Thursday, 10 October 2013


I was expecting a call from Uncle Gnarley.  The old man had not gotten me to Post anything, for him, in quite a while.

I was happy to finish "Peering Into A Political Pressure-Cooker”.   It was a depressingly tough slog for someone with an optimistic bent.  Politics is not conducted in isolation, it may be an activity often removed from the public, but it is always about public money.  So, not only politicians are affected when the fever of bad leadership threatens contagion, it is a problem for us all.

The Blog piece out of the way, I thought I might sketch some suggestions as to how Dunderdale might put the Government on “re-set”. She has lost much public confidence.  She says the problem is her tough decisions.

Still, it is hard to mistake public policies, like Bill 29 and terrible Budget practices, for tough love. 

I have to admit, the notion of a new script for a Premier, one down on her luck, caused me to think the exercise whimsical. Then, I thought, a little whimsy is hardly worse than sheer presumption.  I would be the last person in the world whom she would ask to “re-set” her Administration.
The problem with incurable optimists is that they isolate themselves from cynicism, leaving it to others to be sceptical.  Uncle Gnarley is certainly one of the latter. Of course, he hasn’t been around since his fishing trip on the Labrador, which is why just possibly I am overdue for an attitudinal correction.  Nav has probably already gotten his.

After posting Premier, A Province-Wide Address is Required, sometime ago, I got to thinking that if the Premier did a “re-set”, it would only make sense that she engaged the whole Province, as long as it didn’t conflict with “Republic of Doyle”.

I had in mind a big production, one my long passed namesake in showbiz, called “a really big shew”.  The Premier might ask all broadcast media for time.  Now that she is back on Twitter, even social media would not be denied.

I had the idea that the Premier could be a “Fireside Al” type.  He used to read stories on the CBC and, anyway, Dunderdale is always game for a little fiction.  A few junks of wood flown down from the Muskrat Falls site, a couple of lumps of coal, of which she seems to have plenty, would be all that is necessary to illuminate her remarks.  Certainly the logs for the fire would be no more expensive than any other part of the Muskrat Project.

Now, everyone knows you have to grab the audience quickly.  Having made her opening greeting, she would begin to apologize right off the bat, saying she was sorry for Muskrat Falls, sorry for Bill 29, sorry for the Budget fiascos, sorry for laying off so many public servants, sorry that she had picked a fight with Jerome Kennedy, sorry that she couldn’t give him what he was demanding.  The torrent of apologies would continue. 
The Premier would state she was sorry Tom Marshall is such a wimp, sorry that she told everyone in the Caucus not to dare run against her, else she would sic Danny Williams on them and they would be sorry, too.  She would throw in three or four more mea culpas if, at any time, she thought the contrition not sufficiently heartfelt.

If the Premier shed a few tears, of remorse; that would be great.  The public would just lap it up. Sure, all Danny had to do was crook his little finger and everyone went gaga.  If her mascara started to run, all the better; she would just look like a choir girl, on Ash Wednesday. I just know we could count on Wendy Mesley to convene a Panel to discuss its national implications!  The most inspirational moment would begin, of course, with the “snottin’ and bawlin’”, an approach perfected, years ago by Tammy Faye Bakker, the American televangelist.

As I was thinking through this great charade, it came to my attention that these ideas would be bolstered with the affirmation, no less, of high level academic authenticity.  Saying you are sorry, according to a recent Harvard University Study, even if they are “superfluous apologies”, will likely result in one being “perceived as likeable and trustworthy”.  According to the Study’s Author, these expressions of regret or sympathy, or any act of saying you are sorry, shows “empathetic concern”.  And god knows, empathy to Dunderdale, is not exactly like loaves and fishes.

The difference, of course, is that Dunderdale’s would be “serious” apologies and not the “superfluous” ones that the Harvard Researcher studied. So, imagine the moral bounty she would create. 

Now, the Premier, being one fond of extemporaneous articulation, (saying all sorts of stuff off-the-cuff), would want to tell the public how it feels to engage in an activity so restorative and downright uplifting.  She might burst out into a bunch of hallelujahs, arms flailing and shout to the top of her lungs:  why did I ever think “sorry” would be the hardest word?

At this point Dunderdale would tell the public she never really wanted to be Premier anyway, that Danny had put her up to it; that all she had ever wanted was to sing.  With perfect pitch, accompanied by Clyde Jackman on the guitar, she would belt out….’that it never crossed her ‘achy breaky heart’ that we wuz ‘hurtin’ so bad’.

I was getting excited about all these great themes when suddenly the phone rang.  I didn’t even want to answer, such was my enthusiasm for the Premier’s “extreme make-over”.  But, I was left with little choice; it was Uncle Gnarley. 

Before he got a word out, edge-wise, I made him listen to every single idea for getting Premier Dunderdale back into the public’s good books.  When I was finished, for the briefest of moments, I thought he might say:  good job, Des.  No such friggin’ luck!  All I got was this huge pregnant pause………………and then…an ungodly roar…... 

In an instant, I realized whimsy was not something one should try on Uncle Gnarley.  But, it was too late.  “Have you gone off your god damn rocker, son.  You must be out of your cottin pickin’ jeesley mind!  Don’t you know Dunderdale doesn’t do apologies!  She doesn’t apologize to anyone or for anything.  Do you know why, dumbbell?  Because she thinks she’s right and everyone else is as stunned as her arse.” 

But, Uncle Gnarley, I begged him….listen for a second; but it was no use…. 

Uncle Gnarley continued (and I knew he must now be beet red); “the only bloody surprise is that she hasn’t re-written Joe Smallwood’s Book, “No apology From Me”.  Except Dunderdale would only have enough originality to call the damned thing, “No Apologies From Me”. 

And, then, what did Uncle Gnarley do?  Just as Dunderdale had done with the PM’s Chief of Staff, Nigel Wright, he ‘banged up’ the phone!

I knew Uncle Gnarley was right.  I just couldn’t understand what possessed me to think the Premier salvageable.  I said, thanks Uncle Gnarley, knowing the line was already disconnected. 

When it comes to our Premier, hope is just not something an optimist can afford.

I promised myself to forever put away whimsy.

From now on, when these Harvard researchers come up with some new theory, I’m gonna let them try it on the Republican Tea Party, first.

Thinking about it, now, the apologies wouldn’t have worked, anyway.  Sometimes it takes an Uncle Gnarley to remind us, there’s no cure for bad judgment.

Perhaps, only an election will work, if not for Dunderdale, then for us. The Nova Scotians seem to have hit on an excellent idea!