To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects. - Margaret Thatcher
At a press conference held by the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador today, two former NDP party members, Dale Kirby and Christopher Mitchelmore, were welcomed as they officially announced they were changing party affiliations.
There were a couple of fascinating comments made by Mr. Kirby that really struck me.
In responding to comments regarding how he may have walked away from his principles, he responded by saying to supporters today:
“My values are also your values”.
As a literalist, I interpret this to mean:
“My values will align with anything you want as long as it gets me elected.”
Why do I believe this?
My personal values in a number of areas are well defined and well known. I do not bend those values for anyone or anything. If you don’t like my values, you always have the choice of going elsewhere for whatever it is you seek. As a public person, if I bent the definition of who I am for everyone who demands it, not only would you not know who I am but it is highly likely that I wouldn’t know either.
When a politician admits that his values are whatever you want them to be, then what you have is a politician for sale, willing to be bent or modified to suit the needs of specific people as long as the politician also gets what they want – to be elected. In such a situation, are they representing the needs of the people or the needs of a select few?
As for Mr. Ball, the leader of the Liberal Party, he indicated the following in accepting these two new members:
"The Liberal party does have an open door policy, and we will not close that door on anyone who is seeking a nomination, looking to make a change for the better or questioning previous decisions."
To Mr. Ball, I say:
When it comes to strong leadership, sometimes what is equally important to accepting anyone is being firm in whom you will not accept, especially those whose values seem to depend on the direction of the political wind.
Otherwise, you appear desperate or selfish, sacrificing your own values to achieve personal gain.
And besides, a political knife in someone else’s back yesterday may be in yours tomorrow. This not only reflects desperation or selfishness but a potentially low score in strategic and tactical intelligence as well.
Finally, when Mr. Kirby was asked if he would try to bring significant elements of the NDP camp to the Liberal camp, he replied, "I'd like to bring as many of them as possible."
All of this tells me that not only are Mr. Kirby’s values fluid but in fact the values of the entire Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador are fluid, being open to being chameleons that may become indistinguishable from the NDP.
I guess it comes down to being willing to do or be anything just to win.
We shouldn't be surprised that the values of these people are so fluid since they are politicians after all.
However, I am curious what it says about our values.
What does it say about your values?
In service and servanthood,
Addendum – February 4, 2014
I made an observation in social media today regarding politicians who cross the floor and it was censored (translation: it was deleted).
And so I offer it here for your musing and amusement:
People elect a person for one or more reasons, including but not limited to:
1. It's a beauty contest
2. They like the candidate
3. They like the party
4. They like the party leader
5. All options frighten them - the lesser of many evils is chosen
When a politician crosses the floor, they probably don't know the reason they were originally elected (I don't care how many doors they claim to have knocked on or what they believe they were told at the door). The ballot also does not have "reason for choice" written on it.
For this reason, politicians cannot claim to be representing their constituents when they cross the floor since the constituents may have elected them for reasons 3, 4 or 5.
So when someone crosses the floor, only a by-election can determine the will and support of the people. Without the by-election, only the will of the politician and the party that is accepting them is known. The rest is a mystery until the next election.
This is NOT democracy.
The only people who believe that this is democracy are the people who benefit from the move or from the politician, people with close personal ties to the politician or the recipient political party and the recipient political party itself.
Whether the politician and the recipient political party actually benefit or not is not truly settled until the next election.
I wonder if the Liberals, in embracing events such as what transpired today, are about to snatch failure from the jaws of victory and hand a “gimme” election back to the Progressive Conservatives.
Only the constituents really know.