Monday, July 2, 2012

RECIPE to reform Jersey's States ...Firstly take 6 Crown Officers and discard...

Playing the role of Bailiff in a Bailiwick must be among the ultimate ambitions of any Jersey political prima donna. Sir Philip Bailhache claimed  before Lord Carswell that there had been 87 Bailiffs over the years  so there has been no shortage of volunteers for the job but he was the first ex-Bailiff to try to become Chief Minister.

That he was thwarted by Senator Gorst in achieving that ambition at the last hurdle does not seem to have hindered his political ambitions however, since like Putin formerly in Moscow, he rules from the shadows. Sir Philip already now roams the world speaking to the great and powerful as Jersey's "Foreign Secretary".

Quaintly,  in his role as Chairman of the Electoral Commission he is a known advocate of a return to feudal values with a States Assembly built around twelve harmless Parochial Constables and wholly subservient to the Crown Officers.

This was the battle that Thomas Gruchy and his supporters won on 28 September 1769 when they overthrew the old system of government dominated by these officers and the Bailiff in particular.

Bailhache is trying to return Jersey government to eighteenth century standards of non-democracy and he wants a drastically reduced number of elected States Members who all agree with the official line. The Constables are of course the traditional basis of such an unchallenging assembly.

Yet Sir Philip at the same time is known to favour "Independence" for Jersey so that the Bailiff et al would be able to wear their ermine trimmed cloaks immune from challenge by the plebs here or any unpleasant governments elsewhere. Of course the finance industry wants to be able to fiddle away without restraint but it is a dream based upon long dead realities.

Independence would require that yet more elected members will be needed to meet all the international challenges that would arise. Far from reducing the number (or calibre) of States Members that will be needed this move must demand a huge increase in government duties and the staff that administer them.

Even without independence, this Island already needs more rather than fewer States Members to properly address all the domestic, national or international issues that arise in a changing world. Of course, by ignoring such international responsibilities as human rights truly demand - the Island will find itself slipping further behind the rest of the world both morally, economically and politically. Isolation is the most likely result which hardly sounds like the base for an international looking finance industry...

The removal of the Crown Officers - Lt Governor, Bailiff and Deputy Bailiff, Dean, Attorney and Solicitor Generals - from the States has already been examined by the lawyer dominated "Lord Carswell" Inquiry and of course will not happen for as long as the likes of Sir Philip strut the corridors of pwer.

Nevertheless, for what it is worth I publish here my Part Two (of three) submissions to Lord Carswell for those that are tired of trying to find savings among the elected States Members or to turn the  fundamentally flawed Assembly into something fit for the 21st century....

...Alas the gremlins won't let me publish my Part Two submission so if you want to read that you must try to find the Lord Carswell file on the States gov. internet system - and the best of luck to you.
My own version of Part Two has been somehow taken over by Adobe and appears in a jumbled form when pasted on this blog - if anybody knows how to overcome that problem I shall be pleased to learn how...perhaps the eighteeenth century was not so bad after all...


  1. Great Posting, sorry about the garbled Part Two will do my best to find it on the States gov. internet system.

    I became apparent to me that the model for the old Committee system within the States was so cumbersome that we could not really go back to that form or Government without considerable tweaking to quicken up the pace and decisions.

    It also became apparent to me that our current model of ministerial government must surely have been derived from the system currently being used in Brussels and is totally autocratic.

    The current parish boundaries are not written in stone and other authorities have dared to redefine their boundaries, for example: English County Councils were redefined quite a few years back. I know there would be angst at the thought of redefinition but it could be done. Then make the divisions more realistic regarding personal representation. Each parish to choose one member of parliament leaving 12 equally elected representatives (Calling them Senators, Deputies or Spuds - what is in a name?).

    The idea is to keep it simple, open and transparent and less likely to be corrupted.


    In an island as small as ours I can see no reason at all to have our administration facilities divided into twelve parishes. There would be considerable economies of scale if all administration was centralised as we are, after all, considerably smaller than some English counties and they manage.

    Yes please dispense with the judiciary as

  2. Independence for Jersey? Pure moonshine - expect to see a French gunboat parked in the harbour the next day. (Oh, and regrettably there will be no Major Peirson to defend St Helier - deported because he didn't have housing quallies).

  3. I note that the Anonymous comment is suffering from the same "adobe" disorder so perhaps there is a bug around or on my machine. Anybody know what has happened?

  4. The Review of Crown Officer (Carswell inquiry) is to be found at:

    it includes the final report and various submissions.

  5. What an emotive subject and one that will produce a thousand different views.
    The problem with Jersey is that it perpetuates the age old system of "not what you know, it's who you know". Too many of our elected representatives are voted in by a handful of friends and family and there is no true independence of thought and intention. Sadly this has been exacerbated by the salary offered.
    What do we really know about our politicians? What are their qualifications for the job? Arguably many of them could not get a real job earning the salary they are earning as a politician.
    In some respects we should be grateful that Senator Bailhache was offered the job of States Reform. At least he is intelligent enough and qualified for the job. The only sad thing is that he is so boring and unimaginative. Will he consider ideas that are not his own? I think not. And as for flexibility - not a chance.
    He has already intimated that the Constables will stay so that's it for me, I'm not interested in what he has to propose.
    The Constables are parish oficials and that's where their responsibility should stay.