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 -