28 December 2015

Top SRBP Posts of 2015 #nlpoli

1.  The Dunphy Shooting:  Serious questions  In January, we are supposed to get the results of the police investigation into the shooting of Don Dunphy.  Then there'll be a public inquiry.  Maybe then we'll get the whole story into both the shooting and the efforts to spin the story over a couple of tweets that ended with the shooting death of their author.

2.  DHDM 2:  St. John's East  The biggest political upset in recent newfoundland and Labrador political history was Nick Whalen's defeat of Jack Harris in St. John's East.  Harris and his team were beaten by a young upstart who worked really hard.  The NDP campaign was hampered by a combination of arrogance, the incompetence of the national campaign, and just sheer laziness on the part of the local NDP.  For Whalen supporters, the night was all the sweeter as the upset in St. John's East became the story out of Newfoundland and Labrador, replacing the heavily spun story that Seamus O'Regan,  the good friend of the prime minister and guaranteed cabinet minister was really where all the news would be.

3.  Rumpole and the Family Compact  The last year of the Conservative term in office was marked by a series of abusive appointments.  None was more odd than the sudden switcheroo of Pam Goulding and her husband, Mark Pike, as chief judge of the Provincial Court.  Pike had a year left in his term of office and was certain not to be re-appointed by a new Liberal administration in light of Pike's disastrous term. As the story filtered out of the Confederation Building some people within the government at the time tried to get Pike appointed to a second term a year early.  When that provided to be impossible, the people looking to manipulate the appointments process did the next best thing:  Pike quit inexplicably and cabinet stuffed his wife in the job.

4.  Cluck, cluck, cluck  The sad sack New Democrats made political headlines throughout 2015 with leadership problems and finally their near complete political collapse in a pair of general elections. At the start of the year,  Lorraine Michael quit suddenly.  She effectively called the bluff of a couple of leadership pretenders.

By the end of the year, SRBP's observation turned out to be prophetic:

No one has expressed any great enthusiasm for the job, though. So, unless Earle decides to take the job, it may well be that Lorraine will remain as leader by default. And of course, since she will stay in the House and not give up her seat to a by-election, Lorraine can maintain some level of control of the party as well as her publicly-funded pulpit at least until the next election.
Lorraine wound up in control of the party after the election.  Earle McCurdy lost his bid for a seat. Once the House  opens, Lorraine will still be still acting as the de facto party leader.  How much longer will Earle stick around?

5.  Constable Contempt  Paul Davis proved himself to be one of the more inept politicians ever to wind up as Premier.  His appointment of Judy Manning, ineptly handled, caused him political problems at the start.  Just to make the deal complete,  Davis fired Manning for no good reason and in one of the shittiest ways imaginable.

6.  The Tory-gram Returns  and 7.  The Narrative War  A government in financial trouble defeated soundly by a revitalised opposition party led by a successful business man. That was the story in 2003 and again in 2015.  Arguably the second version  was even bigger than the first given that the financial problems were caused solely and unmistakably by the incumbents' years of mismanagement, plus, the opposition party had polling numbers that far exceeded those of their counterpart in 2003.

The way the local covered reported those two stories couldn't have been any more different.  In 2003, the Conservative win was greeted with fireworks and cheering.  In 2015, some local media told us to fear the arrival of the inexperienced Liberals and their "unlikely" leader.

8.  Roger Grimes:  savage political attack dog  The feud between the provincial Conservatives and their federal cousins over a fisheries fund, as told by a mainland reporter. Hilarity ensued.

9. A less than noble appointment  Deputy minister of justice, transformed magically into a Provincial Court judge in a court that didn't need a judge because of a lack of work.  The story is an insight into the last days of the Conservatives in power in Newfoundland and Labrador.

10.  Blue balls  Ryan Cleary.  Christ, what an asshole.  SRBP stands by the prediction that Cleary will seek the Tory leadership once Paul Davis gives it up.