A QUICK TRAWL THROUGH THE KEY DISTRICTS:
MY THOUGHTS & RECOMMENDATIONS.
A Select Consideration of Some Candidates
In Phase Two of Jersey’s General Election:
Will the Outcome be any Better this Time?
So – here we go again; the second part of Jersey’s general election process.
Let me say now that I’m too busy doing important work to write exhaustively about every candidate and every district.
I mean – it’s not as though some of the electoral battles are remotely inspiring.
The three candidates in St. Brelade No. 1?
Give me a break.
I’d far prefer to vote for one of the geese who live in the harbour.
In fact – that’d be pretty good; you know? Like one of those Mexican villages who elect a donkey as mayor?
The voters take the view that, at least it’s honest – all it wants are carrots and a bit of hay.
And I don’t recollect seeing a goose in the Square – though having said that, I do recall seeing quite a few jackasses.
Back in October we were electing 6 Senators via an all-island vote. This time we’re electing 25 Deputy’s by district, or by parish in the more rural areas.
The results of the Senatorial round were – let us speak plainly – bloody catastrophic for Jersey.
Of the 6 elected – only one – Alan Breckon – is of any merit. The remaining 5 represented Just More Of The Same.
But as a lot of people pointed out – it was possible to find some crumb of comfort from the vote, in that it showed a very dramatic swing away from the Jersey establishment Party candidates in terms of voter percentages.
‘Possible’, certainly – but not entirely convincing.
But will the result be different this time around?
I strongly suspect not – and the Jersey Establishment Party will retain most of their seats. I confess – the last 2 years have done little for my sense of optimism.
But – here goes.
DON’T VOTE FOR ROB DUHAMEL.
Whilst the Senatorials attract a much higher profile, the election is only for 6 of the 53 elected members.
There are 29 Deputy seats in the assembly – therefore these elections plainly have the scope for a far larger democratic impact.
Of the 29 seats, 4 have been returned unopposed – those being Grouville, Trinity, St.Saviour No.3 & St. Ouen. It was also expected that St. Martin would be unopposed, but Bob Hill is facing a challenge. I can’t say I see any credible outcome in that parish other than a resounding victory for Bob Hill – though that isn’t to knock his opponent – who would actually make a very good States member. I just feel he has chosen the wrong parish/district to challenge in.
Whilst anyone challenging in Grouville or Trinity would simply have been blowing 3000 quid in costs – and spending freezing, rainy November evenings canvassing from door to door – only to receive a humiliating drubbing in return – I was almost surprised that St. Ouen Deputy James Reed didn’t face a challenge.
The vibe in that parish is that his credibility – well, what little of it he had – has waned dramatically. Even people who were once his supporters are to be found muttering in the corners of the Farmers’ Inn about what an ineffectual dope he has turned out to be.
Obviously – a parish like St. Ouen is unlikely to ever elect a member of the SWP – but I think in a two-horse race, a traditionally “credible” candidate would have beaten him. Perhaps quite handily.
So that leaves us with 25 seats – in which there is everything to battle for.
I don’t have the time to take a look at every candidate in every one of those contests, so below I’ll be casting a weary eye over a few of the key parishes and districts – and taking a look at a few of the – err – interesting candidates.
But – before I begin – remember – DON’T VOTE FOR ROB DUHAMEL.
ST. HELIER No. 1 DISTRICT.
Do you think Jersey has been well-governed during the past 20-odd years?
Do you think that the establishment have done a great job?
Do you think that the medium and long-term challenges which face our community have been well-prepared for by our glorious leaders?
Do you think that what we really need in the States is yet another “business man” – who will carry on “business as usual”?
If your answers to these questions are ‘yes’ – then Mr. Beadle is your man.
Personally – I wouldn’t vote for him if I was on fire – and he had an extinguisher in his hands.
My marvellously inventive readers have christened Katy “Victoria Sponge” – light, airy – and with just a little dusting of sugar on top.
She expects you to regard her as some kind of “sporting icon” – because she is rich and idle enough to pay to take part in the Clipper Yacht race.
