He misquoted Machiavelli when he said ‘politics has a morality of its own.’ I’ll misquote them both by saying politics has a reality of its own.
Over the coming days/weeks others will milk his passing for all the benefits any association they could muster could give. I won’t.
Those who know me know that I am loathe to eulogize politicians and can be very frank. I contemplated staying silent but did not want my silence misread.
The experiences that I have had with him have all been cordial and even respectful. Few know how to own a room like he did and I dare say it was his superpower, whether it was sitting for a two person interview like he did with me and which I promise to rerelease only because it shows how open he was prepared to be on sensitive issues, or commanding the Parliament.
He had a long innings and played the hands he had, some good, others maybe not so good, some he will be remembered for, others many would rather forget, but in the end his legacy outgrew even him.
History counts for nothing in a land where public office is as corrupt and as evil as it is here and he was more forthcoming on that for the entirety of his career than any other before or since, and I dare say he certainly was not the worst of them.
The greatest debt owed to him would be by the East Indian community consigned to be a recalcitrant minority by others, who he emancipated by his struggle and took them from permanent opposition and second class citizens to the highest office in the land, shockingly so that even the Guardian Newspsper, whose headline the next day should have been congratulatory was contemptible and racist.
I remember the army having to be deployed to keep order. I remember senior members of the then elite threatening to disrupt it all by ‘bringing down the corridor.’ Those are experiences that could change an individual, yet it seemed to make him more personable.
Bas was many things as we all are, but in the end if you are remembered fondly through all those vicissitudes and bad weather then one can say well done. Go on to your just reward Silver Fox. For better or worse you did more than most and that is my take away if I were to say anything at all.
Rest in peace.
Phillip Edward Alexander