‘Nalcor’ had noticed among the humans it was common practice for politicians to have an ‘on the one hand, on the other hand’ attitude toward public opinion polls.
BY PETER PICKERSGILL
On the one hand they liked the ones that showed the public favouring them, but tended to dismiss those polls that showed their popularity slipping with the voters.
The most recent polls Nalcor had seen on the Internet placed his ex-mistress ‘Mizkat’ in an increasingly unfavourable light, at least from what the little muskrat could figure out. But it was not easy to figure out, since Nalcor wasn’t sure what the point of polls was.
Nalcor understood what elections are. That is the way humans choose who will act as their government. Every so often the humans, who liked to divide the population into teams, would choose from among each of the teams, a list of people they thought were good talkers.
They called them ‘candidates’ – a curious name because they were generally not candid at all. Then the candidates would say all sorts of bad things about each other for a period of time until, on a given day, all the people who cared to take the trouble, would make marks on little pieces of paper, which would then be slipped through a slot in the top of a box.
The very same evening, on television, it was decided which candidates representing which teams had collected the most little marks, and they would proceed to the tall building on the hill in the capital city, and continue to say all sorts of bad things about each other. They would keep on with this for a period of time, until they got tired of it.
Then the leader of the biggest number of candidates elected last time, would announce it was time to “go to the people” who, in truth, had already been tired of it for quite a long time. Then the whole thing was repeated.
It was called the electoral process. As a result of his study on the Internet and watching Mizkat’s television when he had lived at her house in the capital city, Nalcor figured he understood it.
But, polls. About them he was still baffled.
What he could see was despite her attempt to dismiss them, the recent poll results that showed her team slipping and worse still her personal popularity tumbling well below that, had hurt her.
The little muskrat could detect it in her voice when he watched clips of her on the Internet, the way the sound of her ‘private voice’ was creeping into her ‘public voice’.
Her private voice was the one she had used when talking to Nalcor when he lived at her house. The little muskrat believed she used it to tell him the truth, because she was unaware he could understand enough English to follow what she was saying.
It was like she was talking to herself. The appearance of the private voice was like the public Mizkat had sprung a leak. Her true worries and doubts were in danger of trickling out onstage.
Alone in his lodge near the shores of the Big Cigar River, Nalcor felt his heart going out to Mizkat. Things seemed to be getting worse.
She must have been terribly upset when a long time member of her team jumped ship, claiming it was impossible to continue under her leadership.
From what he could tell, Nalcor was sure his departure was no great loss to Mizkat’s team in any way, but one. His resignation meant she had one fewer member on her side.
Things immediately got worse for Mizkat. The man who many believe will become the new leader of the Opposition team, trashed her publicly in no uncertain terms.
Not that there was anything personal about it, Nalcor could see that, it was just he was trying to push himself upward. The way humans climbed in the polls, and now Nalcor was beginning to see the purpose of those polls, was to climb up over top of your opponents by pushing them down.
What made it worse for Mizkat in this case, was the person tearing her down used to be in partnership with Mizkat’s former boss, ‘The Angry Man Who Talks Too Fast’.
As partners the pair had made a lot of money together. Part of their strategy Nalcor could see, and he supposed Mizkat could see it too, was for the two of them to belong to different political teams.
Now that The Angry Man had abruptly left office, and handed his job to Mizkat, the way was clear for his former partner, ‘Dean of the Golden Arches’, to step forward opposing her.
The way Dean of the Golden Arches had within a split second of his resignation started heaping praise on the defector from Mizkat’s team, and wooing him to join the Golden Arches’ team was in sharp contrast to the way the defector’s former colleagues characterized him.
All of them coincidentally used the same words to describe him: ‘disengaged’, ‘not engaging with the caucus’ and ‘not engaged’ were the terms used by members of Mizkat’s caucus to describe the defector. It was a vivid example of great minds thinking alike.
In summary, it seemed they thought he wasn’t engaged.
“Of course I’m not engaged,” replied the defector, “I’m already married.”
This perhaps explains why some people who work in the tall building on the hill in the capital city refer to him as the ‘The Man Who Utters Meaningless Sentences’.
It looked to Nalcor as though Dean of the Golden Arches already thought of himself as leader of his own team. If that came to pass, as many thought, and he ultimately became premier by defeating Mizkat’s team, he could proceed with the project of damming the Big Cigar River.
Then the position, in the private sector, of his former partner, the Angry Man Who Talks Too Fast could prove very worthwhile indeed.
Poor Mizkat, thought Nalcor, she must feel very lonely in that house in the capital city, all by herself.
... to be continued