19 May 2015

Political Pandermonium #nlpoli

You can tell the election is already going on.  You can tell because of what some of the political workers are doing.

The Liberals are going door-to-door.  They are meeting voters.  They are asking for their votes.  Then the campaign workers write on Twitter and Facebook.about the “glorious day” of campaigning  they’d had.

Politicians tweet as well. The candidates tweet about their campaigning. The elected politicians tweet about the meeting they went to, or a government comment, or questions in the House of Assembly. 
Lane 24 MayTaking a lesson he learned from Reform Conservative turned Grit turned provincial Conservative Steve Kent, provincial Connie turned Grit Paul Lane goes places,  takes a picture of himself there, tweets it, and then frigs off somewhere else. The selfie makes it look like he stayed at the event.  That’s how he can be in so many places at the same time.

Lane also posts ridiculous pictures like this one about the May 24 weekend.  It’s a stock photograph of an Adirondack chair on a lake somewhere else in North America.

He used the same picture in a string of tweets over the weekend. People on Twitter made fun of Paul.  It looks like Lane had these pictures made as fridge magnets. Paul needs to decide if he has a moustache or not.
The Imaginary War on Twitter

The New Democrats are on Twitter as well.  They tweet a lot.  They tweet as least as much as the Liberals and that’s saying something.

When a New Democrat says something,  every other New  Democrat on Twitter retweets it.  They are very supportive of each other. a lone Dipper Tweet in Newfoundland and Labrador will get dozens of retweets from other Dippers.

The problem for the Newfoundland and Labrador Dippers is that the retweets are from union activists in Nanaimo and Burlington.  The New Democrats are all over Twitter, but, as it seems, that is the only place they are.   There are not a lot of NDP voters in Newfoundland and Labrador.  Even union members don’t back the party they pay to keep going.

Too bad for the New Democrats.  They are big on Twitter. There are no votes on Twitter, though.  As former Quebec premier Jean Charest once said,  Twitter is where apparatchiks talk to reporters and other apparatchiks.  New Democrats  - which includes their staffers and all the official union accounts across the country  - do that with a vengeance.  They talk to themselves a lot.  They convince themselves that they are wonderful, that everyone loves them, and that they will win the next election. 

But they won’t because everyone knows that the Dipper tweet campaign is the fake Rock Ridge from Blazing Saddles:  a lot of false fronts and the streets are full of cardboard cut-outs. Dippers are tweeting up a storm because they want to appear to be larger than they are. They want to appear that way to reporters. 

These days, the easiest way to get the attention of a harried reporter who is on a tight deadline is via Twitter. If Dippers can get a reporter’s attention, they can get coverage. If they get coverage, the Dippers might be able to fool some people into thinking the NDP are doing far better among voters than they actually are.
The New Democrats are also running radio spots on VOCM these days.  They sound very much like they are cheap and hastily written.  There is truth in advertising after all. Their messages is that the Liberals and Conservatives are the same.  Vote for them,  the ads say, because they are not like the other parties.

20 Questions

To prove that the New Democratic Party is totally different from the other parties, leader Earle McCurdy got himself in a 20 Questions feature in last Monday’s Telegram.  For those who don’t know,  20 Questions is a space-filler, which is exactly what the name says.  It is not news.  It is like music video clips on NTV:  it takes up space where advertising and real news should go but there isn’t any.

In this space filler, some reporter asks a bunch of stock questions – where were you born?  who would you hate to be stuck in an elevator with? – to people no one has ever heard of before. It’s a simple trade-off.  The paper fills space.  The unknown gets some space in the province’s largest circulation newspaper.  The sad part is that appearing in 20 Questions in the Monday Telegram is like buying a radio spot on VOCM at six in the morning on Sunday.  No one is there.

But the Dippers were there.  They tweeted about Earle’s 20 Questions.

The sadder part of the Dippers is that Earle is not unknown. McCurdy led the province’s fish union for a couple of decades.  He’s been prominent in union politics for at least as long as that again. Telegram readers who had never heard of Earle McCurdy until now got to see the real article this time.
What they saw wasn’t pretty.

Earle didn’t know what district he lived until very recently, like say maybe when the reporter asked him the question. Earle’s  favourite year was 1967. (It had something to do with some hockey team in Toronto.)

