12 August 2010

The Old Man, Old Habits and Old Chestnuts

labradore lays bare the foolishness that is the Old Man’s latest anti-Quebec tirade.

Score one for His Premierness’s crack research and intelligence team; after all it was just three weeks ago that Quebec’s intergovernmental affairs Minister — unlike some provinces, they actually have one — telegraphed his province’s opposition to federal subsidies for transmission lines.

Curiously, these nefarious Quebec plots seem to cycle at about three-month intervals; His Premierosity exposed the previous one back on May 12th.

And yes, ladies and gentleman, the last time the Old Man got in a back-risking lather was during the month his pollster was in the field collecting numbers.

Funny how that happens.

Regular readers of these scribbles will recall that the Premier’s foray into the anti-Quebec realm prompted this rather neat diagram of The World as the Old Man Sees It.  Thousands of you read it, no doubt laughed and – in a great many cases- downloaded it as the wallpaper for your computer desktop.

Perhaps it’s time to get some tee shirts made up. They’d go like hotcakes.

Levity to one side – and it is hard not to snort at this same old story being recycled yet again -  your humble e-scribbler would be remiss if there were not reminders of the following salient points:

  1. There is no Lower Churchill project the power from which would presumably course down these currently non-existent but hopefully federally-funded transmission lines.  NALCOR has no customers and doesn’t have the $14 or so billion the thing will cost.
  2. Not so very long ago, Danny Williams was working feverishly to get Hydro Quebec to take an ownership stake in the Lower Churchill, with no redress for the Churchill Falls contract included.  This would be – of course – completely contrary to his pre-2005 comments/commitments on the subject.  This is the biggest story of 2009, if not the entire Williams administration to date.  It remains one story that the conventional media in the province have steadfastly – and one must say now very deliberately – refused to mention for almost a full year. They have determined it is an “un-story” despite the evidence from natural resources minister Kathy Dunderdale’s own mouth.
  3. There is no Lower Churchill project.
  4. Your humble e-scribbler first discussed the whole idea of the permanent campaign and the quarterly poll goose in a series of posts in 2006.  There’s “The ‘Danny’ Brand”, “Playing the numbers”, “The media and the message” and “The perils of polling.”
  5. There is no Lower Churchill project.
  6. The bit from the CBC story after “particularly”  is false:  “Williams has had a tempestuous relationship with Quebec officials, particularly after regulators in Quebec in May dismissed Nalcor's bid to move power to U.S. markets on Quebec's transmission system.”  The Regie d’energie did no such thing. Anyone who read the decision in English or French would know that. Your humble e-scribbler’s challenge from May remains unanswered.
  7. There is no Lower Churchill project.
  8. This bit is absolutely true:  “when we have a situation when one province is deliberately trying to thwart at least two other provinces, and indirectly affect four other provinces, that's sad."  And the Old Man should know since the last time it happened, he did it.

- srbp -

19 comments:

Ursula said...

This "Fighting Newfoundlander" persona that some of us love to see ourselves portrayed as , can this be seen as "addictive behaviour", and if so can this premier be seen as an "ENABLER" ?

Blair Matthews said...

Gold. Pure Gold.

Jerry Bannister said...

No doubt CBC, VOCM, and the Telegram will all make note of the fact that the Premier's latest media performance is taking place during polling season.

No doubt, too, that when the next CRAPoll results are announced, it will be accompanied by media missives touting the Premier's omnipotent omnipotence and blogger blather blaming it all on Yvonne Jones.

Before the poll-propelled puff-piecery gets unleashed on the back-to-school public, here's a Friday afternoon tidbit to chew over: in Russia, where opposition parties are, let us say, a tad less powerful and independent than in Newfoundland and Labrador, a recent poll puts Prime Minister Putin's approval rating at 59%.

If a weak opposition leader is the sine qua non of a government leader's popularity, then shouldn't Mr. Putin be up in the polling clouds with Mr. Williams, where the rarefied air features an opposition that "isn't even in the ballpark"?

Ed Hollett said...

Funny thing, Ursula is that I had it the other way around: the rest of us enable him.

Either way it is dysfunctional

WJM said...

Ursula: What Ed said.

Danny is the addict in this metaphor.

Ursula said...

Remember when the then premier Grimes said to a New York audience that Newfoundlanders were good for three things , "fishing , fighting and f***ing .

For that gem , the people of this province "disabled" him .

Funny lot aren't we .

Ed Hollett said...

Well, Ursula. While some of us were genuinely embarrassed at the comment the ones who attacked it most viciously and mercilessly were mindless Tory partisans, sock puppets and wannabes.

These dweebs didn't just appear after 2003.

It's like the guy who attacks Yvonne for not telling us how she'd fix all the problems. Well that fanboy won't ever admit that his hero did the same.

Tasteless jokes? His hero again.

