I understand the existential dilemma that one Deputy faced when he said the choice was between John Major and Margaret Thatcher. I myself wished Senator Gorst good luck moments before he went into the States Chamber for the Chief Minister vote. I meant it. Now that he is elected I can say that I am genuinely relieved by the outcome. Gorst strikes me as a straight Tory, rightwing, but straight. In the land of crooked government, where the “Old Corruption” is rife, that is a blessing. No more cover ups? Let’s hope so.
Gorst has a social conscience I assume. There is the Christian thing which he takes seriously. Having been social security Minister, he probably genuinely has some awareness of the polarised society that Jersey is becoming and the existence of poverty. The policies he ultimately pursues may reflect these concerns. Perhaps he will encourage diversification of the economy, create jobs and address unemployment. Whilst the affairs of state floundered under Senator Terry Le Sueur, the new incumbent is well aware that action by government is necessary on a whole range of pressing issues.
I'll huff and i'll puff and i'll blow your house down
Ultimately Jersey’s rulers have no real options – it’s a rudderless ship in turbulent seas – so it makes no real difference to the final outcome as to which personality rules. Bailhache said it all with his set piece answer on the collapse of fulfillment; a planted question by Senator Ozouf. He could only but fulminate against the British government for a purely political act designed to appease domestic small business interests whose gripe was really with the internet and not with the Channel Islands. These sudden changes came in defiance of a memorandum of understanding in place ten years that made fulfillment “neither illegal nor immoral”. The sad reality is that by April next year fulfillment will be closed and the redundancy notices going out before Christmas. None will admit, but its the sacrificial lamb whilst the real game continues.
I was asked in advance by a visiting German TV crew what my reaction would be if Philip Bailhache were to be elected, to which I replied “Its Berlin 1933”. They smiled. It was rhetorical of course, but they knew what I meant.
One of the benefits of Deputy Trevor Pitman’s successful proposition on the vote for Chief Minister is that we get to see which way States Members voted. No cover up and secrecy, just accountability and public awareness. Needless to say, our “other Deputy” in St Helier No.1, James Baker, voted for Bailhache, just as he said he would at the Hustings. Curiously, his sponsor, Senator Routier, voted for the other candidate. Were they hedging their bets in No.1?