Tuesday, March 19, 2013





"APRIL 24TH 2013" 


Senator Francis Le Gresley:

"I am not denying that the Electoral Commission have done a good job but what a mess we are in now with the proposed wording of the referendum.  So, I really do not know what else to say except that if this carries on, much as I do not want to do it, I will be bringing a reference back proposition during this debate because it is just getting ridiculous." 

1.3.6 Senator F. du H. Le Gresley:

As I was sitting listening to the last couple of speakers, I thought: “What are we doing here today?”    The answer is we were debating the Draft Referendum, (Reform of States Assembly) (Jersey) Act.  Did anybody realise that?  Up in the gallery is the vice-chairman of the Electoral Commission.  He must be horrified at what is going on down here.  He must have thought that this would be a simple matter.  The Commission would submit their findings, their recommendations and the States would quite naturally accept them and we would all go home and in fact, we would not be sitting here now.  But this is Jersey and this is the States of Jersey and I have to say that I think the P.P.C. have got it wrong.  They should not have ignored paragraph 4 of the commission’s terms of reference which, for those of you who do not remember them, they are on page 3 of the original proposition in the report and it says: “At the conclusion of its investigation, the Electoral Commission shall present a report with recommendations to the Privileges and Procedures Committee - not to the States of Jersey; to that Committee - to enable the Committee to present the commission’s proposals to the States for approval prior to the submission of the proposals to the electorate in a referendum under the Referendum of Jersey Law 2002.”  Now, what is missing?  We have not had the opportunity to discuss the proposals before, as Senator Bailhache has said.  Everybody, the public, has had this through the letterbox.  You read this document.  I am sure you have read it, Sir.  Nowhere in there does it state that these recommendations are subject to approval by the States.  So inevitably, the public think this is all done and dusted.  What are the States spending all their time arguing and talking about?  But we have not had the discussion and this is what we are doing today.  We should not be debating the Draft Referendum (Reform for States Assembly) (Jersey) Act 2001 because we are not debating it.  We are debating the proposals of the Electoral Commission and that is where we are all going horribly wrong because quite naturally, people are saying: “Well, we have only had a week to lodge our amendments because it is a Draft Referendum Act.”  It is not a debate about the commission’s proposal which is what it should have been.  So P.P.C., I am sorry, but you have got this wrong and that is why we are having this awful situation where I am getting, sort of thinking: “What on earth are we doing?” and then Senator Le Marquand who is unfortunately not here, says: “Do not lose faith [Laughter], try this pill” and this pill is Pitman number 2, is it, or 3?  I cannot remember.  Pitman pill 3: “This will solve our problems and if that does not work, we will have Senator Farnham’s pill number 5.”  I mean, how ridiculous are we?  That is so ridiculous, I am lost for words and I know I am supposed to make a speech but at the moment, I am lost for words on how ridiculous we have got with this debate.  Quite honestly, I am very minded to bring a reference back on this because [Approbation] we have just got it so wrong.  I mean, there is a clash here between the P.P.C. who have not done what was set in the terms of reference and, I have to say, a slight arrogance that we were going to roll over, States Members, and say: “Yeah, this is fantastic.  Go out there and get all this voted in and ...” We are here because we are elected by the States, by the people of Jersey to make decisions and we want to have a decision on what should be in the referendum.  We are not going to just accept, particularly with all the concerns that everybody is expressing, that this is right.  I mean, they have done a good job; I am not denying that the Electoral Commission have done a good job but what a mess we are in now with the proposed wording of the referendum.  So, I really do not know what else to say except that if this carries on, much as I do not want to do it, I will be bringing a reference back proposition during this debate because it is just getting ridiculous.  I am minded to vote for this current amendment we are talking about because it is probably the best of a bad deal.  But what a terrible position to be in, to have to choose the best of a bad deal and I will leave it at that. 


"It is not right that we should send to the public something which is deeply flawed in the way that this is.  It will only bring us into further disrepute, raise expectations with the public which cannot be realised and we will be back here arguing over the same grounds again."  

