Saturday, March 16, 2013

THE ELECTORAL REFERENDUM - IS 42 THE MAGIC NUMBER?? AND WHY NO ONE HAS A CLUE.




 "THE GREAT JERSEY REFERENDUM"

APRIL 24TH 2013


REFORMING THE STATES OF JERSEY - AND THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE OF JERSEY


IN MY HUMBLE OPINION - A CROCK OF STINKING DOG POO

"IF 3 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER - WHAT IS 42???"

THE DOG IS CHASING HIS TAIL.

Would you, the Jersey public, willingly set sail in a boat with a dodgy hull? The answer would have to be a resounding "NO." So why does the States of Jersey and its Electoral Commission  believe it's ok to force you to do just that? There comes a time when you really have to call it how you see it. It really is a "Crock of stinking dog poo." 

Having re-read the whole debate again on Hansard i'm shocked and surprised that this referendum was even passed in the states. Again, this highlights the complete follie that is the States of Jersey. Something that is quite clearly not fit for purpose is given to the Jersey public. The people who have formed groups to champion their chosen preference are running blind. They have been so eager to get going and campaigning that they have taken their eyes of the sheer madness of it all. 

These are the 3 options.

Reform Option A: Parish Constables will no longer be members of the States There will be 42 States members known as Deputies. There will be six large districts, each choosing seven Deputies.

Reform Option B: Parish Constables will continue to be members of the States There will be 42 States members: 30 Deputies and 12 parish Constables There will be six large districts, each choosing five Deputies.

Reform Option C: The current system will remain. There will be 49 States members from 2014: eight Senators elected island-wide, 29 Deputies elected in constituencies and 12 parish Constables.

How will I vote on the 24th April 2013. At this present moment I will be writing "NONE OF THE ABOVE" across my paper. I simply don't like any of the options. If I had to push myself I would go for A as I would like to see the Constables removed from the states. Now here is my problem. Both options A and B operate with 42 members. I don't believe the States can operate with 42 members and nor have I seen or read anything that can assure me it can. We are going into this Blind.  I don't want to spoil my paper and don't take this decision lightly. I simply refuse to compromise my position by taking a decision that I could seriously regret further down the line. The states does need reforming. Option C is a simple No for me. 

This is the first of a number of posting on the magic number of 42. We will be looking at the amendment brought forward by J.G Reed the Deputy of St Ouen.

Let us begin. 

This has all been recorded on Hansard

1.2 Draft Referendum (Reform of States Assembly) (Jersey) Act 201- (P.5/2013): fourth amendment (P.5/2013 Amd.(4))
The Deputy Bailiff:
The Assembly now moves to the fourth amendment lodged by the Deputy of St. Ouen and I ask the Greffier to read the amendment.
The Greffier of the States:
Page 19, Schedule.  (1) In the Ballot Paper in the Schedule, for the words beginning “The Electoral Commission has put forward” and ending “6 large electoral Districts” substitute the words “Having considered the recommendations of the Electoral Commission, the States Assembly has put forward 2 ways of changing the system.  Both reform options would reduce the number of States Members to 48 and introduce 6 large electoral Districts”.  (2) In the Ballot Paper in the Schedule in reform option A (a) for the words “42 States Members” substitute the words “48 States Members”; (b) for the words “7 Deputies” substitute the words “8 Deputies”.  (3) In the Ballot Paper in the Schedule in reform option B (a) for the words “42 States Members” substitute the words “48 States Members”; (b) for the words “30 Deputies” substitute the words “36 Deputies”; (c) for the words “5 Deputies” substitute the words “6 Deputies”.





