We’ll begin by saying sorry. But the apology is only for the sake of politeness, because all we are sorry about is that we have to return to this subject so early in the general elections campaign — but we believe we must.
It is nothing short of disgusting, and disrespectful to the entire country, the level of public speaking that is now characterising the campaign nightly. Our politicians are too well-educated to pitch their standards so low.
We are tempted to publish verbatim all the smut that Barbadians are being fed at night, but we believe it would turn out to be nothing more than a waste of valuable space. Perhaps the name calling and insults help to whip up excitement among supporters, but we are reasonably satisfied they win no votes outside of that circle.
So what’s the point? Your supporters are going to vote for you anyhow. However, you run the risk of turning off those who are at the point of being convinced where they should place their X.
Why do we need to know which female candidate should not feel safe bending over in front of her opponent? What about a dog name Barney would make undecided voters cast their ballot for one side or the other? But above all, what is this disgusting fascination with the sexual preferences of opponents that it must form part of the speech of everyone mounting the platform?
There are too many important questions that Barbadians want answered by both sides for so much platform time to be taken up with this non-stop nonsense. You can all do better.
As we have said before, thin-skinned people should not enter politics, and we don’t expect any politician to treat his opponents as if they are at Sunday School, but there has to be a limit. We ought to question the depth of a person who seeks to represent our interest at home, regionally and internationally, when his debating skills are deliberately suppressed to the extent that opponents are referred to as “son of a brute”, “blasted idiot”, “bull sh#$# crap”, “bewitch woman” and “foolish woman” among others.
We don’t believe anyone wants to turn our politicians into priests and political meetings into church services, not when so many of our past politicians have cemented their reputations as speakers of class by punctuating analytical presentations with side splitting wisecracks that you would not be ashamed to repeat to your grandmother.
In fact, the best utterance of this sort in the campaign to date would have to be that from Minister of Housing Michael Lashley at Rices, St. Philip last night when he said: “There are some walking ’round saying they going to ‘eat’ me, Adriel [Brathwaite] and Dr [David] Estwick raw. If they did that, they would have created history, [because] they would have more brains in their belly than their heads.”
The two parties have been able to attract exceptionally large crowds, which suggests that the people are anxious to hear what our political personalities have to say, but that should not be taken to mean that they should be fed anything. It’s time to pitch the debate and platform rhetoric at a much higher level.
Including tonight, we have 17 more nights of meetings before polling day — let’s make it a campaign that Barbadians will remember for a long time, but for the right reasons.