Everything in life is a contest; some contests you win others you lose. Everyone experiences both wins and losses over a lifetime. It’s how we grow. Also, how we react to these experiences gives insight of our maturity.
Sometimes when we assess the possible outcome of a contest, the underdog leads itself into thinking that it can win – and sometimes it does. Not so in the June election, where the Labour Party was the collective underdog, coming up against the high performance machinery of the TUG.
In 2015 election, the Labour Party lost the election to the TUG. Its explanation for that loss, in part, was that airplanes were prevented from landing with persons whose votes would have changed the course of history. Now, in 2020, the Labour Party lost again, and this time they launched six legal challenges in the seats that they lost. The essence of these petitions was that people voted who shouldn’t have voted, that people who should have voted were not allowed to do so, and that voters were bribed in voting the way they voted.
Last week, the Labour Party withdrew these challenges on the grounds that their petitions were “technically flawed”. It was an argument put to the Court by the persons who were sued and which the petitioners eventually accepted as true. Yet, in withdrawing, Labour still insisted that they had a winnable case, and will not “accept” their loss at the polls, despite losing 6 of the 8 seats they contested.
Was there any merit to Labour’s argument? You decide. What was described to the Court as bribery is arguably performance efficiency and good governance. What was considered as entreating (food hampers and vouchers, e.g.) can be considered caring, and the claims about voter irregularities were patently false. Besides, the border of the country was never closed to nationals/citizens, even under the State of Emergency.
The truth is that for the first time since its latest ascendency, the Labour Party lost the cherished – but irrelevant – popular vote, garnering 46% against the 54% it enjoyed, even in opposition in 2015 – 2020. It also moved from “all 8 seats” in 2000 to “2 of 8 seats” in 2020. The Labour Party is regressing, losing relevance in and to the country. That is the harsh reality; and that is the difficult pill for them to swallow.
We all accept the need for a good Opposition to keep a Government in check. This is the one opportunity now available to the Labour Party. They have started this job poorly, refusing to attend Parliament and be sworn in. This action is another betrayal of the trust of the 10,000+ persons who voted for them. The other was to offer the false hope that there was merit to the Court challenges.
We are hoping that the parties will put their differences aside and provide the country with the leadership (at all levels) that is needed. Difficult times lie ahead, and difficult times require strong leadership, even from the Opposition.