January 07, 2008

Pack it up pack it in

Well, The Limey has wound things up (not surprising) and Denis over at 21 Square is unsure of whether he'll continue. In the words of Bill Clinton, "I feel your pain".

Phil at Limey never really came back with any gusto during the election run-up and his heart seemed half in it.

Blogging actively is very time consuming and with such a frenzy of activity in 2007 with leadership challenges, BHC leaks, libel suits and an election, I think the active bloggers were exhausted by year end. I know I was.

After that, particularly with the holidays, there is bound to be a time for recharging and refocusing or reassessing.

Some might feel that the election was a heavy defeat for the UBP, and some would argue reality based politics. I think that's true but only to a point.

The seat distribution of 22-14 presents a picture of a much bigger win for the PLP than occurred. Dr. Brown really only managed to replicate what Jennifer Smith managed (twice), so he really didn't bring anything to the table, other than perhaps preventing a loss of support that was anticipated by many; he managed to hold things steady seat-wise though a small popular vote increase.

The UBP still represent almost half of the island by popular vote, although their voice in Parliament is far less than that.

But what is more interesting about the election outcome is what is suggests about the future prospects for the UBP, because they have appear to hit a brick wall.

As they are prone to do they're methodically working through the issues and implications of the last election internally, and I believe will make the decision that needs to be made.

I know what I think, which is pretty much in line with what Phil said in his farewell post, and other commentators have said:

[T]he only people who can criticise today's PLP government are other members of the PLP. Anyone else should expect to have their criticisms met with an ad hominem attack, not with a reasoned rebuttal.

If you're white, you will be accused of being a racist. If you're black, you will be accused of being a race traitor. If you're a non-Bermudian, you will be told to keep your mouth shut and go back to the country you came from. If you're a journalist, you'll be accused of being in league with the UBP. If you're in the UBP, you'll be accused of wanting to take the country back to the days of segregation, or even slavery.

I have no desire to participate in such a dysfunctional system any longer. Indeed, I've come to believe that by continuing to criticise the government, I will only make things worse.

I think he's correct. Those who have been vocal critics of the PLP do need to sort of take a back seat for awhile. Sadly it is mostly because of their race, but that's the reality of Bermuda right now.

Whites also I think need to recognise that if a new organisation is born out of the 2007 election it needs to be black conceived, created and controlled. (And there are lots of black Bermudians who would welcome another political choice without the stigma of 'UBP' on it - whether a deserved stigma or not).

If whites have a dominant role (or perhaps any role) it will be seen as illegitimate.

So on that basis I think the UBP's time is limited, and that a new entity will eventually arise, although the UBP needs to persist for awhile to allow a new organisation to be created that doesn't just see UBP support flow right over to it.

Because let's be real, the PLP's racist election campaign has ensured that white voters will not join that party in any meaningful numbers, but will instead feel disenfranchised for awhile.

Whites (and I really hate talking 'whites' and 'blacks') need to take a back seat politically for awhile, and by 'awhile' I mean at least one election cycle.

Regardless, the election has created the first real opportunity for another viable political entity to be created. Single seat constituencies killed any prospects for a third party or independents, but the 2007 election result has opened a window.

In the short term I think we'll see three political entities (and I have no insight or involvement whatsoever in starting something new - nor will I for the reasons I stated above).

On a personal note, I must admit that I'm not particularly motivated to write right now, although my brain continues to refuse to take a break; but I don't feel like spending long hours in front of a computer screen hashing out issue after issue.

I'm marginally interested in the local news. Mostly I'm enjoying being a consumer of news, analysis and opinion with the US campaign and also catching up on some good books and movies.

This site will continue on. As I've said before, I have some ideas for new directions to take Politics.bm, but in the meantime things will be relatively low-key here while I enjoy some other interests and then retool things a little.

Posted by Christian S. Dunleavy