Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Not Danny Williams' finest moment, I fear

Oh, Danny boy...

What on earth are you thinking?

So, he resigns as premier of Newfoundland last December, and the place went up. Tears were shed, mine included, and it was generally felt that the good times Newfoundland had seen since 2003 were well and truly over, never to return.

The flag flap.

The Atlantic Accord battle with Ottawa. The ABC campaign.

Paul & Heather McCartney. 

The lower Churchill. All great moments with Danny's unique touch firmly emblazoned on them.

Yes, Kathy Dunderdale was being left in charge, and she was felt to be fully competent and capable.

On her best day, though, she was no Danny Williams.

As it has a habit of doing, life went on. The sun did continue to rise and set, tides continued to ebb and flow. Politicians continued to do politic-y things.

One of the things this particular set of PC politicians was doing, in the background, was planning a tribute dinner honoring Danny. He himself had been involved in the planning of this, for months. That's all well and good, and as it should be. However, last week, out of the blue, Danny Williams announces that he will not be attending the tribute dinner. The one that's honoring him. The same one that he had been involved in planning. For months.

Now, your average bayfolk on the street is wondering, whassup with that? A few Townies are scratching their heads as well, truth be told.

The speculation started out that Danny was miffed because the current government did not rant and roar sufficiently when Elizabeth Matthews was under fire for her patronage appointment to the C-NLOPB, an appointment from which she subsequently resigned.

There are also comments that Danny was refused the cell phone numbers of Cabinet ministers. As Mrs. Dunderdale said on the news tonight, most of the numbers haven't changed over the past 8 years.

Whatever the reason, I think that ol' Danny is going to come out the loser on this.

It is only natural that a new government, particularly one having to emerge from Danny Williams' shadow, would want to put their own stamp on things, to be seen as its own entity, and not seen as the party-minus-Danny. Danny's well documented battles with Ottawa were good for the province at the time, and will go down in history as the thing of legends, but the time has probably come to move beyond that, and mend some of the rifts. A change in leadership has allowed that to happen.

I sense that Danny is having a dose of 'resigner's remorse'. He had essentially disappeared from the public stage over the past 5 months. I'm thinking that now, with the federal election on the go, and a provincial election coming in October, he's missing the limelight, and the power, and control. He's resentful, I believe, of the warmer relationship between Ottawa and Newfoundland. He probably sees it as disloyalty to him.

Danny, your time is past. Not because we wanted it to be, God knows. We wanted you to stick around forever. But, you made your decision, and those left behind are dealing with it.

This kind of pettiness, be it related to cell phones or Elizabeth Matthews or whatever, is only making you look bad, sir. It's giving your critics something to get their teeth into, which is neither beneficial to you, nor to the party that is heading to the polls in the near future. Why am I detecting a mild (so far) stench of sabotage in among all of this? Do you want to see the PCs fail, so you can then compare your government to this new one in a favorable light? Are you afraid that they can do well without you? What would that say to your legacy?

What it would say, if ego was not driving this situation, is that you had an exceptionally competent team behind you, who are capable of continuing to carry the torch very effectively even after you've gone. There is some satisfaction to be gained in that, if, as I said, your ego is not getting in the way.

If it is, then you are not the man I thought you were. And that would be a very sad thing, indeed.

Oh, Danny boy...


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