FRIDAY, DEC. 7: Given all the electioneering noise, on D-Day, in the secrecy of the polling booths, all voters in Bermuda will divide into exactly two groups. One group will vote on emotion. The other will vote on the economy.

Economy

Bermuda has been in recession since January 2009. Business closures, job losses, a decline in foreign currency earnings from  IB and Tourism ($2,557 million in 2008 and $2,347 million in 2010); are all strong indicators of serious national economic difficulties.

The latest Government reported on-Island unemployment rate is eight percent; in four-years a ten percent fall-off in GDP; Government’s real 2012/13 revenues are coming in seven percent lower than four years before in 2008/09; imports are down 15 percent from 2008/09; and the total volume of Retail Sales has declined for forty-seven consecutive months.    

Since 2010, year-on-year, Government has been spending less money in Bermuda on Bermudians. In 2010 Government spent $1,157 million in Bermuda on Bermudians. In 2012 Government planned to spend only $966 million in Bermuda on Bermudians. This is a huge spending decline of 17 percent since 2010. This is three years of real though unannounced austerity spending.

Everything in the preceding paragraph means that this Government’s financial management has helped convert what started out as a recession into a longer running depression.

The depression means that those thousands of your fellow voters who step into the voting booths will be voting about your job prospects; job prospects for your children; and the possibilities of pulling or getting Bermuda out of this mostly self-inflicted economic depression.

If things like this are uppermost in your mind, you will make a rational decision based on fact and reality.

Emotion

If you don’t vote on facts and economics, you will vote on emotion. Uppermost in your mind will be matters of race, racial prejudice, and terrible social evils of the past.

Your principal concern will be that persons deemed to be white persons or surrogates of white persons are trying to re-take control of Bermuda. Your principal concern will be to prevent them from getting seats in Parliament.

You will be scared that the past will come back and upset what you think is your present. With that fear of a returning past, you will vote for the party that, in your mind, will best protect you against those “old white guys” from Bermuda’s unsavoury racial past. Above all else, you will vote for what you see as some form of racial protection.

Your voting decision will be based on emotion, pure emotion.  

Marley’s ghost

Many Christmases ago, on Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge’s first night-time visitor was his dead partner, Jacob Marley. Marley appeared wearing the clanking chains of his past. Marley scared the dickens of out Scrooge. However, Scrooge regained composure and faced two more night visitors.

Scrooge’s third visitor was the Spirit of the future. He showed Scrooge the dark and inevitable consequences of making bad choices.

Bermuda’s D-Day issue is that those who only see, respond to, and think of the past, are people who are voting on pure emotion that is sparked by fear in its purest form. Theirs is a fear of a past that seems - in their minds – to re-appear. These voters will likely be marking their ballots even while they look over their shoulders to see if anybody is watching.

In the real world of Bermuda’s present, Bermuda is one of 204 countries. As a ‘business park’, Bermuda competes against other ‘business park’ powerhouses like Switzerland, Ireland, and Malta; and little scrappers like Caymans, Guernsey, and nowadays service centres in Halifax and India.

People concerned about themselves, their families, their jobs, will be anxious to see that their tomorrows do not pan out as demonstrated by Scrooge’s third Christmas spirit.

Long before D-day, these voters will think, look, ask, check, and think again. Then they will stride into that secret booth and vote for their futures — and also your future. They won’t vote on ghosts and the past.