Fighting for scraps off the PAP’s table. That basically summarises the mentality of many ‘opposition’ politicians in Singapore. As highlighted recently at the NUSPA’s ‘Top Guns’ forum, ‘opp’ parties aren’t ready to form a government yet.
Not only that, they don’t even seem to think about forming a govt. I’m not even sure if many of them set out in politics dreaming of one day becoming the Prime Minister. Many, it would seem, are just dreaming of being opposition MP’s for life.
Some have confided to me that, quite apart from the fact that they lack the resources and capability to do so at this time, is a genuine fear that the electorate just isn’t ready for such a revolutionary change yet. In fact, they’re afraid that they’ll scare away voters if their party is seen wanting to form a govt!
Their reasoning is that, no matter what, voters always put stability uppermost in their minds. If someone wants to canvass for dissenting votes to get a few seats in Parliament, fine— voters can live with that. But for someone to want to take over the Govt, people will really start to question and scrutinise them.
Are they ready? Do they have the right people? Can they do the job? Are they better than the PAPpies? And are voters ready to face a brave new world without PAP—or at least, without them in charge?
Most ‘opp’ politicians believe the answers to all the above questions are ‘No’*. Which is why, like the Scottish nobles of the 13th century, they will continue to squabble among themselves, fighting for the scraps from the PAP’s table. Fighting for the NCMP seats, fighting for the single-member constituencies, fighting to be the best ‘loser’.
Will there be a Braveheart who can unite all the clans, to start a revolution that will eventually lead us to freedom from the PAP?
* Well, I disagree. The fact that such a question popped up at the NUSPA forum shows the new generation of voters can see beyond “opposition”, they don’t just want politicians who want to be their “voice” in Parliament, they actually want politicians who want to form a new, non-PAP govt. This is a change in the mindset of the electorate which no serious politicians should underestimate. At the very least, if parties hope to attract new blood, they’ve got to understand that young people are not going to spend 20 years in a political party that has no intention of ever forming a govt.