Wednesday, 3 August 2011

First time voter – aged 60. Winning back non voters to Democracy

Are the non-voters beyond redemption? Can they be won back to Democracy? There is no “Apathy” in St Helier No.1 District; there is only sullen dissafection against a political system that ignores the social and economic interests of working people.
Continuing my series of interviews with the working people of St Helier, I speak here to Jeff. He lives in District No1 St Helier. The views of working people are never expressed or addressed as such in any of our island media. Those I have interviewed repeatedly refer to themselves as “the forgotten”. This interview is my attempt to give a voice to the working people of St Helier, as I will if elected to the States of Jersey as a Deputy.

Jeff is on long term incapacity benefit, having faced five heart bypasses, all in one go. He is a 60 years old Mancunian who realises that his working live is at an end. He regrets this but acknowledges job prospects are few in contemporary Jersey for someone of his age, experience and health issues. He refers with nostalgia to the thirty golden years of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s when Jersey offered prospects of economic prosperity to working people. Now he is convinced it is cheaper to live back in England.

He tells us about being the manager of a laundry when Jersey had a tourism business. A lifelong Trade Union man (Transport & General) he shares his views on unionism in the island.

He expresses the frustrations of working class life in Jersey. He has never voted, but the day before yesterday I arranged for him to complete a voter registration form and get on the electoral role. Will he be voting on 19th October? I will be doing my best to ensure he does, in the same way that I will be encouraging thousands of similar individuals in District No 1 St Helier.

1 comment:

  1. The interviews with Jeff and John are especially relevant to the Health review and consultation now under way. Above all they show how difficult it is to care for large men (or women) in their own homes rather than within an "institution."
    Care in the comminity is a simplistic ambition. John's home is adapted and spacious and provided by the public service but Jeff rents privately. How many homes in Jersey could be adapted to care for somebody like John and where are all the carers coming from?

    Bearing in mind too the levels of discrimination that apply regarding housing accommodation in Jersey - who precisely does Deputy Pryke have in mind with this suggested policy? Can't imagine that many portakabins and lodging houses will be adapted for workers severely disabled at work....will "care" have its own qualies tag in the future?

    Tom Gruchy asks