Sunday, March 26, 2006
POLITICS AS USUAL: Life on the Hill
I am going to go out on a limb and say the next federal election will be May 14, 2007. I haven't even checked my calendar to see if this is a Monday or not.
And I am even going to go further out on a limb and say, the Tories will win a majority.
Why and how can I say such things without even hearing the throne speech, the first budget or even an election poll?
My reasoning is contained in the above link with the following additions:
1) I think the Tories were denied a majority this time out because "scary Harper" was still in the shadows. While there have been some mis-steps, I don't believe we are going in the wrong direction. There is no appetite on the part of the PM to begin looking social issues when there is so much to do on the fiscal side of the ledger. "Scary" Harper will be seen as someone who has kept his promises.
2) The Liberals still have not acknowedged why they lost. By heading straight into the leadership process, and fast tracking it at that, they are, for all intents and purposes, saying "We lost because Paul Martin was our leader," rather than saying "We lost because we had no direction, no policy, no plan that resonated with the voters." Most of the Liberal brain trust has said on TV and in print "we had policy, lots of policy, but we couldn't sell it because of the scandal(s)." My belief is that while the scandals certainly caused people to look at the Tories this time out, when they turned back to the Liberals to see what they were saying, nothing was interesting, new and/or exciting. Cutting the GST may be bad tax policy, but it is good politics (and while improving productivity may be sound economic planning, telling people they are going to have to do more with less is not good politics.) People already feel they work too hard, too long with too much being taken at source. Pumping up productivity gains is not going to win you any points with Joe Average.
3) Why am I sure on the date? It will be 37 days after the Tories introduce their second budget. That budget will include more goodies and promises. The Tories will have kept the five priorities in the first budget, so they can then go to the electorate and say "Listen, do you like what we did so far, we kept our word. How about more of the same?" More of the same will include the fact that the sky hasn't fallen.
4) The liberal leadership talent pool is pretty thin. I haven't seen any candidate that I would be scared to put Mr. Harper against in the next election.
5) Quebec/Ontario. I think with the break-through in Quebec, many Ontario voters are going to see the Conservative Party as a national party again. This was the last election where it could be said only the Liberals had a national presence. The voters in Ontario are going to see the acceptance by their Quebec brethren as a sign that maybe the Tories deserve another look.
So, there you have it. Monday morning quarterbacking 14 months ahead of time.
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