Despite my draft notes on the prospects for a Green Party in Bermuda, as should be obvious, nothing came of it. I approached a number of people who I thought would be partial to the idea, and, while there was some support, the general consensus was that now was not the time, and that the focus should be on working within the PLP.
The idea was that while it may be necessary in the future to set up a new party, the balance of forces was such that any move to do so at that time would be impractical and would doom future initiatives. The emphasis instead should be on working within the PLP to defend what was left of its radical heritage and to seek to advance more leftist policies.
If the radical resurgence of the grassroots from within the PLP proved impossible, then at least any move towards a new party would have a better prospect only once it was demonstrated that an internal PLP approach had been exhausted.
Such was the approach I took. I rejoined the PLP and did my best to advocate for socialism and green initiatives within the PLP. I did this until 2008, at which point I felt the PLP, at that stage, was now a largely hopeless case in terms of recovering its radical heritage. I decided to let my membership expire at that point (it expired in the summer of 2009).
A Liberal Option?
In 2009, in the wake of the June days of the Uighers, I became involved with a group who were disillusioned with the status-quo of the PLP and UBP. This group consisted of disgruntled PLPers, some disgruntled UBPers and some non-affiliated individuals I considered simply as ‘liberals’.
The idea was to organise a new party, somewhat along the lines of the liberal option I outlined in what I’ve posted here as ‘Part Two’ of the 2004 notes. It was hoped that this new organisation would force the ideological differentiation of the two established parties, as well as be able to take the liberal wings from both of those parties. That is consisted of both PLPers and UBPers, as well as non-aligned individuals, was seen as an advantage in terms of legitimacy.
Unfortunately, around the same time as this group was finalising its policy platform and preparing for a formal – and public – launch, the Bermuda Democratic Alliance split from the UBP.
While this group, right up until the time it reunified with the UBP to form the OBA, never seemed to develop a coherent policy framework (although some defecting members of ‘our’ group taking aspects of our policies to them) compared to ourselves, it was felt that they had stolen the thunder of a new centrist political organisation. It was felt that ‘our’ group was now largely unviable.
It wasn’t necessarily abandoned, but the group decided to give the BDA the benefit of time to see where they developed, and if they failed the group could always restart. This period of observation however rendered our collective energies dormant, and the group never shook of this dormancy, even after the BDA project failed and the OBA was formed.
Such an option remains however.
People & Ecology Party
In the wake of the collapse of that liberal option, I, and a few others that were involved in that, along with some new individuals, considered the prospect of a new party. While this never got off the ground either, it served as an updating of the 2004 Green Party idea.
While no platform was developed, a People & Ecology Party of Bermuda – Constitution was, with the idea being that it contained the outline of a vision on which a platform would be developed.
Creating a party constitution and manifesto, along with a general circle of members is, however, relatively easy. Building an actual party organisation from those is a whole other story however. It was not possible to commit the resources required to develop such a party in time for the 2012 election.
While I ran as an Independent, it was my hope that the manifesto I ran on would influence our overall political discourse, as well as lay the foundation for further political development. I knew the chances of my winning were slim without a party machinery to support me, but I felt the potential for affecting long-term political change made it worthwhile.
I continue to believe this to be the case – and I feel that my platform did, indeed, influence both the OBA and the PLP, with the OBA having since at least spoken favourably on some policies outlined in it.
Future Political Developments
I have also since been asked to help form a new party based on my platform.
Quite frankly, I do not have the time or resources to do so, but I have welcomed those interested to do so and they may freely use my platform for that purpose. I remain non-aligned.
It is my hope, however, that if those who do have the resources also have the will-power to persevere, they may benefit in some small way from the notes I made on this issue. If they find the draft constitution for the People & Ecology Party or my 2012 election platform to be useful in setting up a new party, I wish them well, and will offer constructive criticism of their work.
If nothing develops, well, so be it.