One of those curious and dangerous hybrids of journalist – well, disk-jockey, actually – and professional spin-doctor. She actually says of herself:
“I am 24 years old and run my own successful Marketing and Communications business.
If elected, I would seek to improve communication in Jersey between you and the States.”
Yes, Katy – it’s amazing what having well-placed parents can do for you.
But – should you be so masochistic as to vote for her – you cannot say you had no idea what to expect. “Marketing and Communications”?
Wants to “improve communication” – between you and the States”?
Oh well – perhaps as well as being manipulated by the oligarchy’s spin-doctors – you want to pay them 40 grand a year as well?
Actually – I thought communication between the public and the States was pretty good. I mean anyone talking to people across the community will have no difficulty in understanding – loud and clear – what a lot of the public think of the States.
If there is a communication breakdown – the fault, surely, lays with the States – in never really listening to the public.
But – when you read of someone who wants to “improve communication” between you and the States – the phrase is easily translated into its real meaning: – “You’re just not paying enough attention to us – YOU THICK PEASANTS!”
So – prepare to be spun.
Sadly – it appears pre-ordained that this particular vacuous spoilt brat is getting elected.
I mean – why else would the powers that be have included her entry – already – in the States of Jersey e-mail address system?
So fascinating was this discovery that I took the precaution of taking a couple of screen-grabs of the entry. (One never knows when this kind of material will come in handy.)
I was most curious about this fact. I thought, ‘well – perhaps they’ve up-loaded all the candidates details – just to be ready for the results, after which they’d remove the details of the unsuccessful candidates?’
So I checked this theory. Are the other candidates on the States system?
Nick Le Cornu? Nope.
Jeremy Mason? Nope.
Dan Wimberley? Nah.
Montfort Tadier? Of he too, not a sign.
Trevor Pitman, perhaps? No – not him either.
Well then – perhaps Katy – Victoria Sponge – Ringsdore is on the States e-mail system – because she works for the media?
So – I checked how many other Jersey titans of the Fourth Estate are on the system?
Allan Watts of Rankine Television? Nope.
Chris Bright, editor of The Rag? Negative.
Ben Queree – “political correspondent” of said, august journal? Nah.
Denzil Dudley of BBC Walker perhaps? Nope.
Mathew Price, his colleague? Does not compute.
So – this is a real mystery – ain’t it?
Katy Ringsdore has her very own States e-mail address entry.
Unlike all other non-States member candidates.
And unlike all other local hacks.
So – were forced to conclude that the oligarchy have decreed that – come what may – Victoria Sponge is getting in – regardless of such piffling matters as actual voter preference.
You know? A bit like 3 years ago – when they determined that Allan MacLean – their latest Great Right Hope – would defeat Roy Travert in St. Helier No. 2 district?
Another, mysteriously, pre-ordained outcome.
And if you’re still not fully conversant with the goods you are purchasing with your vote – remember – Katy wants Phil Ozouf to be Chief Minister.
A nice guy – but, hell, Chris – you know you’re just wasting your time.
You’ve got about as much chance of getting elected as I would have of beating Joe Calzaghe in a fist-fight.
Nick Le Cornu.
As previously remarked – a strong and politically honest candidate. You could at least vote for him secure in the knowledge that he would stick to his beliefs – and wouldn’t join the oligarchy – unlike 90% of other candidates.
Whether his politics are to your taste is a matter for you – but I would make this observation; you’ll often hear the establishment banging on about “stability” – and “balance”.
But in truth – the States has customarily been so unbalanced towards the political Right – that political instability is guaranteed – sooner or later.
The assembly badly needs a few more voices on the Left just to provide some balance – and rein-in the neo-Thatcherite, “greed is good” policies of Ozouf and his fellow spoilt bratarians.
Hey! Is that a new word, ‘bratarians’? If so, I’ll have to add it to my collection of invented words – it will fit right in with ‘obnoxia’.
So – how would I vote if I lived in St. Helier No. 1 district? What are my recommendations?
I would vote thus:
1. Judy Martin.
Naturally intelligent – and what makes her doubly-effective is that most of the oligarchy – given their snobbery – can’t get their heads around the notion of ‘intelligence’ residing in a person who speaks as though they came from the cast of East-Enders – and doesn’t say backside in Latin.
