Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Are two referendums better than one?

On Monday the Electoral Commission published it's interim report on electoral reform, which you can read here. They are also going to send copies to every household in the island. The public consultation is now back on for you to submit your views on what they have proposed. I encourage you all to do so, or attend one of their public meetings. I'm preparing a submission and will post it here when it is completed (though it will essentially just repeat the points I am making here).

The first point I want to make is that, in some ways, the recommendations is better than I could have expected, but there are still some issues that need to be addressed, particularly process. Much of what the campaign group Reform Jersey that I am involved with had been saying has been said to be accepted by the commission.

A brief summary of the recommendations are as follows -

  • Abolition of the position of Senator and the island wide constituency.
  • Island to be divided up into 6 super-constituencies, based on combining parishes (with St Helier split into two), with roughly equal populations.
  • The number of States Members to be 42.
  • Each elected on the same day for a 4 year term.
  • The issue of whether Constables remain in the States to be put to a public referendum.
  • Thus, the States would either be entirely the new Deputies, or 12 Constables and 30 Deputies.

The commission has further said that it is still considering the possibilities of adopting a transferable voting system and the possibility of an upper chamber.

The Principles

One major criticism that Reform Jersey had with the commission was it's apparent lack of guiding principles behind that reform. We said that any reform must be based on an idea of what "democracy" is and how the best way to practically form one in Jersey is, rather than just shifting things about to see if it works. A key moment in the public hearings was the interview with Daniel Wimberley who really took them to task over the issue and interrogated them on their strategy. The transcript can be read here.

Reform Jersey argued that any reform must have these three principles at it's core -

  1. Each voter should have the same number of votes.
  2. Each district should have the same population.
  3. The system should be simple and user friendly.

The first thing to note about the interim report is that they overtly state that these three principles were accepted. Including the most welcome addition of a fourth principle that said "A candidate should generally require a significant number of votes in order to be elected to the Assembly". Obviously this is something we welcome.

What I also noticed was this particular line "With thriving debate, and greater public participation, Jersey’s government will have a better claim to be founded upon the bedrock of popular consent."

This is the first time they have actually hinted on what the point of this whole thing is. You'd have thought with this as your supposed starting ground it would be very difficult to go wrong. But all is far from over yet and it is still possible for it all to go wrong.

Referendum v Referendums

Interestingly the commission have declined to make any decision on the Constables (which would have resulting in strong criticism from either side, no matter what) and said that it should be put to the public in a referendum.

Now, I am not scared of a referendum. I'm confident that in a fair contest, my side of the argument would win. But I do have real problems with this both on principle and practicality.

On the principle, the commission has laid out their guiding principles and they are simply incompatible with keeping the Constables. If the commission believes all districts should have the same population, they cannot also say keeping the Constables is acceptable. It appears that even Senator Bailhache is admitting that if the public chose the version of their recommendations that kept the Constables, it would be even less democratic than the system we have now. So why even offer it as an option?

To offer it for a direct vote also accepts the principle that these things should be decided by majority vote. Democracy isn't about just doing what the majority say, it's about much broader principles. If the majority decided that red haired people shouldn't be allowed to vote, even though that's a majority decision, it's not democratic, because it doesn't accept the principle of each person being equal. That is the crucial point. The Constables in the States is not democratic by objective standards.

But there are also the practical implications to wonder. I had always thought that the commission would come up with recommendations and that would be put to the people in a simple yes or no question like "do you agree with the Electoral Commissions findings?". Simple, no ambiguity and no room for interpretation.

The new proposal complicates things.

What happens now? Is there going to be two referendums? One for the Constable issue, the other for the rest of the proposals? Will there just be one referendum on the Constables and no option for the status quo? Or will there be one referendum but with three options?

All of these have problems.

If there are two referendums, what happens if the public vote to get rid of the Constables, but then vote against the remainder of the recommendations? Or if no one wants either option, so everyone stays at home instead of voting? Or if in the 3 option referendum, no option gets over 50%?

