Political Die Hards….not as Hard as you think

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Bustamante, with his usual braggadio said; “If I tell you to vote for a dog, you vote for a dog.”

This may have been true in the very early days of politics in Jamaica, when people mindlessly
made their X beside the Bell or the Head. And it may still be true for some brainless zombies.

Unfortunately, for Politicians, there has been a sharp drop in Zombies.  There has been a marked
increase in psuedo zombies; people who pretend to be mindless slugs willinging to march into a
polling station and plant their X where they were told, who actually vote for the other party or more
commonly, don’t vote at all.

In 1980 the People’s National Party, so certain that it’s East Kingston and Port Royal Constituency
was locked, ran a chap named Small who became universally despised within an extremely short
time.

On election day, he was beaten by 300 votes by the Labour Party candidate, Webley, who not only
was unknown to most people, but not particularly liked either.

The results of the subsequent local election, had both PNP candidates winning their seats by twice
to three times the number of persons who voted in the National election.

This sitting on their vote is a tactic used by members of the PNP with great authority.

They do not complain. They do not switch. They behave like Zombies. Singing the Party songs,
marching in the demonstrations, attending rallies and conferences, wearing their colours and
proudly claiming to be ‘Socialists.”

On election day, if given “a dog”  they sit on their votes. Allowing the other party to win.

Most politicians are fooled by the ‘Die Hard’.  S/he seems a mindless slug, who repeats the slogans.
If the Politician doesn’t offend the public, if s/he can be liked, then the votes will be cast.  As this is
more usual than not,  the idea that one can run “a dog”  continues to hold currency.

Until one runs a Small candidate from a die hard PNP constituency and out of 25,000 votes,
he gets something like 3335 where the Labourite Party candidate gets something like 3665.

The Jamaica Labour Party has less die hards than the PNP.  This is because since Bustamante
their eye has been on the rich businessman. How to please him, get his money behind them.

During the last election, 2007, all the pieces came into play.

Here was the once popular Portia Simpson-Miller, making a fool of herself before the masses
who weren’t voting for a wild counsellor but a Prime Minister; one who could sit at the table with
world leaders.

There was the suddenly mature and urbane Bruce Golding, renouncing all forms of political
gangsterism, while running from the Heart of Garrisons; Tivoli Gardens.

There was Porta, cavorting like a dance hall queen at Sting, flinging jingles into microphones.
There was Bruce, making academic speeches that could be repeated at the U.N.

But there was more.
And deeper.

Golding had made many links with the wealthy class which financed his campaign.  When he won
he’d have to repay them from public coffers, in such manner as to be undetected.  He knew that
Tivoli did not like him, but as long as he did not annoy them, he would be elected by them.

Simpson-Miller had lost many followers in a twisted sense of control. She may have thought that
people, even those she slighted, bypassed, ignored, replaced, would continue to support her,
would not feel resentment when others, ‘just come’ others, who never ‘fought’ for her or ‘defended’
her were given gifts of positions and other accolades.

On election day, the neutral voter, impressed with Golding’s rhetoric marched to the polls. The
business community paid their workers and others to vote.  The JLP die hards marched to the polls.
In the PNP sections, many people sat on their votes. As only the PNP die-hard would vote for Portia,
as she had nauseated the neutrals, she lost.  She did not take her loss well, which caused her
further defeats.

Two years and four months after the election, the public is beginning to see exactly what they voted
for.  They see the IMF marching in, giving instructions.  They appreciate Golding does not know how
to govern. That he has no control over the government and the business community, any more than
he has over his Constituency.

Needing an outside force to make the decisions, proves what many of Golding’s detractors have said;
he is not fit to govern.

Once the IMF enters, Jamaica will be plunged into an econmic tsunami as devastating as the Haitian
Earthquake; in fact, history will prove that if Jamaica had a devastating Earthquake it would be better
off than what the IMF will bring.

Golding gambled when he ran for office.  He gambled that PNP die hards would sit on their votes, and
he was correct.  He gambled that playing Cary Grant to Portia’s Lady Saw would get him the votes.
He gambled that he’d be able to pay back the business community without being caught.

He has to make it through another two years before he can think of calling elections.  And I’m sure
he believes he will; then quietly be defeated, and disappear with his winnings.

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