You will hear a load of guff from all candidates – about how they understand the needs of pensioners, the less well-off, those who struggle with the immense costs of Jersey – etc.
Yet you know – through bitter experience – that in the case of 95% of candidates – it is just that – guff.
Judy Martin will not betray you. She will work tirelessly on behalf of ordinary people. And she will continue to be, as she has been, effective as a States member.
2: Paul Le Claire.
Paul is honest, sincere and politically reliable. He has not been afraid – unlike 95% of States members – to challenge the often profoundly unhealthy power and lack of accountability which infects the senior reaches of the civil service.
Has also been one of the few members who has taken seriously the need to support and assist abuse survivors.
He’d get my vote for that alone.
3: Trevor Pitman.
As already remarked – the traditional make-up of the States is dangerously extreme and unbalanced – in favour of the political Right.
A few more dissenting voices are desperately needed to bring – even a little bit – of balance to the assembly.
In the absence of such balance – the oligarchy are not kept on their toes – and have become complacent and incompetent.
And look at it this way – the establishment hate him.
So, that’s a lot of reasons to vote for him.
Before going on to St. Helier No. 2, did I mention – DON’T VOTE FOR ROB DUHAMEL?
ST. HELIER No. 2 DISTRICT.
This is difficult. You see, there are three seats available, and they’re being contested by 7 candidates – 6 of who I could seriously consider voting for.
It’s when you see such a concentration of good candidates in one district – it makes you wonder why we can’t find one, single, solitary inspiring candidate to contest St. Brelade No. 1?
Or why the highly vulnerable James Reed of St. Ouen isn’t being challenged?
I said I could possibly vote for 6 of the 7 candidates – which leaves one who – if I had to vote for – I’d be wishing the oligarchy would hurry up and get me whacked. A couple of bullets from a Glock seeming a preferable forfeit.
Can you guess?
It’s Rod Bryans.
Jesus – where to begin? Actually, no – I just can’t be bothered even writing a load about him.
If you’re voting in St. Helier No. 2 – and you want to vote for him – good luck.
Remember 3 years ago?
When you ‘chose’ to ‘elect’ multi, multi-millionaire estate agent Alan MacLean – who pledge to support certain exemptions to GST – and then promptly spoke and voted against exemptions?
Some people are just gluttons for punishment.
To those of you who say ‘won’t get fooled again’ – a couple of brief observations on Mr. Bryans.
He is a Jersey Establishment Party man, through and through.
I’ve looked at his vacuous and platitudinous web site – look, someone has to do these things, for Christ sake.
Actually – his web site is a very strong contender for the most empty, hackneyed and cliché-laden collection of utterly meaningless cobblers I’ve ever seen proffered by a Jersey election candidate – and that’s saying something.
First observation: any candidate who makes such a shameless and opportunistic attempt to piggy-back on the victory of Barrack Obama as US President should be discounted immediately.
Especially when they write about “Barrack Obama’s legacy”. Look, Rod – he hasn’t even taken Office yet – and nor have the rednecks yet assassinated him – so I think it a little premature to be writing of his “legacy”.
Second observation – and this is a serious point I draw to your attention – because of what it says about Mr. Bryans’ understanding of issues – and his powers of recall.
On his web site, Rod writes this:
“To be honest no one could have forecast the great global changes that have gripped the world over the last few years. Few had the foresight to see the latest crash in the financial markets.”
Err – Rod? Actually – an awful lot of people have been predicting just these very events.
Many people around the world – admittedly, not the kind of people you’ll find writing for the Economist and the FT – have been warning of the inevitability of just such problems.
And – you know what? These problems were even unambiguously predicted by one Jersey politician.
Do you remember who that was, Rod?
It was me. I explained the inescapable mathematical limits to growth, peak oil, economies like Ponzi schemes, environmental collapse, the manifest unsustainability of Jersey’s economy – and similar, related issues.
Do you remember when that was, Rod?
