So, Audley “Are You” Shaw is “considering” a leadership challenge.

For THIS, we’ve had weeks of intrigue; stormy Standing Committee meetings; serial speculation; and general excitement throughout the land?  You’re “considering”, Audley?  Really? Seriously?

Audley “Are You” Shaw got my nickname for him from his Apocryphan counterpart, R.U. Shaw, who’s like a man whose initials were G.B.S.  When asked “Are You Shaw?” the man replied “My dear chap, I’m certain of nothing.”

After all this hype and anticipation, Audley still doesn’t know if he wants to challenge?  He’s sure he’s not sure.

                   “One minute you say you will                                                                               and the next you won’t.
One minute you want me                                                                                  and the next you don’t.
You’re turning me upside down,                                                      giving me the run around.                                                                                 Don’t think that I don’t know, I do
Don’t think that I won’t go, you watch me
It isn’t out of the question.

But leaders don’t dither.  Leaders decide.  What’s the point of “consultations” Audley?  With whom?  JLP delegates?  But consulting with delegates IS the election.  Surely the first step is to DECIDE whether to take the plunge and then consult the delegates on election day? Why would you first have a private election to decide whether to have a public one?  Maybe you don’t have the party’s interests at heart.  If you did, you’d eschew this prolonged, potentially damaging double-dipping; offer yourself and let the delegates decide.  But you seem to want only a sure thing which could expose you to charges of political opportunism.

What’s all this about resigning as Deputy Leader?  Is that a petulant warning that you want all or you’ll pick up your marbles and go home?  If you can’t be Leader, no other Party post interests you?  Is THAT acting in the Party’s best interests or your own?  Mike Henry, to whom I see you’ve recently offered what appears a very self-serving apology, engaged in none of these fancy footworks.  He put up his hand on the floor of Conference; took his whipping like a man; and committed himself with even more vigour to the Party’s success thereafter.

When Seaga was ousted, did you consult delegates before offering yourself?  Or before you withdrew?  Or was it all decided by a backroom deal with Bruce for you to be named Finance Minister?  If that was the case, were you furthering the party’s interests or personal ambition?  Are you a better leader now than you were then?  Then, you said you were running.  Suddenly you weren’t running.

                   “One minute you’re kissing me                                                       and the next you’re not.
One minute you remember                                                                                 and the next you’ve forgot.
I don’t like it one little bit,                                                        you’re giving me the slip.                                                                                     Don’t think that I don’t know, I do
Don’t think that I won’t go, if you want me
It’s really out of the question.

When Bruce was dumped, you were front runner to succeed.  Again, you suddenly withdrew in favour of Young Andrew.  The JLP was then in shambles.  Was your decision to stand down born of an opportunistic desire to avoid responsibility for the shambolic beating you foresaw?  Or was it in the JLP’s best interests?

If it was in the JLP’s best interests, what’s new?  Young Andrew, in whose favour you then stood down, is still Leader.  You didn’t challenge after the 2011 general election loss with the Party still in tatters requiring rebuilding.  You didn’t challenge after the local government loss when the Party lost every Parish Council.  So, why now?  Is it that the rebuilding process has gone so well that you now foresee an election win? If so, wouldn’t that be political opportunism?  Or is it the JLP’s best interests?

                   “Between us we could have conquered Everest;
sailed empty handed around the world.
But no, you couldn’t wait.
You had to go make the fatal mistake                                                 of leading me on.
Listen here me girl that was wrong.

Audley, this isn’t how leadership challenges are made whilst protecting Parties’ best interests.  With the best of intentions, public challenges always end up dividing and damaging Parties.  They should be last resorts.  If you truly felt it best served the JLP’s interests for you to be Leader, these are the responsible steps you should’ve taken. 

First, you should’ve consulted your Parliamentary colleagues.  Without them, you can’t be Prime Minister or even Opposition Leader.  Without them, you’d be a general without an army.  Why not seek their support first?  Leave it to them to conduct independent consultations with delegates and constituents. 

Second, arrange a private meeting with the Leader.  Bring with you a contingent of senior Party members and advisors.  Patiently and politely tell him the time of day.  Give him an opportunity to gracefully resign.  That’s what South Africa’s National Party did when it was time for Botha to go.  Margaret Thatcher got a similar opportunity to leave gracefully and (eventually) took it.  Audley Shaw also got similar opportunities when he twice ran for leader. His withdrawals were accomplished in private.

This inelegant takeover bid isn’t how a Deputy Leader with his Party’s interests at heart seeks leadership.  This has all the trappings of a clumsy, careless attempt to seize power.  This isn’t in the JLP’s interests.

