A Letter to Voters.
Jersey’s general election occurs on the 19th October, and during the coming days – unless the Jersey authorities take steps to stop me – I will be publishing a series of postings in which I will be addressing the issues I believe to be important to the future welfare of this community – and explaining the policies I advocate.
I begin that process by publishing below a ‘letter to voters’ that I have been handing out at the Hustings meetings.
It is possible that I may be prevented by Jersey’s authorities from publishing further information and policies for some time, perhaps until after the election.
If that occurs, all I can ask is that people read – and reflect upon – what I’ve written below.
Think about it – and trust me.
Hard battles are never won quickly – but the truth waits for the righteous.
The only person who has shown the courage and integrity needed to really challenge the powerful in Jersey.
THE STATES OF JERSEY:
A system that has failed
A letter to voters.
During this election, I’m doing what I can to assist the people of this community in gaining a real understanding of why the States of Jersey repeatedly disappoints us and fails to deliver the policies and performance we seek.
As election day approaches, I will be publishing a number of detailed policy statements which will diagnose the problems – and offer solutions. You will be able to read those manifesto statements at the following address:
In the mean time, do please e-mail me at the following address should there be any matter you wish to discuss or questions you wish to ask:
Most people in Jersey might agree when asked what are the serious problems that we face. For example: –
· Too much taxation
· Unfair taxation policies, including taxation of food
· The rich not paying their share of tax
· Inefficient public expenditure
· Housing too expensive
· Population growth not being adequately controlled
· Our environment being ruined
· Public money wasted
· No real accountability
· Expensive but unemployable civil servants getting golden-handshakes
· Jersey families finding it too expensive to live in the island.
Those are some of the problems we have; problems we hear of time and time again.
Our government fails – year after year – election after election – to address those problems.
The time has come for us to realise that those failings don’t happen by accident. Those policy deficiencies do not survive year after year because they’re just too difficult to deal with.
The States of Jersey carries on failing to deliver the policies most of us want, because it suits those who control real power in Jersey to have things that way.
It suits the powerful – it suits their short-term self-interests – and it suits their friends in business.
It is no “accident” that the States of Jersey “performs” like it does.
So – for us, the voting public – to finally have an election that does make a difference – one that works for us – we’ve got to do something different.
And that something different – is to understand the nature of power in Jersey. Real power; who holds it – how did they get hold of it – on whose behalf do they wield it – and can we democratically control them?
The States of Jersey has failed.
The entire complex and expensive edifice of public administration in the island of Jersey ceased to serve the public good a long time ago.
We have a system of governance in Jersey that is secretive, unaccountable, out-of-control – often corrupt – and simply not subjected to any effective checks and balances.
The mythology is that Jersey has been well-governed over the decades. Yes – in comparison to some places – it might have been. But that does not mean our community has been governed well-enough.
Consider some of the failures of the States of Jersey.
· A dangerous lack of economic diversity, which, especially in the current global economic crises – makes us extremely vulnerable.
· The refusal of the States to properly explore and consider the full range of economic and taxation options available to the community.
· The adoption of the ‘zero / ten’ tax policy – which – at best – has only partly worked – and, at that, has seen a massive transfer of the tax-burden from corporate interests onto working people.
· A public sector that is top-heavy – with a bloated, expensive and unaccountable senior civil service consuming resources that could better be directed to front-line services.
· A continuing failure to stabilise the island’s housing situation.
· A gross disparity in incomes, with many people struggling financially because of Jersey’s immensely high cost-of-living.
· Growing unemployment, yet the perennial refusal to consider protecting employment opportunities for those already present in the island through the use of work-permits.
· No sovereign wealth fund – only a strategic reserve that is not capable of meeting one year’s public sector expenditure.
· Taking years to introduce a freedom of information law.
· Continued environmental degradation.
· A waterfront that is a vast toxic waste-dump.
The structure of our public administration – with no clear separation between legislature, judiciary and executive – actively generates and maintains a system which is unaccountable.
That problem is further compounded by our traditional political ‘culture’ – in which we tolerate what is, in effect, a single-party state – with the consequent absence of scrutiny that would take place if there were an organised opposition. Likewise, the ‘culture’ of the Fourth Estate – the media – in Jersey is hopelessly deferential, unchallenging and largely captured by the interest of the island’s traditional elites.
Though we seem to have spent years – decades even – talking about whether this, or that, change to the machinery of our public administration would help to address the problems of governance that most people recognise – ultimately there is no escaping the fact that only a change in the community’s approach to politics will finally return our systems of governance to serving the public good.
Because of the events of recent years – and of the challenges about to come – Jersey can no longer afford a future of politically directionless drift. Nor can we afford the weak political leadership we see in the present Council of Ministers – an executive so inadequate it will tolerate good men being victimised and suspended for years – whilst going out of its way to defend the culpable senior civil servants who appear unsackable – no matter what expensive failures they exhibit. The Jersey establishment rewards failure, with golden-handshakes – rather than accountability.
Indeed – Jersey faces a crisis of leadership that is so bad – we are even confronted with an evidenced breakdown in the rule of law, proper administration of justice and of free, representative democracy.
And in case anyone should find it hard to accept that those in positions of great power in Jersey can, and do, abuse their position, consider these words that the retired Chief of Police, Graham Power wrote in a sworn statement he prepared on my behalf earlier this year. Here, he is addressing the conduct of the Attorney General William Bailhache:
“I had some email and telephone exchanges with the Attorney General about the above allegations. …….
……..In any event the outcome was that we could not agree, and the exchange finished with what I took to be an angry email from the Attorney General expressing apparent frustration at my perceived failure to sufficiently oppose the criticism of his brother the Bailiff, [Philip Bailhache] and finishing with a phrase something like “so be it,” which I read as having a threatening tone. So far as I can recall, that was the last email I received from the Attorney General. Not long afterwards I was suspended. Initially it was claimed that my suspension was as a result of information relating to the Historic Abuse Enquiry which was received on 10th November 2008. It is now known that this is untrue because the suspension notices were in fact prepared on the morning of Saturday 8th November 2008, which implies that the actual decision to suspend must have been taken in the week-ending 7th November 2008. So far as I can recall this brings the decision close to my exchanges with the Attorney General regarding the need to investigate allegations of corruption at the heart of government.”
When an Attorney General – who is the sole prosecuting authority in Jersey – can act in that way – against a fine, nationally respected Police Chief – then something is very, very wrong with our systems of governance.
In that short quote – from a sworn statement by a witness of no less calibre than a decorated Chief Police Officer – we begin, at last, to see laid bare the toxic heart of real power in Jersey.
I am the only politician this community ever had, who had the courage to challenge this failed system.
If it is the wish of the voting public, I will carry on with that task.
Please consider using one of your votes to support me.