Politics preckeh yard and abroad

Barbara
Gloudon

Friday, September 13, 2019

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British war-time politician Winston Churchill once said: “Politics is almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times.” At this time in politics, a number of 'funerals' are taking place. Boris Johnson, the current British prime minister, is taking some lethal blows in the ongoing Brexit battle.

The British Parliament has been prorogued — sent on leave — ostensibly to allow for the Queen's Throne Speech to be delivered in a few weeks. Opponents of Johnson have said the action to shut down the House was to buy time on the vexing issue of how the UK will divorce itself from the European Union. When the Parliament reconvenes on October 14, there will be very little time for the Government to vote on how to execute Brexit with the least dislocation by the October 31 “exit” deadline.

The main bone of contention is Boris “Bo-Jo” Johnson supports a “no-deal Brexit” which would involve the UK leaving the European Union (EU) Common Market without arranging trade deals and finalising various agreements regarding how business will be conducted between the Europeans and the UK.

Analysts are just as divided as the UK public. Some are saying the “no-deal” could send the UK into a recession, causing food shortages, complicating travel arrangements, and a host of other issues that will affect UK citizens. Others say it will open up a chance to renegotiate better deals with the members of the 20-odd countries who are a part of the EU.

What is clear is that the UK is not looking so united right now. Even Queen Elizabeth II is being drawn into the cass-cass as a Scottish Court has ruled that the information given to The Queen to lock down Parliament was based on a big Bo-Jo lie. Another body blow to Boris Johnson was his very own brother resigning from the Parliament stating that he is “torn between family loyalty and the national interest”. High drama indeed!

The world continues to watch and wait to see how this divorce settlement will work itself out. Here in JA, we will also have to keep an eye, as there are large numbers of our family in the UK who will feel the stings of Brexit.

Meanwhile, back at home...

Political sparring between the two Peters looking to lead the People's National Party (PNP) came to an end last Saturday when the incumbent Peter Phillips came out victorious over Peter Bunting. However, it seems that there will be some time before the bruises fade away.

The squabbling among camps continued into the start of the week as supporters of the victor and the vanquished didn't seem to realise that the battle had ended. In a show of unity, on Tuesday, the Peters walked into Parliament together hoping to send a message that another chapter of internal party politics has been put out of the way and they were moving forward with the nation's business in mind. While the leaders shook hands and smiled for the cameras, followers on social media continued to air dirty laundry as the word-throwing continued. During the three-month campaign leading up to Saturday's vote, announcements and pronouncements on the campaign trail of who was the better Peter had grown more divisive as the days passed.

From the outside looking in, political commentators said the PNP's base was revitalised by the challenge. There was new life in the organisation. All eyes were fixed on the party, anxious to see the outcome. One must wonder whether the behaviour of some of the supporters helped the party at all? Did this new level of interest help or hinder the PNP's cause?

The one thing that Jamaicans are sure to do when politics comes up is to “ramp rough”. We don't hold back on how we feel, or hesitate to tell you in detail why we feel that way. We fling the verbal stones with no hesitation. Thankfully, we've moved away from the physical missiles of yesteryear, but the wounds and damage can be just as deadly and lasting.

It is no wonder some young people have turned away from the politics game. Writer George Orwell is quoted as saying: “In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics'. All issues are political issues.” At some point those who stand back and watch will have to decide how to engage in politics, because not taking part means you are subject to the decisions of those who did. And, if you don't like the choices they make, well, dog nyam yuh supper!

Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator. Send comments to the Observer or gloudonb@gmail.com.


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