Sunday, August 15, 2010

Nothing More To Say

As promised, we have now published our definitive statement on our departure. This press release, from 10pm, 15th August, is as much as we wish to say on the subject. Now we shall move on.
"In the light of the press release of Friday 13th August from the JDA Honorary President we believe it to be necessary to clarify the following:

Due to a growing difference of opinion between leading JDA members regarding issues of strategy and political direction all JDA Council Members and the party’s membership were contacted on the 11th August to advise them that JDA Deputy Chairman, David Rotherham, Deputies Trevor and Shona Pitman and Deputy Debbie De Sousa were resigning from the JDA as of this date.

Though this was a difficult and painful decision to make given the number of years of blood, sweat and tears that we have given to developing the JDA, we took this decision in the hope of preventing irreconcilable differences developing into, or being spun as an acrimonious public quarrel. To this regard we intended putting out only the briefest of statements to the media.

All four of us believe passionately that to ultimately bring about the change our island so desperately needs, we have to engage a wider cross-section of Jersey’s ordinary working people in line with our centre-left political principles; as opposed to allowing ourselves to be wrongly portrayed as representing the interests of only a certain section of society.

Unfortunately, even in the light of the Honorary President’s surprising press release we perceive this narrow base to be the current direction of the JDA pursued by a minority Council. This is simply not the political ideology that we signed up to when we joined, and is not what we have worked so hard for. It is also certainly not true of the diverse constituent base that Deputies S. Pitman, T. Pitman and De Sousa all work with on a day-to-day basis.

Nevertheless, though existing on a number of levels it is fair to say that these internal differences have been brought to a head by two key events. The first of these was the split decision to support the JDA standing a sitting States Member, Deputy Geoff Southern, in the recent Senatorial by-election; a decision driven through even though it was clearly apparent to a number of us that this would be a politically muddy campaign where a skewed and split vote was inevitable.

The second has been the recent press release and media interviews given by Deputy Southern regarding the union alternatives to the Council of Ministers proposals on taxation and cut backs. Whilst it must be reiterated here that we are all wholly committed to recognition of modern Trade Unions as an essential check and balance to ensure industrial best practice, the fact is that neither the proposals nor our stated collective support for them was discussed with or agreed with us or any other JDA Council Member beforehand. This we find wholly unacceptable.

Viewed in the current wider political perspective we have thus come to the conclusion that for the immediate future the best way forward to achieving positive change is via way of a political coalition with other similarly minded States Members; and, indeed, like-wise motivated individuals outside of the States - a coalition where all members are willing to sign up to, and work together to achieve a small number of clearly defined principles. Having already been involved in such initiatives this is what we will now be striving to do.

A constituted ‘party’ on the other hand, as put forward in the JDA Honorary President’s press release with people of both left and right political leanings brought and held together only by a desire for reform we simply do not believe can work and is something we will not be involved in. We nevertheless wish all our former colleagues in the JDA the best of luck in their endeavours for the future. Whilst we can no longer agree on the path forward we fully recognise that they too want only the best for the working people who are the backbone of Jersey’s success; and who, indeed, make Jersey the special place that it is.

We shall not be making any further comment.

David Rotherham (Deputy Chairman) Deputy Shona Pitman

Deputy Trevor Pitman Deputy Debbie De Sousa"


  1. Should the 3 currently elected ex JDA members now stand down and seek re-election on their own merit? What is the correct thing to do here?

  2. Thanks for clarifying matters in such a dignified manner.

    I wish Deputies S. Pitman, T. Pitman and De Sousa all the best, and hope they long continue to provide the good work they are doing in the States (and appear on this blog). They are certainly the best of the former JDA!

  3. Wishing you all the success with your future political endeavours. I agree that Party Politics per say will not work in Jersey but a collaboration of like minded people is the way forward.
    The "Establishment Party" is no more than a collaboration of politicians with similar ethoses. What they are able to do though is agree to vote in a similar manner to a large extent irrespective of their political views on a majority of issues. Some contentions issues are open to a "free vote" and it is at these times that we see the CoM losing their propositions or having to agree to significant amendments. They have the experience of how to lobby the less aligned members of the States and I do believe that it is lobbying/promising (you scratch my back.....) that is dictating the result of votes in the house. Any opposition has to be even better organised; even to the extent of at election time to avoid split voting. The last 2 Senatorials have seen the un-aligned nice guy win; mainly I think because the Jersey public are not too interest in the actual Politics but more a case of is this potential politician going to be fair and/or are they going to help my life?

