Thursday, 22 March 2012

The father of the Electoral Commission has denounced it!

Just a short post today to draw attention to something important.

On Friday I received an advance copy of a letter and press release by former Deputy Daniel Wimberley who was in fact the "Father" of the Electoral Commission. He authored the original P.15/2011 proposition for an Electoral Commission and saw it be accepted by the States. Since then, the Privileges and Procedures Committee has been usurped by Senator Bailhache who was able to get the terms of references changed and allow States Members to become members, and was duly elected the Chairman himself.

In this press release (which can be viewed here) the former Deputy has emancipated himself from the commission and denounced it's legitimacy. Now, my readers will know that I will agree with this point of view wholeheartedly. The nature of the commission has been totally changed from what was originally intended and has been bent to the will of the Establishment. The States Members on the commission have an inbuilt majority and the role of outside expertise has been done away with to ensure that the outcome is pre-determined and no tough questions are asked.

The main point that Wimberley is making is that those with integrity should not take part in this commission. The inclusion of fair and right minded people onto the commission now would be totally futile and would only play into the hands of the Establishment by legitimising what they have done, when what we should be doing is utterly condemning them for stealing our peoples commission. That being said, there is talk about organising something to be submitted to the commission from the progressives so that the commission can't later claim that they weren't aware of what we actually want.

So if anyone reading this happens to be approached to sit on the commission, please think about what effect it will have and whether you really want to legitimise something that is doomed to failure.

Team Voice have conducted a 20 minute interview with Wimberley which is well worth watching. It can be viewed here and here. He makes the profoundly simple point that the States were just unable to grasp in their debate on the commission, that this reform isn't for the States, it's for the people. The view of the States Members is not important, it is the view of people that counts.

The serious problem that we are eventually going to be faced with is how to react to the inevitable referendum. I have said that I would very much like for the eventual referendum to include a third option of the Clothier reforms, which I could happily vote for with a clear conscience, but I have no idea how feasible this is and whether it would command any support (I'll look into this, if anyone has thoughts on the idea I would really appreciate some feed back in the comments section!).

If the referendum only has two options; the status quo and the Bailhache reforms, I could not easily vote for either. The status quo is terrible and the Bailhache reforms may possible be slightly better, but voting for them would appear to endorse his work and will be used by the Establishment to try and silence any further debate on reform for a few decades and we will be left with a States of Jersey that isn't democratic.

Until next time,


  1. Just to clarify on referenda

    My first version of the Electoral Commission proposition gave the commission the right to put forward TWO solutions if they found that there were two equally deserving solutions and they honestly mcould not decide between them.

    The trouble is, that effectively makes for a 3-way choice for voters:

    a) vote no to both - i.e. a vote for the status quo
    b) vote for option 1
    c) vote for option 2

    The chances of one option getting over 50% (or as I suggested initially, 60%, but this was rejected) then become pretty small.

    AND, I do not think you CAN have a referendum with more than one option.

    So I ditched even trying to have two options before the debate.


  2. My initial reaction was to have a total boycott of the whole charade. However a little reflection and some comments on facebook make me think a campaign of submissions is the only way to effectively deal with this. A mass of comments and submnission by the public along the lines of 'this commission does not have the support of the public and we have no confidence in it' is the only way I can see to prevent the railroading the outcomes where the public have a choice of two options acceptable to a coterie of States members, but of no merit to the wider public.