The PLP blog has been taking some criticism for their response to Mr. Pettingill’s (of the BDA) critique of the firearms amendment. Apparently Mr. Pettingill made reference to Bishop Desmond Tutu’s reflections of the UK adopting a similar stance, which he (Bishop Tutu) said reminded him of Apartheid era laws.
For the record, I don’t have any problem at all in linking the Bermuda Democratic Alliance with the South African Alliance. There are alot of similarities between the two, from their platform and ideological base, to their conscious use of Obamaesque branding (their logo and emphasis on ‘change’ and ‘a better way’) and even their support base amongst White South Africans and elements of the Black South African middle class. That comparisons between the BDA and the DA were going to be made were obvious, and I myself have pointed in that direction in earlier posts, and noted that the PLP could draw on some of the criticisms of the DA that have been articulated by the ANC, the SACP and COSATU (which have, at least the ANC and COSATU, their counterparts here in the PLP and the BIU – and indeed much of the PLP’s programme since 1998 mirrors the neoliberal betrayal of the ANC in South Africa). In this I should have warned against adopting the stupidity (in general, but in particular as it relates to political argument) of Malema, the leader of the ANC’s youth wing.
So, likening the BDA with the DA, and applying some of the same criticisms of them, adapted for the Bermudian context, I have no problem with. In as much as the DA represents the now dominant articulation of White South African thought, there is also potential for criticising the approach to race represented by the BDA. I have no problems with that. However that does not mean the minute anyone from the BDA says anything connected to SA that it means the PLP should attack them with this link. Each event needs to be evaluated by its own merits, and in light of past comments and stands to ensure one does not enter a trap of contradictions and absurdity.
In the 2007 election the PLP relentlessly criticised the reactionary (lite) approach to crime that the UBP put forward in their platform. I was one of those who criticised the UBP’s platform for this as well. Since then there has been an increasingly reactionary group within the PLP itself who are calling for the reinstatement of all manner of draconian measures, from corporal and capital punishment to sending prisoners overseas to questionable prisons. With every additionaly murder this group grows in strength and the chances of the PLP itself undoing many of the good reforms (although many were underfunded) the PLP helped put in place, from opposing capital punishment to advocating for rehabilitation. Increasing the amount of time that a person can be held without charge is, to me, a draconian and reactionary move, and one that I oppose. It is, indeed, one of those tools that have been used and abused by such totalitarian regimes as Apartheid South Africa, and the criticism of it in this light is valid.
By making the argument that they do, that Mr. Pettingill in referring to Apartheid era laws, is somehow trivialising Apartheid SA, can actually be turned against the PLP itself. An argument can be made that it is indeed the PLP that is now trivialising Apartheid and using it to play political football.
One is left wondering whether the PLP press officer, Mr. Christopher, is actually in control of the PLP blog, and if not, who is, and what is the level of accountability here? I say this more in light of the PLP blogs incessant advocation of gambling in Bermuda, when as far as I can tell the PLP, either in the form of their Central Committee or Delegates Convention, has not passed a vote in favour of gambling (and I would be surprised if this could be successful at that). Not even the parliamentary PLP is in support of gambling (or the Cabinet), so it is a wonder that the PLP blog is so pro-gambling.