Posted by: J Starling | July 29, 2009

Open Mike – The Younger Generation

This is a piece submitted by Martin for discussion here.

The Younger Generation:

The Premier has always set out to court the Bermudian student wherever they may be. He recognizes that today’s Party membership will grow older and, along with Government members, will need to be replaced in the fullness of time. The question is, will the young of today be there to replace them?

The MON recently ran an article that caught my eye. Essentially about Independence, it was some of the comments that were of more interest to me than the substance of the article. For example:

‘In the 1960s, the cause of decolonisation was a favourite among student revolutionaries. But today, the heady slogans of their parents seem to ring empty to an entirely more pragmatic generation (my emphasis).

Craig Simmons, (Bermuda College) is remarkably well-placed to witness this phenomenon.

“When I was young I supported Independence largely because of my ideological fascination with the nation-state,” said Mr. Simmons, who is 50. “Young people today are pragmatic. They are wedded to ideas to the extent that they improve their individual well being – some may call that selfish, but it is what it is”.

So maybe our young are more pragmatic as distinct from ideological in their view of life. That may only apply to Independence of course, but I suspect their pragmatism is wider than that.

In terms of politics, the PLP was born when Bermuda was still suffering from centuries of race-oriented policies and an oligarchical Government. Only those who owned land had the right to vote. Racial discrimination was widely practiced in almost every aspect of Bermudian life. Segregation was the name of the game.

Of course, we still look for improvement on a day by day basis in areas of discrimination. But, I doubt anyone would deny that there has been improvement since those early pre-PLP days.

In terms of education, the number of PhD’s, MA’s and BA’s abound as educational opportunities have opened up.

So, are we producing a more pragmatic, better educated young person than ever before and, if so, what is their likely take on politics? Are they dismayed by the events of late? Will that turn them to dialogue on reform, or simply away from the current set up altogether? Is Craig Simmons right – pragmatism v ideological fascination?

What effect will this have on the PLP of the future?


  1. politics only pays the bills if you are IN politics…the youth who are savy…see politics for what is really is and hence their lack of interest.

  2. lack of inspirational leadership in what amounts to a “clique” or “old-boy” network that currently exists keeps people disgusted with both parties. Neither party has produced anyone to be proud of, neither has produced the type of political leader that you care about and the few that do hold some respect in the public eye are left wondering what could have been.

  3. young people…

    your best bet is to stay overseas as long as you can……and take advantage of every and any opportunity to get employed in whatever country outside of bermuda.

    Theres a very high odds that you will be working in a field totaly unconnected to your degree, just to pay the bills.

    There are no opportunities for any bermudian who is not kissing the political buttoks of politicians

    you know its bad here when a foreigner can come in ….. get married…..and open a business before a born bermudian can.

  4. Sparxx, guess you never knew Nelson Bascomb or John Barritt just as an example.

    Oligarchical times have been seen. In 100 years the or similar will be said about todays government and the fallouts from it.

    Thats the great thing about Africa. So vibrant, so rich, no discorse, and every head of state just is a product of great government and rights and none associated with the subject.

    I need a puke…………….

  5. No disrespect to academia but the days of miseducated bigotry and arrogance are bullseye targets for black republicans in gangland. If you not doing dirt go church cas corruption leads to poverty and poverty leads to crime. If ya got a little paper it aint to smart to boast.

  6. The biggest issue facing ghetto youth is housing. Nerds and squares dont mind living with their moma but when she smokes crack and prostitutes herself in the next room it is easy to see why baby gangsters are mad at the world. Old folks pay $800 at rockaway but the Government dont have a housing plan for the ghetto youth so snatch that chain rob a old cat or taxi driver aint no thing but a chicken wing. of course Eazy e, the first black republican has a plan.

  7. In regards to Independence only suckers would vote for that without legalising assault rifles to protect republicans from dirty cops.

  8. housing and the ever widening economic gap in a country so small = social problems

    this will either force the plp to get back to its former social adjenda envisioned by its original founders….

    or it will create a social back lash in the form of civil unrest

    the plp must reform inorder to remain relivent…currently they only cater to their paid members and the rich eliets

  9. I think young people today are a mix of both. Pragmatic and selfish. Pragmatic in the sense that yes we do weigh the pros and cons of decision that affect our future, selfish in that we tend to factor others into our decisions. Ie. me first everyone else, who cares.

