06 May 2005

The Premier on Fabian

Premier Williams held a newser (news conference) today to comment on Fabian Manning's ouster from the Progressive Conservative caucus.

Radio Noon played some of his comments, focusing on three ideas.

First, the Premier picked up on the idea of confidential information being leaked and pinning that on Fabe. Note that the puppet caller to Open Line used this line first thing yesterday morning. This is no accident. It's also an interesting idea in that Fabian Manning, Ultra-Tory, is being accused of high treason against Tories. Proof would be interesting concept here - rather than the mere accusation - but don't count on anything coming soon.

Second, he picked up on the idea that a government caucus member has to toe the line on every government issue. The caucus and leader get to set their own rules in a parliamentary democracy. Let's just observe that this is a tight regime being set here.

This is an understandable idea in that this is an extremely tough issue for some government members. Fabe just happens to be the one, most likely, who is being used pour encourager les autres. French army commanders in the Great War used to shoot some of their soldiers who may or may not have been guilty of anything actually to accomplish the same purpose.

Of course, it also suggests that there is a lot of tension within caucus or that caucus solidarity is fragile. The French army shot people when it was on the brink of wide-spread mutiny. Even if the caucus is rock solid, some of the Premier's political opponents will draw conclusions from this action.

Third, the Premier mentioned the news release and other action following from the Nite Line fiasco. Ok. Maybe Fabe could have handled the issue a little more circumspectly, but even floating the accusation in an effort to discredit Manning was a weak tactic.

I'll toss out an observation on a line from Peter Gullage's national radio report earlier today that a member of the Premier's staff was present in the caucus room for the deliberations on Manning's future. Every caucus is different but I have never heard of unelected people being present for confidential caucus discussions. A caucus, like a cabinet, is the ultimate privileged club. Having an appointed political staffer in the room is unusual in local political circles.