Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Parties need defining ideology

Published:Saturday | March 19, 2016 | 3:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The two major political parties in Jamaica seem to be suffering from identity crises. There is no ideology or concept that can clearly define the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) or the People's National Party (PNP). The political landscape in Jamaica has become more about individuals and their ambitions, no longer about ideology.

It's not surprising that voter turnout has been steadily decreasing and is now at an all-time low. What are voters voting for? If a party doesn't have a clear and definite ideology, voters are left to choose the party that makes the most attractive promises or the party that spends the most money.

A political campaign should see a political party educating the masses about their preferred ideology and why it is better for the country. Disappointingly, our political campaigns are now centred around people instead of an idea.

I'm disappointed in the JLP, but more so the PNP. According to history, the PNP has also been the party that clings to an idea and a message, while the JLP opposes. In recent times, however, the PNP has lost its way and seems afraid to mention democratic socialism. What is there to be ashamed of?

Democratic socialism is what made Michael Manley the most loved politician. The ideology of democratic socialism led to the establishment of the minimum wage, free education from primary school to university, the Jamaica Movement for the Advancement of Literacy, The National Housing Trust, Project Land Lease, equal pay for women, maternity leave, outlawed the stigma of illegitimacy and the abolishment of the Masters and Servants Act, among many other policies that reformed the Jamaican society. Some may argue that times have changed and certain political ideologies are outdated, but as long as inequality, injustice and classism exist in our society, there will always be need for social reform.

Now, the PNP has the perfect opportunity to return to our roots and resurrect our ideology, protecting the poor and defending the working class.

My advice to all politicians is to market ideas, not people, attack issues and not characters. Give voters something to vote for!

GARTH THOMPSON

thomot2@hotmail.com