The NewBPs New Name

Well, it has taken close to two months, but the NewBP, which split from the UBP, has finally announced its name, launched a website and had an official launch on the steps of the House of Assembly.

I don’t think there’s been any secret that I have been rather critical, even to the point of some thinking I’m overly hostile, towards the NewBP. I was (and remain) shocked at their lack of planning in both how they came to be through the split, and failure to follow up with any policy positions, organisation or name. The individuals behind this split had been musing about such a move since the 2007 election. They had almost 18 months to think about how to do it, and I expected better.

Even with their new name, the Bermuda Democratic Alliance, and website, I still don’t know what they stand for. Their website seems to just repeat all the empty nice sounding rhetoric that they’ve been saying to the media all this time. About the most that I can get from reading over their site is that they seem to be modeling themselves on the UK Liberal Democratic Party or the South African Democratic Alliance. In fact, the more I look at the Bermuda Democratic Alliance the more I think they’re trying to copy the South African Democratic Alliance. Both Parties seem to be advocating a centrist liberal ideology. Which is exactly what the PLP and the UBP have come to adopt, more or less, as well.

Our political parties today are all parties of the ideological centre. Tweedledum, Tweedledee and Tweedled’oh. There are differences of course, both in some minor ideological positions and in their class bases. The PLP is an unholy alliance of the working classes with the rising Black bourgousie. The UBP is an alliance based on the White upper and middle classes. This new Party will, by the very nature of its split, have a base similar to the UBP, with the exception that it may be able to attract a significant number of Bermudian youth who have been alienated by both the UBP and PLP and are eager for a vehicle they can call their own. Ideologically the PLP has the best approach to the race question, in that they are willing to articulate it and advocate some measures to address it. The UBP by comparison adopts a ‘don’t talk about it’ position, while playing a patronising PR campaign with its parliamentary candidates. Quite frankly that is all that really separates the PLP and the UBP these days. The Democratic Alliance so far seem to be adopting the traditional UBP line, of colour-blind now, and lets not talk about it becuase its uncomfortable. Instead, lets all just hold hands and sing kumbyah.

I am not optimistic about the chance of success for the Democratic Alliance. Their stunted launch and lack of clarity is only made up by their nice sounding fluffy rhetoric and ‘why can’t we all just get along’ whining. Despite that, I do believe the Democratic Alliance has the potential to serve as a catalyst for Bermudian politics. I hope that its emergence could force the PLP and the UBP to clarify their ideologies; the committment to the centre has left our politics bland and based on poli-tricks as opposed to politics proper. About the only thing that is certain though, is that the Democratic Alliance poses a direct challenge not so much to the PLP but to the UBP. The UBP has already been forced to adopt change where previously it just dragged its feet; and tonight the UBP is choosing its new leader. How the Democratic Alliance changes Bermudian politics from now on is an open question. They may simply burn out after a brief, but bright, five minutes of flame. They may simply represent a foot in the door for a new politics. They may even become the new Opposition.

I do question the almost religious comments being posted on the Democratic Alliance’s FB page, with an almost chant-like mantra of ‘Change – I beleive’ and the like. Change to what? Change in and of itself means nothing. Change can be both negative and positive; we should not seek change for the sake of change alone. I worry that some people are too readily swept away by novelty, brought on through disillussionment with the current system. I am sure many are happy at the potential that the Democratic Alliance represents, however I would caution against an uncritical reception for them.

As an aside, I realise some readers may take issue with my decision to refer to the new Party as the Democratic Alliance as opposed to the Bermuda Democratic Alliance. I do so for a few reasons. Perhaps the main reason is due to my reading of Denis’ account over on 21square as to the origin of the name. While it is quite possible that it had been used long before the events he records, I am satisfied that his account represents at least an independent development of the name. More than that, it would appear that the events he describes led to the first public usage of the name, at least in a recorded sense. To that end, and in as much as the Democratic Alliance does not seem to be associated with those who were involved in its origin, I feel that their use of the acronym, while not illegal, is unethical. Beyond that, there are a number of political parties, some defunct, some active, which also use the name ‘Democratic Alliance’, ususally prefixed by the respective countries name. Some examples include the South African Democratic Alliance, the Singapore Democratic Alliance and the Italian Democratic Alliance. All of these parties are liberal parties, parties of the political centre, all sharing the same basic philosophy and approach as this Bermudian Democratic Alliance.


