Posted by: J Starling | November 10, 2009

Welcoming the Bermudian Democratic Alliance

I believe I can speak on behalf of Bermuda JEWEL when I welcome the Bermudian Democratic Alliance to the Bermudian political scene.

Setting up a third party is always a challenging enterprise and carries with it the threat of failure and disappointment. There are always a number of obstacles that such an project must overcome in order to be viable and have a lasting impact on our collective political development. It is not yet clear if this new group will be able to successfully overcome these obstacles.

The first challenges that they will face is a question of identity and support. Identity extends beyond simple branding, and while this may be important, without fleshing out their identity beyond a logo and catch-phrases they risk becoming little more than farce. They also have to shake off the impression held by many that they are little more than the same old UBP, just wearing new clothing. On support they risk simply becoming the NewBP should the traditional UBP support simply jump ship from the UBP to them. They most ensure that they do not just replace the UBP in all but name.

Perhaps one of the key challenges that this new group faces is the question of race. Whether we like it or not race remains very much central to our politics. There are several reasons for this, with some believing that the UBP-PLP dichotomy maintains this state, others arguing that it will remain a topic until the racial inequalities that still haunt our society are resolved. So far this new group has only made vague references to ‘taking race out of politics’ and have not clarified either how they intend to do that our what they suggest to resolve our racial inequalities. Whether or not the individuals involved in this group like it or not, it is their position on the race question which will largely determine their long-term viability.

Perhaps the most interesting phenomena surrounding the launch of this new group is the level of enthusiasm that they seem to have generated, at least if the numbers and comments on their facebook page are anything to go by (exactly 968 at the moment of typing), which have easily eclipsed those of both the UBP and PLP. While this level of support can be illusory, and the organisation will need to transform this from online platitudes to real-life elbow grease, it does speak to the thirst for change that exists within some sectors of our population. This leads to a concern that people are so thirsty for change that they are willing to rapidly support any novel organisation even when this group has yet to really provide much in the way of policy. If nothing else though this should be a wake-up call for the established Parties that they need to up their game.

This new organisation may not be viable, however it has the potential to radically redraw our political system through both direct and indirect change, and this should indeed be looked forward to.


Responses

  1. should we not consider Facebook to be a sort of public polling for the need of a third party? Are our people so hungry for something new and different that they will jump on board this express train even though they have no idea where its going?

    Irresponsible. How can you possibly expect to make people believe in something that has the depth of a ritz cracker?

    Sounds cheesy to me.

  2. I think you’re missing the all important point. People are attracted to the BDA because they have been openly invited to participate in the direction that this party is taking. Stances not currently take by the PLP or the UBP.

    For too long the people of Bermuda had sat around and criticized this part or that party. This is a very real opportunity for people to actually participate rather than stand wrapped in the safety blanket of the side lines and criticized.
    Rather than taking the view “we’ll wait and see”, reserving the right to say “I told you so” why not actively participate and make your voice and ideas heard.

    If you are truly interested in the polices that this party will put forth, why not be part of their creation.

  3. “openly invited to participate in the direction that this party is going” What exactly does that mean? If you get a bunch of people that want legalization of marijuana participate, does that become a part of the platform? If you get a group of racist pigs that want to participate, does that become an ideology?

    Be careful when you give the people what they want. You can not be all things to all people. Better to have a foundation and work from that than be offered a million ideas and then try to sort it out.

    I’m sorry, but in my country I have to “wait and see”. Jumping on board a speeding train without knowing where the hell its going means I’m going nowhere. This group is truly only a disgruntled group of former opposition members and until they show some backbone and have a stance other than “a better way”. I will just…. wait and see.

  4. Sparxx,

    Yes we are hungry for something new, something different and something that is anti-status quo.

    Most people of my generation have not grown up with the past baggage that comes with both the UBP and PLP political organizations.

    We (black and white) have gone to school together, played football together, drank at the same clubs/bars together, attended University together (where we represented Bermuda as one), gone to Sunday school together etc. I assume you are getting my drift about our generation, the future that is, and how we have been brought up and how most of us cannot relate to the actions/rhetoric that is spewed by current politicians.

    We are tired of the nasty, divisive and dangerous games which politicians (on both sides of the house) have utilized for generations in order to achieve their own personal objectives/agenda at the expense of the entire Bermuda population.

    We are ready for change and despite what the media reports (i.e. violence and drugs) our generation is littered with more than able and intelligent individuals that seek to better Bermuda in every possible way and in a way that doesn’t seek to achieve it at the expense of others.