Petty, vicious, personal attacks? His hero, yet again.

A great deal of what you see in comments comes from plants.

Jerry Bannister said...

I would have to go back and research the media coverage at the time, but Ursula has a point: while Mr. Grimes got fried for dropping one f**k-bomb, Mr. Williams gets a free pass in the local media when he drops his traitor-bombs.

As for the smears against Yvonne Jones, which have come from more than one corner, here's one for the newsroom to mull over while it runs out the clock on another week: if electing a new leader was everything the local pundits say it is, why has the federal Liberal Party had so much trouble since 2003? Why has a succession of *three* new party leaders failed to produce high poll numbers or success in federal elections, especially given Mr. Harper's many political brain cramps?

If Danny Williams is scoring twenty points higher in the polls than Vladimir Putin, who isn't exactly running a liberal democracy with a free press, the problems in NL politics are far more complicated than the state of the leadership of the NL Liberal Party.

P.S. Neologism of the month: Premierificiousness.

Ed Hollett said...

Jerry: don't get me wrong. I know he was savaged and received a sound editorial drubbing. She's right on that point as well.

As for the overall media treatment of Williams, I think there's a book to be written on it. The whole "selling hydro" story alone is worth a chapter.

Ursula said...

While my comment was in no way meant to embarrass Mr. Grimes , the point I was trying to get across is that as E.R. Murrow so eloquently put it ~

"Most truths are so naked that people feel sorry for them and cover them up , at least a little bit ."

Grimes' remark may well have been " off the cuff" and he was castigated .

Yet,we appear more than willing to accept Williams' "truths".

This had wandered away from the issue but, can anyone explain why this man has such sway over our people ?

Ed Hollett said...

The most important thing to realise is that he doesn't.

What you are referring to are the polls, which we know are wildly inaccurate/skewed, and the inexplicable practice of local media to continue to report them as if there was no sign of their inaccuracy.

The whole thing becomes an illusion after a certain point. The only people who actively deny it have an active interest in perpetuating the delusion.

WJM said...

Remember when the then premier Grimes said to a New York audience that Newfoundlanders were good for three things , "fishing , fighting and f***ing .

I don't remember that.

WJM said...

P.S. Neologism of the month: Premierificiousness.

The invoice is in the mail.

Ursula said...

With all due respect Mr. Hollett , the polls might be skewed in Williams'favour but , how does that account for his bloated cabinet ?

The by-election taken by Paul Davis was an eye-opener for me ,I think Williams may have a stranglehold on the province .

Ed Hollett said...

But look at the appallingly low turn-out, Ursula in 07 or in any by-election, including the last one.

If you look at the energy (bodies and cash) the Tories expend in by-elections compared to the result, you can see what I mean. Their cost per vote is at absurd levels.

His cabinet is large because he has ambitious people on the benches he needs to keep happy. It is large for the same reason all large NL cabinets get large. This one just has a much higher proportion of dead wood in it (ministers with no real jobs).

Mark said...

Ursula - don't open that can of worms, lest you end up with uniformed, er, "poll captains" on your doorstep.

Ursula said...

Despite a low voter turnout the Topsail by-election reads like this :

Nominations :

Paul Davis ----- 882

Paul Lane ----- 150

Deb Quility --- 122

Kurtis Coombs -- 82 ?

The by-election :

Davis ----- 2737 (PC)

Shane Kennedy --- 238 (Lib)

Brian Nolan ---- 374 (NDP)

If we go by the numbers only , it appears that the Liberals and the NDP have a low voter turnout .

The PC turnout tells another story .

Their numbers say that they are very organized and motivated .

How organized ? The day after Peter Dawe announced that he was running for the Liberals, the Telegram ran a front page, above the fold story and a letter to the editor on Daffodil House .

Was this coincidental ?

Peter Dawe withdrew due to ill health .

Ed Hollett said...

Compare the Tory turnout in that by-election to their turnout for the same seat over several elections.

Do the same thing for several districts.

Look, as I said, at the amount of money they spent to get that turnout.

Are they better organized than the others? Undoubtedly.

Do they have more cash? Undoubtedly.

So why are they having such trouble getting people to the polls?

It's like the last election. Exactly the same share of eligible voters as in 2003. It wasn't a case of them having a problem getting their vote out as Williams claimed in a pre-emptive excuse before polling day. The problem was that they could only appeal to that many people. They didn't pick up votes.

No less a Danny butt-kisser than Bill Rowe accurately assessed that the turnout in 2007 was low overall because the Liberal and NDP voters stayed home.

But you will note in the results that the PCs did NOT increase their vote by any significant amount.

Ursula said...

Did the PCs increase their vote in Topsail , a resounding no .

Election 2007

Elizabeth Marshall ------- 4892

By-election 2010

Paul Davis --------------- 2737

The number of voters who said "No thanks Dan "-------------- 2155