31 thoughts on “The NewBPs New Name

  1. “Ideologically the PLP has the best approach to the race question, in that they are willing to articulate it and advocate some measures to address it”

    You’re joking, right?

    The PLP deliberately inflames racial passions for political ends, and that’s one of the primary reasons I could never support them in their current form.

    Suggesting that it’s unethical for the new party to use the name Bermuda Democratic Alliance is also assinine, IMHO. I don’t disagree with Denis’ account of where it was first mentioned, but as neither he nor Graeme did anything with it, I hardly think that they can complain that someone else adopted it. It’s a good name, and I wish the new party luck.

  2. Hi Phil – No, I am not joking. I do believe that both Parties play the race card, just in different ways, and I don’t believe that either use is conducive. However, not talking about it and pretending everything is just dandy – as the UBP do – is counterproductive. The PLP recognises the need to articulate it, and also recognises that if the institutional status quo is not challenged, then we will have bigger problems on the horizon. To that degree, the PLP has the more enlightened approach to the race question.

    I stand by my position on the name, as outlined above. The Democratic Alliance themselves are referring to their organisation as ‘the Alliance’ so I don’t see why I cannot refer to them as the Democratic Alliance or DA. The precedent is set.

  3. Jonny,

    What is the goal to all the conversations about race. We’ve been beating this issue senseless for at least the past 3 years and its getting old. What has resulted in the conversations? Education is still in shambles, the income gap between blacks and whites is unchanged, and the government seems to be quite contempt at not actually changing anything. The PLP uses the race as a tool to get votes by stirring emotion.

    You’ve never explained what the goal is by addressing racism head on. Should land be taken away from whites? Should businesses be taken away from whites (*ahem Bermuda Cement Company)? Please explain the kind of change that you’re looking for by having these conversations. Please!

    To say that the UBP plays the race card is ridiculous. I’ve never seen the UBP run full page ads in the Royal Gazette calling their leader a slave master. You’re losing credability when you make comments like that, and its hard to take you seriously anymore.

  4. Justin, its not about reparations it is about accepting and acknowledging the disparities and why things are how they are.

    As far as the UBP and race is concerned, they play it very well. Just the fact that they take any black candidate they can and push them in losing constituencies just to fill their slate is proof to me. the past few elections they have found any standard of black candidate, put them generally in an unwinnable seat, but tried to portray their party as diverse. When we all know who was really directing their ship.

  5. Ken,

    Explain to me how things are and why they are. The last time I checked, the PLP has been in power for over 10 years and I would dare say that things in the black community have gotten worse. How are you still blamming the white community?

    Did Sean Crockwell have a losing seat? Dante Hunt? Kim Swan?! Bob Richards?! Oh, I forgot, those are the “house niggers” so they don’t count. Stupid me.

  6. Ken,

    Explain to me how things are and why they are. The last time I checked, the PLP has been in power for over 10 years and I would dare say that things in the black community have gotten worse. How are you still blamming the white community?

    Did Sean Crockwell have a losing seat? Dante Hunt? Kim Swan?! Bob Richards?! Hello??

  7. Oh, and to add to that. I live in a PLP strong hold where Derrick Burgess is currently my MP. In the last election, the UBP candidate there was Sullivan and he looked white to me. So if the UBP is being accused of throwing black candidates into the lions den, the same is true with their white candidates. Seems like equality to me.

  8. Good day All,

    Being in an interracial long term relationship I can’t agree with you Jonathan. In fact with my background as a 7th gen Bermudian of Portuguese decent I strongly dissagree that either of the two main parties have a good hold on race or a reasonalbe solution. And yes I do agree the UBP used race as a tool ie the politicans put forth to them but I would state that in my opion the PLP’s redoric and attitude shown to whites for what ever the reason as a better way. I have first had expirence here and I don’t see it. All I see is racist in politics.


  9. @ Justin – The goal of talking about race is to help heal the wounds that we collectively have as a society, as well as identifying where to go from here. I personally do support a form of reparations, which I have touched on before on this site, although my sense of reparations is not all Whites writing a cheque to all Blacks, which is a totally ridiculous notion in my opinion. My vision of it is pretty much a socialist society, and I don’t think we can solve the race problem within the capitalist framework myself.

