People of Jersey –
It Is Your Call.
A Report From the Front-Line of Jersey’s
An Election that has the Makings of the Most Entertaining –
Forgive – or welcome – the brevity of this posting. Too tired to report much now.
This evening we had the beginning of the Senatorial by-election triggered by me – so that certain matters of fundamental principle get put to the people of Jersey.
Before I go on, I really must thank – more than they can know – all those who have helped and supported me. I know we are a team effort – all pulling for the same causes – but fronting things up is desperately demanding in ways that are hard to communicate unless you’ve been there and done it.
People of all ages and backgrounds have shown their principles, and I’m honoured to have had their support.
I have been asked a number of questions on the blog, in e-mails, by text, and face to face about tonight’s nomination meeting – so I’ll quickly try and cobble together a response.
I guess the only real surprise of the nominations was that there weren’t more candidates.
The mood of the presiding Connétables seemed somewhat subdued – perhaps because of a sense of apprehension in respect of the candidates’ meeting which was to follow the public nomination meeting – and certain – err – ‘interesting’ – views the Connétables were hoping to impose on the candidates.
The speeches by each candidate’s proposer were pretty much as one would have expected – no great surprises. Although, the Connétables had decided that each proposer’s speech would be limited to three minutes; not much that can be said in that time – so a number of candidates were not able to have their proposer deliver a full, balanced account of their candidate’s qualities. Indeed, my proposer, Tony Legg, had to abandon several paragraphs of his speech – but, not to worry, I reproduce it in full below.
I’d have hoped that the local mainstream media would go on to produced the speeches for all candidates – in full – but – for reasons I’ll come on to – I doubt very much that will happen.
I have been asked to reproduce my proposer’s speech in full – and the names of the ten signatories to my candidacy – and I will do so. But before – I’ll answer a few of the other questions I’ve been asked.
Yes – after the public nomination meeting, as is customary – the candidates were called together by the Connétables, in order to agree arrangements for the twelve hustings meetings – one for each parish – that will take place during the next couple of weeks.
I had the strong impression before tonight’s meeting – but have it even more strongly now – that this election campaign is going to be the most exciting, impassioned, intense – and entertaining – that Jersey has seen in many generations.
For in that candidates’ meeting, with the Connétables – after the public meeting – the gloves were already off – and there was nearly (metaphorically speaking) blood on the walls.
And it didn’t even involve me in any prominent way.
A lengthy and heated discussion took place – triggered by one – quite startling – factor.
Those parish Constables present announced – quite casually – to the assembled candidates – that “they” were “not going to permit any ‘un-accredited’ media to photograph, record or video in any of the public hustings meetings”.
You just couldn’t make it up.
Here was a last desperate throw of the dice – by the Jersey oligarchy – to cling on to their media monopoly – and stop free people from photographing or videoing – in order to report – public political meetings – whilst only allowing their own, oligarchy media to report proceedings.
I absolutely objected to this – pointing out its utter non-compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The response of the Jersey Connétables?
Essentially – ‘none of that human rights stuff matters – they are our parish halls – and if we decide that only our friends from the mainstream media are allowed to report – then that’s what goes.’
There followed some heated discussion – and I was not even a lead protagonist in it – with Nick le Cornu rightly stating how outrageous this was – and Frances Les Gresley, of all people, responding in a somewhat tempestuous manner, in which he demanded of Mr. Le Cornu whether “this was how he intended to conduct himself during the campaign?”
Mr. Le Cornu responded – in essence – by saying ‘yes’ – that he would challenge authority and require that it justified itself.
However – to the great credit of the candidates virtually all agreed upon transparency – and disagreed with the Connétables – and rejected the ludicrous and ultra-vires attempts to restrict free reporting of the political debates. And included in that number supporting free democracy were Mr. Le Gresley and Mr. Le Cornu.
The Connétables – seeing the writing on the wall – agreed with the candidates – and accepted they couldn’t restrict independent media whilst permitting the establishment media access.
All-in-all – a good outcome – and indicative of the slow but steady move towards functioning democracy in Jersey.
But – as I said – for a few minutes there – the gloves were off!
And in that disgraceful attempt to restrict free media access to nothing less than the democratic process – we see the influence of Jersey’s msm (Glenn Rankine was present in the public meeting) – and why we almost certainly won’t get to read the full speeches of all of the candidates’ proposers.
After twenty years in politics – I had become somewhat fatigued with public political meetings – but I very much get the impression that this round of hustings could be the best entertainment you’ll find – outside of a world-title boxing fight.
