Recently in PLP Category

And in other news: PLP outraged that OBA is following through on election platform campaign promises.

Elections have consequences. The OBA won. The PLP haven't been particularly graceful losers in the first couple of weeks. Being in Opposition is no fun, particularly when you thought victory was 'assured, baked in' as one now PLP MP told me days before the election.

The PLP certainly have the numbers to be difficult, but on these core issues that the OBA ran on for the better part of 18 months they have a clear mandate for implementation.

And kicking and screaming at the mention of a review, or the appointment of a Chairperson, not even at the implementation stages, pretty much signals an early scorched earth "Party of No" approach.

On December 17th there was an election. The OBA won. Narrowly, but they won.

The outcome of that is that the new Government has the support of 52% of the *voting population, plus I'd argue pretty much all the independent votes (about 2% more), to govern on the issues they campaigned on.

[* This was updated to 'voting population' from 'population' to correct the intent.]

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It's always dangerous to wade into the PLP's Fox News like echo chamber, but their highly predictable Obama re-election bandwagon jumping is full of differences not similarities.

Firstly, unlike the PLP who inherited a thriving economy and budget surpluses, Obama inherited a massive financial crisis, huge budget deficits and two unfunded wars. How did he respond? Did he rack up huge increases in Government spending like the PLP did - in their case before an economic crisis?

Nope? Barack Obama has presided over the slowest increases in Government spending since Eisenhower:

obama_spending.jpg

Who were the big spenders? Well, like the PLP, Republican Presidents Reagan, Bush Senior and Bush Jr. outspent Democrats Clinton and Obama.

And let's remember that it was Cheney who said 'Reagan proved that deficits don't matter'.

Now, on to the PLP 'investing in our people and rejecting deep and radical austerity cuts'.

It is a documented fact that in March 2010 the PLP issued a memo announcing 'austere cost savings', not the OBA.

The only party in Bermuda who has actually put in place austerity measures is the PLP.

Of course, non of this will prevent them from continuing to claim that they are anti-austerity and that their overspending and borrowing pre-recession was recession driven investment.

Shameless can take you a long way.

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The PLP's shamelessness has reached an early peak with them taking credit for successfully brings nocturnal chicks back from the brink of extinction!

No, not the College Weeks Reunion. That was cancelled.

It's the Cahow.

Yes, even the Cahow should thank the PLP. After all it was the UBP that tried to kill them off.

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It will be interesting to see whether the OBA's position on MP pay cuts is too complicated - although grounded in financial reality - to be fully understood by the public.

It's a bit nuanced and the PLP excel at demagoguing reality based positions such as this.

The PLP are obviously overjoyed that they think they can pin their own year long resistance on pay cuts on the Opposition who had no role whatsoever in wrecking the Government's financial stability.

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It speaks volumes about the PLP's interest in informed dialogue that two brief fact based and civil comments that I posted on their Facebook page were deleted and I was removed from the page entirely, as was another comment from someone else challenging them on their negative attack piece on Bob Richards. Not all comments were deleted. Only those that didn't echo the official line.

I, of all people, know the perils of online commenting, you either have them on or off (I choose off because it became impossible to manage the personal attacks in the pre-Facebook ID authentication era). But these weren't anonymous libelous comments, they were under a verifiable name, were measured and reasonable. The problem was that they challenged, not parroted, the party line.

The PLP's Facebook page has very few comments in general, which I attribute to the fact that they are not seen as a place which is interested in genuine discussion. The OBA's page is extremely active - sometimes going way off track with heavy anti-OBA commenters destroying the signal to noise ratio - including PLP MPs at times.

I think this is indicative of the fact that the PLP is seen as closed and intolerant of other views and opinions, and as in my deleted comments cases even facts, whereas the OBA is seen as a more open. People just don't bother to comment at the PLP page because it's so shamelessly propagandistic.

This is an extension of the general approach by the PLP where their statements are not designed to illuminate but to obfuscate and indoctrinate. If they believed what they wrote they would be willing to defend it rather than delete any dissent.

The PLP have anonymous people hiding behind an online curtain posting childish statements attacking Bob Richards, but when a factual and civil reply is posted under a real name, asking for additional information or challenging their 'facts' they delete it rather than engage honestly and openly.

The first comment was in reply to their trumpeting of 53 company incorporations. I simply asked if they knew what the 10 year average was.

That one line innocuous comment was deleted, perhaps because the 10 year average of insurance company incorporations is 70, meaning that 2011 was still well below average and up 50% over the worst year ever.