    I have also discussed the issue of the UBP playing the race card in depth in other posts; I’ld have to search for them, but I’ll put the links here once I do. Ken however does pretty much cover the general idea. For a majority White Party (in membership and voter support base to have a majority Black candidate slate is the clearest example I can think of to illustrate the UBP’s use of the race card. Both Parties play the race card, they just play it differently, and I think both uses of the race card are counter-productive to out common interests.

  10. @ CDF – I agree. I have found the PLP’s use of race to be counter-productive and unnecessary. However I do think that the PLP’s long-term commitment to see a more evenly racial class distribution to be more beneficial for our nation than the UBP’s approach. The UBP’s approach, of don’t talk about it plus laissez faire-ness on the issue, leads to the status quo inequality being maintained and even reinforced over time. The PLP’s approach largely resolves the race question and allows politics to move to the more important (but obscured) issue of class.

  11. The PLP was built by socialists for socialists before these elite downpressors invaded with their hatred for the pooor.

  12. Phil
    “The PLP deliberately inflames racial passions for political ends, and that’s one of the primary reasons I could never support them in their current form.”

    Yes Phil, some of us are passionate when it comes to race in Bermuda, but I don’t expect you to understand that. As Bob Marley said “He who knows it, feels it”. If you were really honest with yourself you would admit that the real reason you don’t support the PLP is because some people in Bermuda have labled it as a “Black Party”.

    I had to smile at your comment that you “could never support them in their current form”. Few people who look like you have supported them in any “form”.

    I don’t know what year you were born, but I can assure you that Bermudians have been beating the race issue since the first slave was imported, and that goes way back beyond three years. You are correct on one level though, it is getting old, as is each and every one of us.

    I can’t recall all of the ads that the UPB ran in the Royal Gazette, but I do recall the one with Delaey Robinson’s face in the centre of a bull’s eye. See if you can locate that one.

    No, you have never seen the UPB run full page ads in the Royal Gazette calling their leader a slave master, neither have you seen the PLP run ads in the Royal Gazette calling their leader a slave master.

  13. Let’s face it the PLP and UBP are both history, or should shortly become so. Whilst the BDA may not appeal to all, what party does, at least it is a breath of fresh air. To those who dismiss it, my point would be get out and do the work and start another. If all one can do is criticize then you are part of the problem not the solution.
    If I read the ideals behind the BDA correctly they have no set agenda, and their message is get involved, give input and help formulate the goals. Pretty close to the domocratic formula many have been espousing. Here’s the first opportunity for decades to actually be involved in shaping a new Bermuda.

  14. The individuals behind this split had been musing about such a move since the 2007 election. They had almost 18 months to think about how to do it, and I expected better.

    Johnny, this is entirely incorrect. The truth of the matter is that whles these 6 were advocating reform, it was reform within the UBP. I was only 2 months ago when they had had enough and split fromt the group (Three tops, as I doubt it was a decision taken lightly and there was probably some mulling around about it). I know this for a fact as I was one of a select group who was attempting to get these guys (actually the 7 so reformist MP’s) to split from the UBP a good 12 months ago, unfortunantly at that time to no avail. I had since given up and walked away from the UBP. I was informed of this decision the night before the split by Donte Hunt, to which I sent out an email simply saying “It’s about bloody time!”. I’m not sure where you got 18 months from, but again that’s completely wrong and an unfair comment on your part. I reality it’s been closer to 90 days tops, with the first meeting approximately 2 months ago inviting members in to start filling the membership. What has been done in those 2 months is qute amazing, what you have seen is only the launch, there is much more coming down the pipeline that is already in progress though. Rome wasn’t built in a day after all.

    As far as what the BDA stands for, aside from honesty, transparency and good governance that is available and for all Bermudians, they wish to end the divisiveness of politics that has been ripping this Island apart. We are fully on board with working with the PLP and the UBP, not to mention other special interest groups, in initiatives that bennifit Bermuda and her people. That doesn’t mean that we will just simply agree with each parties initiatives, but would work with them to an ends that everyone can buy into. The BDA is also another outlet for people who are also disenfranchised by the current political parties, either as another option to vote for, or to get involved in at whatever level they would like.

