Careful Mr Bean, the left won’t go quietly
October 28, 2013
The task for Mark Bean must not be taken lightly. He has inherited a position that is pregnant with the need to reorganise the Progressive Labour Party into a political organisation that can satisfy the current generation. His speech at the annual banquet was appropriate but laid out a direction which goes against the grain of what is commonly known and experienced as Bermuda labour ideology. Which reminds me of the old saying, “Truth is sweet, reality is bitter”. The challenge for Mark is to bring those words into reality.
I am always encouraged by Marks ability to see beyond the old PLP rhetoric and given the party needed a new theme he was better suited in spite of his age and short time in the political arena. Any criticism I give is meant to help and not meant as a weapon to undermine his designs. Ideas are not separate from people they are not self-fulfilling without the agency of human initiative. He needs people that share his vision to bring the party towards the direction he espoused. He cannot sprinkle angel dust in the air and at the snap of a finger or wave of a magic wand the party arrives at a new day. The PLP needs more than a cosmetic change to become truly re-electable.
Another old saying “You can't hunt with the hunters and run with the wolves”. When we look at the change in the Soviet Union with glasnost and perestroika translated as openness and restructuring one of the results of the change in attitude was that the old symbols and icons were brought tumbling down. The statue of Stalin was torn down. The same happens anywhere when there is a genuine revolution. All systems carry repression and voices of dissent. Within the history of the PLP there have always been persons who have espoused the same as what Mark is advocating today. However those persons were victimised and ostracised by successive leaderships. In fact the clear historical record including the self-acknowledgment of Dame Louis Brown in her book shows that the progressive and conservative element that was present at the very roots of the party were booted out in 1965 paving way for the leftist rule which Mark Bean now seeks to reform.
I realise that it is a precarious balancing act for him to hold on to party unity and bring change at the same time. In his praising of former leaders in some way, is an attempt to hold on to unity, and accepted all leaders have some good that they accomplish for which they deserve praise, but we have to be fair in our assessments because along with those accomplishments are their failures that if not recognised are destined to be repeated. Why was Arnold Francis, or the name of the first parliamentary leader of the party omitted from his speech? Openness brings out historical weaknesses and actions against the right-minded which need atonement, otherwise how can there be a new future. Mark Bean will need soldiers to fight the new cause. Where will the new enthusiast come from? Ideologically shifting from the goal of government as the source of redemption, to the notion of people with their creativity, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit as the redemptive factor, however truthful, is a monumental shift, which can only be led by persons with that spirit.
Speaking religiously Jesus went into the temple but not with kind words and meek spirit he recognised the life of the people he came to help was been usurped so he entered the temple with a whip and overturned the tables. While I don't see Mark with a whip, he has to be willing to at least overturn the tables, if not his espoused revolution will end at the tip of the microphone.