Well-intentioned nuisances

One of the advantages to being a citizen in a little place like Bermuda is that our politicians aren't too far removed from the citizenry, and are easily contactable by concerned citizens/activists.

One of the disadvantages to being a politician in a little place like Bermuda is that our citizens aren't too far removed from the politicians and can easily contact you.

On that note, here's a few thoughts on the 'march' held yesterday, organised by Charles Spanswick. My comments are said with some affection:

I applaud people who get involved and try and make a difference. Sometimes becoming an annoyance is a good way to get things accomplished, but yesterday's march was unproductive in achieving anything. I can't even tell you what they were marching for.

To quote one reader:

I can picture the scene in Cabinet now.... "A march?" "...only eight of them, you say?" "Led by yourboy Spanswick?!?" (teary-eyed laughter and much knee slapping)

Mr. Spanswick is a well-intentioned nuisance to politicians. He confuses the humouring of his antics by the press and talk show hosts' - who need to fill space - with having an audience and some clout. Inevitably his initiatives, whether a candidacy for something or a march, just fizzle out. I'd hazard a guess that he's more successful getting things done behind the scenes than the failed stunt he attempted yesterday.

The more important issue was what went on outside Cabinet towards Mr. Spanswick and his 6 or 8 marchers.

Paula Cox's response was suprisingly rude, hostile and lecturey in tone. The Acting Premier publicly berated Mr. Spanswick, essentially saying: 'How dare you question us.' That's obviously a lot easier to do when you combine the deference afforded the Premier/Acting Premiers and Minister, only 8 people are marching and you've brought out the whole Cabinet to outnumber the marchers. But that doesn't mean you do it.

Ms. Cox's comments were delivered in an extremely condescending, unbecoming manner. Notwithstanding the annoyance that Mr. Spanswick might present - to whichever party is governing - Ms. Cox should have been a little more magnanimous, thanking them for their concerns and assuring them that Government was on top things (even though they clearly aren't).

I was suprised with the tone Ms. Cox used, and from some of the comments I've received am not alone. The tone and comments were quite revealing.

Even a small protest - led by someone who is just one of those Bermudian characters who politicians have to tolerate - invoked a quite angry and defensive response from a politician who generally tries to stay above the fray, at least publicly.

Clearly the public's lack of restraint towards the PLP in the Letters to the Editor pages, talk shows, marches, op-eds etc. is getting to the Government.

| More