    As far as your comments to change, well change isn’t always immediate, sometimes it is an evolving beast over time that his molded by the wills of many. You said it youself that since coming out the UBP has been forced to change some of its practices, that’s change right there and you have acknowledged it. Change isn’t always something that can be defined in words, but rather a pressure for other entities to do better. But as far as I can say, and I’m not a spokesperson for the BDA, but the change they are reffering to is what I have outlined above in terms of how politics is done on this Island in a truely transparent way that Bermudians can feel comfortable with. It’s not going to be about closed door meetings and sudden news that rocks the Island that people wake up to the next morning. It’s about changing how the decision making process is made, it’s about changing how the public (The political entities boses) are infomred every step of the way and it’s about executing a collective decision that has buy in from the public. That, my friend, is part of the change that they are reffering to.

    Oh and one thing I forgot just reviewing the messages, change is also, as Sean Crockwell said yesterday, taking race out of politics, and instead of having it divide the Island, rather bring it out for all to see and celebrating those differences together. This has to be done and it’s something that that BDA is dead serious about. You mentioned race in half a paragraph out of a whole page of writing and each and every comment afterwards picked up on that and has monopolised the conversation. Bermuda is not in a good place regarding race and all of us need a dramatic change in attitude towards it. All the above is clear evidence for this. Do I or the BDA have a magic bullet? NO. Has it been discussed several times already in our caucus meetings? You betcha. But the consensus is there, that race isn’t something to be avoided, ignored, played up or down, but rather it’s something to be celebrated. Personally I would like to see The culture fest come back as a major event again and then have other initiatives like this to help us all celebrate the differences. The fact is that no one can help or choose their colour, their only differences really are their own POV’s and what has shaped them in their individual history and upbringing. The sad thing about this is that where we are now, even if the Island was 100% black or 100% white, with this current mentality and approach we would still find a reason to dislike someone for some minor and irrelevant difference. It’s this thought process that has to change.

  15. Hi Sean, thank you for taking the time to respond as you have. I will do my best to counter your arguments.

    When I refer to 18 months I am referring directly to the immediate aftermath of the 2007 election. This led to widespread discussion (based on my own eavesdroppings…) amongst UBP MPs and personalities concerning reform or revolution (in the sense of a split). Ultimately they decided on reform, and spent the subsequent months working on that. In so doing I am sure they would have presented what this reform would entail, in the sense of policy direction and Party organisation. Otherwise they were just nattering on about the need for change and nothing else. As such they (who later became the DA) have had 18 months of developing policy and structure which could easily have been adapted and presented in the form of a new Party. While the NewBP/DA proper have only existed for about two months, they had an 18 month gestation period, and one would have expected them to be much more developed than what is currently being presented.

    Your second paragraph, quite frankly, is relatively meaningless. It is just nice sounding rhetoric that all the Parties put out there; it doesn’t tell me anything about how the DA is different from them. At most it is an argument along the lines of ‘we aren’t the PLP or the UBP, give us a chance’.

    I actually think that the DA has put forward an indication of its political philosophy and approach; they just haven’t done it in a way that the majority of people – and perhaps themselves – are aware of. As stated, I see the DA as a liberal party, and they have said as much themselves. They have also indicated they are committed to some political reforms, in the sense of being pro-referenda and fixed term elections, as well as greater consulting. These are admirable, but need to be fleshed out more, especially how they hope to reconcile liberal democracy and popular democracy. You cannot have both, although you can have some aspects of both. This needs developed and stated properly.

    The biggest challenge that the DA has at the moment, beyond providing a position around which people can rally and develop (other than change for the sake of it), is the race question. The only position that I see coming from the DA at the moment is basically the same one that the UBP had. It is a policy that argues that talking about race critically is divisive, along the lines of ‘why can’t we all just get along’ whining. You talk about celebrating race and diversity, again, perfectly fine and all, however the same notion is put forward by the UBP and the PLP. Its just feel good rhetoric. How does the DA seek to remove race from politics? Does it have an understanding of why race is in our politics in the first place (beyond the UBP knee-jerk that the PLP puts it there for divisive purposes)? Does it have a position on institutional racism and how it continues to structure our society? Saying sweet things about diversity does nothing except avoid asking the hard questions, and committing oneself to the hard work involved in actually removing race from politics.

    The other note I have here is that while you may not be the official representative of the DA in a PR sense, you would certainly seem to be their de facto online presence (although I suspect that some posters online are not being completely honest in their positions at the moment). Keep it up, it’s refreshing to have such conversations.

