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Posts Tagged ‘SDA’

TJS: Right attitude, wrong project?

In Political governance on 30/09/2011 at 6:49 am

I’m one of those 75% of voters who didn’t vote for TJS in the presidential elections. I wasn’t convinced that he was sincere (to be frank,I thought he was an opportunist); and the lack of a verifiable track record, career-wise, since 1991 was of concern. My thoughts on whether he was a hero or bad guy.

And there was the issue of S$60bn. “[S]mall change”, but not to his fan websites, and the party he resigned from the SDP.

But 25% of voters voted for him which shows that he convinced a quarter of adult S’poreans that he was sincere and competent. I accept their judgement. I am happy that he has rewarded (or should it be repaid?) their trust by saying he will continue fighting for his articulated principles and convictions.

But is trying to unite the Opposition a good use of his passion and talents? I think not.

Chiam tried it twice. First with the setting up of SDA and then by trying to help KennethJ take over the SDA. The latter ended with Chiam taking the SPP out of the SDA, and with both Chiam and KJ looking stupid and arrogant. Chiam recovered his reputation, KJ never did. But KJ was playing for high stakes. If he had taken over the SDA, he would have established himself as a master tactican.

Next, why would the WP and SDP want to team up because of TJS? They have distinct brands, and appeal to different voters. If the parties worked together closely, WP would not be able to attract the swing voters. They would not to be associated with the “radicals” of the SDP. Although not true, that is the image that the swing voters have of SDP members, an image that the constructive, nation-building local media, PAP and government helped build and maintain. Though to be fair, until very recently, SDP members made it easy to caricature themselves.

It is no surprise they have not commented on what he has said.

Then there is the state of the other parties. The SPP punches above its weight because of brand Chiam. The NSP (forever reinventing itself between elections), RP (remember who this is?), and SDA are sick parodies of political parties.

See who are the parties that welcome his initiative, and are willing to join the “Coalition of the Hopeless”: the SPP, NSP, RP and SDA.

Finally, the present arrangement of all the parties not fighting three-way contests suits everyone except the SDP.  In particular, the WP benefits from having the SDP’s supporters having no choice except to vote for it. See this.

True in 2011, the WP refused to give way to the SDA in one area (but it was vindicated when the SDA candidate lost his deposit) and there were rows between the WP and NSP, and between the NSP and RP on seat allocations. But the bigger party bullied the smaller party into submission in both cases. Goh Meng Seng was bullied by the WP, and he in turn bullied KJ.

This co-operation may not be possible after the next GE. The parties, especially the WP and SDP, may raise their ambitions, but that is in the distant future.

So I hope TJS finds something more doable and constructive, taking into account his talents and weaknesses. What that could be I hope to explore in a future post. 

Meanwhile, “Tan Jee Say, Ho Say Leh”: so long as he repays the trust that 25% of adult S’poreans have in him.

Who is the Opposition Kingmaker?

In Uncategorized on 23/09/2011 at 7:00 am

Following this year’s two elections, I could reasonably argue that the core PAP vote (any donkey even if it is Tin Pei Ling, so long as it is a PAP donkey) is 35%, the core anti-PAP vote is 30% (any ass even an SDA ass, so long as it is an anti-PAP ass) and the remaining 35% are the Animal Farm sheep aka the swinger voters. 

(I’ve not used the term  “Opposition” because all the Opposition parties define themselves as being anti-PAP or its values.)

Given that the WP has five MPs and two NCMPS (while no other Opposition party has an MP, and the SPP has the only other NCMP) , one would think that the WP best presents the angry S’porean voter. I think not.

The WP has done well because it can attract enough swing voters with its moderation (or waffliness or BS, if I wanted to be unkind) while relying on the 30% of voters who are angry with the PAP. It does not have to appeal to these voters because the Opposition parties try to avoid three-way contests in the belief that such contests only benefit the PAP.

True, the PAP benefits most in such contests, But the WP benefits most among the Opposition parties in two-way fights. Its discipline, moderation and willingness to walk the ground between general elections, plays well to the sheep of Animal Farm.

The biggest loser is the SDP, the natural home of these angry voters. SDP supporters in areas not contested by the SDP, have no choice but to vote WP, SPP, NSP, and SDA and RP; or spoil their votes.

