Scared witless by the recent spate of talks about cooperation on the left, Tory spokespeople (and right wingish journalists) have hurriedly cast about for talking points, hoping to squelch talks about cooperation. Why? Because the Tories know that they are doomed if the fragmented 60% plus of the electorate can get its act together and work for a progressive government to replace the regressive Harper new-Tories one.
Take the whistling of Chris van der Doelen of the Windsor Star, as an example.
He reports on what must be the forced optimism of Jeff Watson, Tory MP for Essex. Watson goes through what we can lable 'Tory Math' (seemingly utterly convincing but founded on false assumptions – a bit like calculations of the size of the earth by those who in medieval times believed the earth to be flat).
And he concludes that a merger would benefit the Tories rather than the LPC and NDP:
This is a win-win situation for the smug Tories. If there's no merger, three opposition parties on the left will continue to split the vote in ridings like Essex, allowing MPs like Watson to come up the middle to victory.
And if a merger succeeds, the Tories stand to pick up thousands of votes from people fleeing leftist policies they can't stomach.
It's going to be a long hot summer for the Liberals.
Nobody is talking merger any more (except flat-earthish Tories and ill-informed journalists).
To them, The Cat says: Think in threes. Think MCP. Think Merger OR Coalition OR Partnership (sometimes called cooperation). Those are the three broad alternatives on the menu that the LPC and NDP can consider.
Take off merger, because a majority of Liberals and Dippers don't want it.
Leave Coalition on the menu (Ignatieff is willing to be anointed leader of a post-election coalition, should one fall into his lap, courtesy of card-dealing voters in the next election). This is the passive response to the realities of today's fluid situation in Canadian federal politics: if it is the will of the gods then a Coalition will spring fully formed from the political landscape after the election. Let's just wait for it. And if it doesn't, well then perhaps the gods were not willing for it to happen.
For the more proactive on the left of the Harper Tories, there is another course, one alluded to by Shakespeare:
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar IV, iii, 217
With the Tory missteps, the coalition forming in the UK, the intervention of the Council of Elders, the remembrances of a successful working partnership agreement by Bob Rae in Ontario some time ago, and a general elevation of awareness and deepening of knowledge of our Westminster style parliamentary system, we now know that there is a tide in the affairs of the Liberals and Dippers which is now close to its flood.
How exactly do we take this tide at its flood, and move on to fortune?
Rae's practical example of a working partnership, when coupled with Professor Beyer's suggestion of an election ceasefire, shows the way.
The P in MCP is the key.
Pre-emptive pre-election dealing, taking the tide at its flood, rather than passive post-election response to what the gods made happen, is the key.
Having the Council of Elders hammer out the principles of the 'progressive agenda' which Ignatieff thinks would be needed for a post-election coalition of sorts with the LPC, and with ordinary Liberals and Dippers deciding to take matters into their own hands with their own votes, by becoming TwinSeaters, is the other crucial step.
And such pre-emptive moves is what scares the wits out of the Tories, and belies their false optimism about non-existent 'mergers'.
Sorry, Tories: the battleground is not about mergers.
It is about pre-election activity by Liberals and Dippers to ensure that some 15 or so Tory MPs (like Jeff Watson) can be sent on their way to employment more suitable for their capabilities, and their seat in parliament taken (note: taken, not handed over) by the LPC or NDP candidate best placed to wrest the seat from them.
Now is the time to give power to the people, to take steps to fire Harper, and to become a TwinSeater.