  16. Ms. Furbert, if you’re going to quote Bob Marley, the least you could do is get it right. It’s “he who feels it, knows it.” And the irony of you using the words of a mixed-race man who worked for unity between the races to further the divisive agenda of the PLP is not lost on me.

    I do agree that the Delaey Robinson ad was in poor taste. But no more so than the claims about Dunkley being in favour of whipping people like they were slaves.

    “Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war and until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation, until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes. And until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race, there is war. And until that day, the dream of lasting peace, world citizenship, rule of international morality, will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, but never attained… now everywhere is war.”

    Works both ways, you know.

  17. Thanks, I think I’m the only blogger in the group to my knowledge, like you, I’ve been out there before online and not afraid to have people know who’s doing the writing. I agree about the conversations, you and I have had some in the past. I enjoy the feed back and have already communicated some of it back to core members. SG’s recommendation, I believe, is being taken up. At the very least, through me and hopefully others, the bloggers can have a direct result in helpilng to shape the party’s stance and movement and hopefully Bermuda is the benefactor as a result.

    Your second paragraph, quite frankly, is relatively meaningless. It is just nice sounding rhetoric that all the Parties put out there

    Isn’t this what most parties do though, even with their stance on issues and political platforms. What I’m getting at is that the difference most people will see is that aside from talking the talk, this group is ready to walk the walk as well. I can’t say much more on this except to judge us by our actions, our successes and (hopefully not many) failures. I believe ultimately this is the reason why a platform hasn’t been hashed out yet. We see pretty words from parties all the time. For me I want someone or something that gets results, positive ones. I’m not sure what else you would like me to say on this, I’m not sure if I can say anything you would like to hear, save that our current stance is this. We are developing our platform based upon feed back from a larger member base and the community to develope. This is our stance currently, it sounds as though you don’t like this, but it is what it is. I just hope that in time the platform that we do roll out is worthy of everyone’s votes. I know that this and other stances on referendoms will be hashed out starting as early as this coming week. Best I can say here is to just stay tuned. Once we have all the meat and potatoes out, I look forward to your input though, I appreciate and respect it.

    Regarding the 18 months, again not much change happened that I saw, save some meetings, but there were no policy changes. Sometimes, even though you are for reform, if the cards or numbers are stacked against you, you there is no development, save for internal arguing. In an atmosphere like that it’s almost imposside to strategise on new policies, etc. Once that happens it’s time to cut loose, toss out the old canvase and start painting on a new fresh one. I hear what you say, but I believe that the stalemate ultimately stopped any progressive reform being done, save for some ideas.

    Now we have a new slate of peole working with these 6, and I have to say that alot of the direction that you are seeing is actually coming from the people that you saw in that photograph and not the MP’s. The MP’s laid that first brick, those 40 or so people are now laying the rest, with the MP’s. I consider this a good thing as I’m hearing fresh persepectives and POV’s that I had never considered, most of those people I had never met before, which makes this whole thing even more interesting. I”ve been in marathon meetings and for once I haven’t had the urge to either fall asleep or stick a pencil through my ear and twist. It’s encouraging and energetic and I hope the rest of Bermuda feeds off this energy and gets motivated as well.

    I know that you may consider this fluff, however, but I’m noticing a big difference between how the BDA are tackling issues and doing the work to what I’ve seen before.

  18. Sean, the reason the 18 months period keeps being brought up is because the MPs themselves said in their very first news conference that they had been thinking about it since the last election.

    It’s not to be mean or anything, but more of an “oh, really?”

    But, as you know, we do wish you well. But much of our frustration comes from what we perceive as a lack of preparedness on the BDA’s part.

  19. Um… for the record, the Delaey Robinson ad was part of a series. There were several ads, identical in layout, that ran before it. Funny how those are never mentioned. Just the one that can be used and twisted to suit an agenda.

    Strangely enough, I also don’t hear UBP supporters publicly referring to PLP supporters as “House~” or “Confused Negroes”, I don’t hear them publicly inferring negatives onto people because of the colour of their skin. I don’t hear them questioning people’s loyalty to the party based on the colour of their skin.

    Yes, the UBP played the race card. Yes, it’s nasty.

    But compared to the active, blatant, vehement and very vocal use of race to cudgel people into voting for the PLP, it’s apples and oranges.

    The UBP’s, albeit disgusting, use of race is a reaction to the realities of the day.

