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ALL AH WE IS ONE: Mia’s makeover

Tennyson Joseph

ALL AH WE IS ONE: Mia’s makeover

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Since her ousting as Leader of the Opposition, following a brief period of withdrawal, Member of Parliament Mia Mottley has deliberately carved for herself a “non-partisan”, country-first space, as a safe haven from which to await the unfolding of future events. A few commentators have accepted Mottley’s new stance at face value, welcoming her cause as an indication of the emergence of a long-awaited maturity in the conduct of Caribbean public affairs.   
However, correct political analysis always starts from the necessity of separating appearance from reality, form from content and shadow from substance. In other words, it is always wise to begin by rejecting what a personality or system says about itself and to strive to uncover its essence. At the very least, analysis should seek to “explain”, rather than to merely accept, justify and rationalise.  
This is what separates the work of the objective analyst from the propagandist, since the latter is primarily interested in creating an appearance which suits his political purpose. It is for this reason, and quite understandably so, that the ruling DLP has been happy to juxtapose Mottley’s new non-confrontational developmentalism against what is portrayed as the BLP’s obstructionist opposition for its own sake. It would have been an entirely different matter, had she been retained as Leader of the Opposition. Such is life.
What then forms the basis for a proper analysis of the new Mottley? Central to such an analysis must be her ongoing discomfort with her own parliamentary group, coupled with her decision to stay within the fold of the BLP.  By adopting a stance of country above party, she has left herself sufficient elbow room to be distant from both the BLP and the DLP and has freed her arms to swing and hit in all directions.  
In addition, her new stance has painted her in the position of an “independent” who can appeal to the public hunger for a new politics. This has left her free to court a constituency outside both of the main parties.  
Significantly too, it has freed her from direct political attacks from the DLP and, indeed, from the wider public, thus presenting her with much-needed recovery space following the bruising period of opposition leadership.  
This Machiavellian reading of Mottley’s new “younger-statesman” role does not mean that her proposals for a new politics should be dismissed as irrelevant. They present future possibilities. However, much depends on her future evolution within the Barbadian political landscape. Many politicians espouse high ideals when on the periphery, only to conveniently abandon them when they move closer to the centre.  
Only time will tell whether Motley’s concrete proposals for a new governance form part of a future political programme or whether they are discarded to the trash heap, once her political fortunes appear to be brightening.