24 October 2011

The Best Case/Worst Case Scenario #nlpoli

So there you have it.

The Liberal caucus, less a vacationing Jim Bennett,  met last week.

They decided Kevin can keep the job of Liberal Party leader and all the glory that involves these days.

He can keep it some time next year, as VOCM reported it. 

Fact is, Aylward could be there longer.

What Aylward will do as party leader is unclear. 

Why he was away from the caucus meeting that secured his future is equally unclear.  The unspecified party business excuse is a bit like “to spend more time with my family”.  It is a stock political excuse to be trotted out, when needed, even though everyone knows it is complete bullshit.

You can tell the caucus is enthusiastic about the future.  You can see it in the looks on their faces in the scrum afterward when they told reporters about their momentous decision.

As for Yvonne Jones,  the local media are reporting that she doesn’t want the leader’s job.  What they all missed is that Jones has the de facto leader’s job she supposedly doesn’t want and the hefty extra salary to go with it.  She has the plum spot in the opposition benches in the House of Assembly.  She makes staffing decisions.  Jones controls the budget.  She gets to ask the first questions in the  daily Question Period – when the House is sitting – and she’s the one the media will go to for comment.

Jones just announced to the world on behalf of the party leader what the party leader will do.

Yvonne Jones is the party leader for anyone who is paying attention.

From Yvonne’s standpoint, this is a best-case scenario.

So now what?

Well, that’s the political worst case scenario if you are one of the handful of people left in Newfoundland and Labrador still supporting the provincial Liberals.  While there will be lots of talk about stuff that needs to happen on the glorious march back to power, recent history will tell you that none of it will happen.

The party simply doesn’t speak to anyone anymore and outside of the 10 or 11% of the electorate who voted for them, they don’t speak for much either.

With the leadership set up of Jones-Aylward, there’s obviously no cohesion or shared sense of direction.  What the Liberals are left with is to keep going in circles for a while.

And that may be a long while, given that Saviour Messiah Dean the Magical Wonder Pony may not really want the job in the future just like he hasn’t really wanted it in the past.

In the meantime, you can count the number of minutes before the jokes start flowing from the Tories or Dippers about whether the Grit leadership creature is straight from Dr. Doolittle – with two heads – or the Pushmi - Pullyu’s other bits stuck together.

pushmiNews of the Liberal leadership arrangement is met with both dancing for joy and chin-pulling scepticism, right, at a rally of all 11 Liberal Party supporters left in the province.

(Not exactly as illustrated.)

Indecision and inactivity over the course of four years are what led to the recent fiasco capped off by one of the most spectacularly inept and incompetent campaigns in recent political history.

More indecision and inactivity  - guaranteed under the current leadership arrangement - won’t make anything better.  Well, not if the goal was to challenge the Tories for the government in 2015, it isn’t.  At this rate the Liberals will be fighting for the life and struggling to hold onto the opposition in 2015 as the Tories and Dippers duke it out for power. 

As it stands today, the Liberal Party faced a near death experience a couple of weeks ago, a real “holy f***, that was close” moment.

Now that the danger has passed, they want to get right back to the old ways of doing business that put the party in his current sorry state.

The party needs to change.

A credible political party cannot afford to have a repeat of recent history including the way Jones left the job a few weeks ago and the board picked her replacement.

Change means things have to be different.  More of the same is not an option.  Change also means that so many people within the party will have to give up the traditional Liberal Party delusion that some saviour, some messiah will appear and make all the problems go away.

The party also can’t afford to try and recycle someone – whether Aylward, Efford or Jones – even on a temporary basis.  Temporary has a tendency to become permanent, especially when the shock of a near death experience wears off.

That was the SRBP call on October 13, in what turned out to be a truly Kreskin-like moment.  And then the caucus decided to follow right on with an ad for a new Messiah

No matter what the Liberals do next,  they’ve pretty much sealed their political fate.

-srbp -

10 comments:

Mark said...

Why he was away from the caucus meeting that secured his future is equally unclear.

He isn't a member of caucus

Edward Hollett said...

And that highlights one of the problems with a party leader who has no seat.

What exactly is Kevin the leader of?

