Thursday, December 22, 2016

Looking forward with Roy Le Herissier to Jersey's political future.....

Roy Le Herissier was a States Deputy for fifteen years and his booming voice is much missed.

Here in this two part interview he discusses why the current system of Jersey government is failing, why the public is so disenchanted and what - if anything - might be done to change things with  a particular focus on the 2018 Jersey elections.

Part One below  (about 14 minutes);

Part Two below (about 14 minutes) ;

As always, if you think that you have something useful to say and want to record your views, please make contact.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

REFORM JERSEY - Is the party over - or just beginning?

Part One above

                                                        Part two above

Part three above

I posted a three part video on 4 July 2014 – the day that the Reform Jersey Party was registered in the Royal Court.
Then the party had four elected Deputies – it now has just three following the demise of Nick Le Cornu.
Deputies Tadier and Mezec appeared with Nick on the interview - but Deputy Geoff Southern did not.

Since then, the Reform Party has put forward other candidates for election including Ann Southern, Shannen Kerrigen, Beatrice Poree, Debbie Hardisty, Mary Ayling Phillip and Laura Millen - none have been successful.

But what has happened to their political ambitions?

Generally speaking, in other places, unsuccessful candidates carry on campaigning to build up their own political profiles, gain experience of public speaking and knowledge of issues – besides promoting and building-up the party. But not so it seems in Jersey.

Also absent from Reform Jersey are the like-minded retired politicians who might want to offer their knowledge and support. The likes of Roy Le Herissier, Rob Duhamel, Wendy Kinnard and Alan Breckon could have a useful “elder statesmen” role and put their specialist expertise and knowledge to very good occasional use if they were so inclined – and made welcome.

Have they been invited?

Presumably approaches have been made to such retired politicians - as well as the likes of John Young and others who retain obvious political ambitions.

Similarly there are many existing “liberal” members of the States who could usefully join with an established party such as Reform.

Have Deputies Vallois, Higgins, Martin, Macon, Doublet and Labey x2 refused to join or to give visible public support on key issues?

And where are the “shadow” ministers to speak out for Reform with consistent and agreed policies to counter those of the “establishment”? Why does Deputy Southern not speak on Social Security matters, or Deputy Tadier on Housing or Deputy Mezec on Education?
Could not somebody such as Deputy Vallois be persuaded to speak on Finance matters etc?

Of course, Reform could just as well have “shadow speakers” who are not elected members of the States but who are competent to research and explain issues and to formulate alternative policies.

There are many lobbyists in Jersey - especially on “green issues” who could be much more effective if their efforts were channeled through or in conjunction with Reform or other groupings

Election to the States is not a private business activity. It is supposed to be motivated from public spirited motives which ultimately depend upon gaining a majority of the votes cast in the States Assembly.

For too long the Jersey “establishment” has effectively been beyond challenge.
It was never so “all powerful” - not since the 18th century - and it is obvious that a bunch of “independent” well meaning but disorganized individuals cannot divert its intended path or policies.

Extraordinarily, it is doubtful if the elected government of Jersey has ever been so unpopular with the people yet it remains so difficult to replace it through the ballot box, to out-vote its policies in the States or even engage it in a meaningful dialogue.

The next Jersey General Election will be upon us in the spring of 2018 but there is no evidence of an effective opposition being formed or that the Reform Party might yet blossom into a more effective political grouping.

Following Donald Trump and the antics of the Tory and Labour Parties after the UKIP inspired EU Referendum plus the huge uncertainties of a post BREXIT world – it is not easy to image what an “effective political grouping” might look like or how any “party” might be managed in Jersey.

But there is no shortage of political talent in Jersey.

The “establishment” certainly has no great problem in drawing out political support through the various business organizations, the wealthy, the media, professionals, social and faith networks and such like

The “opposition” too has many potential assets and talented people to draw upon, but unfortunately, has historically always attracted too many prima donnas.

Whether Reform can change sufficiently over the next few months to become an effective political force based upon democratic principles, with popular support, I do not know.

There have been many failed attempts to form a “democratic opposition” in Jersey since the Liberation and that is a far cry from aspiring to be the government.

Unfortunately, it is not clear to me what the specific aspirations of Refom might now be but I hope that there might be a clearer plan published soon.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The 6th Jersey Farming Conference 2 December 2016 - Another wasted opportunity

Most years I attend the annual Farming Conference organised by the Jersey Department of the Environment with the Department of Economic Development etc...
I am always frustrated at the outcome because so much is repeated every year without much evident change actually taking place.

Pollution and alternative crops have been talked about in Jersey for ever - but it is obvious that the crunch time has now arrived and the "phase-out" dates for so many commonly used chemicals are now imminent.

I don't think any approaching EU reforms were mentioned (beyond the ending of use for some chemicals) but the industry seems to believe that marketing of Jersey produce and any new initiatives will be acceptable in future....

This year's Conference was visibly starved of funding  and reduced to just  a half-day morning session (9am to 1pm) for seven speakers to deliver their valuable specialist talks - besides the two Ministers - and a coffee break.
Although hardly advertised, the room at La Mare Vineries was more or less filled with about 90 attendees but I suspect that "engaging" with the general public (an important theme of one speaker) was not a priority for the "agri" dominant organisers.

Although we were promised ample time for questions and the chance to engage with the speakers this opportunity never really materialised and my attempts at interviewing some of the speakers were speedily curtailed by "a voice."
I have posted the results here and am grateful for the opportunity to record something from Fiona and Ian Waller and Lucy Hopwood.
Others were willing, but hurried away by the organisers.

Interviews (above) with Fiona Waller of "Affinity Water" and Ian Waller a  UK Farmer
followed by Lucy Hopwood of NNFCC (National Non-Food Crops Centre).
My thanks to them and sorry we were cut short....

Bearing in mind that our government has just voted to embark upon a new hospital project that will probably cost £800 millions it is surprising that such an important matter as Farming  is so little supported...

It is a great pity too that the general public and the farming community cannot have some more  meaningful meetings and discussions - but maybe they do and I am just not invited...