2014 could be rightly named the year of missed opportunity. It didn’t begin with Paul Davis at the helm, but it ends that way. Already hindsight confirms that, in contrast to Pope Francis who will never have to face re-election, Davis’ failure was pre-ordained.
Almost at the start, Premier Dunderdale vacated her post amidst appalling insensitivity to widespread public endangerment and economic disruption. Nalcor had visited upon the Island the vicissitudes of DARKNL. Her “not a crisis” comment was just the latest in a series of gaffes exhibiting an incapacity for empathy. A frustrated public had reached their breaking point.
Temporary first minister, Tom Marshall, took no opportunity to right what had become a ship-wrecked administration. While opinion polls awarded him barely higher marks than his predecessor, the local media did its best to award him an undeserved pedestal. The man of great girth warranted little stature.
His defense of Transportation and Works Minister Nick McGrath, in the HVP affair, weighed heavy on the corruption scale; even the worst skeet found the ‘favour’ unacceptable, in a place where integrity is claimed.
Then there is the “Oversight” Committee on Muskrat Falls which is less a farce than a fraud. And why was the incompetence associated with CETA left for his successor to disclose?
Marshall, having sought the advice and received the disapproval of the Justices of the Supreme Court, named the Corner Brook Courthouse after Danny Williams, anyway; affirming the status of both puppeteer and puppet.
Fortunately, the ‘stop-gap’ Premier will not get to occupy the neurons even of the feeble-minded for long. If history can devolve any space to long term memory, that nexus was claimed even before Tom Marshall had completed his farewell tour of Too Good Arm.
You can spend an eternity tending the meat counter of a Coleman’s grocery and not get noticed. But, in politics, ‘boring as a eulogy at Fillatres’ might still win you a spot on history’s hard drive. Frank Coleman earned that distinction. He must surely be the best paid fellow in the world for a job he didn’t take.
Reflections on the departure of Williams, Dunderdale, Marshall and Coleman have raised questions as to why proffered leadership talents were so paltry. Those issues require a book, not a page.
Discordant Tories re-grouped under ‘Davis and the Leftovers’ and found themselves unable to win new band members. Judy Manning was vilified for her petite heft among inauspicious company.
Davis could barely take solace that the Pope had assessed his own shop and confirmed the secular Davis Cabinet represents as much political baggage as a curate of Cardinals at the Vatican.
While the Constable Premier failed to comprehend the depth of the pain inflicted by his predecessors or even grasp the implications of the doctrinal departure of the Danny era, especially in the fiscal arena (Vatican Bank scandals notwithstanding), the interloper from Argentina displayed a truly envious political skill-set.
It is immaterial if we fail as adherents to scripture or whether we embrace the Pope’s reform theology; it is sufficient to acknowledge his adroit employment of the political art and craft. Rightfully, it might be thought by the less skilful, such sophistication ought to be denied one already boasting a supernatural connection.
Yet, there he was, echoing the sentiments of his flock, taking the gloves off to the Curia, the Vatican bureaucracy; demanding the very stuff this Blog had urged of Paul Davis.
The Pope said it “was suffering from 15 "ailments" which he wanted cured in the New Year”; no small feat for an institution that has banned the word ‘change’ for two millennia.
The Pope compared the Curia to that of an orchestra playing “out of tune" because they fail to collaborate and have no team spirit. Said the Pope, the ailments include “Spiritual Alzheimer's”, “existential schizophrenia”, and the belief they are “feeling immortal or immune”. Locally, those same maladies resonate like the sound of pop caps on an Ugly Stick.
The Pope is mindful that his constituency has been vacating pews for decades; though, in percentage terms, at a rate far less than that which local Tories have deserted the P.C. Party. The Church’s doctrinal backwardness is likely not the cause of the Pope’s concern as much as it is parishioners’ discovery that even theocracies contain elements of participatory democracy; people can and do vote with their feet.
Here at home, Davis ought to have reminded his own inept and arrogant ministry their window of political immunity was narrowing and the opportunity for re-connection thin. After all, wasn’t the adage ‘where there is life, there is hope’ coined just for him?
The problem is: opportunity is limited when enlightenment clings to a Premier on training wheels.
At the Vatican, a savvy Pope evidently decided enough is enough; he knows he was dealt a difficult hand; one which only enduring honesty, genuine contrition and decisive leadership can hope to repair. The Pope maybe of his Curie; but he is not like them. Unfortunately, Paul Davis can make no such claim.
We will suffer Paul Davis a little longer; his nominal biblical connection evoking no public anticipation of a Damascene moment.
We will endure Ed Martin and Gilbert Bennett for another while, too, despite the Liberty Report and the PUB’s portrayal of Nalcor’s endemic incompetence. Such forbearance has nothing to do with any collective resignation; rather the public has prepared well in anticipation of more nights under DARKNL. An armada of power generators has been witnessed coming out of every hardware store with an urgency reserved for Black Friday. Nalcor can be counted on to confirm they are a good deal.
2015 will arrive inexorably. Then, we will want Davis and his Cabinet gone, all of them, Ed Martin and Gilbert Bennett, too. There is only so much “existential schizophrenia” any one mind or one body politic can endure.
There is no guarantee Dwight Ball does not suffer “Alzheimer’s”, as does the Vatican Curie, even if NL’s issues are more temporal. It will fall to Ball to inaugurate a reformation of biblical proportions.
2015 will be truly an ‘interesting’ year. Hopefully, that is the only Chinese curse with which we are visited.
Happy New Year.