The NewBP – MIA: A Day Late & A Dollar Short?

As Denis notes over at 21 Square it seems that the honeymoon period for the NewBP has been a short and brief one. It is not so much that the NewBP has been rebuked for its position or actions; afterall, how could it be when it hasn’t done anything or outlined its positions? Perhaps the only result of the NewBPs pitiful launch (and, at this rate, its most enduring) has been the disarray within the remaining rump UBP.

While talk of a ‘younger, blacker, fresher’ NewBP was nothing new, especially since the 2007 election, I admit I was surprised at the way they went about the launch. It was chaotic, poorly executed and didn’t tell me anything about the NewBP except who its public faces where. It told me a lot about the decay within the UBP, and it also told me that the launch was badly planned, politically premature and generally rushed. I had expected the NewBP to have prepared something, anything really, for this week, to clarify to the public what they were all about and capitalise on what little momentum they may still have following a week of nothing on their part. Monday’s paper came and went, and now, too, has Tuesday’s. And still there is nothing in the public domain about the NewBP, what they wish to call themselves or why anyone should vote for them or what makes them different from the UBP. Nothing. No website, no press releases, no name, nothing. All that the NewBP has is a handful of newspaper articles announcing its birth. At the moment the NewBP is a nonBP, it is stillborn.

The irony for the stillborn NewBP is that the media has been dominated more by the rump UBP and its crises, of which the NewBP was both a sympton and catalyst, as well as by the thoughts of the outgoing PLP Chairman on the upcoming Annual Delegates Convention of the PLP. Perhaps what is worse for the NewBP is that at their launch (if it can be called such a thing) they spoke confidently of capturing the support of a former PLP MP, indicating they stood to siphon off some PLP support. They failed to have such an individual present at their launch, leaving them open to accusations of bluster, and they have failed since to produce this (or any) individual to back up their claims. While they may indeed have lined up such a prominent individual, their failure to maintain the momentum that their launch provided them, has allowed them to be eclipsed by the UBP and PLP, not to mention mundane news stories, as well as ridiculed as political novices who couldn’t even handle an adequate launch. Any individual from the PLP they may have lined up will be increasingly less inclined to be associated with such an incompetent bunch, as, no doubt, will be those who lined up as potential donors.

I expect the NewBP to cause a slight flurry of interest when they finally get around to announcing their name and platform. However one gets the sense that they have lost the opportunities that their announcement provided. It is possible that they will be able to come up with a really good platform and organisational structure, they may even be able to dig in for the long haul and slowly but surely establish themselves as a credible and effective entity. It’s possible. Their problem though is that they have made a difficult task much harder than it already was through their pitiful launch and subsequent strategy of being missing in action. While it is true that he who holds his tongue is often considered wise, and this carries over into politics, it is also true in politics that without a name, without a platform and without generally being something of substance, one is essentially nothing.

This is not to say that the NewBP’s contribution to Bermudian politics is nothing. Their very existence has changed the political equation, just not quite in the way I reckon they would have liked. Their most important contribution has been to confirm to all that the UBP is no longer a viable Party for forming the government. The subsequent sniping between the NewBP and UBP (who leaked the ultimatum causing the premature launch, etc.) and associated fallout (the flood of resignations from the UBP) and the pathetic responses from the UBP, both in reaction to the NewBP and internally (Moniz on Swan, Swan on Moniz), has well and truly confirmed the UBP as an impotent political structure, a ship drifting with no rudder or sails. While the NewBP may so far have taken on the role of a sinking lifeboat to this listless ship, their second greatest contribution has been to show how NOT to launch a political party. Bermuda may be best regarding this NewBP as a dress rehearsal for a viable new Party, an opportunity to learn from their mistakes.

As noted, it is possible that the NewBP re-launches itself and over time outcompetes the rump UBP to become the Official Opposition. They may even be able to convince the Governor that with three MPs united as a political Party they should have a Senator appointed (doubtful). Their performance so far however leaves me not holding my breath for the NewBP as the saviour of our political system, although they may still prove to be a mid-wife for a new political order, simply for showing the impotency of the UBP in all its barren glory.

