So, Terry Lister, the former PLP MP whose decision to retire from politics has led to the by-election tomorrow (or today, depending when you read this!), on Tuesday, November 18th, has today come out and pretty much endorsed the OBA.
I can’t say I’m surprised by his decision.
The only real surprise I have is that he decided to retire at all, rather than simply join the OBA.
While he did explore the option of developing a third party, which I understand was intended to be a centrist party, some sort of reincarnation of the defunct National Liberal Party, it’s been the ‘word on the street’ for weeks, if not months, now that those close to him, such as his wife, had formally joined the OBA. The impression was that he himself had joined or was in the process of doing so.
So why pack it in and force a by-election?
I don’t know.
The main question really is will it be enough to swing enough voters to vote for the OBA in 33?
I don’t know. However, I doubt it, and I’m pretty confident that the PLP candidate will retain this seat for the PLP.
I don’t think it’ll be a landslide however, and I think there is a very good chance that this seat will switch from a PLP stronghold to a marginal.
I’m disappointed that there isn’t an Independent candidate running, just as I’m disappointed that Terry Lister’s resignation removed a formally Independent voice from the House – although I saw him moving towards the OBA, he had not yet, and so could voice independent positions outside of any party line.
I do think our politics is hardly inspiring right now; I’m pretty sure that if we had a ‘none of the above’ option on our ballot papers like some countries do, that option would do quite well.
As for the two candidates, they are both excellent candidates, albeit with quite a few flaws.
I’ve been surprised at the energy of the PLP campaign and equally surprised at a relatively lackluster OBA campaign which has shunned the media spotlight, leaving their candidate, and the issues, an unknown quantity.
Overall I’ve found the entire by-election campaign disappointing, and I feel the two parties have really missed an opportunity to hit the reset button and articulate positive reasons for voting for their candidate or a positive vision for Bermuda.
Ultimately I can’t see Mr Lister’s endorsement of the OBA being enough to win the seat for the OBA, and I expect Mr Simmons to win it for the PLP – although with a significantly reduced margin of victory.
I guess we’ll find out within 24 hours…
What do you think?