Columns

Peter vs Peter

Franklin
Johnston

Friday, September 06, 2019

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It is easier to poll opinions of three million voters than assess 3,000 People's National Party (PNP) delegates, or even the 30,000 who empowered them. Economics is human behaviour, aggregated and writ large, that's why mob rule is not an individual trait, nor are market forces.

A referendum is a 100 per cent poll; the next best a stratified random sample of 1,000 with a three per cent margin of error. But a poll is a picture at a point in time; like stocktaking. A 120 poll is cheap but unreliable; a 4,200 poll costly, and 1.6 per cent error not worth it. So read all Peter, Peter data warily as a poll is not a forecast.

The Peter (Phillips) vs Peter (Bunting) match-up some people see is as asymmetrical as the tortoise and the hare, so we can track both by current clichés with no last name; for example that Peter is big and slow, while Peter is wiry and quick; that Peter is heavy intellectual while Peter is lightweight mercantilist. Among rivals (not in politics) symmetry is normal, so the edge is small. Athletes, job applicants, Rhodes scholars or Nobel laureates have comparable discipline, preparation and achievement; all worthy, but one wins! Politics is different, as one candidate may be disciplined, educated, and a rival the opposite and unworthy; as we have no specs for the job, no “fit and proper” or health check or psych profile. Trump could win here! Don't overthink; just flip a coin or choose who you like for the top job in party or nation.

How will delegates choose a PNP leader? Sensory data as Peter fluffy and Peter slim? Yet, there is fairness in this turgid stew but for dirty tricks as fiction and facts trade as equals. Some say use principles of the party and ability to win elections.

Is the PNP still democratic socialist? The UK Labour Party attended its 40s launch in solidarity and they built welfare for all and the fifth-largest economy. We did what? We are small-minded as Europe has parties of the left, right, centre-right, centre-left, hard-right, hard-left, and we know capitalist America, but not democratic socialist Germany (fourth largest economy) Canada, France (seventh largest) with social justice for all, yet we worry about democratic socialism? Name three rich capitalist nations? This should be in the criteria!

The British Parliament has Members from nine political parties; we have two. One embraces direct action to secure the greatest good for the greatest number and the other expects goodness to trickle down. So, must a PNP leader adhere to its philosophy? Incumbency is a tremendous asset, so Peter should be unassailable. What cracks did Peter see to so boldly venture?

The proximity to the general election due by early 2021 may affect this contest. How so? Will some delegates look beyond party criteria to general election criteria and colt the game? Some think Peter a more symmetrical match for Andrew Holness. Some see replacing Peter as disruptive and dangerous, as the JLP may call snap elections. Peter challenges delegates to look beyond the party poll, but is Peter standing firm on incumbency or not? Is Peter's focus on presidency, and Peter's more a shot at a prime minister's job; a tad confusing? We will see convergence around the latter shortly.

So, who is best to unseat Holness? Andrew's strength is youth; yet of nations who give aid, foreign direct investmeny, trade; USA, China, UK, Germany, EU, their leaders are in the 60s and 70s with adult kids. Can he connect?

He runs a country which is one-quarter police state; does it bother him? Will it be six parishes by next month, all-island lockdown by 2020? Young, yes, but Bernie Sanders outscores him on love of rights, enthusiasm and ideas. So does age matter if you innovate? Is youth a waste if you don't deliver? He promised jobs, “sleep with doors open”, housing, growth of five per centand a zero impact $1.5-million tax break morphed into a $30-billion albatross. On this record any Peter can beat him in a general election.

Yet idle clichés dominate. Peter is old, had his chance; and rival Peter is light on his feet, a “lean and hungry look”, and disloyal. All sensory data processed by an innate biometric algorithm animals use to stalk prey or avoid becoming prey; our politics! And so, challenger Peter takes the fight to titleholder Peter, who calmly holds his corner. If delegates consider intellect and practicum; who thinks and who does, who would win? Both are at the top of their game and served in the bowels of the party with distinction. Peter is in history books for righting economic fundamentals to put us on a path to debt free growth. Peter built a sustainable financial empire and won acclaim of peers in the national economy. Frankly, either Peter can beat Andrew on personal performance. Yet if delegates value the virtues of incumbency Peter will win. If they value the promise of change Peter will win. Stay conscious!

 

Franklin Johnston, D Phil (Oxon), is a strategist and project manager; Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK); and lectures in logistics and supply chain management at Mona School of Business and Management, The University of the West Indies. Send comments to the Observer or franklinjohnstontoo@gmail.com.


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