    A lot of the more senior politicians are retiring at the next elections and there will therefore be vacant seats to fill. By strategic planning by a group of like minded people significant gains can be achieve - but no infighting and no fighting for the same voters. I fully support Con Normans proposal that Constables are not automatically elected to the States but can if they so wish put themselves up for election to the States as well. I have a Constable I am very happy with as a Constable; he runs the Parish very well and I am proud to say I belong to his parish; but I disagree with his politics and would not vote him into the States. I believe this propostion of Con Normans is one worth pursuing; we all now accept that a complete overall of the States Assembly will not happen in one big proposition but small steps (but important ones) can be achieved by supporting such propositions where a large proportion of the Assembly can see validity. This does not prevent the Constables being elected to the States but does give the constituents of the Parish the option to have different people to fill in my view two seperate roles that one person is not always best suited to.

    So again good luck with the future. All four of you have my support in what ever alliance you are able to form with other States Members

  4. Well said Trevor, Shona, Debbie and David. A diplomatic response for which all are to be applauded. I fully understand why, though you might feel you wish to give further information, you are not doing so. Expect this to be twisted by the trolls anyway. Good luck to all.

  5. Well done, had to be done!

  6. Excellent politicians - and maybe another excellent one in the making - sticking to firmly held and consistent Cenre-Left principles is exactly what this island needs. What a nice change. Well done all. While this must be a difficult time, chins up! I'm sure the right thing has been done for the long term good.

  7. Had to laugh at the editorial comment in the Jersey Establishment Post. Trust them to try and twist things. Your statement is quite clear on your wish to stick with your center/left political beliefs - yet the JEP try and twist this to make it look like you are all wishing to beecome Conservatives! Joke!

  8. Who the hell is this Jon Dix? He's got yet another letter in the jep. I bet he is lined up as the establisment's candidate in the next election.

  9. Well done all of you then old JDA lost my vote due to Southern standing in the senatorial election all of my family will support you now Southern and Vibert are not part of your new grouping good luck to you all

  10. Trevor Shona Debbie you all have tremendous support from your constituents and further afield. If David should run for election he would have little trouble getting elected (if he gets a hair cut lol) Good luck to the four of you and respect for showing some testicular fortitude.

  11. August 16, 2010 4:50 AM
    A Progressive said...
    Totally agree with your comment

  12. While we didn't intend to make any further comment, the BBC wanted talk, not text, so I did a couple of interviews with them just summarising and paraphrasing this release. That really will be it from us on the subject.

  13. John Dix is the boss of Sigma .Used to be Collins.

  14. Very dignified. As a member of the JDA - ok, an ex-member now - I know you have said a lot less than you could have and quite probably should have. You have probably left yourselves open to criticism that will be unjust now as the enemies of democracy twist things as is their want. So be it. Honesty is all and you have acted for the best.

  15. With you all the wayAugust 16, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    I think what says it all here is that Ted's press release suddenly announcing the highly improbable scenario of Geoff Southern wishing to shift his hardcore 70's socialism to the centre, is that this statement reveals that all your members and fellow people on the council had already been told two days earlier of your decision to leave. Sorry to say Ted's statement has to be read as a final desperate throw of the dice. As others have already said, the above statement from you all is very dignified. You'll continue to have my vote and the family's too.

  16. Total respect to the four of you for the way you have handled this in a tactful and diplomatic manner. I suspected this was 'on the cards' after the election.

    One door closes, another one opens. The very best of luck.

  17. The biographies of the 3 members who have left are not on the JDA site, but:

    1) "THE JDA still have 4 members in the States committed to the cause of progressive change."

    2) "Our political team, Deputies Trevor and Shona Pitman, Geoff Southern and Debbie de Sousa have been making their presence felt in the States since their election or re-election."

    Dear me, their webmaster is still not very good at revamping their website! Maybe they should take a tip from "The Commissar Vanishes"!!

  18. Well said all of you. sad to see Ted sniping at Trevor and Shona, two people who have done so much good. What is important is the greater good and though I used to support him Geoff had become an obstcle to that with his agressive carping at all and everything.

    It is all a shame but my guess is if this hadn't happened now it would have only delayed matters for a few months. You will still all have my vote if I can give it to you.