1.2.1 Deputy J.G. Reed of St. Ouen:
I have just realised that there is a disadvantage to coming way down the list regarding the amendments to this particular proposition and I acknowledge that individuals have already raised matters regarding the number of States Members.  However, I would like to briefly make some additional points regarding my proposed amendment.  When the States agreed to establish an Electoral Commission, the terms of reference were also agreed by this Assembly.  Paragraph 4 of the commission’s terms of reference states: “At the conclusion of its investigations, the Electoral Commission shall present a report with recommendations to the Privileges and Procedures Committee to enable that committee to present the commission’s proposals to the States for approval” and I repeat: “for approval prior to submission of the proposals to the electorate in a referendum under the Referendum (Jersey) Law 2002.”  Therefore, this is our only opportunity for the States to approve the commission’s proposals prior to the submission of those proposals to the electorate.  Since I entered the States, many attempts have been made to reform the composition of the States and although the public have been widely consulted and changes implemented, this is the first time the public will be asked to indicate their preferred option by way of a referendum and I for one am not prepared to second-guess the outcome.  However, the choice, as we have already heard, is not going to be an easy one and many would argue that some matters cannot be answered by a simple yes or no.  We will be asking the electorate to decide not only whether the Constables remain in the States but whether we should get rid of the Island-wide mandate, move to 6 electoral districts and reduce the number of States Members to 42.  These questions are not new and the States have over the years spent many, many hours considering and debating these exact same issues.  In fact, it is true to say that in the past, the States have on a number of occasions chosen not to support reforms similar to that proposed by the Electoral Commission and it will be interesting to see whether the electorate comes to that same conclusion.  This is not to say that the reform option should not be put to the electorate.
[11:00]
However, we must be mindful of the changes already agreed and put into action by previous States Assemblies.  Following periods of major consultation, the States have already decided that Constables should remain in the Assembly, to retain the Island-wide mandate, have one general election, move to a 4-year term and reduce the number of States Members from 53 to 49.  Due to the complex nature of the changes proposed by the Electoral Commission and if the electorate are to make an informed choice, it is essential that robust and reliable evidence is available to support all of those proposals.  My primary concern is the assumption made by the Electoral Commission that the number of States Members should be reduced to 42 and why this figure is included in both reform options.  Let us not forget that although the terms of reference agreed by the Electoral Commission included the number of States Members, the States separately decided to ask the Privileges and Procedures Committee to review the machinery of government.  This work is still to be completed and it is not clear whether a final report will be available before the referendum is held.  It is therefore surprising that the Electoral Commission has come to the conclusion that 42 States Members would be able to perform all functions of Government and of Scrutiny more effectively and efficiently than a larger number.  I ask: “Where is the evidence?”  Why would we or the electorate want to support a proposal to reduce the number of States Members to 42 before everyone has had a chance to properly consider the impact that any potential changes may have on the present structure of Government?  Yes, as the Electoral Commission clearly point out, 42 can conveniently be divided by 6 to give a round number.  So can 48.  However, this on its own should not be the deciding factor.  Of more importance is whether the Executive should remain in the minority as advised by Clothier and others.  This is a fundamental issue which cannot simply be brushed aside or left to be addressed at a later date as suggested by the Electoral Commission.  Surely the public would be better served if these questions were fully answered before a proposal to reduce the number of States Members to 42 is taken.  Finally, I think it is disingenuous for the Electoral Commission in their report to suggest that currently 12 Members of the States are not serving a useful purpose in the Government of this Island.  I do not hold with this view and look forward to hearing not only from Members who may fit this category but also why some States Members, including indeed the chairman of the Electoral Commission, would believe this to be the case.  I want deliverable reform options to be put to the electorate but without strong evidence to the contrary, it would be wrong to put forward proposals that could not be achieved or have a negative impact on the ability of this Assembly to restructure the current system of government.  I ask Members to support this minor amendment.




