Well, there is more information about the PLP leadership question in todays media, in both the RG and the Bermuda Sun. Also, I’ve had an opportunity to get a better understanding of the incident as well. the following links will take you to the relevant newspaper articles on this issue:
So, what are my thoughts on all this? Well, its no secret that I have some rather different ideological positions than Dr. Brown, and I do think that his actions have alienated some growing segments of the Party’s support base. However, I also think he has the best leadership qualities of all the MPs – I just wish he used those qualities for a more traditional labour position.
Having said all of that, I do not agree with the way that the Leadership question has been posed by this incident. While there are certainly some amusing, almost karmic aspects of this move, in that it is almost identical (but tactically poorly executed) to the ‘palace coup’ of 2003 that saw the end of Ms. Smith’s Premeirship, I have said before that I opposed that tactic back in 2003. It wasn’t right back then, and its not the right way now. As much as I was dismayed at the triumphalism of Ms. Smith’s administration, there were channels within the Party to challenge her leadership, and these should have been used instead of the unconstitutional (by the PLP constitution) removal of her as leader. Wrong is wrong, regardless of who is behind it.
While Ms. Cox stands to benefit the most from any leadership challenge to Dr. Brown, from what I know of her character, she would not want to come into the leadership by such unconstitutional means. I highly doubt she would be supportive of this move.
Ultimately, I do not think that Dr. Brown will be deposed of the Party Leadership as a result of this incident. What it does mean though is that his authority is now in question, and will have to adopt a more consensus style within the Party, and that is only to the better of the Party and Bermuda as a whole. Additionally, it means that his long-term position as Party Leader is more or less undermined. It has been widely said that he plans to step down in the 2010 Delegates Conference and that Ms. Cox would become Party Leader at that time. This is now more definite than ever, and may even be accelerated to the 2009 Delegates Conference as a result of this incident. That however is open to discussion, and a week, let alone several months, is a long time in politics.
I think the best outcome of this incident though is that it will further the ongoing discussion of the Party by its members and supporters, and bring much of the criticisms into the open. We can expect a more frank discussion o the Party from now on. This is for the better, and indeed reduced the chance for factional skulduggery and palace coups and strengthens the Party. And with an all but irrelevant Official Opposition, it is to the Party’s and country’s benefit to take on that role as well.
So I stress, I support open and frank discussion of the leadership question, and I hope that the leadership is open to such constructive criticism. But I oppose any (Party) unconstitutional attempts to remove the leadership. There are legitimate constitutional means to effect a leadership challenge, and that is what should be supported.