    The PLP’s use of it is why they had to react that way.

  20. @ Jonny – Jonny I really don’t understand your statement:

    “The goal of talking about race is to help heal the wounds that we collectively have as a society, as well as identifying where to go from here. I personally do support a form of reparations, which I have touched on before on this site, although my sense of reparations is not all Whites writing a cheque to all Blacks, which is a totally ridiculous notion in my opinion. My vision of it is pretty much a socialist society, and I don’t think we can solve the race problem within the capitalist framework myself.”

    I don’t understand how just talking about something will help heal wounds. For example, if a husband had an affair, and the husband and wife then decided to try and make the relationship work after the affair, is the best thing to do is talk about it for the rest of their lives? Somehow I don’t think so. You talk about it and go on and try to make things better. In the context of Bermuda, we’ve talked about it apparently “since the first slave was imported to Bermuda”. It’s old now. If reperations are the way forward then get on with it. But, you even admit that you aren’t confident that reperations cannot be within a capitalist system. The PLP has made no hint that they are attempting to stray away from a capitalist system. Afterall, international business has thrived under the PLP leadership, right?

    Please explain this to me further. I’m very confused.

  21. Hi Justin.

    To begin with, the goal of the PLP policy at the moment may be described as getting our class system to correalate with our racial demography. What that means is that no matter what economic class you are going to look at (based on income and profession), the racial breakdown should be similar to that of Bermuda as a whole. As such about 60% of the upper class should be Black and 40% of the lower class should be White. This does not mean penalising Whites, it just means that the ‘have nots should have more while the haves continue to have’. It should also be stressed that similarly levels of education should be representative of our racial breakdown and so forth. I doubt you will find this is actually an official PLP policy, however I think you will find it is the de fact policy. Achieving even that much would benefit our people immensely.

    And you are correct, the PLP has no interest in moving away from the capitalist system. At most they see that the racial inequalities within Bermudian capitalism pose a serious threat to Bermudian capitalisms sustainability. It is necessary to reduce those frictions for the long-term benefit of our nation both socially and in the capitalist economic sense. While correcting these inequalities may pose some threat to Bermuda capitalisms short-term competitiveness, the benefits for its long-term prospects (let alone our social harmony) are crucial.

    Now, onto the issue of talking about the problem. Let’s take your example of a married couple where there has been an affair. It’s not a perfect example, but I think it is adequate enough. In your example the husband and wife have discussed the issue and the related aspects of trust as well as how to repair the trust and worked out a plan for making their relationship work from then on. That is exactly the point of talking about the issue. Quite frankly the husband and wife at the moment have not sat down and worked things out. What we have instead is one partner that is trying to talk about the issue and work out a plan, and we have another partner (who comitted the offence, going with the analogy) refusing to talk about it and effectively saying ‘stop nagging me; stop talking about it’.

    One is trying to be constructive – although it is understandable that there is some anger being expressed. The other is effectively in denial, is angry, is reacting and pretty much compounding the problem by failing to maintain a constructive dialogue and re-establish trust. Whenever the event is mentioned the one jumps into defensive mode and refuses to resolve the issue constructively, if anything he is turning it back on the victim.

    So no, we shouldn’t keep talking about it ad nauseaum, but we do need to talk about it properly to begin with. And after that talk has happened and trust is restored we can still talk about it in the future, but this future talk will be on a different, and more academic, level than the current one. The initial conversation will be uncomfortable, especially for the side that comitted the offence, but is is a necessary conversation otherwise we will collectively be in a more uncomfortable position in the future.

    I hope that serves as at least a poor attempt of explaining it.

  22. Starling,

    I believe your are wrong. Bermuda’s upper class and lower class should not be dictated by race. Bermuda’s upper class should be individuals who have been rewarded for their hard work and sacrifice. Indviduals who have elected to put themselves through school, find a good job, and contribute to a company’s success. Individuals who have taken a chance and started their own companies and turned them into successful businesses. The lower class should comprise of individuals who have mismanaged their lives and made poor decisions. The Bermuda government should provide a minimum standard of living so that these individuals are allowed, at a minimum, basic human rights. What you are advocating is a system of entitlement. A system that breeds hate and contempt. A person should not be upper class or lower class based on the color of their skin. That is wrong and quite honestly, racist in my opinion.

