Posts Tagged ‘The Royal Gazette’

Some of the commentaries worth reading today after yesterday’s election:

“If we want a better Bermuda, we need to do much more than vote in a new government. We are going to have to demand more accountability from everyone, but starting with ourselves.  Succinctly, we must start practicing collective responsibility.” – Bryant Trew in the Bermuda Sun.

“This election … proved that appeals to racial loyalty are not effective. The PLP attempted to make this election about race, especially in the last days, and voters seem to have rejected that in favour of an improved economy. Unemployment knows no bounds and even the anti-business rhetoric which infused the PLP campaign at the end failed to mobilise the PLP base and may even have backfired.” – Analysis in The Royal Gazette

“The PLP is reflective of all the people of this island. Yet they wish to label us as a black party only to subliminally tell whites not to vote for us … We know there are many PLP supporters and members of many different races. However, for a multitude of reasons they seem a bit hesitant to come forward and publicly involve and engage with our events and activities … Persons such as Dorothy Thompson, David Allen, Zane De Silva, Jonathan Smith and Dr Barbara Ball must not be the exceptions .They must be the norm.” – Christopher Famous in the Bermuda Sun.

“The new team (OBA) must be genuinely — not rhetorically — transparent. It must be genuinely direct – not obtuse and non-commenting and non-answering. Above all else, this new team must genuinely embrace all residents and all Bermudians – and not just those who can be described as “our people”. – Larry Burchall in the Bermuda Sun.

“The hope of this newspaper is that this election will open a new chapter in Bermuda politics, which will be less divisive, less reliant on race as a motivating force, more open to problems all Bermudians face and more constructive. The next few years will not be easy, but they can lead to a better Bermuda, provided all people are willing to work together for the betterment of all.” – Editorial, The Royal Gazette.

“The first job for the new government is mending fences. Because the biggest threat to our economic stability is the massive debt and a dearth of ways to repay it, I believe the OBA government must make peace with our income generators and take clear steps to woo them back. This will not be an easy task because of the race-baiting that has been a dominant theme in how previous administrations beat up on their political opponents.” – Stuart Hayward in the Bermuda Sun.

“Posturing, arrogance,  hubris, defensiveness, an unwillingness to change policies that aren’t working out … the list of damaging side-effects of UBP-PLP hatred goes on and on. And it has gone on and on, for way too long. There were understandable historical reasons why it developed. But the great hope that the OBA has offered us this week is that it need not go on forever. Bermuda, Bermudians and the Bermudian political system can move forward, grow and mature. The time has come, and here is our opportunity.” – Tom Vesey in the Bermuda Sun.

My friend and former Royal Gazette reporter Neil Roberts is a man after my own heart. “What is life without football and music?” he asks towards the end of Blues & Beatles, his entertaining new book about growing up obsessed with Everton FC and the Fab Four – even though the band broke up the year before Neil was born … well south of Merseyside in St. Alban’s, Hertfordshire.

This book is in the same vein as Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch and will strike a familiar chord with us obsessives whose memories and moods are defined by the ups and downs of their chosen team and life’s milestones are marked by great albums and memorable gigs. I thought about writing a similar book about QPR and Rod Stewart – only I would have probably topped myself having to write about the R’s depressing 15 years in the wilderness and Stewart’s pitiful squandering of his God-given talent since the late 70s.)

In Neil’s case, his twin obsessions were passed down from his dad Colin, who hails from the Wirral, and the book tells how these become the touchstones through which father and son communicate and remain connected through the turmoil of a family breakup. I worked with both Colin and Neil at the Gazette (it was Colin, then the deputy editor, who picked me up at the airport when I first arrived in Bermuda in December, 1982), so I got a kick out of the island episodes – although knowing both of them, it was painful to read some of the more emotional episodes.

But as someone who wears his heart on his sleeve, that’s to Neil Roberts’ credit. A former BBC and ITN reporter, he writes in a short, snappy style almost as if he is talking to camera and is unabashed about revealing his feelings, which are frequently touchingly sentimental, whether he’s recalling grandparents, old girlfriends or nervously meeting his heroes like Duncan Ferguson or his beloved Paul McCartney. He is, and always will be, a fan at heart and that passion runs throughout Blues & Beatles which is all the better for it.

The person you end up really feeling sorry, though, for is young George, Neil’s son. At age 7 he is already following the twin family traditions (or curses?) even though he must already realise that Everton will only get into Europe again if there’s a war and that the chances of Macca making another decent album at his age are as likely as a Beatles reunion.

The poor lad is doomed to a life of disappointment. Still, it will give him something to moan about in later life – just like a real Scouser!

[adapted from original review on amazon.co.uk]