08 November 2010

Kremlinology 28: How will he go?

Gordon Campbell resigned suddenly last week as Premier of British Columbia. Campbell’s been under considerable political pressure resulting fro introduction of the harmonized sales tax in the province.

The Globe this weekend is taking a look at the impact not only of Campbell’s departure but the abrupt way he left the political stage.  The quote Bob Plecas, a former Campbell advisor:

Any serious contender to replace Mr. Campbell, whose unpopular harmonized sales tax has crippled the party, would have to be free to differentiate himself or herself from the current policies, he added.

“But what he’s asking them to do is stay on the Titanic and keep rowing,” Mr. Plecas said.

It’s not exactly the same situation at the other end of the country.  Campbell left suddenly and pretty much unexpectedly.  Danny Williams, by contrast, has already made it abundantly clear he’s in the later stages of his political career in this province.

In fact, Williams first talked about quitting politics in late 2006.  Not surprisingly, one of the things he was moaning about at the time was the weight of the office he volunteered for. The backstory on his winter and spring full of discontent, at the time,  probably had much more to do with the collapse of Hebron talks and revelations about gross overspending and criminal activity in the House of Assembly, some of which continued until 2006, rather than any real annoyance with the life in the political goldfish bowl.

Fast forward four years.

Williams’ most recent version of the 12 minute rant at every Goldstein he could think of seemed to be much more about his frustration with the Lower Churchill, the budget and other matters than about liberals and the media.  After all, he finished up by urging people not to pay attention to the “bullshit”.  That would be, of course, the same “bullshit” he just spent 12 minutes obsessing about.

Doesn’t make sense, does it?

Not really.

Then again, it seldom does.

Maybe he was offering excuses for failure. 

“Imagine how much I could do…” or whatever the exact words were.  Your humble e-scribbler has made the same point many times before.  Maybe a lot more would get done if only the current administration didn’t spend so much time  - and public money - manipulating public opinion or obsessing about the three people in a coffee shop in Deer Lake who muttered misdemeanour words about the Old Man.

Maybe Williams was just venting his considerable frustration  - yet again - again with the job he volunteered for and that no one is forcing him to keep.  It’s just that those outbursts seem to be coming a bit more frequently lately.  His last Great Whine Session was in August, the last polling period.

As these bitch sessions seem to come closer and closer together, it seems appropriate to wonder how and when exactly Williams will finally give us all the wave from the Cessna door as he heads off to Florida more or less permanently.

Will he go before October 2011 or has his caucus roped him into one last kick at the cat?  What happens if the polls shift and it looks like he won’t reclaim the seats he has right now let alone score all of them?  Danny Williams hardly seems like the kind of guy who would stick around and settle for being in exactly the same spot again.  He needs to go for something bigger.  But what happens if he couldn’t hope to sweep all 48 seats in the House?

Will he struggle along and wait until 2013 or 2014 before pulling pin? Will he give plenty of lead time and hang around while his successors duke it out or will he pull a Campbell and walk out one fine January afternoon?

No matter what happens, we know that Danny Williams is in the final stages of his political career.  Go back to April and you can see a list of some of the contenders and pretenders to the throne who are already campaigning for his job. Maybe it’s time to think now about how he will finally slide out of his current job and when.

- srbp -


Jerry Bannister said...

How will He go?

The answer is on page 266 of Bill Rowe's book. It's the last line on the last page:

"And if he manages to overcome the challenges of putting the Lower Churchill on stream -- with benefits to this province comparable to those he gained in the Atlantic Accord negotiations -- I believe he will take his place as the greatest of our premiers."

Rowe is merely spouting the conventional wisdom, but I think the conventional wisdom is right when it comes to Premier Williams. For Williams, nothing less than a heroic exit will do. And nothing will secure a truly heroic dénouement other than the Mother of All MOU's.

So the answer to your question is that Mr. Williams will exit in a blaze of public relations announcement glory loud enough to be heard on Rigel 7.

Wm. Murphy said...

The analogy between Campbell and Williams is like comparing chalk to cheese. One has the public support of about 7% while the other has the public support of about 80%.

I know you don't believe in polls but Mr. Campbell certainly paid heed to them

Williams will win the next election and then decide, on his terms, when he wants to leave..from all indications, it will be his decision alone.

You make the big pronouncement that ..."No matter what happens, we know that Danny Williams is in the final stages of his political career"

What a grasp of the obvious...the man will have won his third election by another landslide and sometime during the next four years he will step aside. That's not news except it will be a surprise when he actually does do it.

You also say...."some of the contenders and pretenders to the throne who are already campaigning for his job"....What another surprise Ed!

Everyone knows that Williams will be leaving during his third term and the sitting Tory MHA's who feel that they can do the job, will begin their "quiet" lobby to curry favour among the Party.
Are you expecting something different?

