Online Responses To The Democratic Alliance

With the launch of Bermuda’s Democratic Alliance on Thursday the online community has understandably been in a bit of a flurry of discussion about them. This has ranged from sheer expressions of enthusiasm on the Democratic Alliance’s facebook site, to more critical reactions elsewhere.

The popular forum BIAW has had a long discussion concerning both the Democratic Alliance itself and it’s choice of name, or, rather the acronym it prefers ‘BDA’ which some see as witty but potentially divisive in as much as it co-opts the shorthand for Bermuda. Most of the discussion on BIAW has focused on the apparent lack of substance provided by the Democratic Alliance, as well as an ongoing conversation between posters there and the DA’s de facto online representative ‘Full Fullish’ who has also posted here.

On Facebook the DA has left both the PLP and the UBP in the proverbial dust, both in terms of ‘fans’ and in the novel use of the sites features for incorporating public input. The PLP mostly pioneered the use of Facebook for Bermudian politics, setting up both an official site and supporting ones. The PLP’s former youth wing Progressive Minds also experimented with having online forums there to increase interaction between youth and Cabinet Ministers. Despite these early attempts, the official site is mostly inactive, not being used for announcements or interaction. The UBP’s Facebook site is even more restricted, being nothing more than an information page. The DA now has almost twice the amount of ‘fans’ than the PLP and close to three times the number of UBP fans. This in itself does not mean that all these fans are supporters of the DA, however I think it is fair to say the majority are. The DA has also begun exploiting the interactive features available on Facebook which is woefuly underutilised by the PLP and UBP. At the moment the success of the DA on Facebook seems indicative of their support amongst a substantial number of youth, especially the middle classes. Whether the DA is able to capitalise on this momentum or if this will contribute to an early flame out (enthusiasm with no direction) is to early to tell at the moment.

21square has two posts on the DA, the first one being critical of the Alliance’s choice in name, based on the argument that the acronym ‘BDA’ and its meaning were first developed through that blogs Bermuda wiki project. The second post, to date, questions the logic behind the launch date.

The newly resurgent Bda Longtail criticises the DA for the disorganisation that it is conveying, namely in its failure to get its frequently referred to former PLP members to show up for public unveiling. Bda Longtail cautions that if the DA isn’t careful it will rapidly be seen as little more than another UBP.

Beachlime doesn’t comment on the DA directly, however he vents his frustration (which I passionately share) with the overkill use of Obamist phrases. Obama this. Change we can believe in. Yes we can. Stuff like that. When they were put into public discourse they were fresh, if meaningless, rhetorical devices. Now they are just nausea inducing in their insipid lack of originality.

Triangle Tips criticises the vague political name that the DA has chosen, questioning what exactly is it an alliance of? He also criticises the apparent vacuousness of the DA’s platform (or lack thereof). The basic verdict put forward there is that if the DA wants to be taken seriously it needs to demonstrate how exactly it is different from both the PLP and the UBP, otherwise it will look like a bunch of disgruntled UBPers in new clothing.

Bermuda Fables provides what I see as the most detailed critique of the DA online to date. In general the DA is criticised for being overly reliant on flowery rhetoric rather than actually marking out what exactly they stand for. They are also criticised for failing to unveil their now almost mythical former PLP members that they keep nattering on about.

Much of the criticism online though has been more of disappointment or exasperation combined with a plea that the DA gets its act together and move beyond vapid rhetoric and clarify both what stands for and what it plans to do. Should the DA fail to articulate its own vision then alot of the initial enthusiasm that it has been able to generate risks evaporating as the chorus of it being little more than disgruntled UBPers in new clothes reaches a crescendo. Personally I believe that the DA is articulating (poorly) a liberal ideological position, and that it will begin fleshing this out in the coming days. At the moment I get the impression that they are just trying to appeal to people superficially in order to prepare them for liberalism. The only problem with this is that the political centre is solidly occupied by the PLP and UBP at the moment, and if they are not careful they will come across as little more than a hodge-podge of PLP-UBP policies rather than having an identity of their own beyond that of a fence sitter. Their exodus from the UBP does however present the potential that the bulk of the UBPs liberal wing has solidified behind them, leaving the UBP rump made up of the conservative wing, which could allow the DA to occupy the centre and push the UBP to the right. The other big challenge for the DA is articulating their position on the race question; so far they have come across with a mix of vapidity and UBPist approaches on this point.

