Monday, February 27, 2012

Jersey Electoral Reform - the Public Speaks

Following the success at St Clement on 21 February the long suffering Jersey voters will have another chance to express their views on Wednesday 29 February - this time at St Helier Town Hall.

Anybody can attend this special Assembly which starts at 7.30pm but only voters of St Helier will be able to vote for or against Deputy Le Herissier's Amendment proposition regarding the PPC attempt to seize control of the proposed Electoral Commission.

Of course the initiative against reform is led by Senator Sir Phillip Bailhache. He seeks to hobble the Commision as already approved by the States and put it under the control of himself as Chairman and other States Members.

Deputy Le Herissier is leading the fight to maintain the composition of the Commission as an independent body with a wide mandate and should be able to state his case here at this Assembly which will be chaired by the Chef de Police.

Constable Crowcroft will be out of the Island on Wednesday but he expresses his views here which are in favour of an independent Commission. Ironically he will have to present the Bailhache version of the PPC policy when it is put before the States! Such is the Jersey way of politics.

Other views are expressed here by Nick Le Cornu and Darius Pearce who signed as two of the four Parishioners calling for this special Assembly under the 1804 Law.

Elsewhere, on an earlier posting on this blog,  the Minority PPC Report of Deputies Tadier and Martin has been discussed.

This is a most important matter. The future government of Jersey for decades to come will be decided over the next few weeks. TAKE PART - this may be your last chance.


  1. Following this interview Constable Crowcroft drove off in his JEC loaned electric car to the Committee of Constables meeting.
    On the agenda was a suggestion from yours truly that these meetings should be opened up to public participation and attendance - as referred to in the interview.
    Constable Crowcroft is in favour of such reform but I have not been able to speak with him yet to find out what happened. From another source however, I gather my suggestion was dismissed more or less as a joke and was not supported by the other Constables!

    If ever there was a reason to remove the Constables from the States, their collective conduct on the Committee must sum it up nicely. They want the power and influence of being part of government - but not the answerability to the paying/voting public.

    It is such a shame. After all, if the Constables really want to survive they must learn to accept reform. They could perform a useful function with their own Committee if it was open to public participation and scrutiny.
    But they cannot remain in the States Assembly too. They must retreat to serve their Parishes only, being paid out of Parish rates according to what they are worth (why should the Constable of St Mary be subsidized by the taxpayers of St Helier or receive the same amount of salary?).

    The Parishes could take on many more duties and responsibilities that currently clog up the States. The Constables would then be better able to find the time to work together through their own Committee to comment on matters of shared or all Island interest.

    Such a changed system could be the way for Constables to survive and to increase their credibility and usefullness.
    The Guernsey model is already similar but has traditionally had weak Douzaines (Parishes). The likeliehood is that in Guernsey the Parishes will become more powerful as the States system of Deputies only, settles down. This is all to the good because it will mean that the paying/voting public will have more access to genuinely democratic bodies.
    The same can and must happen in Jersey but it is so silly to hang on to Constables being in the States just because they have been so in the past. Change is inevitable but the two special Parish Assemblies called by four voters of St Clement and St Helier demonstrates just how democratic the system can be.

    What could be simpler when a small group of citizens want to engage with the government than using the 1804 Law to call a meeting at Parish level? This is true democracy in action -but it does not require the Constables to sit in the States.

  2. There are several new blogsites debating this issue.
    Check out