The second comment was in reply to their statement that Bob Richards "doesn't believe that there is a global economic crisis raging" where I pointed out that (to paraphrase: "in the mid 2000s Bob actually warned that a US recession was coming and that Government should get its fiscal house in order in advance. They didn't listen then and they still aren't listening.")

This is the fundamental problem with the PLP and any hope we have to turning Bermuda around - they cannot handle dissent, or even fact based questions. The PLP aren't interested in presenting an accurate picture of anything, so the public can't make informed judgments on how to proceed.

Their propaganda can't stand up to any sort of challenge, it needs to stand alone or it falls apart quickly, unable to withstand even the most rudimentary fact based scrutiny.

That's why they only link through to articles or comments on other websites when they are positive, but will not include a link or full quote to comments that they want to misrepresent.

Bermudians deserve better.

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If the PLP's policies weren't responsible for deepening Bermuda's economic problems as they insist, why then are the solutions to our economic problems partial reversals of those very same policies?

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A quick follow up to the last post.

Firstly, I received a lot of feedback to this post, which is good because I know I haven't been posting much lately so I appreciate that people feel engaged.

Secondly, I did neglect to include a couple of additional comments I'd intended to make.

So, just to continue the thought a bit:

A few people got the impression that I supported the change from within approach. So do I? Well, yes and No.

Everyone has to make up their own minds as to how they feel they can best make an impact, so in that regard I'm not one to judge.

But...I don't think it will be successful in the PLP because I think the leadership is primarily concerned with electability over genuine evolution as an organisation.

I explain my take to people as the PLP govern by press release. It's really about winning the moment, the next 24 hours of news, not winning the future through policy driven results.

I say this because I can point to any number of civil servants who have said to me that the grand pronouncements and Throne Speech promises are completely disconnected from what they actually do.

They often tell me that things get announced but their jobs never change. The PLP see PR as their core function, not policy.

On a slightly related topic, I meant to note what I think is an important potential issue:

With the PLP trying to OBA themselves heading into an election I couldn't help but think back to when the UBP's internal problems exploded.

They exploded under Wayne Furbert, after the UBP had tried to PLP themselves a bit by parachuting some candidates into safe seats, individuals who hadn't really earned their stripes and had very loose ties to the party and philosophy.

A number of them ultimately left the party in a blaze of glory, and are now seeking relevance in the PLP. So far only one has found it, but his relevance is in lending Cabinet some UBP management mojo in Tourism.

I fully expect that the PLP parachuting Opposition affiliated very pro-business candidates will cause some internal problems similar to those the UBP had; longstanding individuals were passed over for more opportunistic players who are not particularly in tune with the party base's philosophy and aspirations.

Resentment builds.

This is the kind of thing that can tear a party apart internally. Saying that, the PLP has a deep reservoir of party loyalty that they can call on, an ability to rally the troops that is impressive and mind boggling.

The public is much more forgiving of their mistakes and misdeeds than they are on the Opposition.

Personally, I think Bermuda will get better management from the OBA. Primarily because they have better ideas and better managers, but also importantly because they know that they can't take the electorate for granted as the PLP continue to do.

That's a big deal. Politicians want to get re-elected. One party is much more sensitive to the electorate's mood than the other.

That will only change when the electorate demonstrates that they can no longer be taken for granted.

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The moves made by the PLP of the past few weeks makes it undeniably clear that the PLP are trying to make themselves look a lot more like the OBA - and to a lesser extent whatever is left of the UBP - heading into an election.

A series of moves are confirmation of an implicit acknowledgment that public sentiment has shifted away from the PLP and towards the OBA:

  • The appointment of former UBP leader Wayne Furbert to Cabinet, who immediately raised the Opposition(s) longstanding concept of a tourism authority
  • The co-opting of Opposition policy positions in the Throne Speech, as well as the direct lifting (without attribution) of exact Opposition phrases like "less red tape, more red carpet" in the Throne Speech.
  • The selection of pro-business candidates Vince Ingham and Stephen Todd, with Vince also in the Senate. It is important to note that both of these individuals had some older and some pretty recent ties to the Opposition.
  • The adoption of Bermuda First recommendations in the Throne Speech

There's a few other more subtle moves, but the message is obvious: you don't have to vote us out to get some better managers and better economic policy.

I was a bit surprised at Vince's appointment. I know Vince reasonably well and worked with him a number of times years ago after the UBP's defeat on a couple of initiatives. None really went very far. I respect him, and it's a coup for the PLP.

But it seems to me to be another of those Jonathan Smith, Stephen Todd kind of moves; decisions that appear to be about not joining the PLP out of commonality of views and philosophies but as a direct way to try and change the PLP from inside.