1.2.2 Senator P.M. Bailhache:
The Deputy of St. Ouen suggests that there is a distinct lack of evidence for the figure 42 and he suggests by implication, I think, that the figure has been plucked out of the sky or taken from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  It was a figure that the Electoral Commission arrived at after long consideration of a number of different factors.  First, the commission carried out research into the size of Parliaments and Legislatures throughout the Commonwealth and, in particular, looked at the size of Parliaments in small Commonwealth countries.  The commission found that many countries had Legislatures that were smaller and in some cases significantly smaller than the States Assembly in Jersey.  Secondly, the commission took account of the views expressed by the vast majority of members of the public in the submissions that were made, both orally and in writing, that there were too many Members of the States.  We have treated that view with caution, as is made clear in the report, but nonetheless that was the clear and unambiguous opinion of, as I say, the vast majority of people who took the trouble to make submissions to the commission.  Thirdly, while, as I have said, one must obviously pay respect to the feelings expressed by the public in their submissions, the commission wanted to ensure that the processes of Government and of Scrutiny could operate with a lesser number.  In paragraphs 43 to 45 of the final report, there is an analysis of the numbers necessary to perform the functions of Government and of Scrutiny under our current system.  The Deputy suggested that the commission had said that 12 Members of the States were not serving useful functions.  That is not what the commission said.  What the commission said was that the relevant number of States Members required under the current machinery of government is therefore estimated to be 42 and the conclusion of the commission was that it was not sensible to have more Members of the States than were necessary for the legislative and critical functions of the Assembly.  Fourthly, the commission took into account the conclusions at which the Clothier panel had arrived after again very long consideration and taking into account submissions from a wide range of people.  The Clothier panel recommended that if the Assembly were to move to Ministerial government, which it has, the number of Members ought to be reduced to between 42 and 44.  Fifthly, we in fact have only 39 Members engaged at present in the functions that we identified as making up the essential functions of Government and of Scrutiny and for all those reasons, and not because we plucked the figure out of the sky, the commission arrived at the conclusion that 42 was the appropriate number.  The Deputy of St. Ouen made no submissions to the Electoral Commission.  Even when the interim report had been published with the provisional conclusion that the number of Members should be reduced to 42, no approach was made by the Deputy to the commission to ask it to rethink or to reconsider on grounds that the Deputy has put before the States today.  The Deputy will correct me if I am wrong but I think that his suggestion of 42 Members of the States comes, so far as the Electoral Commission is concerned, entirely out of the blue.  That is in my view a pity.  The Electoral Commission wanted to hear all views before it arrived at its final conclusion.  I do not think, to be fair, that it would have changed the provisional conclusions but it would have been more satisfactory to have been given the opportunity to think about the Deputy’s views and concerns.  If he had come to see us or expressed his concerns in writing, we would have been able to discuss with him the advice that we had from our expert adviser, Dr Renwick, at a very early stage, that there was a limit to the number of choices with which the average human brain can cope.  We were advised that a figure of between 5 and 7 was the accepted limit.  When the amendment of the Deputy was lodged, the Greffier, at my request, referred the amendment to Dr Renwick and his advice on the amendment is as follows: “The evidence we have on exactly how much choice voters can deal with is not fine-grained.  The general view among political scientists has, however, been that Districts of around 5 to 7 Members are best in a system where voters choose among individual candidates.  Electing 8 Members would not be impossible but it increases the likelihood that some voters would cast votes not reflecting their actual preferences.”  If this amendment is successful, there will furthermore be a disconnect between the summary of recommendations sent out to every household in the Island and the referendum question and if I may refer to the summary that was sent out to every household, the document contains the heading: “Four recommendations.  1.  The number of elected Members of the States Assembly should be reduced to 42” but the ballot paper will contain the figure 48.  This comes back to the point eloquently made by the Deputy of St. Martin at an early stage of the debate on Deputy Southern’s amendment that there ought to be a simple continuous flow.  The States set up the Electoral Commission.  The Electoral Commission makes its recommendations.  The recommendations are put to the public and it is up to the public to decide whether or not to accept them.  I ask Members to reject the amendment.

The Deputy of St. Ouen:
Sir, could I ask your ruling on the statement that the Senator has just made because it is contrary, I believe, to the terms of reference that were agreed by the States and the process which was required to be followed to arrive at the agreeing Referendum Act.
The Deputy Bailiff:
Sorry, Deputy, you have to say what statement you are referring to because there have been a number of statements.
The Deputy of St. Ouen:
The last statement that the Senator made regarding the fact that it was the Electoral Commission’s responsibility to bring the proposals to the electorate and not for this States Assembly to approve them.
The Deputy Bailiff:
It is clearly a matter for the Assembly to approve the Electoral Commission’s proposals as put through the Privileges and Procedures Committee or not as the Assembly thinks fit.  I did not hear the Senator suggest anything contrary to that..