Any of these options will mean it is impossible to accurately interpret the will of the people. A complicated question means a complicated answer. If it isn't simple and straight forward, it will have no legitimacy and could even be open to legal challenge.

If the commission is truly committed to those principles it described, then it should not recommend another referendum. Just put the option without Constables to the people. That is the most effective way of solving this.

What was left out

The commission deliberately left out some issues that it is considering further.

The first of these was whether to swap from first past the post to a transferable voting system. As vocal I have been about my views on the Constables and democracy, at the end of the day, this issue really is just as important. The outcome of a first past the post election is almost always a legislature that does not accurately reflect the views of the population in a proportional way.

For a great argument in favour of STV check out former Senator Pierre Horsfall's submission to the Electoral Commission here.

The other thing they are considering is the use of an upper chamber to scrutinise legislation (as opposed to scrutinising policy). I've said before that I think it's a waste of time. If there are enough members in the main chamber, there is no need for another. That is where I may take issue at there only being 42 members. They say there should be fewer members, but to then suggest an upper house that would probably bring the number up seems to be contradictory.

What now?

It's clear that of the commissions two proposals, one of them is clearly a winner that would solve a huge amount of problems in Jerseys electoral system and is clearly far better than what we have now.

The option of 42 "Deputies" in super constituencies based on the Parishes isn't far off what Clothier recommended. I would prefer the constituencies were drawn up on population and kept up to date with an independent boundary commission, but what is being recommended is certainly tolerable. It's this option that we need to single out and demonstrate is clearly the better option.

One things for sure, regardless of all of this, I really am looking forward to getting stuck in with a proper public debate on the issue. This should be a big deal, being given a direct say on issues like this. There should be campaign groups, leafleting, knocking on doors, public debates, it's going to be great!

I'm really proud to be involved in such a positive campaign with Reform Jersey and glad that the principles we have argued for are being accepted.

Finally, please follow Reform Jersey to keep up to date with the campaign. What Reform Jersey stands for makes sense and is logical and our lobbying has clearly had an impact.




p.s. I did actually have to look up whether it's "referenda" or "referendums". Apparently referenda is for multiple issues, referendums for the same issue. Damn confusing!

Nick Le Cornu's blog here has video footage of the presentation and questions on the reform package.


  1. Sir

    Given all the hysterical hype based on false predicitions from the usual cynics it is nice to read a sensible analysis that lays out the facts in such a clear and sensible way. Well done.

  2. Bearing in mind that ponderings can so easily become ponderous it is a pity that the Commission chickened out of cutting the Constables thus giving some leadership on the matter.
    And we could have all copied the Guernsey example without all the discussion - but since they obviously do government much better in Guernsey we might as well follow suit.
    Presumably the referendum will be a straight forward yes or no to a simple stay or go question and the most votes one way or the other will win? No % majority or the status quo prevails?

    Personally I think that the Constables should be given much more work at Parish level, with a beefed up (or whatever the veggie option is) Committee of Constables that is open to public participation and supervision and they should be funded according to their Parishioners' own generosity...

    1. The commission carried out a public consultation which showed that support for and against constables was roughly equal. How could they possibly have decided on this issue? Further public debate should be welcomed?

    2. There was actually a majority (though not a landslide) in favour of removing the Constables from the States, and their arguments were much better than those against.

      But what the proportions of support are are irrelevant. It's not about who likes what and trying to please everybody. It's about the broad democratic principles and what is in line with those.

      The Commission accepted 4 democratic principles that are at odds with keeping the Constables.

    3. In the relevant slide I seem to remember it was 52% either in favout of keeping them or against. Can anyone clarify?

  3. The MSM will probably go with Bailhache and convince everybody that the Constables should stay, the MSM will give total bias to that view. So a campaign will struggle, but is necessary.

    An upper chamber would end up with Bailhache, ILM, etc.. it would end up being the control centre replacing the council of senators.

    1. It's odd because Senator Bailhache has actually already admitted both in the meeting and in the actual report document that the option of 30 Deputies and 12 Constables is actually less democratic than the system we have now.

