Election season in T&T is now lukewarm with every sector and interest adding their tune to the symphony that will soon enough pronounce or denounce a government. The chorale includes, but is not limited to, police and pipers, captains and crooks, as well as those singing and blogging for their supper. Even within the depths of the major political parties the sheep are now being separated from the goats; with some of the older heads and errant young hearts being set out to pasture.
People on the ground are, nonetheless, calling for more of the usual political breeding stock who are recycled in some way or the other into each flock to be seconded to new, fresh genes and hopefully patriotic agendas and policies.
Given that political parties and their campaign handlers have been known to ignore the sure votes and safe seats as they think they know it, harping only on the importance of the so-called swing voters or marginal seats, it appears that they are aware of their limited power to persuade.
Joel Bradshaw, who is based in the USA and has consulted on over 300 campaigns for public office at all levels, in his paper, Who Will Vote For You and Why: Designing Strategy and Theme (1995) made the point that the key to successful strategy is not to try to appeal to everyone on his or her particular flash point but instead to select the types of voters you can most easily persuade based on the contrasts presented by the candidates.
Many agree that the current atmosphere demands some resemblance of a track record and fine choice of candidates. It requires that those desiring greatness must desire modesty. It requires that those seeking the country’s honour must seek to be respectful to all. The People’s Partnership is, for the first time, paddling into a re-election campaign. These waters have been, to some extent, untroubled for some time as the T&T electorate is known to vote out a government as compared to voting in a win-win situation.
Voters, who are more important to the election than candidacy and campaigns, are convinced that duty requires the monarch to swiftly acquire knowledge of all happenings among all men each day. The Prime Minister or any other person seeking such office must be in tune with the sounds of the ground. Though it is a mammoth expectation to conceive that a party’s implements must be controlled by one command, all involved in the politics of the day must be made to know that everybody is not your friend; regardless if incumbent or challenger.
Within the past week the country has been reeling from a compost of racism, statements from the Minister of Finance on salary negotiations for the police supposedly resulting in last Monday’s “Total Policing Day,” the perception that the country was under siege as the executive of the Police Service were supposedly clueless about who sanctioned the nationwide road blocks, the cost of the south highway, legal fees causing illegal unease and other bittersweet symphonies.
The repercussion of the constant cat and dog battles is the open vulnerability of an uninformed electorate to manipulation. Since Dr Rowley’s vote of no confidence in Parliament and when Marlene’s gate is opened, all in a week when at least two of his current MPs were vetoed, the tune will change.
When your back is against the wall with punches below the wage and former sugar belt, unequal opportunities, victimisation, racism, arrogance, large for the largesse, and people totally out of control; the least we can do is protect and serve our own interests in the trenches. Many are perhaps jealous that they cannot ‘eat ah food’ more so because of its price; but they all would sing, as per singer Everton Blender, “it’s a ghetto people song, only dem can swing this one! It’s a song for the poor who’s facing sufferation.”