Well that “was the Election Nomination Week that was” and the dust has now settled. However it is evident that the dust was not disturbed in several parishes as 17 candidates were “elected” unopposed. Whilst I accept it is not the fault of those successful and indeed lucky candidates that no-one opposed them, however they must take some responsibility for supporting a system which is archaic and undemocratic.
My blog is read world wide and some readers from outside the Island and for that many on Island will marvel how an Island’s democracy can still operate where there is no party system, no formal opposition, has three types of elected States Member and where the unelected Dean, Solicitor and Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, Bailiff and his Deputy all sit in the same Assembly and have the right to speak.
It is now some 14 years since the late Sir Cecil Clothier published his report and one of my regrets during my 18 years in the States is that I supported the change to ministerial government based on the promise that we would immediately address the other Clothier reform recommendations. It is a fact that States Members, with the support of the Council of Ministers have reneged on the promises made some 12 years go.
We now have a parliamentary system that is controlled by members with vested interests and an old boy net work that even old Etonians would envy. Thanks to the States allowing itself to be ambushed by Senator Bailhache’s throttling of the Electoral Commission, the electorate is left floundering and with little or no say in who will be elected to the States and ultimately to the Council of Ministers.
At the last referendum the electorate were given the opportunity of voting for “Option A” which would have allowed for the Island to be divided into 6 electoral districts whereby the electorate in each district would be given the opportunity of voting for 7 members to the States Assembly which would be reduced to 42 members. The system would have removed the Connétables/Constables automatic seat in the States but would permit them to stand shoulder to shoulder with other candidates seeking election to the States.
“Option A” would have ensured that no member would be elected or re-elected unopposed and every member including Ministers and Connétables/Constables would be held accountable to a wider electorate. However it was not to be and we have a situation where 11 Connétables/Constables have either been elected or re-elected unopposed. Even more bizarre is that 6 Deputies have been elected/re-elected unopposed some of whom are hoping to become Ministers.
We also have a situation where Ministers would rather stand in their relatively safe parish or district seat than seek an
mandate. It is a pity that they did not display the example of Deputies Green
and Young and Dr Zoe Cameron who are seeking an Island
mandate in their endeavours to become Minister. They will receive one of my
votes not just because of their example but they have the credentials to be
I hope to publish other blogs before the election on 15th October which is not only to elect members to the States but includes a referendum where the electorate will be asked “should the Constables remain as members of the States as an automatic right?” It might be a simple question but it requires an informed answer and I very much regret that votes will be cast on sentiment rather than knowledge.
I respect the role of Connétable/Constable and know most of the post holders however as sensible and mature people why were they sitting as a body at the Senatorial Nomination evening. Why were they there, who asked them and how could they justify being there?
Now that 11 of the Connétables/Constables will not have to knock at doors it is hoped that they will find time to upload their manifestos on to Vote.je and also organise Parish Assemblies to arrange for independent speakers to discuss the merits of voting “Yes” or “No” before the forthcoming Referendum.