Okay, I’m a bit late on the draw on this one; the news came I think while I was tucking into some cheesey bread (not very healthy I know, but at least I ate a tomato with it!) and I missed it.
So, there are a number of interesting observations to make here with Mr. Simons’ election. Perhaps the most interesting insight is why the UBP had trouble figuring out who to be the Leader, and at that all the front-runners chose to pull out leaving the suprise of Mr. Kim Swan to win leadership by default. Yet for the post of Deputy one suddenly sees a three way competition between Ms. Patricia Pamplin-Gordon, Mr. Bob Richards and Mr. Cole Simons.
Now, Ms. Pamplin-Gordon pretty much committed political suicide, at least from an internal Party point of view by her distinct lack of leadership following the double blow of electoral defeat and the loss of Mr. Dunkley as Leader. Mr. Shawn Crockwell was more of a leader than her during that interim period, and the fact that she rejected the Leadership with the lame excuse she used led alot of UBPers to question whether she should be Deputy at all.
There’s no secret that Mr. Richards wants to be UBP Leader eventually, but his results (albeit successful) in the December election made him a liablity with his conversion of a safe UBP seat to a marginal. I think this was largely why he pulled out of the Leadership race itself, thinking he would try for the Deputy and make an impression there, using it as a perfect foundation for any future Leadership challenge.
Another interesting point is that if I’m reading the factional split that developed in the UBP properly then Mr. Kim Swan was in the faction of the ‘younger, blacker’ group epitomised in the comments of Mr. Shawn Crockwell in my earlier post. All three challengers for the Deputy position appear to have been in the opposing ‘loyalist’ faction.
I am a bit suprised by Mr. Simons’ election though. I think that having three challengers all from one apparent faction split the vote, and Mr. Simons may have won more by default than anything else. Even with the impact of her comments, Mr. Pamplin-Gordon had experience, and this should have helped her. Mr. Richards I feel is more well-known and to be honest comes across as much more intellectual and cunning than Mr. Simons, attributes that should have helped him. Of course they both had their cons (her comment, his poor electoral showing). But Mr. Simons, and I’m not saying this to be rude, but honestly he comes across almost as a UBP wall-flower; nice guy, but really thats about it.
Yes, he made some noise last year about the Southlands thing, but he really came across as desparately trying to ‘jump on the bandwagon’ and simply regurgitated alot of the criticism already being put out there in regards to Southlands. I can’t recall him saying anything original on it, and to me he came across (and as such the UBP as a whole) as wholly oppurtunistic on the issue. For one thing, his argument against Southlands and his suggestion that it be converted into a national park I feel was a direct rip-off from my own argument that I had voiced right at the very beginning of the Southlands dispute (on Limey’s blog – here and here; and Progressive Minds), so I really wasn’t too impressed with what I saw as his disingenuity.
Anyway, Mr. Simons is also my MP. So now that he’s also the Deputy Opposition Leader I’ll be watching him even more closely. 🙂