Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Can we use the M-word now?

Some early observations:

1) Those who predicted that this would be a three-way race were wrong. Without vote-splitting, opposition to the Tories was concentrated in the Liberal vote.

2) Look for the Tory spin-doctors to start early and relentlessly, trotting out the talking point that this was always a Liberal district, so the loss is no biggie.

3) Rev. Arthur Elliott was right when he said "I think in terms of participatory democracy, it puts the shine back on," though for different reasons than he thought.

4) However much the Danny Kool-Aid Brigade will try to deny it, the byelection will give the Liberals vital momentum.

5) The only question is how much momentum it will create and whether it will have longer ramifications. It's too early yet to predict any sort of turning point, but it's no longer premature to speak about momentum.

6) The result shows the limitations of vote-buying, intimidation, and cabinet carpet-bombing. It shows that when people feel disrespected, their vote cannot be bought back. Commentators and politicos have tended to assume that economics always trumps politics: throw enough money at a problem, and it will go away. The assumption is that if people are upset, they are only upset about economic issues. The assumption is that issues of democratic governance rank at best a distant runner-up to the hard issues of roads, jobs, and health care. My hypothesis is that this byelection demonstrates that this assumption is wrong.

7) Yvonne Jones deserves credit. I was, like Nottawa, worried about the most recent news cycle, but she obviously knew how to manage the retail politics in the district.

8) Professors Marland and Dunn were quite a ways off the mark.

9) P&P wasn't much closer, either.

10) The pressure is now on for Williams to call the next byelection.

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