which way shall I vote??

So, who to vote for?

Some general points:

1   DON’T VOTE FOR THE “OLD GUARD”

That is the gist of this website. The evidence is that they are

On ecological constraints (the planet is finite, therefore we have to find a new economic model to replace the model of endless economic growth) they simply don’t get it. And on such issues as LVCR and the continued success of the Finance Industry they sing an over-optimistic song. They could go for a Green New deal approach (click here for how this would work)  – but on present evidence, they just won’t..

I reprint my recent letter to the JEP which sums up these issues, at the foot of this page. It ends:

 “Voting for your own best interests means voting for people who will be honest with you, for people who are competent and for people who will act like a new broom.”

On the big issues the old guard either do not consult at all – e.g. on the right balance to strike between tax and spending policies – or they do false consultation.

So, do candidates genuinely believe in listening? Do they want to honestly engage with the public and find out what is the best way forward? Or do they see themselves as “rulers”? That does not just mean holding surgeries or talking to people on the bus as certain States members seem to think, although that is fine and important. It means real, structured, consultation aiming to reach all sections of the community and with proper information.

And following the fiasco where the States were bamboozled over the true cost of the incinerator, I recommend you look out for the following:

  • integrity
  • Do they have an instinct for telling the truth?
  • And it might pay you to check the candidates for brains. Not one States member at the time spotted that anything was dodgy about the statements in the incinerator reports about the costs.
  • But brains are not enough. You have to have the attitude that goes with it, the determination not to be fobbed off, to get to the truth. At the hustings in St. John one candidate, Lyndon Farnham, criticised the hundreds of questions which are now asked and which are ‘a waste of time.’

2     SO, WHO IS THE OLD GUARD?

Yes indeed.

In the absence of a party system, candidates for the States just spring up like mushrooms. Observing the St. Mary’s hustings triggered these questions in my mind. Why are they standing? What is their experience in weighing up political issues? What gives them their passion for politics? Or is the key question in Jersey really – who suggested to them that they should stand?

You are left with the difficult task of weighing these things up in your district. Having sat in the States for three years I maybe have a little more insight than the average member of the public into the lie of the land, and what is really going on..

I used to think our system of all members being independents had the advantage of people following their own consciences, and approaching issues in a genuinely independent way. But I am now clear that the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages.

There is no transparency. Do you really know what you are getting? Do you really know why these people are there in front of you? No, not really. And there is no apprenticeship, no way in to the world of politics, no training ground, no thrashing out of ideas, which all happen within a party system.

3     SENATORIALS

A good test is to imagine.

Imagine they are being asked to vote for putting back money the Council of Ministers has cut from the capital programme in order to get on and build the Town Park. Which way would they have voted?

Or on my proposition to make it possible for serious cases of members misleading the States Assembly to be investigated and appropriate sanctions to be applied, by a body independent of the States. Which way would they vote?

Or when the Electoral Commission has done its work, and puts forward a proposal , will the candidate if elected tinker about with the proposal to make it fit with their particular interests before it goes to the public, or will they say: this goes straight to a referendum, I will not stand in the way?

Or on the amendment to the Island Plan to bring the land on which the former Plemont Holiday Village stands into the Coastal park thus restricting the likelihood of planning permission and bringing down the value, which way would they have voted?

Or on my proposal to tax the windfall  which landowners get when their land is rezoned or granted planning permission. This is big money. And it is pure unearned windfall, surely the public could have some of this, and not all of it go to the fortunate few? Which way would they vote?

Here are my views:

Bailhache, Farnham, Cohen

– are “old guard.” Voting for these means more of the same. More of what this website has told you is wrong with Jersey politics. They talk good, but that is not the point. Try the imagine test, see just above.

Before looking at Cohen’s voting record, let us look at his lengthy manifesto sent out as an insert in the JEP.

“I commit to fighting to ensure no taxes whatsoever are increased over the next States term” Whew! That’s alright then.

Cohen is committing us to another succession of expensive and damaging failures as listed on this page – sewage leaks, overstretched departments, chld protection failures, whatever it is that gets neglected next in a regime of spending too little.

io, complete blindness on the tax and spending issue. Butn uit gets worse. In the same manifesto he says:

  • “we must apply resources to retrain those who are unemployed and ensure we match skills to job opportunities
  • we need a new hospital. This can be delivered without increasing taxation or depleting our reserves
  • I propose introducing na nion means-tested funding scheme that provides university education fees for every young islander providing they return to the island at some point after qualifying”

It fits nicely with this statement:

“My plastic bag initiative resuted ikn a reduction in plastic bags usage by 90% in just one month and in consequence saving hundreds of tonnes of plasitic wastage every years.”