40 thoughts on “Online Responses To The Democratic Alliance

  1. Great summary! I’m hoping to see more flushing out from the party in due course – but there isn’t too much to go on at the moment.

  2. What’s in a name?

    One is tempted to suggest that whilst the vague political name that the DA has chosen, is questioning what exactly is it an alliance of, it would equally not be unreasonable in the minds of many to argue that the PLP is hardly progressive.

    Indeed is it not often said that there is little between the parties when it comes to policy.

    And don’t get me started on the United in UBP.

  3. Your continued insistence on using the acronym DA seems a little churlish, Jonathan (reminds me of your insistence on referring to the Queen as “Mrs Windsor”). You don’t refer to the PLP as the “LP” or the UBP as the “BP”. Why is this party any different?

    I’m finding a lot of the carping about the BDA pretty small minded to be honest. Seems to me that anyone who believes that a new political force is needed to save us from the same old tired rhetoric of the UBP and the PLP should be supporting the BDA instead of sniping at them. Yes, I also wish they’d either show us or shut up about the PLP members they supposedly have waiting in the wings, and yes, they are still short on specifics of their policies, and yes, their launch was a bit of a damp squib. But right now they are the best hope we have for destroying the old political order. To call them “UBP lite”, as some are doing, seems facile. They clearly consider themselves to have a outlook that is distinct from their old party, otherwise they wouldn’t have left it.

    This is a new party and anyone who wants to has a golden opportunity to get in there and start helping shape their policies. That a third party has got even this far is encouraging, after years and years of nothing more than talk. If the BDA goes under, it’ll be back to the PLP and UBP for another decade, at least.

  4. Hi Phil – I’ve explained my use of DA for the ‘Alliance’ several times both here and on BIAW. Just to recap the main reason is due to the fact that many other Democratic Alliance parties worldwide follow the same pattern of national name plus DA, and are all known simply as ‘DA’ in their respective countries. Also, it’s just a bit easier to type due to the proximity of the letters. Yeah, I know, being lazy.

    Your logic however is flawed in allusion to the PLP or the UBP. The PLP is actually the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party, so referring to it as the PLP is the same thing as me using the acronym ‘DA’. Also, the UBP name directly incorporates the ‘B’. Had the DA been called something like the Democratic Bermuda Alliance, then sure, I would be referring to it as the DBA.

  5. Phil, seriously? Simply because I wish for a new political force means that I should automatically give the BDA support? On what basis? Oh right, cause they aren’t UBP/PLP… So the online community should stop harping on those who voted PLP simply because they weren’t UBP and vice versa now??

    Yes I want a new political force as well as an educated electorate but part and parcel with that is expecting my “party” to be educated too. Until I know where these guys stand I have no clue besides the fact that they aren’t UBP/PLP of what they stand for. Supporting a party based on nothing more than an incidental is not intelligent, it’s “faith-based” and we all know how well that works in Bermuda politics.

    Like you said above “They clearly consider themselves to have a outlook that is distinct from their old party…”. Right but how do I know if I would consider them the same until I know what they plan to do , why they came together and what if anything they plan to achieve. No one is expecting a 15page step by step manual of how they expect to fix all that ails Bermuda, but I’d damn well disappoint myself if I accepted nothing more than “a Better Way”.

    Sorry but creating a party and THEN trying to figure out what you stand for besides “a political philosophy that is rational, liberal and progressive” seems a bit backwards. Especially given the ease at which bermudians forget…

  6. Alsys……Jingus….you must have spent the night at CO’s. Bringing out all these heavy hitters at one time just shows the reasoning behind it.

    ‘Um fed up with the PLP. Dr. Brown cannot be trusted. Even though I supported the PLP in the past. Everybody blames Dr. Brown….blah blah blah……………………….

    moan……………..Dr. Brown calls an election in a month or whatever your cry will be the same. BDA……..knowone knows anything about them. How can we vote for them……

    Smoke, Mirrors, and really good working out of and in your desks.

