Do us a favour, Mr Dickinson
The recently announced Progressive Labour Party retreat in light of all the prevailing circumstances brought about by the leadership challenge has revealed a clear divide. Constituencies and delegates voted in lockstep where some analysts would conclude there were about 19 MPs in favour of David Burt and ten against.
This retreat was inevitable; the outcome, however, is anything but. Notwithstanding, there is conceivably almost three years before the next General Election must be called, and that is too long a wait for cohesion to be delayed. What we might expect as in the days of the United Bermuda Party whenever there was the appearance of a rift would be a great photo op of the team of MPs emerging from a meeting with their best smiles. But three years is a long time to keep even a perma-smile.
Let’s call a spade a spade: is it not true that a large portion of the population was disappointed in the PLP leadership challenge between David Burt and Curtis Dickinson? It has to be novel that persons from all sides and shades shared the same hope in a potential PLP leader. Imagine that, with even One Bermuda Alliance supporters giving him kudos despite the real prospect that Dickinson as PLP leader might result in a crushing defeat at the polls in 2025. Yet they all hoped Dickinson would bring an end to revenge politics.
On the sober side, most persons doubted whether the PLP delegates construct with its very narrow base where five branches and the MPs in Burt’s corner formed an unassailable, numerical bulwark. It proved to be the party leader’s firewall. Of course, no need to complain here about one MP vote being the equivalent to 20 delegates. These folks have forgotten completely about the “plus” vote, which they celebrated having destroyed since its last use in 1963.
However, that loss at the delegates conference was not the greatest tragedy to unfold because what was to follow is even sadder. OK, we accept that in any contest where there is a vote, there is the implied understanding that whoever wins the vote carries the day. Granted. However, if I was listening correctly, this was not just a vote to simply decide on who should be the party leader; it was a vote to determine the direction of the country and the stewardship in whose hands had two different meanings.
In fact, so stark were the differences that the challenger Dickinson called Burt a liar and went on to describe him as one in whose hands the country could not trust its future. So, did he give up the fight? Are the two positions now reconciled and amenable? Or was there some atonement that the public are not aware of? You left a hole, Mr Dickinson. The whole event left a hole because we can all count, and it is clear the delegate vote went flawlessly along a particularly predictable line.
There were about ten MPs and delegates across the country, particularly at the ends which voted against Burt, and about 20 including the party leader along with their delegates that voted along with him. You know, they know and we know that there is no forgiveness for what they will deem as your sins against the party. Why do you sit so complacent in the same room? Where are your political convictions today? Are they still in the best interest of the country or the best interest of the party? What about the founding principles you claimed to have admired? Are they being achieved while you sit complacent in the room?
Fortunately, the Bermuda Constitution does not recognise political parties as far as the determination of parliament. The most optimal position would be that the ten of you remove yourselves from the whip, stand united as a group and become counted as commanding the new majority opposition. You then select three senators and designate one as the official opposition, and the OBA will have to follow. That, to me, is the way you redeem your political position in the public eye.
Under such a scenario, I would say the new opposition would have the upper hand in being the government-in-waiting. Otherwise, you lay in defeat and history will bury you. This world was made for those who stand up and fight for what they believe. The world does not remember those who gave in; it is just the harsh reality of life and history.
Don’t give up. For sure, do not give up your seats. That would be the clearest sign of a defeated soul and would only bolster the adversary’s hand. There are already far too many hand-picked persons performing as leaders when they are truly well-paid puppets.
Do the country a favour this time and stand for the sake of the country and not the leadership of the party. If the people are for you, who can be against you?