Just some musings on the news

I read with some curiousity the articles in the RG today about Kim Swan’s rallying call to a paltry attendance of members, Charles Jeffers thoughts on the NewBP and the court case of prominent NewBP member Sean Pitcher.

I am sure, and the report in the RG amplifies this view, that many will at first look take the poor attendance at the UBP meeting as further evidence that the UBP is doomed. I think however it is important to note that this was not a general UBP meeting, but a branch level meeting in now exUBPer NewBPer Mark Pettingill. In these meetings one would imagine only the branch officers and the more active local members are likely to attend. Attendance would not be expected to be high at the best of times, and in what is clearly a split and demoralised branch it is no surprise that it would be low. Had Mr. Swan had such a low turnout in a general UBP meeting (and that they haven’t done this may indicate they are afraid to do so), then there would be more in it for UBPers to worry about. As for Mr. Swan’s actual speech, there isn’t much to say. It was unsurprisingly hyperbolic, and didn’t really make much sense to me. If anything it smacked of desperation and not decisiveness. If the UBP is to rebound and maintain itself as a rump political party it needs to sit down and carefully plan its next few steps, maintain cohesion and stop with personal bloodletting, focusing more on organisational and ideological restructuring. So far it really hasn’t inspired much hope for doing so and seems intent on lashing out and nonsensical diatribe.

It is now almost a week and a half and the NewBP hasn’t come out with its name, plan of action or anything whatsoever since their premature and ill-prepared launch. All that has been heard of them since has been from pundits like myself or sniping from the jilted UBP. Unfortunately today’s paper did have a report on Sean Pitcher, one of the exUBPer NewBP founders, although this was about his trial for impaired driving. I’m not saying anything about the particulars of the case, but it is quite pathetic that the NewBPs public image so far is that of the UBP sniping and traffic misdemeanors. Where is the NewBP?

Mr. Jeffers had his usual informative insights in an interview about the NewBPs viability. I do agree with him in his general analysis, that the situation is ripe at the moment for an NLP style third party movement to have much more success than the NLP itself did back in the 1980s and early 1990s. I don’t quite share his optimism that this NewBP itself will be able to fulfill that role though. A third party could work now simply because there is no longer a viable parliamentary opposition of any sort, with the government instead being checked more forcefully by internal PLP dissent and civil society. The NewBPs impotence so far does not do it any favours, let alone instill confidence anywhere near the level required to attract the support and names it needs to be formidable challenge to PLP hegemony. One does wonder however how much of Mr. Jeffers statements should be read as opinion or if Mr. Jeffers and the former NLP organisation are actively assisting the formation of the NewBP. They certainly would be able to offer the NewBP experience in party organisation and a ready made ideological platform to use as a template.

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15 thoughts on “Just some musings on the news

  1. How would you suggest to go about forming a new party in Bermuda, aware that the PLP attack dogs are salivating in the wings for their opportunity to destroy you once you announce a platform, name etc? Lack of immediate visibility may seem to be a weakness, but what if it is planned?

  2. I think the former NLP members could very well have a role to play in either this particular movement or another movement altogether. After all, there’s political experience with Charles Jeffers and others that isn’t PLP or UBP oriented, I’d imagine.

  3. @ Robert – I would have suggested that they be prepared to launch with a name, a website, a constitution/organisational structure, and at least a basic platform, as a bare minimum. They could flesh these out over time, but they needed to define themselves, tell me why they are different from either the UBP or PLP, why should I vote for them or even get interested enough to join and work with them.

    Their lack of doing the above leads me to look at them as ill-prepared, bordering with incompetent. It also makes me wonder what the difference is between them and the UBP; the only differences seem personal and not ideological right now.

    The PLP (and the UBP at that) will be ready to attack no matter what. That is going to happen. The ambiguity that the NewBP may have planned certainly doesn’t seem to do them any favours. They just look weak and incompetent right now. Sure, they prevent themselves being attacked for their platform, but at the same time they prevent people defending them or being inspired by them. The ABC had the same problem, nice idea (need for a 3rd Party to break the mold), nice rhetoric, but ultimately it didn’t add up to anything more than a notion and empty rhetorical fluff.

    The main benefit of their existence so far has been to demonstrate what not to do in forming a new Party. One would hope that groups will analyse the experience of the NewBP and the NLP and adjust their plans accordingly.

  4. Tryangle,

    You really show your lack of knowledge when you suggest “former NLP members…..”. You should know that former NLP members are former PLP members. The NLP never attracted any members from the UBP. Also, I think Charles Jeffers is the youngest former NLP member. Most of the former NLP members went back to the PLP. As far as Charles Jeffers’ political experience, he has very little in spite of the fact that he has been dubbed a “political commentator”. He was never elected to parliament, never served in the senate and was the chairman of a party that was doomed to failure just like Shawn Crockwell’s party.

