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Friday, April 8, 2011

#Elxn41: emerging theme from the week? Don't know yet

It would be easy to make it all about the expulsions, and the screenings, and the secret files, and the vetting of people on the basis of who they've got pictures of on their Facebook profiles. It's an easy story to write; the bad guys are obvious, the narrative simple, and the shades of meaning very few.

Unfortunately, as Simon points out, that's part of the white noise that helps Harper mask his ugly intentions. Not sure which polls to believe, and whether or not the arrogance and isolation and condescension are really hurting. And as Paul Wells argues, the more we focus on why Harper's so mean to reporters and so afraid of unscripted moments with people who haven't been filtered out by the multi-layered security screen, the less we can focus on other things – health care, aboriginal communities, fiscal policy, corporate-tax cuts, so-called free trade, climate change, our carbon footprint, the tar sands, energy, environment, just to name a few.

All important, yes, but based on what we've seen this week, I'd suggest that our overarching strategy still has to be making this about Harper's character, his aggressively totalitarian impulses, his hyperpartisan bitterness, what his wackjob base wants, and what would be in store for us if he ever got his majority. Ultimately, it's on those terms that we're best able to distinguish him from the opposition (after all, it's not like the Liberals are suddenly going to depart from their pattern of serving the ownership-class agenda).

And we can do that without reducing it to a simplistic two-dimensional story that's easy for the corporate media to digest and twist. That's the message at which we have to keep hammering away.

(Update: one possible suggestion ... )

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