    As far as having a conversation on race. The only thing I’m seeing is people sitting around venting and no one is offering any solutions. Do you want what Bill Clinton did and have someone from the white community apologise to all blacks for their mistreatment in the past? You’ve already said reperations are not likely so the only thing I can think of is an apology. The next question is, who should be the person to apologise on behalf of whites?

    I’m not a believer in talking about a problem. Instead, I believe in solving problems. I think the conversation should be refocused on solving the problem rather than talking about the problem. That, I believe, is the way forward.

  23. @ Jonny – Okay, just so I understand your reasoning, all we need to do is ensure that the 60/40 racial split is demonstrated in all income groups, then we’ll have ‘equality’.

    And we’ll do this by moving blacks up the income groups, without penalising whites at all.

    How, pre-tell, do you suggest that will happen? You realise trying to balance in that way is impossible without penalising whites right? There is no way to redistribute wealth according to our population without stripping that wealth from one group and giving it to another. It’s not possible, it has never been possible anywhere in the world and it won’t ever be possible in the future.

    Equality for me is that two 21-year old graduates leaving the same university tomorrow have the same chances at getting the same job. That’s equality without affecting the rights of another due to their race.

    The legacy of racism ensures that for another generation there will be a split in income, due to education and experiences gleaned by whites during their ‘rule’. We can talk about how unfair this is all we want, and it is, of course, very unfair. And we can apologise for it, and sympathise with those affected and take verbal abuse for it and so forth forever if that makes someone feel better.

    You say this: “And after that talk has happened and trust is restored we can still talk about it in the future” – this will never happen under the current leadership. There is no end point, there is no finish line. Trust cannot be restored because it would undermine the support base upon which the PLP’s electoral success is predicated.

    If the PLP wanted to solve the racial inequality, get to the point I mentioned above, then all they needed to do was fix education. That is the only thing in their power they can do, without punishing a group of people based on their skin colour.

  24. @ LaVerne – Thank you, although in truth the better analogy would involve a rapee-rapist dynamic where the rapee is trying to come to terms and forgive the rapist. Extremely hard and rare to do, but quite frankly we don’t have a choice.

  25. “Quite frankly the husband and wife at the moment have not sat down and worked things out. What we have instead is one partner that is trying to talk about the issue and work out a plan, and we have another partner (who comitted the offence, going with the analogy) refusing to talk about it and effectively saying ’stop nagging me; stop talking about it’.”

    Not quite right.

    The first partner, in this instance, has a self-appointed friend who just keeps telling them what an asshole he is.
    There’s no “trying to talk about the issue and work out a plan” going on. It’s just “You’re a prick for cheating on me.” over and over.

    If that spouse DID have a plan and put it forward, I’m sure that the other would say “GOOD! Let’s do this.”

    (To extend the analogy further, the one that committed the offence HAS asked, repeatedly, what they can do to try to help fix the relationship and has been told, again and again, “You’re an asshole for cheating on me” as the only response.

  26. @ Jonny – and how many rapee/rapist relationships do you know that are going swimmingly these days?

    To say that is a good comparison is to basically give up, and say that we’ll never function as a united society. And that’s pretty depressing stuff.

  27. @ LiF – No, we would not have equality, we would just not have racial inequality. And also I should stress that while I think that goal, and the policies to be used in realising it are certainly better than the status quo I am not describing what I personally think needs done, but rather what I perceive to be the PLP’s objectives. To me it only solves one part of the problem and I don’t see us truly achieving social justice and equality that way, although we can shift the focus away from race and towards issues of class in this manner.

    I would argue that it is perfectly possible to assist with redistributing our economic-racial mix without penalising one group to the benefit of another. While our current system has come about initially through a penalistic system, where one group (Blacks) were routinely subjugated and exploited (negative discrimination) it also involved the active positive discrimination for another group (Whites). Even when formal negative discrimination was dismantled elements of positive discimination continued through various forms like the old boys network and the like, as well as the general inertia of social and economic capital interest.

    Again at this point I need to stress that I am not speaking on the behalf of the PLP or on the basis of some secret plan or anything. All my statements here our my own opinion and predictions.

