Saturday, January 28, 2017

FORMER DEPUTY DANIEL WIMBERLEY SHARES SOME THOUGHTS ON P133/2016




FORMER DEPUTY DANIEL WIMBERLEY 


DANIEL RESPONDS TO MY BLOG POSTINGS ON P133/2016 AND MY TAKE  ON THE DEPUTY LEWIS / REFORM JERSEY LOVE IN. 


I HAVE A LOT OF TIME AND RESPECT FOR DANIEL.


DON'T AGREE WITH ALL THAT HE SAY'S BELOW BUT IT WAS GOOD TO HEAR FROM HIM.




Hi Rico,
This will be a rather long post but some have said that that Wimberley fellow would say NO to P133. with no evidence to support this claim apart from the fact that I warned people away from being on the Electoral Commission a few years ago now, and did the interview about that Commission, which was indeed hijacked disgracefully by the powers that be..
First, a minor point, but it allows a bit of context. You write that P15/2011 was “unanimously passed” – if only.  Just for the record you wrote that a bit too fast.  It was a good majority, no recounts required, but it was not unanimous!  The vote was 29 to 18 for my proposition AS AMENDED.
And there’s the rub. The amendments of Ben Shenton got big majorities. At the time I was suspicious that their purpose was to wreck the idea further down the line, but I had to vote for some of them because it looked like they could not be stopped. Some of my colleagues told me categorically that the wrecking of the Commission would happen if the amendments were passed.
And they were right. Shenton’s amendments made possible the shenanigans of Sir Philip and PPC and eventually killed the intention of the proposition. One lesson therefore is do not trust Shenton who is a populist and sometimes sounds appealing but is dangerous and also on occasion talks serious tosh!
Now to the serious stuff.
First,   PLEASE everyone on here cool down !!
We have Sam slagging people off and calling them liars. And on the other side we have people talking tosh and saying for example that Sam is “getting into bed with” Lewis. He has said many times that he isn’t – and that for example he will highlight any criticism of anybody who has failed when the COI report is published (which will presumably include Lewis, unless it is a total whitewash and no one is criticised at all, which I doubt, but which is possible).
Sam says for example (rightly) that if Lewis brought a proposition tomorrow to raise the minimum wage he would support it for the same reason – that it is better than the present situation, a lot better, and that the possible rehabilitation effect for Lewis is outweighed by the benefit of the proposition. This is a reasonable position to take.
The only people who are happy with what is going on over here on your blog are the powers that be, who are quietly rubbing their hands in glee. Why are the left so good at tearing each other up? And please everyone be aware of the trolling which is undoubtedly what some posts are.  They are carefully angled to prey on people’s prejudices and spread misinformation about RJ and Sam in particular.
Here is an example; “The arrogance of deputy mezec goes beyond belief after supporting reform and after reading he's comments I will never support reform again and now none of my family and friends will either it's as other people are saying he's just a boy with no real life experience stand down deputy it is my belief you have lost so much support over this you will do more harm then good to the party.“
Think about it – does this ring true or does it sound like someone seeking to paint RJ and Sam in a bad light regardless of what the discussion is really about? To my mind this is (pretty obvious) trolling.
Second,    the key issue is how the States system actually works. 
Sam writes, for example: “I worked with Philip Ozouf on the gay marriage proposition, then signed a motion of no confidence in him as Treasury Minister just a few weeks later.” This sums up how Jersey’s system works exactly.
There are no overt parties in jersey, Yes there is the establishment party, or the COM + loyal poodles, and many issues are decided along those lines – COM vs the rest.
But there are many issues where people vote more freely. Two examples from my time in the States:
We won the Electoral Commission (to my surprise) because enough members voted with their conscience and respected the strength of the arguments, so while the COM party voted against we still got enough votes to win comfortably.
Of course there was something else going on, which was that Shenton’s amendments had weakened the proposition as I described at the beginning of this post. But the Powers that Be could not know that everything would turn out hunky dory. For example Sir PB was not even in the States. The hard establishment still voted against having a Commission.
We won the vote to force TTS to take hazardous waste out of the waste stream at Bellozanne and not burn it. The COM were pledging, in the Strategic Plan, to take the toxic waste out when environmental taxes were put in place. “NO” we said - it had to be taken out now, no ifs no buts no conditions, the environmental taxes might never happen. And again this was won, comfortably, because people voted against the COM because the COM’s position was indefensible.
Now look at this statement of Sam’s again:
“We are not supporting P.133 in return for anything. It's not our style. We look at a proposition on it's merits, irrespective of anything other than the propositions content, and we've reached an independent conclusion that P.133 is in line with our election manifesto, so we should keep our promise to the public and vote accordingly.”
P133 is better than what exists now, and there is a real possibility that it weakens the position of the Constables enough. For example with fewer members it will become less and less tenable for a reduced States Assembly to “carry” so many unproductive members.
Yes it is a pity that RJ did not bring the proposition, and even something better still. However a) a really good proposition would not win (that is why I spent so much time to set up a real, independent, robust Electoral Commission whose process and conclusions would be effective in preparing public and States for real change, and I saw this as the ONLY way to get democracy in Jersey) and b) the SAME proposition as Lewis is bringing might not win if brought by RJ.
So yes hitch on to the bandwagon, you never know, P133 might get through. Embrace and use the resulting change, Feel absolutely free to say and do whatever is right about Lewis when the COI report comes out. Probably bring a vote to sack him from PAC as being unfit to hold that office, and /or act to remove him from the States which he has disgraced.
All that is for later.  My open letter about the Electoral Commission was then, my interview was then and I stand by them. But at the same time they are history.
I am not sure what I would do now if I was in the States. Perhaps campaign long and hard in public to create a climate which would prepare the ground for a proper reform proposition. There are certainly better solutions than P133, I did one myself, never got debated even due to the usual shenanigans.
It is here:

