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.
(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.