Monday, July 5, 2010

They Missed A Trick - Let's Not Give It To Them

The Jersey Establishment missed a trick when they carried out their infamous cherry-pick of the Clothier proposals for government reform. Most of the political representation for a Jersey citizen is by the twelve Senators: You get one Connetable and one to three Deputies, depending where you live, and then at least three-quarters of your votes are for Senators. That is quite important, as it lets in a wider range of politicians. To be a Deputy, you have to find an electoral district where most of the voters agree with you, and no other candidate there does, or come through the middle of a split vote for like-minded candidates sharing the majority between them, for want of a party to organise such things. To be a Senator, it is usually enough to command a substantial minority around the island overall, without having to find a concentration of your potential supporters. From the voter's point of view, picking six at a time from a slate of candidates enables a degree of ticket-splitting, in which both some candidates focussing on economic issues and some on social issues can be chosen, with a view to electing a well-rounded and balanced government.

Now, given that there is an inbuilt conservative majority in almost every one of Jersey's constituencies, the right-wing could have further consolidated their hold on power by seizing on the Clothier Report's recommendation that the Senators and Connetables be replaced by Deputies, for a single type of member. Just think, no more maverick populists soaring to the top of the polls as everybody's fifth or sixth choice, just a collection of bland parish bigwigs toeing the establishment line.

The tiresome rigmarole of the recent by-election, so needlessly caused by a wilful breach of an erstwhile Senator's oath of office, has once again set people to wondering whether Senators are worth having. Even amongst the progressive wing, with the most to gain from their continuing existence, “one class of Member” seems to some to be a more tempting principle than “Fourteen votes, not one”. This thought must be firmly and vigorously resisted. An all-Deputy Chamber will marginalise voters, and especially minority voters, and suffer a greatly increased democratic deficit. And “one class” will be the misleading spin put on this failure to fool unthinking electors into believing that they have been done a favour.

Some people say that Senators should serve an “apprenticeship” as a parish Deputy first. But to what end? The work is the same, the powers, or lack of them are the same. But if a candidate has confidence in another in their home district, or believes that the electorate will, then the only constituency where they can offer themselves as a resident rather than a carpetbagger is the island as a whole.

Perhaps the class of Member that should be removed is the Connetables. They are elected to be community leaders of their parishes, not the island, and voters may have different opinions of their municipal and state governments. Certainly, up here in Trinity, the Parish functions perfectly, but the States work no better for us than the rest of Jersey.

We need all the talent we can get in our government, and as strongly democratic way of electing them as possible. An all-Deputy assembly would be an impediment, not a boon.

David Rotherham


  1. Is this collective JDA opinion or yours mr Rotherham?

  2. It's good to see that the JDA are going to support grass roots /unemployed people to further the cause.

    I dearly hope that you will be gracious enough to accept me as a worthy cause as I feel that I still have much to contribute to Jersey politics and the furtherance of 'the struggle'.

    Guy de Faye

  3. The problem with the people who keep on going on about Clothier and getting rid of the Constables etc, is that they keep on forgetting that they only got into the States through a pitiful number of votes and generally via the backdoor.

    That’s the truth of the matter.

  4. If you have a look at

    you will see that I can see the same danger

    In Jersey, with no Senators, a relatively safe country seat could lead to a Chief Minister who could be in office for years, and will surely lead to more voters wanting to know if their candidates will vote for the existing incumbent or an alternative.

  5. David Rotherham said....
    Perhaps the class of Member that should be removed is the Connetables. ..... Certainly, up here in Trinity, the Parish functions perfectly, but the States work no better for us than the rest of Jersey.

    So why get rid of the Connetables? If you acknowledge the Parish works better for you
    than the States, then your Connetable is exactly the type of person you need in there representing you!

  6. Anonymous:
    My personal opinion, and signed as such. Collective policy goes on, not shared or individual personal blogs.

    No. The issues are different and the process is different. You couldn't run the States the way the parish is run - the whole scale is too big. And the personalities and styles that work well in the parish system seem to accomplish rather less in the complex administration of state government.
    For instance, as a parishioner, I think Richard le Sueuer should be the next Connetable, as a communuity leader. But he is openly opposed to the JDA's politics. So, do I vote for him, if there is a contested election when JohnGallichan steps down?

  7. Good to see Guy de Faye on here. Do you know, I was told the other day that the reason they built the incinerator so big was because he insisted it match the size of his ego! Or was it his beer belly?

  8. Guy de Feu was the biggest walking joke in Politics we had had in years.

  9. I can think of a certain Deputy who is a waste of space too, eh Geoff.

  10. Oh come on Anon. Don't talk about Paul Le Claire like that!

  11. Trevor.

    Your "answer" from Home Affairs Minister, Senator Ian Le Marquand will be online (audio) tonight. hopes to have it published by 9pm.

    Every time you don't get an answer from ILM, do you feel like it's "groundhog day"?

    Kepp going Trevor, the Abuse survivors, their families, CPO Graham Power and his family, former DCO Lenny Harper and his family and the public of Jersey deserve the truth.....History is being written!

  12. I have just listened to the link and he has made it crystal clear that this decision to suspend was approved by the Royal Court.

    Sorry guys/girls you cannot change that decision and it surprises me that some of you think you still can.

  13. Hi Trevor.
    I have just put up the Audio from this Afternoon when Senator Le Marquand had his little out burst & said he had dropped the charges on our Cheif of Police.
    Don't know how to do a hyper link but this is my site.

    I think his losing the plot. Hope its use full.

  14. Well what a shambles the Council of Ministers and Ian Le Marquand are. The decision to suddenly announce the disciplinary charges against Mr. Power show what utter idiots are running the show in Jersey. Look out for the excuses on the farce blog where the other collection of rabid right wing morons will be trying to save face. £1 + million of our money wasted by this idiot Senator. A total joke.


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