The party’s over and it’s now time to call it a day for 7 States Members in what was called Jersey’s first General Election but in name only, because until there is only one category of States Member elected in equal sized constituencies there will never be a General Election in Jersey.
The Referendum result was as expected although possibly the size of the victory wasn't. As most of the elected members have expressed their support for reform it will be difficult to see how any reform can be implemented unless there is only one category of States Member elected in equal sized constituencies.
The closeness in the result of the only Connetable’s election (6 votes) is the very reason why Connetable’s are overwhelmingly in support for their right to retain their automatic right to a seat in the States. By chance I spoke to two St Mary voters yesterday and asked why they were wearing “Vote Yes” badges and Deputy Le Bailly rosettes. They said they were opposing their Connetable because she was spending too much time on States work. Their response was surely a contradiction because one of the reasons given for paying States Members was because it was recognized that States work was a full time job.
One of the reasons given for Connetable Jackson’s demise at the previous election was because of his time spent on States work. It would seem that “Yes” voters want their cake and eat it.
Whilst there were many personal victories and congratulation to all the victors, I hope they will press for a review of yesterday’s election because the real victor was apathy and endorsed the “Apathy Ahoy” title I gave to my first Jersey Election’s blog.
The actual % turn out is not available at present but I doubt if the overall turnout was over 45 % with some turn outs being under 30%.
Why did so many people decide not to vote? Was it because they are so disenchanted with the quality of the candidates, the obstacles placed in front of them such as voter registration, queueing to vote in the open as experienced by voters in Trinity yesterday, or the confusion caused by an electoral system which has three categories of States Members, 12 of whom are being paid to be part time members of the States and 17 elected unopposed.
Yesterday was another bad day for the ladies with two new faces but one out, and for candidates with an independent or questioning approach. In my first blog I drew attention to 3 candidates who were deserving support for their ability and seeking an
to enhance their chances of ministerial positions. I am pleased that 2 of the 3
namely Andrew Green and Zoe Cameron were successful but am really
disappointed that the third candidate, John
Young did not receive the support he deserved.
Three years ago former Planning Chief Officer
Young was elected for the first time. He chaired a Scrutiny Panel, regularly
lodged questions and lodged twice as many propositions than the 12 Connetables
put together. He also made some valuable contributions during States debates. Possibly one of the reasons for his demise was
his honesty by openly supporting the No Vote. He may have lost the election but
his integrity remains intact.
The same can be said of
who has been a formidable Scrutiny Chairman whose panels did keep a close eye
on public spending and raised issues such as the grant to the bogus film company
and the budget shambles. She could be likened to the Chief Minister of Scrutiny
and her defeat will be another loss to the Island.
During last Friday’s "Election Call" on
Jersey I was asked whether there could be any upsets. I
thought that Ministers Anne Pryke at Health and Rob Duhamel at Planning could
be vulnerable. Ann just scrapped in by beating Hugh Raymond by 16 votes but Rob just lost out by 26 votes to Peter McLinton, one of
the 4 successful media candidates.
We must also say goodbye to "Crusty" Gerard Baudans who used to sit next to me in the States and also to Nick Le Cornu who because of his “tweet” about a colleague was going to find re-election difficult.
One of the disappointing results was not that someone lost but was actually elected, that person is the former Home Affairs Minister Andrew Lewis. He was the man behind the controversial and unlawful suspension of the former police Chief Graham Power. Andrew Lewis is back but his role in the States will need to be closely scrutinised. He must surely be called as a witness before the Committee of Inquiry so that it can be established which of the two statements he gave to the States and to the Wiltshire Police is truthful.
Given that Senator Gorst topped the poll it will be seen as an endorsement of his position as Chief Minister. Therefore whilst it would be good if his position for Chief Minister was challenged, it will be difficult for any one to defeat him. He has lost the Ministers of Home Affairs, Planning, Education and Social Security, therefore he should be looking to a reshuffle of existing Ministers like Bailhache, Ozouf and Maclean who have an Island mandate, and give Ministerial posts to Farnham, Routier, Cameron and Green.
It would be an insult to the likes of
Young and Sean Power who have lost their seats, if
Deputies, some of whom were elected unopposed, are appointed to Ministerial
In conclusion thanks must be given to the States Greffier Michael de la Haye and his staff for the publication of the Election Manifesto booklet and for the Vote. je website along with the video recordings of the Hustings.
Readers who wish to see read the results from yesterday’s election will be able to do so by clicking on to the Vote.Je website HERE.