Make like an Ostrich?

The problem with Premier Brown's recent statement isn't so much what he said, it is what he implies.  He generalizes about white voters in Bermuda and by doing so promotes an untrue racial stereotype.  An approach which only creates further division between the races in Bermuda.  Is it really all about race as Premier Brown implies or could it be more tied to the style of his leadership and the combative approach we've seen to race relations over the years.  An approach very unlike that undertaken by US President elect Obama, whose approach would likely work wonders here in Bermuda.  Unfortunately, our Premier is no Obama when it comes to building unity between the races and there is little hope that he will ever come close..

Recently Premier Brown was quoted as suggesting 

"If you looked at the voting patterns in Bermuda, which all vote in lines, if whites in Bermuda were to vote in the US using the same lines, they would have voted for the other man."

In later defense of this statement he suggests

"When I say to you 'If I had wings I would fly,' I have not truly said I would or I could fly.
"The key point in that sentence is 'if'. The same way that if they (white Bermudians) vote in the election along the same lines as they do in Bermuda."

The problem here is that while Premier Brown's statement indeed does not suggest that he can at present fly, it does rely on an incorrect assumption that if he had wings he would.  An assumption that suggests that everything with wings can fly.  By suggesting such Premier Brown either knowingly promotes a false and untrue stereotype that anything with wings can fly or he falsely believes that if bestowed with wings he would be far different from an ostrich or a chicken.  By implying that anything with wings can indeed fly Premier Brown promotes an untrue belief in beings with wings as well as himself as clearly he has not done the duedilligence of discovering the facts before distorting reality in his favor.  

Thus, a similar arguement can be made about his earlier statement regarding whites and voting patterns.  While it may be true that some whites vote along racial lines it is not true that all do.  Yet Premier Brown distorts reality in his favour by painting this assumption when he suggests that whites would have voted for the other man 'if' given the chance.  Just as not all birds can fly neither can it be claimed that all whites are racist.  Indeed, what Premier Brown fails to accept as a possible reality is that whites in Bermuda do not generally vote on racial lines and instead vote based upon a combination of the issues and the type of campaign that is run.
'If', to use that magical word, if whites in Bermuda actually do vote based upon the type of campaign as opposed to race is it concieveable that Premier Brown's combative, racially motivated campaigning and leadership style was far more of a factor in white voting patterns than race?  Indeed, is it likely that 'if', we'll use that magical hypothetical word again, if an Obama like individual were to lead the PLP and they were to run a campaign much like he did would we then we see a dramatic shift in the voting patterns of whites in Bermuda? 
Indeed, even without an Obama like character leading the PLP all one needs to do is look at the polls suggesting a support rating amongst whites of 61% for Paula Cox in the leadership role compared to Premier Brown's 7%.  Could it be Premier Brown's style of leadership and combative campaigning and not his colour of skin that is the greatest factor in white Bermudian voting?  Indeed, if, using that incredible hypothetical word, if Paula Cox stood as leader of the PLP and ran a clean campign would whites have voted along the same lines they do and have voted more in favor of her than Dr. Brown?
As suggested, Premier Brown's distorts reality in his favor by unfairly generalizing along racial lines.  He unjustly promots his own false perceptions rather than doing the due dilligence of investigating the truths behind his beliefs before spreading them.  By doing so he sadly only further divides our people.  Could it be that it is not the colour of one's skin that matters so much in today's Bermuda as the way one presents themselves?  Indeed, could it be that regardless of skin colour Premier Brown and the PLP are hard pressed to gain much white support when taking a combative and racially fueled approach to racial relations?   Could it be that 'if' we had a leader that even vaguely resembled US President elect Obama's approach of unity and a party that ran a clean campaign about the issues and real change that we would see a marked change in voting patterns in Bermuda?  Unfortunately, we're stuck in dreaming in hypothetical 'if' land and when getting down to real truths it is unlikely our Premier will ever pull his head out of the sand and make like Obama to build unity between the races rather than exploit racism for his own political gain.

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Shadow boxing

The failure of our present democracy is that despite having people on either side who together could solve all our problems all of their intelligence goes towards outdoing one another rather than working together to solve anything.
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Bizarro-Obama Brown is at it again dividing the Bermudian people against each other for political gain.  Our Premier claims that:

“If you looked at the voting patterns in Bermuda, which all vote in lines, if whites in Bermuda were to vote in the US using the same lines, they would have voted for the other man.”

