Column: How Will Independents Fare In Election?

June 16, 2017 | 26 Comments

[Opinion column written by Jeremy Deacon]

In every election we seem to pose the same question: is this the year for a ‘rise of the independents’, the time when a decent proportion of the backbench will be made up of MPs with no party allegiances?

We usually see some candidates but how many have we seen succeed? Some MPs have chosen to later become independents, but as far as I can tell only Stuart Hayward has succeeded in being actually elected as an independent.

They face considerable obstacles, not least being the entrenched voting patterns which support the existence of the status quo [a two party system]. Then there is the noise created by the political machines of the OBA and PLP, drowning out those independent voices.

A mistrust of the political system discourages some, the ‘well what difference can I make anyway’ feeling stops others. Apathy also plays a large part and talking is much easier than taking action.

Jeremy Deacon June 15 2017 2

This year, though, I genuinely sense a change. I’m on the edge of the political periphery yet even I can sense something.

I’m not at the stage where I would call it a movement, but I have been picking up sign after sign that some concerned people have been meeting to consider what options might be employed to help modify political behaviour and one of those options is putting themselves forward as independent candidates.

My understanding is that some are already out there canvassing, considering running, and assessing what voters in those constituencies think. I am told that one of those is former MP John Barritt, another is Thad Hollis, a former OBA Chairman.

I am hearing a growing consensus among those I have been in touch with that there needs to be independent input into the way politics is practiced, on governance and the ways in which Parliament and Government operates.

Those I have spoken to want to implement practices designed to make collaboration on issues a requirement not an option.

They are being driven by a belief in the necessity of challenging the status quo, that it has been proven time and time again that what we currently have is not serving the community well.

This group is encouraging a shift towards individual integrity and accountability; empowering candidates to run on integrity, action and involvement within their community.

They believe there is a pressing need to transform what they believe is a divisive system into a viable alternative that encourages inclusive discussion and problem solving, leading to solutions that are well thought out and truly benefit the whole community.

As one of them told me: “It is not necessary to attack and vilify for the sake of Party and not respect our Island home and each other. We believe that cooperation and putting the needs of the voters before a Party agenda is the only way forward.”

- Jeremy Deacon is a 30-year veteran of the media industry in Bermuda and the UK. He runs award-winning public relations company, Deep Blue Communications, and also engages in freelance journalism for publications in Bermuda and overseas. 

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Comments (26)

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  1. OBA Strategy says:

    Dear Sir,

    We aren’t begging for a 5 shilling pay rise any more, so in 2017 we WILL NOT be tricked into splitting the PLP vote by voting for any Independent Candidate. especially with the razor thin margins since OBA has been printing status applications for the past 12 months for new OBA voters.

    I wrote this OBA strategy and didn’t sign a Non Disclosure Agreement so feel compelled to advise the Electorate accordingly.

    • Double S says:

      It’s cute that you guys think Bermuda will become a land of abundance if the PLP get back in.

      Didn’t turn out that way the first time, actually quite the opposite.

      But hey carry on and lets return to the days where 2,000 jobs were lost in a single year. Can’t wait till that happens and see who you blame it on this time round.

    • Nikon says:

      It is amazing how ignorant they think we are? They really do look at some as sub-human…the “horse” has bolted the barn OBA…whether that horse makes do of course, remains to be seen.

  2. Drew says:

    Every year the UBP and now the OBA supported “independence” to take black votes away from the PLP. We won’t fall for it this time.

  3. Cynthia says:

    I suspect we will see a lot of independence- that’s the only way the OBA won last time, that’s the only way they will win this time.

    • PBanks says:

      I’m trusting that word check changed that word from ‘independents’ – if so, the only area that independents might have affected the results last go round was St George’s West, but it’s impossible to say for sure that the absence of Mr. Swan would have led to a win for either Ms. Outerbridge or Ms. Ming at the time.

  4. Brendall says:

    A vote for anyone but the PLP is a vote for the OBA.

    • Nikon says:

      Pretty much…it is how it plays out. And we all know what happens when you have an intimate knowledge of their inner workings don’t we…

  5. Keanu says:

    Jeremy- have you read the PLP’s Vision 2025, it is full of good governance and accountability reforms – PLP will get my vote as they actually support many of the recommendations mentioned in the Commission of Inquiry Report. They aren’t making excuses like the OBA.

    • Jus' Wonderin' says:

      So guys gotta wait until 2025! GTFOH hahaha

    • Jeremy Deacon says:

      Hi Keanu, yes I have. But I’m not taking sides here. I am just repeating what some people have mentioned to me. I thought it worthwhile to put it in the public domain, hopefully to stimulate some debate.

    • nerema says:

      Oh come on. They won’t tell us anything about how they will achieve anything other than vague promises that they never have to worry about breaking because they’re so far in the future.

      In 2010 Ewart promised ground would be broken on the Grand Hyatt in November 2011, and look what happened there. Within months he was making excuses. So we have no chance when the promises are 9 years away.

    • Double S says:

      PLP actually dismissed the findings of the Commission of Enquiry.

      Read what Michael Scott had to say about the findings in the House.

      What excuses are the OBA making? PLP received 5 consecutive qualified audits. The OBA in their first year returned these back to unqualified.

      Don’t you find it funny that the PLP and their supporters complain about the OBA not fixing the PLP’s devastation in one term, but turn around and say we need until 2025 to implement theirs?

    • Where?

      I have looked through http://vision2025.plp.bm/ quite a bit and there are no good governance or accountability reforms mentioned.

      The budget reply (https://www.scribd.com/document/340841703/Opposition-Budget-Reply-2017-2018-FINAL#fullscreen&from_embed) doesn’t mention good governance, accountability or the commission of inquiry report either.

    • Sickofantz says:

      Which reforms and good governance are you referring to ? Help me?

    • Beverley J Connell says:

      Are you happy with your pension fund being used for their planned Bermuda Fund investment vehicle?

  6. Chris Famous says:

    Interesting piece considering most “indepedents”seem never to run in any OBA stronghold. With the exception of David Tavares last election most independents are some how running in “marginal” seats.

    • Nikon says:

      Yes…its called controlled opposition…

    • Jeremy Deacon says:

      Out of interest, and I genuinely don’t the answer, do they run in PLP strongholds?

    • PBanks says:

      Susan Jackson’s seat was considered a UBP/OBA stronghold, 2 independents ran there last time out.

  7. PBanks says:

    Not this election cycle. The timing is such that it’s hard for an independent to build any sort of traction, much less realistically compete against the party machinery.

  8. Rocky5 says:

    Bermuda needs more independent thinkers. Neither party has any. PLP Vision 2025 has not one specific action plan in it and it NEVER mentions how PLP will handle Budget deficits and the Govt. Debt. OBA plan is to continue to grow economy & tax base, reduce Budget deficits and eventually lower Govt. debt to manageable levels.

  9. San George says:

    Good day Bernews,
    Please take note that there will be a PLP campaign rally this evening 16-June-2017 at DUB City in conjunction with G&D Auto and sponsored by the Bentley Friendly Society and Bentley Mutual Insurance to Benefit Kim Swan and the Eastern Parishes.

  10. Easter Lily Onion says:

    Run Jeremy Run.

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