Posted by: Anonymous Journalist | Monday, 25 April 2011

Talking Through Her Hat

Courtesy of  Bernews:

The Premier said, “I am pleased that Bermuda was recognised, provided with an invitation and is being represented on this occasion. Clearly this will be a wedding with a difference – It has the wow factor.”

“As a woman you feel a kinship with the idea that love has trumped the odds despite the differences in background. Many of us as women can empathise with the love story. This is certainly one of my less arduous duties.”

Once again, this is an example of a leader in this world either too oblivious to the voice of many of her people, or simply determined to ignore that which can’t be easily ‘spun.’  Premier Cox is attending the Royal Wedding.  It is understandable.  That’s what is done in political circles.

Some of her statement, however, is rather embarrassing.  “…wow factor”…?  Honestly, anyone in the world who knows about the wedding already knows how grandiose these affairs are, so coming from the Premier this sounds more like the comment of an X-Factor judge.

As to the second paragraph, it’s rather sexist and patronising all at the same time.  Sexist because it implies only women could appreciate “…the love story.”   Is it meant to curry favour with women voters that Premier Cox is just one of the girls?  Patronising because it implies the women of Bermuda will be so mind-altered by the romance of such a love story that it will somehow overwhelm their daily lives and sugarcoat any struggles they may be fighting.

But perhaps that was the Premier tossing off a few remarks in her personal excitement at being invited.

So yes – naturally she will be attending, and I doubt there’s many people who are actually opposed to it.  However, there are many who are not thrilled because they have raised the question, who is footing the bill?

And this is the crux of the matter.  Over the last months there have been many serious concerns voiced by citizens about crime, the economy and the ever encroaching tide of poverty.  Buried in the political rhetoric of Premier Cox’s speech last week was her statement:

“It takes grit and character to resist the temptation to indulge the politics of appeasement, and to say there will be no symbolic cuts in Ministers’ salaries.”

She goes further to say that it would be an “…empty gesture…” and that it wouldn’t have any real affect on the economy.  It is doubtful there is anyone who believes a ministerial pay cut would turn around the current economy, but to say it would be an empty gesture is in the same vein as Marie Antoinette pronouncing ‘let them eat cake.’

Madame Premier, don’t you see that such a gesture is just what many of your people are looking for, to show that all of you in elected government are willing to sacrifice something of your personal comforts to show that you appreciate your peoples’ struggles and will take a pinch right alongside them rather than standing back and asking only them to make sacrifices?  You have your government-paid cars and government-paid benefits, your salaries, nice homes, nice clothes and all those must-attend fetes, yet more and more of your citizens worry about paying for power, buying groceries, and how they will afford the extra petrol they need to get to work now that ferry and bus schedules have been cut.

So it’s a fair question.  With you and your ministers unwilling to make any gesture of sacrifice as a sign you are allied with your citizens, many have asked — is your trip for the wedding subsidised by tax-paying Bermudians?  Or are you footing the bill personally, or at least some of it?

Until you answer that question for your citizenry, you shouldn’t go on about the “love story”, this “wow factor” wedding.  It is disingenuous and disrespectful to the people who elected you, and who may be wondering how they’ll buy groceries next week.

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