A week after the Uighur issue and related demonstrations I recieved a number of emails from various people, PLP members, supporters and random people, all asking me my opinion on the likelihood of Dr. Brown being replaced as Party Leader before the Fall Annual Delegates Convention, or at the Convention itself. My response was that I could only see a Special Delegates Convention being initiated should one of three things happened. These were:
– The emergence of a new, realistic political force into the equation
– A new scandal of some sort coming to light
– Some new legislation that is either poorly designed or badly executed, causing a backlash
My reasoning was that the Party would prefer to just let things slide until the ADC which, although not a regularly scheduled Leadership challenge, could indeed accept such a challenge from the floor. This would be the most face-saving option for the Party, should there be sufficient desire to advance Dr. Brown’s retirement by a year. However should the Party feel that a new force was emerging that threatened to exploit the continued blunders of Dr. Brown’s leadership, the Party may decide it was best to act now and sap the potential support for such an emerging movement before the threat got to great. Similarly, a new scandal, or some poorly planned or executed legislation, espeically in light of recent events and the criticism aired during the Motion of No Confidence debate, could very well be enough to tip the balance in favour of convening a SDC for the purpose of revitalising the Party.
It seems to me that a combination of the two factors, an emerging new political movement and a poorly executed legislation attempt, has led to the current situation.
I am aware that there is not – as yet – a new realistic political force. However there has indeed been a huge level of discussion, both online and off, concerning the need for a new political force and how it would form, what it would stand for and what policies it would advocate. I wouldn’t be at all surpised if a few weeks from now all this talk manifests itself in a new political force. I am sure others, more politically astute than I and on the ground to judge developments more accurately, would agree with my sentiments here.
That the manner in which the Cruise Ship Gambling Bill was handled has provoked disgust amongst even those members who support the Bill or Dr. Brown’s Leadership – as evident in the published comments from the House in the RG – is certainly something of a watershed moment. That two Cabinet Ministers felt compelled to call fro Dr. Brown’s resignation, and have since been ejected from the Cabinet, weeks after another Cabinet Minister felt it neccessary to resign, further indicates the level of crisis within the Party over the Leadership.
I have several times echoed the sentiments that Mr. Lister described of Dr. Brown’s Leadership ability – that he has the qualities to be the PLP’s best ever Leader, but also our worst. I have said several times that I hope Dr. Brown will react to the various crises that have arisen from his Leadership by extending the olive branch and attempt to establish a new Leadership approach based more on consensus than domination. Unfortunately it seems that every crisis dodged has either emboldened his reckless Leadership style or at the very least failed to change it, and the Party has accordingly lurched from blunder to blunder like some sort of rum imbibed drunk blind to the consequences of its actions. Members and supporters have increasingly felt alienated by this recklessness and the hostility of those who support the Leadership with increasing desperation and manipulation.
I do not know or can even predict whether a motion for a SDC and subsequent Leadership challenge will be put to tonights Central Committee meeting. It may very well be that Dr. Brown remains as Leader right through to next years ADC. However I feel that it is increasingly clear that members and supporters are getting fed up with this Leadership and are worried at the long-term consequences to the Party that this means.
Personally, I question whether any Leadership change would see any substantial change to the Party. I do not see any great ideological differences between those who may take up the mantle of Leadership in the event of a change. The differences seem more one of personality, of style. While no doubt a lot of the concern of members/supporters about the current Leadership do indeed stem from from personality/stylistic issues, my own critique of the Party is based more on what I see as a betrayal of the Party’s principles as a Party AGAINST racism AND oligarchism. The current Party certainly seems to have forgotten the issue of oligarchism, and is focused more on creating an oligarchy more representative of our demographics than building a truly new and liberating society.
I would encourage those citizens who have begun discussions on new political movements to continue their discussions, and even to realise them beyond the mere discussion stage. A plurality of political movements, both in the traditional sense of the PLP, UBP and NLP, of electoral Parties, and in a new sense, of an empowering grassroots based movements related but not identical to electoral parties, are something that should be encouraged and facilitated. Such a plurality is both a sign of growing political consciousness and maturity, as well as to the benefit of our nation in the long-run.
As to what happens tonight, you’re guess is as good as mine.