That's not really an endorsement of the PLP as such. I understand the sentiment although I'm often susprised that people with records of integrity are willing to get tangled up in a party still actively self-dealing.

To an extent that's a luxury that the party in power has in being able to attract candidates because you can throw more at them (Government boards, more Senate seats to play with etc.).

As I understand it there's also a feeling among some who have gone to the PLP that the public are still not ready to make the next step in Bermuda's political evolution of voting out the PLP.

I'm not sure that's an accurate read, but it's a legitimate open question and is surely behind the thinking of some historically Opposition leaning figures who have lined up with the PLP in recent times.

Again, that's sort of the change from within sentiment.

It's also something that the OBA will have to get to grips with and address in voters' minds. The first step is rolling out some more candidates. Not enough have been announced, and that's a mistake as they need to get people in place and working their areas.

Regardless, there's some good news for the Opposition in here, which is an acknowledgement from the PLP that they need to look more like the OBA to get re-elected, both people and policy wise.

That isn't really moving from a position of strength, but it would be wrong to not recognize that this is shrewd politics by the PLP and the Todd / Ingham candidacies are positive for them and their prospects. This is what electoral politics is all about.

My advice to the OBA would be to draw the voters attention to this, both the adoption of their ideas and words, shift to a more OBA look policy and people-wise; take credit for their ideas that the PLP have tried to present as their own, and tell the public that by voting OBA you can get the genuine article rather than window dressing; a watered down knock off trying to cling to power.

The ongoing collapse of the cruise sector is a clear case of mis-management, a lack of vision, infrastructure planning and execution.

What Bermuda needs now is vision and a team of managers in place. That isn't the PLP. They are still reacting rather than leading, and the mismanagement is cascading throughout all sectors of the economy.

The one attribute that was a liability for the Opposition historically could be their biggest asset in 2012 - they are managers. It's not sexy, but it's what Bermuda needs right now to get the Cox debt and unemployment off Bermuda's back so that we can grow the economy and start fixing the past 13 years of poor policy and shallow politics.

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The problem with the PLP's anti-OBA message is that within 12 hours they've both attacked the OBA by-election win as a 'UBP's Renaming Charade [that] Didn't Work" and appointed a former party leader of the UBP to Cabinet.

The PLP Parliamentary group have two former UBP members in Parliament, with one being a former party leader, which is coincidentlally as many UBP members as there are in Parliament, including a former party leader.

Sort of muddies the message. It becomes any ties with the UBP are toxic, except when they're not.

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The recent article on Cayman looking to end term limits demonstrated Paula Cox's propensity to resort to the blind em with BS approach in the absence of a solid argument:

"The benefit of the Bermuda immigration model is that it is dynamic and this highlights the flexibility of our policy.

"It is not enshrined in statute and so more absolute. Our approach differs from Cayman as they embedded their rollover policy in legislation, so it lacks the nimbleness of the Bermuda model.

"In our model the Minister responsible for Immigration can identify any additional carve outs, the ten-year work permit and the incentives for job makers, while continuing to keep the promise to Bermudians that we will not create additional long-term residents.

"This resonates further at this time when the Minister can send people home when their term limit expires to free up jobs for Bermudians. In addition, as work permit holders at the lower end cannot bring their families, many do not have an interest in settling in Bermuda.

"It should be noted that persons in key positions are granted waivers and we do facilitate those that cannot afford to recruit from overseas by granting extensions.

....

An anonymous businessman with companies in both Bermuda and Cayman swatted away some of her redirects.

The Premier and Finance Minister is either delusional or disingenuous - or both - if she seriously believes her own press release.

If you were to play a word association game with "Bermuda Immigration" as the topic, only the PLP could come up with "dynamic", "nimble" and "flexible".

Normal people not cranking out overly verbose press releases that say very little but contain a lot of words would come up with 'arbitrary', 'bureaucratic' and 'subjective' I suspect.

Bob Richards has it right although he was too gentle; this is about putting political pride before country, but the policy isn't just not working for Bermuda nor enhancing our attractiveness as he says, it's exporting jobs, costing everyday Bermudians their jobs, chasing away international investment and making us less attractiveness as a business centre.

They know this. They just don't want to admit that the centre-piece of their economic policy has drastically deepened and prolonged the recession. Hence, why this is not a global recession but the PLP recession.

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Five days later and I'm still surprised and shaking my head that Glenn Jones was willing to sign his name to what has to be one of the most ridiculous up is down, down is up, excusing the inexcusable Op-Eds published in Bermuda in recent memory.

