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Party Switch November 17, 2010

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Today’s headline in the paper got me thinking; if Michael Dunkley does indeed switch parties what does that mean for the BDA and UBP?? It would be  a huge switch.

For the BDA…

While the political lightweights over at the BDA could benefit from the firepower that Senator Dunkley would bring. They have great ideas, but not quite enough balls or charisma to make people listen. However, the switch may tarnish the image that the BDA is trying to build (a new party), at least in the eyes of the PLP and perhaps the public. They have tried to escape from the PLP criticism, that the BDA is really just another wing of the UBP, a criticism that I think they have distanced themselves from as they have gotten a look at the BDA’s membership and potential candidates. A switch like this will most likely set them back. Michael is seen as old, white UBP (mostly just because he’s a white guy who’s stuck around for a while)remember the attacks on him during the 2007 Election? If this happens, it may just turn on the PLP spin machines again. However, there is no question they would see a little benefit from a political heavyweight like Michael Dunkley.

For the UBP…

Without question a major blow. They will lose one of their most essential politicians

This is all speculation of course. I think that the RG essentially printed a rumor, it is a pretty slow news cycle.

Watching the news tonight. VSB reported that Dale Butler is being challenged for his seat by Jonathan Smith, the former police commissioner. I guess it will come to light in the next few days how this primary process will work. It will also be interesting to find out who put Jonathan Smith up to the task of challenging for the seat. It has become very clear over the past few months that the Progressive Labour Party no longer has any time for their most progressive MP. If I were Mr. Butler, I would switch parties or become an independent immediately. I’m sure the only thing keeping him in place is his constituents. Not out of fear of losing their support, (I think he’ll have it forever) but switching allegiances would seem dishonest in his eyes.

It seems pretty clear to me, as someone who would like for him to work for Bermuda, not just the people of Warwick whatever. He’s been pushed way too deep into the backbench.

Could be a good week for the BDA?

Oh and congratulations to Marc Bean on winning Ewart Brown’s old seat. The BDA’s drug test challenge was dumb. Who really gives a shit? If you really want the electorate to take you seriously, don’t bring a wet noodle to a gun fight, talk about real issues to make a statement. Last I checked, MP drug use was not a real problem facing Bermuda. Nobody cares if you’re drug free or not. Oh, that is unless you are the UBP’s candidate. People may want to know if you’ve stopped using cocaine, fresh off of your drug sentence.

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End of Discrimination of Sexual Orientation? November 9, 2010

Posted by bermudashorts in Politics.
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Not likely. Glenn Blakeney’s statement regarding the legislation was in the beautiful bullshit language that we hear from politicians more often than not. He did not make a solid commitment to pushing the motion through. My biggest problem was with this part of his statement. “We’re looking at doing some things that we believe will address the concerns of the various stakeholders in the community regarding sexual orientation, without compromising the integrity or moral fibre for some who might be concerned, with regard to spiritual and/or religious beliefs.”
May I remind the Minister that there is no such thing as compromise with this issue. Passing this legislation has nothing to do with offending conservative or religious Bermudians, it is about discrimination, protecting human rights, one of a government’s main responsibilities. Our government should be looking out for the rights of individuals that are being discriminated against, not compromising the “moral fibre” of backwards thinking people. This statement to me, sounds like Mr. Blakeney is not really ready to tackle this rather simple issue that has been constantly dismissed.
The reason I am not optimistic about the outcome, is because even if the bill is tabled, it will face practically the same audience that Renee Webb’s bill faced in the house in 2006. Here’s to hoping that MP’s on both sides will not be as cowardly as they were in 2006. This isn’t a morally difficult discussion like gay marriage. This is about ending discrimination and beginning a deconstruction of homophobia that is rampant on our island.

New Cabinet! November 1, 2010

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The new Cabinet appointees at Government House today

Paula Cox has appointed an interesting new Cabinet. Not a real surprise that my predictions were way off. I had a feeling that we might see Dame Jennifer Smith return from the backbench. I think that she will make a fine minister, although by judging her history of lavish spending while she was Premier makes me wonder if she’s going to have the balls to cut the education budget. I hope she doesn’t, I am totally against cutting education, it would be a huge mistake to do so.
I think that some of the new cabinet posts are improvements. Having a Business Development Ministry is an important one, especially because retail is struggling so hard. Kim Wilson’s new post also sounds interesting, Economy, trade and industry. Looks like she will be the one to tackle the international business troubles. Not sure what the Public Information Services Ministry will cover? Wasn’t there one of those in No.1 shed? Sounds like they’re making Neletha Butterfield a librarian, it might just be a bad name…
The Colonel’s new post as Minister for National Security is well suited for him, but do we seriously need a National Security Ministry? I guess it depends on what is meant by “national security”. If it means combatting gun crime, I’m all for it, but if they mean it in the American sense; looking for terrorists, that might be a little silly.
So what’s missing? A sports ministry. Not sure if the gazette forgot to print who was Sports minister, or whether there is simply no sports ministry.
Also missing, Dale Butler. It seemed certain that he would serve in Cabinet. This may be proof that he no longer has a place in the PLP. From my perspective, Dale is one of the few in the PLP that has modern, progressive social views, so it is sad to see him not included.
I guess we will hear detailed descriptions of these new ministries in the coming days. I am excited to hear what they have planned.

