Way back in the day, when I first started working as a community newspaper journalist, the only stipulation I gave my then editor was that I wouldn't cover car wrecks or accident scenes. I was not, and I'm still not, the kind of person that can go to these things, take pictures and talk to people who have been through a traumatic experience. There are reporters who can, and I've never been sure if I should envy that ability, or pity them for it, but they have it and I don't. I buckled once and covered one car accident, and I hated the experience so much that I told the editor she could fire me if she wanted, but I wasn't doing that again.
And I didn't.
Political car wrecks, on the other, remain deeply fascinating.
So, in a mild shocker Kevin Aylward wins the leadership of the Liberal party. My memory can be a bit of a sieve sometimes, but I'm pretty sure Aylward wasn't that impressive a cabinet minister. When your portfolio, which you're bragging about, includes stops in Tourism, Environment, Forestry and Agriculture, you weren't exactly hitting the lofty heights of cabinet seniority. At best those are maybe, maybe mid-tier cabinet positions. Hell, Environment has long been considered either a place to break in rookies or a place to break the freefall of a cabinet minister who has fallen into disfavour.
So yeah, woo hoo.
I understand there was a real lack of quality choice in this process, but I think this is going to be a very grim season for the Liberals. Probably not helping them is Craig Westcott leaving as Director of Communications less than six weeks before the election. There's a story there somewhere. God knows what it is, but I bet it will be an interesting one in the telling a few years down the line over a few drinks.
So yes, grimness abounding. Aylward is making noises about an October surprise. About the only surprise I see is finding a bookie that would give you odds of that happening. It would require an Act of God or pictures of the premier eating babies for us to wake up the day after the election to Premier Aylward.
I suspect the real race this election is for Opposition. The NDP are feeling cocky. And if people are looking for a place to plant their vote to protest the current government, they may well look to the NDP rather than the self-destructive madness that is the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador right now.
1. Rise to me - The Decemberists
2. Bad (live) - U2*
3. Waiting - City and Colour
4. Fine young cannibals - Wolf Parade
5. Sweet talk, sweet talk - The New Pornographers