I refer to the contribution of Senator Anthony Vieira who spoke on Thursday as the last of the Independent senators speaking on the Constitution (Amendment) 2014 Bill.
Senator Vieira, as always, was quite lucid and his presentation was obviously very well-researched. This is as we have come to expect based on his contributions in debates past. Nothing less is expected from the goodly senator, having had the benefit of a secondary education at our common alma mater—St Mary’s College.
My former schoolmate however, seemed to have dropped the ball in the latter part of his contribution when he was critiquing the run-off aspect of the proposed amendments. One of his substantive, if not his most substantive argument against the run-off provision was that the 15-day period between polls for a run-off election could lead to malfeasance in the electoral process.
His contention was that during this period unfair advantage can be given to the party with superior resources for advertisements and other campaigning activities.
Are we, Senator Vieira, the average voter, so gullible, naive and easily swayed by the effects of high intensity campaigning? My question to Senator Vieira is whether additional jerseys, more rum and roti and the blaring of loud chutney and calypsos can change voting intent.
His hypothesis belies a lack of confidence in the cerebral, common-sense, cognitive capabilities of the common constituent to sift out the wheat from the chaff.
A further question to the senator is—can you, Sir, be influenced to change your voting choice as a result of intense campaigning?
If the answer to that is yes, then I concede that you spoke from your heart and said what you felt to be true. If however, the answer is no—you cannot be swayed by campaigning— then Sir, a further question begs...why do you attribute a lower level of intelligence to the average voter in this land?
In other words, do you believe the average voter is stupid?