And before anyone starts trying to twist things the ‘dead man walking’ phrase is used as a metaphor for the political reality of Dr. Brown. I am in no way advocating any sort of harm to him.
Well, the Opposition UBP has tabled a motion of no confidence as a result of this fiasco. They have been at pains to stress that they are doing so not against the Uighurs but because this situation typifies the problems with Dr. Brown’s Premiership. At this point it is extremely hard to imagine this motion not carrying easily.
Up until today the only official PLPers that had commented on this situation were the Premier Dr. Brown, Senator Burch, Senator Dill, Senator Brown and (presumably) the Party Chairman Mr. Burt (in as much as he is responsible for the official PLP site – as I understand it) and member Ms. LaVerne Furbet (allegedly, going by reports of radio talkshows). All of these individuals were predictably supportive of the issue. The Senators have little choice but to support Dr. Brown and, accordingly, their opinions on this issue are effectively worthless. All the same it is important to rebut their argument, that this action is the right thing to do, it is purely humanitarian.
This humanitarian argument is a complete red herring of an argument.
The issue is solely on how this fiasco came about, and what it implies. This decision has been made contrary to our Constitution, which makes it all the more ironic that not only a few weeks ago the Party Leadership was desperately clutching to the Party Constitution rules to fend off a Leadership challenge. What is more, there is growing evidence that could see the decision as being seen as an act of treason and an attempt by the USA to undermine the constitutional sovereignity of our island and, by extension, the UK.
The US says these people are innocent, and, under international law were obliged to take them. This should never have been Bermuda’s problem, and Dr. Brown has severely miscalculated on this one.
Its strange really. One gets the impression that Dr. Brown is one spectacular sado-masochist. He wants to be in control, but at the same time he seems to have a need to invite attacks. He knew perfectly well that his Leadership style was increasingly under criticism. He’s ability to survive as Premier was already weakened with the backbench rebellion and leadership challenge (albeit handled poorly by the backbenchers). His support within the Party was already dwindling with most happily marking of the days before the Annual Delegates Convention with an eye to Ms. Cox taking over. So what does he do? Does he reassess why his support was dwindling, why people are increasingly critical of his approach to leading? Nope, he goes and does this stunt, which in many ways epitomises the problems with his leadership. Already weakened and facing a rearguard battle over the Cruise ship casinos, he has effectively handed serious ammunition to his critics.
The elected PLP MPs apparently have spoken yesterday in the House of Assembly. The RG doesn’t report much, but its clear that Mr. Wayne Perinchief blasted Dr. Brown over this. It also appears that Mr. DeVent similarly criticised Dr. Brown over this, and Ms. Cox, in her usual understated way, appears to have been quite critical of this too, with her simple statement of feeling ‘politically neutered’ over this. The fact that Dr. Brown did not even consult the Cabinet in advance is just one more nail in his political coffin.
The greatest irony of this is that out of this fiasco Dr. Brown may have actually finally given birth to a greater level of national consciousness and unity as a result. This is truly remarkable, but unfortunately for Dr. Brown the unity is against him and his circle. It is no doubt true that Dr. Brown is attempting to legitimise his actions with the thinking that he has helped secure our long-term well-being with helping out the USA. Some of the Senators supporting him (Mr. Brown and Mr. Dill) no doubt legitimately believe that it was the right thing to do, to offer asylum to these people. In doing so they are oblivious to the fact that that is not the issue at all. Others supporting his actions so far are easily dismissed as blind opportunists who are interested only in power, or at least as being cling-ons to power (Mr. Burch for example).
“This too shall pass” says Dr. Brown. No doubt, in time, it will. There will be seething public anger over the immediate week or two, and then this anger will calm down, at least superficially. The Uighurs will face some unfortunate public backlash, but in time the vast majority of the people will accept that they are pawns and victims of this affair. Progressives should defend them against any xenophobic or islamophobic attacks, whatever the situation. But just as this fury shall pass, so shall Dr. Brown’s leadership and those opportunists that cling-on to his coat-tails. The fury on the street, and the wrath of the Party rank and file towards this blatant disregard for order and democracy (note Senator Burch’s total contempt with his dismissing of the people’s right to have a say – so what is our Parliamentary system for?), is, I feel, far too great. If a Special Delegates Convention is not called in advance of the No Confidence motion, it is likely the Party will need one after the vote.
There is a demonstration being organised for this coming Tuesday at the House of Assembly, I believe for 1230hrs. Reactionary attacks against the Uighurs need to be rebutted, and at the same time the people, the workers, the students, even the guest-workers, should come out and display their contempt with this action.