There's an interesting Letter to the Editor today (4th letter) on the present and future of the UBP:
A few comments:
Frankly, I have been sincerely amazed that the politicians (I did not say members) of the UBP seem to have this idea that they are going to, some day, form the Government. Amazement aside, I consider myself fairly well informed; reasonably well educated; well read; and even able to look at both sides of the coin ... and I cannot understand how these people actually think they will win again.
Actually, very few think that.
The UBP has the same people, saying the same things and doing things the same way as they always did or, at least, that's what they look like to the public. There are no younger people to speak of; no new ideas; and as far as I can see nothing new on the horizon.
Correct. The next generation left for the BDA, but there is no fundamental philosophical disagreement between the UBP and BDA., and the BDA haven't raised any substantive new ideas or differentiated themselves. They have not demonstrated momentum in the polls, appearing to have capped out, but do have an opportunity to try and score a small win in the Warwick by-election from what I suspect they see as a gift by the UBP. (They'd better knock it out of the park to seize the initiative.)
For the moment, the UBP is the Official Opposition and, because of that, their MPs and Senators have a pulpit from which to speak. There's no doubt in my mind that politicians almost always have two common traits: they all think they have an answer and they all love to talk !!
This is unfair for the following reasons.
Firstly, the UBP is the Official Opposition because they remain the second largest party in Parliament and won 14 seats in the last election and 47% of the vote...and continue to take the grunt work of being the Official Opposition seriously. The BDA have not demonstrated viability at a general election yet. This idea that the UBP should just hand all their seats and the role of Official Opposition over to the BDA is naive and predicated on the path of least resistance.
Craig Cannonier recently created a stir when he called for the UBP to 'turn out the lights' and that 'the BDA should step up as the Official Opposition'.
If the BDA is ready to step up they need to act like it, and failing to produce a formal Reply to Paula Cox's Throne Speech is not acting like it. That was a huge - huge - missed opportunity to walk the walk rather than just talk the talk.
It gets worse. Mark Pettingill actually used the UBP's Reply as the source of his speech on behalf of the BDA, picking through it point by point and complimenting the UBP on their Reply. That was pretty poor for a party claiming to want to step up to that role.
Say what you will about the UBP, and slap them about for not getting it, but the people the BDA like to say need to pack it up and hand them the keys are the people who do the unglamorous behind the scenes work that is required of an Official Opposition.
If anything, you could argue that the UBP take their role too seriously, to the detriment of the politics.
I haven't been involved in the UBP since the 2007 election, and am not involved in the BDA. But both parties are full of good people with good intentions who are my friends and who I stay in touch with.
This standoff is not productive and is at a stalemate. Everyone can see that. But hardline stances like calling for the UBP to just give up and hand the keys to the BDA makes accommodation and compromise very difficult, and the BDA are in no position to try and dictate terms.