Senator S.C. Ferguson:
I asked, as I say, where the number 42 came from.  Is the number congruent with the number of jobs we are required to do as States Members?  Clothier did say 42 to 44 but he was working on 3 or 4 Scrutiny Panels and a P.A.C. (Public Accounts Committee).  His division was 15 to 20 Members of the Executive and the majority not in the Executive.  Clothier himself said that the number of Members should be sufficient to do the jobs required.  If we have 42, then on present counting, there are 22 Ministers and Assistant Ministers and 20 in Scrutiny and, as I say, Clothier required the Executive to be in the minority because we do not have any overt political parties.  If there are 12 Connétables still in the States, then there will be problems having Members multitasking to do Scrutiny.  Most of the Connétables do pull their weight and that can be a pretty substantial weight too with respect to the Connétables.  [Laughter]  They were a little slow on that one, Sir.  But I must emphasise that I do appreciate the Parish link and the good sense that they bring to the States.  So obviously the underlying intention of the commission is to repeal the Troy Rule which will give the Executive a permanent majority which, in view of our lack of political parties, could be extremely dangerous.  I am sure it could not possibly happen with the current Assembly but there is a real risk of a self-perpetuating oligopoly.  The problem with 48 as an even number is understood but it does equalise the number of additional representatives across the proposed 6 large Parishes.  However, I think that the whole ethos of 42 ignores the needs of Scrutiny.  I can understand this to some degree as the commission have not looked carefully at the work done by Scrutiny.  We get back to the point again, the first question is what is the work that the Assembly is intended to do?  Once you have sorted that out, then you can start looking at numbers.  I have no evidence that that work has been done.  Clothier came up with the 42 but he was basing it on 7 Ministries and 3 or 4 Scrutiny Panels and a P.A.C.  I am inclined to say that no one in this Assembly should be in the Executive without spending time in Scrutiny because it is a great deal harder work than being in the Executive.  It is a bit like it is always good if you have political parties for the Executive to spend some time in opposition.  For these various reasons, I would support this amendment.  There has been no evidence that 42 Members is sufficient to provide for the work required and sadly insufficient attention has been paid to the requirements of Scrutiny.

RICO SORDA

PART TIME INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST

36 comments:

thejerseyway said...

Hi Rico.

I have the same feelings about the hole thing, 42 is not enough. I do not want the Constables in but but not like this. I shell spoil my paper or go for C & hope they look at it again WITHOUT Bailhach involved.

TJW.

Russell said...

Vote C Rico.
The C vote is a rejection of this Electoral Commission's bizarre proposals NOT an endorsement of the Status quo. It is the only "None of the above" option we have. Use it.

Tom Gruchy said...

The simple message that Constables should serve their parishes and not in the States must be made at this time.
The process of reform is a slow one and not very direct but "Option A" will deliver that message.
Grab the chance Rico because like Haley's comet we may not see this opportunity again in our lifetime.

Anonymous said...

But, Tom/Mike, Option A is too ridiculous to vote for, regardless of getting rid of the Constables. The price is too much to pay.

It's either Vote C, or Vote: Low Turnout!

Anonymous said...

It stands to reason that:

The country bumkins, finance, and the rich will go for B or/and C.

And the out come of Bailhache's, cluching at straws, ploy. Will be without doubt.

The twelve constables to stay....

For another six years at least!!?

Ian Evans said...

Corruption in our courts, featuring our New Top Magistrate CAPT'N BRIDGET SHAW

John Dodsley said...

I'm certain that losing parish deputies would be to the detriment of the people of Jersey.

Creating super constituencies from space an obvious way to assure that people vote for the status quo.

My option would be a vote for 30 deputies in 12 parishes, 12 senators in and constables out!

However, as always, the people of Jersey & their well being are only a minor consideration compared to the greater good of the great and good :)

rico sorda said...

Im trying to air the argument that the recommendations brought forward by the electoral commission are simply not good enough. Nobody seems to care that it's simply pants.

I don't want to compromise myself in the voting booth. For me, this isn't just about removing the constables. I might very well vote C as its my only option at present but for now its none of the above.

It is shocking that the states passed this referendum. Well it's not really as they do this regularly with the new Police HQ as a prime example.

rs

rico sorda said...

1.2.4 Deputy G.P. Southern:

The last chance, I think, possibly to cobble together something which might be workable. In my mind, there is no doubt that the 42 is an unworkable number, given the load and particularly the task that Scrutiny has to perform at present. The proposer of the main motion, the Senator, was quick to jump on the lack of evidence claimed by the proposer for the number 42 and he talks about we did plenty of research, we looked elsewhere and we found that there were many places where there were fewer members per head of population than our own. Of course that ignores the cube root of population calculation which is the rough and ready average which turns out to be 46 not 42, substantially below the average. It also ignores the fact that almost universally, everywhere else in the world has got a party political system where the party does a lot of work independently of what goes on in the Chamber and that things get done because of the party affiliation and alternative policies get drafted, et cetera, a tremendous amount of work that everybody else relies on, on the part of the political system.

rico sorda said...

