Measuring votes by decibel

Well, Kim Swan was certainly himself yesterday at his first press conference as Opposition Leader.

Kim is, if you'll allow me to state the obvious, passionate. That's exactly how he is, internally or externally. He's torn a few strips off me on occasion, as well as probably everybody else. He's harder on the UBP internally than he is on the PLP. I like that.

He'll bring a totally different approach than previous leadership. He's combative and will accept bare knuckle politics as necessary. No more polite disagreements.

Michael Dunkley and Grant Gibbons were managers, Wayne Furbert was very emotive and grass roots but not much of a manager, and I'd peg Kim as emotive but extremely committed and driven and connected to the public.

Does his move to UBP leader end any discussion of anything along the continuum from a rebranding all the way to a disbanding? I don't think so.

I don't say that to suggest that Kim is a caretaker, but to say that the process of change needs to continue. And he's a good person to lead that discussion and move the party onto a new footing after decades of seeing themselves as managers first, politicians second.

This isn't just an overnight decision for a group of people who were elected and have a role to fill representing both their constituents and providing an alternative voice in Parliament (where I think the UBP excels - policy and legislation - it's the politics where they're getting beaten).

Kim definitely will bring a much more grass roots approach and a commitment to connecting on an emotional level.

People will try and portray him as angry I'm sure, but that's a simplistic representation. I'm sure the PLP attack machine will be retooling, switching the 'white supremacist leader' playbook for the 'black puppet leader' playbook.

But he doesn't fit that mold particularly well. So that attack won't fly with Kim, and there's no way he'll sit by and be smeared. He's a fighter, and when he channels his passion properly can be very effective. He's been around politics for a long time.

I was a little surprised with the announcement, but he's an interesting choice and will probably move fast to make his mark. But I am sure, and I have no insight internally here, that the conversations about the party's direction and viability will continue, as they should.

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