By Gordon Robinson
Over in Apocrypha, that fairy-tale land beyond the clouds, Opposition Leader, Andrue Pollmess, was having a bad day.
Government had set up a commission of inquiry (COI) into the behaviour of the Opposition party at the same time that R.U. Shaw was challenging Andrue for the leadership of that party. Regular readers know R.U., who, like the man whose initials were G.B.S., when asked "Are you Shaw?' replied "My dear old chap, I'm certain of nothing."
Andrue's problems had started some time ago in Parliament when Government tabled a bill known far and wide as the 'Not One Sah' Bill or 'No Nos' for short. Previous COIs had run into problems with people refusing to answer questions. This bill proposed that persons called as witnesses at COIs had to take an oath and answer questions even if the answers were self-incriminating. The bill was passed into law over the Opposition's strong objections and now it was Andrue's turn to testify before the commission.
At the hearing, Andrue was cross-examined by Kinteet Knight, QC, a government senator, who was representing the governing party.
Knight: Mr Pollmess, is it true that you've said you won't be involved in any 'ray-ray' politics?
Knight: And is it true you've insisted on changing the style of Opposition politics?
Knight: Is it true you've introduced an entirely new method of opposition, one your party never practiced in the past?
Knight: Your party lost six of the last eight elections, correct?
Knight: And one of the two you won was uncontested?
Knight: And your party used "ra ra" politics as its strategy in all eight elections?
Knight: Good God! What exactly yu trying to do to MY party? Mek me put on me wig (removes a white handkerchief from his pocket and uses it to cover his head). Andrue Pollmess (using deep dramatic tone), you're hereby charged with trying to win de nex' election! How do you plead?
Andrue: Guilty sah. But ... .
Knight: Don't talk when I ask you a question. Is only me must talk. Is rob yu wan' rob de nex election from de govanment. You is old pirate! You are pathologically competitive!
Andrue: Yes, but ... .
Knight: You no hear me sey keep quiet when I asking question? How dare you try something different just because you lose six elections wid 'ray-ray'? You mus' pack your bags and Goooo!"
Andrue was depressed that night; at the end of his tether; knowing not what to do. Eventually his wife sent for Oma D'unn. Regular readers should remember Oma, the Apocryphan finance minister who was like a moon: bright only in the dark. However, he had a PhD in logic and was the one from whom they all sought advice on tricky political problems. Desperate for answers, Andrue laid his troubles before Oma. "We wasting all we election money on dis foolishness" Andrue complained, "How can I get R.U. to withdraw? Him sey when Hell freeze over. Him is keeping oono in power forever."
Oma told him to buy R.U. a light switch. Andrue looked puzzled so Oma told him the story of the Chinese pharmaceutical salesman who put up a creative advertisement for Viagra in doctors' offices. He neatly fitting a vertical Viagra trademark stickman on the light switch box above the switch so that both legs straddled the switch itself which was at the "on" position. Under the entire creation he posted the following sign: "If light stay on for more than four hours, call erectrician".
"Look," Oma explained, "R.U is mi frien' but his light comes and goes. So, send him a Viagra light switch fi him try turn on. Maybe, when his switch flick up, he'll see de light and withdraw. But, if he stay "on" too long and don't withdraw, call the election quick. He'll be too busy not withdrawing from de light to notice. Not even you can mess up dat poll. And Satan will be shopping online for ice skates."
Back home in Jamaica, I saw the great Dionne Jackson-Miller struggling to explain 'ray-ray' politics to viewers. Eventually, she settled (albeit not looking very confident) on announcing 'ray-ray'politics as politics with "too much hype". Wrong. Although there's hype in 'ray-ray' politics, 'ray-ray' politics isn't just hype. The term 'ray-ray' comes from 'Virago'. That's 'Virago', NOT 'Viagra'. Often, though, 'ray-ray' politics can sound like a Virago on Viagra.
Peace and love.
Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to email@example.com.