I have to be honest, I was caught off-guard by this move.
In hind-sight, I guess it’s not all that surprising – I just really wasn’t expecting it.
I only got to really know Mr Swan during our collaboration on the petition for a referendum on casino gambling.
Before that I had begun to know him somewhat during the 2012 election.
As we were both running as Independents, along with several others, we (along with many of the other Independents) met up before and after the election, swapping experiences and advice on canvassing and the potential for helping provide a structure to empower Independents as a viable option in future elections.
And before that, I knew him more in a distant sense, as a public political figure only – and as the former leader of the UBP, I admit I did not exactly seek him out before.
I will say that, especially over the first half of this year, during the referendum initiative, I got to know Mr Swan a lot better.
I believe he is truly a genuine kind of ‘old-fashioned’ politician – passionate about what’s best for Bermuda and his home area of St George’s, and passionate about doing things with integrity.
While we may not agree on everything (and that would be boring anyway), I do think we need more politicians like him, rather than the manufactured ‘on message’ and rather bland politicians that seem to increasingly becoming the status quo in Bermuda.
I also got to see first-hand how his former UBP colleagues and supporters were treating him, or, rather, mistreating him.
As a result of that, I’m not surprised one bit that if he was going to join either established party it was going to be the PLP.
I’m disappointed in as much as I think his joining the PLP weakens the argument for Independents or a 3rd party as a viable option for transcending our two-party system and all the division that both reflects and reinforces.
However, I doubt he’s made this decision lightly either, especially knowing the likely responses (opportunist, flip-flopper, etc) that he’ll have to endure.
I have no interest in contributing to that aspect however.
At best, I just want to wish him well, and recognise that he remains an asset to Bermuda and the people of the East End for whom he remains a tireless advocate.
Of course, this makes for some interesting speculation about the impact this will have on the electoral calculus in the future :
Will those who voted for him in 2012 shift their vote to the PLP now?
Will he run again, or simply assist the PLP branch and encourage support for them?