19 February 2013

Who knows the mind of a squid? #nlpoli

[Almost Immediate Update at the bottom]

Why do they do it?

People keep asking why the provincial Conservatives spend so much time and tons of public money goosing the VOCM question of the day in the way that supports whatever the Tories are supporting at the moment.

It is a mystery, gentle readers.

It is inscrutable.

Like the ways of the Lord, it passeth all understanding by those of us who have not touched the hem of Hisself’s garment or who don’t hang around churches chowing down on breakfast, lunch or dinner, like current poll goosing ring-master Paul Lane apparently does.

Who knows the mind of a squid?

Who, indeed.

Danny Williams used to be obsessed with any and all expressions of love for his political backside.  As he climbed higher and higher in the polls, he fretted all the more about the last 10% who just wouldn’t give in and say they loved him too.

And so he set his minions to ensure that every place there was any chance for anyone to voice an opinion, the dominant opinion had to be Tory.

Contrary to what some might believe, that is not as facetious a reason as it might seem.  All the same, there is a slightly less quirky reason for all this poll goosing.

The answer is in the Permanent Campaign, an idea SRBP introduced you to back in the fall of 2006.

A spin-off from that is the idea that there are only two groups:  “us” – namely the Tories – and “them”, namely everyone else.  Everyone else is liable to attack for not agreeing with the Tories. 

That’s the sort of thinking that went into the sharp words Jerome Kennedy had for the Board of Trade at the budget “consultations” last week.  The BOT wasn’t following Jerome’s dictates on every issue, therefore they got body-slammed even though on the budget they are in their usual position with government:  slobbering the political hindquarters.

That’s basically campaign thinking.  It is the kind of thinking that tells you to leave nothing to chance.  Win it all and leave no doubts. Politicise everything.

This is not a new idea.  Back in the 1970s, someone on a Richard Nixon campaign bought up thousands of copies of a newspaper in one major city so the campaign could send in a bunch of cards voting for Nixon in the straw poll.

But that was in a campaign and, more to the point, it wasn’t in Newfoundland and Labrador.  In these parts, the political infighting just isn’t that intense that you need to be at the sort of warfare that you’d find in any part of the United States at any time these days.

For some reason, though, the Tories in Newfoundland and Labrador seem to think they must be constantly waging battle over in Shallow Valley. 

There’s not a shred of evidence that this sort of online poll has any impact on the public at all. 

Not a stain of proof.

And yet they click the crap out of them day-in, day-out.

The Tories seem to believe that the other parties are doing it too and therefore they must get into it and win no matter what the waste of time and energy.

Everyone does it.  That’s a line you’ll hear from lots of people, incidentally, who just assume that everyone is the same. 

Truth is that there is no evidence that the Liberals and NDP are out there these days clicking, e-mailing, or doing anything else the ways the Tories are.  They lack the resources to be at it, for one thing,even if they had the peculiar political sense to think it was valuable.  These days, the Liberals can’t even organize themselves to run a game plan of any kind let alone get at something as esoteric as VOCM’s QOTD.   The NDP can run a plan but  - as with the Liberals – there’s no sign they think this online poll stuff is important enough to matter. 

They are right. 

It isn’t.

Some people from the other parties might be voting in one of these online polls on their own just like a bunch of pissed-off individuals are commenting and voting.  Only the Tories seem to have this sort of high-level machine to PIN people about this online poll or that one and to hound them until the next poll comes along.

The sensible answer, of course, was always to ignore these polls.  They don’t matter one jot or tittle.  And if the Liberals and NDP were foolish enough to waste energy on it, then the Tories surely have better things to do than help the Liberals waste time.

That the Tories keep denying they try and goose these polls, even in the face of mounds of evidence, only makes the only thing more ludicrous and more laughable than the fact they pay their own people good public money to send messages, monitor the polls and then vote in them.

Not everyone does it.

Not everyone did it.

The Tories do it even though it makes no sense at all, on any level.

They deny doing it, despite evidence.

And they are running your province.

They also cannot see that voters are putting those two things together and drawing a very sensible conclusion.

You can see the results in the most recent opinion polls, just like early 2010 when the Tory poll goosing charade started to fail.


Tell-a-Tory-All Update:  Front page of the Telegram on Tuesday.  A follow-on story from Saturday’s front-pager.  In this one we find out that the Tories inadvertently left the Speaker’s constituency assistant on their distribution list for the poll-goosing PIN messages.  They’ve corrected the problem apparently in response to the Telly stories.

Speaker Ross Wiseman told the telly that while he doesn’t participate in partisan activity now that he is Speaker, he has done so in the past.  Wiseman put it down to what one does in politics, you engage aggressively in partisan political activity.  Apparently you do things even when it makes no sense.

As for the other parties,  the Telly story quotes Liberal Andrew Parsons.  He – and presumably his colleagues – have voted in online polls – but Parson is not aware of any organized activity to influence online polls.  Parsons said the Liberals don;t have the time or resources to get into it.

What a surprise.