Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The "New" NDP


It seems everyone has weighed in on the possibility of an NDP name change. I could wax on at length about the pros and cons of this but, the short of it is, it's a dumb idea and it won't happen.

Having gone to many a convention, you always get a motion or two that the media focus in on a lot more than the party members, and I suspect this is that sort of motion...I'd be surprised if it gets over 20% support in the actual vote. I know a name-change motion would be shot down in a second by Alberta Liberals - an organization that has a lot of good reasons to do something like this. So I can only assume the equally idealistic NDP would be just as quick to back away from this one, even if it made sense.

And I have a hard time seeing the benefits of dropping the "new". Consider:

1. A name change is a branding exercise and, as much as it pains me to say it, the NDP brand isn't in awful shape. They've gained seats in three straight elections, to the point where they're as successful now as they've ever been.

2. They have two provincial NDP governments who it helps them to be associated with - the only place where the NDP brand gets pulled down from its provincial wing is in Ontario (ironically enough, because of a Liberal).

3. A name change only really makes sense if the party is going under a major ideological change...and even though there's a good argument to be made for that, it doesn't sound like something the Dippers are considering. Otherwise, it's just a gimmick that won't do anything but confuse voters. It also makes for a nice hammer to hit the DP with - "a new name, but no new ideas" yada yada yada.

4. Latching their horse to the Democratic Party makes sense now, with Obama as popular as he is. But, considering how often Jack Layton has used "american" in the pejorative sense over the past few years, it's an odd donkey to hitch your wagon to.

5. Even if "new" doesn't make a lot of sense for a 50 year old party, this is a country that still has the somewhat oxymoronic "Progressive Conservative" Party...I think we can accept it. And, from a marketing perspective, "new" isn't a bad adjective to be associated with.

So, yeah, ain't gonna happen. For better or worse, the old NDP is here to stay.

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12 Comments:

  • Whatever the NDP (should really be called the Labour Party - which is what they really are) - I hope they change the pukey colours. Ugly!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:59 AM  

  • Orange is nice - I never met a color I didn't like
    :)

    By Blogger Ashley_Wilkes-Booth, at 10:34 AM  

  • Ditch the colours... keep the name!

    I like orange too... on pumpkins and Buddhist monks.

    By Blogger Berry Farmer, at 11:01 AM  

  • Orange isn't great, but they don't really have a better option.

    And, I'd change the name to "Progressives".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:07 PM  

  • "I know a name-change motion would be shot down in a second by Alberta Liberals - an organization that has a lot of good reasons to do something like this"

    Tell me about it...

    By Blogger daveberta, at 12:20 PM  

  • Why does "Obama's popular now" keep getting used as a rationalization when his popularity is plummeting? It's better than the last guy, but that's not saying anything...

    By Anonymous tjk, at 1:33 PM  

  • I agree - the NDP is here to stay. There is no "new" title that could erase its illustrious history.

    But, those colours! I suggest picking something that doesn't resemble coleslaw - perhaps a colour stylist is in over for an NDP makeover? That NEON stuff just screams Austin Powers, baby.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:51 PM  

  • There are actually a couple resolutions in regards to changing the name. There is one seeking to immediately change the name by dropping the "New" immediately. There is another one essentially seeking to strike a committee looking into re branding that will report back by January.

    I do not see the one seeking to immediately change the name passing. It is a constitutional amendment, so it requires two-thirds of the vote to pass, and I do not think there is anywhere near that amount of support for it. I doubt it will even get close to 50% of the vote.

    The one to look into re branding is the one that I think will ultimately end up being more contentious.

    By Blogger Denny, at 12:11 AM  

  • I think the presentation of the "New" issue is ridiculous. The NDP wasn't called "New" because it was a new party in 1968 (it was, in fact, the 33 year old CCF). It was called "New" because the party advocated for a "New Democracy", different from that of the two party duopoly. New was never meant to be about the youth of the party, but rather, its commitment to major reform (the case against "New" is to argue that the NDP has/should be a more conventional center left/third way party).

    Similarly, there is no oxymoron in being a Progressive-Conservative. Many of the things we might consider progressive came out of Canada's Conservative Party:
    -the first labour laws came from John A Macdonald.
    -Bennett created the CBC and launched a Canadian New Deal (shot down by King).
    -Diefenbaker gave Canada a bill of rights, ended fixed exchange rates (I can explain why this is progressive if you want), and brought in the precursor to medicare.
    -Diefenbaker and Mulroney were forthright opponents of apartheid, where Trudeau did little.
    -What is more, the Charlottetown accord, though it failed, was a tremendously progressive document that enshrined a special place for natives, Quebec, women, diversity etc. It had a social charter and would have reformed the elitist undemocratic senate too.

    Indeed, it is the Liberal Party that has less often been "Progressive". While the label might fit Laurier, Pearson and Trudeau, it does not fit Chretien, Martin, St. Laurent or Canada's most conservative Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie-King.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 3:40 PM  

  • I don't think NDP needs to change it's name. Nor should it.

    They should continue to focus more on their substance than on their packaging.

    I think President Obama and the Democratic Party is doomed. Expectations on this administration are far too high, and the current situation is far too difficult for anyone to be seen as having been successful.

    Plus, eventually, the media lovefest will have to end and they will turn on him quite viciously, just like they did every other President in which they've become enamoured.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 6:03 PM  

  • For an older generation, like myself, the letters D.P. had a derogatory post

    By Anonymous -, at 5:50 PM  

  • said...

    For an older generation, like myself, the letters D.P. had a derogatory post World War 11 connotation: they stood for "Displaced Person', meaning a person who came as a penniless refugee from Europe after the war. There were overtones of peasants, unskilled workers, etc. It was not a "positive" combination of letters; still by 1961, I suppose this connotation had been lost by a new generation. They do have a rather harsh, unpleasant sound, I think !! Removing the "New" doesn't serve any purpose, does it? Only adding "New", as Tony Blair did in the U.K. would be useful.

    By Anonymous Carole A. Martyn, at 6:01 PM  

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