I’ve been out and about a lot since I parted ways with The Royal Gazette and picking up some interesting thoughts and opinions.
One recurring opinion is: where is Grant Gibbons and why is he so quiet?
You could ask the same question of the former UBP members of this OBA Government. You do hear from Mr Dunkley but he is straight down the line, commenting on his ministry with pitch-perfect party allegiance, as you would expect from a consummate politician.
But Dr Gibbons is the most intriguing absentee. He was the Shadow Education Minister and now the Minister for Business Development (?), an extremely important portfolio. He should be making lots of statements about the progress he is making – or not…
So why is there this silence?
He could be enormously busy (and I hope he is!) but I think the truth is that the OBA wants to leave the UBP well and truly behind and that people like Dr Gibbons have either been told to be quiet or have decided that that is the best policy for them.
And let’s face it we hear lots from Senator Fahy, apparently the arch-OBA-er who wants to leave (if not bury) the UBP past and a lot from Shawn Crockwell who was among the first to split from the UBP. (We don’t hear a lot from the Premier and he really needs to ramp up his PR.)
While this is understandable, it seems to me to be happening too quickly. The OBA is not surprisingly keen to be seen as a party in its own right, but by not exposing people of the quality and political expertise as Grant Gibbons are they scoring an own goal?
My feeling is yes. They are a party that it still learning the political ropes, that is still getting used to Government and whether or not people like Dr Gibbons represent the past, it is the past that we learn from.
The OBA has three years to shed its UBP skin – giving it a good two years before an election. It should shed that skin gradually and with compassion (I know one ex UBPer who is very bitter at the way they were treated by the OBA) and not ditch out of hand the expertise and experience it has.
That is a folly as it only exposes a lack of expertise and experience – the sure road to losing the next election.