    I am personally not a current member of the BDA as I would also like to see more information on what their proposed policies will be. But I do admire these individuals actively seeking participation and input from the public in order for their vision to be sculpted from what the people want. And this act alone is drawing me to the BDA as my opinion would be more valued than it probably would ever by the old guard that are behind the PLP and UBP.

    Therefore I will be attending the first meeting instead of criticizing and take a proactive stance inseeking the facts about the new party instead of automatically blowing them off and crticizing them from the comfort of an arm chair and a computer.

    Call us “irresponsible” all you like. But at least we are taking an active interest in ensuring our futures do not resemble the past or present for that matter instead of complaining from the sidelines.

    Just a quick question is it your belief that the current status quo is beneficial to Bermuda, her future and most of all its peoples? If so why?

  5. Sparx,
    That’s a fair stance to take. We want everyone to be sure that we’re the best party for them before they throw support. Best I can say is that I hope we can prove ourselves to be something you will support in the upcoming days.

    I will say that there is many more people than just the 6 “Disgruntled opposition members”. All of the people in the photograph meet weekly and most had nothing to do with the UBP prior to this. There are others who weren’t in the photograph along these same lines as well. I look forward to any input you may have on any of the issues out there, I’m making a point of jotting down concerns of the online community and bringing them up in caucus to be discussed. Just by engaging in conversation, you are helping to shape things, I hope we can be the best conduit to achieve the best for Bermuda and everyone involved.

  6. Jmad – In order to have something new, something different and something that is not the status quo, you need to have something different, new and not the status quo. If you can show me where that can be found beyond a “pretty” logo and a promise of “a better way”, then I’m sold…. ok maybe not.

    I am most definitely disgusted with the actions of our MP’s. There is NO accountability. Unfortunately it will take some doing to win my trust. I just don’t believe ANYONE anymore.

    All I am saying is that it is irresponsible for a political organization to come out with a whole lot of hype, KNOWING very well how Bermudians are, and with no platform to back them up and solicit support (there is no other definition for it).

    I want what all Bermudians want (or should want). I just don’t see ANYTHING different coming from a group of “disgruntled” former UBP members.

    Sean – I have no doubt about your support. Likewise, I have no doubt that your “movement” will continue to garner support from the disillusioned UBP voter. Unfortunately, you are preying on that and without a separation point, you are not anything more than “a group of disgruntled former UBP members.” Show me how you are going to attract the voter who is clearly PLP. Show me something of substance. Show me more than political promises….

    Consider the future and what your position will be in our country. Responsible politics should be transparent, and right now you are about as transparent as a steel door.

  7. Sparx –
    Sean – I have no doubt about your support. Likewise, I have no doubt that your “movement” will continue to garner support from the disillusioned UBP voter.

    I have never hid my support for the BDA and am an active member and supporter of the party. I believe that we can, with the assistance of Bermudians as a whole can help change the way politics is done and help take some of the divisevness out of it all. We are not making any strategic maneuver to attact support from any particular group. All we have done is launch a political party and invited ALL Bermudians to participate in creating a body that can help move Bermuda forward. The difference is how we are going to address and work with the other political organisations to assist with good ideas coming to fruition, instead of just being advesaries. This doesn’t mean we will agree with everything, but if we don’t we will offer at least another solution or another persepective if we don’t.

    Consider the future and what your position will be in our country. Responsible politics should be transparent, and right now you are about as transparent as a steel door.

    My friend I don’t only consider my future, but rather my daughters future. I want the best for them and their generation. Right now I personally feel that this generation is failing the next one miserably. As far as transparency goes, that, Sparxx, is your opinion. I believe the that once the party gets going, and it’s starting to already, it will be very transparent in it’s process, very open to suggestions and critique and very balanced with it’s stance.

  8. Sean – “I believe the that once the party gets going, and it’s starting to already”

    That is part of the issue. Once the party gets going is a serious issue. Shouldn’t the party have all of it’s ducks in a row prior to coming out? Confidence is more than saying “I believe”.

    Also you haven’t answered my question. What are you going to do to get the PLP vote? Tearing the UBP vote does nothing but give the PLP more power. Surely you must recognize that.

  9. Sean, I think you’ll find no one is critical of your (read: the BDA) ambitions, more that you have failed to capitalize on the most important facet of a “new” Party… the launch. Even those who aren’t critical of you online on the whole agree that you have yet to complete the sentence, ie, tell people what they really need to hear, HOW you plan to change the face of Bermuda politics. Words like disorganized are not good signs at all (see Phil Wells replies to me on CaF).

    Like sparxx points out you are really only managing to split the UBP vote at the moment. Without support from the PLP side of the margin, you will do no more than strengthen them. Which is really not what anyone wants. Power unchecked is destroying this island, as we all know. And unfortunately, you may possibly add to this problem. I hope to god not.