What is amazing is how much we heard that whites in the US would never vote for a black man as leader of the country.  Funny how those claims never ended up holding weight.  The question to ask is whether whites vote along the lines of race or the lines for or against the ideals Obama  stands for.  Ideals the PLP certainly do not today represent.

How truly embarrassing it is for Bermuda to have a leader who would exploit President-elect Obama’s race for political gain in the face of everything he stands for.

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History tends to repeat

My biggest fear with regards to the proposed pay raise is that the PLP won’t have learned anything from the last one they gave themselves.    Shortly after deeming themselves worthy of a pay raise, so too did nearly every civil servant and government employed worker from the trash collectors to the teachers, to bus drivers, to senior civil servants.  The PLP were the architects of their own labour problems when they brazenly gave themselves raises.   The question is, are they smart enough to realize it this time around?

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$3 Million+ for ID cards???

The only thing that makes less sense than the ID cards for ex-pats is the admission by Immigration Minister David Burch that one of numerous firms behind the project will receive almost $3 million dollars to implement it

“It will likely come as a surprise to some that one of the firms that stand to receive almost $3 million from this project is none other than one controlled by Mr. E. T. Bob Richards”

It is more of surprise that $3 million is being spent on this project than it being tied to an opposition minister, especially considering we’re in a recession and should be cutting back on unnecessary spending.  

Really, do the numbers.  According to the August 2008 employment brief there were just over 10,000 Non-Bermudians employed in 2007.  $3 million into 10,000 suggests each card is going to cost nearly $300, and that’s for just “one of the firms”, not all of them. 

For someone who contends that the ipod generation will have to made do with less in these tough times he should take a closer look at his own “vote myself a pay raise” (twice) generation along with a deep hard look at his own budget and how he justifies the return on $3 million+ for ID cards for ex-pats.

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The irony of pitching independence to dependent youth

It is amazing how Premier Brown fails to see the irony of using the analogy of still living at home when trying to entice youth to embrace independence.  This when a large percentage of the very age group he laments over happens to be stuck living at home.  It is no wonder that today's youth fail to embrace the idea of independence when it is very clear that we're not yet ready for it.  If our youth are not prepared and due to restrictions of our society are thus unable to achieve their own independence, how then can they be expected to embrace independence for our island as a whole?  This when it is clear that so much more should be taking priority?

This is not the first time Premier Brown has likened our island's dependence on the UK to young people still living with their parents and it likely won't be the last.  Somehow he misses the notion that encouraging the concept of independence to a group of individuals who remain dependant due to the very policies and actions of our government simply isn't a winning sales pitch.   A raft of issues from a high cost of living, lack of affordable housing on to poor education shackle our youth to a dependent lifestyle. For those dependent youth, issues that will bring them to personal independence should be the focus of our energies right now, not independence for our island as a whole. 

Certainly there are those youth who are smart about it and are adequately preparing for future independence by taking advantage of the opportunities they have now.  Living frugally, taking advantage of good opportunities and making the most of their dependence so that one day they will be able and ready to live on their own. Even those youth who have actually achieved some notion of 'independence' are often not truly so.  Indeed, one could easily draw similarities between the dependent territory status the island holds and the trend for today's youth to build an apartment onto their parents home as the only means towards an affordable and reasonable means of achieving an acceptable form of self governance.

When it comes down to it right now independence does not make sense for Bermuda in its present state and the youth readily acknowledge this fact.  If tomorrow US President-elect Obama were to decree into law a change to their tax systems that collapsed Bermuda's international business economy Bermudians would be left with few options should we be independent and not have other solid industries to rely on.  Yet, under our present state we would be free to live, work and even apply for welfare throughout the European Union.  Even further we can do so regardless to gain valueable experience and education at the same rates as UK residents.  Under independence the same options do not apply.  What are the clear cut benefits of independence aside from being an ego booster?

How our Premier can think we are ready to discuss independence is no doubt beyond most youth.  Clearly when today many youth are stuck in their own forms of dependence, ill-planned and ill-prepared independence doesn't sound like a concept all too enticing.  From the perspectives of many youth Premier Brown and his colleagues are putting the cart before the horse by focusing on independence when there are a great many issues that are far more important.  Indeed, one shouldn't be talking of moving out of their parents house when they aren't sure where they'll live and how they'll eat for despite the ego boost of being able to say you're independent.  For simply any smart youth knows that there is nothing more crushing than having to go back on your hands and knees begging for handouts because you didn't have a plan and weren't prepared.  Is that the future we envision for our island or are we going to focus on empowering our people with their own independence first?

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