The soap-opera plot line for Tussling Tories - the B.C. Conservative Story is still twisting and turning. But you can feel the audience leaking away.
They had a solid share of the viewership for a while. But you can only turn in on yourself so many times before the people on the outside start to lose interest.
The latest move was the rather abrupt resignation of party president Al Siebring over the weekend. It didn't stem from all the strife the party has been going through since last summer. Siebring, who only took over the job six weeks ago, said he had to quit because his workload as a broadcaster was increasing. Together with his responsibilities as a North Cowichan councillor, it meant he wouldn't have time for the presidency.
He remains a supporter of leader John Cummins, and will be succeeded - just to keep things confusing - by Christine Clarke, another Cummins supporter. (Clarke ran as a Conservative candidate in the byelection in Port Moody, which was Premier Christy Clark's previous riding.)
To keep the pot boiling, Siebring wrote a letter to members just after resigning that promises more drama to come. It's a plea to donate money in preparation for war, as in a long legal battle with the people Siebring kicked out of the party just a few weeks ago.
Those rebel forces may have been ejected from the party, but they are still lurking around the edges and plotting revenge. Which is why Siebring sounded the note of alarm in his letter.
He said the ejected dissidents want to force the board to reinstate their memberships and apologize for dismissing them. The party can either acquiesce, or "defend ourselves," he said.
"There is a principle at stake here - nothing less than the defence of the democratic will of you, our membership ... Because of this, we have decided to launch a vigorous defence against this action."
"We took this decision understanding full well that lawsuits cost money, but we believe that the principle of upholding the expressed will of our members is paramount, and we trust you share that sentiment.
"That's why I would appeal to you - as soon as you finish reading the rest of this email, get our your chequebook and send us a donation.
"This is the single most urgent issue facing our party right now."
Other parties six months away from an election raise money to campaign against their opponents. B.C. Conservatives are building a war chest to keep fighting each other.
There's a poignant footnote that highlights the absurdity of all this.
"Of course, any monies that are superfluous to our needs for the law-suit will be going toward our campaign fund for next May."
Only a few months ago, B.C. Conservatives were riding high at 20 per cent in some opinion polls. There was excited speculation about their impact on the next election.
Now they're trending right back down to where they were prior to Cummins's arrival - a fringe outfit that got 2.1 per cent of the vote in 2009.
It's just a historical note now, but their vote distribution in the last election hints at what might have been.
They rounded up 34,451 votes and came a distant fourth.
But fully 50 per cent of their votes were concentrated in seven Okanagan Valley ridings. There was the potential for a tightly focused breakthrough in that region - if they'd managed to keep their act together.
Just So You Know: Meanwhile, B.C. Liberals are having their own fundraising issues. The "Leader's Reception" scheduled for Nov. 15 at Crystal Garden has been cancelled, reportedly for lack of interest.
The reception is a replacement event for the full-scale leader's dinner that used to draw hundreds to the convention centre. Funds raised at the reception were to be earmarked for Vancouver Island Liberal candidates.
Back in September, an earlier interview came to light in which Clark said she avoids the legislature wherever possible because "it's sick. It's a sick culture."
You have to wonder if there might have been more interest in the event if she and her government showed up in the capital once in a while.
© Copyright 2013