Just a quick note to highlight that the criticism of the OBA’s chosen referendum question continues to grow, with BEST expressing a call for a neutral question, while BeachLime has joined myself, VexedBermoothes and Bermuda Blue in criticising the OBA’s position.
BeachLime makes the very good point that the question could be equally loaded in the other direction.
BEST provides a welcome critique of the referendum wording, explaining the problems associated with it, and noting a list of issues which the community should be having an input on regarding gambling – issues that the OBA Government are so far not addressing.
They also put forward an alternative and neutral question to replace the loaded question preferred by the OBA.
The intervention by BEST here is interesting, primarily because they were seen by many, rightly or wrongly, to be pro-OBA/anti-PLP, especially since their most prominent personality personally endorsed the OBA in the midst of the election campaign.
Quite frankly, the only people so far defending the OBA’s choice of a loaded referendum question appear to be the OBA itself and some of it’s more fanatical supporters – or, at least, fanatical supporters of introducing gambling (who also often voice their view that we shouldn’t even have a referendum in the first place).
The OBA’s position in defending their biased question seems a perplexing example of political self-harm.
They are willfully burning up political capital for no apparent reason.
The general perception is that the pro-gambling vote would win the day at the moment; there is no need to try and stack the deck in this way.
If anything, going by the comments of some, taking such a blatantly biased approach is actually turning some pro-gambling voters off from participating, while emboldening anti-gambling voters to turn out through such a provocation.
The OBA would have lost nothing by adopting a neutral question – if anything they would have earned compliments for demonstrating an ability to hold a referendum with legitimacy.
There was a tendency that emerged within the PLP of sticking to their guns simply for the sake of sticking to them, as well as a decidedly arrogant view, or perhaps tunnel vision, that they knew what was best and the people should just let them get on with the ‘mandate to rule’ on the basis of their election victory.
Whether that was more perception than real is not really relevant – it contributed to a loss of legitimacy and trust for the PLP, which in turn contributed to their losing the election in 2012 (amongst other factors, true).
The OBA Government needs to stop, collectively rethink this, and acknowledge this is a misstep. If not, well, be prepared for the karmic consequences of a loss of legitimacy and political trust.