    I’ve read too many comments on facebook and on these blogs to not realize that people are waiting desperately for you to come out with anything! You launched last week and we’ve heard nothing since. No schedule of meetings, no clarification of your founding members, no concept of what membership actually means. No solid concept of anything really. The only update on your website is a blurb suggested by a poster on BIAW (one who is openly critical of your name, lol) and an addition of a pic that we can all see on the RG. A week is a long time in politics, whether Bermuda or anywhere else. Continue to let time lapse, continue to fail to reach out to more than the FB crowd and you will do what most on this island do not want, ensure PLP’s reign for a good long time more.

  10. And Sean, just so you know, people aren’t being overly critical of you for any more reason than right now, you’re the only game in town. Of the the three parties, you’re the only one making any inroads with people and that’s worth yapping about. I mean, Kim will continue to talk softly and imagine he carries a big stick (he doesn’t) and EB will continue to spend more time getting pictures taken than worrying about the state of the island (lol). Those two things are like the sun rising. You guys are a breath of fresh air, at least in the politico pundit sense. 🙂

  11. Sean,

    I think despite the best intentions of the BDA to build their platform from input by the people, we need to see something more from them at the start.

    Even an outline of issues that are in the forefront of your party’s mind, and solutions you would propose to solve them. Don’t be afraid of others ‘appropriating’ your ideas. If the current government implements one of your platform solutions, and it works, that is great for the island, regardless who gets the credit. Unless you are in it for the money, which I don’t think you are.

    I would like to see photos and bios of those involved on the web site, and the BDA NEEDS that, you need to start introducing the island to your faces, the branding, canvasing and marketing has to begin now. Aside from the soft and fuzzy noble intentions, the reality is still you need to get votes to get anything done, and for that the people need to know who you are. All we are asking right now is something on the web site.

    You need buy in, and the resounding call has been, “We want to know more about you!” That is great, you have people’s attention, they have told you what they want to see, and it is not, “well, what do you guys want us to do?”, it is “We have been watching, listening and learning for a long time now and here is SOME of the ideas we have, some of the concerns we have and IF there is anything we have missed, we would love to hear from you all with feedback and suggestions.”

    You guys just left out a little meat, and people are asking “Where’s the BEEF!?!?”

    Good luck to you, I hope you have the whole lot of them reading all the online discussions.

  12. Are u stealing my colour too? red t shirt with go to hell in black written around DR. Evil’s face.

  13. This is the problem with Bermudians in general they are fearful of change. I believe change is a good thing. There are many Bermudians who do not support either current party and this is where the BDA will succeed. Just because it hasn’t been tried does not mean it should not be attempted.
    I see no choice in the 2 currrent parties. They both have a history that haunts them. PLP will never vote for UBP and UBP will never vote for PLP so without the third option we are stuck in a cycle of hating each other instead of loving one another and actually dealing with the issues of this country.
    I also know a lot of people who think the same thing. So watch and see God at work. The power of the people will be seen in the member’s of the BDA.
    Join us and become one people in this country that we all love.
    Peace and love. God is with us.

  14. unless the BDA is GOING TO BE THE VOICE FOR THE UNDER CLASS THEIR EXISTANCE MEANS NOTHING

  15. We had our BDA conference and we had about 400-500 people there from all backgrounds. BDA is the future of Bermuda. We have chosen a good leader who spoke the truth and did not hold back.
    We are one people of all colors and we must stand together or Bermuda will fail.
    We invite the young strong minds of the Bermuda jewel to join us as we make history and pull Bermuda from this hateful political cycle to one that will as Bob Marley said produce ” One love”.
    We have seen what hating one another can do so lets show how it can be done differently. For our children’s sake we must change this as we are already seeing the results on the streets of year’s of hate spewing from our leader’s mouths.
    God is love and he teaches us that we must love one another and this starts at the top. Our leaders must be an example to the people.
    They have failed. Time for an new beginning.
    be a part of history.
    BDA!! BDA!!!
    Peace and love.

  16. but is the bda going to be the voice of the underclasses and the working poor and champion social justice?

  17. Yes BDA will be there to help the working poor. We are the voice of everyone. All Bermudians. Regardless of status or race. Number one on any Government’s list should be adequate housing and shelter for everyone. There should be help for those that show they want to help themselves. I believe if you come and see who is involved you will know that these people will give to society. We want everyone to be involved and not sit back and expect it to happen.
    We are a group who cares about people.
    Come check it out for yourself or go on the website to ad your views.

  18. We will be watching and listening


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