July 29, 2008

Blind Faith

I have never been able to understand the kind of statement reported today in an interview with PLP Senator Marc Bean:

"I will be there to support Dr. Brown until his time is finished as the leader of this country and then I will support the next leader and the next leader and so forth, my loyalty to the party is undividable and not partial," he said. "I look at my deputy the same way."

What Mr. Bean just said is that no matter what an organisation does he will never, ever, speak against it and will follow in lockstep and defend it no matter what.

After that quote, anything else he has to say ceases to be interesting, because his comments are predetermined to be parotting a party line and are by admission based on nothing more than a loyalty to three letters.

I imagine Dr. Brown was aware of this when looking for a yes man and resulted in Mr. Bean receiving a) a taxpayer funded job with Mirrors and now as Caricom Advisor b) a Senate appointment and c) selected him as a prime candidate to go out and loyally defend the party leader.

The problem with this mentality is that party loyalty presumes the party is loyal to those who've elected them as well. Mr. Bean's assertion that he will always support a political party, even if it veers wildly from what it professed to stand for is a betrayal of the public trust.

He says party first, public second.

That's a recipe for disaster. Political parties and politicians need to know that they will be kept in check by their membership and the public at large.

As I said, I've never understood anyone who would give their permanent unwavering support to something or someone. You never know what they're going to do.

I could never say that my loyalty to any organisation, whether political or not, was 'undividable and not partial'. That makes you subservient to someone else's agenda.

I prefer a little critical thought, and being asked to support principles over party.

It's also a formula for exploitation and abuse, which is why it was the message of the PLP's election slogan of "All the way PLP. PLP all the way" and Dr. Brown's election defense of his actions with the phrase that "Attacks on me are attacks on the PLP".

The idea was to trigger a vote based on brand loyalty.

The recent research.bm poll which shows that support for his party has only trickled down while his own numbers are in a free fall thankfully suggests that this is not necessarily the case.

Mr. Bean's unwavering loyalty to anything associated with the letters "PLP" might not be so widely shared. It looks like the party retains some goodwill and majority support of the electorate but that Dr. Brown is becoming a liability to his party.

The idea of uncritical party loyalty certainly worked as a central component of their re-election campaign though. The question is how far can it be pushed.

Posted by Christian S. Dunleavy