The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Explaining the worst political party revolt ever, in one word.

Let's play charades.  We'll start.
Four  words.

Washing hands.
Wringing.  Washing.  Soap.

Dirty hands.


Okay, next word.

Stripper pole.



No.  Start over.  Vote.  Voting.  Ballot.

Oh, Pole-itics.

Next word.



Everywhere?   Map.



Dirtiest Politician in Manitoba!


Do we win?  

No. With Greg Selinger, everbody loses.

In less than a week,  the Dipper Follies has become the best show in town, with everyone glued to their radio and television sets for the latest twist and turn.

What melodrama!   Five dissident MLA's.  Careers on the line. Stare-downs. Ultimatums. Veilled threats of retaliation.  A resignation expected yesterday, today, tomorrow.

Like Scandal, the TV show? No, more like NDP Friends, with Stan Struthers in the Joey role.
The dissidents are called the Rebel Five in the press. It sounds like a rockabilly band.  Suddenly, in the eyes of the pundits, the gang-of-five are the hip kids in school;  the last time that happened to them was, like, never.
For those who tuned in late, here's a recap what the foofarah is all about:  five NDP cabinet ministers say that NDP Premier Greg Selinger doesn't listen to them.  He's mean and they'll never, ever get back together.  (Apologies to Taylor Swift.)

What?  You thought there was more?

For all the strum-und-drang in the news, that's it?

It almost makes you think ... this whole thing ... is a.. 


We predicted three years ago, almost to the day, that Greg Selinger would be gone before the next provincial election:

By the next election, Greg Selinger will be 64. Unless he intends to be a Premier collecting an old-age pension, he will hand off the leadership of the NDP by then to a new generation and the NDP can present themselves as a renewed and refreshed government for reelection.

The playbook laid it out:  the leader resigns, a leadership convention is held just before an election is called, Kevin Chief becomes the new face of a fresh, shiny new party facing down a tired, old Opposition lead by a retread has-been.

But that was before the vaunted NDP machine imploded:
- A major broken promise in raising the provincial sales tax to 8 percent. 
- A string of billion-dollar deficits.  
- The bottom of the barrel in education and health measures. 
- An openly racist cabinet member applauded by his caucus. 
- Internal polls show the party is in "annihilation" territory.

An orderly transition of power is no longer viable. According to the "sources" feeding the Winnipeg Free Press,  that public is fed up with the NDP. So how to achieve the same goal, but in a different way?
Step One.  If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. 

Run against your own party.  Or, at least make it appear you're running against your own party.

Have you noticed that the Rebel Five are hardly rebelling against anything? They quit their cabinet posts, but plan to stay in the NDP caucus.  They will support the NDP in the Legislature, vote for NDP bills, and they plan to run as NDP candidates in the next election.

They're not even against the increase in PST.  

Struthers, as Finance Minister, happily introduced it and defended it, they all voted for it.  Their only beef, as we understand it, is that they didn't get to build a case for raising the tax before imposing it.  In other words, if you, the hoi polloi, only understood why the NDP raised the PST, you would support them.

They also hint that mean Mr. Selinger won't listen to them. 

About what? They won't say.

Step Two.  So, essentially, their "rebellion" is a PR campaign to allegedly pit them against Greg Selinger, to, ahem, "force" Selinger to quit so that the party can elect a new leader.  A "new" leader who supported the same Selinger policies for the past five years.  In a nutshell, a new face on the same policies.

This is straight out of the Saul Alinsky playbook.  We explained how that works here:

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

The "rebels" have identified Greg Selinger as the target. You don't want the voters taking out their frustration on the entire NDP. With the Rebel Five, acting as voter surrogates, attacking Selinger, they can focus public antagonism on him, and bleed off that antagonism when he resigns (which he will).

Step ThreeA blood sacrifice is the only thing that will satisfy the mob.

Selinger is a good soldier. He will fall on his sword for the good of the cause.  He knows somebody has to take the hit to mollify the angry public. He will jump on the grenade if that's what it takes.

Selinger was behind the vile, gutter politics of the 2011 campaign. Only hard-core NDP voters aren't repulsed by him today. He's the perfect villain for an internal "revolt."  Semper Fi.

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