The End of New Onion

Its with deep regret that I must also acknowledge that the New Onion blog has also decided to cease operations along with Politics.bm.

New Onion had been dormant for some time now, so I have to admit that I am not all that suprised at this development. New Onion provided some useful insights and I always percieved it as representative of certain elements of pro-UBP youth thought, and treated it accordingly. This meant essentially engaging it in critical debate on various issues and for insight into pro-UBP youth thought.

I found its style at times a bit OTT and not conducive to discourse, but on the whole I thought that it proveded a useful and interesting contribution to the Bermudian political blogosphere.

One must wonder in wake of the end of Politics.bm and New Onion, along with the general dormancy of IMHO.bm (which I also view as a UBP aligned site) what these developments mean for the Bermudian blogosphere and whether they are indicative of a greater shift in real Bermudian political terms. It is no secret I think that the formal UBP has been wracked by internal division about its general direction since the ousting of Grant Gibbons as leader, divisions that have since been amplified by the ousting of Wayne Furbert, the electoral loss of 2007 and the electoral defeat of Micheal Dunkley. This has lead to a weak and ineffectual Opposition that we see today and a general malaise amongst many UBP supporters and members, punctuated with fringe extremist positions and a lacklustre debate about reform.

I wouldn’t be suprised at all if these online developments will be echoed by real life developments in Bermudian politics. My feeling is that, despite all the rhetoric I have read online from the UBP of late on unity and movement towards reform, that it will in fact split. I also believe that out of this general malaise we will see the emergence of new political forces that will potentially lead to profound change to Bermudian politics. I believe that the emerging global economic crisis (did I ever choose a time to start a post-grad economics course…) and ecological questions facing us today will frame much of this resulting discourse, combining in various ways with the traditional issues of race, sexuality and class in Bermuda.

Of course, I could be wrong. But it does make one wonder whats going on.

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15 thoughts on “The End of New Onion

  1. Thanks for the post.

    I loathe political labels, so please stop calling me UBP.

    And yes, things need to change in Bermuda but odds are I won’t be here to make them happen. I did my best, and maybe if I inspired some critical thinking then I succeeded.

    Jonnystar – send me an e-mail if you want to have a pint.

    Peace.

    I’m out.

  2. I see these closures as a reflection of a greater sense of disillusionment which has grown in the community towards politics, not simply the UBP. Far too many people are perpetually stuck in this rut of us vs. them which shows no sign of abating. There is this refusal by many to accept that people could genuninely care about our future and instead most any criticism or deviation from the incumbent party line must be the result of a personal vendetta against the party, not a desire for positive change for all Bermudians. Thus, is it any surprise people wake up and question what the value of being involved in politics at all?

    The present financial crisis is a good example. Those in the know have been blowing a horn of warning for quite some time now that we could be headed for dire straights. Yet these calls have continually fallen under the guise of scaremongering and a personal vendetta against the PLP rather than a genuine concern for the future of our island. Thus, one begins to wonder if there is even a point in trying to sound the horn if it falls on deaf ears. Instead, the question does rise as to when does one give up on trying to save those who do not want to be saved and focus on saving one’s self?

    From the position of this writer alone, Bermuda is in a very scary position right now that should warrant concern. Concerns which have been raised numerous times for quite some time but have fallen on deaf ears.

    Noteablely we should be weary of and should have been weary of:
    – the credit crisis
    – the potential for legislative changes to US tax law
    – the abrupt ending of the construction boom due to the combination of a flood of new office space combined with businesses who are on-shoring back office operations
    – the drying up of credit for hotel/construction projects
    – the overzealous budget which gives us little to no breathing room
    – the horrible savings/lending ratio that banks have been allowed to have which could have caused a housing bubble that may soon pop

    These are all things I’ve been thinking of writing about, yet while I used to rush to hammer out long pieces in hopes of convincing people that we should be weary, these days I simply don’t have the motivation. My own blog may not yet have been announced as dead, but for all intensive purposes it remains domant in comparison to what it once was.

  3. ‘Pitch’, you took the words out of my mouth but put them in more eloquent verbage than I. The fan is still turning and we can’t stop it. Best of luck to us all when it hits.

  4. Very off topic here. Johnny, you may want to start another post about this. But essentially all of the Government Teachers are going to an “Emergency Meeting” at 9:30 today. The reason is due to not being paid their increase as per negotiations by the Bda Government (Remember fulfilling the destiny, 10 years).

    First and foremost, I fully support the teachers in this and understand their actions. As an employer, it is my primary responsibility that my employees are paid for. Teachers, after our children, are a treasure to society. They are responsible for an extremely large part of our children’s upbringing. They are doing a job that they HAVE to care about, however if they are not being compensated properly it’s hard to care about the job then. I find it extremely hard to swallow that we just spent over 2 million dollars on a music festival, that may or may not have attracted tourists here (Another topic for discussion, but I would like to see the stats on how many tourists came to the Island for this event as I have a problem allocating a tourist budget funds to this incorrectly.), and we aren’t or haven’t even paid our teachers properly! Where in the hell do the priorities lie for this government?!? I’m not alone in my thinking as I heard many other parents say the same thing, all the way into Hamilton as I was stopped at a street light.

    So here we go again, another labour dispute for our labour government. What a joke…..

    One final note for the teachers, it makes parents hard to support you with knee jerk actions like this, ya could have given us 24 hours notice. I say this, aside from the fact that I had to scramble at last minute only finding out as I drove up to the school, but on the way back I saw many children walking to school oblivious of this fact, with their parents most likely already on the way to work. We have to put children first, and 24 hours notice wouldn’t have hurt your action at all.

