Much at stake in third political test match
The long-running series that an Express letter writer yesterday called “my new, favourite soap opera” will have entered today one part of its final episode, as the parties, the candidates and the voters look to the climactic local government polling day tomorrow.
The letter writer suggested that at least some members of the public being addressed over the campaign weeks have viewed it all as entertainment. The broadcast and print media, centrepiece elements of today’s campaigning, have been “delivering big laughs, huge gasps and the occasional, ‘Oh, please’, and promising more, next time”— or so that media consumer receives it.
Indeed, some content of the campaign programming may well qualify as X-rated, even deplorably reaching obscenity. Throwing restraint and caution to the wind, some platform performances have generally been recognised as hitting new lows.
Given that a high-profile by-election is still two weeks away, what appears certain are continuing instalments marked by exchanges of high-decibel accusations and ever more low blows. With the passion that attends a family feud, bitterest rhetorical jousting has marked the slanging matches between the People’s Partnership and the Independent Liberal Party whose protagonists, until about six months ago, had been part of the same administration.
Once again, viewing the current campaigns, observers, including the Elections and Boundaries Commission, will be querying the sources of apparently abundant funding of no-expense-spared exercises. As with the pattern of many platform outpourings, campaign finance cries out for regularisation toward ends of transparency. Such regularisation must include explanations for the glossy public outreach by ministries and state agencies, which just happens to coincide with a hectic electioneering period!
The campaigning, having assumed the character of general elections, has left the impression that a lot is at stake in this third political test match in nine months. The ruling Partnership is stoutly defending its national-scale record with references to distribution to students of 70,000 laptops and increases in minimum wages, while boasting of road and bridge building and repair, and the installation of box drains. Still, it seems unrealistic to expect any repeat of the 2010 capture of 11 of the 14 municipal bodies.
The emergence of the ILP will have cut into the Partnership majorities, just how deeply will be known tomorrow. Again, the PNM, underdog of the 2010 campaigns, has been projecting a revitalised image, no doubt encouraged by the split that has since undercut the juggernaut image of the Partnership.
For its part, the ILP, advertising “quality representation, decisive governance”, can offer only an “interim” leadership, evidently more accomplished in stage management than in due-diligence verification of its candidates’ track records.
On all sides, the belligerence has been expressed only in rhetoric. This is to be applauded, and expected to continue, as civic-minded electors finally get to play their decisive parts in the drama tomorrow.