I do not have the time to work out what I would actually do. It would take days. But please please do not play into the hands of the other side in all this. Keep it civil. Keep together. Remember our common interests.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

DEPUTY ANDREW 'POWERGATE' LEWIS STABS HIS SCRUTINY COLLEAGUES IN THE BACK




DEPUTY ANDREW 'POWERGATE' LEWIS CHAIRMAN OF THE P.A.C 

DEPUTY ANDREW 'POWERGATE' LEWIS


STABS HIS FELLOW SCRUTINY COLLEAGUES IN THE BACK


VOTES AGAINST A REFERENCE BACK REGARDING THE HOSPITAL FUNDING 


HE IS CHAIRMAN OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE (P.A.C)



THE ROLE OF THE P.A.C IS AS FOLLOWS IT 

"The Public Accounts Committee’s role is to receive reports from the Comptroller and Auditor General and to report to the States upon any significant issues arising. It also assesses whether public funds have been applied for the purpose intended."


IT  FORMS PART OF THE WHOLE SCRUTINY PROCESS


WHAT  IS SCRUTINY  I  HEAR SOME OF YOU SAY. 

"Scrutiny panels are appointed by the States. There are 5 Scrutiny panels which are made up of States members (who are not ministers or assistant ministers) and some members of the public. These panels carry out detailed investigations into ministers' work, and can call for papers and witnesses relevant to their investigations. 
Scrutiny helps to improve the delivery of public services by ensuring that decisions are soundly based on evidence and also allows members of the public to influence government policies and strategies which affect their lives by contributing evidence to reviews and attending public hearings. The panels have a code of practice they must follow.
The terms of reference for scrutiny panels are set out in Standing Orders and can be summarised as follows:
  • to hold review into issues and matters of public importance
  • to consider the current and proposed policy of ministers
  • to scrutinise legislation and international conventions and agreements
  • to scrutinise the Medium Term Financial Plan, the Budget and other financial proposals of the Council of Ministers
  • to report to the States on matters that they have reviewed and make recommendations"

The Council of Ministers (COM) treat Scrutiny with disdain. They have done since the conception of Ministerial Government. We see it time and time again. Late lodging of propositions. Lodging when they know the Holiday period is upon us etc etc. The Chief Minister allows this practise to continue in the hope that States Members are just to plain stupid to notice that the legislation they are being asked to pass is not up to scratch. Or, as nearly turned out, illegal. That is why Scrutiny is essential. 

