So the by-election result is in, with no surprise as to the winner for the PLP.
PLP - 310
UBP - 78
BDA - 70
The UBP, with a very flawed candidate, held on to second with the BDA pulling in third. (Devrae getting appendicitis and not being at the poll station could have been a blessing in disguise for the UBP as his choice was difficult for many people - it was simply too soon from a drug conviction, and a mohawk, to be put up as a serious candidate.)
Together both the UBP and BDA didn't mount much of a challenge to the PLP, in a climate which should be conducive to some protest votes at least. Turnout was extremely low, less than 50%. So really, there's no winners here, PLP included.
But...the BDA went all in on the pre-election "Lights out UBP" talk, and couldn't beat them even in the face of a gift of a candidate from the UBP. Which is going to boomerang back at them. Lights out BDA will surely be the UBP's refrain.
The realists in the BDA were undoubtably looking to try and get the UBP behind them, and failed. The idealists genuinely thought they had a shot, which was never going to happen. So it's back to the drawing board, and I would argue, over to the negotiating table with the UBP.
I remain firmly convinced that the only way forward - and even this way is tough - is for the BDA and UBP to come together under a new banner, pull in some better quality candidates and fight a strategic, targeted joint effort. The alternative is a PLP which has wrecked the local economy and overseen a huge escalation in social deterioration taking 30 seats.
This was the first empirical test of the BDA experiment and the result is not what they needed. This affirms what I said a few days ago about the likely outcome in a general election:
Two parties fighting for second will ensure that the BDA end up with most likely no seats (which is lights out for them), the UBP probably 5 or 6 and the PLP 30, which would be a result completely out of sync with the electorate's intentions.
On a personal level I won't get involved with either the BDA or UBP because it is mutual assured destruction. I will however, work for something new, an amalgamation of the two under a new banner with a new approach.
That is not just a better way, it's the only way right now.