A Week in Politics

- Advertisement -

So I guess it’s a good thing that on Tuesday’s nomination meeting, every single one of the 21 proposers proudly proclaimed that their candidates had it.

Integrity, in fact, was the one factor that bound the candidates together – beyond, you know, the fact that they were standing in the first place.

By my count, 14 candidates had ‘passion for Jersey’, which is probably quite good too. I mean, you wouldn’t want a bunch of people with no morals who couldn’t care less about the Island running the States, would you?

Anyway, the point is that even if it was just on a subconscious level, it’s interesting that the quality that most proposers wanted to get across about their candidates was ‘integrity’. It says something about what they think about the people they were proposing, but it also probably says something about what they think voters want to hear, and about the qualities they think that voters believe are missing. And that’s pretty sad.

I’ve been covering the States, to a lesser or greater extent, for almost nine years. That’s longer than the vast majority of States Members – I think there are something like 15 out of the 53 who have been there longer than I’ve been sitting in the reporter’s box. And I don’t think, in all that time and with all those States Members come and gone, that I’ve come across more than a dozen or so who I would say genuinely lacked integrity.

I mean, I might disagree with what they have done and how they have gone about it, but I would have to stop short of saying they were bad people. Take the GST exemptions proposition by Deputy Carolyn Labey as an example. I reckon the 25 people who voted against it were completely wrong, arrogant to have ignored what is fairly clearly the mood of a vast majority of Islanders, and bewitched by some fairly transparent shenanigans.

But there’s a flip side to that argument: that the £4.8m given back to Islanders is better targeted through additions to benefits and tax thresholds. Yep, it makes no sense to me either, but there’s an argument there somewhere. And the fact that someone follows it doesn’t mean they lack morals or integrity just because I don’t like it.

Anyway, the point is this: there may this year be more candidates than ever before – so many, in fact, that the hustings are in some ways going to be little more than a joke. But you’d have to be pretty lucky to be able to find six out of the 21 Senatorial candidates who perfectly balance out your own political views, priorities and desires.

So read the pamphlets, get to a hustings (or even better, one of the ‘Meet the Candidate’ events), read the coverage here or out there in the blogosphere or just give them a ring or drop them a line. Because whether they say they’re on the left or the right, and no matter what their campaign promises are, there is no real substitute for meeting them to make your own judgment on whether they reallyhave integrity, and whether the image of Jersey that they say they are so passionate about matches your own.

OKAY, that was all a bit deep – back to the nomination meeting. Twenty-one candidates, two hours, three reporters, and yet another Chelsea match that I had to miss because of pesky democracy (the same thing happened during the 2005 Deputies’ election. Coincidence or conspiracy? You decide).

It’s time to pay tribute to the greatest campaign cliché and the worst exaggeration of the night. First up, one proposer pulled out the greatest cliché of them all, and actually – with a straight face – informed the audience that ‘our children are the future’.

That’s a line that even Hillary Clinton would choke on, and if I could only remember who said it, I would tell you. But my right hand was shocked into paralysis and although I have a crystal-clear recollection of hearing it, I can’t for the life of me find a record of it in my notes.

And having got into enough trouble in my life for haphazardly attributing half-remembered quotes, I’d better leave it there. Education Minister Mike Vibert is not so lucky – his proposer, Iris Le Feuvre, informed the audience that he had sorted out the free nursery care lottery. He hadn’t. Not at the time of the meeting, anyway.

In fact, in his five years and ten months in charge of Education as committee president and then minister with a budget of around £98 million per year, he hadn’t improved matters one bit. It’s all sorted out now, of course, thanks to a late Business Plan amendment. But that’s not really the point.

Either way, in case you’re still not sure about voting, you would struggle to find a more convincing argument about why to vote than the defeat of the GST food amendment proposition ten days ago.

The result of the two days of

debate was a dead heat – 25 votes each way – so the proposition was lost.

This is a proposition that has a

direct effect on every single Islander and on which there has been an overwhelming public interest. And with just one more vote, the result would have been completely different.

It doesn’t matter whether that vote would have come from a Senator, Constable or Deputy – so don’t go thinking that your vote doesn’t matter.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.