Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
This province’s New Democratic Party may not be a gigantic egg — but it sure looks like the party’s five provincial MHAs are trying to put together something similar after last week’s tragic, messy and sophomoric attempt at a leadership coup.
This time last week, four of the party’s five MHAs had sent leader Lorraine Michael something very much like an ultimatum. It was, the four wrote, time for a leadership review to better prepare the party for the 2015 provincial election.
Then the wheels fell off: Michael went on the attack, two of the MHAs who had sent the letter waffled about what they said they meant, and the whole thing dissolved into a gooey mess of bad politics.
There’s egg enough for all the faces.
By the end of last week, the leader and the renegades were all gathered inside the fold again, with Michael agreeing to a leadership review in October 2014.
Until then, things will presumably muddle along, with Michael as something of a lame-duck leader.
Does she have one foot out the door or not? Only time will tell.
It’s hard to know how much damage the party has dealt itself. Certainly, the caucus showed absolutely no sign that they were actually ready to run this province. Here’s Michael after everybody was back singing from the same page: “I really have no idea how damaging it might be. All I know is we have to start from where we are and we have to build. … What happened has happened, and our position is we have to move forward, and that’s what I’m doing.”
But this is really nothing that can be dealt with by a mediator (one was used when the five got together Friday and Saturday) and some kind of group hug and a promise to never again run while holding political scissors.
When you ponder the NDP’s suggestion that all is well again in their particular universe and that it’s business as usual on something that sounds remarkably like a “go-forward basis,” you could look for a moment or two at another Humpty Dumpty appearance — this time, in Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass.”
“‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
“‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
“‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’”
Say what you want, voters will be looking backwards as well as forwards — and the view isn’t pretty.
Good luck, folks. You’ll clearly need it, whatever kind of brave face you put on political self-immolation.