Monday, 14 November 2011

L'Étranger - Face in the mud

How did an Englishman, the outsider, get elected as Chief Minister? How did Bailhache, the JEP favourite and "Patriot", fall at the last hurdle? He said all the right things, he had the JEP to run his campaign, he topped the poll in the election and yet the laurels of victory were denied. The vote was close – 24 to 27. So, I can’t pick the winner even in a two horse race. 

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?


  1. 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.

    Not to mention his involvement with Overseas Aid and its projects.

  2. Hiding Behind God15 November 2011 at 00:22

    Nice posting Nick, I just hope Ian Gorst is not as devout a Christian as Le Marquand, else the pantomime will continue unabated.

  3. Strange that "they" could get their Man from Mars first past the post in District 1 against all the odds - yet failed to win the real prize. As you say the thoroughly bred favourite fell at the last! This must be the biggest upset since the Daily Worker tipped Foinavon to win the Grand National - and our very own Honest Nev was not even asked to give odds on the match!

    Certainly a day for good news - OZO didn't even run. Must surely be retired to the farm now along with a few others put out to grass.

    With several promising yearlings now in training "they" must be wondering if things could get any worse. The competition will hot up now and all runners will have to be keen to stay in the race. We cannot afford to support any that don't have the urge to succeed. Ears pricked, eyes sparkling - we are all under starters orders now......

  4. Why China? On Friday 25 November at the Star in St Peter is a serious attempt to meet and discuss Jersey's evolving relationship with China. This is ticket only and costs £20 to include a Chinese buffet. Details from jerseychina on Facebook or email or tel Tim Nash on 07700 724462. Book NOW

  5. Can "YOU" help us out with our E-PETITION please :)

  6. Saw you at the Why China? evening. What did you make of it - did you learn anything?
    Does it really matter if people in Jersey have any concerns about developments in China - as the speaker said we cannot influence a country with 1,300 milions people. So we must just carry on in our same old smug, insular way and Jersey is still the centre of the universe. Is that it?
    Tom Gruchy asks

  7. Gone a bit quiet around here. Are the troops resting their tongues and sharpening their pointed sticks for the battles ahead?
    Might we enjoy some renewed jousting at the scrutiny enclosure soon or shall it be another three years of the same old predictable name calling, flag waving, no contest banalities?

  8. Indeed, Scrutiny will be most interesting now that it is void of talent. Lets see how it runs. I am afraid it will be three years of banality. At least this will show up the farce that it currently is. None of this will matter much to the elite; their hold on power is complete.