I have been avoiding commenting on the NB Power deal because there are a few people that get all bent out of joint and send me really nasty comments and I don’t appreciate the abuse. There have been some interesting developments such as Governor Baldacci’s position and the comments by the CEO of Emera.
Ironically, as support for the deal starts to spread among folks like this, I hear there is increasing pressure from inside the Liberal circle to scuttle the deal. Don’t know how real this is as I don’t particularly run in Liberal circles.
Anyway, on a more esoteric level, I listed to Malcolm Gladwell’s audio version of Blink on the way to Florida. The book is a detailed exploration of our gut feelings or our intuition – the way we can feel about a person or issue without even consciously thinking about it. You know what he means. You can look at someone and size them up without ever having a conversation.
Gladwell thinks that this ‘thin slicing’ or ability to draw conclusions based on quick sub-conscious processes can be good and bad.
I can’t help but apply this to the NB Power deal. Just about everyone that I talk to about this I ask about their initial gut reaction – before they even saw the MOU. Virtually all of them had a strong reaction – without ever seeing the deal. My reaction was positive. So was the reaction of several people that have intimate knowledge of the state of NB Power. But most people, the initial reaction was negative – to the point in many cases of revulsion – and that carried on after seeing the MOU.
In a Gladwellian analysis, we are bringing all the different images and ideas we have about Quebec – for those opposed that would be sovereignty, blackmail, bullying, arrogance, etc. and forming a snap judgement against the deal based on our gut. We then look at the MOU and find reasons to dislike it and choose to read commentary that we support, etc.
I would say the same for those that support the MOU. My gut reaction was to support it.
In a Gladwellian analysis, when we have time to analyze things, we are best advised to do so. To try and park our initial gut reaction and open ourselves to the facts of the case.
This, of course, does not apply to partisans or politically-motivated folks who will support or oppose any move of government based on partisan motives.
But for the rest of us, we should really try to judge this thing on its merits – whether you like Jean Charest’s hair or not is basically irrelevant.