"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Monday, June 08, 2009

On opposition (II)

In the 2007 provincial election, The Party received 70% of the popular vote to the Liberals' 22%.

After two years of often showing their principled opposition to the Regime by supporting it — coughsputterexproprationbillcough — instead of opposing; two years of consistently failing to fire at the many broad sides of barns that the Regime's incompetence and ethical lapses keep presenting; and two years of, how you say, differently effective performance in Question Period and other daily rituals of the ever-shortening legislative calendar, the latest CRA figures show The Party at 72% and the Liberals at 19%.

While off the 80% highs that The Party and its appointed open-line and on-line mouthpieces still claim, The Party has still managed to increase its margin over the Other Guys by 5% relative 2007, if you take the CRA numbers at face value.

That would have been enough, in 2007, to have defeated one of the Other Guys' three survivors.

Surely they can do the math and figure out which one.

The bigger math puzzle is this: if agreeing with the Regime on measure after measure, and positioning themselves close to Williams in hope that some of his sprayed-on shine might rub off on them, if those things aren't working, half-way through the second terrible, no-good, very-bad term of the Williams era... then isn't it about time to start trying some different stuff?

If the Other Guys don't start tackling that little math problem, then the 2011 electoral math — or that of the inevitible intervening by-elections — isn't going to change in any significant way.


At 9:55 AM, June 08, 2009 , Blogger Craig Westcott said...

I share your despair at the one-sidedness of what passes for democracy here in NewfoundlandLabrador. However, I think you should cut the provincial Liberals some slack. True, they are mired at 19 per cent in the CRA poll. But if you compare that number to one year ago, they are actually up six points from 13 per cent. At the same time, DannyWilliamsGovt plc is down five points. That must count for some progress. As well, Yvonne Jones is up four points from a year ago, while DW is down a single digit. Also, the "Mostly Dissatisfied" numbers have climbed three points to 11 per cent, year over year. So while the trend is weak, it's still a trend.

The problem for the Liberals, of course, is the obvious one: People really like Danny Williams. Newfoundland and Labrador is still very big on Leader politics. If not for the Sprung Greenhouse, Peckford would likely have coasted through another election in '89.

The provincial Liberals need to take a note from the federal Conservatives' playbook and start investing in advertising that highlights DW's negative traits, of which there are many. There is lots of tape showing him to be a liar (promising public sector workers, for instance that he would never legislate them back to work), or simply listing some of his many failures (the dismemberment of FPI Limited, the closure of paper mills at Stephenville and Grand Falls, the failure to rationalize the processing industry, the failure to use oil and mineral surpluses to diversify the economy of rural communities, the many problems in health care, etc.,) or calling attention to Dan the sensitive-skinned micro-manager (the firing of Elizabeth Marshall, the interference at MUN, the attempt to derail the Cameron Inquiry, etc).

The obstacle to all that, admittedly, is money. That is to say, the Liberals have none. However, there are many people in the business community in this province, and the rest of Canada who are (a) disgusted by DW's governance style and (b) feel angry because they think there is an unlevel playing field when it comes to bidding on government work, that you have to be a buddy of Dan in order to get a look in.

I think whatever resources the Liberals can garner next election should be put into focusing on Dan's negatives. Forget the tour bus and expensive goo gahs and go for the jugular. And they should start doing that now.

Craig Westcott.


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