Inclusivity should be mantra for a party of the people
Eva Hodgson's response to the Royal Gazette reporter on the clash of e-mails between Marc Bean and a few fellow MPs is instructive but unfortunately will fall on deaf ears.
Her essential point in showing that the difference between the aims of the forerunners of the political movement, such as that of the Progressive group and the Committee for Universal Adult Suffrage, and then the subsequent emergence towards party politics was its shift from being a movement to bring equality and empowerment to the people to being a movement to empower the party.
Somewhere in the shuffle, the ideal of empowering the electorate became completely lost as subsequent generations of politicians became entrenched in processes that maintained a system of party elitism, leaving the vast majority of the non-member voting populace on the periphery, while the main focus was to achieve government and power.
Bermuda is not alone in that type of history: the United States, after moving to party politics in the early 19th century, experienced the same alienation between the parties and the electorate. Fortunately, thanks to the progressive movement, they began to address the situation with features such as open primaries, which made the system more inclusive and which was adopted in 17 states.
Why doesn't Bean, as a supposedly progressive leader, know that political parties as private member clubs cater to special interests. Their lack of public regulations and structural dissociation with the broader electorate ensures the plundering that he laments will continue under one regime or another. Parties are indeed rigged for plundering, yet it does not mean they are useless or inoperable. Parties need to be regulated and opened up and, like everyone else, subject to the Human Rights Act — they are exempt at present. The Electoral Act also needs to be amended to give the entire electorate the right to nominate and select, as a primary role, whomever they deem as the representative of a party of choice. Inclusivity should be the mantra of a party that is truly about the people. At the moment, exclusivity is the practice as each ensures only a certain type fill its administrative ranks. The controls become even more pernicious when it comes to economic interests and opportunity. Sadly, without inside connections, apart from being avoided altogether, you can become a victim also.
Being truthful and speaking up assures victimisation under our existing party constructs where you are openly encouraged to remain silent to participate. Our status gives legitimacy to an extract from a poem by James Russell — “Truth appears to be on the scaffold and wrong is on the throne”.
However, those who believe in principles, which includes persons such as Dr Hodgson, can take their rest in the closing portion of the sentence, which says, “yet it is truth that will sway the future”.