Monday, May 11, 2009

Polkaroo is not the only imaginary thing on TVO

People who live outside Ontario will have missed the panel on TVOntario tonight on “The Future of the NDP” which is too bad, because it was some of the more contrived programming ever offered by the basic cable superchannel (and that includes the Today's Special when Jeff's magic hat gets lost at the drycleaners).

Let’s run through:

On one hand there were the detractors: Buzz "Basil" Hargrove (best remembered for musing about running for the Liberal Party in 2008) and self-described radical Judy Rebick. These two firmly of the timeless opinion that New Democrats will only succeed when they sound less like your neighbour and more like hectoring 1970s anti-market crusaders -- Brother Hargrove intoning at one point that calling Employment Insurance “Employment Insurance” was tantamount to giving in to the man (the irony having clearly been lost on the Champion of the Working Class (TM) that it was his old pal and CAW jacket honoureee Paul Martin who changed the name from Unemployment Insurance back in 1995.)

Also on the panel was Globe and Mail columnist Adam Radwanski, who could most charitably be called, oh, cynical about the NDP and Jack Layton.

In the middle of this maelstrom of the imagination was NDP MP Niki Ashton who did a fine job at checking the sur-reality of having her party's obituary read to her by the detractors and occasionally by host Steve Paikin while the party, quite heathily, lives and breathes.

The only thing that appeared to be missing from the program was a ticker giving moment by moment updates about Michael Ignatieff’s feelings about puppies and his childhood crushes.

Come on. We get it. The Liberal Party membership had a new leader forced upon them and are therefore up in the polls from their historic low. Does it necessarily follow that the New Democrats are doomed, let alone even affected by this? No, but that's not stopping TVO from assembling a panel to suggest it.

Funny how the only people saying the New Democrats are down and (almost) out are the same people who say your favourite sports team sucks … non-supporters.