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18 thoughts on “The NewBP – MIA: A Day Late & A Dollar Short?

  1. Good grief Starling. I think you set a record for the number of times the word “launch” is used in a blog post. If you reread the reports of their announcement, it said they “intend” to form a new party, they “hope to provide a political party”. There was no launch. They said they would sit as Independents until Christmas and launch the new party in the new year.

    What is disappointing is the eagerness with which some jump to discredit a group who hasn’t even proclaimed their platform yet. Referring to them as the “Shaun Crockwell Party” or the NewBP and launch into a repetitive tirade like this blog post is just childish. It’s an attitude of “let’s knock their knees out from under them as they are attempting to stand up”. I thought you were better than that.

    The way I see it, they weren’t and aren’t ready to “launch” yet (a “manifesto” is supposedly coming this week) but they could no longer sit in UBP caucus meetings and be distracted by UBP disarray, when they knew that they wanted to blaze a new trail. It’s too much for any person to attempt to repair one political party when trying to form another. They just had to get out, and you can’t very well do that without some kind of public explanation and intent about what it is you want to do – even if it is not crystallized in specific terms.

    So all power to them. I don’t know whether they will be credible, effective, or hopeless. Maybe the jeers will turn out to be right. Let’s hope not for the sake of an effective democracy. But when they are ready to “launch”, we should all give them a fair listen.

  2. Agree with onevote on this one. Let’s wait and see and rather than moan and be critical why not contribute if it appears to be of interest. If not form your own and see what it takes. There is too much “we need a change we need something else” but I don’t see any effort from the detractors to get off their backsides and do something positive. Good luck to the 6. Who knows, maybe there are other movements in their infancy and yet to emerge. Interesting times ahead and maybe the time is ripe for a new Bermuda to emerge. Excellent timing too being the 50th anniversary of the Progressive Group.

  3. 21 times you wrote NewBP. We get the point. It could just as easily be xBP which has totally different connotations but that’s not what you’re trying to do here we know.

  4. I dunno, I think Jonathan has some very valid points here and is making a fair assessment based on what the public perception is going to be.

    We had calculated resignations en masse, followed by a press conference by said group. They even invoked the name of Obama (and which politician in Bermuda hasn’t, at this stage) to try to captivate interest.

    Some people are indeed going to be patient and wait to see what further developments come from this group, but I think a fair chunk of them are going to want to know in tangible forms what this group envisions.

    I’d guess that any PLP-leaning supporters who may be upset with the current government (and perhaps, comprise a big chunk of the proverbial swing voter crowd) are going to find themselves drawn back to the party that has a message and a way of getting it out there instead of a group that says ‘wait until the new year’.

    As far as “Referring to them as the “Shaun Crockwell Party” or the NewBP”, goes, in politics that’s not surprising. The group allowed themselves to be defined by others before defining themselves.

  5. Thank you “Truth”. Nothing like a NewMarxist rubbing it in. Whats NewBP stand for anyway. New Black People?

    I need a rum………

  6. The Truth, as far as I am aware the ‘new party’ has not announced a name for itself. While the PLP may be referring to it as the Crockwell Party, I actually haven’t come across anything saying that Mr. Crockwell is in fact the leader of the Party, and for that matter it is as absurd a statement as referring to the PLP as ‘the Brown Party’, or the UBP as ‘the Swan Party’. What is known is that they claim to be a new Bermudian Party, thus my use of the NewBP. Nothing else than that, so I am not sure what you are trying to insinuate into my motives.

    OneVote, I’m afraid to tell you this but in politics (and many other aspects of life) you don’t get ‘do-overs’. It seems that these guys have been planning this for several months, if not since the 2007 election. In all that time of planning they could manage no better than a poor launch like that? There are no such things as a pre-launch launch.

  7. From my perspective, though their motivations may be honorable, they should have planned their departure from the UBP and their next moves a bit more carefully.

    Their press conf should have had a name, a structure, a platform or at least major issues of concern.

    To say we will sit as independents while we sort things out doesnt exactly reek of confidence.

    The bickering back and forth between them and the UBP etc doesnt help either.

    While they havent identified a leader etc, they need to because all of them are relative political novices. They also seem to be using a lot of rhetoric, with Mr Crockwell i believe referring to themselves as an Obama-like movement.

