I want my government to be open and accessible. I want Bermuda's opportunities to be open and accessible too, to all Bermudians. I want to live on an island where whites and blacks are equal, and treat each other fairly and with respect.

I want kids to get good educations, our environment to be preserved, and criminals to be rehabilitated and not locked away for life. I want everyone to have decent, affordable housing.

My views, basically, are the kind of "east coast liberal" views that gets republicans in the States all riled up. I'm not a right-winger, in the normal sense of the word.

When I look at the issues that are important to me, and that I believe are important to the country, it's clear that the "progressive" party has become the reactionary one.

I thought a "progressive" party would be better at providing affordable housing than a "business" party. But the PLP ridiculed the 2003 UBP proposal to build large numbers of affordable housing and then did nothing itself until a recent pre-election flurry.

I thought a "progressive" party would lead the way on the environmental issues. But the PLP's "sustainable development" turned out to be a joke. Instead, they brought us an endless stream of major projects that by-passed the planning process, larger cars, proposals for hotels on protected shorelines, burying South Shore Road beneath a hotel development, and plans for a new hospital in the Botanical Gardens. The UBP has fought these plans every step of the way.

The PLP's heart is in the right place when it comes to "alternatives to incarceration", but it has struggled to implement them. Rehab and drug programmes too often simply aren't available, and judges don't have the choices they need.

The UBP's detailed proposals include rectifying this, and adding things like an improved halfway house system, electronic tagging to allow more work release programmes, and use of restoration orders instead of convictions for many young offenders.

For many years the PLP seemed in denial about the alarming decline in pubic education. Last year, it finally commissioned an emergency rescue plan. The resulting Hopkins Report echoed many of the things that the UBP had been arguing since before the last election.

But the quick changes the PLP promised in May, when the report was released, haven't materialized. It's alarming to learn that, even now, the teachers' union, principals' association, and parents, haven't been asked to take part in the reform process.

I thought a "progressive" government would operate in "the sunshine of public scrutiny", as the PLP promised when it replaced the UBP nine years ago.

Since then, it has descended into a kind of paranoid isolation. A promised Freedom of Information Act has slipped into oblivion, public reports have been routinely withheld, elaborate and expensive efforts have been made to gag the press, and basic questions of public interest have gone unanswered.

The UBP is promising progressive, liberal improvements - specific and enforceable improvements in Government openness and public access - including a Freedom of Information Act, a Whistleblowers Act, open committee meetings in Parliament, and the use of referendums on important issues like independence.

The UBP is also offering specific, enforceable solutions to the problem of ethics and honesty in public life. These include open contract bidding, codes of conduct and an integrity commission.

The PLP Government has brought us a range of scandals - from "pay-to-play" campaign donations, contracts for cronies, and the endless outrage of the Bermuda Housing Corporation self-dealings.

The PLP offers no reform, no apology, no resignations, no sackings, not even the acknowledgement of wrong-doing or mistakes. In short, the "progressive" PLP offers no hope of change.

I thought the PLP would have brought us much farther ahead in the area of improved opportunities for black Bermudians, improved tolerance and understanding between the races, and greater acceptance and appreciation of the diverse population that inhabits our island.

After years of inaction, positive moves like the strengthening of CURE and the launch of the "Big Conversation" have been undermined by PLP leaders themselves, with an election campaign that is clearly designed to increase racial fear and suspicion.

The PLP leadership is forcing Bermudians back into traditional racial camps, from which no progress can be made. The UBP, meanwhile, has a detailed agenda for promoting equality and opportunity, while speaking with the respect and tolerance that a modern, diverse society requires. These are strange and disturbing times we live in, where the "progressives" are reactionary, and the "conservatives" are progressive.

But our only choice next Tuesday is between the UBP and the PLP as we currently find them - not as they once were, and not as we wish they would be.

And that's why I'm going to vote this year for the UBP.