Learning Curves

A few comments as reported in The Royal Gazette today when they posed the question of political experience to me:

Political commentator Christian Dunleavy said that a scant background in politics wasn't a bad thing.

"On the question of his political experience, I think the idea that you have to be a politician to be in Government is misguided," he said.

"One of the things that's taken Bermuda off the rails in the last few years is people looking at politics itself as a career.

"Craig's got retail and management experience, which is good, and there's a lot from that which can be applied to government.

"People get hung up on political experience, but Bermuda's at the point where it needs a fresh take, and I'm not sure you can get that from someone who's embedded in the system."

Mr Dunleavy, himself a former political candidate, added: "I think the OBA ran a pretty good campaign.

"It wasn't perfect, but they had a plan and they stuck with it, which I think tells you that he's a pretty good manager.

"He is also team-oriented. He's confident, knows he can't do it all, and doesn't always have to be the frontman."

Despite that, he agreed that Mr Cannonier faced "a steep learning curve".

"One of the most interesting aspects of this last election was we saw some of the big names from the 1998 PLP losing out, people like Paula Cox and Dame Jennifer Smith. I think that shows voters want a new approach."

Mr Dunleavy said Government, by definition, moves more slowly than the private sector.

However, he added: "I do think Craig is right -- things need to move faster.

"One thing Craig does have a ton of energy and skills as a speaker and motivator, so I hope he can move things forward. But government is by design slower.

"(Former Premier) Ewart Brown liked to have a reputation as someone who got things done, but he saw himself as a presidential-style leader.

"He just did things. He had a decree-and-it-happens-tomorrow style."

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