This, morning our leader Chief Minister Gorst appeared before the surrogate headmaster aka CM-in-waiting Bailhache et al to explain his views on “Electoral Reform”.
His appearance seemed to be as much a surprise to him as his ramblings were incomprehensible to everybody present - and et al were neither introduced by Chairmen Bailhache nor did they have identity boards. Of course, in this world of the “top table” if you don’t already know who they are – well you just don’t need to.
As Senator Bailhache explained, it was unusual that Senator Gorst had been called in at all since he had not submitted a written submission beforehand as the rules for mere plebs demanded.
Perhaps he would submit a note on his views - just for the file - suggested Bailhache. How quaint!
Clearly Gorst had nothing already prepared and he thought that it was something he could deal with whilst on holiday…his bags were already packed and the motor running…was he off to some distant isle to carry out research on alternative electoral systems we all wondered….
At a recent Scrutiny hearing Gorst emerged noticeably bruised with his ego much reduced because he evidently did not have many learned answers to the tame questions being posed. Nothing different here but he is a nice enough chap although typecast as an unimaginative and boring accountant.
Today, after about five minutes of his thoughts on the “political perspective interest” Bailhache waded in to the murky waters to rescue the CM who was obviously in difficulties – could he explain that again?
If this guy was a plant to give weighty support to the official line on preserving the Constables then clearly a major tactical error had been made!
The Chairman’s prompt soon had him back on “his” ill defined theme but the confusions remained.
Just who had put these random thoughts into his head – was it an over breakfast family chat or an early morning call from “deep throat” on a bad line?
There should be change he ventured - but nothing too soon or specific. Perhaps there should be an upper chamber of appointed or elected (he was not sure) wisdom but this should include the Constables and the Senators and the Constables should carry on doing whatever they do in their Parishes too…..
He seemed to want Parish constituencies abolished for Deputies and their overall number reduced but he was not sure how to re-draw the electoral boundaries and even less sure about a “boundary commission”.
Perhaps some spiders should be let loose on a map of the
Island or ancient feudal fiefs re-established. Anything was possible
In Barbados Parish boundaries had been abolished and a boundary commission established Bailhache interjected….
…so it was worth spending that £6,000 after all – the dozen members of the public present were silently impressed too – at least none fell off their chairs or were actually sick.
The CM wanted scrutiny of legislation especially since (without wishing to identify anybody) it was evident that many States’ Members found it difficult to follow or comprehend the more complex or technical stuff – like Electoral Reform????
Wisdom was evidently in short supply but quite how splitting the House into an Upper chamber (full of wisdom) and a lower one where wisdom fuelled scrutiny might take place was not at all certain…but he stressed the need to STREAMILNE the system so that laws could be processed as quickly as possible.
Where had I heard that before I wondered?
Bailhache just smiled but the “Man from Mars” alias Deputy Baker muttered a few memorable words. Unfortunately, although the muttering was memorable enough, I cannot recall his actual question but be assured, this Deputy is well worth every penny we pay him. What a shame if he falls outside the revised boundary under Gorst’s scheme...
Truly amazing though was that Gorst stressed the need for a clear message from the Commission upon which the State Assembly could easily agree a simple form of words for a Referendum that the public would vote on!!!
Where oh where will the States find that clear formula for change? Certainly not from CM Gorst on this showing.
Ok. We all got the message. Keep the Constables and Senators, prune and emasculate the Deputies and separate them from the Parishes and carry on as before for another century.
Why not paint all Post boxes a different colour too – that might help? Did anybody suggest that or was I just dreaming.
No other witnesses were called. This specially called and urgent session lasted just 45 minutes – why oh why did it take place at all?
Answers on a postcard please….