We do not have that so that comparison saying everybody else is different, they are different, they are a party political system, so that comparison does not work, I do not think. There is not a justification. He then said that they treated the numbers with caution and I would argue with that. The Clothier Report itself, when it was talking about 7 to 9 Ministers, 7 Ministers in fact, 7 Ministerial positions, came out with a figure 42 to 44, a little bit of flexibility. The average was he said the cube root rule says 46 so rather than treat this with caution, 48, 46, 42, they have gone to the extreme. It is not a cautious estimate. It is the very bare minimum the commission thinks we can still function on. He then says that we have done this research and it is summed up in parts 43 to 45 in their report. Just take a look at some of the comments here. It says: “The Clothier panel concluded in 2000 that the Assembly should be between 42 and 44.” It then goes on to say: “The Council of Ministers comprising the Chief Minister and 9 Ministers, 12 positions of Assistant Minister although under the current proposals this is reduced to 11 from 2014 when a reduction in membership to 49 takes place. One chairman and a variable number of members of the Public Accounts Committee. Five Scrutiny Panels each comprising of a chairman and up to 4 other members.” Members are allowed to serve on up to 2 panels and indeed, as many people will discover or have discovered, serving on 2 panels is an onerous task indeed and many abandon it after valiant attempts to fit more than 24 hours into the average day.

rico sorda said...

Then they talk about the Privileges and Procedures Committee comprising a chairman and 6 other members, it says: “All of whom can serve in some other capacities although the chairman may want to be chairman of P.P.C. only” so a doubling up recognised there. Members also serve on the Planning Applications Panel and I know certainly, not from experience but from talking to people, that that can be a very heavy onerous load indeed. The States Employment Board, so need some people to double up there. Jersey Legislation Advisory Panel, Jersey Overseas Aid Commission but membership of these does not prevent a Member serving in another capacity. It simply loads them up with one other task while they are doing other work. Then goes on to say that in addition, the Comité des Connétables and the Chairmen’s Committee are bodies that bring together respectively the 12 Constables have a workload and the P.A.C. and Scrutiny Panel Chairman in an ex officio capacity and these are not therefore considered relevant for the assessment. So what we have got is not evidence. We have got the drawing together of a few strands which fit the number 42 and what we have got is table 3 says Ministers 10, Assistant Ministers 12, Public Accounts Committee allow 4 doubled up on to Scrutiny elsewhere. Scrutiny Panels allow 15 doubled up on to other Scrutiny Panels and elsewhere, chairman of the Privileges and Procedures Committee, only one despite the fact there are 6 other members 2 of whom must be non-Ministerial and what you have got there is a figure 42, which barely scrapes over the Troy Rule boundary. So what you have got there is a convenient piece of so-called research which plays with the numbers and says: “We do not count this, we do not count this, and you can double up there, and you can double up there, and you can double up there and look, the whole thing works and it is 42.” It is not evidence. It is a case of producing it based on doubling up that does not count and that does not count. Then, as the Deputy of St. Ouen noticed, an outrageous statement: “We could not possibly change our minds at this point because the commission has already sent out a leaflet saying there will be 42 Members and this is going to confuse the electorate.” Hang on, hang on, where are the terms of reference? “At the conclusion of its evidence, the Electoral Commission shall present a report with recommendations to the Privileges and Procedures Committee to enable the Committee to present the commission’s proposals to the States for approval.” This body for approval, not to send out its conclusions to everybody, every elector on the Island, before bringing it to the House but terms of reference to bring it back, to present it to P.P.C., to bring it back for approval to this House. So to argue we could not possibly change our minds at this stage is to pre-empt the value of this House. That, whatever else we think, should not be allowed to happen. Yet again an erosion of the control that this House has over what we do in the name of governing Jersey. So an absolute no-no and certainly not a valid argument to say: “We could not possibly change our minds at this stage.” That is what we are here to decide. Is 42 the right number or 48? So I think 42 is unworkable and I have had extensive experience of Scrutiny and the workload that that causes - I am sitting on 2 and when I used to, attempting 3 Scrutiny Panels from time to time - and the workload in general you cannot make a number 42 and then say: “But those do not count and those positions do not count and people do this in their own time.” There is no such thing as your own time when you are a States Member. So 42 is not justified and 48 may well be workable. I do not believe 42 is. We should support this proposition.

Tom Gruchy said...

My preference would be for something like the John Dodsley format but its not on offer.
The long process started on 28 September 1769 that laid down the foundation of a democratic States assembly continues.
We will not achieve a best solution in OUR lifetimes but "Option A" will continue the reform process...

