Conflicting signals from the JLP
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The inherent and openly contradictory statements coming from sections of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) should arouse the interest of even the most superficial observer since, taken to their logical conclusions, they reveal a political party in disarray, unable to coalesce around some common goals. The contradictory statements by the opposition spokespersons on finance and tourism during the Outameni controversy ensured the JLP got no mileage from such a hot-button issue.
Most recently, the contradictory statements from the spokesperson on finance and chairman of the JLP's economic oversight committee raise serious questions about not only the cohesiveness of the Opposition, but also its readiness to take the reins of power.
While the contradictions may be glaring, more important, they reflect the general malaise that has beset the JLP from inception - the inability to coalesce around a shared set of beliefs - ideology: the cement that binds political coalitions into political parties.
In the struggle for the moral support of the people, the lack of firm beliefs puts the JLP at a great disadvantage. The mood of its intellectual leaders has long been characterised by disillusionment with its principles, disparagement of its achievements and elusive concern with the creation of a 'better party'. This is not the mood in which a political party can expect to gain supporters. If the JLP is to succeed in the great struggle for ideas that is now under way, the party should at least know what they believe.
The leadership must also be clear in their minds as to what they expect to achieve and preserve to prevent the party from drifting. No less than a statement of the party's ideals is required. Politics today is ultimately a question of which political philosophy will triumph over another, and the very survival of the JLP may be dependent on its ability to rally a sufficiently strong part of the electorate around a common ideal.