Posted by: J Starling | July 8, 2009

Open Mike – A New Party?

This is a piece written by Lost In Flatts for the purpose of discussion here:

Perhaps the best single lesson from the last election is that the UBP are no longer a viable choice for government. The PLP have done very little to improve the lives of the average Bermudian, and have lately embarked on a damaging, offensive campaign of spin, lies and provocation. However, they are given the mandate to continue purely by default – in the eyes of the majority of Bermudians there simply is no choice. Hence for Bermuda to actually get out of the grasp of the current PLP leadership (who show no signs of moving or improving), the only option is for the collapse of the UBP, and the creation of a new party. I say this only because the possibility of creating a non-two party system in Bermuda would likely prove far too complex and controversial for our distinguished politicians, and I have no faith in their ability to do so.

The biggest barrier that stands in the way of a new party is apathy. The UBP and PLP are both old – they’re older than most of us. But it’s important to remember that they were both set up by normal people, for a purpose. They are not everlasting nor invincible, nor right for Bermuda. They are the products of a different time, and have not evolved enough to give Bermudians the governance they deserve. Hence, a new party is the only answer.

This party first and foremost must be about trust. Openness, honesty and frank discussions on issues. It should be open to all, regardless of their past political or personal history. It’s aim should be to better Bermuda for all Bermudians, not just one interest group or race.

To succeed, it would need many things, but my initial thoughts are: a strong leader; a diverse mix of past politicians and new faces; representation from all walks of Bermudian life; tough skin to deal with the inevitable personal attacks from the PLP leadership; and a solid financial support base to provide for the tasks ahead.

The biggest risk it will face is internal dispute. If the new party is successful in bringing together ex-UBP and ex-PLP’ers, it will need a strong leader to ensure that their previous disagreements don’t prevent them from working together. There are very few qualified for this position, and perhaps the largest challenge to those willing to take up the cause would be to find this person, and convince them that the new party would succeed.

Making the massive assumption that all of these things could happen, I believe Bermuda is ready for the new party, and momentum would not be hard to generate. Hosting local meetings would help to increase awareness, and using all media outlets would be relatively easy (if Hott would allow, of course). In such a small country, word of mouth would enable the movement to spread at great speed, and it is realistic to imagine it could be ready for the next election.

Obviously this is something of a pipe dream, but I hoped we could discuss how to move it towards reality


Responses

  1. I think your totally lost “in Flatts”. The PLP, UBP, and the NLP made Bermuda along with all the Independants that were involved.

    “The UBP and the PLP are both old”. Dah………

    So are other reminants of old parties. Communists, Liberal, Muslim, Radical right wing Chinese, Italian, African, Euro Asian, and south of the equator.

    Makes no differance if you PLP/UBP or whatever. As for “Ex” there will never be “Ex”. History is what it is and believe it or not, many whites or ‘Gees’ like myself voted PLP.

    It’s not the bloody party, it’s the party that they are having at6 our expense.

    If you want a new party then get together and do something about it. What would be your mandate. What would you and others do that is differant from current. How would you effect and cause a bonding. How would you approach the constant attacks on whites because they stand alonside they black brethrean and want change in leadership.

    As for “Hott”, that is neither here nor there unless you think that they have an influence. Do they?

    Your comments have been on many blogs/forums LIF but this is beyond me. Your contributions to aforesaid have been enlightening and very well penned.

    As for “internal dispute”…..as I said prior, tell that too the RNC-DNC et al. They have been around much longer than the mentioned.

    There are too many people ‘lost in flatts’. Too many not willing to get out and stand up for their rights with no Bob Marley involved.

    If you want something to happen then do it and stop hidding behind pen names. Nothing will happen until you all ( myself included) get out and have a confrontation with civility.

    The scorecard shows to date the winners in the propaganda confrontation. Do they win? Apparently so for now.

    If you can’t beat them, join them.

    Bullshit.

