Loyalty is an important value to me. Rex understands, unlike a lot of the media and even some Blogging Tories! A loyal opposition is the government in waiting. It is the least that can be expected from an opposition leader.
It should therefore be beyond all contention that Her Majesty's Loyal Leader of the Opposition be committed to the nation, and to the Parliament of the nation in which that leader sits. Indeed, I'd argue that the deepest and highest passion for the good of the country you aspire to lead is the very principal qualification for anyone, any time, seeking office.
I'd argue, in other words, for unclouded, unashamed, stamp-your-feet and wave-the-flag patriotism in all our politicians. There is nothing new or outré or excessive in such thoughts. Till our hip and ironic age, they were right out of the Politics Primer - love your country and do it honour was Grade 1 civics.
And yet there are now prominent voices that would have us believe that it is no big deal that the NDP's new interim leader, Nycole Turmel, has, till recently, held memberships in two separatist parties.
Some people see the controversy as parallel to switching parties in the federal House, or cite Bob Rae leaving the NDP for the Liberals as somehow an equivalent instance. Nonsense. These parallels do not hold. Membership in a separatist party is not the same. Separatism is the anti-matter of our federal politics. A separatist party seeks, at core, to nullify the nation. I can think of many routes to get to the job of official leader of the federal Opposition: Taking out memberships in separatist parties is not among them. Rotating within the roster of existing federal parties may suggest a certain ideological homelessness, but it is not the same as wandering to the very camp that denies the utility of federal politics.