The whole issue of Scrutiny and why it's so important is for another time. But what chance has Scrutiny got if the very members who Scrutinise our Government show no solidarity when they are up against it?


This is where Deputy Andrew 'Powergate' Lewis comes in.


This Deputy is prepared to shaft scrutiny or anyone else for that matter in his pursuit of a Ministerial Position after the next election. I have a feeling he has his eyes on being the future Treasury Minister.


He is the Chairman Of P.A.C and yet during the reference back debate regarding the funding for the new Hospital the Deputy shafted every Scrutiny Panel, every Scrutiny member and everything Scrutiny stands for in the back. He voted with the Council of Ministers in rejecting the reference back. I will repeat that. He voted against his colleagues in Scrutiny and  P.A.C in having the biggest capitol spend in Jersey scrutinised.. In the speech below you can hear Deputy Lewis explaining to the States Chamber why this is. He seems to be an expert on the issuing of Bonds -
the whole political landscape from America to Europe and all before Deputy Vallois stands up and drops the is it isn't it Tax/Charge Political A-Bomb in the States Chamber.. 


Deputy Andrew Lewis is wanting to climb the ladder back into the executive and his voting is how you track him. We, at Team Voice, are no strangers  to watching this type of backside kissing. He is not alone. Our Ministries are full of them.. Deputy Lewis has been in the local media being interviewed about the innovation fund - his concerns - how they - P.A.C would also be looking into the failures regarding the distribution of monies etc etc and then he is just prepared to whistle Dixie to the tune of £400 million and not even want it scrutinised. This is what we have representing us in the States. 

Once the legislation is passed no point in it being scrutinised.

He voted with the COM during the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) 


BUT TO STAB HIS FELLOW COLLEAGUES ON SCRUTINY IS SHOCKING 



Rico Sorda


Part Time Investigative Journalist

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

THE COUNCIL OF COMPLETE MUPPETS - INNOVATION & HOSPITAL FUNDING








THE COUNCIL OF MUPPET'S 


WHAT A WEEK


IT GETS BETTER BY THE DAY


THE INNOVATION FUND 


THE HOSPITAL FUNDING PROPOSITION 


THE COUNCIL OF MUPPET'S CAST A DRIFT IN A STINKING  MIRE OF THEIR OWN MAKING. 


It all started with the Innovation Fund. You know the one. Just apply with a half backed plan of splitting the carrot. You then tell them it will put Jersey on the digital map or any old map - they lob some serious cash at you - and then you just do one..  Bingo. They can then tell their mates that Jersey is open for business. It's brilliant. CEO Mike King knows exactly when his cards are dealt. He goes all in with some voluntary redundancy  or handing his notice in… Bingo.  £70,000 in the old sky rocket ,£400,000 in the pension pot  a Pina Colada with Bill Ogley and Mike Pollard down club Jersey Mug and preferably somewhere hot. 


Then we have the Senator Ozouf must go campaign. Personally I think he had to go. Just the way it is. But it can't be that simple can it. The Council of Muppet's can't operate that way. We have to go through the extended Christmas pantomime season.  The Chief Minister simply lost his Libido. All big words, huff and guff, not happy with this, not happy with that, I want answers, I will have an investigation into the report of the report about the report. Try to work up some anger that just doesn't come naturally to him and all we get is a lazy lob at the end of it. Just about sums it up. 

Then Ladies and Gents we come to Tuesday the 17th January - The States day - The day of answers.. It didn't disappoint. 

