Things aren't looking so good for Vision
Far be it from me to debate a beekeeper and a fellow blogger, but I predict that there is much for Vision Vancouver to be concerned about after the recent decision by COPE 378's Mike Bruce to take his marbles elsewhere.
Garr dismisses Bruce as an outsider. He even goes as far as agreeing with CityCaucus.com's assertion that Bruce was one of the reasons for the BC NDP's failure to win the 2009 election. On today's Bill Good Show commentators Keith Baldrey, Vaughn Palmer and host Mike Smyth did a collective shrug on the loss of Bruce from inside Vision's "big tent." My colleague Daniel claims that the NPA is in a witness protection program and in a perpetual political wilderness.
With the greatest respect for all these political commentator's opinions, I'm going to be the lone contrary voice. Vision Vancouver as we know it will not exist by November 2011, and the warning signs for a complete meltdown are already showing.
Remember that someone was sporting a “This time, let’s not f… it up” t-shirt at the Vision Vancouver victory party? They're going to f... it up, and here's why.
There's a saying in politics that goes like this. Political parties aren't kicked out of office by voters, they boot themselves out of government. Look at all the great political meltdowns of the last generation, and I'll show you political parties that got themselves unelected.
Mulroney's Conservatives? Kim Campbell was sailing the ship by that time, but it was the internecine warfare within the PC party that killed them.
Chretién and Martin? Jean was a power-lovin' PM but it was Martin's people biting at his ankles that killed the Grits.
Margaret Thatcher and John Major? Did it to themselves.
Social Credit? They couldn't get along with each other.
New Democrats in 2001? Same scenario. Internal warfare, controversy. Not to mention killing Harcourt along the way.
NPA 2002? Remember the Philip and Jennifer show? Not pretty.
COPE and the Friends of Larry Campbell? This was the genesis of an ambitious little offshoot called Vision Vancouver. The split guaranteed COPE a trip to the woodshed.
Gordon Brown and Labour? They're melting down as we speak and the Conservatives will form the next government in the UK.
NPA 2008? Well, most of you know the story. Peter knocked off Sam and thereby wrote the ending of that novel.
I've stated repeatedly on CityCaucus.com that Vision Vancouver is at best an awkward coalition of interests, and built upon a deep mistrust from within. The Vision caucus has very little common cause except power itself. These are not the ingredients of a sustainable political organization.
From Day One, Vision was borne of a resentment of the establishment. The tone of contempt in the voices of Clrs. Raymond Louie or Andrea Reimer when dealing with the NPA's Coun. Anton in Council exposes the chip that rests so heavily on their shoulders.
The contents of Mike Bruce's email were overlooked for the most part in the rush to report the evidence of a Vision split. Bruce talks about Robertson's "tremendous disrespect and contempt for the Vision Vancouver Councillors." He continues:
These Councillors, most of whom I have had the pleasure to work with, have never indicated anything close to the support you voiced for the Premier. While it might be easy to become disconnected from your party and the membership, I would have hoped you would show more consideration to your caucus.
As we pointed out before, Mike Bruce backed Raymond Louie's run for the Mayor's job. Louie's hunger for Vancouver's top job continues unabated by all accounts. CityCaucus.com has pointed out that Louie has been extremely marginalized in this Vision Council (his coronation as PNE board chair notwithstanding), along with other NDP diehards Deal and Stevenson.
Roberton's personal plan to move Vision Vancouver away from its labour left wing base is a recipe for disaster. COPE, with its group of hungry, young vipers waiting in the wings, will be the real beneficiary of labour largesse in the next couple of years. With the coaching of David Chudnovsky, who sees local politics as his truer calling after one term in Victoria, COPE may end up the powerful and revitalized party of the left Bruce and his ilk will be drawn to.
For anyone to suggest that with just under 30 months to go, Bruce's message to the Mayor was a mere hiccup, clearly doesn't understand how volatile party politics can be.
Despite what Daniel says, the NPA needn't rush their reform. Most pockets are empty after successive elections, so there is no money for a rebuilding exercise today. They've got plenty of time, and a very powerful group of supporters willing to cut them another break.
So grab your popcorn and sit and watch the show. Vision Vancouver may be one of the great political implosions of recent times.