      That means, if he wants to campaign for keeping the Constables he is OPENLY campaigning for something less democratic. There will be some that support him no matter what he does, but the majority of people that voted for him will be people who could be convinced not to if they thought he wasn't doing a good job. If he campaigns overtly against democracy, then the people will see right through it.

      As for an upper chamber, we haven't had any details yet, though the word "honorary" has been used which is worrying. Any upper chamber has to be democratically accountable. But apparently it is meant to be more for scrutinising legislation rather than policies, so presumably, no ministers would be allowed to come from that house. We need more details.

    2. I was at the meeting and PB seems to be backing the 'no constables' option by repeating at least twice that the with constables option would be less democratic than what we have now.

    3. I hope that he does back that option. Though it does go completely against what he said in his manifesto which was that the Constables had to stay in the States.

    4. PB actually said "I do not support the removal of the Constables from the States" which is a bit less severe than saying they "had to stay".

      As a non-cynic I suspect PB will not campaign either way.

    5. In the PPC debates on setting up the Electoral Commission he did actually seek to have it inserted in the terms of reference that the commission could not consider the Constables removal, so it isn't unfair to say his opinion was very strong on the matter.

      But I think you're right that'll stay quiet on the campaign.

  4. Clothier said nothing of the sort about "superconsituences". He wanted to keep small Parish constituences, with just MSJ (member of the States of Jersey, effectively Deputy) as the sole category of member. St Mary would stay St Mary, but have 1 member in the States under Clothier. No Senators, No Constables. But the same Parish units.

    A sure fire recipe for "safe" country seats, in my opinion!

    1. Agreed, I've never liked the idea of small constituencies for that reason that it's possible to get uncontested elections. Last election there was even a Parish that had two seats both uncontested! Guernsey has no uncontested elections and no safe seats, so I think it's totally right to make sure Jersey is the same.

  5. It won't make any difference. It's just meddling with the engine's air intake while the rest of the car is rusting to bits. Politicians are still a******es, regardless (in the main).

    The only real change it would make is the drop in numbers. That means less opposition to the Clowncil of Miniatures. Once the ministers have coopted more than half of the assembly into their fold, the 'opposition' back benchers are outnumbered and powerless. THAT is their real objective.

    1. "Politicians are still a******es, regardless (in the main)."

      I see what you did there, LOL
      Main. LOL

  6. There seems to be a small group promoting the Tom Gruchy approach. It puts constables back to their origins and strengthens the parish system while removing the gross disparity of representation produced when constables vote in the States. It is not my preference, but I think it acceptable to the Jersey voters.

  7. Sam at the meeting yesterday it was made clear that there is only one referendum, but with 2 questions

    1. Thanks for clearing that up, I wasn't at the meeting because I'm in the UK and no one had relayed that point to me.

      For me that doesn't change the issue. Two questions in one referendum is still totally undesirable.

  8. Sam

    Nice post. I hope you can see through all the cynical views and help lead a sensible, balanced, mature and informed debate on this issue. Sadly, the anti-PB brigade are not helping.

    1. I completely agree with many of criticisms that they make and have had real problems with how he has conducted himself politically from the start and I was totally against him having anything to do with the commission.

      But I don't believe in being cynical because it accepts the idea that victory is impossible. I prefer to be sceptical, where I don't take things at face value and my instinct is to criticise, but if sometime is good, even if I didn't expect it to be good, there's no point in pretending it isn't.

      I see a real chance for victory here, and if we assume that we will lose, then we already have.

  9. Sam,

    For those unable to attend the meeting yesterday the speeches and comments afterwards can be heard here http://district1sthelier.blogspot.com/

    and on YouTube


  10. This morning (tuesday 23) at 7.00am Matthew Price was inviting the public to 'phone in or e-mail and join in the discussion on whether Constables should be in the States. I 'phoned in immediately and was told that BBC would phone me back.

    Price's programme then went over to discussions on different matters such as the Community Savings "bank".

    At 8.05am Sen Bailahache and Adrian Lee (from Plymouth but apparently live in the Jersey studio) gave their thoughts. Price once again invited the public to 'phone in and and apparently suggested that the two guests could be engaged by the public.