Up early on a cold brisk morning. I'm heading into the royal square to watch the demonstration. I don't really want to take part as such but there as an observer.  Its so cold my balls are clanging like the swinging ball bearings you used to see in toy shops - hypnotic but pointless. I'm sticking this one out. All tucked in but wishing I still smoked for comfort. It's a little early, I reach for my phone, I flick to Facebook and BOOOOOOOOM the first explosion of the day. It's a Bunker Buster from the "Any kind of Reform" will do party. They have only taken a  picture of a segment  of Pip Ozouf's inauguration speech - I mean resignation speech - sorry I mean stepping aside speech.  It's now off and running. Social Media being the new vehicle of instant news has given us the heads up before Philip has even been given his cue to perform…

The time is coming close. The crowds have gathered. Sean Power is trying to mount a bench in the Royal Square with all the grace of an old dog trying to cock his leg against a lamppost.  The signs are being handed out and the first distant chants of 'Ozouf out' start to filter through. People start to look nervously at their watches and phones. News  spreads like days gone by - crystal sets and occupation come to mind. Anyway,  the baying crowd now head to the opposite bench in the square as it's a little closer to the States Building.

THEN IT ALL GOES SERIOUSLY PETE TONG

Around 1.30pm, with no sign of Pip anywhere we start to hear the news. He has gone - he has resigned - he has stepped aside - we all start to rejoice like its 1945 again.. The Royal Square was having one of its magical moments. The truth being that no one had a bloody clue what was going on. Deputy Macon appeared. I approached. I asked. "Deputy, WTF is going on?" "Not a clue came the reply" Then like a Domino affect the crowd started to ask the same questions. WTF has just happened. Nobody new. And still nobody really knows. 

Then it went surreal

The door to the States Chamber swung open and everybody had the words Pip Ozouf on their lips went out came Deputy 'Wolfie Mezec' of the Jersey Tooting Popular Front of Reform Jersey. 



He quick walked to the crowd like a returning champion. It was amazing. They  cheered, he fist pumped. Not only that - he mounted that bench like the young stallion that he is. I saw Sean Power wipe a tear from his eye. You could see the pain. This kid is the business.  He handled that Megaphone like it was a well oiled Colt 45 and boy didn't the bullets fly forth.  I'm watching this opened mouthed then out of the corner of my eye I spot the elusive Deputy Tadeir.. He was poetry in motion. He waltzed his way around the crowd with his arm outstretched- shooting the young Wolfie with i phone 7s- it was incredible. He would not have looked out of place in a sequined suit on a Saturday night getting a 7 from Len. It was up online for all of tooting to go viral before Ozouf had written that letter. What a day. Well worth the cold… The media went home happy with their soundbites but in the meantime Philip Ozouf was still standing aside, resigning and taking a very long time to write that very simple letter to the Chief Minister..

Then we come to today..  


We have just had a week of the Innovation Fund and the catastrophic failures that led to Senator Philip Ozouf resigning, stepping aside, writing a letter of resignation maybe wishing that it would all go away but hang on..

We now tumble headfirst into pure lunacy.


THE HOSPITAL FUNDING.


THESE COUNCIL OF  MUPPET'S DON'T WANT SCRUTINY TO SCRUTINIES IT. 


WTF


WHAT THE HELL


WE HAVE JUST HAD A FIASCO WITH 1.2 MILLION AND THEY DON'T WANT £500 MILLION TO BE CHECKED. 

WHO IS BACKING SCRUTINY?

DEPUTY ANDREW LEWIS OF P.A.C?


Have they not learnt a single thing? We are Governed by a majority of complete Muppet's. Lets just push it through on a wing and a prayer. This is serious. It is out of control.. 

"Plans to source funding for Jersey's new hospital faced a setback today, when it emerged the proposition being considered could be illegal.
The Treasury Minister was asking members to vote in favour of him to start sourcing the £400 million loan needed for the build.
Members first needed to vote on whether to allow a Scrutiny Panel to conduct a review of the plans before agreeing to the proposal - something the panel says is needed, to establishwhether the loan is the best way to fund the hospital.

During the debate, Deputy Tracey Vallois raised questions surrounding the legality of the Treasury Minister's request, saying that she was not sure whether he was in a position to ask States Members to approve a loan of that amount- as he is not supposed to ask to borrow more than last year's income."

