Monday, November 29, 2010

Redemption after rebellion?

The raging debate of the last seven days has been widely ventilated in the local media and on online fora.

Rightly, it garnered our attention – and in many cases our passion. No doubt there are outstanding arguments that are still to be made, and should be made.

Even while we await those, we must be careful about over analyzing what has happened. In fact, the more appropriate focus should be why it happened.

The issue of why is important, especially since this is not the first time we have had such a rupture in Grenadian politics – and one is left to wonder if ever there were lessons learnt.

At some time in our history we may also come to address the contradiction of us wanting democracy, but frowning upon its greatest strength – the need for debate and dissent. We treat dissent as if it were treason; but if we properly embrace it, that will in the end make this not just another nation – but a great nation.

Some people have tried to equate the past week to 1983.

To do so, is either playing loosely with history; over estimating the significance of the recent developments, or playing to a cheap political choir of fear that 1983 breathes by default. For one, there was never a constitutional crisis, and the government was never in any serious danger of falling.

Neither the MPs themselves nor the general population had the appetite for that. As disappointed as people are with how things have panned out these past few years, they still have not regained the desire to return to what they voted against in 2008.

For all the missteps of the NDC, the New National Party has yet to transform itself into a serious alternative for the independents and the disappointed “yellow people.”

NNP may still win an election by default, but not necessarily by expanding its base, or inspiring a new generation.

There is a dangerous resignation to and about the modern Grenadian politic – a lingering staleness and an uninspired slush.

NNP’s series of weekly meetings has in a strange way kept in the forefront some of its bankrupt ideas and approaches. Mind you, it has played well to the base, but has had very little appeal beyond that.

NDC, for its part, has been on auto pilot for a while (and in good times that’s safe enough), but now the malfunction light has come on.

The party has shown little ability to reinvent itself; the leadership has run out of ideas, and there is a disconnect with the rank and file.

There have been times when the NNP as an alternative had an opportunity to look forward – and lean forward – but strangely at each juncture they have tended to reach to the past – in both rhetoric and deed. (Juts like it did when it brought back Gregory Bowen to the senate).

Rather than explore bold new frontiers, the NNP has been paralyzed by its own internal fears; frozen by the very thought of dreaming something different.

Having not learnt from its recent past, it appears to have done worse than that. It has been ‘miseducated.’

To understand what last week meant, is to remember 1987 and 1990 (not 1983).

For those who forget history quickly -- in 1987 George Brizan, Francis Alexis and Tillman Thomas led a rebellion against the leadership style of Herbert Blaize.

In 1990, concerned that an ailing Blaize, unable to inspire his troops, was leading the NNP to defeat, Keith Mitchell launched a bitter challenge to him and took over the party even while Blaize was still Prime Minister.

Blaize went on to form The National Party (TNP) taking the likes of Ben Jones, Alleyne Walker and Pauline Andrews with him.

This current NDC is obviously bleeding from its self inflicted wounds, but to believe they are fatal is to ignore the fickleness (and in some broad senses "farcicality") of politics.

Six months is a long time in politics, never mind two years.

Ask Brizan and Mitchell. They would tell you, that played right, there could be redemption after rebellion.

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