Anonymous said...

Brilliantly explained and I will now be spoiling my paper with "none of the above."

Anonymous said...

Rico- you are not the only person who is deeply disappointed about the EC. As an Option A voter and campaigner, I have to agree with you on so much of what you say, especially over the Troy rule jeopardy. I'm really really really furiously disappointed with this referendum for far too many reasons to list- and the States IMO were very wrong for adopting it. I listened to the debate and never thought I would side with ILM who sensibly (for once) rejected it!
However, we are where we are thanks to Bailhache applying the Jersey Way to democracy and his weak commission for not standing up to him.
Likewise a spoilt vote or a vote for option C is a wasted vote. I urge you to vote Option A as at least, if option A gets in, we will, for the first time EVER, have democratic representation in Jersey nearing international standards. C and B and spoilt papers won't achieve that.
The Troy rule jeopardy could be sorted at a later date by either combining ministries or expanding the number of seats. Option A is a gateway for more common sense politicians. Please vote Option A.

Anonymous said...

I very much regret to say that Sir Philip is probably going to achieve his objective - I.e. either no change or 42 including the Constables.

The fact is that most people in the Island have become so confused and disillusioned by this whole issue that they will either not bother to vote or they will vote for as little change as possible.

I think that voter turn out will be an all time low reflecting this confusion, frustration and general apathy. I suspect that Bailhache & Co knew full well that this would be the case and planned their campaign accordingly. By ensuring that the 'none of the above' question was omitted, success of this campaign has been virtually guaranteed.

I so hope I'm wrong ......

Anonymous said...

"if option A gets in, we will, for the first time EVER, have democratic representation in Jersey nearing international standards."

No we won't! Superficially some aspects of it will be better, but many others will be worse. PLEASE have a good consideration of ALL the issues before allowing yourself to be hoodwinked.

rico sorda said...

"The Troy rule jeopardy could be sorted at a later date by either combining ministries or expanding the number of seats. Option A is a gateway for more common sense politicians. Please vote Option A."

Hi Anon,

I just happen to think that the issue of 42 States members is a very serious one. I also believe the calibre of member is an issue and one for another time. One must only look at what gets passed in the states to realise that there are some very weak people representing us. The Police Station is the classic. Nearly everyone in their hearts new that it's the wrong place but yet so many passed it plus passed it on zero evidence when in fact the real evidence was pointing for it to be rejected. This is the lunacy that governs us. The problems do run deeper than just this referendum.

rs

rico sorda said...

1.2.5 Deputy J.M. Maçon of St. Saviour:

Very briefly, I would just like to add to the opening speech of the Deputy of St. Ouen in that he talked about the different aspects that people will have to consider when the referendum goes out about the role of Senators and Constables, one which has slipped under the radar and which I just want to emphasise is how we will not have Deputies anymore. This might confuse people. You will have the title of a Deputy but what a Deputy is now and what a Deputy will be under the super constituency system is a different creature.

rico sorda said...

It is a hybrid between a Senator and a Deputy. It is not as a Deputy is now and that is something which has slipped under the radar, I believe, because it is using the same title but I just want to point that out because it will be a different creature even though it will have the same name. I think that is important to consider as well. I just want to thank Senator Ferguson for her speech because she made her points very well about what was considered under the Clothier system and the number of Members that go along with that but there is just one point I want to add, Senator Bailhache, which was that Clothier said that if you take this package, you take everything all at once because that is how the system works. If you just take these pieces and do not take the other pieces, it is not going to work properly. Again when you are arriving at the numbers and you are looking at these things, you have to look at the whole package in its entirety which is 42 or 44 Members of which you did not have Constables so you did not have that division of commitment, which again you have to look at it all as one big package that fits together. So this is very important when you are looking at the numbers. When Senator Bailhache spoke about there are 39 Members sitting in different positions at the moment and we could have up to 42, you have then got the issue of just because someone comes into the States does not mean that they should necessarily get a seat somewhere, they should have a title somewhere, and I would like to think that there has to be some sort of merit in that. Is there an advantage to having a pool of people who do not necessarily have a title when you are looking at the mechanisms of votes of no confidence, when you need to have a change somewhere? Do you need to have another pool of people that you can bring in rather than having everyone who is elected because you have got 42 seats, you need 42 positions to fill, and there you go? I think there is merit in having a larger pool of people so that when the practicalities of the system start happening, there is that ability to be able to change people, and that is why again I find it very difficult to accept the number of 42. Also Deputy Southern did make the point that when you are looking at other jurisdictions, again not to be comparing apples and pears. If you have got an official party political system operating in the different jurisdiction, then you do have the machinery of that party or opposing parties of doing also a lot of the work, a lot of the policy development which we have to do and then that is why I do not believe you can compare our system to these other systems because they would be doing different functions and again, also in other jurisdictions, you have got the complication that you have got layers of government which we do not necessarily have here. So, for example, there is often the argument which is made by the public, why does Jersey have so many States Members, when if you take an equivalent position in the U.K. you have only got one M.P. (Member of Parliament)? Of course the answer is yes, you have only got one M.P. but you have got councillors, you have got different layers of administration going on within that jurisdiction and in Jersey again we are a hybrid system where that is all wrapped up into what States Members do, whether that be the kind of mayoral role that the Connétables fulfil which would be different in France all these different tasks are done by the councillors or the mayors such as the Mayor of London in those jurisdictions.

