|The future of Flambeau|
He’s had seven years. He’s been lucky and he has been unbelievable audacious, courageous beyond moral reckoning. Maybe it’s almost over for him. Maybe Frederick is going to go down with King’s ship.
But maybe not.
Make no mistake, Richard Frederick has options, if King loses to Chas, when the UWP holds their first ever real leadership contest. (In fact, it may be a first in the history of the country. Pretty much every political leader before that has been elected unopposed, negotiated, parachuted or otherwise wangled into the leadership.)
No one doubts that Frederick has genuine feelings of fealty and friendship for Steve. (Stop that laughing, this very instant!) From the start, Richard has been Steve’s number one defender, his Cardinal Richelieu,his Thomas (both Wolseley and More) and his Desmond Brathwaite, rolled into one.
Okay, maybe I’m laying the cheese paste a little thick.
Some doubt Richard’s sincerity. They remember that he was an independent candidate who was brought in despite the misgivings of the ancient god of all things Flambeau, Sir John Compton. They cast aspersions on his tried and true Flambeau-ticity, painting him as conveniently Flambeau-matic, at best, Flambeau-ostic and at worst, Flambeau-tatious.
From their perspective, he’s not King’s Richelieu. He’s King’s George Odlum, the Manley to his Bustamante, the Brutus to his Caesar (Stop laughing! Especially you, Hilaire and Tennyson and the rest of y’all in the Red section!), not a mere Cassius, but a Caesar himself, to King’s doomed Pompey.
As Chas’ chances of becoming PL/UWP increase, there are rapturous whisperings among this silent majority of Flambeau that Frederick’s days are numbered.
The truth is, King is the one whose days are numbered. Without support to keep at least the Leadership of the Opposition in Parliament, he’ll wither away on the back-benches until he finds his true level – as a constituency level pawn-broker and, if he’s lucky, a player on the party executive.
He was good enough at these things to make Cybelle Cenac into a winning candidate, support Vaughan Lewis against John Compton and then, wangle his way to deposing Cybelle and installing himself as candidate, as John Compton’s right hand man in Parliament and Cabinet and finally, into the Prime Ministership.
As King himself admits, he never dreamed of being Prime Minister. He never thought of himself as prime ministerial material until it fell into his lucky lap. He never prepared for such an event and it showed. His success in becoming and remaining the leader of Flambeau has, in the end, made him the unwitting symbol of everything that’s wrong with the party and has to change.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF ANIMAL
Frederick, meanwhile, is a totally different kind of animal.
He is not a creature of any political party. If there is one politician alive in the island who can claim to be self-made, it’s Richard Frederick. (Kenny was created by Labour, Vaughan Lewis was mis-created by Compton and Brathwaite, Morella Joseph was uncreated and King was an evolutionary accident. Most others, with the possible exception of Spider and the two women in Cabinet, are creatures of their party.
Both John Compton and George Odlum are dead. And frankly, I refuse to dishonor Hunter Francois by speaking of The Greatest Prime Minister we never had in the same breath as the honorable personages mentioned above.)
He is a power generator completely independent of the Flambeau power grid, bringing new energy to them. He rose, not just to prominence, but to Parliament, on his own steam and unique insight into the true heart of the majority of the people of Castries Central. His brutal, but true, insights brought a whole new demographic, both in age and economic class to Flambeau’s cause in the last seven years.
And he has maintained this new demographic as his loyal, personal power base. (He is the only politician who practically has his own Praetorian guard and a personal retinue of 13 deadly concubines. lol)
From his self-created power base, he cannot be destroyed. Not even perturbed. Not by politics as usual. Because he’s not politics as usual. Events and whisperings that would have precipitated the downfall of others were like mosquito bites to him.
King or no King, they can’t get rid of him.
|Not your side. Your back. You have to watch your back.|
Not without endangering a large portion of their young, non-middle class supporters. In effect, he’s the Cardinal, nay, the pope of Flambeau’s Church of the Ghetto Youth.
His weakness, ironically, is that he is too much of an independent power. He is heedless of the complex balances and interactions that must take place to stabilize the infant post-Compton Flambeau.
And so, rather than rallying to his every cause, tried and true Flambeaus, regard him with skepticism and are always satisfied to leave him contained within the bounds of his powerful cult, never to cross over into the realm of high party office.
This de facto policy of containment is precisely why Frederick has failed to win any bid for executive office in Flambeau, in spite of being one of its single most beloved figures and most powerful magnets. A just reward for saving the party from near-certain suicide in 2006, don’t you think?
Like a bunch of wildebeest who have cornered a lion, they have him contained. But containment is all it is. It’s all they have against him and his new practice and theory of politics. He cannot be confronted. Not with the current deficits of courage and moral fortitude within Flambeau.
And Frederick, while posing as the pitbull, the maverick, the bulldozer and the runaway train (‘loose cannon is still reserved for Keith Mondesir, and after that, Allen Chastanet has dibs), has proven to be rather nimble in rallying strategic partners to his ends, if not to his cause in general.
Though he has been kept from high office in the party, he was one of Flambeau’s most powerful ministers and remains one of its most influential forces today.
Whether King loses or not, that is not going to change. The great River Richard will find his way around Mt. Chastanet and begin the attrition, the slow work of taking the mountain down. Rivers always win in the end.
Some mountains just like to drag out the suffering.
THE MARRIAGE OF FREDERICK AND CHAS
Then…there’s the possibility that Richard and Chas might heed each other and begin to need each other, especially in the face of the sweeping attacks currently underway from Labour. They may feed each other’s quest for glory and power. (It seems convenient. Chas wants the glory and Richard wants the power.)
In a world that makes sense, these two natural enemies ought to realize that they are made of the same philosophical DNA. And while their styles may be abhorrent to each other, their ultimate ends are very much the same.
Like Compton and Mallet, they could form the new lever that lifts Flambeau back to power and stop the party from sputtering from election to election.
|Don't mind them, Steve. You'll always have this moment.|
Unfortunately for them, post-Compton Flambeau is not a world that aims to make sense. It is a frigging Twilight Zone. And to fix that, prime ministerials like Richard and Chas are going to need something that the Golden Age Flambeau had. A third member of the triumvirate. A person to grow the party and hold it together as the other two go off to war.
Every lever needs an fulcrum.
Compton and Mallet had Giraudy. Who could Chas and Frederick turn to? Who will co-operate with them, without pandering and being a patsy? Who will share power without competing against them for supremacy?
Who is it that loves Flambeau more than power? There is no better candidate in the recent past than the man who made himself the enemy of every independent duke, lord and count of Flambeau in the last election campaign. The real Cardinal Richelieu. The midwife of a new Flambeau organization. Clem Bobb.
This is going to be impossible. For all the potential benefits, you can probably bet money that this will NEVER HAPPEN.