09 September 2013

The Bunker Door is Welded Shut #nlpoli

Kathy Dunderdale cannot quit as leader of the provincial Conservative Party,  says Fairity O’Brien in an interview with NTV.

He stresses it over and over.  The caucus is solidly behind her.

He stresses it so much – right down to telling you that he wants to stress the message in this interview – that where you’d start to believe that what he is saying is the literal truth:  Kathy wants to go but the caucus won’t let her.

If Kathy tried to quit, Fairity would do everything he could to get her to stay. O’Brien even offers the optimistic view that his party’s fortunes will turn around in the next poll.  That would be any day now, given that MQO polls monthly. 

O’Brien was probably talking about the CRA poll, given that the local political savants only seem to accept CRA polling numbers publicly.  Still, even three months is a pretty fast turn-around given the sorry-assed state in which fairity and his friends find themselves.  They didn’t get in the political loo overnight and there’s not much chance they’ll find their way out of the bog that easily.

To get a good sense of just how deep the Conservatives are in the political crapper, take a look at CBC’s Friday report on the enthusiastic caucus support Dunderdale enjoys.  Pay particular attention to John Dinn.  The online CBC story quotes Dinn as saying that people don’t accept Dunderdale and “you wonder why not.”

What they couldn’t translate is the bizarre noise he emits at the start of his comment.  Unfortunately, that’s also the most important part of the comment.  It stands as a contrast to Fairity's words:  one overly enthusiastic in his claims of greatness and glory about to return.  Another, not so much.

Add to your appreciation of the situation the difference between the two Tories.  John Dinn is an old foot soldier.  Fairity O’Brien is one of the inner circle running the province.  He was part of the cabal that concocted the Plan-That-Never-Was that put Kathy in place as a figurehead.  You can tell she is nothing but a figurehead by some of the rather spectacular stories we have seen that can only come from someone who has no real political power of her own.

John Dinn doesn’t really need to keep up the pretence. He’s not personally invested in it.  Fairity is the opposite.  Both talk about the political problem as if the whole thing is about Kathy alone, but unlike the political savants, both Dinn and Fairity know it isn’t.

The two understand that all the old tricks they’ve been using since 2003 have run out of magic. They don’t have any new ideas to replace them.   If they did, we’d have seen them already.  The economy is booming and the government spending that is driving it is still way beyond what the treasury can afford. 

The budget cuts from last spring were always more show than substance. People should be liking the Tories.  But they aren’t.  That’s the conundrum John Dinn was talking about.  He just said “Kathy” when he meant “us the Tories”

O’Brien and Dinn know that they have a huge chunk of caucus – maybe two-thirds of it – who won’t be running again.  They can’t recruit enough new faces to replace the old ones, given that an election called today would send the Tories down in history as the biggest political failure, ever.  No politically ambitious person in the province is going to sign on to crew what looks like a sinking ship, let alone play captain.

In the meantime, the caucus doesn’t want to run a leadership for fear of splitting the caucus as it is wide open, but at the same time, they can’t find anyone who everyone inside the caucus  - especially the inner circle - can agree to follow except for Dunderdale.  With so few politicians likely to stay, and with the back benches so limited in talent, even a cabinet shuffle wouldn’t let them put a new face on the old crowd to try and get the polls back up.

All the Tories can do – as it seems – is weld the door shut to the bunker.  No one is allowed out and no one wants in anyway.  Da byes are going to weather the storm and pray the sun will come out, soon.

You can tell that by the way Kevin O’Brien recited his talking points over and over. And you can tell by the guttural cry of anguish that slipped out of John Dinn when someone asked him about the province’s political future.