  19. I reckon a key thing for the future is make sure there are no opportunists trying to get elected on a progressive ticket. As a union member this worrys me a lot as I really don't want opportunists like Le Cornu as one example who has never done a job in his life linked to Jersey's unions now trying to join in the hope of getting some backing. Keep toff fakers and businessmen trying to pretend they are one with the workers out, thats what I say.

  20. It would be good if the Unions did come clean about who they have been supporting and by what criteria a candidate attracts financial support.

    Many union members now wonder why their money was spent supporting Southern in the Senatorial by-election. It is even less clear by what democratic method that decision was reached. Some feel they were never consulted and the decision was taken unilaterally by a few at the top.

    It seems unlikely the unions would want to support Ted Vibert if he is shifting to the centre (right) and presumably leaving behind the unwashed proletarians. Supporting or being seen to be supported by Trade Unions might be viewed as an electoral liability and likely to loose "respectable" votes. It’s nice of course to have their money, so long as there is no accountability and expectation that a candidate once elected would continue to support the interests of union members. Nice "Middle Jersey" ex Teachers with a union background and homeowners might be just acceptable for a new Centre grouping.

    At the next elections will anyone be prepared to state that they represent the interests of union members? Well done those who are prepared to join unions when everyone else is denying any association.

  21. "No Damage Done" - Geoff Southern.


  22. "What's that, Skippy? You think Gazza's dad is in the legal profession? A magistrate?

  23. This has been another dismal episode in the history of Jersey politics. It is all very amateur too - where else could the leadng lights in a political party resign with so little public discussion or consultation. Not even an EGM called for JDA members or a prior public meeting for the electorate. Autocratic behaviour is not the preserve of the Le Sueurs in this island.

    The "sole statement" refers to a future political coalition of similarly minded States Members and individuals outside of the States. Well, let's hope not. We need some democratic processes in Jersey not more of the same dictates from petty tyrants.

    The arrogance displayed here is disturbing - especially since it is all done in the name of the "representation of working people" or some similar claptrap.

    The role of Trades Unions needs to be fully discussed and reformed in the contxt of Jersey politics but this whole saga exposes some very curious activities and attitudes.

    Trades Unions in Jersey only exist at all because they lean heavily upon UK based organisations for financial and practical support. As with so many aspects of an effective and organised working class, the need is for mutual cooperation. There is simply no scope for a bunch of egotistical careerists to act without a popular mandate in this small community.

    Unfortunately, the whole labour movement has been put through the mill over recent years and democratic processes have been much damaged. Jersey has not been immune to that but has many advantages too.

    What do Trades Unionists in Jersey want? Who really speaks for them? If they pay a political levy, who decides how it is used?

    The Woolworths workers in Jersey were not TU members and received little or no support from local TUs. They did receive support from people who were not members of any TU. So, we need to throw away any quaint or nostalgic prejudices about the natural camaraderie of working people in this island.

    In reality, in 2010, it is everybody for his or her self in the Jersey market place. That is why it is so necessary to have political organisataions that are run in accordance with rules of procedure and with principles that are agreed and shared.

    The "gang of four" claim to appeal to members "who are willing to sign up to achieve a small number of clearly defined principles".
    Yet they also say "not a party."

    You certainly have me confused. Will there be a mambership? Are there published principles? How shall TU members be involved? What is the message for existing JDA members or the electorate and who are these other States Members who are about to join?

    As always, the paying public wil be the last to know what YOU decide. There is something very wrong here.

  24. The last comment calls for a few answers. My own personal response to the points raised is:-

    Since the by-election decision showed us that we were the ones out of step with the rest, it was for us to resolve our own positions, not to split the party and strain old friendships with a divisive attempt to persuade the membership to sack the rest of the Council.

    The elements of the JDA that would apparently like to develop it into a Jersey Labour Party remain. The questions about the political role of trade unions would be better addressed to them. We do not aspire to be the unions' frontpeople.

    Not a party, just a campaign co-ordination on the model of 2005's Elect Jersey, but with a more progressive orientation. No public membership, just the politicians, new candidates and key supporters engaging in a bit of teamwork. Look at who seldom follows the Council of Ministers' line and who usually does in States votes to see who will and won't be invited to join. The idea is still under development, anyway. Don't forget that until a few weeks ago we were all assuming that our political future was in the JDA, and the question "Now what?" was still over our horizon.

