There can be no halfway house on this matter. Or, as they say, a woman is either pregnant or not.
In that respect, Herbert Thompson has made his place on the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) untenable.
In that respect, the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) leadership challenger, Audley Shaw, is right: Dr Thompson should go the full hog.
We are surprised that neither Dr Thompson himself, nor the Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen, who at his sole discretion appoints the independent members of the ECJ, understood this.
Further, the situation, as it has evolved, confirms, we believe, that Andrew Holness' initial call for Dr Thompson's resignation was an opportunistic stance aimed at countering his branding by internal opponents as a man of lassitude. It was not a position grounded in principle.
The ECJ manages elections in Jamaica. Over three decades, starting when Jamaica was close to a civil war and its elections were characterised by intimidation and vote-rigging, the ECJ and its predecessor, the Electoral Advisory Committee (EAC), have transformed Jamaica's voting system to one that is close to, if not of, international best practices. That this happened was contributed to, in large measure, by the bi-partisan effort of the JLP and the People's National Party (PNP).
In that context, it is understandable that the PNP, as part of its 75th anniversary celebration, decided to mark the contribution to the building of national unity.
Unfortunately, the PNP's initial offering of the award - which it later corrected - suggested that the acknowledgement was of Dr Thompson personally and for his contribution to that party specifically. Dr Thompson blundered badly by failing to inform his fellow independent commissioners of the award prior to his acceptance of it.
The upshot was that Mr Holness, declaring that he had lost confidence in Dr Thompson's impartiality and judgement, insisted on his resignation.
Resigned as chairman
This newspaper did not agree. But Dr Thompson, in the face of the Opposition pressure, acquiesced - partially.
He resigned as chairman, but stayed on as a member of the commission. Apparently, that was a compromise to which Mr Holness retreated in a meeting with the independent commissioners: that, according to a statement from the JLP, "Thompson's position as chairman was untenable".
That, of course, is muddled thinking. If Dr Thompson cannot be relied on to take independent, impartial decisions as chairman of the ECJ, we are at a loss to understand how his ability to do so will be enhanced by merely vacating the chairman's seat.
Moreover, principles, especially when they are fundamental, which Mr Holness at first suggested to be the case, can't be this elastic. If Mr Holness believes he erred in his initial position, he must say so and explain why. That can't be sentiment.
The same goes for Dr Thompson and Sir Patrick.
Mr Shaw, in his original statement, like Mr Holness, welcomed Dr Thompson's action, but apparently tested his logic and realised that being half pregnant was illogical. In the JLP leadership race, he now has one up on Mr Holness.
The opinions on this page, except for the above, do not necessarily reflect the views of The Gleaner. To respond to a Gleaner editorial, email us: firstname.lastname@example.org or fax: 922-6223. Responses should be no longer than 400 words. Not all responses will be published.