Todays papers have had some interesting articles politically. The Bda Sun has an illuminating article concerning the UBP and race, while the RG has two articles, both essentially focusing on the potential for a split and the consequences of such an occurence.
I’ve touched on both of these topics in past posts, but I think they deserve another look.
The Bda Sun article puts forward to contrasting tactics. On the ones side you have the argument for presenting the UBP as a ‘younger and blacker’ Party in order to get beyond the stereotype of the UBP as the ‘White’ Party. This view is put forward here by Mr. Crockwell. The contrasting view is that the UBP should put forward candidates based on merit and not on pigmentation. This view is put forward by Ms. Gordon-Pamplin.
Historically the UBP has attempted to advocate the latter as the ideology of the Party while practising the former in contesting elections. This has always been contradictory and it appears that the Party is now reconsidering this strategy.
In my post ‘A Boxful of Crayons’ I attempted to put forward the argument that this UBP double-think was its biggest handicap; I will attempt to summarise it here.
For a Party that has a majority White membership and support base and advocates the ideology of ‘people should be pushed to the fore on the strength of their talents and their talents alone’ it was suprising that the majority of their parliamentary candidates were Black, a distinct minority within the UBP. This led observers to choose between two possible reasons for this discrepancy. Either the UBP was misrepresenting itself superficially as a political tactis (and thus allowing melanin to trump merit) OR talent was unevenly distributed within their membership, being concentrated for some reason within its minority Black membership.
Most people quite easily discard the latter notion as being highly improbable and as such the UBP stand accused of doublethink.
There are many who believe that the UBP cannot win government in a majority Black country if its parliamentary candidates were to adequately represent the distribution of talent in its membership which would as a result result in its parliamentary candidates representing the demographic composition of its Party. Its parliamentary candidates would be majority White. This argument is the one expressed by Mr. Crockwell.
The irony of Mr. Crockwells argument is that he seems to believe what he is advocating is something ‘totally new’ for the UBP. What he is actually advocating is maintaining the UBP status quo of candidate selection, or rather its expansion (have a totally Black parliamentary candidate slate).
It is Ms. Gordon-Pamplin who actually argues for a ‘totally new’ direction for the UBP even if she seems superbly unaware of it. A supreme example of doublethink perhaps. Should the Party actually do what it has historically stated it believes in (merit not melanin), yes, its parliamentary candidates would be majority White by virtue of its demographic composition. But it would also be honest and free itself from the stench of hypocrisy that follows it around more like a necklace of garlics than the proverbial albatross around its neck.
Freeing itself from this is the only way that the UBP has of exorcising its demon haunted past. One could think of it almost in the sense of a catharsis for the Party, and will allow it to rejuvenate and actually lead to its long-term revival and demographic evolution to one more representative to Bda’s population. This in turn would see its parliamentary candidates approximate our populations demographics organically as opposed to the current artificiality imposed by a flawed and reactionary electoral tactic.
The UBP can split, it can change its name, it can change its parliamentary candidates to an all-Black slate, but this will change nothing at all but put make-up on a decaying corpse. As long as the UBP fails to grasp the wooden stake of its doublethink out of its collective heart it will remain unviable. It needs radical change in the sense of going to the root cause of the problem which is its saying one thing and doing the opposite.
It sounds impossible I know. But the only way for the UBP to progress and realise its stated ideology of merit over melanin is to practice what it preaches and be true to itself. This alone will allow it to transcend the politics of race and move towards ideology. The question faced by the UBP today is one of continue the old doublethink or face reality and truly become a ‘new UBP.’
Yes, if the UBP puts forward White candidates who are blind to colour-reality and continue with the mistaken belief that we today are in a colour-blind society, that the lingering effects of our racial history are non-existent, they will be doomed to further failure. What the UBP needs is to put forward a candidate slate representative of their demographic composition who are willing to state that race continues to impact our present and put forward a strategy to realise a future colour-blind society. This is the best way for the UBP to progress.
The impact of a UBP split really depends on the dynamics represented by the resulting groups. A new Party putting forward the ideology represented by Mr. Crockwell (and it seems clear that Mr. Swan, Mr. Hunt and Mr. Crockwell are a faction here) as stated above will fail if it continues the ‘old UBP’ policy of melanin trumping merit in selecting parliamentary candidates.
Any split will result in a struggle for ideological hegemony over the opposition groupings. There are of course other dynamics to include here, such as the growing environmental movement and the ideological positions of any new group on the general social progressive/conservative divide.
It is likely that the PLP would capitalise on a split much as John Swan’s UBP exploited the PLP-NLP split in the 1980s. Thats okay. Yes, it would initially mean increased PLP dominance, but in the long term it will allow a new political equilibrium to occur, as happened by the early 1990s with the PLP successfully achieving ideological hegemony in regards to the NLP.
The newspapers appear to be reporting that Mr. Richards has withdrawn his candidacy for UBP leadership. This is contrary to me prediction that he would be the new Opposition Leader, so, if true, I guess I was wrong. The election of Mr. Barritt to UBP leader (as seems likely now) however has the potential to serve as a catalyst for a UBP split, in view of the opposing views on race and electorial tactics. A faction advocating for more Black candidates would likely see his election as evidence of UBP suicide and initiate a split. I believe his election if it leads to the UBP ejecting its doublething on race, could actually serve to revive the Party, even if it has to weather a split in the process.