1.3.3 Senator B.I. Le Marquand:

I have delayed making a speech until this point because I did not want to disturb the questions in terms of the 2 options which were produced by the worthy group, whose name I have totally forgotten ... Electoral Commission, to be changed.  I wanted that to be persevered but, in reality, I think there are 2 approaches that can be taken to this whole debate: the first is that we should put before the electorate what the Electoral Commission has asked us to put, end of story.  That view was expressed by the Deputy of St. Martin and by the Connétable of St. Clement.  The second view which I support is that we have a duty to ensure that what is put before the electorate is a fair and reasonable set of questions which will give a clear indication of the mind of the majority of the public.  I have absolutely no doubt that we have that duty and we must not shirk that duty.  We owe it to the public to put something fair and sensible before them and we have to get it right this time.  If this referendum ends up as a shambles, then we will not be able to go back to the public for years and the reputation of this Assembly will be damaged.  You will be pleased to know that I am not going to speak about the merits of different schemes of Connétables or Senators or super constituencies or 42 Members, because I believe that this is irrelevant to this particular amendment debate.  I am going to speak about the fairness and the reasonableness of this scheme.  I have 2 major concerns: the first is in relation to the concept of a transferable vote.  I am amazed that this is being suggested, and the reasons for that will become apparent shortly.  A single transferable vote is a mechanism for ensuring that somebody ends up with a majority of the votes, it is as simple as that indeed, and it is very clear in the Professor’s report.  One of his objections to this is that somebody might not end up with a majority.  I am going to demonstrate arithmetically in a moment that someone might not end up with a majority of the total number of votes cast.  A single transferable vote may well be appropriate in an election for office (although it is not used in Jersey) but it does not ensure that the winner has a total majority of the votes cast.  Here is an example: let us say hypothetically that in this hypothetical example A got 35 per cent, B got 35 per cent, C got 30 per cent.  C drops out of the system, and then we look to see what has happened in terms of the C votes.  But let us say that half of the C votes have not decided to go for the second preference, and I will deal with a specific case in a moment, a real live case for myself, where that could occur.  Let us say that 10 per cent of the 15 who do exercise that, exercise in favour of A and 5 per cent in favour of B.  Who has won?  On the transferable vote system, on the original votes, A then has 45 per cent of those who cast their votes originally, B has 40, but A has won because it has nine-seventeenths, 53 per cent, against eight-seventeenths, although it still did not have a majority of all those who voted.  Not only that, you could have a situation where pretty well all of the Cs wanted to keep the Connétables, so that would create a bizarre situation in which the Connétables who dropped out would have won, although there could be 65 per cent against it.  That is good arithmetic and that is a bizarre consequence.  Let us consider the situation of the C voter.  He does not know whether or not he is going to drop out after the first round, so what does he do?  Let us say we have a C voter who wants the Connétables but really seriously dislikes the 42 or the super-constituencies or whatever, what does he do tactically?  If he wants to keep the Connétables that strongly and he votes B as his second option, he could inadvertently create a situation on the second round in which 2 of the things that he strongly dislikes, namely super-constituencies, and he might also want Senators, of course, the impression is given that he is in favour of B whereas he is not in favour of B, it is just he wants to avoid A. This is utter nonsense, this is utter arithmetical nonsense.  Why should the C voter in that situation, which may well be me, be put in this ludicrous situation of having to choose whether to exercise his second vote or not, not knowing what effect that second vote will have.  This is totally unsatisfactory.  [Approbation] But then there is another issue that arises: we will simply not know, when a second round vote is cast, what the motivation of the person was in casting that second round vote.  Was it defensive?  Was it positive?  Was it negative?  What was it?  As a result of that, unless we have got an absolutely clear-cut result with somebody having more than 50 per cent, we are going to spend ages and ages arguing in this Assembly what these transfers meant, why, what was the motivation, et cetera.  This is completely unsatisfactory, in my view.  I must say that I totally and utterly disagree with Dr. Alan Renwick’s comments, I think they are nonsense here; he has not considered these options in the way that I have just defined them.  I totally disagree.  He clearly is set on producing a majority result for something, as I say, which could happen with less than 50 per cent support, which is also totally unacceptable.  But there is a second problem: because unless ... and I break off to say that I do give 10 out of 10 to Deputy Trevor Pitman for this amendment because he has hit both my areas of concern and he did not lose any marks for naughtiness during his speech so he gets the 10 out of 10.  Can I say that a day upon which myself, Deputy Pitman and the editor of the J.E.P. all appear to agree, is a rare day indeed.  [Laughter]  The second problem: because not all the options are available to the public.  That is the point of Deputy Pitman’s amendment; that is the point of Senator Farnham’s amendment.  They have both seen clearly that there will be a whole slice of voters who may not want A, they may not want B and they may not want C, because they want some reform but not any of those packages.  Now, what are we doing with this referendum if we do not agree to Deputy Pitman’s amendment or Senator Farnham’s amendment?  What are we doing to this whole slice of voters?  We are disenfranchising them.  They cannot vote anywhere because they do not agree with any of these and so, if we are going to have a meaningful, overall exercise, we have to have all the options in place.  A fourth option, which is neatly covered by Deputy Pitman’s amendment because he rolls in the third and the fourth together, or Senator Farnham, covers all those options because otherwise, you are going to get a lot of people who are not going to turn up.  They are going to say: “I do not like A, I do not like B.  Why should I go?”  The former rector of Trinity wrote a letter to the Evening Post some weeks ago saying exactly that, that he would turn up and he will spoil his paper as a protest because he did not like any of these packages.  Now, unless that is available, we have not got all the options and that is a fundamental flaw in relation to the process.  In my view, a sensible and reasonable multi-option question must include all the options.  Before I sit down, I wish to send out a rallying call to the despondent Senator Le Gresley and to any others who are becoming despondent in relation to this debate, simply because it has gone on for so long and: “Oh, we have not succeeded with what we really wanted”, et ceteraet cetera.  I address those both in French and in Latin: “Courage mes braves”. [Laughter]

