I write in response to the excellent letter from the former Deputy of St Clement Gerard Baudains (22nd January). I was disappointed that Mr Baudains was not re-elected in October, not because I share his politics (because I certainly do not) but because I always admired the fact he would never let the government say anything without it being challenged and because he was clearly an independent thinker who would never allow himself to be spoon-fed by the Council of Ministers.
His observation about the lack of effective challenge in the current States Assembly is absolutely right. We are facing 3 years ahead of us of a government which will attempt to force through unpopular measures to hide the dire financial state in public funds they have created, whilst most States Members will simply nod them through unquestioningly. At the same time our Chief Minister is trying to create a public image that he is a caring leader by proclaiming that he will prioritise reducing poverty, yet has refused calls to raise the minimum wage, thus proving that his claims were completely insincere. Also the Chief Minister has not lifted a finger to help the workers at JT who are being exploited, as he has been preoccupied with trying to create insecurity in work by increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims.
But what I cannot agree with Mr Baudains on is when he says there is no opposition in the States anymore. He is wrong. There is an opposition and it’s called Reform Jersey.
Any casual reader of the JEP will have noticed that it is Reform Jersey’s States Members which have been dominating States question time and have been putting forward proposals to try to undo some of the damage being caused by the Council of Ministers. Despite only having 3 States Members we are able to punch well above our weight because we are well organised and because we work together towards a common vision. That is why Jersey needs party politics.
Reform Jersey does not claim to have all the answers, which is why we would urge any Islander who feels disaffected with the current government to join us. This next year will see us formulate a proper policy statement for how Jersey can have a future with a democratic government based on principles of social and economic justice. Anyone who wishes to contribute ideas to that statement would be more than welcome!
Deputy Sam Mézec – Chairman of Reform Jersey