A flawed campaign?
I was marveling last night how the OBA has, so far, focused their by-election campaign strategy by calling the PLP candidate a flawed candidate in a large part because he has a history of switching political parties. It is, after all, a matter of public record that he has gone PLP to NLP to UBP to PLP.
Now, Mr Simmons may well be a flawed candidate for the PLP, for this and other reasons. That may very well be the case.
However, it seems odd to me that the OBA thinks that this party hopping is one of two primary premises for their conclusion that Mr Simmons is a flawed candidate.
After all, the OBA itself originates from UBP members party hopping, through the formation of the BDA, and later the bulk of the UBP and the entirety of the BDA then all party hopping together to become the OBA.
Even Ms Daniels, who has taken a front line role in criticising Mr Simmons along these lines, in her official capacity as the chair of the OBA’s Communication Committee (and thus her OpEd being an official OBA release) only came to politics as a member of the BDA, later defecting to join the OBA – and being subsequently rewarded with a Senate seat.
According to the official OBA argument, this party hopping reflects that Mr Simmons has no ‘political center’; ‘to judge by these choices, he’s in politics simply because he likes the lifestyle’; ‘simple ambition, not political philosophy, is the force that drives him’.
And yet the same could arguably apply to the entire OBA cohort, especially those who originate from the UBP originally.
Do these OBA MPs have any ‘political center’ or are they only ‘in politics simply because’ ‘of the lifestyle’? Is it political philosophy of simple ambition that drove the formation of the OBA?
It should also be noted here that Mr Simmons has now been a PLP member for longer than the OBA’s existed, and in the time that he’s rejoined the PLP key OBA MPs have switched parties at least from UBP to OBA, and some from UBP to BDA to OBA.
Adding to the irony is that it’s been raised on FB that the OBA’s candidate for the by-election, Ms Marshall, was herself a member of the NLP at the same time as Mr Simmons, and that she subsequently joined the UBP (as did Mr Simmons) before now joining the OBA. Now, I don’t know if that’s the case, only that it has been raised elsewhere.
However, if it is true, it makes this particular line of attack by the OBA all the more questionable, as it leaves their very own candidate vulnerable to the exact same criticism.
Again, the PLP’s candidate may very well be a flawed candidate, however this particular criticism – of his party hopping – seems a particularly flawed strategy from a party that exists due to opportunistic party hopping in the first place…
Not only does it fail to give voters a positive reason and vision to vote for the OBA and their candidate, it undermines themselves, and, if it’s true that their own candidate also has a history of party hopping, their candidate too.
On party hopping itself…
I think it’s important here to note what I’ve said in the past about MPs switching parties.
In my 2012 election platform, under my section on political reforms, I called for the following:
“Require any MP defecting from one Party to another (or to the position of an Independent) to contest a by-election six months after their defection, with the subsequent winner to serve the remainder of the fixed parliamentary tenure.”
It was on this basis that I called for first the BDA MPs to contest a by-election, then the newly formed OBA MPs and later Mr Lister who defected from the PLP to sit as an Independent MP.