Friday, April 6, 2012

Long overdue

After the NDP leadership convention, I took a couple of days to recover - or at least that was the plan.  As it worked out, I dodn't really feel much more recovered than I had the morning after.

The leadership convention results, while not entirely surprising, were slightly disappointing to me.  Niki Ashton ended up in last place on the first ballot by an 84 vote margin.  As the campaign was winding down, our expectations were realistic, however we had hoped for Niki to avoid the basement.

The good news came a few days later when the breakdown of advance voting and live voting came out.  Among those who voted live (either at the convention or from home), Niki actually finished two spots higher, coming ahead of both Martin Singh and Ottawa MP Paul Dewar (by a margin of 86 votes).

Part of the difference can be attributed to a strong convention performance.  My major role in the campaign was as the producer of Niki's 20 minute showcase, so I do take no small solace from the live voting results.  But a producer can only do so much once the show is underway, so the credit for nailing it goes to the candidate.  Over the next several hours I spoke to several people who had decided to switch their first ballot vote to Niki, and to dozens more who identified her as a future leader of the party.

I can't embed video of her convention showcase, but here is the link to the CBC footage.

And here is Niki's speech to supporters after the first ballot results.

At the end of a four ballot marathon (with repeated delays due to hostile denial of service attacks), the party elected Montreal MP Thomas Mulcair as our new leader.  The positive impression Niki made at the convention will stand her in good stead for a future leadership bid, but for now, we're all on Team Mulcair.

On the Anglican Covenant, things turned out a little better.  If two more dioceses voted "no," the Covenant would be dead in the water in the Church of England.  Defeat in the Church of England would make the pro-Covenant case even more difficult in the rest of the Communion.

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition issued our news release after Oxford and Lincoln voted down the Covenant.  As a bonus, Guilford ran up the score that same day, with Manchester and London piling on over the next week.  The tally now stands at 15 yes and 25 no, with four dioceses left to vote.

When the No Anglican Covenant Coalition first came together, the possibility of actually stopping the Covenant in the Church of England seemed like a quixotic quest.  The struggle is not yet over, but my colleagues and I can take some satisfaction in having achieved what seemed unachievable.

On this Maundy Thursday, I close by recommending anyone concerned with matters of faith or matters of economic inclusion to read Bishop Frank Weston's famous concluding address to the Anglo-Catholic Congress in 1923.  Entitled Our Present Duty, the whole thing is worth a read (and not that long either.  But I offer you the final two paragraphs.
Now mark that—this is the Gospel truth. If you are prepared to say that the Anglo-Catholic is at perfect liberty to rake in all the money he can get no matter what the wages are that are paid, no matter what the conditions are under which people work; if you say that the Anglo-Catholic has a right to hold his peace while his fellow citizens are living in hovels below the levels of the streets, this I say to you, that you do not yet know the Lord Jesus in his Sacrament. You have begun with the Christ of Bethlehem, you have gone on to know something of the Christ of Calvary—but the Christ of the Sacrament, not yet. Oh brethren! if only you listen to-night your movement is going to sweep England. If you listen. I am not talking economics, I do not understand them. I am not talking politics, I do not understand them. I am talking the Gospel, and I say to you this: If you are Christians then your Jesus is one and the same: Jesus on the Throne of his glory, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus received into your hearts in Communion, Jesus with you mystically as you pray, and Jesus enthroned in the hearts and bodies of his brothers and sisters up and down this country. And it is folly—it is madness—to suppose that you can worship Jesus in the Sacraments and Jesus on the Throne of glory, when you are sweating him in the souls and bodies of his children. It cannot be done.
There then, as I conceive it, is your present duty; and I beg you, brethren, as you love the Lord Jesus, consider that it is at least possible that this is the new light that the Congress was to bring to us. You have got your Mass, you have got your Altar, you have begun to get your Tabernacle. Now go out into the highways and hedges where not even the Bishops will try to hinder you. Go out and look for Jesus in the ragged, in the naked, in the oppressed and sweated, in those who have lost hope, in those who are struggling to make good. Look for Jesus. And when you see him, gird yourselves with his towel and try to wash their feet.

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