  5. LaVerne Furbert,

    You really show your lack of knowledge of just what Political Experience is…. One does not have to be an elected official, or a member of any particular Political Party, nor do they have to be popular or hold political views that anyone else would subscribe to. Mr Jeffers in fact DOES have YEARS of Political experience, and is much respected in some circles.

  6. Slowhand,

    How could Mr. Jeffers have years of political experience? He hasn’t been involved in politics for years. The NLP had a very short life span. Political experience means exactly what it says – experience in politics, no matter how you try and spin it. That is not to say that he cannot be respected by some for his political opinions. Yes, he is obviously respected in some circles, that’s why he’s often quoted by other local media. But we’re all much respected in some circles, beieve it or now.

  7. I really don’t want to respond to that low personal attack, but just clarifying that Charles Jeffers and other NLP members have the experience of campaining under a party platform and political observations and therefore *may* have a role to play. That is all.

  8. You people make me smile. Everything coming from me is a personal attack. You don’t have to tell me anything about the NLP. I know all about the NLP, probably more than you know.

  9. Jonathan,
    As you are off island, you will be unaware of what is happening that is not reported. I have heard many comments on the street, in shops etc regarding this movement and most are very positive. In fact these 6 may not be the front runners. This is what makes this development quite different from those in the past, and to coin a phrase from David Burt “get rid of the over 60’s in being involved in running this island”. They are retro and the future is what is important.

  10. @ LaVerne, I think you will find that I personally, and presumably also Tryangle, were referring to the experience that the NLPers had in 3rd Party politics in Bermuda, in particular their failure and how to avoid a similar fate. I am also sure that they can provide the new group with experience in organisational issues, as there are a lot of apparent similarities between the PLP-NLP split and the UBP-NewBP split. As for Mr. Jeffers, he has as much right to his opinion as any other, and I think it would be unfair to miscontrue the contributions the NLPers can make with the individual of Mr. Jeffers.

    @ Robert – yes, as you are on the ground you no doubt will have a different perspective. I am in constant contact with party cadres and others back home, and base my positions both on discussions with them and my own experience and insight. I wonder though how much the positive reception is based on their simply not being the UBP (but what are they?) and the fact that this action does indeed break the stalemate that our politics had become stuck in. Whether this NewBP will develop into a formidable force or if their historical contribution will be their impact on the UBP and the formation of alternate political formations, is not yet clear.

  11. Jonathan,

    All due respect to you, and Tryangle, whoever he is, all you know about the NLP is what you have read in the Royal Gazette. Take my word for it, I know much more about that party than I’m willing to share on thsi blog, or any other blog.

    I have never questioned Mr. Jeffers’ right to his opinion. What I have tried to point out is that his “political experience” has no more worth that my political experience. But you, and others fail to see that.

    I don’t know who Robert Bryce is, but he, like most other posters here, remain nameless and faceless. My information tells me that “Robert Bryce” is not a registered voter in Bermuda, so, is he opinion really worthy anything?

    Freedom of speech is guarantee to all, but with freedom of speech comes responsibility. It matters little to me what people like “rummy” and “Robert Bryce”, and those other nameless, faceless people have to say. I admire people who have the courage of their convictions, even if I don’t agree with them.

    Posters, please don’t come back to me about one my sons, unless, of course you’re willing to sign your name.

  12. Jonathan,
    I apologise that our discussion is being interrupted by a “LaVerne Furbert” whoever she is. I think if you stay the course and watch events, a new Bermuda is dawning, at long last.

  13. With all due respect, not once have I ever commented on Laverne Furbert as a person or her family. However I am lumped in as one of “Jonathan’s bloggers” and have just dealt with an unexpected insult.

    And for some reason we’re all labelled as “only getting our information from the Royal Gazette”.

    As for who’s word to take, I’ll make that decision for myself.

    “Take my word for it, I know much more about that party than I’m willing to share on thsi blog, or any other blog.”

    – I’d like to hear it. I’ll buy a Workers’ Voice newspaper if the online route isn’t appropriate. Or the LttEs published by the Bda Sun or the Gazette. What is it about the NLP that doesn’t make their members or former members worthwhile in the current political climate?

  14. The NLP membership was basically former members of the PLP who had been dispelled. Gilbert Darrell, who by the way is my uncle, was the leader and most of the members were his age. Some of them returned to the PLP, and others, like Charles Jeffers, did not join any other party. As I see it, the only former member of the NLP that is still politically active is Jahmal Simmons. There were very few young members, most were middle-aged at the time of formation.

    Some former NLP members, like Charles Jeffers and Kath Bell, occasionally contribute to the political debate in Bermuda.

  15. Thanks for the additional info on the current state of former NLP members.

    Why did the NLP fail to gather any real steam despite its ability to retain Parliamentary seats (Gilbert Darrell) or ability to field some candidates in previous elections (including the ones that were mentioned in the above post)?

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