First round – St. Martin’s parish hall – this Thursday night.
And where could be more appropriate – than the scene where I had to enter Frank Walker’s press-conference – in order to defend myself against the lies of his spin-doctors!
And – home-parish of Jimmy – ‘why-don’t-you-just-p*ss-off-and-slit-you-wrists’ – Perchard!
Be there or be square!
In the mean-time – here to be going on with, is my proposer’s speech in full.
Bear in mind that – as with several other proposers’ speeches, the full text I reproduce here had had to be truncated somewhat on the night, because of the wholly unrealistic time-restriction imposed by the Connétables.
But – I’d pay attention to this by-election – it has all the makings of a classic.
PROPOSERS SPEECH FOR STUART SYVRET:
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen –
This evening I am proud to be proposing as a candidate, the man who has given up his seat as Senator – on a matter of principle – so that the truth can be taken to the public – and without who’s bravery and integrity, this by-election would not be occurring.
Of course, I speak of Stuart Syvret.
Before I say a few words about our candidate, I address the formalities: –
Stuart Syvret is proposed by –
Myself – Tony Legg
And Duncan Wilson
Stuart Syvret has read and signed the nomination paper, as required of all candidates and he has no criminal convictions to declare.
I will say a few words, but Stuart needs little introduction.
Whilst there are many worthy candidates in this by-election, that one might vote for in a general election – on this occasion, the community of Jersey faces a more profound choice than would usually be the case.
This is a most unusual occasion.
I cannot remember another occasion on which a States member effectively gave up their seat over a matter of principle, in order to cause, and then contest the resultant by-election.
Many thousands of people across Jersey will not be surprised that it is Stuart who has become the first States member to exhibit such bravery and integrity. Because – although Stuart Syvret possesses many fine qualities, including a willingness to deeply research facts, and a formidable natural intelligence – when speaking with fellow islanders there are always two outstanding qualities that people recognise in him. And those are his bravery – and his plain-spoken honesty.
And, of course, it is those very two admirable qualities that get him into trouble with “the-powers-that-be” in Jersey. But if we as a community want our political systems to have integrity, we need our “Stuart Syvrets” in the States.
Stuart was elected as a Deputy at the young age of 25, and was elected as a Senator three years later, in 1993 when he came second in the poll only to the late Vernon Tomes.
He topped the poll in 1999 – and did so again in 2005, on that occasion openly seeking public endorsement for his candidacy for the position of Chief Minster.
Strangely, since 2005, we have had two Chief Ministers, from a total of four candidates for the post – but only one of those four States member candidates actually went to the public – in an election – and openly sought – and received – public endorsement for his candidacy as Chief Minister.
That man was Stuart Syvret.
From the age of 25 – to 45 – Stuart has given the best years of his life in service to this community – and who would have thought, all those years ago, that this young man would have risen to the position of Father of the House – and yet – remarkably – still have retained all of that commitment and political integrity that so attracted voters 20 years ago.
Those of us who follow Jersey politics closely, know that those 20 years have not been easy for Stuart. Being as he is, he has attracted the unceasing hostility of the political establishment – and has been consistently treated with bias and hostility by the local media.
But yet – despite all such hardships – he has continued implacably to do exactly what we, the Jersey public, elected him to do – that being to apply his intelligence, integrity, compassion and bravery to the often complacent environment of island politics.
As a Jersey person, frankly, I deplore the way Stuart has been treated by our establishment during those 20 years – and I, for one, am saying ‘enough!’ The time has come for our political establishment to start treating Stuart Syvret with the respect his qualities and integrity so obviously deserve.
But – whether that will happen is now largely in the hands of the public.
In Stuart Syvret, we have a man who has done exactly as we would have expected of him – he has fought like a lion for the victims of child abuse – and fought against a stale, self-protecting and unaccountable States establishment. And he has bravely done so – regardless of the torrent of dishonest nonsense written against him in States reports and in the local media.
Of course – there will be many different issues of public concern during this by-election, not least the serious economic challenges we face. But as much as some people would prefer to ignore this fact – the by-election caused by Stuart is, fundamentally, a challenge and a question placed before the people of Jersey:
“Do we want a politics of bravery and integrity?”
I believe we do.
Which is why – if Stuart Syvret is not rightly returned to Office by an overwhelming majority – it will be a grim day for the Island.
We bemoan our politicians constantly.
Well – here is one with honesty, courage and integrity.
It is now up to us – the voting public – to reward those qualities – by re-electing Stuart Syvret.