My submission to the Electoral Commission can be read on their website here. I shall be attending an oral hearing with the Commission tomorrow Friday 17th August 2012 @ 2pm.
I have attempted in my submission to give a certain historical explanation of why we are where we are now and how the States Assembly arrived at its present structure. More importantly I have sought to explain why a democratic structure was never implemented after the Second World War. I mention that in 1943 the Jersey Democratic Movement issued an illegal leaflet with demands for a reformed States Assembly that essentially prefigured Clothier by sixty years. We are still waiting.
There is a woeful ignorance among politicians and public alike about the development of the States Assembly. The books on the subject are now long out of print and collectors’ items. As far as I know Roy Le Herissier’s seminal 1972 “The Development of the Government of Jersey, 1771-1972” is not on line. Dr John Kelleher’s “The Triumph of the Country” is also difficult to obtain. We have no historical knowledge of the franchise and who was entitled to vote and what percentage of the population had the vote at various times.
I am stunned, but perhaps I should not, that a Constable or should I say Connétable, can write in a submission the following:
"DeputyThere must have been a good reason to give Parish political officers the title of Deputy however, today it is more confusing as I often get the question asked “are they your Deputy” and I reply that it is just a title for their political role."
Could I venture to suggest that Deputy as a title is an anglicization of the French député; the sort of representative that sat in the various French legislatures from the time of the Revolution. The Loi (1856) sur l'augmentation du nombre des membres des etats, introduced the first directly elected members of the States. The numbers in the States was increased by fourteen Deputies, three for St Helier and one each for the other parishes.
We have an interesting line up for tomorrow with hopefully some strong voices in favour of real reform. We also have the die hard reactionaries who will no doubt be advocating a Second Chamber. The idea of a Second Chamber has become the party line for all loyalists, never ever having been mooted prior to now. It is utter folie de grandeur that the parish council should have an upper house. The intention is entirely anti-democratic.
Ultimately the UK government has responsibility for good government and if our elites are unable to deliver, then the Sark precedent of intervention is evident for all.
The running order for tomorrow’s oral hearings at St Pauls Centre is as follows:
10 am: Deputy Sean Power
10.30 am: Mr. Daniel Wimberley
11 am: Deputy Trevor Pitman
11.30 am: Mr. Reg Jeune, CBE
12 noon: Mr. Mike Dun
1.30 pm: Deputy Geoff Southern
2 pm: Mr. Nick Le Cornu
2.30 pm: Senator Alan Breckon
The public are welcome to attend. Full report in due course.