Sunday, January 8, 2017

DEPUTY ANDREW 'POWERGATE' LEWIS REFORM P133/2016 PART 3


DEPUTY  MEZEC REFORM JERSEY AND THE GREAT REFORMIST DEPUTY ANDREW 'POWERGATE' LEWIS




DEPUTY ANDREW 'POWERGATE LEWIS' AND HIS P133/2016


OPTION B BACK ON THE TABLE WITH A SLIGHT TWIST 


THE RE-INVENTION OF DEPUTY LEWIS CONTINUES.


REFORM JERSEY LIKE WHAT THEY SEE - IN FACT -THEY ARE FULLY SUPPORTING HIM ON IT.


DEPUTY MEZEC HAS DONE A BLOG ON IT.




Deputy Mezec has been getting a little bit touchy over the last week or so concerning P133/2016 and my view that Reform Jersey have jumped into bed with Deputy Lewis. I have been called a liar for expressing a view that differs from that of the  Deputies. I don't like Option B. Never have never will. I don't believe the States of Jersey can operate with 44 members. Its bad enough with 49. I don't like how the Constables are so protected. Super Constituencies for the minions but parish boundaries for the Constables. This, apparently, has to be accepted in the hope that sometime in the future someone can remove the limpets from the rock.  This Option B cements their power even further. I don't believe that operating in Super Constituencies will have the Establishment running for the pants draw followed by a wave of progressives getting elected. Especially in St Helier.  I think it's abhorrent how Reform Jersey have turned their back on the history of the Electoral Commission and its hijacking.. Shocking. Democracy Terrorists. 


First they were for and independent commission - then they were in favour of option A now they are going with 'Powergate Lewis' and his beautifully crafted option B that needed a couple of lemons to give it a little Je Ne Sais Quoi as Syvret would say "You couldn't make this up."


These are my views. You might like them - you might not.  

Im not a liar. I just call it how I see it. Sometimes with a little tongue in cheek for good measure.

Reform Jersey - under Chairman 'Mao'zec have jumped headfirst into Option B and the despicable Deputy Lewis because they couldn't bring any Reform Proposals themselves because they knew they would lose. Great. Come join Reform Jersey where we can't lodge any Reform but have to wait for one of the chief architects of discrediting Operation Rectangle by suspending a Police Chief to have our say. Great. Deputy Tadier, who more than anyone, knows what RJ have gotten into has turned into Lord Lucan and done one. Great. They have assisted Deputy Lewis on some points but maintain they are not supporting the proposer just what he is proposing. Can't wait for this debate. I think it will get rejected but strange things can happen.

Anyone who is not sure on Deputy 'Powergate' Lewis here are some essential blogs on the subject. 







APOLOGY TO MIKE DUN

It has been brought  to my notice that Deputy Sam Mezec has  abused the facility of my Rico Sorda Blog (see previous posting and comments re P.133) to post defamatory and untrue comments about Mike Dun and the “NO” campaign that he personally organized for the Referendum of 15 October 2014. 

I have now had the opportunity to study the documentary background to Mike Dun’s involvement  and am satisfied that he initiated and organized the official “NO” campaign (against Constables having an automatic seat in the States).

I have noted that;

 Mike Dun contacted Greffier Michael De La Haye initially on 27 August 2014 and agreed that there should be “two clearly identifiable campaign groups for Yes and No”.

The Greffier had been delegated by the PPC Committee to organize certain aspects of the Referendum and the election for Constables, Senators and Deputies on the same date (15 October).

There was no government financial support available to either the “YES” or “NO campaign except that a space for a 1,000 words statement would be included for both campaigns in the official gov.je booklet and this was to be circulated to all households.

Mike Dun wrote and designed the 1,000 words statement along with other leaflets, posters and “NO” badges.
He received virtually no financial support and personally paid any expenses arising.
A delegated supporter recorded a “NO” video for the vote.je web site and Mike Dun was assisted by a few others only on occasion.

Because of potential  financial or other conflicts arising Mike Dun agreed with the Greffier, at the outset,  on behalf of the “NO campaign”  that ; “There are and will be no States Members in the team if that helps as this is not a tool for electioneering purposes.”

