If you cannot win it, spin it.

Can you believe that the Toronto Star paid Robin Sears for an opinion piece on political spin? In it the former NDP stalwart explains that by-elections are a political spin master’s dream. He alibis the New Democrats for failing to win any of the four ridings at play on November 25. He explains that the Liberal wins were simply a triumph of political spin.

We should be so lucky.

By-elections are a lot of damn hard work and for Sears to put it down as spin is to insult the work done by his own party. Toronto Centre was a tough, hard-fought battle between the Liberals and NDP. The New Democrats had an outstanding candidate and were able to draw on the entire city for their best workers. They tried to smear the Liberal candidate at every opportunity. And it did not work.

In Bourassa, a riding next door to NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair’s, the challenge was greater and the access to good workers was not as easy. It was expected to remain Liberal and it did. That is not to say the NDP rolled over and played dead. They fought, and, to their credit, fought hard. For Sears to write off the situation as a “rotten borough” is an insult to every political worker in the riding. Sure, it was a riding that rode out the Orange Wave but that is history.

And, not satisfied with disparaging the work of his own party, Sears takes on the national news media by referring to Brandon-Souris and Provencher in Manitoba as ‘flyover’ communities. He implies that the national media cannot be bothered to learn anything about these ridings. Well, they found out on Monday night how the Conservatives can screw up their own turf when they trample on the local riding association. The Liberals were far more of a challenge in Brandon-Souris than expected and came within 400 votes of a major upset.

And what has spin got to do with that?

If the Liberals in that riding had more workers, Brandon-Souris would now be Liberal red and Justin Trudeau would look like a hero. Mind you, Provencher was much more of a challenge and, to nobody’s surprise, the Tories held on to Vic Toews’ old riding.

But it is always nice to hear from an old political opponent such as Sears. If we can borrow the old army recruiting slogan: Politics; There is no life like it.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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