To Party or not to Party

Following up on yesterday's rather light-hearted comments on the UBP taking their time selecting a leader, the Great Satan, I mean The Royal Gazette (joke alert), has an article today where new UBP MP Donte Hunt comments on what the future could hold.

Donte is, from the few times we've spoken, a total class act. He's genuine, thoughtful and no one's puppet (nor were any of the UBP candidates). So it was refreshing to see him speaking on the topic of the UBP leadership selection process and the potential for a third party openly and thoughtfully.

As is typical of UBPers, he doesn't want to do anything rash but plan it out to maximise the likelihood of a positive outcome. Thinking strategically is a good trait.

I'm in agreement with his points, which are essentially that if the UBP as a political operation is too difficult of an entity to move forward with that another party should and could arise, which could include some of the UBP's recently elected MPs.

I have no problem with some MPs moving over to a new organisation (I highly, highly doubt you'll see any UBP MP go to the PLP as the party doesn't reflect their views and just as importantly their political temperament).

This is exactly why the call for the UBP to hurriedly select a new leader is a red herring.

As I said 10 days ago:

But what is more interesting about the election outcome is what it 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.


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.

This is where I think a lot of the anti-UBP zealots don't understand about many, many people who have chosen to support the UBP...such as myself.

We support principles and ideals. The UBP is/was the political organisation most in tune with those. There's no blindly devoted love affair with the letters 'UBP'.

I'm not heavily invested in making sure the UBP survives forever, I'm invested in moving our politics and policy forward.

The UBP (and any political party) is only useful as a vehicle to advance the political values that I subscribe to, namely a people oriented organisation built around accountability, diversity, tolerance and good governance.

If the UBP can no longer do that (for whatever reasons), then it should get out of the way. But the party still has a lot to offer - and has done a lot of good for Bermuda (much of it the PLP has claimed as their own) - and their MPs currently have 47% of the population to represent.

For the sitting UBP MPs there are a number of considerations they have to weigh, because it isn't just a simple matter of jumping ship for them as elected officials. Unlike some who have left the party, they need to show respect to the constituents who elected them and make any change responsibly and honour those voters.

I, like many others, subscribe to principles and values not a party.

I think it's safe to say that the PLP has a base of people who are much more devout in their allegiance to 'the party'. I've never met UBP supporters with the kind of fervency you see among PLP supporters.

The people I talk to in the UBP get passionate when discussing issues and tend not to romanticise 'the party', which they simply see as an organisation to try and effect change. Parties are inherently flawed and imperfect and worshipping at the feet of a politician or a party doesn't make them perform better, it just makes them complacent.

The principles and values that the UBP ran on in 2007 (and 2003) need to continue to be advocated for, even if it is done through a different organisation - one which doesn't carry whatever negative stigma currently exists (some deserved, much not).

But that is a discussion that needs to be had methodically over time and with reflection. The issue of leadership follows on from that, it doesn't precede it.

Any new party can't be a UBP generated venture, because then it will just be the UBP all over again in the eyes of those who will never let their hatred of it go and only know how to ask voters to 'rise up' against something rather than vote for something.

I actually wonder what a lot of people will do if they won't have the UBP to kick around and obsess about. Some wouldn't know how how to construct an argument.

But, and this is important, new individuals in the community need to come forward and participate and take the lead, and some (not all) current UBP MPs can be involved.

Ultimately, if this is what's necessary, it's a good thing.

Contrary to what many of the critics believe, it won't break too many hearts - some yes, but nowhere near all - among those who've supported the UBP to see another option arise.

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