Out to lunch

November 17th, 2011 by De Onion

Financial Times headline yesterday “Eurozone bonds hit by massive sell-off”.

Paula Cox speaking to the ABIC yesterday ‘fears over the Euro have “partly subsisded”‘.

Nothing like standing in front of a room full of sophisticated people and announcing that you’re totally out of touch with what is happening in the world.

The reality is that the global debt crisis is just getting started. Europe, the USA, China, etc. are all playing a debt game that must eventually end and will end badly. Stein’s Law: When something can’t go on forever it will stop. In this case the continuing crisis in Europe is mathematically impossible to stop, the American one is politically impossible to stop, and the Bermudians and Chinese haven’t admitted that theirs has started.

…and what do other countries’ problems mean to Bermuda? NOTHING. Our problems are self-inflicted and what’s going on in the rest of the world is irrelevant to what we need to do. If Paula Cox wants to be a solid business jurisdiction she’s done the right thing with the three most recent candidates but now she has to show that the PLP can change. For start she should sack all three ministers involved in what appears to be corruption of the planning process. Fire them for even the appearance of impropriety.

Then replace them with the three recently announced candidates.

Advice for the OBA

November 9th, 2011 by De Onion

More advice for the OBA. After this past week’s open mic night it’s clear that the OBA are on the right track and that intentions are good, however I’d offer the following feedback.

Many of the answers to questions raised were off-base, counterfactual, off message, and not made by OBA officials.
– Have a central database of the questions and party approved answers that people ask. Across the board there are similar questions and the OBA platform will undoubtedly need to provide those answers. This is especially true in areas where there is a very strong factual case for the OBA’s position – presently finance thanks to the work done by Bob Richards.

The attendance was mostly people who have been active in politics already. The number of attendees was probably about right for a venue of that size.
– Use inviting young people as an opportunity to canvass. The OBA should have lists of where voters live and their age – so send the candidates out the week before the event to personally invite as many young people from their constituency as they can. Sometimes all it takes is an invitation to bring someone along, an open door is not enough.

People rambled with irrelevant and long-winded questions and then other with no apparent offical capacity in the OBA responded with equally irrelevant long-winded non-answers.
– Keep a clear public signup list for people to ask questions.
– Have experts authorised and briefed with responsibility for each potential category of questions. Default to the party leader.

It would have felt like a clique for new people who have never been involved before.
– Have name tags for everyone and identification for OBA officials.
– Welcome everyone at the door.

There were only a handful of Parliamentarians/candidates there.
– Mandate that some of them come out to certain events. It’s not enough for just Craig and Jeff to take all the workload.
– Use these events as an opportunity for candidates to staff up their branches. Each candidate should be recruiting young people to take under their wing and help them do canvassing, mailing, surveys, and other tasks. Lots of people want to help. Leverage that.

Otherwise a good night that is hopefully the start of something much bigger.

2011 Throne Speech

November 8th, 2011 by De Onion

Now that we know the comment about Emirates and air links to the Middle East were at best a hair-brained idea I thought it relevant to go through the Throne speech and look at what is actually promised.

Explicit promises meeting the SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound)
– Job Corps – Planned by end of Q2, 2012
– Tri 30 – remedial basic education – In progress.
– Outlaw sham marriages – This Year
– Remove land licensing – This Year
– Make temporary work permit holders more expensive – This Year
– Implement Energy White Paper – This Parliamentary Session
– Create an Artists’ Registry – This Parliamentary Session

Promises with no measurable time horizon, but that are specific enough to be actionable:
– Merge NTB and Department of Labour and Training, create additional layer of bureaucracy in work permits
– Allow the civil service to tap their pensions early.
– Means-test social insurance.
– Exclude those who “hustle” from social insurance.
– Prevent business owners with outstanding pensions from registering another business.
– Some sort of legislation re: Family Council
– Legislation re: child custody
– Amend Educators Council Act
– Allow seizure of suspected proceeds of crime
– Allow for fines for gang activity
– Introduce a National Youth Service as an alternate to Regiment
– Re-classify some drugs in the criminal code
– Increase penalties for drunk driving
– Change health benefits to limit overseas care
– Some expansion of scope for Internal Audit and the Auditor General
– Whistle blower legislation expanded to include part-time/temporary staff and contractors.
– Outlaw inducements (bribes)

Everything else was an empty promise to do nothing but look busy.

Branding the PLP

November 7th, 2011 by De Onion

A key part of the PLP’s strategy has been to brand the OBA – most recently with the “Craig Cannonier colt” Facebook ads directing traffic to a tumblr account with a silly photo of Craig on it.

What are the things that the OBA can do to brand the PLP? To make them run on their record if they like it or not.

Defaults

November 3rd, 2011 by De Onion

I think if Bob Stewart’s math is correct and the present value of Bermuda’s total public sector debt (cumulative deficits + pension/health liabilities) is somewhere around 100% of Bermuda’s GDP then we’re not far off many of the world’s most indebted countries.

If the PLP continues to shrink Bermuda’s economy and rack up debt at the rate of ~$100-$200 million per year then Bermuda will inevitably default. It will take very radical implementation of government financial control (union-busting) and economic growth (abandoning term limits and welcoming immigration) to avoid this fate.

Hat tip to Denis Pitcher for posting first, but it has been on my mind for a while.