    In addition, one of mentioned something about them all having biracial children as a reason to support them because they are a biracial group or something. I dont think that was a smart move either.

    While I applaud them for leaving an organization that they dont agree with, i feel their methods and they way they have gone about it wasnt planned or thought out sufficiently and may prove disastrous for them.

  8. “The bickering back and forth between them and the UBP etc doesnt help either.”

    I’d disagree. A good spat helps define them as not the UBP.

  9. but the bickering isnt over issues…not national issues…it is over internal issues.

    the same way the plp public bickering doesnt help either…

  10. “but the bickering isnt over issues…not national issues…it is over internal issues.”

    True. But a fight is a fight and my guess is that what people takeaway is that they are not even close to on the same team. That accomplishes something for them I think.

    But generally I would agree that they have squandered the first few weeks. However I think a lot of people are so open to something new that it won’t hurt them too much.

  11. A) I love that the NewBP moniker has stuck. It made me laugh when Letariatpro said it first over on BIAW and it still does.
    B) The way the split came about, if we recall, was that these men decided they wanted things their way and threatened to go home and take their ball with them if they didn’t get their way. When Mr. Swan, and while I have no feelings either way for the man, quite rightly stood up and said that he wasn’t going to be bullied out of his position, they did just that.
    “Oh, crap. I thought he’d fold!”
    C) Based on the self-aggrandizing, antagonistic… and downright belligerent… tone of Mr. Pettingill’s quotes in the article in the paper today, I get the impression that we’re going to get the worst of both worlds with this lot.
    The constant mud-slinging attack of the PLP AND the ball-less, worthless uselessness of the UBP.
    They talk about how the UBP is a broken party and have already started smearing… even though they were ALL in a position to make things better for YEARS now.
    Why leave now? Why not go independent ages ago?
    Did they JUST realize that it was broken?
    If so, why would ANYONE vote for them? If they can’t see that something as completely worthless as the current UBP has been broken for a LONG time by their own actions or lack of actions, then surely they don’t have the awareness, vision or foresight to lead the country, no?

    If they’re serious about it, let’s see it. They should call it the “SFP”.
    Sound and Fury Party. Signifying nothing.

  12. I’m curious. How do the usual detractors of the Royal Gazette / Mid Ocean News find the media coverage of the UBP strife?

  13. Personally I’m wondering why there isn’t more on the NewBP – is it that they aren’t responding to reporters or the reporters are more interested in the squabbling of the UBP? Both make good articles I would have thought.

  14. The NewBP were on Gary Moreno’s talk show last night and whle I missed most of it, in talking to folks, they still havent articulated their visions etc.
    It was Pettingill, Hunt, Crockwell and Fahy. They mentioned how they are still getting things together and will be making announcements as things come together. They continue to mention how they represent all of bermuda, and not just part of bermuda. I am guessing this is their take on the fact that they are multi-racial which has been their mantra since going public. They also mentioned how they are not connected to the group the Bermudians, however I am not so sure. it will be interesting to see how things go as i think they need to do some image control and get themselves an identity or it seems their break from the UBP may be in vain. It is one thing to gain people’s praise for breaking free of the UBP, but its another thing to gain these peoples trust in running a country, when not one of them have been in Parliament for even 2 years.

  15. I believe they approached the group (Bermudians), in particular Ms. Battersbee, but they turned them down. My feeling is that they were desperate to latch onto the Bermudians movement, but the Bermudians were not eager to be associated with them, mainly because to do so would have confirmed the accusations thrown at them from certain PLPers.

    I am still shocked that almost three weeks have gone by now, and this group (who it increasingly seems planned this at least a year ago) are still disorganised.

  16. Ms Battersbee has tried to plead that she is a PLP supporter who is anti-Dr Brown, so in that vain to become a member of this group would make her more anti-PLP than anti-Dr Brown. To my knowledge the other public figures of the Bermudians, have been more aligned with the UBP.

    They keep hinting at the fact that they may have support from PLP politicians etc. Yet they have not come forward with a name yet. The longer this takes to happen, the more fictional it seems.

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