  25. I think the last Anonymous comment before David's just tried to stir up animosities and anguish that really is nwarrented. If you look at parties in the UK it will often get to the stage where some people involved just have to say enough is enough. The Iracq war is a recent and good example.

    I think all four have acted with great integrity. The idea which I understand has been long held by a number of people that a kind of coalition be entered into is a hugely sensible one. Trevor's comments about this earlier in the week have shown exactly the vision that is needed. He is also dead right about how it will be interesting to see if those who used a party being involved as an excuse to work together under a few key principles will now step up the plate. Hold your heads high you are clearly the type of good guys Jersey desperately needs.

  26. Thanks for your clarification. Some of the previous laconic comments simply left too many questions open as to why you all departed the JDA.

    It looks like the Gang of Four walked away from its lifetime achievement. How will you all survive in this new loose campaign group that has no direction, membership or philosophy? Life in the wilderness can be barren.

    What is the membership of the JDA supposed to do now? Toe the party line and duly endorse the residual rump leadership?

    The earlier comments by the anonymous democrat have considerable pertinence for the continuing party. One can envisage an even smaller membership as loyalists simply drift away in disillusionment.

    Incidentally if the “split” was because the Gang of Four could not agree to opposing public spending cuts, then they are truly of no use in defending the interests of working people. One has only too read tonight’s JEP and the full page advert by Jersey’s business elite and wealthy, to realise that the capitalist class is intent on savaging public services and jobs. The worst economic crisis since the Depression of the 30’s is being used as an excuse to dismantle the welfare state.

    To call resistance to the cuts, however lame that campaign may be, “a very negative left-wing union campaign to obstruct the States’ overdue attempts to curb public sector bloat”, means you have bought into the philosophy of our wealthy rulers and cannot distinguish their interests from those of working people..

  27. The JDA?!....I actually joined when the JDA was formed, but after just one year and G.S's direction I decided it was no longer for me. Never will I forgive G.S for standing at the last election, what was he possibly hoping to gain?, apart from being called "Senator", IF he had been sincere he would have resigned his seat in the chamber and stood 'a new', but as he has for all time stated...well "NO DAMAGE DONE", what a clot, he enabled in this futile act of his to 'water down' the votes that "THE FEW" decided to cast and we lost one our most able and dedicated politicians. I am very glad that the Pitman's and others have resigned from the JDA, maybe now they individually and collectively can make their presence known in the chamber, as for G.S & T.V, well good luck, you have in one fell swoop destroyed any chance of a serious challenge to the so called "Establishment"

  28. Anonymous before last:
    As a private sector manual worker, the interests of working people inevitably dominate my political thinking. And I have seen my taxes soar in a way my wages certainly haven't, through Frank's and Terry's times in charge. So, I would love to see a more targetted approach to throwing our money around, to ease the squeeze.

  29. All well and good fighting job cuts in the States employment areas.
    What about us poor sods who are in the private sector?

  30. Dave,

    What you need is a pay rise. Workers wages have been stagnating for thirty years. The last decade has seen enormous price inflation for capital assets but erosion of salaries. Workers have had to borrow, on the basis of inflated property prices, in order to maintain their standard of living and now find themselves heavily indebted. Certain financial institutions are gouging the poor - Credit Cards, like Barclaycard, with 20% interest rates.

    Its time to join a Union and combine with your fellow workers for that much needed pay rise.

    Working people are having to pay for the failure of the Zero-Ten tax policy, that allows corporations to pay nothing. Instead labour is having to fund the state by higher taxes achieved through diminished allowances (Twenty means Twenty) Taxes should be raised for the most wealthy individuals and for corporations.

    The talk by government about cutting the state budget benefits only the rich who are the ones benefiting from this present recession. The number of millionaires or was it billionaires, doubled in India last year.

  31. I have respect for Geoff for his work ethic but the truth is he has held the JDA back and limited it because all too many associated it with him alone as if all the party shared his views. Because of this I think Shona, Trevor and Debbie (and Dave though not a politician at this point) were right. Seems to me is all that you are all saying is that you want to be seen for the beliefs that you genuinely hold.I also think that Geoff has held Trevor back. He has done really well regardless as a new meember but I now expect even better.

  32. Ted has launched a strong attack on David Rotherham in the JEP (as they are always happy to promote unrest). It would be good if Dave replied to the JEP, and also in more detail here.


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