April 2006 Archives

Before this morning, I would have generally concurred with my friend Tom Vesey's analysis in Friday's Bermuda Sun, where he suggested that the Premier call an election soon while the going is good...or said another way, while we're enjoying a brief respite from the carnage that has characterised the overwhelming majority of his (and his predecessor's) term.

There's no denying the smell of election spirit in the air, with the Premier himself hinting at the topic in a recent public meeting. Then you've got Ewart Brown's fawning puff piece (aka positioning for Premier) in last week's Royal Gazette, in addition to a number of started (and long overdue) but yet to fall apart projects, and you can see why the idea of an election sooner rather than later might be appealing.

So I couldn't help but notice the irony when reading and hearing the news this morning. To put it in context let me just pull a brief quote from Tom's article;

"There even seems to be a lull in spectacular, front-page violent crime.

"There are no major internal political battles for the PLP right now, at least none that I know of. The competent cabinet ministers are going about their jobs; the incompetent ones haven’t publicly embarrassed the Premier lately."

Scratch those two off the list already -- 72 hours later.

You've got a triple shooting on Court St., next door to PLP Headquarters, and disgraced former Health Minister Nelson Bascome ranting a little in today's Gazette about the continued existence of the post-2003 compromise cabinet:

"I look at it lightly. I can't take it seriously because I know it is a compromise cabinet. It is!"


"Then the compromise was with the dissidents. Now I would think the leader would say 'I am going to mould my Cabinet'. What is he doing? I think we have to move ahead. I don't think Bermudians are dumb or naive. You can only keep up a charade up for so long."

Maybe the window is already closing?

I would however say that there the lack of movement on one initiative will almost certainly prevent the calling of a snap election. That initiative would be MP pay-raises.

I find it highly unlikely that the Premier will call an election until he has secured pay-raises for himself and his colleagues. Not for the reason you might think. The pay raises are in fact pension raises -- compensation which he'll collect win or lose the next election.

I'd also find it highly unlikely that an election will be called hard-on the heels of MP pay-raises, as there will surely be a fair amount of grumbling.

I'm not saying a snap election won't happen. In politics you never know and must always be prepared.

The odds however are against it in my opinion.

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Minister for Drug Control Wayne Perinchief seems to have found something to do, re-raising the topic of de-criminilisation of marijuana.

This issue is one where I tend to be quite conservative (generally I'm more of a libertarian) but the idea of relaxing our drug laws makes me uncomfortable.

I'm familiar with all the arguments in favour of decriminalisation (many being hashed out at Limey in Bermuda today), but for some reason they just don't seem all that persuasive. I understand them, and intuitively they make sense to me, but I just can't get comfortable with the idea of decriminalisation.

I'm not sure why, but one reason is the slippery slope that will likely entail, combined with the not particularly uplifting image that persists of the impact marijuana use has had on some of those I grew up with. I keep hearing it's not addictive, but I'm not convinced based on what I see around.

This isn't a particularly insightful post either way on the topic I know, but I continue to struggle with the whole idea and am yet to hear a compelling argument to change the status quo.

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Saturday's Royal Gazette had an assinine (not that that was a surprise) Letter to the Editor (not online) from Neville Darrell [Note: not the UBP's Neville Darrell, the PLP's] taking frequent letter writer and PLP critic Michael Fahy to task for referring to the Premier as 'P'.

Mr. Darrell begins by calling the use of the abbreviation disrespectful before going where he really wanted, which was predictably down the racism path.

The argument was that the use of the term was racist, without explaining how, nor bothering to mention that the origin of the term came from the Premier's own self-inflicted email race scandal.

As the editor noted, Premier Scott signed his race tinged email 'P'. So, by Mr. Darrell's own logic, if we can call it that, the Premier revealed his racism...against himself.

Which is funny really, because the Blackberry incident highlighted that the Premier is the guy with the race problem.

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Funny. I decided to google Age of Empowerment and I got 11,100 results.

It seems the term was coined in the mid 90's in an article and subsequent book entitled "Control in the Age of Empowerment".

Plagiarism or just un-original?

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As today's Royal Gazette editorial points out, the Premier's "Age of Empowerment" speech was underwhelming. And if you're looking for confirmation that it met expectations, just check out the poll running on the Bermuda Sun's website.

At the time of writing, 72% of people said they couldn't be bothered to watch. I've always said it's important to respect the voters' intelligence.

But the title "Age of Empowerment" seemed awfully familiar to me. And I remembered why.

I received an email late last year inviting me to attend a conference in Washington entitled: "Advertising in the age of the empowered voter", which was focused on strategies for political communication in the internet age.

Seems like we could be in the Age of Plagiarism.

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Here we go again.

Dr. Brown gets an A for creativity, with an admirable reach to dredge up a reason to go independent, seeing as the previous efforts (including the Premier's favourite that in an independent Bermuda his chauffeur could pick him up on the runway) have all failed.

"In the first place, our thriving colonial heritage has made us heirs to a bureaucracy rivalled only by Whitehall itself," he said.

"Simply put, prospective developers were not made to feel welcome in Bermuda."

This coming from the Deputy Premier of a blindly pro-independence party that has increased the staffing of an already bloated civil service by several hundred bureaucrats during their tenure. All this from a Government that boasted they would bring in the “scissor-man”.

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Just back from vacation, and suffering from a Logic inflicted DSL blackout.

But while I get organised and back to life here I'd like to point anyone who hasn't read it yet, to Andrew Trimingham's comprehensive and excellent piece in last week's Mid Ocean News, on the Corporation of Hamilton's Waterfront proposal.

There is really nothing to add. He's covered it all.

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