    Guess you lot are not full Marxists yet…………………………..just go with the flow and the cash until the cow needs feeding…but crap…you just ate it.

    Back too bones…………………

  7. Rummy, mate, I’m sorry, I’m confused. What heavy hitters are you talking about?

    What does my comment preceding yours have to do with EB? I didn’t even mention him.

    And sorry to break your bubble of barely readable/understandable superiority complex but yeah, if EB did call a snap election, if I know no more about the BDA than I know now, no, I wouldn’t vote for them. At the moment, I’m not sure I’d vote for anyone.

    By the by, even though Jonny’s a mate, I still barely understand what marxism is, nor do I really care (and yeah, he knows this 🙂 ), so I’m not sure if that’s meant to be an insult or not. But oh well, as you were… Carry on 🙂

  8. Of course your confused. You mentioned EB a thousand times in and on dirreant blogs/forums and your feelings.

    As for voting in a snap election of course you would’nt vote for them, but I bet you would if they were up and running.

    As for Johnny being your mate, he may be a nice guy and a friend but Starlin and Mussolini were friends too. Hitler was the UBP and if you dont’ follow that well………………

    Google from your desk before you drive home about Marxism. Then call Johnny in Scotland and ask him why he’s there, when he will return and if he will bring a piece of the Berlin Wall to place in the grounds of the Senate.

    You need some Codfish and some blackrum thats what you need.

    Gotta run……………..Johhny Barnes at the round-a-bout giving out tickets to the “Alien Festival” comming up on the 27th December 2009…….venue will follow.

  9. Oooops Alsys……sorry…forgot or did I mention it. “Nor do I really care”…….

    Well you better start. History will be repeated as is going on now. Just make sure you have a plan and a ticket out. No matter where.

  10. Aye, I may have mentioned him in other posts on other sites but my question was “What does my comment preceding yours have to do with EB?” As in what in THAT post have to do with him. Read my posts before commenting, please and thank you 🙂

    And that’s exactly my point. They aren’t up and running at the moment, at least not to what I think they should be, so no, I wouldn’t vote for them at the moment. My personal choice.

    No, you’re right, I don’t follow that. Please explain.

    Again, I don’t really want nor need to learn more about marxism. It has nothing to do with my comment and if you don’t follow that, well…

    As to the codfish and rum, my mom makes me and my daughter codfish brekkie every sunday but thanks for asking. And I don’t like black rum.

  11. Mr Kiskadee,

    I agree with Phil. You are purposely being childish by referring to the BDA with anything other than the name or acronym chosen by its founders. That being said, I offer you the same courtesy. From now on you are to be known as Jonny Kiskadee or Pantiewaist, whichever I prefer to call you.

  12. Good one uncle Hemmingway……………..Bawahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    I think I’ll sit under the palm tree with a cigar and a bottle of Glennlivit and a cracker with hagis on it………………….

    Alsys…….chill girl. I’m sure Mom makes the best but since your so into everything and so up in the world I would suggest you move on and make some for whom treats you well if you get my drift.

    If you don’t want to learn more about Marxism or related then I suggest you and Johhny Starr kiss and say goodbye.

    You think Gangs are bad here? Try living in eatern, central Asia or even Somalia, or……………..

    Take care.


  13. You are entitled to your opinion. however I think you are over-reacting. I am not in any way belittling the DA, who, I might add refer to themselves also as the ‘Alliance’, so I don’t see the problem in referring to them as the DA. Beyond that your logic is flawed – I am not changing the name of the DA whatsoever, while you are changing mine completely.

  14. How much they paying you Starling……Really…….how much

    Or are you a lone wolf with an ax to grind becaus you were the only white boy there at the meetings and they still think things.

    How much they paying you? Can you come back and be a real member?

    Beware of those that lurk and jerk…………….

  15. The only eason why you won’t change anything is because it’s your site. And it’s your right because of free speach. I have some questions once again I would like to ask you but I better cool down because you sure can rub but I also can handle the hub.

    I’ll get back on why your where you are and your heritage in Bermuda maybe tomorrow.

    Gota run,……Vietnam and China and North Korea and Moscow horn dee lyne………………………something about a social gathering their having and how many bodies will turn up.