    At the conclusion of the discussion with Bailhache and Lee the programme continued with discussion of other matters such as education and an interview with an ex headmaster etc.

    Just after 9.00am Price was again inviting the public to 'phone in to discuss on air the Constables question.

    At 9.19 am I was put on air as the first member of the public allowed on air to comment. My contribution lasted only seconds because I tried to complain that having 'phoned in over two hours before, that this was typical BBC bias etc and when Price tried to talk over me and I asked him to shut up I was immediately cut off with Price claiming that he "didn't want to be insulted on air by a man who is going to tell me to shut up".

    The public were then allowed to speak on air and several did so until 10.00am.

    Significantly, many interested listeners would by then have gone to work etc and the BBC Jersey Radio broadcast split at 9.30am to cover the States debate on medium wave.

    Make no mistake, this is how the public discussion will be loaded against the "Constables Out" lobby.
    The "accredited media" will be fully and totally complicit in keeping the Establishment voice at the forefront.
    There will be no fair and free discussion through the established media because this will be totally under estabishmant "State" control and the "OUT" lobby will be totally minimised and marginalised.
    Today's absurd behaviour is just a taster.
    The "Constables Out" lobby must try now to demand that the debate is between members of the public on a fair and equal basis. The Electoral Commission has opted out of its TOR mandate to give a lead on this matter one way or the other but we all know that the full weight of government resources will be used in support of the status quo UNLESS we object and demonstrate to prevent it.
    Make no mistake - this morning's absurdity is just a practice run in the mainiplation of the media stakes.

    I have of course complained to the BBC - but this is a pointless gesture.

    Sit back, do nothing and trust to good fortune if you like - but the inevitable result will be that Constables remain in the States and we all know who has masterminded the whole strategy.

    I am Mike Dun.

    1. To be fair, what did you expect!!! If some one asked me to shut up on air I would cut them off too.

      If you want real bias try posting a polite comment on Trevor Pitman's blog disagreeing with him and see if it ever sees the light of day.

    2. That's prolly because he gets so much garbage from The Local Troll that he wearily assumes that any dissent is from the nutter.

    3. Sir

      I do hope the debate doesn't get sidetracked by anti-JEP propaganda. The JEP are not controlled by the establishment. The idea that it is is just something people say when they don't like what the JEP prints. The JEP is controlled by commercial interests. It is commercially in their interests to print stuff people want to read.

      It would be nice if all effort now was focused on the task at hand rather than regurgitating the same old anti establishment conspiracy theories.

      The lines are drawn and I for one think the next few months could be a very exciting time in Jersey Politics.

    4. Whether the JEP is establishment or not, they are certainly capable of lazy journalism and being biased (as any paper is) and I think it's right to hold them to account on that (just as we should the BBC and other media).

      I've never accepted the argument that their editorial line is driven by their commercial interests. You're obviously right that they would want to print what people want to read, but what people want to read is the news, but there are a million different ways to put the news across. The JEP would be equally as commercially viable if it reported the news in other ways. The fact they take the editorial line they do is their choice.

      Also, they don't have any competition in the printed media to force them to up their standards. If people don't like the JEP there isn't another paper for them to turn to. They can't vote with their wallets.

      If the JEP reports on the campaigns responsibly (i.e. giving both sides equal coverage) then we'll have a good an exciting time. But if they do what they did during the election which was give Philip Bailhache a disproportionate amount of coverage, I will fall down on them like a tonne of bricks.

      I have actually recently been blocked from the JEP facebook page. On two occasions this week they posted updates that were misleading that I aimed to correct. The first was a simple status saying something like "there will be a referendum on the Constables", to which I pointed out that actually that is just an idea that is still being floated, that may well not happen. The status was then quickly deleted. This morning they posted a picture of todays front page with the headline "Senator kicked woman who had rejected him". I said that it was unfair not to include the word "allegedly" in the main headline (instead it was relegated to the subheadline), because the case is still on going and nothing has been proven. This post then quickly disappeared and I found that I have now been blocked from commenting on anything they post, despite the fact my comments weren't abusive and didn't contain any swear words.

