Bad attitudes beget bad politics

Trevor Taylor
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So, lawyers should stay practising law. Businessmen should stick to the business world. Teachers should stay out of politics.

What an interesting way of looking at things. But why stop there? Former Premier Dunderdale was a social worker in a previous life.

Given the widespread condemnation she came to receive, social workers need not aspire to a life in politics.

Fishermen definitely shouldn’t be allowed in — I am living proof of that.

Union leaders, now there is a definite no-no. Former Premier Roger Grimes comes to mind.

Well, nurses should be great for the job — but oh no, remember Joan Marie Aylward?

Maybe pharmacists would be OK then … wait, isn’t that what Minister Kevin O’Brien was, and so too was Liberal Leader Dwight Ball.

OK, well former mayors have to be OK, right?

Darn! I don’t know about that either, because there have been a litany of them, including former minister Julie Bettney, former speaker Harvey Hodder, former minister Dave Denine and Minister Steve Kent.

Well, if they aren’t, the people of Mount Pearl had better start figuring out an alternative to their decades-old approach.

Can someone tell me what Brian Jones was thinking last Friday (“Duelling rich guys,” Feb. 14)?

It is one thing to disagree with an individual’s capacity to sit in a political leadership position, but quite another to take the broad brush approach of condemnation he took last week.

There have been many good lawyers, business people and teachers who have served the people of this country just as there have been from other facets of society.

Politics, believe it or not, is a hard job, and as I have opined on previous occasions, one of the most thankless ones.

Thankfully, most of the people who get into it know that. None of the people I mentioned above got it all right, but neither did they get it all wrong.

Brian Jones doesn’t get it all right and on Friday he got it all wrong. One of the biggest problems with politics — and in large part the reason why more good people don’t get into it — is the stereotypical attitude professed on a daily basis by commentators like Mr. Jones.

Some days they make me think the governing of the province should be turned over carte blanche to commentators, open line shows, the media generally.

After all, if you listen to them that is where all the wisdom lies and government is where the wisdom dies.

That is my over-generalized, stereotypical comment for today. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

I think it is a profound statement of the obvious, but the best governments in the long run are those comprised of a broad cross-section of society.

And yes, that includes business people, lawyers and teachers. And maybe in spite of Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy, there might be room for a few media types!

Loyola Hearn used to tell a story about a rather proper Englishman, whatever that is, walking on the Southern Shore.

A gust of wind blew his hat off just as he was passing a local man with a dog.

The dog ran after the hat and before either of the men could retrieve it the dog had chewed the top of it, over which the local man had a chuckle.

The Englishman took offence and told the other fellow, “I don’t like your attitude!”

The man responded, saying, “Sir, it wasn’t my hat he chewed, it was your hat he chewed.”

So, Brian, with a small change in h’attitude, there might even be a place for you in politics.

Trevor Taylor is a former cabinet minister under the Danny Williams administration. Email:

Geographic location: Mount Pearl

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Recent comments

  • Cashin Delaney
    February 19, 2014 - 09:15

    Almighty Purple Salmon, please give Captain Feathersword, and M. F. Jones the wisdom to understand that a statesperson, or effective politician does not look at leadership as a "hard job" like Feathersword, or Jones seem to. These guys are slogging through hard jobs everywhere they go, even writing gets hard, when doing it Just for those polymer bio-survival tickets. Why did we replace shinny with the Canada Arm anyway? Maybe it's not all about the next 5 dollars, and the adulation of the masses is the great call to office? Worse? A PROPER PREMIER need only have those qualities of the flag carrier of the OLympics. LOOK enthusiastic on TV (easy), but also be an inspiration to everyone in the team (can't fake it for love nor money). Doesn't matter the event, just need to be that player who has long lapses of not being as tired from hard work, or as sad from lack of thank yous.  Thank you for the levity, about time someone called Jones out for instigating debate. Bill Barby is a decoy, I'm a troll. Those who speak, don't know, those who do, have introduced the word bullshit as appropriate for print. Those who speak, don't know, those who bullshit?

  • Corporate Psycho
    February 18, 2014 - 20:37

    How bout doing some investigative reporting into some of Danny's shady business deals?

    • Illumpinanacho
      February 19, 2014 - 12:57

      He hooked all the natives on cable up and suited himself, sure that's what most would do. He is not Geoff Sterling. Get over it he's wicked business man, like, dat is the way we all should be, right wicked at business and such?

  • Observer
    February 18, 2014 - 16:21

    Brian Jones DOESN'T think. That's the problem. We readers deserve SO much better.

  • Corporate Psycho
    February 18, 2014 - 16:07

    This is going to make for an awkward Christmas party.

  • Joe
    February 18, 2014 - 12:48

    Pot meet Kettle!

  • Tony
    February 18, 2014 - 11:40

    Great article Trevor. Jones quotes David Boyd in his article, guess his investigation didnt show that Mr Boyd is also a retired teacher. Can't wrap my head around Jones article! Who exactly does he think would make good politicians? Don't say journalists cause Duffy & Wallin proved that wrong. What we need here in this province is less open line(talk shows) and more positive thoughts. One time we used to actually help each other and say nice things about our friends and neighbours. Oh well...

  • duelling columnists
    February 18, 2014 - 11:37

    pens and keyboards at high noon; best grammerist wins; if grammerist is a word; enter grammer & word police

  • Happily Retired
    February 18, 2014 - 09:10

    Trevor, Well said. The article by Mr. Jones had to be one of the most idiotic I've ever read, and he's written a few beauts. Imagine, a member of the media determining who's fit to run for office in a democratic society, based upon their occupation. Does anybody at the Telegram have any oversight over the articles that these clowns write, or do the writers have free rein?

  • GINN
    February 18, 2014 - 08:49

    Probably the best ever analysis of today's journalistic punditry by the many Tely political commentators who, like many of the opposition parties, bitch & complain without providing solutions.

  • Scott
    February 18, 2014 - 07:23

    Best article i read in ages! The media doesnt mind taking shots at politicians...they should try it sometime. I'm sure the media types would make great politicians, just look at Mike Duffy & Pamela Wallin. They are two great examples of what politics would be like if we had all journalists in politics. Enough said!