It was when I gave a speech to the Jersey Chamber of Commerce (first time I’d ever been invited to speak at one of their functions in 17 years) in early 2007. I still have a copy of the speech, I think.
To my great surprise, quite a number of people who spoke with me afterwards said how thought-provoking and important were the issues I raised.
In fact – there was only one dissenting voice, as I recollect.
A person who stood up when the time to ask me questions arrived – and who said “all we’ve heard from you is a load of disjointed, irrelevant nonsense – we have come here to listen to what you propose to do for us!”
Is the memory coming back, now, Rod?
Do we remember who it was who so dismissively brushed aside my warnings?
Yes – it was you, Rod.
But – sadly – I guess such a display of “convenient” forgetfulness – and brazen hypocrisy probably indicates that you were made for a career in Jersey Establishment Party politics.
So what, briefly, of the other candidates?
As I said – I could possibly vote for all of the remaining 6.
Each of them is bringing something to the table of genuine worth.
But, as time is pressing, I won’t write of each; instead I’ll just offer my recommendations as to who I would vote for if I lived in St. Helier No.2.
1: Gifford Aubin.
The States is filled with older people – very few of who have ever tasted real hardship and struggle. So we can’t be surprised that notwithstanding the trust struggling pensioners place in them – they betray that trust – time after time.
Gifford actually represents something the assembly badly needs – an experienced and wise head – who actually understands the realities of the struggles some people face in life – and who has the respect of younger people as well.
Gifford fits the bill. He has bravely spoken of his brutal experiences in Haut de la Garenne – and has worked with and earned the respect of people far younger than himself.
Equal 2nd: Geoff Southern & Shona Pitman.
It is no secret that I’ve had my differences with Geoff – but one needs to set aside personal considerations – and do what’s best for the community. Geoff works extremely hard – and does an immense amount of research – to a degree that would put most States members to shame.
Geoff & Shona have been – and will continue to be – reliable in campaigning for the policies and principles in their manifestos.
We are so used to being duped and conned by the average Jersey election candidate – that when we get decent candidates who have at least – whether we always agree with them or not – performed ‘as advertised’ whilst being States members – that fact must be recognised by the voting public.
So Gifford, Geoff & Shona would be my three votes.
But as I remarked – the other three candidates – in different circumstances, perhaps against a less strong field – would certainly be on my shopping list of candidates.
ST. HELIER No. 3.
Ennui is beginning to settle upon me – like a cloak of ash and darkness – so even though I’ll be voting in this district – I look at the prospect with that kind of sense of resignation you get when setting out to climb a mountain which you just know is beyond you.
Like doing the TD grade route up North-East face the Breithorn – by mistake – in avalanche conditions – and knowing there is no retreat.
You know there is no choice – you just have to do it – but you know that, even if you succeed – it just ain’t going to be a pleasant experience.
So – having nearly run out of energy getting across the bergshrund – and fending-off hypothermia – a quick look at the remaining prospect before us.
Perhaps the quickest thing I can do is take a look at the four incumbent Deputies.
Guy de Faye:
A typical Jersey oligarchy States member. Much like the kind I’ve warned against above.
Originally went to the voting public as a fresh, sceptical candidate – a person who was going to bring something new to the mix of customary States members.
However – from the moment he got elected 6 years ago – has been a rabid stooge of the Jersey Establishment Party. For example – I really wonder just how many of the people of St. Helier 3/4 actually want to be paying tax on their food and heating bills?
No? Well – you have people like Guy de Faye – and ROB DUHAMEL – to blame for such essentials being taxed. Indeed, de Faye was overtly rabid in his opposition to the exemptions.
It is also plain that he has missed his true vocation in life – which is to be a moderately entertaining after-dinner speaker – the ‘wit’ of whom really comes across when everyone is absolutely bladdered – especially him.
A buffoon and a total waste of space.
But – you know what? There are two candidates who I feel even more strongly about.
Two sitting Deputies – who one looks at – and can only shake one’s head in disbelief that people carry on voting for them.
Jacky Huet and Ben Fox.
It may be a cruel description – but I can think of none more apt – dinosaurs.
Two States members – of the text-book kind – who have you praying for a comet impact just to finally nail down their extinction.
