As hard as it is to believe, the predictably ridiculous PLP website has outdone itself. I know, you didn't think it possible. Neither did I. But this one is pretty funny.
In a desperate attempt to try to deny the BDA and UBP credit for yet again addressing poorly crafted legislation, this time on gun crime, the PLP website attempted to pull one quote from Mark Pettingill's speech in Parliament to somehow cast him as racially insensitive.
This was also by the way on the back of a similarly despicable post accusing the UBP and BDA - except the PLP refuses to call them the BDA (who responded by amusingly referring to the PLP as the "Labour Government") - of "delaying and dithering" on gun crime by requesting the customary two weeks notice before passing legislation. (Legislation that the PLP ultimately conceded was flawed in Parliament by accepting amendments.)
But on the Pettingill post, two things are going on here by my read.
The first is the reflexive PLP PR strategy of racial word association. The sum total of most of their political strategy is to attack opponents by simply constructing sentences with as many words as they can that they think have perceived negative racial connotations.
The idea being that as soon as you invoke racism, or racial insensitivity, rational discussion is impossible and all people hear is someone's name and "racist".
So in this case, the communication genius(es) over there said: "Hmmm, he invoked Desmond Tutu. Desmond Tutu is South African. South Africa had apartheid. South Africa had a Democratic Alliance post apartheid. Bermuda has a Democratic Alliance. Mark Pettingill is white. White South African's engaged in apartheid. We can associate Mark Pettingill's comments with apartheid".
Bingo! (Except the PLP doesn't support gambling, except on their website which is more pro-gambling than the Las Vegas Gaming Association.) But I digress.
So let's start over. Bingo! We can put out a press release with the words South Africa, apartheid, Pettingill, Bermuda Democratic Alliance and it must mean bad things, even if it is an absurd stretch.
We've seen this before many times. Too many to bother recounting here.
Secondly, and just as importantly, the PLP hate it, hate it, when anyone else invokes anything to do with race to support their arguments, especially one directly against the PLP. They absolutely can't tolerate this. It undermines their whole identity as the sole authority/positive association on race.
So they lash out. Always. They do this all the time, but this one was particularly in-artful and absurd.
It's not surprising, it just suggests that they really are coming apart at the seams because this one was real amateur hour. They succeeded in drawing more attention to the UBP and BDA's Parliamentary victory over the PLP's latest hasty and badly crafted legislation and demonstrate that it is indeed the PLP themselves who are trivialising apartheid.
By making the argument that they do, that Mr. Pettingill in referring to Apartheid era laws, is somehow trivialising Apartheid SA, can actually be turned against the PLP itself. An argument can be made that it is indeed the PLP that is now trivialising Apartheid and using it to play political football.
Plus, and I'm surprised no-one has mentioned this, the PLP's proposal to hold people for a month without charge amounts to preventative detention. You may recall that in 2007 the PLP accused the UBP's version of this as being "draconian, and "neo-fascist".
So, it all comes full circle, with the PLP as the inept "draconian" "neo-fascists" who "want to lock everyone up".
You've got to love the absurd desperation of it all.