The French in Bajan Politics
Those of us who refuse to navel gaze by maintaining a keen interest in global affairs would have followed the the Brexit referendum and all that ensued in the United Kingdom, followed by the elevation of Donald Trump to the presidency of the USA. Both outcomes represent outcomes not predicted by many talking heads who represent the establishment. Both events exposed rising concerns by citizens about unfettered immigration; unprotected borders as well as the need to have greater focus on the domestic economy.
The French presidential election has taken on global interest in light of Brexit and the rise of Trumpism. As we scribe this blog Marine Le Pen from the far-right and Emmanuel Macron labelled a centrist have been projected to move to the second round of voting to determine who will be president of France on the 07 May 2017.
The BU household does not boast of any intimate knowledge of the political landscape of France, however, even from our arms distance there is enough to observe to provoke a comparison and critique of the Barbados political space. One of the observations by French political commentators has been that the French people will have the opportunity to vote for the kind of France they want. In Macron they have a man who does not believe in left or right political ideologies but prefers the pragmatic approach to confronting the issues that confront France. He has taken the view for example that a strong France will have its foundation in the European Union. On the other side of the presidential race there is Le Pen whose nationalist bent is about pursuing an anti European Union, anti immigration agenda and to reinstate the Franc as the currency of choice.
Unlike France there is no marked difference in the political ideology of the two main political parties that have governed Barbados since Independence in 1966. The homogeneity of the duopoly Barbadians have had to chose has led to a stasis state and a creep in voter lethargy. BU is hopeful the platform agenda of all the political parties in Barbados will be about selling a vision for a new Barbados for the next 50 years. What messaging we have been exposed to so far is much of the same and akin to band-aiding serious injuries. Our governance model is seriously broken and bold leadership is required. To make the concern acute is the absence to date of charismatic leaders.
It has not escaped BU that Theresa May has returned to the people to seek a stronger mandate to pursue a hard-Brexit AND the rise of Donald Trump the rank outsider who fought against the so called establishment to win. Again in the French presidential election we have two individuals who have never run for public office. Across the globe there is the rise of populism. In Barbados in contrast we detect that although there is an annoyance by many directed at the two main political parties the third parties have not been able to gain traction to this point. We remain optimistic!