One way to see the drive for austerity is as an application of a sort of reverse Hippocratic oath: “First, do nothing to mitigate harm”. For the people must suffer if neoliberal reforms are to prosper.
Umm.... yeah.... When hasn't the NDPs base been made up of primarily left leaning voters? Also take note the article makes no mention of the fact that what currently pushed the NDP into opposition status was mostly Quebec voters. Quebec is by no means a locked in voting base for the NDP. There have been many times where a single party did well in Quebec only to lose the vote in a hurry, the liberals in the 70s under Trudeau, Mulroney had a brief breakthrough there in the 80s for the PCs, the BQ held pretty strong for around a decade and a half and now the NDP shift with Jack. Bottom line is this isn't a voting base which is completely a fortress. Depending on how things go the NDP could easily lose some support in Quebec in the next election. Some of the voters in Ontario could also migrate back to the liberals if the conservative approval tanks and the liberals can provide a half decent alternative. If there were a shift in Ontario I could see many center left leaning voters choosing the liberals again over the NDP if it looks like there is a better chance they will win seats.
I don't agree with Spencer about everything, but I'd agree that It would be interesting to find out the opinions of the Quebec NDP voters. They may not fit the "left-leaning liberal" profile at all; many of them may be further to the left than the typical "stable NDP" referred to in the article.The article is I suppose interesting in that it suggests that liberal Liberals have been moving towards the NDP. But it seems to more or less take for granted the idea which underlines the failure of moderate and left wing electoral politics over the past couple of decades: That voter ideas and preferences are more or less set, and victory is a matter of finding and pandering to them.This is the one key area where the right wing have been both more successful and in an odd way more principled than the left: The way they win is by holding firmly to their ideas and repeating them in simple, persuasive forms so often that the electorate is persuaded to adopt them. They have successfully turned ideas which are not only radical but stupid and evil into conventional wisdom, largely through dedicated stubbornness (and money). Thus to me, the finding that leftish Liberals have drifted enough left to now fit into the rightward fringes of the NDP doesn't indicate that candidates need to pander to their current beliefs, but that they are open to being persuaded to move further left to the kinds of beliefs that NDP-type political thinkers genuinely hold, making those beliefs more mainstream and respectable and shifting the centre further towards the rightward fringe of NDP thinking.It's hard to change people's minds by arguing with them on a one-time basis. Yet people's minds do change, their ideas do shift over time based on what's prevalent and seems to make sense. And I do believe people, most people, can gradually get sick of a set of ideas if those ideas become sufficiently useless to them and a more attractive set is available. The neoliberal paradigm depends on the feeling that "everyone can get ahead if they try hard". It's an idea people are loath to part with, but as the system makes it harder and harder for anyone to actually get ahead even if they try hard, I think there will be more and more room for competing ideas.