A Brief Introduction.
Many people have asked me to post on the subject of Jersey’s general election, the first phase of which takes place later this month.
I’m more than happy to oblige.
In the coming days, we’ll be taking a look at most of the candidates – to a greater of lesser extent – and exploring the real political issues.
We’ll also be taking a look at – where relevant – the personal performance of the individual candidates. To those not familiar with the Jersey political environment, one of the key things to understand is that traditionally, the island does not engage in party-politics. Instead the – albeit heavily propagandised and brainwashed – customary view is that a system of “independent” candidates is preferable.
Of course – and quite obviously – in reality this translates into what is, effectively, a single party state.
The covert, de facto ruling political party is the Jersey Establishment Party. Its Peter Mandelson – its “dark prince” – its spin-master – its power-behind-the-throne -being Philip Ozouf.
And Alan MacLean – multi-millionaire estate-agent, property speculator – and happy owner of a “country estate” in England – is his Tony Blair.
So that’s the first, really fundamental thing to note about elections in Jersey. All of the establishment candidates are pretending to be “independents”.
A few, brief, words of advice to voters – do not be persuaded by glossy, high-profile – giant-postered – mega-bannered – election campaigns.
For such campaigns are organised and run by immensely expensive professional spin-doctors. And, let’s face it – a slick campaign can, indeed, look quite impressive – compared to someone who can only afford a few photo-copied posters and an A5 leaflet.
But – with sufficient money and establishment support behind them – even a complete cretin or a total crook can be made to appear as an “impressive” candidate.
You might look at their campaign and think “Well – they are certainly very efficient and organised; they obviously know what they’re doing.”
Whereas – in truth – they’ll be sat on their butt back at the country estate – a glass of port in one hand – thinking of what they can do next to screw more money out of tenants and poor labour – whilst a crew of lavishly paid spin-doctors will be running their campaign.
Now – some serious advice to all non-establishment candidates. And it is serous.
When the ballots are being counted – each candidate has a legal right to have observers at the count.
Make absolutely certain you take up this right.
Moreover – instruct your observers to keep an eagle-eye on all counting procedures.
It has been suggested to me in several elections that votes were not being counted honestly or accurately.
These concerns have been expressed to me by several different counters over the years. Usually parish staff – who have been deeply concerned at what they’ve seen – but this being Jersey – too terrified to speak out about it.
I repeat – to all non-establishment candidates – make absolutely certain you have your independent observers at every single count.
To those who imagine such things to be too Mugabesque to contemplate in Jersey – remember – the “worlds greatest democracy” – the USA – is manifestly incapable of running free and fair elections.
And if you don’t believe me – just go to BBC iPlayer – and check-out last night’s Newsnight report by Greg Palast.
With those few initial pointers out of the way, I’ll deal with the issues and the candidates during the coming days.
And remember – “people get the government they deserve”.