The BDA continue to struggle with the widespread image held of them as an offshoot of the UBP, and posted a video of their Warwick by-election candidate addressing the topic.
Here's the problem. Mr. Richards tries to demonstrate that the BDA is different by using the language of the UBP:
"The first thing that struck me was the diversity of the people in the room..."
This is UBP candidate rollout language 101. "The UBP is diverse, the members are sincere etc.."
Don't believe me? Listen to new UBP Deputy Leader Nick Swan explaining why he joined the party executive, the same day the BDA posted their video:
"The United Bermuda Party is the only party on the island that represents Bermuda's rich diversity".
The BDA's problem is unsolvable in my view; they are indisputably an offshoot of the UBP, it was founded by 3 UBP MPs, a sitting UBP Senator and several senior party executive members but has failed to draw notable PLP defections. The last point was critical to creating that vital first impression.
The BDA is not creating a better way, they're trying to refine the UBP model and it is not different enough.
This inability to draw high profile PLP supporters, or one of their disillusioned MPs, has negated the effort to define themselves as a true cross over party. I know that the BDA has been playing up Mr. Richards as former PLP, but he is not high profile and not a game changer for them.
PLP loyalty remains powerful despite the visible manifestations of 12 years of comprehensive failure in social and economic governance.
All indicators point in the wrong direction: Violent crime up. GDP down. Unemployment up. Debt up. Revenues down. Tourism down. Education down.
That the UBP have not gained traction during an unprecedented economic upheaval, their core competency is economic issues, speaks also to the depth of their malaise.
An amalgamation under a new banner with a new structure and new leadership is truly the better way. I'm convinced that the UBP understand this, likewise the BDA, although the latter is conflicted but the realists among them must recognise that they are not viable in the current setup.
The extent of Bermuda's current problems can't be solved by the PLP, they are devoid of any ideas and their policies have in fact inflicted and inflamed much of the pain we're currently experiencing. Just weeks before GDP was disclosed as down 8.1% the Premier said that Bermuda was post-recessionary in her maiden Throne Speech.
The PLP continue to cling to bad policies out of pride rather than show leadership and change course. All the ideas are coming from outside of the Government and unless Government shows a willingness to mature and change with changing times Bermuda's future is bleak.
The psychology on island is horrendous. People are incredibly down and negative on our prospects and this too perpetuates the decline through a lack of confidence.
A renewed, energised, amalgamated Opposition stands a credible chance at the next 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.
I admire the BDA for the efforts they've made, and are making, to shake up the dynamic and break the PLP v UBP cold war. But they've plateaued in a short time and are not demonstrating growth potential. The UBP have managed to stabilise and hope to hold their own in the upcoming by-election.
Whatever happens on by-election day, barring some shock BDA or UBP win - which is not going to happen - the way forward is clear and there will have to be a reckoning of sorts.