      This is the JEPs attitude to criticism of their standards of journalism.

      I highly recommend a read of these posts from Deputy Tadier's blog detailing some correspondence he had with the editor of the JEP.



    5. My hopes were short lived. Looks like I shall have to look elsewhere for balanced views. Shame.

    6. Sir

      Accusations of bias against the JEP rarely stand up to unbiased scrutiny. They are normally just the product of bias on the part of the accuser blinding them to anything that doesn't support their own bias.

      Competition would not necessarily force them to up their standards. It could actually have the opposite effect as rivals would be forced to lower their standards to out do each other. A race to the bottom.

      If PB did have more coverage during the election then maybe it was just because he was more interesting. Let's face it, 18,000 people seemed to be interested in what he had to say. He was/is newsworthy. Commercial interests seem more probable to me than some establishment conspiracy. They are a limited company responsible to a bunch of (non-local) shareholders and at the end of the day if an editor doesn't meet the boards expectations on circulation and revenue then he/she is replaced. Commercial interests come first.

      I think any commercial organisation is entitled to edit out criticism from their public profile. If you want to complain then why not write to the editor. You don't go into a supermarket and see 'I think your crisps are sometimes stale' printed on a packet of Walker's. I can't think of any other industry that is expected to print criticism of itself. If you go to a Restaurant's Website you might see some customer recommendations. You wouldn't expect to see complaints printed on the same site would you?

      Not printing your comments is not a reflection of their attitude towards criticism of their standards of journalism. It is just sound commercial practice.

    7. "That's prolly because he gets so much garbage from The Local Troll that he wearily assumes that any dissent is from the nutter."

      What or who is 'the local troll'? Is it one person? How would he know that?

    8. I have just read Deputy Tadier's links above and I have to say that I can see both sides of this (I have no axe to grind, no political preferences etc). I think the Deputy's Tweet about the journalist was completely out of order. I think he deserved to be rebuked by Chris Bright (which was by way of a private communication). It's nice to see a boss sticking up for his staff.

      Complaints like this should in my view be dealt with in private. When the Deputy tweeted his 'incompetent/liar' comment he overstepped the mark. A person in his position should know better. In other working environments and in this PC world his actions could be viewed by some as bullying.

      I'm sure the deputy would be the first to complain if he were called a liar in the States.

      His complaints about inaccuracies appear genuine and I would expect a man of his skills to find a better way of addressing any shortcomings.

      If they don't already, then I think the PPC should issue guidelines on blog and twitter usage and the public should have an easy way to seek redress if they are the victim of on-line bullying by a states member.

    9. My blog doesn't pretend to be balanced, it says on the side that it takes a democratic socialist position on things.

      But I don't censor any views, so the comments section is balanced.

    10. Some people say you can still take a democratic socialist position and remain balanced, whilst others say you can't.

      I like the comment above about Walker's crisps, but remember, other brands are also available...

  11. I'm sorry, firstly the BBC failed to call you back on topics which you had no wish to comment on (Such as the community savings bank)

    When the subject you wished to comment on was finally opened up to public discussion, you were the first person given the opportunity to comment.

    And rather than discuss the subject which is so close to your heart, you decided instead to insult the presenter ?

    Unless the BBC knew which side of the constables discussion you were going to take, how could they possibly be guilty of discriminating against you if your initial contribution was to be insulting ?

    I thought you were intelligent. The only absurd behaviour on display seems to to be your own I'm afraid.

    Re-read your paragraph bookended by the 2 'Make no mistake' comments above. It doesn't sound like a well argued case put forward by an intelligent proponent for electoral change. It's the sort of paranoid, left wing invective, which feels it has to include INAPPROPRIATE CAPITALS, that we have got used to reading on other less discriminating blogs. Neither the comment, nor your attempted spinning of the radio issue, are indicative of a mature, reasoned approach to this issue, however I'm sure the 'KEEP THE CONSTABLES IN' lobby are delighted that one of their most articulate opponents is now resorting to this behaviour.

