Today Reform Jersey was officially registered by the Royal Court as a political party; its name and logo will appear alongside the names of candidates at the October 15 general election.
The reemergence of political parties was inevitable as they are at the very heart of democracy. Their absence for a decade and more is attributable to the weakness and disorganization of the island’s working people. This is hardly surprising. Jersey is a one party state and the name of that party is Finance. The interest of Finance has captured the island economically and politically. With that objective reality we live and will navigate to develop politics that allow for the emergence and expression of the working people, so long divided and ignored.
We need to shatter the myth that there is no party politics in Jersey, and indeed any of the Channel Islands. There is no need for a political party to express the interests of capital and the Right since working people are divided and disorganized. There simply is no opposition in existence that poses sufficient threat to the hegemony of the Right that they need to be organised. They will continue to field “Independents”, masking the nature of class rule, for so long as that system functions.
The emergence of party politics, or at least the creation of an organised opposition on a modest scale, is attributable to the economic crisis of which this is Year VI. As I left the States Member’s offices in the Royal Square this evening, a number of members were discussing rumors of emerging deficits in the government budget that the current Treasury Minister is desperate to hide in advance of the October 15 election. The low tax low spend model is coming apart as the state seeks to find ever more revenue by taxing further wages and salaries to the advantage of capital. At some point there has to be an inevitable resistance by working people to the degradation of their lives. The creation of Reform Jersey is one sign of that resistance.
Even sections of Finance are sympathetic to the creation of party politics. They recognise that the present inchoate structure with its half-wit Constables and general amateurism is becoming a liability. They want to see the formation of party of the Right to represent their interests in a coherent manner. This can only be done if there is a spur and the success of Reform Jersey will be that agent.
Reform Jersey has a hard task ahead. To succeed it must break a thick layer of ignorance and indifference that has grown in the minds of working people, who have become deeply cynical about all possibility of change. With voter abstention at dangerously high levels the functioning of democracy is impaired and the rule of the one party state seemingly immovable. Yet we know from history that political regimes collapse with surprising rapidity in response to underlying long term structural fractures. How confident are our rulers and how well can we organise to challenge that rule? This the historic mission of Reform Jersey.