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ICYMI: Five Years at Freddy's
and other Blumish political horrors
Due to a mistake in posting, this column didn’t go to everyone on the mailing list. So here’s a re-post.
The election campaign is on, in case you hadn’t noticed.
The writ will come in the winter or spring. The local Liberals are waiting for Justin to frig off. Desperate to get elected and stay in office but with no plan of their own, they stuck their lips to his backside and now cannot unstick them fast enough.
The signs of the campaign are everywhere.
A handful of day-care spaces for health workers. A token few spots: 160 in total in three places across the island.
And they won’t appear for another six months. Maybe.
Giving public money to airlines to fly a few routes that otherwise aren’t profitable for a few months in the summer. Supposedly about bringing people *to* Newfoundland but really only about making it easier for people who already fly anywhere they want when they want to get *out* of Newfoundland cheaper.
Like the tuition freeze. Never about helping people from low incomes get to university. All about transferring public wealth to people who are already better off than most so they can send their kids to university for less.
And for the people on appallingly low household incomes - less than a third of the average household income in the province - there’s a few extra bucks, too. Not as much as they need, mind you,. but enough to fit in a news release.
Then there are the ads.
Started right after the Pea Sea convention ended on facebook.
All about The Avatar Hisself.
Furey with the “e” replaced by a stylised provincial flag.
Furey’s voice reading lines someone else wrote.
Furey in his office surrounded by the “I love me” walls, every corner with some plaque or other, including the one headed to the bathroom, (God knows what’s on the walls in there besides mirrors), surrounded by the we love him staffers, chuckling about something or other.
Looks like what it is: posed.
And the message:
Keep ‘er going.
Don’t change now.
God guard the Newfoundland and Labrador.
If any of this looks and sounds familiar, then you have been around for at least 20 years.
It is vintage Danny, who was equally made up, contrived, a put-on, right down to the patriotic flourish at the end, itself stolen from the Americans. The bit of flag. The fake fights with Ottawa. Danny was the original but four or five copies later now we are losing the substance of the tissue-paper-thin-skinned original. Danny only thought about how things made him look. Furey is all look.
Copies of copies of copies of the original copy.
Duller. Fuzzier. Less distinct.
The ads are what advertisers often do.
Not about connecting with the audience. That’s the theory, the stuff they teach in school. In practice, advertisers know the cheque is for connecting the client with Hisself, which is all they ever want.
And the Fureys want Furey and the re-election that lets Andrew escape after an assumed win.
They will win but not by the landslide they imagine. Yousee, practically, the Liberals are hobbled politically by all the earlier work Furey and his advertisers did to tie themselves to Justin Trudeau, right down to having Andy dress like him.
Now with the polls turning and with nothing of their own, The Image Premier and its makers are looking for a new host. They are desperately trying to disconnect from Trudeau, whose federal Liberals are sinking faster than Mulroney or Justin’s dad.
If you want to understand why the Liberal campaign starring Furey is about his ego and not political impact, just look at the October Abacus poll. As the column put it at the time:
Cost of living: 84% think this is the biggest issue. 77% thing Team Furey is doing a poor or very poor job.
Health care: 74% think it is a big issue. 66% think Furey, health minister Tom Osborne, and health deputy leprechaun Pat Parfrey are the village idiots - to borrow an old Pat-ism - when handling it.
Affordable housing: 43% think it’s a big problem. 70% think whatever Furey and his mob are up to is failing.
And on stuff the government pork machine spits out news releases regularly, like road paving, almost half thought the government was doing a poor or very poor job.
Ah but look at education, you say. 50% think they are doing a great job. Sure, but only 4% of respondents thought this was a big issue.
These numbers take hard work, dedication, and skill at the craft of sucking. The handful of cheesy announcements Furey and his Liberals have been making won’t move the needle on any of those issues.
Another sign of the fundamental problems Furey has: the plan to run Fred Hutton as the star candidate. The guy who normally carries Furey’s bags is now the only one they have to carry the Liberal banner. The problem here isn’t Fred as much as he carries on the failure of the Liberals to turn up *any* genuinely fresh faces since 2015.
In 2020, Furey should have brought with him a raft of new people to reflect new energy. He gifted himself with six months to figure out what was going on once he had the Premier’s job. Didn’t help. He still Dwighted - that is, he fumbled and bumbled - his way through the 2021 election and only managed to squeak out two extra seats against a completely bankrupt opposition. Financially and intellectually impecunious. Skint.
So when people think you suck, when you have done precisely nothing to address any of the stuff that keep voters up at night, when you have nothing in the works that might let them get even a comfortable nap, you tell your advertisers to copy what worked for some other guy, fake patriotism, fake momentum, and all. You go with the only advantage you think you have.
The Abacus polling numbers show what a completely useless idea that would be in normal times and in normal places. The Big Giant Head du jour can only score 38% support against two candidates who are figuratively dead meat politically. BGHduJ’s negatives are almost as large as his positives, which is almost as bad as Trudeau.
The only thing saving Furey is that these are not normal times. This is not a normal place. Rather than pick someone fresh, someone likely to bring money, good candidates, and a sizeable victory against a recycled animatronic thing-a-ma-jig, Pea Seas went with Tony Wakeham.
The Liberals meanwhile named the guy most likely to succeed Furey as Premier after the next election. In the general, the Liberals will come out roughly where they are now, if the conventional political wisdom outside the two contending parties is right. Both Liberals and Pea Seas have the same problem: they believe their own delusions. Outside their tiny echo chambers, no one wants an election and no one will see any reason to vote, let alone switch votes from the last time.
For the Liberals, Fred Hutton has all the qualifications necessary for success from a career reading scripts on the tee vee and then the radio, which is to say the party hacks and staffers think he can win. Once Fred has the job, the Pea Seas will look around for someone just like him to take their top job. David Cochrane might be ready by then to leave the Ceeb. He’d be a perfect fit, having recited lines fed to him from Danny’s crowd from 2003 onward.
Meanwhile, there is nothing to save the ordinary people of Newfoundland and Labrador from folks who have spent too much time with their knees under Danny’s dining room table, wrestling with others to kiss his arse or his shoes, or taking calls, PINs, and texts from Ole Twitchy and His Missus. The most incompetent Premier in our history has a spectacular and unbroken legacy across two parties over 20 years with the better part of another decade already locked up.
God save thee, Newfoundland and Labrador.
No one else wants to.
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