The “YES” campaign was launched in the JEP on 12 September 2014.

The “NO” campaign was launched in public in the Royal Square as reported, with a photo, in the JEP on 20 September. The report explained that the “NO” group had been set up by Mike Dun.

There was a clear separation of the Referendum campaign from the elections for Constables, Senators and Deputies and there was no place at the election hustings, except in the audiences, for the “YES” or “NO” speakers.
Candidates for election did not form part of the official Referendum campaigns but were inevitably asked questions  (as election candidates)  at their hustings and by the media but Deputy Mezec was never a part of the “NO” campaign.

Mike is a really good bloke.. He wanted it cleared up and I don't have a problem with that. If they want to carry on about the above then I suggest they take it somewhere private and not my comments section. 

I don't really have anything good to say about P133/2016 and hope it gets defeated. 


Rico Sorda

Part Time Investigative Journalist 



Monday, January 2, 2017

DEPUTY ANDREW 'POWERGATE' LEWIS - REFORM P.133/2016 PART 2

DEPUTY ANDREW 'POWERGATE' LEWIS 

DEPUTY ANDREW 'POWERGATE' LEWIS AND HIS P133/2016


TIME TO TRY AND  REFORM THE STATES OF JERSEY 


OPTION B WITH THE NEW SUPER DUPER PLUS ADDED ALONG SIDE IT 


MORE WORRYING STILL WE HAVE REFORM JERSEY RIDING SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WITH  DEPUTY LEWIS WHILST  FORGETTING ABOUT THE HISTORY OF OPTION B AND THE ASSASSINATION OF FORMER DEPUTY DANIEL WIMBERLEY'S  P.15/2011






Here we go again. Time to Reform the States of Jersey. The proposition P.133/2016 submitted by Deputy Andrew Lewis is laughable. He has basically re-submitted option B that was rejected by the States of Jersey on 16th July 2013 by 28 votes  to 21 with one abstention. This is the one time that the States of Jersey really got it right. Yes, they got a lot of stick across all media outlets and the like but they got it right. The referendum was flawed. They realised right at the very end and rejected it. The whole process was flawed. From the very moment Senator Bailhache assassinated P.15/2011 the reform process was set for failure. DON'T TRY AND RE-WRITE HISTORY. 

EVERYONE HAS FORGOTTEN ABOUT THE HISTORY OF P.15/2011 

1. Daniel Wimberley got P.15/2011 unanimously passed through the States of Jersey which was for an Independent Electoral Commission. No Politicians involved. 

2. Philip  Bailhache gets elected to the States of Jersey. Gets the Independent Electoral Commission kicked into the long grass. It now gets chaired by politicians, comes back with a totally flawed and ridiculous set of options for a referendum.

3. These Options get passed in the States and go to the public.. We are witnessing a shambles that Senator Bailhache should be ashamed about but won't be. The public go for Option B with a 26% turn out at the election. 

4. The States of Jersey finally see's sense and does what it has no option to do. REJECT OPTION B AND REJECT THE SHAMBLES CAUSED BY SENATOR BAILHACHE.  THEY GET SOMETHING RIGHT AT THE VERY END.

5. Option B returns.  This time Deputy Andrew 'Powergate' Lewis has cast a spell on Reform Jersey and has them nicely tucked up in bed with him for P.133/2016. What about the number 44 and the Constables ? What about the history boys? Don't you have any pride? How did Deputy Tadier and Southern vote last time out? Why this charge into the valley of death wearing a high visibility jackets with discarded Vote A Rosettes? It's all flawed boys. 


THAT LADIES AND GENTLEMAN IS THE BASIC HISTORY 


DEMOCRACY TERRORISTS LED BY SENATOR PHILIP BAILHACHE. 

IT'S IMPORTANT THAT YOU LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW WITH DANIEL WIMBERLEY BELOW. HE EXPLAINS IT BRILLIANTLY. ALSO HIS PRESS RELEASE FROM MARCH 2012.


THESE CAN BE FOUND ON THE VFC BLOG HERE:




PRESS RELEASE From Former Deputy Wimberley.