    The generation gap isn’t just about years difference. There is a serious mental gap as well in the sense that what was important to the older generation is not what is important to the younger generation. I put it to lack of communication between generations. And the communication that does exist is poor. It tends to be the older generation dictates and the younger generations ideas are dismissed. There isnt much in the way of meeting halfway.

    This translates very well to the PLP situation. They court the younger generation because it means the votes they need. However they also need people to work on the inside and here lies the problem because many young people are not interested in putting in the work and lack the dedication becuase they can see no immediate benefits to theirselves personally. It doesn’t help the party either that when they do have young people who are ready to work and dedicated to the PLP, they dismiss their ideas and give them no support because they have different views. Fancy words may attract people to the party but it won’t keep them there.

    To answer your questions Martin:

    Are we producing a more pragmatic, better educated young person than ever before and, if so, what is their likely take on politics? Are they dismayed by the events of late?

    Yes, we have produced many well educated young persons who are pragmatic and they see what the government can do for the country and are happy work. Politics is a different animal altogether and the views are varied. The majority of people are not interested. At first it was that they thought politicians were liars, only out to use people. This led to the feelings of apathy that most people experienced. Of late however the feeling is just general disgust. Many people I talk to are in awe of the leadership of the Bermuda. They find the MP’s either weak, corrupt or hateful. The one’s who are supportive tend to like Brown’s decisiveness and leadership. I have a problem with that particular thinking becuase while Brown is a leader I cannot say he is a good leader. We have youth who snatch chains, shoot people and fight becuase they see it as a way to get what they want. We criticize them and get bent all out of shape. When the Premier breaks laws and ignores and disrespects the feelings of people who have a different opinion to him it justifies these youths mentality. Don’t think that the same people who cause such heartache to Bermuda are not aware of the political goings on. They just have a different view. At the end of the day the premier is gansta and they respond to that.

    Will that turn them to dialogue on reform, or simply away from the current set up altogether?

    Like most Bermudians young people in general are ready and looking for a change. They have expectations from their leaders and most feel that they have failed, they think a cleaning of house is in order and are awaiting change. Hopefully it will come soon.

  10. Nelson Bascome and John Barritt may be people to be proud of… but as for being inspirational leaders they fall short of the measure.

    Show me someone who can grip a nation by its cockles and shake it, inspire it to greatness, that can get lost young boys to become quality men, that can inspire women to a level of self respect and confidence that keeps them from becoming single mothers. Show me someone who can UNITE the people, someone who can bridge the gap between the gangs that plague our communities.

    People migrate to leadership, whether it’s good or bad. Just as people are inspired to do great things behind the MLK’s and Mandelas of the world, so are they to those like Hitler and Jim Jones.

    The difference is that we have moved away from that style of leader and without it we have misguided leaders who only inspire protests against them.

    Yeah… inspire me.

  11. Ms Morris

    Thanks for your thoughts. Incidentally, did you read Rolfe C’s musings today in the RG?

    Summarising, he predicts the demise of the UBP to make way for two, black-dominated political parties vying for political power.


  12. Dr. Ewart Brown is the kind of guy you mention sparxx in that he’s a leader who people migrated to. Now, events of recent times have led several of those people to regret their previous enthusiasm for him and his message, and it goes to highlight that there isn’t currently someone in Bermuda with that kind of pull.

    I read the Gazette article that Martin mentions yesterday, and think that he’s right to an extent. Only thing is that I don’t see how white Bermudians can be completely marginalized from politics when they are still a very significant proportion of total Bermudians. It would be regrettable if it turned out to be the case.

  13. The more I read Rolfe C’s remarks, the less I understand.

    The essence of his comments is that he predicts the demise of the UBP to make way for two, black-dominated political parties vying for political power, with white Bermudians supporting either based upon what they perceive as being in their interest. While the end of the UBP might seem like a dream scenario for hard-core PLP-ers, Mr. Commissiong forecasts a new political landscape spells dangers for his own party.