I am not quite sure I have got the Latin right because I only did it for 2 years at Victoria College: “Nil desperandum”; do not despair.  Do not give up yet.  Join me in ensuring that the improvements, which are suggested by Deputy Pitman, are made or alternatively, Senator Farnham’s, although Deputy Pitman’s is better in the sense that he gets rid of this transferable vote as well.  If they do not happen, then join me, have the courage to join me by voting against the whole thing.  [Approbation]  It is not right that we should send to the public something which is deeply flawed in the way that this is.  It will only bring us into further disrepute, raise expectations with the public which cannot be realised and we will be back here arguing over the same grounds again.  I therefore support the 10 out of 10 amendment. 


voiceforchildren said...


"It is not right that we should send to the public something which is deeply flawed in the way that this is. It will only bring us into further disrepute"

Then it gets unanimously voted through........Priceless.

Ian Evans said...

THE CRIMINAL COMPLAINTS PROCEDURES, a laughing stock in Jersey....

Anonymous said...

Is it fit for purpose. No of course it's not. No surprise there really. Not much that involves anything to do with the States of Jersey ever is.

Anonymous said...

Rico mate.
We all know it is being fixed to keep the constables.
No point stressing over something we have no control over. NOT DEFEATIST, REALIST!

Sam Mezec tidy yourself up if you want to be taken seriously.
No offense meant but you will frighten off any of the blue rinsers who haven't already been brainwashed by the rag.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the previous poster. It was good to put a face to Sam Mendez at last and I would not care one jot if you had a mammoth bone through you nose whilst spouting a purple mohican, you are an intelligent guy and I support some of your views. I also support a vote for Option A as the lesser of all evils.

BUT.... you have the vote of the younger audience who would no doubt like to see Option A win. But (again), they are in the minority of people who get off their arse and vote. I voted for the very first time in my life at the last elections because i was so fed up of the p*** poor COM at the time. Unfortunately, we ended up with an even poorer shower of... (you know the phrase), and the worst of them being "poll topping" PB. The election previous to that we had "poll topping" ILM.

Yep two total numb nuts voted in by...... the blue rinse brigade. And it is them that "we" need to win over and the picture of the JEP website of Mr Mendez, is just not going to cut it. The JEP know this, and that is why they chose such a close up shot.

Sorry, if it offends. It's not my view in any way. But it will make a difference in this backward conservative neck of the woods.

rico sorda said...

The original JEP picture of Sam is probably not such a close up shot. The youth vote won't care what he looks like but the majority of the (blue rinse) will see him as a long hair lefty out to destroy.

I have a lot of respect for Sam. Its been interesting watching the paths of James Rondel and Sam Mezec. These two love Jersey Politics. Sam is on a different level. Not that I agree with everything he says. I appreciate the way he is prepared to stand up and be counted, fight for what he believes in and take the flak that comes with it.


Anonymous said...

"We all know it is being fixed to keep the constables."

Really? We're being given the choice between keeping or losing the constables!

It's the 6 districts, loss of senators, and 42 members that are being pushed into happening without having a separate say on each matter.

Anonymous said...

Is there anyone out there that can tell us that their counstable has called a public meeting to discuss a subject which was due to be discussed in the states, their by voting as per their parishioners would want I bet not,tell me if i am wrong please.

Anonymous said...

Not in St Lawrence.

Anonymous said...

I find it odd to be agreeing with ILM of all people. And Le Gresley speech on this 'train crash referendum' is right. So when I heard the States reject the amendments and pass this hijacked EC disaster, like you, I despaired.

But I won't spoil my paper. I'm voting Option A because I want better democracy ASAP.

We all know that Jersey defaults anything vaguely 'progressive' and 'for the people' as a 'meddlesome protest by the troublesome few.'

But the greater the protest vote (Option A), the harder it will be for them (the establishment) to worm out of this, for 'seeminlgy' ever. If your not going to use your vote for anything else, use it to indicate you want change by casting a '1' next to Option A. thank you.

Anonymous said...

The older Country Parish people, the people working in finance, and the rich older people, are the ones who will be voting for B & C.

But these people only represent at the most 40% of our voting public.

Lets shock this minority and get the majority out to vote for A.