Monthly Archives: August 2007

The Jamaican elections : the debates

Debate on social issues: Minister of National Security Peter Phillips beat Ken Baugh, JLP.

How come?

Peter Phillips wants to be in the Cabinet if the PNP wins; and he wants to replace Portia as leader of the PNP if the PNP loses. He had every incentive to perform and did so.

Ken Baugh was not a popular or effective Minister of Health in the 80’s, and recycling him for the 21st century was just a bad idea.

Debate on the economy: Audley Shaw, JLP, beat Minister of Finance Omar Davies.

How come ?

Audley Shaw knows his entire political career is at stake. He has no future in politics if the JLP loses the election and he loses his seat. He had every incentive to shine and he did.

Omar knows he is going to be replaced by Peter Bunting if the PNP wins, and if the PNP loses, he has no chance of winning the leadership. He had no incentive to win and he didn’t.

Debate between the leaders: Leader of the Opposition Golding beat Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

How come ?

He’s smarter and more articulate. He will have a tough time continuing in politics if the JLP loses this election. He was a gentleman and he showed his class, winning without making her a loser.

The Prime Minister went in to the debates to hold her own. She did. She believes that her supporters are (1) in a majority (2) don’t care about whether she can talk about stuff they don’t understand either…

What effect will the debates have, if any ?

Your guess is as good as mine…….

However, let’s whizz back to the U.S. elections of 2000 and 2004. George W. Bush (rich, educated, but not terribly smart) fought and won against two very smart and articulate Democrats, Al Gore and John Kerry. He used religion, and the fact that people liked him, to win. See any resemblance to our lady Prime Minister ?

Let’s just hope that if Portia wins she turns out to be better leader than George W. Bush has turned out to be…….

[posted with ecto]

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The Jamaican 2007 elections : Not even close ?

“Not even close ” is what Cliff Hughes, Jamaica’s only Emmy-award winning broadcast journalist, was muttering to himself last Friday evening during his show on Nationwide.

He had just been covering the RJR polls done by Ian Boxhill and his team (the former Stone pollsters). The polls being discussed were done in 2 constituencies – Central Manchester (Sally Porteous, JLP leads Peter Bunting, PNP – very close, within the margin of error) and South East St. Andrew (Education Minister Maxine Henry-Wilson leads JLP’s Joan Gordon-Webley).

Did Cliff Hughes mean that his sources were telling him that the RJR polls (which have not yet been released in their entirety) showed a big lead for the PNP ?

Or had his sources told him what was in the Bill Johnson polls published yesterday in the Sunday Gleaner, which show the PNP at 40% and the JLP at 34% ?

Or was he referring to the Don Anderson’s polls for CVM TV released earlier in the week which showed the PNP with a 4% lead over the JLP ?

Who knows ? But the polls last week do indicate that it is “not even close ” and Madam Prime Minister is set to get her first term – it’s just a question of how many seats.

“The Wisdom of Crowds” (James Surowiecki)

The media has been doing an even more valiant job than they did in 2002 in trying to create the impression that this election is a real struggle for power. Read the convoluted analyses now presented by every pollster which are designed to show that “the JLP is gaining ground”. See Byron Buckley’s article where you can skip the whole confusing “of interest ONLY to trained statisticians and professional political analysts” first section and just read the last paragraph which gives you the only interesting information garnered by the poll: Who’s ahead ?

Both Gleaner and Observer columnists, and most of the talk shows have taken the line that “the polls don’t really tell us anything much”. The Gleaner election forum is full of JLP supporters explaining why the polls are wrong, done incorrectly or just don’t mean anything…..

I have no problem with the media doing their best to ensure that the Jamaican public is fully aware of the consequences of re-electing the PNP, and is also fully aware of the consequences of not electing the JLP for the fifth time in a row.

As long as we keep in mind that the polls are the only way that the political parties, the analysts and the average person have of getting any idea what’s going to happen on election day……..

And as long as we keep in mind that:

The Prime Minister has been around, like forever, and since way back in 1992, the Jamaican people have told every pollster that they wanted Portia for Prime Minister. If she gets elected, this should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone at all……..

It took Edward Seaga 40 years to mash up the JLP, and Bruce Golding has only had 2 years to try and heal it…….

“The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies” (Bryan Caplan)

Delroy Chuck, JLP MP, writes a “farewell column” in the Gleaner that suggests how a continued insistence on ignoring poll data may cause someone to react after August 27th. If the JLP wins then Mr. Chuck will be happy, but if the PNP wins, this apparently means “the end of the JLP” and “the PNP will rule ”forever“…..

I’m sure that there are many young people in the JLP (Andrew Holness, for example) who think that a JLP defeat this month will only mean the end of Bruce Golding’s political career, and will be a wonderful chance for the younger generation( Mr. Chuck included) to sweep away the disastrous legacy of the past….

Well, the debates are this week :

Minister of National Security Peter Phillips debates JLP’s Ken Baugh on August 8 – Wednesday night

The JLP”s Audley Shaw debates Minister of Finance Omar Davies on August 10 – Friday night

The Prime Minister debates the Leader of the Opposition on August 11 – Saturday night

The debates, in the minds of many JLP supporters, represent a great chance for the JLP leader to show up the Prime Minister’s apparent lack of knowledge on substantive issues. They think that a poor performance by the Prime Minister could swing the public into the JLP’s camp and be the decisive factor in a JLP victory. They may be right.

I personally would never put my money on someone as telegenic and charming as Portia Simpson Miller “losing” a debate to Bruce Golding who, let’s say, is not quite so telegenic or charming. He may win every point but, if people like Portia because they identify with her, then any apparent condescension or bullying or attempt to humiliate will likely backfire on Mr. Golding.

I think he will easily demonstrate his superior abilities. What will be harder is to make himself appear both (1) likable and (2) respectful of women in general and the Prime Minister in particular…… Let’s see if he can use the debates to put the JLP ahead in the last lap…… Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines, please.

“Speed (Two-Disc Collector’s Edition)” (Jan de Bont)


“The Road Less Traveled, 25th Anniversary Edition : A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth” (M. Scott Peck)

[posted with ecto]

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