Tories’ comedy of errors no longer funny

Brian Jones bjones@thetelegram.com
Published on June 20, 2014

The upside of bad political times is that irritating stereotypes die faster than Tory leadership aspirations.

Take Stephen Harper, the “economist” prime minister who is not, was not and has never been an economist.

Thankfully, the news-consuming public no longer has to hear Harper described as “brilliant,” which was a commonly used adjective when he first took control of the rudder of the good ship Canada.

Similarly, in Newfoundland (and Labrador) fewer people by the day laugh and comment with a shake of the head that politics in this province is always an entertaining fight.

The political self-destruction of the Progressive Conservatives is entertaining only in the sense that some Brits find entertainment in watching hounds tear apart a fox.

As for the fight, there isn’t one. The Tories will restart the process of selecting a leader who, come general election time, will be torn apart by Dwight Ball and the Liberals.

The longstanding tendency to refer to provincial politics as a fun-filled brawl will suffer further decline in 2018-19, when people start receiving power bills that are twice what they used to be.

Incompetence, arrogance and disregard can be funny for a while, but then the humour and novelty wears off, and citizens are merely left with … incompetence, arrogance and disregard.

The PCs were justifiably laughed at when they kicked Wayne Bennett out of the leadership race for sending racist Tweets.

The laughter got louder when candidate and fish merchant Bill Barry hauled in his nets and headed for home port, so to speak, complaining the process was fixed and he had no chance of becoming skipper.

By the time the last man standing, Frank Coleman, quit this week, the comedy had dulled.

After all, the guy wasn’t even premier yet and had already been snared in a scandal that would have been cause for a premier to resign, had the premier-designate actually been premier (see: Humber Valley Paving, released from contract without penalty).

Black humour has to kick in. The Tories are now looking for a sacrificial lamb willing to be slaughtered by the Liberals.

Steve Kent would be perfect.

A large swath of the population would probably love to watch Dwight Ball gut that pretentious sycophant.

Which brings us to the serious matter of a general election. The people need one and deserve one.

The longer the PCs procrastinate and put off an election, the more they reveal they care about their own interests and preservation rather than the province and its people.

The longer the Tories delay calling an election, the more they prove politics is about desire for power rather than a wish to serve, as politicians and candidates so often declare, often to background laughter.

For the sake of the province, the PCs have to get out of the way and let the public start hating Dwight Ball and the Liberals.

It would be fine strategy. The sooner people start despising the Liberals, the sooner the PCs can expect to return to power.

Call an election for this fall, and people’s enthusiasm for the Liberals will wane by 2018, perhaps not enough to topple Ball, Cathy Bennett and the temporary foreign staffers they will undoubtedly bring in, but definitely enough to ensure that by 2022 they will be tossed from office in favour of a return to the Tories.

This is how it has gone, will go and must go. Liberals, Tories, Liberals, Tories, Liberals … love, hate, love, hate, etc.

What won’t change is the inevitability of incompetence, arrogance and disregard, no matter which party is in power … and the doubling of your power bill.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at

The Telegram. He can be reached by email at bjones@thetelegram.com and can be found on Facebook.