My impeccable source, Deep Bight, has supplied me with a copy of a memo he says sheds new light on the way in which Elizabeth Matthews handled the fallout from her controversial nomination as vice-chair of the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board.
It was apparently written the day before Ms. Matthews withdrew her nomination.
FROM: Elizabeth Matthews
TO: Elizabeth Matthews
SUBJECT: Elizabeth Matthews
Elizabeth: This is strange, indeed, to be writing to myself, especially when I’m more partial to putting words in other people’s mouths, or twisting what my enemies, and those of the beloved one, our own St. Daniel, have said, and continue to say, in their venomous, traitorous, Newfoundland flag-stomping way (they’d boo “Let Me Fish Off Cape St. Mary’s”, that despicable crowd would).
But I have to give myself the best advice possible in dealing with the poisonous fallout from that very laudable, sensible, intelligent, and — dare I say — insightful proposition to utilize my enormous public relations skills in the position of watching guard over the offshore. The nearly two hundred grand a year was nothing to be sneezed at, either, a hell of a lot better than the unemployment line — although I had the best of stamps — that I was facing ever since my man Dan left me crying my eyes out that fateful day He — the capital “H” is appropriate, don’t you think? — decided to leave the public limelight behind and re-embrace domestic life (“lest we forget,” as he so poignantly and tastefully put it in his Christmas card).
In any case, what better person, Elizabeth, to put the manipulative spin on this brouhaha than you … me … oh, you know what I mean, than the doctor herself, the spin doctoring pro? Who else can prescribe an antidote for even the worst of political ailments? We need the very best.
Now for the plan: it’s about making Kathy, Shawn, even Danny, and, of course, myself, look good here, angelic innocents, martyrs, and on the other side of the coin, to portray those Lucifer-adoring Liberals as the soulless, unkind, indiscriminate attack dogs they are, or what we can make them appear to be.
I think we should accuse that tribe of nasty naysayers of “politicizing” the tremendously inspired nomination of yours truly to the offshore board. But such an approach has inherent dangers, as any decent manipulator of words would recognize.
For instance: we know (at least in the privacy of this memo) that this gift became political the day someone (we won’t say who, but God bless his cotton, $50 socks) got the word to Kathy who got the word to Shawn, a “yes man” addicted to the adjective “honorable” and prone to a mantra of “whatever you say, Ma’am.”
That’s at least one scenario making the rounds, and we have always been big on scenarios, inventing our own on occasion. (What a time we had, didn’t we? “Those were the days, my friend,” as Mary Hopkins used to sing. “We thought they’d never end.”)
But that’s enough ’60s claptrap for one memo. Back on message: we’ll just ignore the cries that we’re hypocrites, that we “politicized” the job in the first place. Who are the unwashed gonna believe, anyway?
I think we should predict political damage for the Liberals and the NDP, a warning that they’ll rue the day they dared to take an honest-to-God, brilliant appointment and twist it into what they thought would be an advantage.
Ha! They’re thinking the government will pay dearly for giving Elizabeth (trying the third person here, an effective tool on occasion) a patronage job (what a disgusting word, patronage, as if I was in the same boat as that Manning fella who so disparaged our Danny).
But we’ll put it out there that it is they who’ll suffer.
Now we do have to be careful in our statement, and make sure Elizabeth doesn’t come across as a whiner.
I just know some jackass columnist is going to bring up that “Miss Piggy” thing at the patronage trough again, and write something like: “And this little piggy went wee, wee, wee, all the way home.”
Ignore him. Ignore everybody. Stay arrogant.
Go get ’em, Lizzie.
Spin that yarn.
Bob Wakeham has spent more than 30 years as a journalist in Newfoundland and Labrador. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.