Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Anatomy of Selecting or De-Selecting A Political Party!

How do you decide who to vote for in a General Election? How do you determine if an elected Government was a success or a failure and does that affect your electoral decisions? For many Jamaicans the decision as to who they should vote for is not even a decision since some people behave as if they are genetically predisposed to vote for only one party regardless of the situation or facts, as a matter of fact the concept of “Facts” does not even factor into the equation. We are used to hearing things like “from me born me a socialist or from me born me a labourite”… as they declare that their mother, father and grandparents supported only one party and they will forever carryon that tradition of supporting the same party, they are Labourite or socialist till they die, through thick or thin.

I grew up hearing things like this from my family but quickly realized that this type of thinking made no damn sense. The selection or election of a political party to assume the role of Government of a country, entrusted with the lives and wellbeing of her people is way too important to leave up to blind tradition so much so that much thought and deliberation must go into the selection process.

The Anatomy of Party Selection

The job of Government is a position open to Political parties who are best at outlining their vision for the future, their grasp of the subject matter, their ability to identify the problems of our society and formulate various plans/solutions to fix these problems. The job of any Government is that of Nation Building and Nation Building is all about the future, creating a better and brighter tomorrow. When political parties start to run for Government they put together their manifestos which is a document to show that they have a full understanding of the issues that plague the country and a defined set of solutions to these problems, we then hypothetically elect the party whose plans are more in line with our expectations as we identify with the problems that the party declared as needed fixing and we like the plans put forward by the party to fix these problems and as such we will employ this party, to carry them out.

It is a process no different from the everyday job interview, a process where the company has a problem, the person being interviewed impresses upon the interviewer his knowledge and understanding of the problems and his ability to produce the required solution in the required timeframe.

The Anatomy of Party De-Selection

The party is then hired to do the job they promised to do, to implement their plans and to bring about a better and brighter tomorrow but how do we judge that what the party promised to deliver they actually delivered? One of my biggest problems with the party manifestos, is that they are almost always done without a timeframe for delivery. The party identified the problem, the party outlined a series of solutions but then the party never say when to expect these solutions to start and when to expect final delivery. This is almost never heard of in a real business, where a timeline is constantly being demanded, where we hear a lot about due date or delivery dates or expected dates of delivery and detail reasons demanded if these dates are missed.

Our Political parties are allowed to make sweeping open ended promises with no real date of delivery and no explanation of why they fail to deliver on promises. So the big question is how one determines the success of failure of a Government, what indicators are we tracking to determine if a Government is going in the right direction or do we just depend on mass hysteria and opposition grandstanding to make our decisions?

Some of us don’t even bother about the decision making process, we know, because of our family tradition and/or the community we live in, that regardless of what this or any Government does we will never vote for a certain party because our genetic predisposition will never allow it, we were never programmed that way to vote for a party based on delivery indicators.

How My Selection process Works:

I am not an overly emotional person, I have longed since learned how to keep my emotions in check, I am like a Vulcan in that regard. I could never go around expressing my love for any entity that is so remote, except if that entity is the Arsenal Football Club, at which point I have an undying Diehard like devotion, win, lose or draw but that is where I draw the line as far as remote entities are concern.

So my selection process have nothing to do with emotions, family traditions or which community I live in, my selection process have nothing to do with my socio-economic status however it does have a lot to do with my level of education. First of all I believe in the concept that a person’s word should be their bond, I believe in being open and honest. I dislike the act of taking noble, serious things and making a mockery of it, The act of Nation Building is making life better for not only people living today but for many generations of people to come, it is the noblest of them all, so I dislike political games and the people and politicians who play them. Political games were designed to fool the electorate, to make them see things a certain way, a form of brain washing.

Most things around us are measured by way of indicators, a position within time and using that position to compare against previous position indicators will give us an indication of success or failure and a sense of direction. Our political, social and economic process is littered with indicators and it is those indicators that I have decided to use to judge success or failure of any political parties that make up the Government.

Political party promises are indicators, itemized list of promises that are either delivered, not delivered or delivered in piecemeal. We take the list of promises in the manifestoes and grade them on delivery, for example 3 point for delivery, 1 point for half a delivery and -3 points for no delivery, so success or failure then depends on the final number. This gives us an indication of whether the Government delivered all, none of or some of their promises…

Economic and Social indicators are also perfect for judging success or failure, we take a static snapshot of the numbers the day before the party take over the responsibility of Government, then successive snap shots over time and compare them to the static initial snapshop and we end up with an idea of direction and an indicator of success or failure…

Because these numbers for the most part translates to life on the ground, who I vote for… depends on the numbers. These are the list of indicators I use as I compare my Static Snapshot (before), at the end of the previous Government, to the current state of these indicators (after) of the current Government to give me a definite idea of whether the Government is successful or failing.

  • National Budget – Revenue vs. Expenditure
  • Balance of Trade
  • Net International Reserves
  • Population below the Poverty Line
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Inflation Rate
  • GDP Real Growth Rate
  • Exchange Rate
  • The National Debt
  • Agricultural Output
  • Murder Rate
  • Corruption Index
With these numerical facts, I find I never have to live in the shade of grey, I can eliminate human emotions, and party diehard perspectives from my selection process. I can laugh at people who quotes numbers without looking them up, who make over the top rubbish statements simply because they desire to score cheap party political points. I can laugh at people trying to spread misinformation and propaganda for selfish ridiculous reasons and I no longer need to know the name of the party, all I need to know is performance indicators and how they change over time.

Now I must say that my system is only as good as the integrity of the numbers and because Jamaica is such an open book we have numbers from various sources both local and foreign, plus all our political parties having operatives in all local entities ready to expose corruption…
  • The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica
  • Jamaica Manufacturing Association
  • The Bank of Jamaica,
  • Statistical Institute of Jamaica
  • The International Monetary Fund
  • The World Bank
  • CIA Fact book
  • The United Nation
  • The European Union
Focusing only on the position of the various Economic and Social Indicators, frees me from the emotions of liking a political party, frees me from family traditions and  free me from what people around me have to say.  I am not affected by what the circus clowns of a politician have to say, they can dance around on the stage like a dancehall DJ, making one promise after another, it does not matter to me. I do not care how they look, what they wear, drive or live in or how they sound, all I care about is the position of the indicators.

No Political Party will get the mandate from me if after one term of being in office the Economic and Social Indicators are not performing better than when they took office because that party promised to make improvements and failed and as such I refuse to reward failure. You were given the chance and after one term you have been found wanting… Exit Stage Left.

Another factor that might affect voting for the Government even though their numbers are poor is the state of the opposition party. In recent times the opposition party have been in a terrible state of infighting and tribalism and as such did not present themselves as a suitable alternative to the poorly performing Government. Who would trust a party who cannot even manage their party to run an entire country?