Will former Premier Brown get his last wish and witness the demise of the United Bermuda Party?

With the formation of the Bermuda Democratic Alliance it certainly looks like we are seeing the closing of a political era.

It can not be denied that the heart of the UBP has been torn out with the formation of a party which took with it not only a host of former UBP politicians, but has attracted a core of political supporters that one would naturally associate with the UBP.

  Recently the leader of the BDA Craig Cannonier called upon the UBP to leave the political stage and accept that a large part of Bermuda’s population will never vote them into government again. As Mr. Cannonier put it, they should just turn out the lights and leave the role of the political opposition to a new political movement.

Well, with all due respect, not even in nature do we see the leader of the pack willingly giving up a position of leadership — and certainly not without an often bitter and bloody struggle.

The recent controversy surrounding the demotion of Michael Dunkley from the leadership of the opposition in the Senate, despite denials, has further weakened the UBP.

  The unfolding political struggle will in all likelihood be historic because for the first time we will see the white vote split, between the UBP and the BDA.

If that were to happen, we could see the ruling Progressive Labor Party winning in areas that henceforth were UBP strongholds due to solid white support.

But what is the political composition of this ‘new movement’ that the leader of the BDA talked about?

From what I can see, if a political term could be attached the the Bermuda Democratic Alliance, then that term would be Liberal Conservative. And in my view, this will never draw the support of the labour vote.

To date, I have not seen or heard any statements that would lead us to believe that the BDA is prepared to reach out to the labour constituency. So even if the BDA were to replace the UBP as the official opposition, then it could find itself in the same political position that it claims the UBP is in politically — that is, considered unelectable by a large portion of Bermuda’s voting population.

But what about the political fortunes of the PLP, seemingly riding high with the election of its new leader Premier Cox?

There was a very curious story in the media that said MP Dale Butler was set to be replaced by Tim Smith, the former Police Commissioner who is now a member of the PLP. It was quickly denied by official party  sources. But it was strange that Mr. Butler did not seem to have the support of his branch during the recent delegates’ conference, where he made an unsuccessful bid for the leadership of the PLP.

If there is a thought of putting in a white candidate in an area where there is a large white voting block, it would be good to remember that a white candidate who has run as a PLP candidate has never won a significant portion of that vote to gain a seat in parliament for the PLP.

Mr. Butler is said to have some white support in his area; the question is; ‘would that support carry him to parliament as a BDA candidate or even as an independent’?

There was another curious statement made by Kim Wilson, in her new ministerial post, to the effect that some job categories that were open only to Bermudians may now be open to non-Bermudians.

That is very curious in a period where there is growing Bermudian unemployment and not just of the hustle truck variety, but white collar and/or professional Bermudian workers who are facing unemployment for a year or more.

In this changing political dynamic it may not just be the clash between the UBP and the BDA that bears watching closely.