Thursday, May 30, 2013

We Ought To See The Wizards.


In a most excellent provincial election aftermath post, long-time Dipper Ian Reid wrote the message he thought Mr. Brian Topp, who ran Adrian Dix' campaign, should have sent to his staff (rather than the 'thanks very much' and 'we didn't do anything wrong' message Mr. Topp actually did send to them:

...‘Many of you worked in the centre of the 2009 campaign and in the space of four weeks took us from 13 points back to 3 points down, with momentum. You did that with half the staff and a quarter of the money we had this time.

‘Last time you helped run a campaign that defined the Liberals.

‘This time I ran a campaign that didn’t lay a finger on the Liberals and allowed them to define us.

It also failed to inspire people to vote for us.

‘Because of that the Liberals took a 20 point deficit and turned it into an election day rout.

‘You’re still as good as you were in 2009.

‘The difference was the leader and me. Our strategy was a disaster. It was experimental and founded on naive and delusional fantasies about politics. We let you down. Just as we let the party down and the province down.

‘For that I apologize and promise I will never darken your door again...

Interestingly, this led Mr. Topp himself to respond with the following in the very large comment thread attached to Ian's post:

"Ian this is an ill-tempered post. I was thanking our incredibly hard-working campaign team, and telling them the truth, which is that this result did not happen because of anything wrong with their work or their effort. Clearly we made some grave strategic mistakes. I take my full measure of responsibility for them. I’ll write about this, once our leader has spoken publicly about the campaign. I’m not sure how much we’ll learn from bitter score-settling...."



Now Sean Holman has stepped back a little and has weighed in on the matter of what we, the lowly peons who are not party insiders, know or, more importantly perhaps, don't know about the 'Campaign Wizards' like Mr. Topp et al. who do their darndest to mess with our voting preferences:

...In past elections, British Columbia's major newspapers published "who's who in the zoo" profiles of political campaign backrooms.
That kind of coverage is considered by some editors and reporters to be too inside baseball -- stories only of interest to political players.
It's also difficult for journalists to write those profiles since political parties aren't required to disclose who their campaign staffers and advisors are.
That -- and newsroom downsizing -- perhaps explains why there were so few "who's who in the zoo" profiles during the 2013 election.
The closest thing resembling such a profile was a March 18 article published by a national newspaper -- the Globe and Mail.
The article, authored by reporter Justine Hunter, listed some political animals who would be on the campaign trail - focusing on the members of public affairs consulting agency Kool Topp and Guy (Premier Christy Clark's former chief of staff Ken Bossenkool, Brian Topp and former Ontario Liberal Party campaign director Don Guy).
But because the public didn't have more comprehensive coverage of such insiders, we don't know how much influence other personalities such as party president Moe Sihota and party secretary Jan O'Brien had on the election result.
We know Topp -- who was national campaign director for the NDP during the 2006 and 2008 federal elections -- was the BC NDP's campaign manager.
But we don't know what the specific roles and decisions his colleagues Anne McGrath and Brad Lavigne played and made during the 2013 provincial election.
The same could be said for fellow insiders Marcella Munro and Jim Rutkowski.
Nor do we know who else was in the war room and how their backgrounds may have influenced the BC NDP's campaign choices.
As a result of this low or non-existent profile, I believe it becomes easier for politicos such as Topp to claim the election's "heartbreaking result had nothing to do with the work of our campaign team."
{snippety doo-dah}
...The lack of "who's who in the zoo" pieces also means we don't have an understanding of everyone who deserves credit for -- and could benefit from -- the BC Liberal Party's election victory.
Big parts of the political history of British Columbia are literally being lost because they aren't being written.
And that will make it difficult for both the public and press to hold the opposition and the government to account in the future -- no ifs, ands or buts.

I could not agree with Sean more.

And there is also matter that in the aftermath of these War of Wizards it is the victors who receive the spoils.

Government spoils, I mean. (see, for example, this).


And while I am most happy to read Mr. Holman's stuff again, it really does pain me to see the last of the independents write, presumably gratis, for Ariana's former cash cow and nipple-slip emporium....Why?...Because there's is a business model where those that actually create the real content get screwed over, big-time...
Sean's personal blog



Anonymous said...

Some may say that Brian Topp used the BC election as a dry run for the next federal election, and the stay positive message in BC was to be the backbone of the next federal campaign.

