Writing about “Politics in Babel: Strange happenings” (Nov. 20, 2011), it was noted that the former Member of Parliament as well as former Member of Provincial Parliament—and our favourite Whig—was running for the presidency of Babel’s local federal Liberal association. Not only was it the largest Liberal Party gathering we have ever seen in Babel. It turned out to be the longest.
The former MPP and her coterie function in a manner similar to a pride of lions in the wild. It is the lionesses who are the most vicious and determined. The males in the pride are just there to shake their manes and look good. And those she lions came to the Liberal meeting for the blood sport.
But they miscalculated. They were hard, fast and strident on the challenges but these were obvious delaying tactics. They had the chair—who was from another riding–confused and perspiring as he tried to figure out what was going on. When the Whigs started arguing about a proposed new constitution for the local party organization, older Liberals in the crowd, who had been through those arguments before, groaned. They had visions of the meeting lasting into the next morning.
But that was the reason. The Whigs knew they did not have the numbers and felt that they could hold their voters longer and counted on the newer federal members being less able to stick with it. It would have worked if they had more supporters and better arguments on the constitution. As it was, the chair finally put the constitution to a ballot vote to be counted at the same time as the executive ballots. Mind you, people were so confused on the constitution, most of them probably voted “no” when they meant to say “yes.”
There was no confusion on the executive vote. The only contested positions were those for the president and vice-president, fund-raising. The former MPP was running for president and her husband for the fund-raising job. They both gave strong speeches.
The key was the nominators. The current president had asked one of the members of the revitalized youth wing to nominate him. The former MPP had a long-time employee nominate her. If the nominator had not been one of the more strident objectors on the constitutional argument, she might have got a better hearing.
While there was some concern about the former MPP’s husband being an easy winner in the fund-raising spot, they should not have underestimated his competition. There were many people there who felt that the attack on the federal association was really an attack on the candidate the party had as a standard bearer in May of this year. As there is not much you can do about an ex officio member of the board of directors, it was his girl friend, running for the fund-raising spot, who was their target. They forgot that she is a school teacher who travels around the world working for charities. She handled that mob as though they were a class of grade four children.
The disappointing speech was the one by the former MPP. She talked about the job as though she was running for Member of Parliament. It was a political speech but had little to do with the job for which she was running. The only challenge she threw at her opponent was that she made a better spokesperson for the party. As that is rarely the role of a riding president, that appeal failed.
The Whigs failed. By about two to one, the votes rejected the former MPP and her husband. The lions went home to lick their wounds.
Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry
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