Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Senators’ Nominations – so much hot air the fire alarms go off.

So we have thirteen candidates for four Senatorial seats.

The highlight of last night's nomination meeting had to be when the heat of the room set off the Town Hall fire alarm and we all had to evacuate the building. While some tried to get out quickly, others just got in the way. As those closest to the door reached the fire escape and looked out into the heavy rain and said “I am not going out there”, they created a blockage. Clever people! Had there been a real fire we would all be toast. Does this reveal something fundamental about the Jersey political class who had turned out in force for the event?

In a Senatorial election insiders read with care the names on the nomination paper and seek to attribute political affiliation. Will anyone ever believe that Daphne Minihane, Age Concern chairman, is anything other than a creature of the Establishment. She signed the papers of three top Establishment candidates – Sir Philip Bailhache, Ian Gorst and Freddy Cohen. When these three vote for an increase in GST, how will she explain to the poor pensioners (sorry “Middle Jersey”) who follow her, that poverty is to be born in dignity whilst Senators fly around the globe promoting Jersey Finance. When will the elderly realise their trust was betrayed long ago?

Advocate Rose Colley likes to play the Liberal. However, her choice of signatories exposed her naivety and absence of political judgment. Having a gay Lawyer as proposer is fine, whilst Deputy Bob Hill as a signatory reflects that conservative but essentially honest middle ground. To then have John Boothman was unwise. This may have been an attempt to reassure the political class that she is ultimately a “safe pair of hands”. It can only but alienate the progressive vote as he is a known hard Right political militant. The lady doth protest too much.

When thanking his Proposer and Seconders, Sir Philip Bailhache revealed his deepest anxiety.  He hoped there would be mutual respect amongst candidates at the hustings and attention to policies. I think the opposite will be the case and we all know it, however much we also detest the cult of the personality in Jersey politics. Until we have parties, manifestos and mandated candidates, it will ever be so.

Finally I note that the Establishment candidates all live in the Country Parishes. No class divide in Jersey then!


  1. You read things too narrowly Nick. Jersey politics is not really about political leanings.
    It is more important that somebody grows wonderful gladioli or has a vintage car and belongs to those appropriate networks. Bird man Stentiford is a serial nominator - of failed candidates usually - because he seems cuddly and mildly greenish. Who did he put the curse on last night?
    Supporting the slave trade never was seen as a political statement until the steam engine took over much of the workload. Being involved in the finance industry is no more "political" in Jersey than drinking soya milk. No doubt you will clarify some of the political issues once you are elected!

  2. Critic,

    I fully realise that Jersey politics is decided by clan affiliations. It is only insiders like you and I that understand these subtleties.

    The unfortunate ones are the large number of islanders who are not liked in to these informal groups that structure politics. Many of the immigrants and remember half the island is not Jersey born, are totally confused by the bizarre system that lacks parties, manifestos and mandated candidates. This is part of the reason for voter abstention – they cannot understand the system. That it is kept opaque is deliberate.

    I fully understand the ideological function of prize gladioli,yellow lines and speed humps.

  3. I shall be doing a blog soon on who does not vote and why.

  4. Good work Nick! Useful to know what is going on. As a UK supporter, i will not have access to the JEP tonight but would be intrigued as to who has signed Bailhache's nomination paper. Any chance that someone could post this information as i think it will offer an insight into Jersey's social politics.