06 November 2013

Talking down to people #nlpoli

A very smart guy scolded someone in a Twitter exchange recently with the observation that people don’t like it when others  - especially politicians - talk down to them.

Well, here’s a good illustration of the point:  the provincial Conservatives. They love to talk down to people. 

Charlene Johnson and the sexual exploitation report the provincial government paid for and then refused to release at all. They even cooked up a laughably stupid story that they would be jeopardizing people's lives if they even acknowledged the report existed.

As it turns out, they used quotes from people in the sex trade that are in the report as part of a video distributed to young people in the province’s high schools.

That’s sort of a double whammy of talking down to people and hypocrisy.

Then there is Kathy Dunderdale.

She likes to talk to people like they are stupid. 

In the House of Assembly on Monday, Kathy Dunderdale was back at it again when she stood to answer questions from the opposition parties about the Muskrat Falls project. 

For the most part, Dunderdale recited the same old lines, the one about how all the experts agree that Muskrat Falls is the lowest cost option for power in the province.

It isn’t, of course.

Nalcor never looked at alternative ways of replacing the Holyrood plant and meeting provincial needs.  They decided to build Muskrat Falls and then just carried on from there.  All the experts the Premier talked about never looked at alternatives either.  They just looked at specifically what Nalcor or the provincial government told them to look at. 

Typically, they wanted the experts to look at everything just the same way Nalcor did.  Not surprisingly, they reached the same conclusion.  repeating the same rigged assessment isn’t likely to produce anything but the same rigged answer.

The Premier tried a new story on Monday though, undoubtedly cooked up by the raft of new communications gurus she has around her.  She was trying to explain why it made sense to sell extra electricity from Muskrat Falls to the crowd in Nova Scotia:
Mr. Speaker, the easiest analogy I can give is building a house and the mortgage is costing you $1,000 a month. In that house is a basement apartment, and basement apartments are going for $600 a month. We decide to rent the basement apartment for $600. Will we keep it empty rather than charge somebody the $1,000?
It’s a wonderful analogy but it is wrong.

Here’s the correct analogy:

We will build a house with a basement apartment.  We will have to pay a mortgage of $1,000 a month. 

Rather than rent the basement apartment for $600 a month and therefore reduce our own cost to $400, Kathy Dunderdale will force you – by law – to pay $1,000 a month for the entire house.

She will let a guy from Nova Scotia live in the basement for free.  He only has to buy a new car so he can get back and forth to work.  As part of the deal,  he will let us ride in the car when we need a lift and charge us a decent price for the ride.

Under the new addition to the deal, the guy from Nova Scotia can let some of his friends and relatives stay in the apartment.  They will pay at most about $200 a month in rent but the money won’t go to us, the people who are paying the mortgage.  It will go to the contracting company we own that built the house.

Talking down to people is one thing.

People hate it.

And what they hate even more is when the stupid story you tell while you are talking down to them is really obvious bullshit.