And that's saying something. Even for a partisan former press secretary.

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The proliferation of labour unrest on the island is very concerning, but not surprising and probably only beginning I suppose.

The PLP intentionally went out to reduce demand in the economy. It was kicked off in earnest at the 2003 election with term limit talk, and amplified by the predictably disastrous and self-serving term of Ewart Brown which Bermuda will be paying for for many, many years.

The PLP's job killing policies (term limits, land licenses) and crony enrichment driven overspending directly reduced government revenues by driving out investment and infrastructure (ie. jobs) and now the economic pie is shrinking.

While the bus dispute appears to be just more of the usual dysfunction and brinkmanship of the BIU with a government which has always caved to their pressure tactics, the prison officers and docks issue seems to be about reduced demand in the economy and the not totally unrelated social knock on effect of the exploding anti-social behaviour under the PLP.

It seems to me that it is self-evident, and somewhat ironic, that labour's interests were - and are - better served by an enlightened pro-investment party in power for an island which can offer only services; not an allegedly labour party which set out to kill demand in the economy prior to the double whammy of a cyclical economic downturn (albeit extreme).

The continuing and probably accelerating economic contraction in Bermuda is somewhat cyclical, but mostly structural. The attacks from within courtesy of the PLP's self-destructive economic policies have done far more damage than any attacks from without, or Paula Cox's crutch of a 'global recession' excuse.

The overspending and pre-recession deficit spending blew the nest-egg which could have been deployed as a social safety net and stimulative capital post-2008. That money could have been earning interest and appreciating in a Bermuda Sovereign Investment Fund rather than our current position of about 10% of Government revenues going to service structural debt.

The structural change, a changing Bermuda financial services model, is something which the PLP have not recognized and/or acknowledged was occurring because of them - prior to the economic crash of 2008. Politically they will never say it of course, but it's patently obvious.

The PLP really has no ideas, but were just riding the crest of the economic wave they inherited in 1998 which swelled due to external circumstances in 2001 and 2005. But that isn't enough anymore. The wave has hit the shore - and as Buffett said, the tide has gone out and we're seeing that our Finance Minister and her party were swimming naked. Now they're begging for time hoping for an external lift from a global economic recovery. That is a long way off.

The only answer is a complete repudiation of their own policies and a complete embracing of the warnings and ideas of the Opposition (many which they are trying to co-opt, albeit watered down to the point of useless and called something different).

The dockworkers, civil servants and blue collar workers are the canaries in the coal mine of Government's plummeting revenues. But this is exactly what was bound to happen based on the PLP's policies. This shouldn't be shocking to anyone. Many people warned these policies were economic suicide and undercut Bermuda's economic position of strength. It should be obvious that the PLP's policies are not pro-labour but anti-everyone.

But to threaten labour action for example if you aren't paid to sit on empty docks which can no longer justify the hours of the past decade for example is just not based in reality. They are presumably just trying to buy time, but layoffs are inevitable otherwise (and maybe either way). The existing labour model on the docks is completely unsustainable if demand has been slashed by 30% over the past 3 years.

The laws of economics are taking root in Bermuda in a negative way for the first time in a long time.

We can all thank the PLP for this.

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Sigh.

If the results of the 2007 PLP election campaign weren't bad enough ($1B in debt, record levels of crime, all time tourism lows etc.) they double down on their most dishonest election tactic of 2007 and re-ignite the 8,000 new Bermudians lie, that even their own Derrick Burgess exposed as a lie in the waning days of the election campaign.

This is sheer desperation, incredibly shameless, and more than a bit worrying.

As the PLP gears up into election mode, their commitment to the truth plummets and their willingness to say anything goes off the charts.

Now that they are trying to walk back most of their 2007 election promises, including offering permanent residency to some expats and dropping land licenses, they've decided to try and put the focus on the Opposition who predicted exactly what the PLP have created.

Let's recap what the PLP claimed in 2007: the economy was bullet-proof. Crime was down. Tourism was in a turnaround. Education was doing great. Transport would be free. Healthcare would be free. Daycare would be free. Just for starters.

The reality? The economy has tanked and is still contracting. Crime has skyrocketed both in frequency and severity. Tourism is languishing at all time lows. Education is still flailing. Transport is not free - the pink ferry route has doubled in cost. Healthcare is in a PLP made crisis. Daycare isn't free.

You'd think that after running Bermuda into the ground the PLP would display just an ounce of seriousness heading into an election for a change.

Nope. It's going to be circus side show PLP all over again. Wake me up when it's over.

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