1. The debate over numerology and the place of religion in politics
Pastor Phillip Phinn
Everyone (from the talk shows to the columnists) attacks the Prime Minister for supposedly advocating numerology and/or being guided by Pastor Phinn’s prophecies in her choice of election date. This debate reminds us that this election will be about who owns Jamaica.
Jamaican politicians use religious symbolism as a matter of course and always have done. The pundits and the middle classes (who, dare we say it, probably check their horoscopes every day) always decry it as a sign of the slide into superstition and ignorance…. Ian Boyne has their number….
The Prime Minister laughs at her critics, and bestows seven kisses on JLP Deputy Leader Derrick Smith at the signing of the Political Code of Conduct…….
What comes next: More of the same.
Who wins : The Prime Minister. Every attack reminds “the masses” how they and their beliefs are despised by the media and the middle classes. Only Sister P is on their side…….
2. The debate over whether this election will be more violent than the last
The Peace Management Initiative is already throwing up its hands. Since they have no power, and moral suasion is limited, what are they to do when:-
JLP leader Bruce Golding compares the Prime Minister to Hitler (re: her popularity) and to Saddam Hussein (re: her Information Minister Donald Buchanan) ?
Party supporters on both sides are armed and apparently unable to resist any provocation
What comes next: More debate, more shootings, another murder
Who wins: No one, unless you happen to own a funeral parlour. (However, the Prime Minister’s religiosity and serial kissing is starting to look good next to the Leader of the Opposition’s rants.)
3. Education and Healthcare – free or not ?
This debate is depressing for every reason.
Free secondary education (promised by the JLP) will not improve either the quality of teachers in schools or reduce the huge number of children in every class or assist the hundreds of schools plagued by violence or improve conditions at the hundreds of schools with not enough desks, books or classrooms to accommodate the children enrolled there.
Free healthcare for children under 18 (recently implemented by the ruling PNP) will not improve the chronic shortage of supplies, beds and equipment at any of the island’s hospitals and clinics.
So all the discussion and promises from the platform will not contribute one iota to improving healthcare or education in Jamaica.
What comes next: More, more, more of the same with promises of freeness becoming more extravagant as Election Day approaches
Who wins: Whichever party forms the next Government since the people won’t be expecting any improvements whatsoever, only that we shouldn’t have to pay for whatever inadequate services are provided……
4. The intelligence of the electorate
You’re intelligent if (choose one ) you’re not swayed by (a) JLP promises (b) PNP promises (c) your instinctive fondness for Sister P
You’re stupid if (choose one) you are swayed by (a) JLP promises (b) PNP promises (c) your instinctive fondness for Sister P
Can you be uneducated AND also intelligent ?
You can be uneducated and intelligent if (choose one) (a) you plan to vote for the PNP because of the last 18 years (b) you plan to vote for the JLP because of the last 18 years
Can you be educated AND also stupid ?
You can be educated AND also stupid if (choose one)
(a) you led your party to election defeat after election defeat and still refused to give up being Leader of the Opposition
(b) you have a column in the paper and every week use it to defend your horrible record as Leader of the Opposition
What comes next : The majority of voters decide the election on Aug 27, and the next Prime Minister congratulates us on how smart we are
Who wins : Jamaicans who vote and respect the outcome, regardless of which party forms the next government
For all election news all the time:-
The Gleaner has started an election website. Nothing interesting on it yet, but all Gleaner election articles are collected here, so if you don’t want to pore over the website for relevant stories you can go here
Total Jamaican election addicts can listen to the discussions:-
Newstalk 93 here. Newstalk 93 used to be Radio Mona and features Anthony Abrahams and Trevor Munroe on The Breakfast Club- 6.00 am to 9.00 am Jamaica time and Steve Golding (Junior Bangarang) on The Corner-2.30pm to 5.00pm in the afternoons.
Nationwide News Network is here. It features Cliff Hughes, Carol Narcisse – 5.00pm to 8.00pm Jamaica time and Emily Crooks 6.00 am to 9.00 am Jamaica time. Nationwide is still the leader for stories the other media houses won’t/don’t cover.
[posted with ecto]