The Brand is Strong


Written especially for Jack Mitchell: why the NDP’s name is its best asset.

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The Brand is Strong

  1. Hits the nail on the head and drives it straight home — hopefully into this rebranding idea's coffin. If the NDP followed your advice (about vision, renewal, optimism, etc.) and actually made use of its current brand assets, I would gladly give them a second look. Thanks for the dedication, too!

  2. If the NDP were to rebrand themselves anything, wouldn't it make more sense to become the SDP [Social Democratic Party].

    Suffice to say they seem happy being a rump party due to their inability to become economically literate. Therefore we have great rhetoric about the evil corporations, yet sh*tty economics. [reference the book Filthy Lucre]

    If the NDP wants to get more leverage I'd suggest dumping Jack Layton. Have a leadership race to get a fresh face for Canadians. I'm certain Thomas Mulcair would be more than interested in the job. He would also have more experience in government than the entire NDP caucus.

    • Suffice to say they seem happy being a rump party due to their inability to become economically literate.

      Yeah, they're so economically illiterate that the Manitoba NDP are the only ones running a balanced budget this year.

      • As has been pointed out already, their is a large difference between the federal branch of the NDP and most of the provincial parties. Most of the provincial New Democrats have adopted third way platforms which make them more centrist. This hasn't been the case for the federal NDP which gets most of it's support from environmentalists, unionists, pacifists, students groups, and left wing special interest groups.

        Now once you recognize that the reason Gary Doer has been effective in Manitoba is because he adopted a centrist platform which included tax cuts for businesses, individuals, and property, then you'll figure out why the NDP is the government of Manitoba while the federal Conservatives hold 9/14 seats. But I don't hold out much hope since you couldn't even tell I was referencing the federal New Democrats

    • Ill-informed remarks.

      As Potter points out in his original post, the NDP has governed (or is governing) in five provinces.

      In Saskatchewan, where I live, they have proven anything but "economically illiterate." In fact, the NDP under Romanow and Calvert produced a long string of responsible budgets that cleaned up after the Devine disaster and laid the groundwork for today's prosperity.

      (Brad Wall is the proverbial baby born on third base who believes he hit a triple.)

      Jack Layton, whom you suggest dumping, frequently cites the NDP's responsible behaviour at the provincial level (i.e. not Bob Rae) as a model for the NDP at the federal level. Indeed, when the NDP re-wrote Ralph Goodale's 2005 budget, it did so quite responsibly, keeping the books balanced while shifting priorities away from unnecessary corporate tax giveaways.

      For true economic incompetence, look no farther than Stephen Harper, who produced an absurd fiscal update last fall after considerably weakening the national fiscal capacity with irresponsible tax cuts. Not a complete surprise, to be sure, given the record of Conservative parties federally and provincially, but incompetent nevertheless.

      • Where was I referring to the Saskatchewan NDP? I was specifically talking about the federal NDP which is more beholden to interest groups than putting forward a coherent platform for governance. Maybe if you became somewhat more "informed" you would have realized that.

        As for Jack Layton being some economic supergenius, get over yourself. Any party that rallies against business and would likely refuse to deal with the United States whenever a Republican President is elected isn't going to be able to govern. It should be telling that those New Democrats who end up running federally tend to jump to the Liberals.

        Another point, our economy is doing better than the American economy precisely because we've lowered corporate tax rates and become more business friendly, albeit with a regulatory framework. Those "corporate giveaways" you talked about have been extremely successful in the Nordic states. The Liberals have also stated that lower corporate taxes are better for the economy.

      • Another point with regards to my "ill-informed remarks" about the NDP. The party in it's current form would not be a competent government for one simple fact. They have a complete ignorance towards the Canadian Forces. A party that embraces "war resisters" like Francisco Juarez will fortunately not be governing in my lifetime. More or less because both the Liberals, Conservatives, and even to some extent the Bloc Quebecois, recognize that supporting insubordination in the military is irresponsible.

        We require a government that barters in reality, not some fanciful view of the world where Jack Layton thinks you can deal with Ratko Mladić and Mullah Mohammed Omar by merely handing out aid packages.

        When I joined the Manitoba NDP, I was somewhat displeased to find out that I also had a membership with the federal NDP. But, as has been said previously, it isn't much of a surprise that if provincial New Democrats move into federal politics they usually run for the Liberals.

    • Thanks for the link. Though in fairness, I should note that Potter's is probably the best argument I've seen for keeping the "New".

      • Don't encourage him.

    • That's dependent on whether or not the NDP makes the right moves to shed it's nutter image:

      "One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism' and 'Communism' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist in England." – George Orwell

      If you're wondering what I mean by that, I'm talking about the constant grovelling to the worst elements of the fringe. Whether it be the pacifists and their phoney war resistors, or the Canadian Islamic Congress.

      A social democratic platform does have promise, but only if it's done with a sense of pragmatism instead of misguided idealism. That means dropping the opposition to globalization, all military intervention, and the "evil corporation" rhetoric. The biggest reason why the social democrats were successful in the Nordic states is because they became economically literate and realized that in order to get funding for social programs a nation required a pro-business climate and international trade.

  3. it seems to me that Potter is right about the brand issue but markets aren't always a good analogy.

    Think of Guinness Stout. Now there is a strong brand. People like me who buy Guinness know exactly what we are getting and we are reassured we will get it when we see that name and changing that name would be insanity. So far so good. But most people don't like Guinness and probably never will. That's not a problem for Guinness because Guinness doesn't need to get elected. They could be rich forever if they kept getting a small percentage of the market.

    The NDP doesn't have that luxury. Which is probably what's really behind this. Nobody who proposes to change a party's name really means to change only the name.

  4. Partisan politics has its downside of course, but at least there is some ideology and some platform attached to electing members of a particular party. The Fedeal NDP should focus on clarifying what it stands for rather than changing its name. If a name change is required once it has deciced what is stands for, then do it.

    As an aside, after living in Toronto for most of the last 6 years, I'm ready for party politics at the Municipal level. It would force the creation of coherent platforms, force actually policy planks that are city-wide (not just neighbourhood specific) and create more competition for incumbents who are lazy or unwilling to change.

    Would it increase partisanship? Of course. Would it increase squabbling? How could it!? Plenty of squabbling already. What it would do is increase transparency for voters of the views of the local councilor they are electing.

  5. Andrew,

    I love the reference to that particular slogan from the 1972 (???) campaign that just about sunk Trudeau…..gave me a smile.