  2. If only…

    Any new party needs to start with a leader, whether it be one of our current politicians (unlikely) or a member of the community who is ready to step up and take a position in guiding a new party. A leader who can arrange public forums and meetings within the community to spread the news and to get the opinions of individual Bermudians.

    There is a lot of talk about the need for a new party but, no one seems willing to take any kind of steps in that direction. Perhaps step one is as simple as a group of people who want change getting together and giving themselves a name.

  3. We also need an elder statesman who can not only command respect, but can represent us to the outside world.

    I suspect John Swann could pull it together, but that seems highly unlikely.

  4. I agree Nioe. A discussion group of individuals who wish for BDA’s democracy to flourish is needed before the creation of a new party.

    Maybe we can label it as BDA (Bermuda Democratic Association).

    Remember all entities, organisations, parties etc. started from a simple idea. Here is the idea…

  5. He’s not interested. He says he’s too old.

  6. Very good appraoch Nioe. We already have them. The problem lies within what they want to do. Very few are commited because they already have the means.

    And as I have said and will say till the day I die……no one has the balls to upset the status quo. No one.

    They say that the pen is mightier than the sword. That still rings true but the bank account and sunny beaches do nnot apply in Bermuda today. They have been moved ‘offshore’.

    As for John Swan? I will not libel myself but always remember that half of Hamilton is owned by him and his influence is unpresidented. Nice guy, make a buck…..yah bet yah……………

  7. “As for John Swan? I will not libel myself but always remember that half of Hamilton is owned by him”

    incorrect.

  8. 34n64w, if your so much informed then please enlighten the posters and readers of tis site and others.

    If your talking banking, commerce and the line then I think your off the mark. Unless of course you chalk it up too the Gibbons, Triminghams, Zuills, et al.

    The drift I get is that you want to say something about the ‘others’ that may own the property but once again I am wrong and Goslings gave them the loan. Is it still outstanding?

    Your so funny, really. Get your back off the wall or paint it.

  9. For a third party to emerge, a number of pieces of a complex political puzzle have to converge. At the very least, four pieces of that puzzle must be: a credible leader, a core group of political weight-lifters to build a Party constitution and apparatus, a clear political purpose and voter support. Even those in Bermuda who optimistically hope for a third party would have to admit that the four pieces of the puzzle aren’t quite on the tabletop. It is a sobering thought that the political reality in Bermuda has not been kind to a “third way.” The NLP was relatively short lived and only once since the advent of universal adult suffrage in 1968 has an independent, Stuart Hayward MP – Pembroke West Central 1989-93, been elected. More sobering when one realizes that about half a million votes have been cast since 1968 and the over-whelming majority of them for the two mainstream parties.

    Is this leader out there? Will he or she emerge? Rarely in Bermuda’s political history have the circumstances been conducive for a third party – but, I agree, we’re in that circumstance now. Polling suggests a growing “uncommitted” group of voters who are not prepared to be shackled to existing political legacy. This group is absolutely vital to lend traction to a third party effort. The political window for a third party formation will likely close rapidly – perhaps in as few as six to nine months. So, it’s largely an issue of ‘watch this space’ and we have to wait and see if a genuine third party political leader emerges. The leader is absolutely critical to this effort – if there is to be one.

  10. JDS I agree completely that those four things are a necessity for a Party to emerge. However JMad’s idea of a discussion group is (I think) the vital first step. Political purpose comes first, through discussions within whatever group this party is to be eventually formed from as well as with members of the community. Then leadership can be forged, after lengthy discussions one would hope that it would become clear who should take up the mantle of leadership within a group (providing that they are willing). At this point voter support should already be in a small way guaranteed amongst at least those involved with the discussion. As long as the forums can capture a large enough slice of Bermuda’s population the party would know what the people want, what is wrong with the system, what is right, what needs to change, what needs to stay the same etc. With this knowledge a party manifesto could be drawn up, presented, revised and presented again until it is felt that it meets the party goals as well as the peoples wants.

