Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Electoral Reform - the Jersey Way

As we all know the States of Jersey has been discussing "electoral reform" for years.
Recently the concept of "super constituencies" has become a central theme and several variations on this theme will be voted on by the States soon.

The States might have the good sense to reject the whole thing - but the chances are that the "establishment" will vote something in to confirm their stranglehold on power.

The public have been more or less excluded from meaningful participation in this reforming process in recent months.

The propositions will be voted on very soon by the States so the propositions  have been referred to a Scrutiny Panel to review and make comment.
It is all very rushed and inadequate.

As part of that rushed  Review process, the Scrutiny Panel has decided to invite the general public to comment - but strictly in accordance within the terms of the propositions. The discussion is therefore very strictly curtailed and controlled.

This video (below) was recorded at the Town Hall hearing from 7pm on 17 May 2017 and shows Deputy Le Fondre introducing the Panel to the "electorate".
It runs for about 7 minutes and is very boring.
The sound is not very good either in spite of this being Deaf Awareness Week.
About a dozen members of the public turned up - besides a smaller number of States Members, who as so often, huddled together in a cosy group in the audience and said nothing .

The Scrutiny Panel does not want to receive views on wider issues like the removal of the Constables from the States or increasing the number of Senators back to 12 or complaints about the generally low standards of Ministerial government.
Such matters are not included in the specific propositions to be voted on.

Thus, this is not really a "public consultation" exercise at all - unless you have a precise view to express on a specific proposal - but really is just an opportunity for Scrutiny to endorse the propositions in whole or in part.
It's just part of a pretended democratic process.

This  Scrutiny Panel led by  Deputy Le Fondre clearly has no intention to report to the States that the public rejects the whole of the  sham propositions - as was clearly the mood at this hearing - but will inevitably cobble together a pleasant few pages of PR prose for the States and send a note to the PPC Committee expressing some polite individual misgivings where appropriate.

The public is also invited to send written comments to the Scrutiny Panel but these too must be kept within the strict terms of reference.
The initial invitation for members of the public  to address the Panel personally in the usual Committee room of the States Building seems to have been retracted - except for the select few.

There will be a couple more of such public hearings as this - details on - but my advice is  not to attend unless you can express support for the propositions. Wider dissent is clearly not being encouraged here...

I have videos of public responses at St Helier but most of the evening's talking was from Deputy Le Fondre desperately trying to keep the small flock confined to the official agenda. If enough people express an interest I will post some examples but personally I feel that I have more important things to do...

1 comment:

  1. A fair summation of the meeting.

    There is no appetite for genuine electoral reform from the Political Class, hence the latest iteration of the gerrymander. I step forward, two steps back - well at least it gives the appearance of movement in the corpse.

    Most of those elected politicians that attended left before the end. One assumes they were dismayed by so many critical voices.