  16. alsys

    Yes, because you wish for a new political force, you should support the BDA. Why? Because they’re the only game in town. It’s extremely unlikely that another new political party is going to form any time soon.

    By “support”, however, I don’t mean giving your unthinking agreement to anything the party may come out with. I mean you should seize the opportunity to tell them your ideas about what you think a third party should be and do, and the kinds of policies you’d like to see them put forward. These guys are still deciding what their platform should be; because of that I imagine they want as much input as possible about what people want. Perhaps “engage with” would have been a better word than “support”. Join them, and make your voice heard. If they don’t listen, or you don’t like the direction they end up going in you can always leave, but at least you’ll have tried.

    Alternatively, you could take a more passive approach and sit back and see what they come up with, but what if you don’t like the answers? It’s been 25 years since the last serious third party formed in Bermuda (the NLP formed in 1984), and it could be another 25 years until it happens again. Could you live with going back to the PLP/UBP status quo if the BDA fails?

  17. I think all this criticism is a bit premature of the BDA.

    Yes they’re disorganized which is a big minus in the grand scheme of things but, this criticism about a lack of a platform is complete unreasonable.

    The BDA has not asked for anyone’s vote, they’re not asking for undying support. The impression I’ve got is that they’re trying to formulate a platform that will be appealing enough to set them up to properly contest any future election. For better or for worse they are at least trying to involve the people in formulating their platform. All they have done is announce the formation of the party and announce their core principles. I think it’s time that we grow up a bit and have a little patience.

    The PL Party and the UP have had decades to set themselves up. Lets give the BDA a chance before we condemn it.

    I don’t support the BDA but, neither do I feel strongly in the opposite direction. Let them be judged on their own merits.

  18. hype is a damning thing. The hype of a third party to a ravenous (ok that may be a bit OTT) community has made the DA’s arrival somewhat Obama-esque (sorry Tryangle) and at the moment it is all fluff and no stuff.

    How can one be impressed by a group of former opposition members who have done nothing but given us a “glitzy” entrance theme to a show with no plot or development? The characters may even be the same as they always were.

    If the “third option” had properly planned their opening they would have introduced their platform from the beginning, and provided the public with something of substance, not just the hype of “a better way”.

    The scary part is how people are so quick to accept the third option (Facebook group having over 700 members?) without knowing anything of their politics? Someone said that “it’s different”. Is it? To me it looks like a disgruntled bunch of former opposition members with absolutely nothing new to say.

  19. Jonathan Kiskadee,

    Don’t be so naughty. What you are doing by making up your own name for the BDA (as you have done with the queen in the past) is a symbolic statement of your lack of support through disrespect, and you know it. When I say I extend you the same courtesy, that is what I mean. So the logic is not flawed (is this your new favorite thing to say?) and I will enjoy calling you Kiskadee.

  20. Yawn – I must admit I am bemused at all this. Whats important is not whether I alone refer to the Bermuda Democratic Alliance as the ‘DA’ in short or not. The name means nothing. What’s important, and the focus of my own interests is the policies and positions that they adopt.

    Again, they themselves are using the name ‘the Alliance’, I am just choosing to go with ‘the Democratic Alliance’ which is actually more respectful to their name than their own use.

    My surname is ‘Starling’; your logic is flawed because if I followed your approach I should instead be saying the Bahamas Democratic Alliance. It doesn’t make sense at all. What would follow from my use would be to refer to me as either Jonathan Mark or Mark Starling (the former being the more exact analogy). And I am fine with you doing so as I answer to both and neither is disrespectful. And I have not made up the name of our unelected head of state – Mrs. Windsor is her name. I just haven’t used the title that others insist on using but I choose not to as she is not my ‘Queen’.

    And its not my favourite thing to say – lol – I was just watching Star Trek Voyager reruns – lol!

  21. While I do believe that common courtesy should dictate that you address a group by the name it has chosen, in the end you have free will, you can call it whatever you want. I just find it amusing that the PLP voices have borrowed your terminology – and certainly not for the same reason.

    They’re the BDA to me.

  22. Actually, she IS your Queen.

    And there is still some doubt about whether or not “Mrs. Windsor” is actually her name.

