Editorial: Strategy?  Pappy-show? Or a bit of both

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Twenty years ago, the U.S. television sitcom, Seinfeld, produced its final season, and in that final season was a classic take on relationships, with the character, George Costanza, attempting to break-up with his girlfriend, Maura.  We realise that this is an odd introduction to an editorial, but many of us of a certain age will relate to the episode, and if you are fans of the show, will immediately see the connection between “The Strongbox” episode and what occurred at the United Progressive Party’s (UPP) Annual General Council meeting, when the party’s political leader, Harold Lovell, attempted to resign his position.  
According to the reports emanating from that meeting, it was quite a dramatic affair.  It is said that Lovell “slapped” his hands on the table and announced his resignation.  He said that his decision was in keeping with the promise that he made prior to the last general election, that if the party lost, he would resign.  “No!” said the attendees as they rejected their leader’s attempt at a breakup.  The show-of-hands vote, called for by the former party Chairman, Leon Chaku Symister, showed overwhelming support for Lovell to remain, but some in the party thought that the process was flawed and did not follow the official rules.  
Before our reference to Seinfeld gets lost, we will relive the moment when George confronts his girlfriend, over a cup of tea, with the devastating news that things are not working out and he will be moving on.  
George:   “I-I’ve given this a lot of thought. I’m sorry, but we, uh, we have to break up.”
Maura: “No.”
George: (after hesitating) “What’s that?”
Maura: “We’re not breaking up.”
George: (again after hesitating) “We’re not?”
Maura: “No.”
George: (after hesitating even longer) “All right.”
That was round one. George then seeks the advice of his buddy, Jerry, who convinces him that “both parties don’t have to consent to a breakup.”  Adding,  “It’s not like you’re launching missiles from a submarine and you both have to turn your keys.”  That fills George with greater confidence and he returns for round two with a list of reasons why the relationship must end.
George: “And so, for all these reasons, we are officially broken up. Thank you, and good night.”
Maura: “No, George, we’re not.”
George: “But I proved it!”
Maura: “I refuse to give up on this relationship. It’s like launching missiles from a submarine. Both of us have to turn our keys.”
George: “Well, then, I am gonna have to ask you to turn your key.”
Maura: “I’m sorry, George, I can’t do that.”
George: “Turn your key, Maura. Turn your key!”
As we relived the scenes on YouTube following the UPP meeting, we could not help but see Lovell in the role of George and the attendees playing the role of Maura.  Except, there was no plea from Lovell asking the attendees to “Turn your key!”       
We just don’t get it.  Has the UPP done any serious analysis of their dismal showing in the last general election to guide their decisions on the way forward?  What are the key issues that led to the embarrassing defeat?  Is leadership one of the issues that need addressing?  Is change required, or is the party best served with the same set of leaders?   These questions and their detailed answers represent just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to planning a way forward. 
Maybe Lovell is the best choice, or maybe he is not, that is for the party to decide at their convention, and there should be no confusion with the membership as to who the leader is and what plan he or she has for success once the convention is over.  A show of unity is certainly required but the dramatics displayed at the General Council Meeting is not the way to demonstrate that unity (in our minds).  
And why a show of hands?  Is that how votes are usually conducted at the General Council Meetings or is it “intimidation tactics” as one attendee opined? If that is the official voting process then no one can really complain, but if it is not, then it raises more questions at a time when the focus should be on mending cracks and not creating fissures.
There is probably some political strategy for the way in which this played out; we just do not see it.  All of our questions above could be already answered, and what we witnessed at the Annual General Council meeting was simply the beginning of a strategy to unify the party and win the next general election.  Maybe someone can explain, because we just don’t see it. Hmmm… how many times have we said that?

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