John Hogan said...

Not here to debate whether he should stay or go....but you know he is the leader of the Party. Not being in caucus causes difficulty but doesn't change the fact he is the leader. Your comment makes it sound like the leader is elected solely to lead a caucus. You know the difference.

Edward Hollett said...

Actually, John, you should know the difference and not try to pretend
Kevin is something other than the political eunuch he now is.

Kevin is in a position to lead exactly nothing. The policy direction and public comment for the party won't be coming from him. That will be coming from caucus, which, as Mark brutally points out, doesn't include him.

Now there is nothing in our political system to stop Kevin from leading the party and the caucus of elected MHAs, and speaking on behalf of the party. After last week's events, though, it is pretty obvious he has a title but no job.

In the meantime, the party will continue on its road to political obscurity - if not oblivion - while the caucus of elected members waits around for their ersatz Danny to show up and take them to the promised land.

John Hogan said...

I was being literal, as you are when you said:

Now there is nothing in our political system to stop Kevin from leading the party and the caucus of elected MHAs, and speaking on behalf of the party. After last week's events, though, it is pretty obvious he has a title but no job.

And as I said, my comment wasn't to debate the pros and cons. And you pointed out one con:
Kevin is in a position to lead exactly nothing. The policy direction and public comment for the party won't be coming from him. That will be coming from caucus, which, as Mark brutally points out, doesn't include him.

The debate is whether he SHOULD stay as leader. Not whether or not he is leader. Thats all I was saying.

Edward Hollett said...

I see your point, John, but there is no debate about whether Kevin should or shouldn't be anything.

As of last week, he as a title but no job.

What's there to debate?

Now why he isn't just simply taking a hike now is another question but that also really isn't a subject for debate as much as it is for head-scratching bewilderment by anybody other than those inside the circle.

Meanwhile, the party remains on its course for obscurity with likely continued passage to oblivion.

John Hogan said...

And on that note....to avoid obscurity we need to do a lot of work. Even if you are right, and even if Kevin resigns tomorrow, that risk is still high. there is much to be done.

Edward Hollett said...

John, if by "we" you mean the Liberal Party, then yes, any of you people still supporting the party have a lot to do.

But you won't avoid obscurity. That's pretty much guaranteed at this point.

You have a party that simply doesn't speak to any more than 40 odd thousand people, in total across the province. In the last election the party deliberately abandoned everyone east of Grand Falls-Windsor and openly and pointedly said so. (e.g. the Fisheries Policy of the Past)

The problem is not district associations and organization. The party lacks a purpose and a reason for people to come out and organize the districts in the first place. It won't get that purpose as it waits around for the latest saviour to clue up his commute to Toronto. After all, there's no guarantee he will show up.

So what happens in the meantime? Well, if the past four years or so are any guide - and they are the best anyone has to judge by - then there'll be four more years of nothing to say leading to another abysmal campaign that is the result of doing nothing for four years.

Even if by some miracle the Jesus-de-Jour arrives on cue, the party has so little credibility left that it would have to fight desperately just to get up to the point where people are paying any attention to it.

In the meantime, the little Orange Engine will be two or three years farther down the road and likely even better organized and prepared than it is today.

2015 will be a battle between the Blue and Orange for government. The Red team, if it manages to keep everything together, will be struggling to make sure it doesn't get crushed in the fight between the other two.

Oblivion is a lot closer than you might think.

John Hogan said...

Yes that is what I meant by "we".
So in your opinion the work starts with making good policy, and then building from there. I don't disagree. As i said, there is lots of work to be done. I'm not one of the Liberals you refer to as waiting for a savior. That is not how I see the Party getting out of this.
Curious on your thoughts: who should be doing the policy work that you see as the first step? Caucus? The leader? The executive? A committee of the board?

Edward Hollett said...

When I said closer to oblivion than you think, John, I meant just that.

It's not about policy or a leader or a pretty slogan. It's much simpler than that.

The Liberal Party is at the point where you have to start thinking about why anyone in the province should care about the Liberal Party any more.

What does the Liberal Party offer to voters?

Why should anyone even care, let alone get involved, let alone vote for the party?