Paula’s Cabinet Predictions October 31, 2010

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Okay, so I was a little hard on Paula Cox in the first couple posts of this blog. I’m sorry for that, I am optimistic about this new administration’s future and hopefully it will not be business as “ewshul”.I’m just hoping my assessment of her was right; that she was just waiting for her Premiership to take some bold action.

Without too much intimate knowledge of the PLP’s inner workings, it’s hard to predict precisely who will be in her cabinet. However, the chat is that she will aim to rid herself of the unpopular ministers that sat in Dr.Brown’s cabinet, I believe this will be true. It’s clear from her speeches thus far that she is eager to rid herself of the Brown legacy. The only person who I’d like to fire for sure is Glenn Blakeney, who has really just done an awful job with his portfolio. Whether it’s clashing with BEST or the Athlete of the Year and Pool controversy, he was probably the worst of the Brown cabinet. Look for El James or Michael Weeks, the newcomer, to pick up the Sport portfolio. As for the Environment portfolio, we really need someone willing to work hard for environmental protection instead of undermine it. I’m pretty passionate about the environment, and this guy, in my mind set us back.

Other cabinet positions seem pretty safe. Zane DeSilva is questionable, a hardcore Brownie tied very closely to the cronyism that took place under the last administration. But they may think that it’s important to have a white guy in the cabinet. I think he’d be well suited for the Transport portfolio.

Keep the Colonel. He’s a hard worker, and if steered in the right direction, I think he can do some good things.

So Tourism and Environment are up in the air. Dale Butler would be a decent choice for tourism as long as someone was guiding him. He’s passionate about Bermuda’s culture and a really nice guy. I just worry that he may not have the kind of drive, say that Dr.Brown had. Marc Bean will get tourism I think.

However, I believe that Dale’s a natural for the social rehabilitation post. You could see in his speech to the delegates that he was very concerned about the social issues and was very passionate about the need to pass certain social legislation, like banning discrimination against homosexuals and combatting homelessness and poverty. So I’m for Dale getting into social rehabilitation. But PLP conservatism may stop his social agenda short. Ashfield DeVent may get that one.

That leaves Terry Lister, who was pretty well suited for the finance job, but Paula’s not letting that one go. Perhaps he will end up in one of his old posts? There are apparently new ministries being created as well. What do you think they will be?

Any predictions? Comment is free.

Of course it would be a dream to think that we could be mature enough to handle a couple opposition members in Cabinet. Maybe 20 years from now.

Well… October 29, 2010

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Empty Victory

Last night a new Premier was chosen by 150 people. Congratulations to Paula Cox on winning the little PLP poll.

I have a very big problem with how the Premier is chosen and has been chosen in the past. While I understand that this is the way things have worked in a Westminster style democracy, the whole thing seems very, well, undemocratic. Keeping this system in place 150 people deciding the fate of the country? Fucking ludicrous. Although to be fair that’s probably about the size of the BDA membership. They could at least open up voting to all party members.

In the brief leadership campaign we saw three very different campaigns. Terry Lister wins the award for running a campaign that was completely open and addressed to the public, hoping that somehow his concern for the public opinion would translate into delegate votes. An ill fated campaign strategy, but I commend him for trying. Had this have been a US primary campaign, Terry would have won. Dale wins the nonstarter award, spending most of the campaign sitting at home. At least he was realistic about his chances. Two vote Dale? Time to switch to the BDA.

That brings us to our new Premier, Paula Cox only spoke to delegates. I guess that makes her the smartest candidate. Doesn’t this sound like back room dealing? We should get rid of this shitty undemocratic delegate system and open the whole process up to party members. This will allow a little thing called blowback to enter the PLP arena. That way we won’t end up with a leader that is only trusted by the hardcore party elites.

Also, Dale Butler’s choice of hat for the conference, awesome!

Please, Please, Please not Paula! October 28, 2010

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Tonight, Bermuda receives a new Premier, everybody knows who it’s going to be. We are just pretending that it will be a surprise. She has been waiting for her coronation for years and tonight, the PLP delegates will choose her over two other equally qualified candidates. I will make a last minute appeal for the delegates not to “coronate” Paula Cox.

My main issue with Ms.Cox is her complete lack of responsibility. Her “cog in the wheel” comment says it all. Under her control of the public purse, we saw every single government project overrun it’s cost by quite some margin, sometimes doubling or tripling in price. Her statement regarding the TCD cost overruns was a complete cop-out and failure to take responsibility for her and her ministry’s actions (or inaction). It was honestly pathetic. Her inability to take tackle the Government’s spending shows two very important things. Either, one, she’s a wet noodle and was unable to say “no”. Or two, she’s been biding her time, waiting for “her moment” (tonight), not making any enemies within her party, simply because she wants to be Bermuda’s next leader. I think both are true.

Either way, those qualities are not what one should expect from anybody wanting to be the leader of our country. Why should we reward someone for doing a shitty job? Someone who may have deliberately done a bad job so that she could be made Premier. If we’ve learned anything from her role as Minister of Finance, it is that she cannot make difficult decisions and will take the easier route of political expediency.

So please, pick Terry or Dale (Dale would be the better choice). Don’t reward Paula for her irresponsibility.