly conservative vision because the Liberal lite vision we'd offered people in 2007 opened us up for criticism on funding faith based schools. So as you can see, we've come full circle.

This holding pattern has served the party mandarins well since 2003 because the base is too busy being angry about scandals and hating the Liberals to realize they're being led around by the nose. So when there is an attempt to throw the bums out, it usually fizzles because a) it's not very well organized, because the organizers of the attempt to purge the party think they will receive medals just for showing up, and b) everyone suddenly becomes really concerned about looking like a divided party and fighting in public.

The fact that the other two campaigns are doing as well as they are shows that there are lots of conservatives who want change, even if it is just for change's sake. The party elders, of course, have decided to dismiss them as disloyal reactionaries who want to blow up the party. It's nice that people are getting mad enough to loudly demand change, but the fact that they want to kill the other half of the party doesn't make them any better than the people at the top now who are pretending they don't exist.

The solution is to have a party leadership that is really interested bringing in disaffected conservatives, not just having them spout off or saying, "We need to consult the grassroots before we announce stupid policies that make us lose elections" and then not really doing it.

But that's hard


  1. My ONPC friends you better get use to the opposition benches. Because regardless of which one of these three get elected you are going to be there for a long time.

    I can't believe that the ONPC could not come up with a better cast of characters than these three.

    The ONPC had a chance with this leadership race to come up with some bold new innovative policy alternatives to what is being offered by the other two parties. But instead, all be get is platitudes about how they will run things better without actually saying how.

    If Elliot wins, I am not sure that the rural base warms up to her. They may hate the Liberals, but they really aren't sure she isn't one of them. If McNaughton wins, he takes the party further into the Southwestern wilderness. Not even sure what to make of Brown, but talk to John Tory about what it's like to be leader of her Majesty's Loyal Opposition without a seat in the Legislature.

    1. I dunno. I think progressives tend to underestimate the power of properly weaponized true believer conservatism. Don't write off those rurals so quickly, my friend.