06 August 2009

Real Leaders Shovel It, apparently

There’s been a silly exchange of letters to the editor the past couple of weeks between a fellow named Matthew Pike and the John Hickey.  Hickey took time out from shovelling pavement to shovelling something else in response to a letter from Pike.

The whole thing is silly because Pike started out by kicking Hickey over the foolish government position on the Goose Bay airbase.  It’s pretty silly for Pike to try and hold Hickey to account for a position which  is based on holding John Hickey’s federal political buddies to a promise anyone with half a clue knew was total bullshit when it was uttered.  Hickey campaigned for the federal Connies a couple of times  while the federal Connies were running hard on the bullshit promise of a battalion of soldiers for Goose Bay. Now he is slagging them off for not delivering.  Pike was poking Hickey for supposedly not doing more to push for bullshit.

Anyway, the exchange got sillier considering that the best come-back Hickey could toss at Pike is that Pike is a staffer at the provincial Liberal Party office.  Maybe he is.  Maybe he isn’t.  It’s really irrelevant given the inherent foolishness of Hickey’s position on Goose Bay.  That’s also really not much of a point coming from a cabinet minister in a party which relies so heavily on plants in the media. 

Enter Shannon Tobin. 

Tobin decided to dip his oar into the exchange this week in a letter the editor thankfully decided to leave off the newspapers website.  He didn’t point out the obvious.  Instead he decided to back Hickey.  After starting out with a couple of paragraphs based entirely on Pike’s employment status, Tobin drops this wet kiss:

Now I am proud to state that I support the Progressive Conservative party of Newfoundland and Labrador mainly because I know that the PC party has and continues to show a lot more respect towards Labrador than the Liberals ever did.

After accusing someone else of partisanship, Tobin tosses his own partisan affiliation on the table in such glowing – and entirely irrelevant - terms.  The rest of the letter continues the unqualified partisan praise for Hickey  - nothing on the Goose Bay base issue itself, by the by  - before finishing with the assurance from Tobin that  “the view from Lake Melville with John Hickey as our MHA is a bright and magnificent one.”


Takogo kak Hickey:  There’s something about a man in hard hat and safety vest, apparently.  In a letter to The Labradorian, Shannon Tobin credits Hickey with bringing benefits to central Labrador: “… including the fact that we finally will have some  much needed pavement placed on the TLH…it is quite clear that John Hickey is a real leader and there isn’t any need for a change.”

Tobin’s letter is such an over-the-top love letter to John Hickey’s political backside one can easily conclude one of two things:  either Tobin is applying for a job in Hickey’s office via The Labradorian.  Or he’s been applying already but has had no luck in the hunt for Hickey-related work thus far. 

Now of course, there’s no reason to doubt Tobin’s sincerity. He likely believes every partisan word of what he wrote  but, in the ordinary course, one does not usually see even the most blind of congenitally blind partisans weighing in to an essentially trivial bun fight between two other partisans unless there is something else going on.

About the only thing Tobin wrote which likely reflected the views of the majority came in his second sentence:  “I am a little displeased that some would take advantage of this option [writing a letter to the editor] for seemingly political motives.” 

They likely find letters like Tobin’s more than a little displeasing.



Shannon Tobin said...

Wow I didn't realize my LTE was so important as to get lambasted in a blog. But just to address some concerns that you mentioned about my article.

I mentioned Matt's employer the Liberal party of NL because it was relevant. If matt had to of mentioned it, I would have had no problem.

Secondly, I mentioned my party affiliation because I wanted to make sure that everyone knew my biases. I have been a PC for years and I will continue to be one. I felt that if I had not put that in there it would have been dishonest.

Thirdly, I have a basis in my beliefs. (If requested)I can offer a laundry list of reasons as to why I can confidently argue that the PC party has in all its incarnations treated Labrador better on the whole over the years compared to the Liberal party of NL. But there is enough partisanship going on here so it is probably unnecessary.

Finally, the insinuation that I wrote a response to Matts letter as some form of application to get a job at John Hickey's office is the farthest thing from the truth. I actually know Matt, so purely in the interst of debate I figured I would offer an alternative view. Just as you have subsequently done on your blog. Isn't freedom of speech/presses just grand?

Edward G. Hollett said...


As I said, given the rather silly nature of the whole to and fro between Hickey and Pike, your slobberingly partisan letter added nothing except further humour to the whole thing.

If you weren't engaged in some sort of hoovering, then why ever did you feel the need to write?

Did you feel that poor John couldn't hold up his end of the fight that you had to weigh in, with blue guns blazing?

Hopefully you weren't exercising free speech in a partisan way since that is exactly what you criticised Pike for doing. I say hoefully since I should think that you were a better debater than to score such an obvious "own goal".

Freedom of speech is indeed grand. It's too bad your political friends have such a problem with it.

Complete sentences are grander.

Partisan drivel is boring. It is too bad that's all you offered The Labradorian.

Shannon Tobin said...


I merely submitted the letter later than I had anticipated. It was wrote as a reponse to Matt's initial letter. Hence why I never discussed Hickey's letter or Matt's subsequent letter which furthered their back and forth.

I knew it was going in late, but I figured seeing as I had already written it why not send it in. I missed the publication deadline making it even more out of date.

Also I criticized Matt for being employed by the NL Liberals, not stating that fact as part of his article, and subsequently I argued that his letter was probably written at the behest of the party as opposed to him as an individual.

I wrote a letter as an individual(at the behest of no one), while my view is probably biased towards my own political philosophy(just as yours may be) I do have the right to say it. Just as Matt has the right to say what he wants. But in writing these letters make sure to inform the reader what side you butter your bread. Especially if that side also gives you your paycheques.

If Partisan Drivel was so boring then why did you decide to write your own blog post on it? Were you perhaps trying to give your readers some good bedtime reading?

Edward G. Hollett said...


Since you are so intrigued by hair-splitting, did you establish when Pike was hired by the Liberals, determine what his job was and so forth?

If that was actually such a crucial point that you had to chime in, I am surprised you didn't bother to nail down all the arcane detail.

no one denied yourright to write. I simply point out - for the third time - that you criticised Pike for exercising his free speech in a partisan cause and then did exactly thre same thing yourself.

The common word for this would be hypocrite and blindly slobbering partisans usually make hypocrites of themselves fairly quickly.

The other thing they wind up being very good at is self-lampooning.

I wrote about your letter because - as you have made plain with these comments - yours was a fine example of the blind partisan saelf-lampooning hypocrite letter to the editor.

I could also cite your Wkipedia entry as another fine example of self-promotion cum public pulitical masturbation.

You should be proud of your accomplishments. And if you net an endorsement from the Prem or the Amazing Hickey in the next federal election or a job from them in the meantime, I am sure it was all purely coincidental.

Shannon Tobin said...


This really has been fun to banter back and forth. As well I am glad to see that Drew Brown and Matt Pike have seemed to enjoy it as well.

But I am pretty sure that this is probably going to continue to be another several instances of us splitting hairs. So lets let that part of the argument die.

As for that wikipedia article, at one point in time it said I was going to run for the NL Communist party. So if you choose to cite the article as evidence of something you can go right ahead.

I really didn't know that LTE's warranted this much attention.

Edward G. Hollett said...

well, Shannon, it got my attention because it was a fine piece of partisan arselicking.

On top of that it was especially risible.

As for Wkipedia, most of the original material is attributed to what appears to be one of your online IDs, that is if your youtube space is any guide. I presume the NLCP reference was someone taking the mickey out of you which is about the only reaction that sort of public masturbation usually prompts.