    “Prior to 1998, it was only the threat of continued Anglo-white domination of the political process which kept the then-opposition party together; and post 1998, it is only the threat of renewed Anglo-political domination, as represented by the white-dominated UBP, which continues to provide the adhesive to party unity.”

    Once that threat is smashed issues of political philosophy and ideology, largely unresolved in the PLP will need to be addressed, said Mr Commissiong, leading to an issues-based political environment”.
    How can Rolfe C suggest that white people would choose between two all-black parties when for so long we have had “you only attack the Premier/PLP because he/they are black”.

    Or maybe he knows the truth, that we attack the policies and decision and not the man or the party.

    With the Roban and Christopher comments, the Progressive Minds issues and the PLP youth, Ewart’s failure to kowtow to authority and the thought that he might have another Seniors moment, his abandonment of respect for the House and his colleagues, whites accused of being a lynch mob…..

    All that, and Rolfe thinks “whites will decide which party to support based on the issues”.

    In your wildest dreams Rolfe. Watchout for the other party is the best advise I can give you.

  14. So disenfranchisement based on race and a racial “domination of the political process” is only bad when it’s “Anglo-white”?

    And… um… how many of them are, in fact, ANGLO-white? Enough for “domination”?
    What about all those descended from Portuguese, Irish, Welsh, Scots… hell, the rest of Europe!
    ANGLO-white is a pretty specific group, isn’t it?

  15. Well – sort of. In fact, you can be of any colour you want – so I gather.

    The term Anglo is used as a prefix to indicate a relation to the Angles, England or the English people, as in the terms Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-American, Anglo-Celtic, Anglo-African and Anglo-Indian. It is often used alone, somewhat loosely, to refer to people of British Isles descent in The Americas, Australia and Southern Africa.

  16. Maybe he thinks it’s just down to English=political domination?

  17. Very god point Tryangle. Remember, the Germans did it too the Jews. It’s all encompansing and inclusive.

    Then again, is black a race? Tell that to the Serbs, the Iraqis, the Haitians, Zimbabwians…….

    The band has a long concert. It’s the conductors that need to be rid of.

  18. I think political parties need to start looking at the youth in other sectors of the community, other than university students.

    Just because you have an education does not necessarily equate to having an interest in politics or you would make a good politican.

    Many leaders in history did not have a university degree.

    While political parties should cater to students, they should also cater to young blue collar workers. They may be surprised at some intellectuals who are in trades. I have met many educated fools and many intelligent masons who are versed in world affairs.

    A mix of both is ideal, but they should not overlook the working man. They are the ones who vote and usually feel the burnt of economic/social hardships. This makes them very passionate when it comes to politics, as opposed to the lawyer/doctor who more than likely is to be oblivious to the life the average person lives.

    If political parties started to look in the labour force and foster their interest in poltics, we might see a new youth dynamic in politics. More politicans who are for the people and are truly passionate in helping our country.

  19. S Brown

    I might have over emphasised the academic element in the thread, but didn’t consciously look to exclude those who don’t go down the degree route.

    I was really looking to ask the question whether young people have a more pragmatic outlook on life rather than (perhaps) an idealogical one which Craig Simmons was suggesting.

    Your view is interesting. As I have always been told, the PLP is for “working people” whether you are white or blue collar.

    Are you suggesting that isn’t the case?

  20. You know, I am beginning to think this is good PR from Rolfe.

    He knows the UBP is not going to disand. He knows, if only based on previous moments in Bermuda’s history, that attempts to set up a 3rd party fail.

    Maybe the PLP want to keep the UBP. Gives them election certainty. Why would you want to close them down?

  21. martin…the current plp has been infiltrated by people who have used the grass roots in order to get in political office to get rich.

    im quite sure the original founders are spinning in their graves when they see how the elites have turned their backs on the average joe

    s brown….its too late for political parties to do that….the people that you are talkin about can see through that feeble attempt of the existing parties to use them.

    the students and the young workers need to get behind a political reform agenda that will ensure their future will be one of empowerment…political parties are not about that…their track record proves this.

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