Quasi pro-independence? Why now?

Why, in his first interview on policy as Bermuda Democratic Alliance's new leader, would Craig Cannonier come out quasi expressing support for independence?  For such a controversial issue it seems rather odd to do, especially when it isn't clear whether he is specifically speaking for only himself or if he's speaking for the party.  The larger question would be why mention support at all when likely there is far more to gain simply by leaving it at his first suggestion of "it's up for the people to decide?"  

In today's paper upon being asked of BDA's stance on independence newly elected leader Craig Cannonier suggests

    "That's a decision for the people of Bermuda. It's my belief it can only be done through     referendum."

Brilliant answer.  It's an important issue and the best way to resolve it is to put it to the people.  It's what many people want and he could have left it at that, but he's not done.

"Personally, someone said to me if it's not broke don't fix it, but I'm of the mind of progression like any other country who's dependent, they believe in the future and progress, and that progress includes Independence. Many of the great minds of the world became independent to progress.

Natural progress for Bermuda would probably be to embody Independence. However, what's the best thing for Bermuda is still to be determined."

What does that even mean?  Many great minds became independent to progress?  Was that through progress or they stood aside from progress?  It's not very clear.  Is he speaking only for himself or for the party?  Is his first statement on policy as the new leader the best time to be promoting personal beliefs when it will surely cloud the issue on where BDA stands and leave quite a few people wondering whether they should be supporting BDA or not.

It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to jump out and tackle a highly controversial issue right after being elected leader, especially with really unclear explanations as well as a blurring of the line between individual and party.  Let's remember, a poll released last month put 74% of people against independence. 

Now, while there's nothing wrong with being pro-independence why would you take on such a controversial issue unnecessarily when you just finished giving a perfectly reasonable answer?  Even further, "Natural progress" doesn't offer any tangible benefit that would be gained for independence, especially when one considers the EU counter argument that many countries are moving towards greater dependence on a centralized body.  

All that aside, the very phrasing sounds incredibly similar to the way Premier Brown has been putting it so he ends up coming off like he agrees with and supports the Premier's argument for independence.  With the Premier's popularity rating being so low, poll rating high against it and apprehension from the international business community about independence does it really make sense to be using such phrasing let alone tackling the issue with his own personal views now of all times?

The simple answer was that it's a decision for the people.  End statement.  Anything more and you're more likely to push away more support than gain it.  This just doesn't seem like a very solid PR move and will raise a great many questions for the party at a time when they're still trying to develop momentum.  Granted BDA is new and still learning but it is likely worthwhile that they learn to avoid these kinds of unnecessary predicaments pretty quickly because public opinion can be pretty fickle when it really comes down to it, especially on highly controversial issues like independence.

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7 thoughts on “Quasi pro-independence? Why now?

  1. While I was surprised that he brought the issue up, I do think that he was speaking personally there. Having said that, he should have made it more clear that he was speaking personally, especially after speaking on sexual orientation from the POV of the B.D.A’s policy stance.
    Also, I reckon the reporter asked him a whole whack of questions that are hot-topics in Bermudian politics, and the article only covered his response to two of those (sexual orientation and independence). I expect the follow-up article, referred to in the article in question, will cover a range of issues from race, housing, education, crime, the economy and political reform.
    I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with initiating a conversation on contreversial issues. I don’t want politicians to be purely populists, tailoring their positions on the basis of polls. The trick is in the presentation really; if he had developed the reasoning for independence and acknowledged that it was not popular but something we as people need to discuss more, that’s fine. He didn’t really do much of that.
    And just for the record I am mostly indifferent to indpendence, well, indifferent leaning towards pro. I would support a federal system like Martinique/Guadelope have with France, or a united states of the Caribbean personally.

  2. personally personally personally – you guys are something else! – if the man says “personally” i think we can assume he’s speaking………wait for it! – PERSONALLY. You guys are exhibiting way too much critism on someone who has been in political spotlight for all of a week – Personally, i was encouraged by the fact that Cannonier was so forth right and not speaking like a typical politician who seem to have the ability to waffle on endlessly but say absolutely nothing – but thats my personal opinion! 🙂

  3. James,
    I believe what I wrote was valid feedback rather than simply criticism, especially given this is his first week.
    It is important that Mr. Cannonier makes it crystal clear when he is speaking in a personal capacity vs. when he is speaking for the party. As leader his views could easily reflect his intentions for the party direction, or could represent the party’s views.
    While indeed he said ‘personally’, the article was largely focused on BDA’s positions he made no mention that his party does not share his view.
    Subsequently he gave a really weak argument for why he supports it that goes along the very same lines as the argument that has been a major point of contention for why people haven’t supported the Premier’s moves for independence. “Natural progression” doesn’t offer any tangible benefit and doesn’t help his case much.
    As I recommended, Mr. Cannonier would have been best not mentioning his personal stance at all at this point. The reason being is that it would have been better if the issue had been addressed on it’s own without confusing it with others. This way he would have had the opportunity to fully explain his views vs the stance of his party. The way he’s done it he’s left it hanging which can cause people to wonder where BDA really stands, whether he’ll be pushing for independence itself and when it actually would be put to referendum if BDA were to be elected.
    He raised far more questions than he answered, rather unnecessary. I think it’s worthwhile noting this as valuable feedback for next time he addresses such issues.

  4. On Hott 107.5 last night Mr Cannonier spoke again on Independence. He said that he believes it is a natural progression for a country to explore independence. He also said that he believes many people are quick to say No to the idea before even participating in any discussions or even entertaining the idea. I thought this was very interesting. I do wonder how much of the BDA populace have actually had objective discussions of the topic of independence, and would be willing to do so.

  5. Would an “objective discussion” change anyone’s mind, considering that the Pro-Independence folks have yet to provide a single concrete positive to it?
    How would a discussion like that go?
    Why not start it here?

  6. Elvis,
    Its not up to me to start the discussion. And any discussion on any blog will automatically turn anti-independence due to the demographic that traditionally reads and participates on here.

  7. That’s a VERY nice evasion.
    I thought you were suggesting that the BDA populace have an objective discussion to change anti-independence sentiment. Now you’re saying that it shouldn’t happen where the actual anti-independence people are?
    Are you suggesting it just be “preached to the choir”?
    Or to those that are more pliable?
    Where, exactly, should this discussion take place?
    As for the discussion “automatically turn[ing] anti-independence”, this is not quite true.
    Most folks that are, in fact, anti-independence, usually, in discussions about it, simply ask “Why?” and receive no response.
    That’s not the discussion “turn[ing] anti-independence”, it’s the discussion coming to a screeching halt on the part of the pro-independence folks, as they don’t ever seem to have an answer.
    I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that most anti-independence folks would LOVE to have a discussion about it. It seems that it’s the PRO-independence folks that don’t want to actually HAVE the discussion…
    evidenced by your response.

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