Let me have men about me that are fat,
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights.
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look,
He thinks too much; such men are dangerous
Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 190–195
Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart was the man trusted by the late Prime Minister David Thompson to manage the affairs of state during his sickness. It was a difficult time for the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) we can all agree, the protracted global economic slowdown would not have made the situation better. Stuart, his failings as a human noted, was a calming influence during that time. Some like Peter Wickham argue that he appears to be slow in decision-making. Besides the fact Wickham has overstepped his professional boundary as a pollster, one wonders how would he have known what considerations Stuart had to deliberate over to make those decisions he felt were slow in coming. Could it be that Wickham is simply sharing his opinions which like ours have no empirical support?
The reality of the matter is that our parliamentary system requires the leader of the political party to have the support of the parliamentary group in order to perform the job. When the leader is Prime Minister the procedure to remove him may differ compared to what occurred in the case of Arthur (the Gang of Five) and Mottley. In both cases there is a common factor, the leader needs the support of the parliamentary group.
BU sources have confirmed that Prime Minister Stuart does not have the support of the majority of key players in the parliamentary group and the party. Some are willing to go public while others are scared and prefer to be protected by the shadows. The charge laid by DLP disaffected members is that Stuart has failed to lead.
Prime Minister Stuart should be aware of this situation by this time if he wasn’t before and is astute enough to read the tea leaves for himself. BU has already advised Stuart to ring the bell and let the people decide. How he does it is up to him. Will he defer to Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler who appears to be the popular choice or will he be nasty about it a la Sir Lloyd. If the disaffected parties can hold their nerves it seems obvious that the DLP cannot venture on the campaign trail unless swords are returned to their scabbards and all line up behind the Old Head or the young Turk.
Some question how the transfer to Sinckler should occur. There is the emerging view in the BU household that the Governor General is not required to call an election or to submit to Prime Minister Stuart’s call for an election if he demands it. Provided the DLP has a leader that is able to form a majority government, the Governor General has the authority to remove Stuart and give the job to Sinckler. The idea that there must be a general election may not be supported in the law.
The parliamentary model of government as it affects how we change leaders often leave a bitter after taste but it is what it is. The same occurred with Mottley when her support shifted overnight to Arthur and left her on the outside looking in. BU supports the call to amend the law so that the people vote for the leader and pre-empt a few people in smoke filled backrooms who currently influence the selection process. We need to protect our fragile democracy from those with deep pockets who in the current system find it easy to manipulate our politicians who carry a ‘hungry look’.
There is enough evidence in the public domain to support that there is a palace coup unravelling in the DLP camp. Sinckler’s continued denials will dent his integrity the longer it takes to accomplish the goal. Many conclusions maybe drawn but the one which comes to the top of the pile is that this is imperfect timing for the DLP.