Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Fightback – Why bother? The Establishment has already won.

Black and White Party lapel badge (also available in Gold and Enamel by Carl Faberge)

I thought I had a virtual monopoly on idle rhetoric, slogans and otherwise ineffectual words designed to motivate the people away from Coronation Street, onto the streets of St Helier and into the voting booths.  It seems not.

Why on earth was former Senator Pierre Horsfall resorting to martial language in his nomination speech of Establishment Party Mary O’Keefe Burgher? What was all this stuff about “fight back”, “old school” and “new types”? Somehow, I cannot see Mary as the incarnation of the White Counter Revolution. However, one does not have to be a political scientist to recognise the battle cry of class struggle.

Are the Establishment worried? Surely not! Can it really be that the prospect of another three years of endless, repetitive and boring speeches by the "other lot" of States Members, is forcing them to get organised.

Pierre Horsfall, is very much the old school of “safe hands on the tiller” rather than “up and at’em”. Has someone been writing his speech? The tone has changed significantly.

They already have the nucleus of a government around the six Senators not up for election, and since last night a load of uncontested Constables and two Deputies from the Rotten Borough of St Lawrence.
The soi-disant Progressives are going to end up with exactly the same number of States Members as before, give or take a few casualties.

Am I being defeatist? Certainly not. What is needed in not simply quantitative change, in the sense of increased numbers of States Member: it is actually qualitative change. That is where I come in and the Establishement know it. They surely fear the election of a capable and politically informed lawyer like me. It would help to form the core of an opposition based on intellect not rhetoric. No more Uncle Toms either.

Elephants and ritual humiliation
Ever the opportunist, I cannot resist making a political point to an audience. So it was at the nomination meeting in the Town Hall yesterday. I was ambushed of course before the full thrust could be delivered. Never mind.

Each candidate in No.1 District was asked to stand up where they were and thank their proposer and seconder. I should have smelt a rat when the request did not include a request to come up to the rostrum and microphone, as was the case in the Senatorial nominations the night before.

Naturally, I thanked my proposer and seconder and was about to expand on political themes, when I was interrupted on queue by Darren O’Toole and accused of making a “political speech”. God forbid that a candidate should mention politics, but it is the polite convention that this part of the proceedings is narrowly limited.

Darren swings both ways in the sense that he is good mates with Gino Rissoli, but also likes to keep in with the Parish administration, so it was perhaps on their behest that I received the ritual humiliation and closed down. Such authoritarian intolerance is now drearily familiar. Incidentally Darren did not repeat his intervention technique when his good mate Gino extended his thanks into a rather longer “statement”. That would have been the end of the free coffees in Broad Street café one suspects.

Anyway, I did get in a few quips, before being cut down.

I wished all the candidates the best of luck and especially the Establishment candidates as they would need it. You should have seen the faces!! There were also a few laughs it must be said.

But worse, I went on to explain that one could spot an Establishment candidate by the number of what in France is called Les Eléphants, that is to say political dignitaries, that have signed a candidates’ nomination paper. I happened to be looking in the direction of Pierre Horsfall at the time sitting in the audience and caught his eye. He was not pleased.

Aferwards, in the side room where candidates gathered for photos and to organise the hustings, there was the usual polite greetings between those standing. When I introduced myself to Mary O’Keefe Burgher she wished me good luck with a certain degree of emphasis. Initially, the penny did not drop. I thought she was merely being polite. In fact she was repaying the compliment I had given her earlier in the hall. I have to say, sometimes, I am a little thick.

Moving Right

One further moment of amusement was at the time of the JEP photograph of all the candidates standing in No.1. With the curtain behind, the taller men stood in one row with the ladies and I in front.  John the photographer asked me to step to my right. I did so and moved back. He asked again, a little more forcefully this time and I complied. At that point Trevor Pitman quipped “Nick has never willingly moved to the Right” It got a laugh.

So, what was the point of moving to the right one pace? The answer rests in the subtilties of photography as propaganda. In Stalin’s Russia, the recently purged would be air brushed out of past official photographs. By moving to the right I was apart from the group. In a sense it is true. That’s where we come back to Establishment fear and anxiety.

Soon we will have to start discussing all those policies and things. How boring!


  1. Just as Gino will always mention transparency and accountability.. Mr Nick le Cornu will always mention the good old uncle Joe Stalin in a positive sense.. Kameraadski

  2. Anon’s little bit of RED BAITING is all lamentably familiar. When did I ever mention Stalin in a “positive sense”? He was a tyrant and enemy of Democracy. His crimes are long, including the death of a Polish member of my wife’s distant family (oppressed ethnic minority) and another child that died in the Ukrainian Famine/Genocide 1932-33 (Holodomor).

    One thing the writer of this note probably has in common with the Great Dictator is that both are authoritarian.

    I put social justice high on my agenda, as does another candidate in No.1, at least according to their Proposer yesterday.

    What a pity there is in this island such ignorance of the crimes of Stalinism. We know about the Nazis, another group of authoritarians of the Right. My father, who was here during the Occupation, has many tales of the consequences of the denials of Liberty.

    I think Anon is feeling a little insecure.