  12. To answer your question. I think one is better than two. Nice and simple:

    - 42 deputies with no constables
    - 30 deputies + 12 constables

    Nice and simple

  13. 'If you want real bias try posting a polite comment on Trevor Pitman's blog disagreeing with him and see if it ever sees the light of day.'

    Unfortunately, as we are all aware from his behaviour, and recent court case, Trevor's ability to criticise is not matched by his ability to take criticism.

    I'm pretty sure that even he doesn't believe that every post which disagrees with him is from one individual. It's just convenient to paint it as such as it implies that there is only one person who disagrees with him (whom he is also constantly at pains to paint as deranged). It's classic propaganda technique.

    It's pretty obvious that both sides of the political spectrum are equally guilty of propaganda. Your own prejudices will simply make it seem as if the other side is more guilty. (which ironically might mean that you are perhaps more susceptible to your own sides techniques than the oppositions !)

    More power to you Sam for keeping the comment section as free as possible.

  14. Just brushing up on propaganda technique, and it makes quite interesting reading in the light of tactics used by certain blogs: (with many references to wikipedia, and accepting that this applies, in certain cases, to both sides of the political spectrum). I'm sure nobody would actually admit to knowingly using any of these techniques !

    1) Ad hominem - obsession with attacking an individual, regardless of message

    2) Ad nauseum - obsession with repetition or constant revisiting of a subject or event

    3) Appeal to Authority - The use of those with, or having possessed, authority to support an argument

    4) Appeal to fear - 'If you tolerate this, then your children will be next'

    5) Appeal to virtue - The use, or overuse, or virtue words such as 'the Truth' used to elicit positive image response in the target audience

    6) Appeal to inevitable victory - invites those not on board already, and reassures those already on board

    7) Black and white fallacy - You must either be with us, or you are against us

    8) Common man - Attempts to convince the audience that the proposer reflects the common sense of the people, winning the support of those who distrust foreign sounding or intellectual speech, words or mannerisms, even when they show no actual support for the proposition.

    9) Cult of personality - An individual uses media to create an idealised and heroic public image, through publication of unquestioning flattery and praise

    10) Demonising the enemy - Obsession with creating a hatred or distrust of the opposition

    11) Labelling - Creation of a category or faction to be criticised where the wider body can be defamed without fear of legal recourse. e.g oligarchy

    12) Name calling - Used to incite fear and arouse prejudice. Intended to provoke conclusions divorced from impartial examination.

    13) Obfuscation - Generalities are deliberately vague so that the audience may supply its own interpretations.

    14) Obtain Disapproval - Used to persuade a target audience to disapprove of an idea or action by suggesting the idea is popular with groups who are disliked, feared or held in contempt by the target audience.

    15) Oversimplification - Favourable generalities are used to provide simple answers to complex social, political, economic or military problems

    16) Pensee unique - Enforced reduction of discussion by use of overly simplistic phrases or arguments (There is no alternative to war)

    17) Quotes out of context - Selectively editing quotes to change meanings

    18) Rationalisatoin - Using favourable generalities to rationalise questionable acts or beliefs

    19) Scapegoating - Assining blame to an individual or group, distratcing atttention from the inability of the accuser to fix the problem

  15. Just for the record - in case my critical commenter here is interested - the BBC always asks at the outset what a potential participant on air is proposing to say. Thus at 7.00am I had to explain whether I was for Constables or against them etc.
    The prime agenda (7am until 9am) as described by Matthew Price was to have a discusion about the Constables' issue.
    I am not aware (from memory) that there was any phone-in participation about the other matters discused in the studio during the 2 hours.

    Once again an advantage was afforded to Senator Bailhache to present his own agenda without challenge.

    I was allowed on-air outside the 2 hours slot advertised when most listeners would have gone to work etc and having been kept waiting for over 2 hours - is that not insulting in itself to me? At the outset of my curtailed few seconds I stated that I was not in favour of Constables being States' members and then tried to protest at my treatment. Matthew Price proceeded to talk over me and I asked him to shut up. Without any further indication he pulled the bung to silence me. He of course claimed "insult" - what a joke.