Ursula said...

Wm. Murphy :


Mark said...

I believe the popular term is "latter stages" not "final stages".

I'm with Wm. on this one. Even Danny Williams isn't foolish enough to turn the prospect of Muskrat Falls to St. John's with no export capacity into a legacy "piece".

Or is he?

Wm. Murphy said...

Sorry for the delay but just came up from the catacombs....Thanks once again Ursula...I am flattered.

Ursula said...

If a poll was taken today as to whether Williams takes a salary , how many of the participants would say that he takes no pay , 60% , 70% , 80% ?

The overwhelming consensus amongst the premier's followers is that he is the best premier this province has ever seen and that he has done more for this province than any other premier .

Things being as they are ,the premier doesn't have to "want" a "legacy", heck ,the people are only too willing to "force a legacy " on him .

So you see everybody wins .....

Ursula said...

No thanks necessary Murphy .

I predict you are going to go far .....

Simon Lono said...

The 93% Campbell didn't have bothered him a whole lot less than Danny is bothered by the 20% that he doesn't have.

WJM said...

And nothing will secure a truly heroic dénouement other than the Mother of All MOU's.

We already saw the, um, Cousin of All MOU's, with Rhode Island.

WJM said...

One has the public support of about 7% while the other has the public support of about 80%.

And once, not so very long ago really, Campbell had an opposition of two.

What's your point?

WJM said...

Danny Williams isn't foolish enough to accidentally expropriate an environmental disaster and a large swathe of the town of Grand Falls-Windsor.

Danny Williams isn't foolish enough to think you can see the twinkling lights of Cape Breton from Flowers Cove.

Danny Williams is not foolish.

Super-awesome verification word: muckards

Ursula said...

"Some of the contenders and pretenders to the throne who are already campaigning for his job".

Ms. Pardy-Ghent stated to a certain talk show host after her 15 minutes of fame that , she was a (paraphrasing) conservative at heart and that she thought that The Minister of Fisheries and the Minister of Education were very fine ministers indeed .

Are these two fine ministers contenders do you think ,campaigning for the "Throne".Yikes .....

Edward Hollett said...

Perhaps the most telling thing, Murph, is the angst this very question apparently caused you.

it bothered you so much you had to restate that He will continue to ride on in majesty, the supreme victor of all until He alone decides to let someone else ride in His chair.

Very Smallwoodian image you conjure up.

Of course this is also the basic theme you've been pounding for as long as you have been using this one of your sock puppet identities. Now as then the problem you have is the assumption that nothing will change.

In the interim there have been bum tickers and breast cancer. Life has a funny way of interfering in the sorts of assumptions you like to claim are facts.

And as for Williams being in the later stages of his political career, this is actually a point worth bearing in mind. It influences a great many things, or should I say, the absence of a great many things like a fishery MOU.

Evidently it bothers you to consider a life without Himself watching safely over His flock. The rest of us are not as fightened of that reality as you seem to be.

We can enjoy wondering when he will, actually go. That has nothing to do with his polling numbers; it has to do with other things. Winning Number Three may not be one of them. (hint: I did not use Campbell as an analogy, Murph. That's a bit of foolishness you made up.)

Wm. Murphy said...

Wrong Ed...the only thing that bothers me is that there is no credible opposition in sight. That's what bothers me.

I also snickered at..."Will he go before October 2011 or has his caucus roped him into one last kick at the cat?"
This from someone who has repeatedly said that the caucus is useless in thye eyes of Williams. Why do you think that he is now worried about Caucus' sentiments

as for.... "I did not use Campbell as an analogy"

How silly of me Eddie; apologies for linking Campbell and Williams together. Must be that pesky segue that confused me!!

I keep forgetting that your words have hidden meaning that most of us don't get. I am learning...patience Ed, patience as I struggle through your double entendres

Edward Hollett said...

Murph, I simply asked a bunch of questions here. I did not pose any answers. You may snicker all you want but ultimately the only laugh here is at your expense. You wind up in these sorts of spots based entirely on your own assumption both of what I've said now and what I've said or anyone else may have said before.

And as always, they are your faulty assumptions or wild claims.

Take the caucus comment, for instance. Williams himself recently complained about the need to deal with internal party or caucus politics. There was no indication what that meant. He may well have been talking about some arrangement with his most likely replacements to postpone his departure until it works better for them and their campaigns. He could have been talking about something else entirely.

This sort of stuff evidently bothers you. If it didn't you wouldn't comment on it relentlessly and then deny it bothers you. But keep it up, Murph, your comments are usually pretty entertaining, if only because it's a game to see how long it takes you to shoot yourself in the foot.


Ursula said...

Murphy , is your need to chat with Ed something like catnip to a cat ?

Wm. Murphy said...


Ursula said...

Now I see why Ed keeps you around , you are priceless Murphy .