Think I exaggerate? I’ve been told by a usually reliable source that in the Aljunied GRC, Tan Jee Say polled a decent close second to Tony Tan. Tan Cheng Bock was nowhere. And look at the TJS rally, and even the booing of TT on Nomination Day. These bear the hallmarks of SDP activism; in the latter the Dark Side of SDP activism, not the mainstream SDP.

And remember Tan Kin Lian, who lost his deposit? He and his adviser, Goh Meng Seng, thought they had the angry vote stitched up, allowing them to focus on the swing vote. Then TJS got his COE and performed well in the presidential election. TKL could only get angry publicly with TJS.

True, TJS was not endorsed by the SDP but he had the active help of many of its activists, though the MSM and bloggers focused on the endorsement he got from Nicole Seah, the super celebrity. Incidentally, I was told that in Marine Parade, TCB was second to TT. So much for her endorsement.

My conclusion? The SDP is the kingmaker of the Opposition. Remember how the Communists destroyed David Marshall and the WP in the early 60s? They told their supporters not to vote for the WP.

It could happen again. The SDP could withdraw its support of the WP, and even field candidates to fight the WP if the WP doesn’t pay Danegeld to the SDP or move leftwards. But by doing either or both, it will lose its attractiveness to the sheep of Animal Farm. Not a sweet spot to be in, Mao.

 

Do we need more political parties?

In Political governance on 16/09/2011 at 6:58 am

So now there are voices calling for Tan Jee Say and Dr Tan Cheng Bock to each form a new political party. And I’m sure, there are voices out there asking the “Voice of the People” to make a fool of himself again (this time with his daughter by his side) by forming the VP Party or VPP.

I’m sure some of these callers are thinking, genuine and sincere people, while some of the callers are PAP activists hoping to split the votes of voters unhappy with the PAP. But most of these calls are coming from very daft, but sincere and genuine people.

Think of where the parties of TJS and TCB will position themselves.

There are two slightly left-of-centre parties, the Workers’ Party and the Singapore People’s Party. Further left (but not on extreme left, despite what the local constructive, nation-building media say), we have the Singapore Democratic Party and somewhere between the WP and the SPP, and the SDP, there is for the moment the National Solidarity Party.

The NSP is forever changing shape in between general elections and, at the moment, is undergoing yet another metamorphoses. The WP and SDP have strong brands and active supporters, while the SPP is finally trying to make a serious effort to move away from brand “Chiam”. Let’s hope it succeeds. Chiam deserves to leave behind a political legacy. He showed us that an ordinary, decent man could take on the PAP and survive. There was no need to play the matyr game.

Now where will brand Tan Jee Say fit in? Based on his behaviour during the presidential election, his party will be further left of the SPP and WP, and right of the SDP. A space that the NSP, with two of his scholat mates in its management committee, is now trying to make its own. Kinda crowded, aint it?

As for Dr Tan Cheng Bock, the man, who waffled on during the election about not being the preferred PAP candidate and abt unity via footie and multiracialim (If I sound mean, I remind that I voted for him. Yup I can be that irrational), where will his party stand? Right of the WP, and SPP most likely, based on his waffling.

Even if it occupies some of the right-of-centre space dominated by the PAP, it will be fighting for some of the very moderate left votes.

The space on the left is crowded, with these six parties. There may not be enough seats to satisfy the ambitions of these six parties in a general election. There may be three-way contests. Then there are the absolute no-hopers, Singapore Democratic Alliance and the RP: making a total of eight parties on the left. The only place left field unoccupied is on the extreme left.

Establishing a new party is not easy. Remember the Reform Party? Set up by the late JBJ, it had to be resurrected by his son, KennethJ,  because of JBJ’s death soon after its founding. Despite all the goodwill that the memory of JBJ attracts, the RP had problems recruiting. And anyway, the newbies soon left, leaving King KJ to play and fantasise alone.

So please, let’s not encourage bored men with large egos, deep pockets and axes to grind to form new parties of the left. The field is crowded left of centre with eight parties.

Now, there is plenty of space on the extreme right. Anyone bored with a big ego, deep pockets and an axe to grind interested? I’m sure one LKY will be the party’s patron if the party ideology is a mixture of fascism, capitalism, socialism and his Hard Truths.

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