We were an experiment for expectant easterners.

RossK said...

Interesting suggestion Anon.



Please understand, however, that I agree with Mr. Holman and think that we, the great unwashed, should be better informed about all of the Wizards.


Alison said...


Pop quiz!
How many days did the BC legislature sit in the past calendar year from May 31, 2012, when it last rose, to the election on May 14, 2013?

21 days - nope
20 days - nope
19 days - check

RossK said...

Knew that one Alison.


How many days do you reckon the Premier and her Wizards spent planning, executing and bloviating the Bogus Bollywood Bonanza in the last calendar year that 400 million people haven't watched yet?


Anonymous said...

New Democrats could have fought a different campaign but we need to remember that we are not just facing the the opposing candidates in an election.

The MSM spent a lot of energy campaigning for a strong opposition to the NDP. Just in case that strategy couldn't siphon enough votes, there was also a concerted effort spent to convince the delusional that it was safe to vote Green, Conservative or Independent because the NDP lead was soooo huge.

Focusing on Topp's business relationships to the exclusion of the wizards behind the other parties was part of the campaign to suppress NDP vote. It worked because we do like to stamp our feet at any provocation.

It's the same shit we got when they pumped up Gordon Wilson as the Socreds were on the way out.

And don't forget, this door only swings in one direction. The same MSM piled on for the whole campaign prior to the Liberals replacing the NDP.

I've given up on the MSM until the next election when I will have to tune in to hear the enemy's message. Please let us know if they go out of business.

RossK said...


You really, honestly, think it's that bad?


Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, I absolutely agree with Anon-Above.

Thanks for posting RossK, keeps me hopeful that the good guys will prevail. One of these days!


RossK said...

Thanks otr--

I must confess, for a week or 10 days or so I was pretty close to chucking all the politics stuff.

But, well....

You know.


Kim said...

Hey, I spent an hour with John Horgan today and you know what he told me?

He reads you for his news.

Just sayin'

RossK said...


Stop talkin' crazy.

And tell John I'm just a peon trying to pay attention (i.e. I sure as heck am no insider).


RossK said...

But good on Mr. Horgan for taking the time.


Kim said...

Nope, he told me that he reads you and other bloggers(Norman Farrell) for his news. We all know that the corporate media does not represent the news.

I am still digesting our conversation. It was quite intense.

RossK said...


In that case I guess he knew that I was worried about how Mr. Dix was going to deal with his liabilities, straight-up, even before Mr. Shepard and friends got into the really big money game of smears.


And I still think that Mr. Dix has not dealt with said liabilities straight-up, even post-election...

Because if he had he would have admitted to us that one of the reasons for all Hubert Humphreyesque 'Politics of Joy' pollyana puff 'n stuff that went on during the campaign was committed, at least in part, because he was so vulnerable given that he had not dealt with the memo thing as soon as he won the party leadership)


Kim said...


Anonymous said...

Sorry, but while Ian's insight is valuable, him having been through the wars, Sean's piece shows he hasn't the first clue what happens inside a campaign. Asking "what role" senior members of the campaign team did is like asking what fork is used for what at a fancy dinner table. There might be an answer, but the truth is they all play the same role, just in different orders.

Moreover, it's a meaningless question. All key decisions would have ultimately been made by Topp, because he was the one with the final say-so. Assigning blame elsewhere is simply wrong. It doesn't mean mistakes weren't made elsewhere, but it's pretty clear that the mistakes were in tactics, not execution. We know that because the tactics didn't really change.

In the end, everyone inside the campaign knows where the mistakes were made. Anyone who was inside the campaign also knows that the magnitude of mistakes made goes well beyond what will ever been known publicly.

Sean has been good at getting scoops, but he doesn't know a thing about election campaigns. That much is clear.

Anonymous said...


There is people that think Topp is gonna be let near the Federal Campaign?

Interesting. Might as well just let Manning run it!

Until the NDP discovers that having Hill and knowlton, and the Kool Topp Guy running ANYTHING is akin to having your ex manage finances, I suspect they will find themselves in their traditional role as irrelevant third party managing down expectations of anyone not interested in morphing into a petro state.

RossK said...


I have no doubt that things are run top-down in many aspects.

But sorry, I disagree, how the underlings do things does matter.



My biggest fear is that many inside the Dipper power structure may actually conclude that they didn't have enough of those kind of folks running things...