Both are a total waste of space politically. Not an original nor independent thought in their heads – combined.
Neither brings anything useful to the political arena.
Both simply do what they’re told by their Jersey Establishment Party bosses.
But, I think what most irritates me about candidates like these two is the essential hypocrisy of their stance.
In this campaign they’ll, have been targeting older voters – the very people who have put their trust in them previously – and been selling those voters the same old cobblers as last time.
“Oh, we’re pensioners – we know just how hard things are – we understand – we’re on your side – you know – you can trust us.”
And the tragedy of the situation is that many, many hundreds of trusting older people will be taken in by this guff.
For example – if you are less well-off – and are a struggling voter in St. Helier No. 3/4 – before you fall for all their cobblers again – fix this fact in your mind:
Both Deputy Fox and Deputy Huet – have consistently and rabidly supported taxing the food on your table – and the energy needed to heat your home.
Compare and contrast that fact – with the “nice, friendly, approachable old Jersey person” shtick you’ll have had from these two during the campaign.
Will you be fooled again?
So what, briefly, of the remainder?
Certain of the candidates I know very little about – so couldn’t really commit myself – one way or the other.
But a few, brief observations.
I know him reasonably well – he having been a member of the Town Park Support Group.
I would like to be able to recommend him – but I can’t. He has gone very soft on the Town Park – now preferring schemes which – no matter how utterly unrealistic – attach vastly greater priority to the car parking element – than he does to the actual Park – which is, of course, the prime purpose of creating the new Town Park.
There is also the fact that large car parking schemes are now utterly redundant and obsolete – as massed private motoring will be an historic artefact within 10 years – if, indeed, it takes that long.
That’s another prediction for you, Rod – do try and pay attention this time.
Andrew Green is a nice enough guy. But I’m just a little concerned that if elected – it wouldn’t take him long before he found himself swept along in Ozouf’s bratarian tide.
But – of David Beuzeval – Michael Higgins – Colin Russell – look, I just don’t know right now.
They could be great candidates – but I just don’t know enough about them – and fighting the forces of darkness just doesn’t leave me with enough time and energy to find out.
Well, at least for tonight. I’ll give some thought to my fourth vote tomorrow – and include it in tomorrow’s posting.
So – what, then, are my recommendations to voters in St. Helier 3/4, for the time being?
1: Gil Blackwood.
I proposed Gil – and I can guarantee that he is a man of genuinely great humanity and compassion – as well as being colossally intelligent.
I have to say that of him – because he wouldn’t say it himself.
He is a quite, modest, unassuming man – a person who is thoughtful – and who listens.
And, before his recent retirement as a Consultant psychiatrist, he was also amongst that brave band of senior public employees – who have done the right thing – and defended the public good – to the immense hostility of certain self-serving claques of senior civil service managers.
A man of integrity and great worth.
2: Jacky Hilton.
Jacky, too, I have known and worked with for a long time on the Town Park project – a cause for which she has worked tirelessly – and has remained committed to the creation of a genuine, open, green space for the heart of Jersey’s poorest and most neglected area.
Jacky wants a Park – not the concrete excrescence as proposed by some opportunistic carpet-baggers – with a bit of soil and grass chucked on top – to serve as a ‘park’ in the manner of an after-thought.
3: Suzette Hase.
Has worked professionally and effectively as an officer for Jersey’s Consumer Council. Knows and understands the real issues and challenges faced by ordinary people.
Will be politically honest. If elected – her concerns for pensioners and ordinary, working people will not turn out to have been a charade – unlike, say, Deputies Fox & Huet.
Suzette campaigned against GST.
New blood needed; and she’s just the kind of candidate we need to send the unreliable dinosaurs off to their museum.
Well – there you have it – for what it’s worth (probably very little if the catastrophic Senatorial results are a measure) those are my recommendations for St. Helier – plus a few other observations on a few of the other constituencies.
The election is on Wednesday – so I’ll post the remainder of my thoughts tomorrow evening.
Check it out tomorrow.
And, Oh – did I mention – DON’T VOTE FOR ROB DUHAMEL.