You can count on our politicians of all sides to conjure up virtues in their political adversaries whenever it suits their purpose. Likewise, they can just as easily flare up against an unwanted potential ally by digging up all sorts of un-delectable past deeds they might have done. The high malleability of their attitudes in these respects is a concoction that gives birth to the most unexpected political alliances between parties, depending on the advantages the chief politicians want to secure for themselves and their parties.
The MMM appeared to be dealing with Labour at daggers’ drawn until the last week. The storm that it originally thought it had raised against the MSM’s “greed” in the matter of the MedPoint scandal a year ago changed tack sometime after the MSM’s resignation from the government. The leader of the MMM even went as far as to take a direct hit against the Labour leader. The police investigation against him for involvement in the diffusion of false news, against the backdrop of a statement made to the police by the Labour leader in this context, is yet to unfold months after the event.
On the other hand, after having at some stage found that “light years” separated the MMM from the MSM, the MMM leader saw in the flash of a lightning just after making this statement, that the distance between the two of them had suddenly collapsed to nothing. There were weekly talks between the leaders of these two parties, as it were, to reconcile their views in view of coordinating opposition action, now that the MSM had crossed over to the other side. This show of conviviality was not only meant to taunt a Labour government weakened already by the MSM’s departure. There were also nostalgic references made by the MMM leader towards a ‘remake’ of the MMM-MSM coalition of 2000-2005, which had apparently worked exceedingly well in the view of the MMM leader.
It would have been normal for the public to conclude, in such circumstances, that the “light years” separating the two parties were really being rubbished out by the MMM leader now and that a coalition between the two was almost done. If you add to this the histrionics of the MMM leader coming down for specific meetings with the President of the Republic to share with him his deep concerns about the country’s alleged drift towards serial mis-governance of the country due to mounting corruption, his penchant for the favourite political alliance he was willing to endorse could not have been clearer. Other MMM protagonists visited State House as if to confirm the source of the inspiration the MMM was taking towards its future political stake.
The public would however be reckless in its judgement if it understood what the MMM leader was conveying about his future political choice by making this kind of public display of where his apparent preference was lying. Two books were published this week. The first one was an autobiography by Jayen Cuttarree, Deputy Leader of the MMM till recently said to be retiring from politics, and using the occasion to make public his long-standing proximity with Labour despite his station at the top of the MMM hierarchy all these years. The second one is by Mée P. Rivière on the career of Guy Rozemont, a charismatic Creole leader of Labour of the 1940s who took over from Dr Maurice Curé, Labour’s founder.
The launching of these books proved to be the occasion par excellence for the Labour leader and the MMM leader to heap praises on each other, even if that came from a slip of the tongue on the part of Paul Bérenger. There is nothing unusual about stated political adversaries standing on opposite sides of the House finding virtues in each other; in fact, it is a more civilised way of going about doing business instead of the usual rancorous manner in which things are done, almost demonising each other especially when elections are at the door. To make matters short, in view of the expected report that Professor Carcassonne and others are due to submit any time now on constitutional reforms and power sharing, an altogether different configuration of choice of political alliance between Labour and the MMM seems to be profiling itself on the horizon. If that were to happen, the public will have to take in yet one more of the gyrations which the MMM leader is capable of.
Beyond the individual politicians compromising themselves in the process, there are the traditional voting masses. The leaders will, in the event of such a coalition materializing, help them rationalize the happening, telling them why all the damaging statements made against each other to secure the division of votes in and since the last general election are not so important, why democracy will be better secured by going this way and why important dossiers can be dealt with more efficiently with this kind of arrangement.
As for the past several coalitions among parties seemingly opposed to each other, emotions will be whipped up and voters who were staring rudely at each other during the last election will be made to start looking more kindly at each other. They will reconcile themselves most probably to the fact that being in power, no matter at what price, is worth better than continuing in sterile opposition. It’s all a game of power, no more no less.
* Published in print edition on 16 December 2011