    The most likely policies that the PLP will employ in order to rationalise our class system are various forms of positive discimination/affirimative action. I know that these will lead to cries of reverse racism, and I will deal with those when they come up, but for now I will avoid that direct issue. The forms of positive discrimination that we are likely to see are in the form of assisting with post-secondary education (scholarships), work experience (creating a framework and funding for internships and apprenticeships) and allocating an increasing number of government contracts to Black businesses, as well as providing a supportive framework to assist their development. Many of these initiatives already exist in various forms, as we see in the existing Government bursary’s, scholarships, summer employment programs and in some government contract situations. Some of these certainly need improved in their execution stage, especially with some poorly planned and ececuted government contracts (many of which have been high profile and with questionable success to date).

    These policies do not necessarily involve penalising Whites. They follow the formula first articulated by Mr. Alex Scott when he said tha the have nots must have more but the haves will still have.

    Fixing education, as well as correcting the problems of high-density housing are key areas that the government has its hands full in countering some of the inertia of institutional racism. They could do more, and they certainly should have done more over the last decade, I think most people within the Party will acknowledge that. Other aspects that need to be dealt with include drug abuse (including alcoholism) which have long-lasting social effects.

    I personally dispute that the PLP is tied to the use of race for its electoral success. The phrases that have been used and are often highlighted by non-PLPers as evidence of ‘playing the race card’ are largely unnecessary and what electoral success the Party has had has come about more in spite of their use than because of it. Once the race problem has been mostly solved through the formula described above the Party should revert to a more traditional labour/social democratic position. Race will no longer be a political issue in the same degree that it is now and our politics should mature to a more ideological, in the sense of social-democracy versus liberalism versus conservatism versus democratic socialism sense.

    Your mention of equality (two graduates having the same chance of success) is exactly what the objective is. The Party is working to develop equality of opportunity, however to do so requires tackling the institutional factors that maintain race as a political issue. It will take time. A lot of time. However, and despite appearences, I still think we are closer to resolving the race issue than we, as a people, have been in my lifetime.

  28. @ LiF – I did stress the rarity and difficulty involved. However there are precedents (I believe) and as I said we don’t really have a choice. It requires a lot of empathy, reflection and comittment from both parties and will be traumatic for both as well.

  29. @ Justin – My apologies, your post got stuck in the spam filter. I addressed some of the points you raised in my reply to LiF above.

    I personally advocate going beyond simply correlating our racial demography with class and getting rid of classes altogether, but one step at a time I guess. I would certainly support what I see as the PLP’s objective over the alternative which seems to be keeping the status quo (the UBP approach).

    Okay, what you describe as what the class structure should be dicated by (reward and so forth) is exactly what the PLP objective is, or at least that is the end goal. Let me put it this way, if our racial demographics are exactly 60% Black and 40% White, and if we acknowledge that there are no inherent inferiority or superiority or differences of any kind between the races beyond purely superficial skin colour, then one would assume that the capacity for hard work and entrepeneurism is equal between the races. All things being equal one would then assume that the class system should exactly correlate with the racial demographics of 60-40. Correct?

    Now, we all know that our class system does not reflect our racial demographics. The Upper Class is overwhelmingly White (lets say 80%) and the Lower Class is overwhelmingly Black (lets say also 80%). Looking at the difference between the racial demography as the population as a whole and the racial composition of the respective economic classes we are forced to one of two possible conclusions. Either there is indeed inherent inferiority amongst Blacks (or what is the same thing, superiority amongst Whites) or there are structural problems within the socio-economic system which artificially prevent the equal capacity for hard work and entrepeneurism that both races possess.

    Now, with modern science we can quite readily dismiss the conclusion of inherent biological inferiority/superiority. This leaves us facing the question of structural problems. This leads us to the question of identifying the structural problems in society and developing plans to correct them. If we do nothing then is that not racist and worse for our society than trying to rectify the problem and achieve a socio-economic system where the class system results from the parameters that you yourself advocate?

    I personally don’t put much stock in simple apologies. I do think that institutions that were actively involved in maintaining racism do need to apologise (I believe the UBP did so earlier this year), however apologies are only a first step and if they are made without understanding and assurances of working together to correct the problem then they ring hollow.

    Yes, simply talking ad nauseaum is meaningless. However it is important to be able to at least have a conversation on the issue, in order to develop understanding and from their work out a common plan of action. That has yet to happen so far. As I stressed in the analogy in my original reply to you, the couple needs to sit down and talk and not just brush it under the rug. Skeletons have an uncanny way of coming out of the closets in rather unappealing ways.

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