Star athletes may not know when to leave. They remember money, cheers, luxuries and praise and the feeling of command and superiority. But, stay too long, the applause is muted and cheers turn to jeers. The lineup needs new blood but when faded stars hang on, the losses mount and wins decline. The inevitable can only be delayed at someone else’s cost.
Politicians may be similarly reluctant to depart. Whether public careers last ten years or forty years, some officeholders cannot imagine changing roles. They perceive themselves as leaders, not ex-leaders, not retirees. They are too important to step aside and presume much remains to be done that needs their particular skill.
Unfortunately, the experience of leadership feeds a person’s capacity for narcissism. We all have that to some degree but individuals tended by platoons of minions, guarded by security forces, pampered by social elites and able to sign deals worth billions are vulnerable. The real world doesn’t exist for them and the concept of fallibility remains abstruse.
So it is in Victoria. When Premier Campbell should have been packing up, he was in California at a a summit meeting of subnational politicos promoting a global green economy. Having exhausted political capital at home, perhaps he plans to travel the world for the next months preparing projects to follow his involuntary departure from Victoria.
British Columbia, to say nothing of the Premier’s colleagues, would be better served if he left immediately and assigned the Premiership to someone supported by caucus. Someone, that is, other than Colin Hansen. The Finance Minister, author of the latest fudge-it budget and co-author of the HST blunders, should be departing as well. If anyone in government has less credibility and public confidence than Gordon Campbell, it is Colin Hansen.