rico sorda said...

So again it is all about looking at how these jurisdictions compare with each other and when you are looking at the numbers you cannot do that comparison, and I think that Senator Bailhache did acknowledge that but again I just want to emphasise those points and explain why I am struggling to be able to support the number of 42 in the lack of evidence which has been produced and with all the other mitigating factors that we have already discussed. So I am leaning towards supporting the Deputy of St. Ouen.

Anonymous said...

Somebody should set up an option D campaign to spoil the paper with "none of the above". Set up a Facebook and Twitter account if anybody has the technical ability which might help gauge public opinion?

Anonymous said...

The low number 42 is also an attempt to weed out the troublemaking rebel lefties, by concentrating the vote towards the more popular (amongst the local conservatives) right candidates. It will make it harder for minorities to get representation.

And I don't fancy having my voting power drop from 20.4% down to 16.66%, as mentioned here!

It's all a con. Vote C for now, give them a strong message to Think Again!

Anonymous said...

Hi Rico & All,

The "referendum" is another "Heads I win, Tails you loose" SET UP - which will result in either no change under C, or a massive increase in executive power and reduction in scrutiny under either A or B.
ALL the options suit Bellyache and the Establishment (surprise surprise)

Mass spoiled papers would be great but I imagine that a "Spoil your paper" campaign is VERY unlikely to make an impact (would love to be proved wrong)
So my recommendation would be to vote
A with #1
and vote
C with #2

"A" will still probably not win in "traditional" Jersey, especially against the Establishment PR/Media machine but at least it would avoid the nightmare (1000 year Reich) outcome of option B

"Kristall Nacht"

Anonymous said...

Rural St Saviour voter - and I'll take option A.

Rico is right, it is not perfect, but the first priority has to be the removal of the constables from the States. The fact that you currently have Sadie Rennard sitting as a states member is, I am not ashamed to say, a large part of why I feel as I do.

Anonymous said...

Some further points to be challenged. From August last year.
Jersey Today

rico sorda said...

This is what Senator, Bailhace said about option B.

"Reform option B creates greater voter inequity than we have at the moment and the Electoral Commission has made no secret of that. It is in the final report and it is a fact"

So, how the hell did the electoral commission end up putting that in a referendum?

How many referendums have their been on electoral reform when you are offered something that is worse than we have.

I call this lunacy of the highest order and it should be halted now.

rs

Nick Le Cornu said...

Rico,

Since Option "A" embodies so many of the best features of a reformed states and inspite of its imperfections, it is a symbol for hope and for change.

Were the population to back it in a categorical way, it would show they had thrown of their shackles and confusions of the past and affirmed that the future must be democratic.

To vote for A, is an act of hope; a belief that change really can happen. To abstain or vote otherwise is a step backward; to resign oneself to passivity."

Listen to the video of the man I interviewed yesterday asserting the huge gulf that exists between government and "the avearage Joe" and finally taking the positive step to complete a voter registration form. He defied his justified pessimism with an affirmative act.

Rico, join the A Team and campaign for OPTION A. Only A can deliver a fairer and better island government.

Anonymous said...

"Kristall Nacht" commentary- you're so right and a good laugh too ;-)

Rural St. Saviour- I also live in rural St. Saviour and will also be voting Option A. Much better than spoiling a paper and letting Option B slip through. That really would be game over for plebs (rural or urban).

Sam Mézec said...