                   “One minute you’re full of life                                                             and the next you’re sad.
One minute you’re marvellous                                                          and the next you’re bad.
I don’t like it one little bit,                                                                                you keep giving me the slip.

                 Don’t think that I don’t know; I do.
Don’t think that I won’t go, if you want me,
it’s really out of the question.

So, whose interests are being served by this ham-fisted caricature of a movie premiere entitled “Let’s publicly embarrass the JLP” likely to run for at least three weeks in your local cinemas?  Certainly not the JLP itself facing certain public image destruction as hyped up delegates go at each other in full view of eager-beaver reporters.  Audley must know that no matter how publicly polite he tries to be, supporters of both camps won’t be so restrained. 

So, whose interests are being served by this gauche display from a veteran politician who ought to know better?  Certainly not the Party’s Parliamentary caucus most of which has come out stridently against the challenge. 

So whose interests are being served?  Audley has twice proven he can live without being JLP Leader.  So, it’s not anything as simple and ugly as selfishness.

What is it?  What’s changed in the past 2 years?  Why now?  He says he’s been asked to do it.  The asker must be very important for Audley do this to his own Party at the asker’s behest when Audley has twice demonstrated he realizes how destructive it can be.  Since he feels obliged to consult JLP delegates, it’s fair to conclude delegates didn’t ask.  Based on public utterances, it wasn’t the JLP Parliamentary caucus majority. So, the push comes from outside the JLP.  Who’s doing the pushing and shoving? Who’s driving Audley into this political cul-de-sac?

JLP’s big money man has been relatively circumspect (for him).  I wonder if he’s the logistics hub through which the pushing and shoving is being done.  Maybe.  If that’s so, only a bigger money man could be the real driver.  Maybe Bigger Money Man (let’s call him “Cashman”), accustomed to being spoiled rotten by governments, is uncomfortable with the restrictions imposed by this IMF government and doesn’t believe Young Andrew can be a successful agent of change.  After all, didn’t Young Andrew promise “bitter medicine”?  Maybe Cashman prefers Prime Minister Shaw to Prime Minister Holness.  So, he funds a soul sapping campaign against Young Andrew while and remains an outside observer while spin doctors powder Shaw’s nose and create a sanitizing impression of the challenge as a political masterstroke. 

Cashman cares not if his ploy destroys the JLP’s election chances.  He’s no worse off.  He’s investing in a stock going up and providing the catalyst.  If it fails,so be it.  He tried.  Maybe it’s Cashman’s best interest at stake here.

Are we witnessing another example of Goodman’s Law?  Goodman’s Law: Don’t ask if it’s about the money.  It’s ALWAYS about the money!  Audley, are you sure? Of one thing we can all be sure.  Within the JLP, there’s Never a Dull Moment.

                Oh, I’m doing my best                                                                   and I don’t know why.
I’m giving her a call                                                                                           and there’s no reply.
She’s getting me down                                                                   till I can’t get up.
She’s giving me hell                                                                                      and if that’s not enough.                                                                                    She’s breaking my heart                                                                            nearly every day                                                                                            not only in pieces                                                                                          but every way.
I’m sorry of course                                                                                        but the fault is hers…

British entertainment mogul and artist manager, Gordon Mills, was the1960s version of Simon Cowell.  He “discovered”, managed and produced Englishman Gerry Dorsey, whose overnight superstardom after years of struggling was credited to Mills’ changing his stage name to Engelbert Humperdinck; and Welshman Tom Jones.  In the early 1970s, he added a third artist who, although his all round talent exceeded the others’, he wasn’t as superb a singer.  That, together with his quirky, reclusive nature, defied even Mills’ talent for publicity.  Yet those same eccentricities endeared him to his fan base.

Irish singer/songwriter Raymond Edward O’Sullivan was born in Waterford, Ireland on December 1, 1946. Mills changed his stage name to Gilbert O’Sullivan bringing him “fortune and instant fame” (from Gilbert’s Underneath the Blanket Go).  Like Neil Diamond or Willie Nelson, his song writing skills far outstripped his singing ability but his lyrics were so brilliant; so personal; so convoluted in meter yet simple in meaning; that they resonated best when he performed them.  A stylistic mixture of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, Gilbert’s biggest hit, a hermit’s lament of disappointment and loss (Alone Again Naturally), sold more than 2 million copies in the USA where it topped the singles charts while reaching Number 5 in Britain.

Alone Again Naturally was followed by Clair.  Inspired by Gilbert’s babysitting of Gordon Mills’ small daughter, Clair reached Number 1 in Britain and Number 2 in the USA.  Then came “Out of the Question”, a top 20 single in the States, recorded  with the feel of a carousel tune to answer critics who felt he couldn’t do an up tempo song. 

Peace and Love


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