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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

7/07/2004

Coyne on wooing urbanites

Andrew Coyne, writing for the Western Standard, but publishing at his blog, writes:
Certainly Conservatives have to learn to speak in the language of urban Canada -- but that's a matter of presentation, of cultural codes, as much as anything. What's more important is to stop implicitly apologizing for their policies, whether by concealing, downplaying, softening or otherwise seeming to acknowledge the rightness of their critics' accusations.
andrew coyne
He is dead on in terms of cultural codes. The sheer dowdyness of the Conservatives and their failure to understand that the problem with so called social issues is not the "scare factor" or the label "extremist" - both of which are serious but not fatal - but rather the fact many urbanites have long since ceased to care about gay marriage, abortion, pot and the other socon bugbears. The reason the Conservatives kept having to appologize for their mavricks taking runs at bilingualism and abortion had as much to do with a lack of style than the substance of the remarks.

This does not mean the socon issues can't be talked about. They can; but not defensively and not with the sense of trying to create a better yesterday tomorrow. Instead, if the Tories want to address abortion maybe they should talk about the demographic fact that Canada needs more babies and then address how to encourage Canadian women to opt to keep their children. If they don't want to reform pot laws then come up with something other than the long discredited nanny knows best argument. Get those researchers out there making the link between pot use and schizophrenia.

For the next few months the Tories need to figure out how to position themselves with style, content, up to the minute information and a serious attempt to fashion their message to appeal to urban voters. This means style as well as substance.