2007-12-20

Online Election Fallout

Even before the election was over, some of the local bloggers indicated that they'd be taking time out because of all the time put in, which is understandable. I can only imagine the amount of research and analysis that Denis Pitcher put into getting those recent ones about employment figures, for example. Politics.bm looks to be taking a temporary hiatus as well, and I wouldn't be surprised if Limey and others took a breather what with the holiday season and young families to spend time with. So there probably won't be too many online discussions about the election results and the new government just yet.

What I have noticed so far is that there's quite a bit of bitterness among UBP (or anti-PLP) supporters in the blogs and forums. They seem flabbergasted that a party tainted with scandal and unwilling to address issues of transparency and accountability could win another term as the governing party. We have topics titled "A victory for ignorance". On BermudaIsAnotherWorld one contributor said that he's packing his bags! The frustrations are quite visible for many people; whether those on the other side see it (and acknowledge it), is another story. Catch-A-Fire has also spotted this trend and has a viewpoint similar to mine.

I think that there's a feeling in some quarters that black Bermudians were sheep in this election, following blindly the "stay solid" mantra of the PLP and falling for the rants of "The UBP will lock us up" and "UBP will return us to the plantation". Way too thick a brush to paint with, of course. Sure there are many who will vote PLP even if they slept with your wife, threw you out of your house and kicked your dog, but it's definitely not the majority. Many voted because simply put, the UBP didn't do enough to sway their vote. I know people who don't like what the PLP's done in recent years, but weren't impressed enough with the UBP's tactics to change their vote.

The strategy of focusing on the issues and not delivering personal attacks was the correct one to take, no doubt. They'd never win a battle in the pits. However they failed to convince the electorate that they were running a clean campaign. I believe that the UBP had nothing to do with creating the Tony Brannon YouTube videos. I believe they didn't create those nasty cartoon strips. But the UBP needed to drive home the point to any UBP or anti-PLP supporters that they are not looking to trash their opponents. That wasn't done and by affiliation, the UBP was deemed responsible for those ads.

The UBP needed to produce their manifesto long before the PLP. There's a belief among many that the PLP are the innovators and the UBP the reactionaries. This goes back to when the PLP was formed and the UBP created in response. By going first, the UBP's message would have been in the minds of voters without any other alternative messages to compare. Then when the PLP's agenda came out the UBP could be the first to counter-attack.

Finally, the Long Term Status scenario. While it may be constitutionally proper to effect that policy, it was a bad move to highlight that in their campaign manifesto. The majority of Bermudians are not going to look at that in a good way. Heck, they left off other unpopular items such as Human Rights so why they kept the Permanent Residents issue on the board was bizarre. Rightfully (from a political point of view), the PLP seized that message and used it to stir up their support. Knowing that the PLP may try to spin such a message, the UBP should have left that off the table.

That's three reasons why I think the UBP lost the election. They needed to run a perfect campaign to offset what the PLP were doing and they didn't.

Meanwhile, something's seriously wrong with the Progressive Minds blog. The PLP won the election and yet the first story published was *another* bash of UBP leadership. I know that they're the youth wing but I think some maturity at the administrative level needs to be utilized. People can win with grace and humility, you know.

1 comment:

Full Fullish said...

Here here, I completely agree with each and every point you made and I say that as an avid UBP supporter. No time for sour grapes, it's time to get out and get your hands dirty again. I believe in the message the UBP were delivering however they haven't won the publics trust yet. Just have to try harder next time.