He forgets the work of the WI over 2 years, hassling, promoting, campaigning, educating the public. He forgets the work of the One World Group who took up the campaign with an imaginative “make a bag out of recycled materials” competition and public exhibition, and a film showing of “Message in the Waves” the famous BBC film about plastics pollution in Hawaii.

If this is the future of cooperation with civil society – namely, you do all the work, and I take the credit – then lord help us. Very distasteful.

so, moving on, here is Cohen’s record:

Stopping hazardous waste from going into the Bellozanne incinerator and not “waiting” for environmental taxes: no vote recorded

Capping the population: no vote recorded

10 million for the Town park: no vote recorded

establishing an Electoral Commission: no vote recorded

Well, what do you make of that? I had no idea that that would be the result.

Mark Forskitt

Actually understands issues, one of the 2 or 3 who understood a question on Intellectual Property, is able to think through issues in an open-minded and intelligent way.

That includes the fundamental questions posed by peak oil and climate change, and the need to plan to meet them. We need someone in the States who understands those kinds of questions, and brings a green perspective to the debate, as I have done over the years.

In my Humble Opinion, worth a vote.

Stuart Syvret

A controversial figure! So I wrote a page just for him – favouritism or what? See here.

Ian Gorst and Francis Le Gresley

I have a lot of time for these two. They talk sense in the States, they research properly, they understand the issues around the need to spend more, at least Gorst does, and I think Francis does too. They have the right instincts about the way our society should develop. For example, Ian picked up on the issue of how care for elderly members of families had evolved in recent years, “most of it not for the better” and how the new packages proposed forJersey would allow for shared care between professionals and family members.

Not particularly imaginative, maybe, not particularly in tune with the ecological imperative, but you can’t have everything and these two are open-minded enough to take these things seriously as and when.

Their voting record:

Stopping hazardous waste from going into the Bellozanne incinerator and not “waiting” for environmental taxes:

Gorst: “contre”

Le Gresley: not in the States at that time

NOTE Two Ministers voted with this: Ian le Marquand and James Reed. Ministers are under pressure to toe the line.

Capping the population:

Gorst: “contre”

Le Gresley: not in the States at that time

£10 million for the Town Park:

Gorst: “contre”

Le Gresley: not in the States at that time

NOTE the only Minister to vote with this was Ian le Marquand.  Ministers are under pressure to toe the line.

establishing an Electoral Commission:

Gorst: “pour”

Le Gresley: “pour”

Other Ministers voting for this were: MacLean, Reed and Pryke

P104/2011  cap on population and review

Gorst: “contre”

Le Gresley: “contre”

I did not know what I would find, and I have to say, Gorst’s voting record is not brave. Though I do believe he has stood out on GST.

You have to weigh all this up against the desirabuility of excluding the “old guard”!  (see tactical voting section below)  Over to you.

Rose Colley and the “others”

I was disappointed in her lack of direction. I did not know where she wanted to go or why she was standing.

As for the remainder, be careful, none are going to get in, so consider the effect of voting for them. See next section on tactical voting. Sorry to be brutal, but that is the reality.

Tactical voting

If say, you do not want Sir Philip, then a vote for, say, Linda Corby will not affect who makes it into the top four, and who drops out of the top four.

You have to weigh up who you are voting for, who you are voting against, and what is the best bet to achieve your objective. It is even worse than voting in First Past the Post inthe UK!

4    DEPUTORIAL AND CONSTABLES ELECTIONS

I have been to no hustings apart from St. Mary so am reluctant to recommend or dis-recommend. I can only go on what I know.

First, apply the tests at the top of this page: integrity, instinct for telling the truth, brains, attitude.

And a genuine desire to work “with” the public and not “over” them, to have genuine and honest public debate on the big questions facing the island.

Ask yourself: Why are they standing? What is their experience in weighing up political issues?  Will they simply be told what to do? What gives them their passion for politics? Do they have the ability, the integrity to ask the awkward questions and persist when the answers are nonsense/evasive/deceptive/wrong?  Or is the key question in Jersey really – who suggested to them that they should stand?

Second, do the imagine test:

Imagine they are being asked to vote for putting back money the Council of Ministers has cut from the capital programme in order to get on and build the Town Park. Which way would they have voted?

Or on my proposition to make it possible for serious cases of members misleading the States Assembly to be investigated and appropriate sanctions to be applied, by a body independent of the States. Which way would they vote?

