#COVID19Chronicles-165: September 24, 2020: The PNP leadership race is on-ish

If I were a betting man, I’d…But, I’m not, so why go there? 🙂

The burning orange political question is: Who will take over from, Dr. Peter Phillips, who indicted his intention to resign as PNP president after the shellacking in the September 3 elections.

Bill Johnson, perhaps preparturely, ran a poll, commissioned by Jamaica Observer. It put Lisa Hanna ahead; but only Mark Golding, the St Andrew Southern MP has so far declared his intention to seek the presidency. While Hanna, Damion Crawford, Julian Robinson and Philip Paulwell have not yet signalled their intention to contest the presidency. Hanna’s doing especially well amongst the youngest cohort, and the gap narrows to be almost nothing for the oldest cohort. The Observer reported: ‘Hanna’s ascension to the top of the group in the September poll is an improvement on her favourability among respondents in Johnson’s previous poll conducted August 21 to 23.’

Hanna has indicated that she’s taking soundings and will announce her intentions on September 27. The PNP notes she’s ‘humbled’, much as beauty queens would say just as they don a crown 🤔

We have to ask if this will be a popularity contest or substantial policy-making ability and leadership qualities contest.

I’m not academically qualified to do polls, so I’m just looking at one metric—social media presence as measured by Twitter followers.

If I look at Twitter, alone, I see that the numbers are all about Lisa and Damion, with over 25,000 followers each; Julian trails far behind with 15,000, and Mark…well, still at the gate with just over 1,000. Phillip Paulwell (<200 followers) is so far behind on Twitter as to be seen as a complete outlier:

I ought to look at Facebook, too, as that platform is more used for engagement and more extensive dialogue. I could also look at Instagram, though it’s really a ‘showcase’ with little content beyond images.

Those who will select the leader will look at lots of things, including things at which we can only guess. I’ll just take a quick look at what the possible candidate have shown up during the election campaign and since.

Mark Golding has been flashing his wares and been bold and brassy with clear race intent. So, if we look beyond the obvious, it work thinking who could help PNP in any inter-party football matches. Who’s this striker wasting his time rifling thought Budget papers? “My word! Golding!” He’d definitely be the pick.

Lisa was like Bambi ahead of the elections, skipping to Ma Lou. She’s been a bit quiet since.

After a 31 vote election victory following a magisterial recount, I’m not sure what the dance would or should be; some sort of shuffle, I guess.

Damion was a bit all over the place leading the party’s manifesto team, which manifestly didn’t get it right. The joke was his manifesto moved with the sun, so we weren’t sure what to look at and ended up being in the dark.

Personally, I think DC has been a busted flush for some time, from when he did the ‘Yah boo, sucks’ to his constituents in St. Andrew East Rural, then tried to say ‘Tricked ya!’, only for the constituents to say “Tricked you back! You’re outta here!“ so buddum, no seat to defend. Then the parachuting into Portland Eastern for a by-election—a solid PNP seat since Whappy kill Fillup—only for that to go solidly for Ann-Marie Vaz (she showed it was no fluke by holding the seat in the recent general election). He came talking goats for all and left bleating. But, the PNP Executive seem to adore him and he keeps getting plunked into the Senate.

Julian was really ‘Mr. Invisible’ during the election campaign, I suspect mostly because his general secretary role limited his freewheeling. He’s taken a bit of flak for the election defeat. He seems too decent a guy to bet all down and dirty in politics and his well-argued approach somehow seems to be in the wrong place. If he ends up facing Golding (which seems to be the contest Clovis depicted in yesterday’s Observer, I. Think it will be a gum fight not bared teeth.

Courtesy: Jamaica Obser

Paulwell? Well, Paul, we call you. That ‘has not tweeted’ isn’t what we want to see as expressions of interest. Is it that he’s not interested in engaging with the ‘articulate minority’. I hope he’s at least really taking note of social issues in Port Royal. Sadly, he may be associated as the face of election defeat, as he had the thankless task of conceding defeat.


Other commentators, better qualified than me, are throwing their views into the air:

So, early doors. Other names may come into the frame. I’ll take another look at least after Lisa Hanna decides.