    Mike Dun

  16. To the moron that tried posting a comment that was obviously never going to be published - grow up.

    Firstly, you know full well that I wouldn't engage in any discussion on that topic because of how inappropriate, unprofessional and possibly even illegal it would be for me to do so.

    And what you said about me and who I allegedly support is actually totally inaccurate. If you're going to try and be provocative, at least get your facts right...

  17. I know that this off topic, but just looking at Deputy Pitman's latest 'truth review', isn't it amazing, even when some of his tactics have been discussed on this blog 5 days prior to the video being put out, how many of the propaganda tools listed above he still can't avoid employing ?

    22 comments and not a sign of one dissenting voice ! Plenty of ad hominem attacks, unquestioning flattery, name calling, and puerile references to Gary Glitter though. What a great example to all our young people of how a states representative should act.

    Sam, the left have never needed somebody of your calibre more.

  18. Is that you they're talking about on PlanetJersey?

    "The young man who appears to be acting as the chief protagonist for this group clearly wants to be a States Member. Therefore he is willing to do whatever is needed to become a States Member. By grand Jersey tradition, that means associating yourself with existing States Members and acting as a front to represent the views of some of them so that the public doesn't cotton on that the agenda has been set all along by those with a vested interest."

    1. Looks like it. Thanks for pointing that out.

      It's a shame, I've always had respect for that commenter and his well thought out and reasoned views.

      The problem is, some people are cynical and pessimistic about politics in Jersey (which, to a degree, you can understand) and will just never be pleased no matter what. Whereas it's far better to be sceptical and reasonable, that way you can grasp the good things when they come along and make someone of them. I have been at the forefront of criticising Bailhache right from the start over the Electoral Commission and it's conduct. But now that they've written a report that actually endorses everything I've been campaigning for, am I supposed to denounce it like he is suggesting?

      If Reform Jersey wins the campaign and we get the first option that the commission has suggested, democracy in Jersey will improve. I just can't understand why someone wants to stand in the corner as a lone voice, making silly attacks on me (that are completely unfounded as it happens).

  19. PJ is just a joke I'm afraid. Contributions from most of the 4 active members are usually illiterate, idiotic, naive, or in many many cases, all 3.

    Such a shame, as it was originally an interesting site, but it has just withered into a negative whingefest, populated by unhappy people with exactly the same views and prejudices. It's just really dull and depressing to constantly read how fed up, but how willingly uninformed or uninspired, they are to do anything about it except moan.

    Shows the ultimate danger I guess where everybody just agrees with each other all the time.

  20. For the record, here's the discussion with my reply -


  21. Well done for standing up for yourself, but PJ is really a waste of time :-)

  22. What you have written Mr Me'znec on PJ adds to the discussion and clearly you have done your research. The problem is that not all people in Jersey agree with you, or agree in some parts but not all parts to the case you have put forward. It is also clear that the press have amplified any genuine positive statement you have made, to give the impression that all is well and the EC are doing a great job.

    The fact as you know is the hole process has been hijacked, that would have not been done without good reason ! This is why people are very cautious and so they should be.

    It would also appear that a Troll has side stepped your moderation, in trying to rubbish PJ, I thought the debate was about reform of Government. In my opinion PJ is to serious at the moment, but it is the only Jersey site that does not have to follow any particular blog owners ideology. It also gets big reader numbers in real time.

    The Constables need to be voted in as head of the parish, and in a seperate vote as a states member in an island wide vote, otherwise as you have mentioned in an early blog, if the EC do not advance this idea then they are side stepping the rules of proper democratic principles.

    Long may the debate continue, but I am not to hopeful of a fully democratically balanced terms of reference being offered to the States or a fair referendum to the people, Turkeys and xmas attitude is evident by this EC.

    1. I certainly agree with a lot of that.

      Out of interest, regardless of the States views and how the EC has behaved, if the option of 42 Deputies in 6 super constituencies is put to the public in a straight yes or no referendum, how would you vote on it?