I've got a few threads going on in this post, so bear with me as I work through it. Because I'm perplexed on a couple of Newfoundland political things.
First of all, I've read Rob Antle's articles and David Cochrane's speech on the current state of Newfoundland politics. Rob writes devastatingly about the IEC and Dave produces a nice, thoughtful piece on how the business community basically needs to grow a pair of balls. And so, for that matter, should the rest of the province.
By the way, this should nicely refute some sniping I've seen on other blogs about how toothless Newfoundland media is. Folks, reporting is like anything else. There are people who are good at it; there are people who are bad at it. The gifted ones, the ones who go after the story relentlessly, are subjected to the kind of sniping, second guessing, insulting and abuse that most people could not handle. It can be high stakes stuff to go after politicians – who normally have huge egos to begin with and don't take kindly to criticism. One government did its best to shut down the Sunday Express, and basically succeeded. Clyde Wells was famous for chewing out reporters. Brian Tobin tried to exile a CBC reporter for daring to ask questions about his wife. And I'm sure Danny Williams has engaged in similar intimidation tactics.
It's a hard job. I think most reporters do a good job given to what they're up against and the resources they possess. That's a great story Rob did. I wonder how long it took to write? It meant he likely wasn't available to do other stories. That probably put pressure on the editor to justify why one of his best reporters wasn't writing anything on a daily basis. Welcome to the business end of newspapers, where you won't have to strain too hard to hear sales people lament the waste of perfectly good ad space being taken up by news stories.
So let's give the reporters a bit of slack, shall we?
Anyway, I had a small moment of clarity when reading the pieces by Rob and Dave and stuff that I've read on other blogs. And that is commenting on how the pro-Danny forces come out and attack anytime when the government is criticized. That the open line shows are bombarded, that letters get written to newspapers, etc.
Fair enough. You couldn't pay me, literally, to listen to open line. In this case, the voice of the people sounds a little too much like they were dropped on their heads as babies. So I'm sure it's happening and I would hope the fact that it's so obvious and commented on would dampen some of its impact
But where is the Voice of the Government online? Where is it in local blogs? Because I can't think of more than a small few Newfoundland conservative bloggers online. And some of them, like Liam, clearly have issues with the way the current government is being run.
So where are they?
Yes, I know not every local blog is on NL Blogrolling. Yes, I know the number of people reading local blogs is relatively small compared to the number of people who listen to open line shows. But hey, apparently they get enough attention that the premier of the province apparently felt the urge to threaten to sue a couple of them. I would have thought that would be sufficient for swarms of people to come online and at least start leaving comments on the political blogs ripping anyone who speaks against Danny. And that pro-Danny blogs would spring forth.
And yet, no. Very odd. Thus the local political blogsphere, for the most part, remains anti-Danny. Not that I'm summoning forth the legions of Dannyites, you understand. I'm just wondering in a province that is supposedly 70 per cent in favour of the current government, why there aren't more people with blogs defending the actions of the current government.
You get the feeling that there is a slow resentment building up against Williams, but that it all remains bottled for the most part. And again, this comes only from what I'm observing online and not on the ground. So it's a very skewered observation. But I suspect if there was the right catalyst, the right person, or the right group out there, willing to speak up and say something that an avalanche might start to roll.
I don't know who or what that might be. The Liberals and NDP are effectively toothless and after the EIC scandal no one trusts them either. What you need is someone of prominence to stand up and say they're not running for office and they're affiliated with no party. They just want every politician in the House who was there previous to 2003 gone. Yes, you can argue the crowd from 2003-07 haven't been much better, but let's pick a nice clean number. Everyone before 2003 needs to go as punishment for the financial scandal.
That means voting against the incumbent, running against him or her for the party nomination or in the general election. An anti-2003 platform I think might work if the right person was driving it.
It probably won't happen. Danny has spin down pretty nicely at this point and has certainly mastered the art of the attack. And I do wish more people would show some balls in criticizing the government. There's still six months left. The quip in politics is that six months is a long time. And it is. But that's a pretty barren opposition landscape out there right now. If there is a voice crying out in the wilderness, then he or she might want to yell a bit louder. Time is running out.