December, 2010

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Thanks, Carole

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

It couldn’t have been easy for Carole James yesterday. Resigning and all.

But it was the right thing to do on so many levels.

First, James just didn’t have what it takes to ‘lead’. Yes, she has all the right credentials and experience but she was unable to translate that into street-cred with the voters, myself included.

But yesterday’s press conference shed light on exactly what was missing from her performances as leader.

Through all that British Columbians have been through in the last ten years never, ever emotionally conveyed that she connected with their frustration and anger.

Sure, she’d say all the right things, stand with the right people but somehow it felt like we were always being being attended to by an college professor giving a lecture on public policy or a Sesame Street-esque chat on how to be being everybody’s friend..

Her press conference shed just a tiny ray of light on the Carole James that could have won the election, however.

When asked by a reporter to name those who had stabbed her on the back, she turned to the reporter with eyes that could have killed him and a tone of voice that could have then buried him and replied, “You know who those thirteen are.”

Just seeing that on TV was an eviscerating experience. I’d call it an Oscar-winning performance but it was no ‘performance’.

It was as real as the day is long. She was angry and it showed. For once the words that came out of mouth, measured and controlled as they were, aligned with the tone and body language that gave them gravitas.

If James had emoted or even pretended to emote like that throughout her time as leader of the NDP, she’d be premier today.

Another layer is that the party has been gripped with fear of busting open long-standing rivalries, age-old debates between the greenies and the brownies; about making the hard decisions that must be made to turn the party into a Liberal fighting machine.

James’ endorsement by the Provincial Council underscored the still existent lacuna between the party and it’s perpetually “waffly” fnirvana-like outlook of it’s die-hard membership and it’s core cadre of elected officials who ser the world through very different, pragmatic, eyes.

So ever the pragmatist myself, I offer my kudos to the thirteen who did what had to be done.

And now the political pablum that has gone for NDP policy and communications might just be on the verge of being replaced by a real and effective war chest of Liberal-crushing policies and communications strategies.

And so now what? That’s hard for me to say. In fact, I’ll leave that up to the prognosticators who are much closer to the game.

Even if it is just thirteen individuals, I’m just glad there is still a pragmatic streak in the Official Opposition that is willing to call a spade a spade.