DON’T TOUCH ELECTORAL COMMISSION URGES ITS FOUNDER
Daniel Wimberley, who first proposed the establishing of an Electoral Commission and steered it through the States, has today published an open letter urging anyone thinking of applying to serve on the Commission to think again.

“I myself have been approached to do just that, and I have decided – no.” he said.

In the letter he writes: “It is indeed seductive. Go on to the Commission, establish what are the real fundamentals of reform, have a real debate and real public consultation. You can start from a blank sheet of paper and get the fairest, most democratic and most effective system for Jersey. That after all was the original idea. But now I sadly have to point out - it is a lost cause. It is just not going to happen.

The letter points to three factors which prove that no one should apply to serve on the Commission: it is now controlled by States members, its terms of reference have been doctored to ensure that the public remain disempowered, and the independent experts to act as a check and balance on the process have been removed.

Mr. Wimberley said: “The purpose of the Commission has been completely subverted,” he said. “It has been stolen from the people. The idea was to have an open and honest look at how we elect our representatives, to bring a better democracy to the island. Now it is a plaything of the establishment. They will cement their power, and make the island less democratic. It is truly appalling..
“And so I urge anyone of integrity – do not get involved with this farce.”

ENDS


OPEN LETTER TO THE RESIDENTS OF JERSEY



My advice to anyone thinking of applying to serve on the Electoral Commission is – don’t.

It is indeed a seductive notion – go on to the Commission, establish what are the real fundamentals of reform,  have a real debate and real public consultation. You can start from a blank sheet of paper and get the fairest, most democratic and most effective system for Jersey.

That after all was the original idea. But now I sadly have to point out - it is a lost cause. It is just not going to happen.

Having States members on the Commission was extraordinary enough. At a stroke the States destroyed the independence of the Commission. The full-time politicians will control what happens.
But there have been two other two massive changes which have gone almost unnoticed.  There will be no outside experts, either on the Commission itself or sitting as an advisory panel. And the Terms of Reference - which were carefully written so that the Commission would look at all sides of the question and come up with a solution which could command the support of the public - have been dismantled.

How very sad. A Commission planned in good faith has been replaced by something completely different. And not worth working for.

Independent experts giving on-going advice and comment on the record would have been a check against vested interests taking over the process, and would have ensured fair play and best practice. That is exactly why we use them in other important and contentious areas, be it advice on our economy, the inquiry into the root causes of the death of Mrs. Rourke, and so on. But this vital check and balance has been removed by PPC.

And then the Terms of Reference.  First, PPC removed “voting systems.” But voting systems are a) a vital part of electoral reform, and b) precisely what determine how the range of views of the electorate gets to be reflected accurately in the assembly.

For example, in elections like the Senatorials where there are several seats, someone may vote for candidates A, B and C. But they may actually have clear preferences: they may want candidate A a lot, candidate B a bit less, and candidate C - well, he or she is better than nothing.

These preferences can and perhaps should influence the final result - especially in our non-party system - but any consideration of this has been excluded by PPC. So this is the first way they limited democracy.

Secondly, PPC have altered the terms of Reference to make sure that the Commission cannot actively seek out a way for islanders to have a say in who ends up as Ministers, via the votes they cast and their preferences.  After all, the most common complaint of residents about Jersey elections is this – “why vote – it does not make any difference.”

So once again, they took action to limit democracy. Why?

The point about representative democracy is that the people have the last word. They can remove a government that has failed or is acting blatantly in the interests of one group and not in the interests of everyone.

The changes to the Commission’s membership, the changes to the Terms of Reference, and the removal of any oversight from outside, serve precisely to ensure that the people do not get this power. The government we have now is here to stay.

The idea that the public could have preferences between candidates, the idea that the public should be able to remove the government, and the idea that the public should be able to decide on who they want in government – these ideas have been taken from the table by the powers-that-be.

There is a big sickness at the heart of Jersey when an attempt to bring about better democracy in the island is strangled at birth.
Job done. Democracy RIP. (END)




Rico Sorda

Part Time Investigative Journalist