    As for the core group of political weight-lifters any discussion group would eventually show itself to contain a number of those people and as information is spread throughout the island perhaps more of these people would emerge. In the end it all comes down to the fact that it needs to start with a group of people getting together and discussing the islands future, the changes that need to be made. The PLP grew from the Progressive Group, which began as a discussion group. It grew to achieve great things, perhaps any new party would do well to learn from the PLP’s past.

    A party is not going to erupt from the ground, neither is it going to erupt from Bermuda’s unfortunately politically apathetic populace. It would take a lot of work from a group of people who wish to make a change, and it’s going to have to start with a group of people who are willing to start discussions and real discussions. More than poorly attended forums, emails, surveys, canvasing, whatever it is it needs to be more than the half hearted attempts that spring up whenever someone decides they want to start a new party some Sunday afternoon.

    Of course it’s all imagination, I can sit here and think up wonderful scenario’s of forums and discussions and meetings but, in the end it comes down to someone getting of their ass and doing something. The only question is who is going to do that?

  11. You all sit there and say what must be done. But at its most basic, do it. Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk (guilty as charged).

    I disagree on the process, but the end result is the same.

    Pitts Bay

  12. You’re completely correct, we could talk all that we want but nothing would be done. I neither have the means nor the rights to be involved in any political organization (being a young Bermudian born expat) but, I care about the only country I have ever known. In some way talking about it is all that I can do, in the hope that someone else will actually go ahead and do it.

  13. When the PLP was formed something like 35 years ago, I wasn’t alive but I am told that there was a similar feeling of unrest with the political system as there is now. People felt as if they had no other option but to form a new party, a brave action that I completely applaud. My concern with this option is the length of time it took for them to have have real impact on politics. Bermuda doesn’t have this time line, we are pulling ourselves apart at an alarming rate.

    Again I ask who will be the fresh faces that will front this new party? How will this party be so radically different from what we already have in place apart from the fact that it is new?

    I would argue that reform of our current parties has a better chance of achieving results than endless discussion about discussion groups. The more we publicly tear down the UBP the more impotent they become as an opposition. We should be supporting them to become more effective in holding the current government accountable for every single action. I say this not as a supporter of the UBP but as a Bermudian that is looking for good and responsible governance in Bermuda regardless of the acronym of the party in power.

  14. A new party is unlikely to work at this stage because white aversion to the PLP allows the PLP to keep the rules of the game based on race where they are virtually invinceable for the forseeable future. Almost all the discriptions I’ve heard of what a new party would be like frankly sound exactly like incarnations of the UBP and are incredibly preoccupied with the colour of candidates. I promise you the PLP will be all over that in an instant. I think the only prayer Bermuda has is for those interested and energised to bring about the neccessary revolution away from race-based politics to abandon the UBP and any third parties and absolutely blitz the PLP with new membership. New members who can overwhelm the self-interested racists who have come to dominate the party leadership and change the rules of the game from within the party that is almost certain to rule Bermuda for the next 15 years. Once we have succcessfully moved Bermuda into good governance and away from race-based politics, maybe then we can either form a new party, change the constitution to eliminate parties or bring about Parliamentary reforms along the lines of proportional representation. I know this sounds impossible to pull off but if the energy put into the recent protests and discussions on a new party were focussed into organising a massive infiltration and takeover of the PLP I think it stands a damn good chance.

  15. The UBP have got half of the battle won. Destroy the government. Now they have to promise the people to do better than the corrupt government.. The hell with the coward middle class $1500 welfare checks out of a truck in City hall prking lot. Free elephants at rallies.

  16. “Lost in Flatts” How old is the British Labour Party? I did some research today and I learned that the PLP (although a bit older than the UBP) is a young party compared to other “colonial” parties.

