Thu | Mar 22, 2018

George Davis | Karl Blythe - a lamb to the (s)laughter

Published:Wednesday | July 27, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Karl Blythe's challenge of Portia Simpson Miller is an exercise in nothingness, argues George Davis.

So here comes Dr Enoch Karl Blythe, riding into the PNP leadership contest on his dray, being pulled by a lone tick-infested mule with a small head, spindly legs and a belly looking not dissimilar to Loud Senator's girth.

Dr Blythe's vehicle to the PNP presidency is in such terrible shape that Paul Burke and his secretariat should've rejected his nomination on the grounds that it wasn't representative of even the worst of the PNP. But the same party that believes it democratic to forbid members from speaking their minds in public about internal party matters finds it would be undemocratic to bar Dr Blythe from testing Portia Simpson Miller at the PNP's annual conference in September.

Forget being nice to a gentleman who served Parliament and the good people of Central Westmoreland for four consecutive terms. Forget for a minute that he served as water and housing minister, as well as a stint as state minister of health.

Consider instead a man whose political peak has passed, having shot his bolt in losing badly to the same Simpson Miller in the 2006 PNP presidential race. Consider also that this man cowered and ran from the contest to fill the vacancy created by the death of Roger Clarke in Central Westmoreland in December 2014. So a man who was cock of the walk in a constituency for 18 unbroken years between 1989 and 2007 and who backed out of contesting the race to fill the void in the same seat two years ago is now intent on leading all Comrades in all 63 constituencies across the island? Give me a break!

Ian Boyne was mighty kind to Dr Blythe in his In Focus column in The Sunday Gleaner. It's almost as if Sir Ian spent the previous Thursday in his den inventing ways in which Dr Blythe's tilt at the PNP leadership can be viewed as some strategic move in a chess game that will redound to the benefit of the Peters - Bunting and Phillips - when there is a vacancy at the top of the PNP political pyramid.

I didn't buy my Sunday Gleaner to see a man of Ian's proven quality and reasoning place his mind into the frame of Hans Christian Andersen when he wrote the greatest short story ever told about the Emperor's New Clothes. To hear Ian say that Dr Blythe's role in the broader PNP leadership tussle is that of "a John the Baptist in preparing the way for a new PNP messiah" is to laugh so loud as if in response to Lambert Brown's declaration that he's the most handsome man in the country.




Had Ian not proven himself over a solid 30-year career, I would join those accusing him of the same intellectual vanity reflected in the Hans Christian Andersen tale. But I suspect that Ian is still so dumbstruck by Dr Blythe's nomination that he was forced into overrationalising what has to be the most absurd leadership challenge in the history of Jamaican politics.

Ian began his column saying, "Karl Blythe will be soundly thrashed by Portia Simpson Miller at her party conference in September and sent back as a scapegoat into the political wilderness." He continued the column for another 1,339 words. I'm suggesting to Ian that he wasted his time, as his views on Dr Blythe's challenge should have begun and ended there.

Portia Simpson Miller gave the JLP's Victor Hyde such a thrashing in the 2011 and 2016 general elections that the gentleman's teeth must still hurt at certain points in the night when he lies in bed. I'm suggesting that Victor Hyde would stand a better chance of beating Mama P at PNP conference than Dr Blythe.

Ian Boyne says it's not winning that matters for Dr Blythe, but the message it can send about disgruntlement at Portia's rule. I'm suggesting that Labourite Hyde would advance the message transmission far better than Dr Blythe can.

Some Comrades wanted a sacrificial lamb at Portia's coronation as PNP queen for another year. You can already hear the hissing of teeth and threats to throw stones now that Dr Blythe, a political donkey, has offered to be that lamb.


- George Davis is a broadcast executive producer and talk-show host. Email feedback to and