‘New’ OBA needs to raise game
I am always impressed by the opinions of pundits, especially from longstanding opinionists such as Phil Perinchief. Perhaps it's my naivetey, although I am sure he is right; it's just that I cannot be as resolute as he.
It's fairly elementary, as Phil would himself testify, that the One Bermuda Alliance's latest change of leadership aside from instigating an internal battle between the old United Bermuda Party and the newcomers is almost like fighting over who should build the canoe for the improbable task to cross the Atlantic.
While the task for the OBA may look impossible, the paradox is in 2012 the OBA actually did not win; it was the Progressive Labour Party that lost.
Well, you say it's the same thing — a victory is a victory — but truly it isn't when 20 per cent of the PLP support base fails to show up at the polls. It can hardly be considered a victory, yet the OBA mistakenly thought it was and therefore governed with arrogance because it believed it had a clear mandate.
That happened in 2012 and the reason for the PLP support base not showing up was because of its disappointment in its own party governance. The maxim “the only thing to fear is fear itself” can be translated as the only thing the PLP need to fear being its own support base becoming disappointed.
The OBA, in spite of its best attempts to state otherwise, is a re-creation or revamped UBP — any attempts to reframe or rebrand are a bit too late. Already the media are not helping them by identifying the process. The stance of ridding the party of all former UBP is an oxymoron when the OBA is indeed an “open” amalgam of substantially UBP with Bermuda Democratic Party. Even if, unfortunately, the image is tainted by some of the old ideas and attitudes of the UBP existing in the present assembly of the OBA. Notwithstanding, it defies the principle of the amalgamation to attempt to cut off the larger portion of the body to achieve a new aim.
Particularly if the larger portion is not the proposer of the new aim but a significant majority still clinging to the old thoughts, what can you have in real terms?
When you listen to the bloggers and supporters of the OBA, in the main they are looking for someone or group to stand up and strongly oppose the PLP. It's like soldiers taking up positions behind old cannons on a hillside that was once the fortress of the UBP, and they put all the new troops behind these same old cannons and tell them to aim south. It's the same war with the same battle stations.
The public will not buy into the presumption that it's a new war simply because one has changed the uniform or new soldiers are on post. The country needs to see an end to that old war and see a proposition for peace.
I hate to use the term “club”, but the other dynamic is this attitude of club membership. There is a sense of camaraderie and groupies that causes an inward type of thinking — invisible codes where some persons are in and others are out. Both parties suffer this, but it is particularly problematic for an organisation that does not have the populace and needs to broaden its tent. It doesn't help also when the support base needs to be reorientated and channelled to a new way.
As it stands, the PLP can rest on the assumption that it has the populace's support for the foreseeable future. That electoral dynamic will remain as true unless a handsome prince emerges on a dark horse heralding an apocalyptic end to the Bermuda politic as we know it, with a new beginning and gains a reputable following. None of which can happen unless the OBA folds.
Bermuda actually longs for a new beginning, but the right circumstances have never emerged to allow that to happen. The two parties have each held on to a constituency of support, neither willing to move towards another possibility for fear of losing to each other.
Now, with what may appear as an inevitability, the potential does exist to take a chance on other possibilities, even though, given the tremendous egos involved, it's unlikely it will happen.
The PLP has the upper hand and its key to survival rests on their performance at the end of its tenure. The party will not be able to hold up a platform to satisfy the unemployed or those in business who are struggling to keep their doors open. Still, the OBA is decidedly the underdog. It is essential it recognises its insolvency and is prudent.
It needs to know that just because its commodity is no longer marketable it does not mean there is no market. It means the market has changed and the winners are those who find the new market.
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