24 February 2016

Exit Reality on the Rock #nlpoli

Last fall, Conservatives, New Democrats, and assorted political watchers attacked the Liberals for the lack of detail in their election platform.

Now, most of those same people are accusing the Liberals of  hoodwinking folks into voting for them with all their great promises they never intended to keep.

Dipper slash Telegram editor  Dipper Brian Jones is a good example.
If more evidence is needed to prove Liberals are slippery creatures, ponder the election promises that were made mere months ago and the utter lack of principle in crassly breaking those promises without remorse or embarrassment.
The Tories were no kinder, accusing the Liberals of knowing that the financial arse was out of her and yet making promises anyway.

Jones' column from the Friday Telly was one of those ones where you wonder if he really believes his readers are as stupid as his claim suggests.  He is aware of the provincial government's financial mess, surely.  And possibly that had something to do with the reasons the Liberals said one thing during the election and did something else or will do something else afterward.  Jones is not normally one to print a column that veritably drools with its absence of thought.

Over among the  folks who put the con back in Conservative,  former Premier Paul 'Supercop" Davis and his sidekick Steve "Tweetboy" Kent are taking great delight in a game of "told ya" over the news that the Liberals are looking at all sorts of ways at solving the immense financial mess Davis and Kent helped create and sustain. No one ever accused Kent or Davis of being the sharpest knives in any drawer but you'd think that even these two spoons might be a slight bit sheepish knowing that they deliberately with-held the province's true financial state from the public last fall.

Apparently not.

Let's not forget that the Conservative heckling is really nothing more brilliant than neener, neener, neener.  That's the best they've got.  And as we all know, if they'd had more than Kent's puerile twitterings they would still be in power.  But we have to resist the temptation to dismiss all this as the mere blathering of the infantile.

Take the partisans beyond their comments, though, and you how quickly they don;t actually have anything useful to offer in this time of trouble. When you hear one of them carrying on, just ask a couple of simple questions.  You are likely to get this sort of reply.

Let’s assume that all of what they said is true. Would those Dipper and Con partisans prefer that the Liberals kept every single promise - no matter how vague - and kept us on the Davis/Kent road to financial ruin?

At that point, the little darlings change the subject.

Better still, point out that all three parties went into the fall election with some variation on the same theme as the Liberals:  fiddle a bit at the margins, but fundamentally borrow billions upon billions each year “until the oil came back” as Wade Locke promised.  Don;t forget that the Davis Cons, for example, were going to do public-private partnerships and raise the sales tax two points but they still forecast we would have to borrow $2.0 billion in cash to cover their 12% increase in spending last spring. They never ever told us how bad things were in the fall - even though they alone knew the truth - nor did they tell us how they would deal with that truth.

Anyway, give it a try and remind the partisans that all three parties had precisely the same nonsense for platforms although the minor details varied. The answer you are likely to get back is something along the lines that what the others said didn’t matter because they didn’t win.  Liberals did and so they are fair game. In other words, it’s alright to lie if you lose but if you supposedly lie and win, then that’s bad.

If Brian Jones really wants to understand both the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of a great many of the province's partisans, he need only look at his own crowd and the Conservatives.  Let he who is without sin, Brian.

The Liberals did whatever they did in the past just like the other three parties.  We can point out, as SRBP has, that their old position was idiotic but in this corner, your humble e-scribbler has been pointing fingers equally at all the parties.   Now that the Liberals are faced with the brutal truth deliberately withheld from the public by that gong show of a government run by Davis and Kent, the Liberals are coming to grips with the problem.

Well, we fervently hope they will come to grips with it.  We don't have much of a choice. We'd be doing the same thing no matter what party had won the last election because things really are that bad. And in the same token if Grits were carrying on like the Cons and the Dips, you’d have to slag them for being buffoons, too.  The partisan stripe doesn’t matter.  The stupid is all the same.

Perhaps the worst version of this little bit of Tory and Dipper foolishness is when they talk about what the Liberals knew when they took office and did anyway, i.e. the tax cut.  That’s a wee bit worse than all the other blather in that it pretends that the teensy hike in the HST would have actually done anything to deal with the immediate mess and its underlying causes.  The government will have to do far more than raise the HST a couple of points to clean up the turd that Davis and Kent dropped on the front steps of Confederation Building.

So yeah, folks, that two percent HST thingy?  As an old math prof at Memorial used to say to people struggling to understand introductory calculus: it’s trivial, people.  Just like it is trivial when Dwight Ball tries to explain his changed position with the claim that the world is somehow radically different in February when we have a deficit of maybe $3.0 billion on a cash basis when last November when it was only $2.5 billion.   Just change the position and move on, Dwight.  No one needs to be reminded you took three months to see a big problem everyone else saw right away.

In some respects all of this stuff about what some people knew when is a bunch of folks trying desperately to shift attention away from reality – the financial mess – and onto a hypothetical world where they can, at the very least, pretend they are morally superior.  It’s also a pretty easy way to avoid dealing with  the truth:  the government is hard aground and  we will have a devil of a time getting out of this spot without a fair bit of pain.

Then there is level on which all the Con and Dip posing is just pathetic.  There’s another level on which it is funny.  Then there is the level on which it is sad.  Sad that a bunch of people, some of whom used to run the place, cannot face up to things as they are.

Or sad like all the Tory comms folks who brought us the perpetual communications disasters of Paul Davis and Kathy Dunderdale who now market themselves as “communications strategists” and lecture the current administration on how they are screwing up communications.

There are all sorts of ways to exit reality on the Rock, apparently.