    In fact, an argument could be made that, just as “Mrs.” is a title, her “name” IS actually Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth etc etc.

  23. I am no ones subject. She may claim to be the ‘Queen’ of all Britons and the commonwealth non-republics, but she’s not my ‘Queen’. I will not debase myself – I am not stopping anyone else from doing so though.

    I am really getting a sense of deja-vu on this one – lol!

  24. Well…too bad you won’t be here for the 400th shin dig. Of course with all the things you have said over the past few years, I am sure MI 5 and CIA have you under watch.

    Enjoy your hagis and Glen-let-it-live………………..

    Great job Comrade…..Alley Akbah….(next to Joells Alley)

    So much for tearing the Berlin Wall down…… must be a Master Mason Comrade…………………

  25. Storm over Queen’s visit to Bermuda

    “Mail Online, Last updated at 12:00 AM on 09th November 2009

    Of all the remaining scattered pockets of her overseas dominions, the Queen has a particular fondness for Bermuda. She and Prince Philip have visited the island four times before and, memorably, it was the very first stop on her 1953 Coronation world tour.

    But on the eve of her latest official visit there in two weeks’ time, there are Atlantic storm clouds swirling over the sub-tropical paradise.

    For unlike her previous trips to the British overseas territory, locals have barely been appraised of the imminent royal arrival, which marks the 400th anniversary of Bermuda’s colonisation.

    According to islanders, there has been little publicity of the details of her three-day stay, which precedes a much more high-profile visit to Trinidad and Tobago.

    Trouble in paradise: The Queen’s trip has received little publicity

    Says Bermudian society figure Sharleen Wilson-Jones: ‘We have been kept very much in the dark as to what is happening when she arrives. Most people don’t even know what date she is coming, apart from some time this month.

    ‘The government here appears to be keeping it all very low key.’

    The royal visit comes just five months after a diplomatic row in which the Foreign Office threatened to cancel the Queen’s trip because of the island’s decision to give sanctuary to four former inmates of Guantanamo Bay without first consulting Whitehall.

    Their arrival in Bermuda in June provoked an angry response from governor Sir Richard Gozney, who gave the island’s prime minister, Dr Ewart Brown, a dressing-down.

    Now, I hear, the pro-independence Dr Brown has decided not to entertain the Queen at his official residence. Instead, he will host a dinner at a hotel, blaming a lack of space.

    But one disgruntled prominent Bermudian tells me: ‘It’s an absolute disgrace. Plus, on previous visits all the schoolchildren were made aware long in advance of the Queen’s arrival, and there was a palpable sense of excitement.

    ‘This time, she is visiting the school in Warwick – attended by the children of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones – but there has hardly been any fuss.

    ‘It’s as if her presence is an embarrassment to the government.’ ”


    Does anyone know “Bermudian society figure Sharleen Wilson-Jones”?

    Who among you are willing to have your children stand along the route that Her Majesty will be taking flying the Union Jack?

  26. Ms Furbert,
    I for one and I will be there with my family, and will be one of many and proud of it.

    In view of your views, have you defaced/torn out the inside front page of the passport, or do you accept the request on behalf of Her Majesty to allow you to pass freely and be protected?

  27. Roberty Bryce,

    You may see me there as well. My memories two of Her visits are vivid, first as a child waving the Union Jack at the insistence on the Department of Education and secondly as a media person, when I actually got to shake Her hand and bow to her at Government House. I want to see if She remembers me from her last visit to Bermuda.

    Unlike you, I don’t think I’ll be able to convice any of my family members to attend though. I didn’t even get invited to the dinner that the Premier is hosting at a hotel. Shame on him!! Camden would have been the ideal spot, after all it’s his official residence. I wonder if he’ll change his mind and invite him to his private residence. After all, according to rumour, the taxpayers funded it, cedar beams and all.

  28. Ms Furbert,
    Good for you, but why would the Premier invite “him” to Gombey House? Bit of a security risk there. Regarding the taxpayers, it would seem appropriate, unless the Premier is personally paying for Her Majesty’s visit which is very unlikely. Every other country except apparently Bermuda would have been delighted to shout out to the world that the Queen was visiting, but it seems that Bermuda is indeed another world and ignores the marketing potential. Lots of prime time TV there. Let’s hope the streets are cleaned up a bit beforehand or the scenes beaming around the world may be a bit embarrassing.
    It could have been many times more beneficial to Bermuda than a music festival, and cheaper.

