The Phartford Files: Agenda for a Third Party Part I
Submitted by Ironside
The PdP should not let the recent rumblings of the honourable PM of Barbados at her party’s recent conference get under its skin. Anytime a third party in Barbados makes any ground, no matter how little, you can expect retaliation from the old guard as sure as night follows day.
I recall Donville Inniss belittling the new parties that emerged for the 2018 election, specifically Solutions Barbados, early on in the campaign. His arrogance has been duly rewarded. I absolutely love Madame Karma!
The first thing that any new party that hopes to make a significant impact in the next election must do is to recognize that there is mental space, however small, for a third party in the minds of the electorate. For some, it is a default position resulting from the systematic abuse and betrayal of the two entrenched parties, viz. the BLP and DLP, the Bonnie and Clyde of Barbadian politics. But that space is there, nonetheless.
This is the right time to advance the agenda of a serious “third” party. Now is the time to exploit the growing disaffection with the incumbent BLP and the betrayal of the wasted DLP. Divide and rule, we call it.
Expect retaliation from Bonnie and Clyde because, make no mistake about it, when the chips are down, like any good husband and wife team, Bonnie and Clyde will close ranks to keep out the upstarts!
The second thing that a successful new party must do is define itself in that available mental space. That means it must study carefully the contours of that space and be very strategic about how it intends to capture it. In Marketing we call that positioning.
However, the third party must take careful note that many of the masses are unable to think outside the B&D box. They are suffering from what I have called elsewhere on this blog “mental rigor mortis” (“MRM” as dubbed by one blogger). It is the case, that despite the evidence of their eyes, these sufferers just can’t see anything else but a two party state. We boast of being so highly educated but it seems that that has NOT produced any open-mindedness! Looks like a case of “clouds without water” to me!
Moreover, the third party must grasp the fact that, in a perverse way, many Barbadians are also suffering from political “trauma bonding”. Trauma bonding is that difficult-to-understand behaviour of victims who return to their abusers in the face of [pun intended] sometimes brutal physical abuse. It is something that MAM should understand very well!
I do not wish to get side-tracked here so I suggest you read the following articles on this topic for a start:
I am yet to see a third party with a discernible, coherent and viable strategic positioning plan. The strategy itself is not something you shout out in so many words but one which you “drip irrigate” onto the public. Over time, your positioning becomes evident to those who are studying your [party’s] communications and behaviour.
It follows logically from the above analysis, that the third thing the successful party must do is devise a deliberate, ongoing, consistent, focused communications campaign to support its positioning in the electorate’s mind. It must start this long before any formal campaigning for the 2023 begins! Coincidentally, that campaign must also build trust. Trust is hard to build, but so easy to destroy, as many a one-night-stander can testify!
Now, to extent that Solutions Barbados followed the approach I am suggesting, in the last election period, is the extent to which they were able capture 14% of the vote. However, a lot of their under-performance was due, in no measure, to the naivety and egotism of the party leader Grenville Phillips. As you can see from the posts below, Mr. Phillips still neither understands nor accepts this criticism.
- ++++Ironside @Nextparty246: November 1, 2019 5:42 AM:
- ++++nextparty246 @Ironside: November 1, 2019 8:05 PM:
Perhaps Mr. Phillips should stick to his Tuesday Sermon. Perhaps, he may find more support there. May I suggest that his next sermon be on the message to the Church in Laodicea? [Rev. 3: 14 -16]
I am firmly committed to seeing the acceptance and success of a third party in Barbados. However, that does NOT include the absence of other parties; by no means. We need a rich and strong democracy here! So expect me to push the third party concept with all the warp power that Mr. LaForge can call up from the engine room!