The problem is, every abstention or vote for C from sensible people like Rico and the readers/ commenters on this blog, is a vote for keeping the current system or letting Option B slip in.

Option A may not be perfect, but Option B is game over for democracy in Jersey. That will be it. We'll have a perpetual dictatorship from the rich countryside. Unless we can get the money to launch a human rights challenge, it will stay that way for decades.

The only way to stop that is to vote for Option A in huge numbers.

42 is quite a drastic drop, but it is the number that was recommended by the Clothier panel who were not biased and Establishment like the last Electoral Commission.

The Isle of Man has only 10,000 fewer people than us, but they have only 24 elected members representing them. So they get by with far fewer than us, and I suspect that we will get by with 42.

The problem that distorts it is the fact that at the moment, some parts of the island have too many States Members and some have too few.

St Helier needs more States Members, whereas the countryside could do with less and no one would be over-worked.

Option A gives more States Members to the areas that need it. St Helier needs 14 to cope with the workload of constituent cases etc.

As for the Troy Rule, well, the Troy Rule can be abandoned at any time if the States want to abandon it. Which Option we end up with is irrelevant to that. But I suspect that it will be easier to keep the Troy Rule under Option A, because its the only equal system and the Constables won't be all there to vote as an over powering block.

rico sorda said...

I believe that the group campaigning for option A should make it very clear that they are supporting an option that comes from a bunch of stinking dog poo and that if option B was to win (which I think is likely) they will be taking it to the privy council.

They must make this clear so as not to look like sour grapes when the result comes in. What is the plan for campaign group A when B wins?

rs

Anonymous said...

Rico,

The plan needs to be for Mike Dun to run a tutorial class in how to petition the Privy Council, and soon.

If you are really determined that the choices offered are not adequate, get Mike to do it this week, and submit the petition before the referendum. Regardless of when and whether the PC deigns to look at it, you will be seen to have been unaffected by the result.

Other than that, vote for Option A as the best of a bad job. Bailhache may not be around for much longer if the CoI comes up with the goods...

Anonymous said...

How out of touch are these guys. How soulless and self serving do they need to be. How careless and abusive of their power!

Anonymous said...

Rico, I'm a member of Option A (A Team) and Reform Jersey.
I haven't met anyone who is entirely happy with the referendum. Some site the downfall with the 'take over', others state the skewed option imbalance, some blame the States for accepting it, quite a number are concerned about the Troy Rule jeopardy and recently the PPC and general lack of organisation has raised its head in some quarters. Yet despite these issues and disappointments the teams are positively on the case.
Regarding 'what happens if opA don't win and Opt. B does scenario', ...don't worry. These groups are not going to fizzle after referendum day on the 24th April.
Please vote Option A and encourage everyone to do so. We know it's not the best, but its by far the best on the table- I personally wish they hadn't cherry picked Clothier and took the package- how much better it could have been for the last 13 years. But we are where we are and we need to sieze what ground we can- for the people. This is the peoples option, by which I mean the 99% although in Jersey its more like 88%. In order to vote you will need to be registered by April 3rd. You have to take this form to your Parish Hall. Encourage other people who live with you to also sign up if they are eligible. Here is the form-
http://www.gov.je/SiteCollectionDocuments/Government%20and%20administration/F%20Voter%20registration%20form.pdf

You can check with your parish here-

http://www.parish.gov.je/

to enquire if you are already on the electoral role (list). Please note- housing qualifications does not mean you are on the list. Some people seem to be confused about this. And some people are not aware that their electoral form needs to be re-newed every 3 years. Thank you :-)

Tom Gruchy said...

You must not forget Rico that the Privy Council is elected by nobody and certainly has no long record of being fair to snotty oiks making constitutional challenges - but it is there as a last resort no matter what result comes out of the Referendum!
Jersey's lack of democracy will continue in many forms for a long time to come so if you have a mind to appeal to London, Strasbourg or Geneva there will be many opportunities and plenty of time.

In the meantime you can support the "Option A" call for reform by putting the Constables back into their Parishes ONLY where they can do really useful work...more reforms can and will follow I promise..!

Anonymous said...

I head on Radio Bean this morning a trail for their "Politics Hour" (a whole hour a week!!) but for some reason they couldn't be bothered to actually include the time it will be on!

Do they assume we're listening to their drivel all day long anyway?

voiceforchildren said...

Rico.

The Jersey Establishment closes ranks AGAIN