Roundup: NDP catch the Corbynite smugness

It was a bit odd, yesterday, watching NDP MP Erin Weir stand up before Question Period to offer congratulations to UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on his “success” during this week’s election, considering that Corbyn lost. Weir considered it an inspiration to their own leadership candidates, each of whom also offered variations thereof over social media. (Andrew Scheer, for the record, also tweeted encouragement to Theresa May for “strong stable leadership” – a veritable echo of Stephen Harper’s 2011 campaign slogan – only to see May’s fortunes crumble).

Of course, this NDP praise of Corbyn ignores the context in which he “won” (by which we mean lost) this week, and that was that Labour’s share of the vote and seat count went up in spite of Corbyn’s leadership and not because of it. Why? Because he’s been an absolute disaster as a party leader, and an even bigger disaster as opposition leader, and in many instances couldn’t even be bothered to do his job in trying to hold the government to account on matters of supply – an appalling dereliction of duty. And this is without getting into Corbyn’s record of being a terrorist sympathizer, someone who took money from Iran’s propaganda networks and whose activist base has a disturbing tendency to anti-Semitism.

Nevertheless, this “success” of Corbyn’s (and by “success” we mean he lost), Twitter was full of mystifying smugness from hard left-wing types, insisting that it meant that Bernie Sanders would have won the general election (never mind that he couldn’t even win the primaries). Yes, the fact that Corbyn managed to motivate the youth vote is something that will need study in the weeks to come, I’m not sure that we can discount the fact that there is a certain naïveté with the youth response to his manifesto promises that was full of holes, and there was a youth response to Sanders as well, which some have attributed to the “authenticity” of his being a political survivor. Can this translate into a mass movement? I have my doubts.

The smugness around his “win” (which, was in fact a loss) however, is a bit reminiscent of the NDP in 2011 when they “won” Official Opposition, and were similarly smug beyond all comprehension about it (so much so that they were going out of their way to break traditions and conventions around things like office spaces in the Centre Block to rub the Liberals’ noses in it). That we’re seeing more of this smugness around a loss make a return is yet another curiosity that I’m not sure I will ever understand.

This all having been said, here’s Colby Cosh talking about what lessons the UK election may have for Canada, including the desire to export brand-Corbyn globally.

Good reads:

  • The government unveiled their “feminist” foreign aid policy yesterday, but didn’t really include any new dollars with it, leaving the commitment in question.
  • The government agreed to some but not all of the Senate amendments on Bill C-6 on citizenship revocations.
  • The US treasury secretary was in town to talk trade with cabinet ministers yesterday.
  • The terms of the Lobbying and Ethics Commissioners were extended until the end of the year because the government is having a hard time finding replacements.
  • The government has tabled a bill that will allow Quebec to have the (outdated) long-gun registry data they’ve been demanding.
  • DND bureaucrats tried to scuttle the deal to have Davie Shipyards convert a freighter for naval support operations use.
  • Statistics Canada has been struggling with Shared Services Canada longer than it has been letting on, with website software a constant issue.
  • Indigenous communities weren’t consulted about the planned new “Indigenous Centre” across from Parliament Hill, which has soured some of them on it.
  • Until they were spanked by the Federal Court, CSIS was keeping all metadata captured on third parties that it obtained over the course of its operations.
  • Public sector executives wonder when they’re getting raises, as the gap between them and unionized employees has narrowed so much that few want promotions.
  • Here’s a look at Andrew Scheer’s political instincts, and how they might serve him as party leader.
  • Chris Selley suggests that concerns over Scheer’s Catholicism are pure paranoia.
  • Adnan Khan writes about the strengths of the defence policy review in bolstering what Canada does best in fields like Afghanistan.
  • Chantal Hébert worries that Trudeau left young women cabinet ministers to become cannon fodder. (One could argue that they didn’t get special treatment).
  • Susan Delacourt looks at how both prime ministers Trudeau have dealt with troublesome American presidents.

Odds and ends:

In the media frenzy post-UK election, Philippe Lagassé busts five myths that keep circulating at times like these.

2 thoughts on “Roundup: NDP catch the Corbynite smugness

  1. I think you have lost it, Dale. It was Theresa May that lost the election!

  2. We were in Scotland for the second half of May, and watched a number of the leader debates on British and Scottish TV, as well as the various morning chat-show interviews with those leaders that came on.

    It struck me at the time that Corbyn was essentially trying to replicate what Jack Layton had done in 2011. Perhaps not consciously, but it was largely the same strategy. There was a huge appeal to younger voters, and every leaders debate elicited “underdog advocacy” statements from him, and huge audience applause when he did so. Of course Theresa May gave him lots of room to do so. And while it wasn’t exactly a Kevin O’Leary move, her non-appearance at a leaders debate was noticed by the electorate and frowned upon. Personally, I found it excusable, because after all, she IS the PM and has a country to run, and terrorist attacks to respond to, but I don’t think it sat well with the public.

    A post-election analysis on the BBC site presented what I thought was the most interesting outcome, namely the biggest spike in votes cast for the two major parties (Conservative and Labour, as opposed to the other half-dozen smaller regional parties) since the late 1960’s. Could that have been “strategic voting”? I don’t know the UK well enough to conclude so.

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