The big problem facing the One Bermuda Alliance is that they’ve become ivory tower politicians. They mean well, but they’re horribly out of touch with the average Bermudian. There is a strong disconnect between the vision they campaigned under and their governance. They too often act like they won by a landslide when they barely scraped by with a majority.
“This Government was elected with a mandate to solve Bermuda’s very serious challenges”. – Attorney-General Trevor Moniz
The problem with our two party system is that parties act like they’re ordained with the right to govern as they see fit. That we willingly elected benevolent dictators to herd us like the sheep we are. It just doesn’t work like that anymore. The world is too connected. Times have changed. People expected different.
Political Power belongs to the people. We will work for the benefit of all. We will be a public service government, putting you first.
That is a direct quote from the OBA’s election platform. Does it sound like our current government? Really, go through and reread their platform and consider how similar it and our current government are.
The OBA’s message was that they were something new, something different. They were the “One Bermuda Alliance”, an alliance of individuals pursuing a common vision of a Bermuda working together as one. They were to be collaborative, involving the people and all stakeholders in decisions. Does that sound like our current government?
Instead, they’ve got things backwards. Here is an example of the most used play from their playbook.
- Try to figure out the “right thing to do”
- Come up with a plan or legislation in isolation
- Announce the plan
- “Educate” the people on the plan
- Force through the plan or abandon it if there is too much backlash
Over and over this play keeps backfiring. For some decisions, we need leaders who can make a judgement call, go against popular opinion and stand by it without asking for feedback. For others, the people and all relevant stakeholders need to be involved in the decision making process. Making a judgement call and then backtracking and pandering to the public about it is like trying to make two wrongs a right. Either it needs to be done or it should be a collaborative effort.
Given the OBA’s campaign it was hoped that the most used play in their playbook would be
- Identify the problem
- Educate people on the problem
- Invite suggestions for solutions
- Collaborate with stakeholders on a handful of options
- Educate people on the options including their benefits and drawbacks
- Put those options to a referendum
Is that an exceedingly slow way to govern? Absolutely. Not every decision can or should be made in this manner. However, for issues like immigration reform, what really was the rush? Why was a more collaborative approach not undertaken? Why does it feel like even if you agree with the reform that its being shoved down your throat?
This is why more and more people are dismayed with the OBA and suggesting they’re out of touch. They campaigned under the vision of being the party that involves the people and puts the people first. Unfortunately, they seem to spend far too much time in their ivory tower trying to solve all of Bermuda’s problems in isolation. Their “mandate” was to be a party that was new and different. Sadly they seem to be tracing the same steps as all who came before them.