And asked about what he might do if he became Premier, like say after the next election, McCurdy talked about an 18th century French philosopher.   Or was it a 17th century or 19th century something-or-other? Earle wasn’t sure.

“We’ve had a distinct lack of long-term planning,” said Earle.

That was the sum total of Earle’s policy insights. No shit, Sherlock. Earle said that without even the tiniest hint of irony, either, given that the lack of planning is a Liberal line and Earle’s line is supposed to be how the other parties were all the same but he and his crowd were radically different.

Oddly, with all those questions -  including one really freakin’ obvious one that mentioned being Premier to a party leader before an election - McCurdy didn’t have any policies to talk about.

No a sausage.

Bugger all.

A different kind of the same party

That too would be the stock NDP and Conservative line about the Liberals:  about to form government and no one knows what they plan to do.  No ideas. 

Yet there you had the NDP and the Liberals apparently in the same position:  sans idees  as Earle’s Parisian friend might have put it.

No originality there.  Nor was there any originality elsewhere in the NDP world recently.

Former leader Lorraine Michael supported arbitrary cuts to the House of Assembly in 2013.  Now she wants to keep two NDP seats in St. John’s without any changes.  For the voters’ sake, she insisted.

Purely so they wouldn’t get confused, the poor darlings.  That was in no way patronising and condescending, Nor was Lorraine motivated to call for this exemption for her seat from any changes because Lorraine is scared merde-less of losing her own seat and that of George Murphy.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

She is concerned for the voters.

Then there is the university crowd. Twitter almost collapsed last week on the night the university students held a rally again a proposal to raise tuition for graduate students and international student.

The New Democrats want to keep a universal freeze on Memorial University tuition.  That’s the plan – endorsed by all parties – to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars of oil money each year to two of the neediest groups in Newfoundland and Labrador: 
  • families in the province who earn above average incomes and who could afford to send their spawn to university anyway anyway, and,
  • foreign and out-of-province students looking for the cheapest university they can find.  They fly in, get an education, and bugger off again.
The Liberals started it.  The Conservatives kept it going and then claimed credit for coming up with the idea in the first place. The NDP loved the notion of a freeze and wanted to go further still.

While usually the space between the parties in this province is too small to measure, the EnDeeps have been able to slide a sheet of paper between themselves and the Conservatives lately due to this partial lifting of the freeze.  The Conservatives want to borrow a record amount of money as they increase spending by 12% in what the NDP calls an austerity budget. 

As part of this austerity, the Conservatives would at least charge graduate students and out-of-province students a wee bit more for their heavily discounted education.  The students’ education would still be heavily subsidized by local taxpayers but the New Democrats want no talk of changes.  They want the old freeze back.  Period.  Free education for the Chinese, Iranians, and Nova Scotians.  They deserve to have our oil money. It is the principle that counts. The New Democrats  are nothing if not principled. 

The New Democrats also want to eliminate the Conservatives’  two percent hike in the provincial sales tax.  So do the Liberals, although for different reasons.

New Democrats energy policies also sound suspiciously like everyone else’s.

The NDP want to cut taxes on fuel and home heating, supposedly to benefit those on fixed and low incomes. The truth is these cuts, like the tuition freeze, give the biggest benefit to the people who need it the least. They are massive tax transfers to the wealthiest citizens in the province.

These cuts are like Muskrat Falls, another NDP gem. It will force people in Newfoundland and Labrador to pay full price – plus profit – for electricity.  That will allow the provincial energy company to give free electricity to Emera, a private sector company.  The provincial government in this province also wants to give electricity paid for by people on low and fixed incomes to multinational mining companies. The NDP backs that scheme as well.

The more you look the harder it is to tell the provincial New Democrats from the other two parties in the province.  That is because not so deep down, the New Democrats are no different from other political parties. They pander for votes.

The only difference between Grits and Cons on the one hand compared to the Dippers is that the New Democrats will call themselves “progressive” as they give public cash to rich people. The Dippers will then shit on everyone else for being morally inferior to them.

There’s a reason people prefer sex workers to New Democrats. It’s not because sex workers are useful and New Democrats are not, although that would be as good a reason as any.


People prefer sex workers because sex workers are honest.

Tell sex workers that they provide sexual gratification to clients for cash.  They will thank you for honestly describing their work without a morally judgmental tone. 

They don’t insist they are virgins.

Wednesday:  Political Time Team