On the basis that all publicity is good publicity, it was a pleasure to read the article about me in tonight’s edition of the Jersey Evening Post newspaper. I had not formally declared my intention to stand as such announcements are traditionally reserved for the period just before nominations, which will be in September. Not that it does any harm, because at least the electorate will be forewarned when I knock on their door to discuss politics and elections. The article was based on the Newsletter that I have been circulating around homes in District No 1 in which I do state my intention to stand. That’s as good as formal announcement.
Making an announcement early shows, I hope, my commitment. I want to be Deputy for No.1, the district in which I live. There will be quiet a number who will stand for election here and I know some who have already said they are considering their prospects. Let’s hope they declare early like me so that the electorate can see their caliber that much sooner.
There are bound to be a few “outsiders” chancing their arm that this is the soft underbelly of the States. Traditionally District No.1 has been a back door for a number of “Establishment” candidates who have ill served the electors once firmly ensconced.
Sitting Deputies also have a tendency to think that they have a preordained right to be reelected. Disillusionment with the existing Deputies is everywhere I go. To be fair to them, its disillusionment with the possibility that change is possible. Working people understand instinctively that there is much wrong with the “Jersey Way” but cannot articulate it in a systemic way nor suggest any real solutions. One of the questions I ask is can you name the deputies in this district. Very few can and that applies equally to those who say they vote at every election.
The tone of the JEP article was to emphasise my support for the idea of political parties. Its true I do. The banner headline was “Political party backer to stand for Deputy”. However, my Newletter did not mention anything about political parties, so I can only assume it was either deliberate and mischievous or simply poor journalism. I was not contacted by the JEP to discuss my newsletter, although I did have one missed call from them on my mobile. The journalist clearly was not that concerned to call back and tell me they were doing a story and find out more about my intentions.
I describe Time4Change in my Newsletter as a “pressure group” and not as is described in the article as a political party. It is not a political party and has never been conceived of as such, let alone being registered legally as a political party for election purposes.
For the JEP the use of the expression “political party” is a code word for “left wing and dangerous” and by association anyone who might favour such developments is to be considered in such terms.
We have a long way to go before there is a credible opposition. Those that might constitute one prefer to be prima donnas and hate the implications of accountability that would flow from their being part of an organised and mandated group.
Elsewhere in the world, political ideologies and differences are expressed in the form of political parties. A number of the major offshore finance centres in the Carribean and elsewhere have them albeit there is very little political difference – just an in and out group of elites. That parties do not exist in the Channel Islands is a reflection of their political backwardness, or more precisely that the interests of working people have not been translated into a coherent political representation. Parties and party politics are vital ingredients of a vibrant democracy.