  17. Here’s your answer Ms Furbert. Sure you knew.

    http://www.labour.org.uk/history_of_the_labour_party

  18. Tips, I think that is the most interesting idea I have read to date. It is a tangible idea that could be actioned quickly and the results could be easily measured. I never thought that I would entertain the idea of becoming a card carrying member of the PLP.

  19. Ah….A diamond in the ruff. The set of jewels is complete now. I can leave the site now. Best of luck.

  20. In an earlier response, I posited that the window for the emergence of a third party may close within six months. If the PLP leadership changes within that time frame and is perceived as less divisive, the healing begins and the impetus for a third party takes a severe body blow.

  21. To some degree, you are on tract JDS. The events of the past 24 hours concern me.

    If Dr.Brown leaves town the PLP will still be the Government. So called protesters will be happy on all fronts.

    The system is still there. The system is good in my view but the participants of rule need a good cleansing.

  22. Wasn’t it Rolph C who said that the only way to move forward for was whites to join the plp?

  23. One aspect that I think is missing (unless indeed I have missed it) is the question that was asked many moons ago on LIB.

    Essentially, the question was “is a two party system right for Bermuda”.

    Whilst we know why the two party evolved here, we are almost 50 years down the line from then, and it may be appropriate to ask whether such a model is now the best for the Island.

    Now you might argue that ‘race’ is the deciding factor. I think, though, that that is an easy way through for many.

    It may take many tools to break down the race barriers, and having one political party may be a (powerful) one.

    Just a thought.

  24. I don’t remember if Rolph ever said that but that is something I remember hearing a bit of from his camp a few years back. Something tells me that what I am describing is not exactly what they meant though. I am talking about seizing and destroying the favored weapons of the likes of Rolph Commissiong and Ewart Brown. Please also note, I am not calling for whites specifically to join the PLP, I am talking about an organised and disciplined movement by Bermudians of all shades and backgrounds, to regain control of our government and facilitate the kinds of changes and democratic reforms that so many Bermudians long for. Possibly even an end to party politics in Bermuda altogether.

  25. Bermuda may need two new parties – remember we always need a strong opposition. However, where do you find capable, honest, hard working, passionate, forward thinking people who have not already been linked in one way or another to PLP, UBP, NLP?

    Yes, perhaps we can find the people that fit foregoing BUT are they willing to give their time to be politicians in Bermuda? Who amongst us knows people ( need 36) with ability – say in their mid 30’s/40’s who have been successful in their careers – who are willing to serve?

  26. I could think of a few…

  27. I do think I new party would succeed.
    The PLP has supported the black versus white dialogue since they came to power. Most discussions in the “house” always came down to black versus white. These negative tones were never publicly declared wrong by the PLP in their tenure as the Government. One can then only presume since they as a “party” did nothing that they agreed with such tactics. People will not forget this . We live together and cannot support a party that has let this negativity continue. This is why we have reached this point in Bermuda in the first place. If other PLP MP”S had stood up and said we do not agree with this becoming a race issue then we would not be at this point!!!
    It is time for a new party, maybe some from the PLP and some from the UBP and then other’s.
    The two current parties have too much bad blood between them and personally I will not vote for either one!!!

  28. Personally, I’m not interested in anything that any PLP MP’s have to say. In my mind any MP who has not been vocally critical and has sat silent over the past couple of years while the present leadership has been allowed to divide our country is not worth their weight in salt.

    The inability of UBP MP’s to pull it together and move that Party forward also leaves me questioning their level of ability…

    I think that leaves us needing new, fresh faces who are willing to put country before self… Note Renee Webb’s comments about MPs having their own agenda.

  29. no more party politics…..no more westminster system

    parish council system……like small towns in various places

  30. I’m a white, 63 year old female Bermudian. I just want to say that I think this blog is very healthy and I’m enjoying all comments, even those I don’t agree with. Keep it up as this is your future not mine, and this island needs good, free thinking, young Bermudians of all colours to keep us going.

    JCS


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