  5. Apparently the Ministry are still saying that technically the schools are open, however just with not enough staff to run them or look after the kids. Wow that’s as bad as the airline industry keeping their records looking good by saying that technically we left the gate and are considered leaving on time, even though we sat on the runway for 80 minutes. It’s Bullshit like this that makes the parents want to slap the people in the M.O.E. upside their heads.

  6. “Apparently the Ministry are still saying that technically the schools are open, however just with not enough staff to run them or look after the kids”.

    There is spin…and there is spin. Unless I have missed something in my life, can someone tell me what is the point of an ‘open’ school if you don’t have either teachers or kids?

    Like opening your wallet – only to find there is no money in there.

  7. Teachers also have a responsibility.
    I dont know what the issue was today, but the RG says that some teachers were not paid at the new rate, and some werent paid at all. This to me sounds like an administrative error, not an intentional refusal to adhere to the agreement.

    Why do all the teachers have to go to a meeting? Why not have representatives from each school go to the meeting and report back to their colleagues?

    When I was in school, teachers thought of the students first. Nowadays, that attitude has been abandoned. The salary that teachers get is far more than I and most others I know began with straight out of college. Every year it is the same thing – more money, more money, more money. Yet the students’ results aren’t getting much better quick enough. There needs to be accountability.
    And these mass walk outs etc aren’t hurting anyone but the students.

  8. Ken

    I think many would have sympathy for your opinion however Horton has been as effective as an ash tray on a motorcycle in his tenure and has presided over a litany of mismanagement without ever seeing to accept responsibility. Its probably a cock up rather than a conspiracy…

    And he still can’t pronounce Baccalaureate…

  9. Ken,

    I agree with you. If they (teachers) knew that this might have happened last night,then an announcement should have been made on their part on the news at that time. At least this gives parents some warning and time to prepare.

    Mothers who I work with were definitely not impressed with this to say the least. But I agree whole heartedly with you that even sending a few reps to the meeting to sort out the issue would have been a much better option.

    But I guess we will all find out what the actual issue is as of tomorrow, so it is hard to say what the best option is until we know the full details of the situation.

  10. Ken, again, as an employer, I would expect to be “visited” by each and every employee that had an issue with their paycheck. As an employee I wouldn’t want my personal dealings to be handled by a representative, I would want to voice my own concerns and opinions as is my right, and duty, to do so.

    I do agree, as pointed out, that prior warning should have come, and I am dismayed at this not taking place. Something I will certainly bring up at the next PTA meeting I attend.

    Ken, regarding more and more money…..considering that our inflation is almost 5% each year, and the fact that they don’t get paid a whole lot, they have families to feed as well and as such need more and more money.

    I’m trying to see it from both sides as evenly as possible, I dont’ agree with mass walk outs without notice in this field as we are trusting them with the care and education of our children. I will say that it’s time for Gov’ment to take a long hard look at the education system, put it on the agenda first and get it straight A.S.A.P., to include correct pay, adequate resources for teachers, weeding out weak teachers, correcting the educational standards of most secondary schools and ensuring a better than average graduation rate. With the amount of money allocated to education, there is no excuse except for gross mismanagement and negligence on ALL levels.

  11. The salary that teachers get is far more than I and most others I know began with straight out of college. Every year it is the same thing – more money, more money, more money.

    Ken – I agree our teachers should be more accountable and it would be worth introducing some form of performance/incentive based pay scheme. However, your comment regarding the ever present annual salary increases can be directly correlated to the always expanding tax and spend approach this government has adopted over the last ten years. This has added unwanted and unnecessary heat to the economy and ultimately left the people with ever increasing debt service obligations with no commensurate improvement in government services … unless you’re an MP and are in need of a parking space (and a car) or the Premier and require a cook/butler as well as an empty official residence.

  12. Full Fullish,

    Yes you might expect to be visited by each employee individually if it was case by case issue. This was obviously a wholesale administrative error where the wrong salaries were processed. No one is denying that this shouldnt happen. But for all the teachers to go to Devonshire Rec en masse was ridiculous. They didnt go there to meet individually with anyone. They went there to bully the department/ministry. I am saddened that the caliber of teacher has dropped so far that good old fashioned common sense doesn’t prevail. When I first heard last night they hadnt been paid, i knew it had to be administrative. Come on now, why would the Government just decide to not pay some people? It makes absolutely no sense.

    You also said that teachers dont get paid a whole lot. I beg to differ. Starting salaries at approx 60k is a decent beginning salary for someone straight out of college. With 4 years experience we are talking 84K. Not to mention many of them have the potential for additional income during the summer months by way of summer day camp and other activities.

    Teachers used to be regarded as underpaid and overworked. Now with the results they are not getting, they are being regarded as overpaid and underworked.

  13. Ken, regardless of what their pay, they had an agreement which has been broken, I don’t by that it was an administrative oversight.

    60k in today’s Bermuda isn’t what it used to be. If you factor in your average living expenses, and only a small percentage of teaches are “straight from college”, for a family then 60k a year is almost bare minimum. Besides, you want good teachers, then you pay for good teachers. I agree with with 32n64w says above.

    True, I’ve witnessed some horrible teaching in the public (and private for that matter) sectors, but not all of them are like that, I would say that Bermuda primary schools probably are equal or may even surpass that of private education for the equivalent years. It’s the secondary public school systems that need a review and overhaul.

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