Lost without a trace: finding a Portia in a storm

I was unable to listen to exchanges between the PM and Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition a few days ago. But, reports reaching me indicated that the lady broke her customary silence to sling some barbs at ‘the boy’. Part of me could care less about the contents of the exchanges. Really, why would the lady stop working, working, working just to have a verbal battle with the leader of the opposition? Logic tells me that it’s because she feels comfortable doing it and believes she can trace so well as to leave any opponent lost without a trace. No bruises, no blood. It’s not about substantive argument. It’s about form of engagement, and this down in the dirt stuff about not that much is the form preferred.

The PM rarely misses a chance to diss her younger counterpart. She quickly ‘went there’ during a rent official visit to Japan. I’m sure that if she had the chance to don a sumo wrestler suit, and go belly to belly with Andrew the Younger she’d have taken it.

So, what got the bile bubbling this week? St. Andrew questioned her commitment to the eradication of poverty in Jamaica. That’s a fair question, and ought to have been nectar to a butterfly. Instead of “Well, Sonny, let me tell you…” we got a lot of “How dare you?” and exchanges about who was an empty barrel or not. C’mon, children, stop throwing sand.

A substantive answer by the PM would have been embarrassing.

Jamaicans know what has happened to poverty (courtesy of The Jamaica Gleaner)
Jamaicans know what has happened to poverty (courtesy of The Jamaica Gleaner)

Just last month, the UN’s human development index showed Jamaica had fallen 11 places to 96th out of 187 countries, and was in danger of losing status from ‘high’ to ‘medium’. Rather, distract and dissemble. Cuss and cuss. Cass and cass-cass. 

Like a child who loves to see cartoon characters launch into each other, the PM seems to like the image of her laying into ‘baby man’. 

I suspect that many partisans love this kind of thing. Then again, how the parties deal with issues is not what keeps them engaged. 

Kissy, kissy? Slime ball!
Andrew: “Kissy, kissy?” Portia: “Slime ball!”

They praise the leaderene. Hip, hip, hurrray-ray.

Andy is younger and shows he’s a man of the younger generation. He’s on Twitter, but the PM wants to make him out to be a twit. He’s on Facebook, but the PM will gladly throw a book in his face. He may try to come over as slick and modern, and is not so well armed in the gutter sniping department. Will he change or try to stay on some kind of discourse high ground? Time will tell, and the possibility of an election may be the trigger for Andy to start slapping back.

Author: Dennis G Jones (aka 'The Grasshopper')

Retired International Monetary Fund economist. My blog is for organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, but spent 30 years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for two decades, and worked and travelled abroad, extensively, throughout my careers and for pleasure. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of 3 girls. Also, married to an economist. :)