  29. Talk about being between a rock and a hard face – lol.

    I can just see it now at one of these dinners. All the anti-colonialists sitting with the Queen at dinner, perhaps not bowing and scrapping these days, but smiling and nodding agreement, drinking a toast to Her Majesty, long may she reign, as members of the elite club they belong to.

    Dame Jennifer, Sir John et al.

    They call for independence from the horrendous colonial past, yet perpetuate the memories and keep the Club alive and well, by accepting such honours.

    Hysterical – absolutely hysterical!

  30. Robert Bryce,

    For you information, the person responsible for publicising the Queen’s visit is the Goveernor, not the Premier or the Government. However, I can tell you that the information has been given to the media, how they choose to use it is another thing.

  31. Laverne
    think about what Robert said.

    “It could have been many times more beneficial to Bermuda than a music festival, and cheaper”

    Who is the Minister of Tourism?
    Who should be looking for all possible opportunities to fill beds in Bermuda?

    Why don’t you think for a minute before automatically jumping to lay blame at someone else’s feet; in this case the Governor. The Governor isn’t in charge of the tourism budget. Robert’s point relates to the potential benefits to tourism not to who is in charge of organising the trip. Sheesh!

    Heh, Ewart will even have some classic photo ops.

  32. I new someone would get there sooner or later. The topic is “Online Responses To The Democratic Alliance” but we’re here now blaming the Premier for not using Her Majesty’s visit to fill more beds. Do you really think that there are some people in the world that would want to visit Bermuda just to see the Queen?

    Where have you read that other countries are using Her visit to attract tourists? Certainly not in that Mail Online article?

    The other day you were all complaining because you thought that the Premier had caused her to cancel Her visit, now that she’s coming, you’re blaming him because he’s not doing a tourism promotion. If he did do a tourism promotion about her visit you would complaining that the Government is spending too much money on promoting Her visit.

    I wonder what you’ll all complain about after October 2010.

  33. October 2010? Surely you jest. You’ll still be the mouth piece and tutored for speech and writing. So basically nothing will change

    You’ll just have to defend someone else and maybe give tours of Gombey House…………………..Bawahahahaha………..

  34. Ms Furbert,

    You are correct that the thread has moved somewhat, but with respect the posting of the news article was made by yourself. I responded re the Premier as you mentioned his name then used “him” never once referring to the Governor, so I assumed you meant the Premier.
    In response to promoting the visit it would cost very little, as the target market would primarily be the East Coast of the USA. After all there are so few hotel beds these days Bermuda can’t invite too many at once. As to criticism of the Premier it is his choice to be the Minister of Tourism as well and the buck stops with him (weaing one or both hats).
    After October 2010 and based on previous promises/ deceit I expect the complaint will be why is the Premier still here.

  35. Ms Furbert,

    Hello. I’m not a royalist as I think my earlier post suggests.

    One thing I can assure you, however, is that if there are Cruise ships in St George’s and Dockyard when HMQ visits, they will be hanging off the rafters to catch a glimpse.

    She does have that pull, believe me.

  36. Jon – You write with great forethought and in detail but please discontinue writing “It’s” when you mean “Its”. I do not have your extensive formal education but I was taught very early in life that usually “it’s” stands for “it is” – never possessive. As such whenever I see ” it’s” in my head I hear “it is’ and get very annoyed at this increasingly common mistake.
    Thus “…. it’s choice of name,..” should read “…. its choice of name..”

    Likewise usually it is ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’ – so that it is ‘ receive’ not recieve……………

    Lesson over…. keep up the good work.

  37. “Likewise usually it is ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’ ”

    ‘i’ before ‘e’, except after ‘c’ or when sounding like ‘a’ as in neighbor or weigh.

  38. The Queen of ignorant slaves who love to be whipped.
    Oba Okunnade Sijuade the direct line of Oduduwa needs to be invited here by the government.
    Why didnt Brown ask for reparations?

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