Or when the Electoral Commission has done its work, and puts forward a proposal , will the candidate if elected tinker about with the proposal to make it fit with their particular interests before it goes to the public, or will they say: this goes straight to a referendum, I will not stand in the way?

Or on the amendment to the Island Plan to bring the land on which the former Plemont Holiday Village stands into the Coastal park thus restricting the likelihood of planning permission and bringing down the value, which way would they have voted?

Or on my proposal to tax the windfall  which landowners get when their land is rezoned or granted planning permission. This is big money. And it is pure unearned windfall, surely the public could have some of this, and not all of it go to the fortunate few? Which way would they vote?

Third, sitting candidates:

These, I believe, add something to the States. Keep these cards in your hand, unless you can see better ones.

  • DEPUTIES:    Southern, Tadier, Trevor Pitman and Shona Pitman, Le Claire, le Herissier, Hill, Labey, Higgins, de Sousa, Martin,
  • CONSTABLES: Deirdre (St. Lawrence)

The deputy names are in no particular order at all. They all have weaknesses and strengths, of course, we all do. But unless you seriously think that someone else is actually better, then these people earn their crust in the States, with insight, attitude, research, character, whatever. So there has to be a good reason for you to chuck them out.

These cards can safely go in the discard pile.

  • DEPUTIES:    Jeune, Dupre, Le Main

New candidates: Again I only speak of what I know.

  • Dave Cabeldu in St. Clement is a true battler for what he believes in. Worth a vote, I would say.
  • Lewis in St. John: his role in the Power saga tells me he has to go in the discard pile.

____________________________________________________________________

LETTER TO THE JEP – READ AND DECIDE

Which way to vote – that is the question? I have put together a website which is aimed at helping the voter (whichwayshallivote.wordpress.com)  but may I offer here some thoughts, or rather questions?

 Firstly, are the business party, or the “old guard” competent? This is after all how they present themselves – ‘we are big business people, you can trust us!’ they say. But the evidence suggests otherwise.

 Five examples: 1. the euro fiasco over the incinerator, cost £6 million or so;   2. suspensions were costing the States a small fortune but moves byBob Hillto sort out the mess were resisted;  3.  the failure to set up a Police Authority;  4  the failure for years to sort out the farce of utilities digging up our roads one after the other, again at huge cost;  5. the steam clock. That’s just the first five examples that came into my head.

 All were political decisions or non-decisions, made by paid up members of the old guard. Oops, forgot Lime Grove – make that 6.                       

 Secondly, do they rule in your interests? Many are outraged at Portelet, La Coupe, Wolf’s Caves. “They are selling our heritage to the highest bidder” wrote one objector. Do you want more of the same?

 And where are the fair ways of raising revenue – such as Social Security payments above the ceiling? Or the windfall tax when land is rezoned? Or a little bit more from iik’s? Or a way of taxing foreign-owned companies trading inJersey?

 And why does providing a modest green lung in the shape of theTownParktake ten years of struggle? Why did so many of your States members argue against it, vote against it? Do townspeople not have a right to green space, trees, birds and flowers like country people?  Where is the ambition for all of our residents, for our lovely island, where is the joy, the creativity from the men in Gray?

 Thirdly, how is it that Jersey, one of the richest places in the world, has a hospital with “raw sewage leaks, a maternity unit with facilities behind those of a developing country, and practices still in place which were stopped in the NHS over 20 years ago.” (JEP front page, August 2nd)

 How is it that essential spending is put off and put off until an angry relative (Clinique Pinel) or a damning Inspector’s Report (the Prison) forces our old guard to take action? And if they can get away with it then they do nothing, as at Bellozanne, where toxic fumes spewed out of the chimney unfiltered for decades.

 Fourthly can you trust them?

 Just one example. They have been telling you for years that States spending is ‘out of control’. It has been rising “6% a year for the last 5 years” (Senator Ozouf, the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Corporate Services Panel). Even faster according to the “Small Society” group.

 If expenditure is going through the roof, then how is it that we have a hospital with raw sewage leaks and all the other problems I mentioned above? The answer is that the ‘massive rise in public spending’ is a complete fantasy!

 Jerseyspends less, far less, on its public services than any country in the rich world. States spending went up very slowly (1% a year) from 2000 to 2007, all on essential items, I can assure you, and a bit more quickly from 2007 to 2010, mainly due to the credit crunch, which required us to keep the economy moving, and support the increased number of unemployed.                                                                                                

Voting for your own best interests means voting for people who will be honest with you, for people who are competent and for people who will act like a new broom.

 Daniel Wimberley

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