Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Youth Branch meeting for the Option A campaign

Date - 2nd April
Time - 4pm
Place - No. 20 Commercial Buildings, St Helier

Next week, during the Easter holidays, I'm chairing a meeting to hopefully form a Youth Branch for the Option A campaign.

Anyone who considers themselves young is welcome to attend and have a discussion about the role we young people can play in the referendum campaign to secure a resounding victory for Option A.

If we get ourselves organised quickly, we can get school groups sorted to put up posters and canvass their school colleagues to build up support from one of the most important electoral groups in the island.

Option A provides a chance for islanders to finally all have an equal say in how their island is run, no matter where they live in Jersey, and to bring Jersey into the 21st Century. This is something that should resonate with young people who are a lot smarter then they often get credit for, and who still have an idealism not eroded by years of cynicism.

So if you are young and want to be a part of this, or know people who are, please come along!

The meeting room is next to Normans opposite the Steam Clock. It should be easy to find, but if there are any problems, please give me a ring on 07797 811130.

One of my first experiences of being vocal about local politics was in 2008 during the Senatorial election campaign, in which my school Hautlieu hosted a hustings specifically for young people (16-18) who had just been given the vote.

There were around 21 candidates in that election, yet only 20 students turned up to the hustings.

The JEP wrote a big article with a picture of the practically empty hall with a big headline criticising young people for being apathetic. I was pretty infuriated by this portrayal of young people and wrote my first letter to the paper to set the record straight.

The reason the meeting had been so poorly attended was because the schools had done virtually nothing to let the students know that it was actually going on. It wasn't mentioned in assemblies, no teachers told us about it and it wasn't on the school noticeboard. I only heard about it through word of mouth from someone who knew one of the candidates.

From what I gather, this was exactly the same in the 2011 election.

Frankly, the schools need to pull their finger out. We have been trying to organise some sort of school debate and be allowed to go in and do talks on the options and canvass young people and we are hitting all sorts of pathetic stumbling blocks.

How can a democracy expect to flourish if they don't allow politics in school? When I was at Hautlieu we had no political education whatsoever. I was lucky that I had a fantastic history teacher Michael Sheldrake who did his best to keep us informed, but it was not an official thing.

Obviously it's important to avoid indoctrination, but the schools way of doing that appears to be to just cut out any political discussions whatsoever, which is totally counter productive.

Regardless, we'll persevere and do our best to try and spread the message.



  1. Not quite on topic, but reference yesterdays CTV, from an observational perspective, it would appear that the only students ever invited to attend a mock States debate are from the colleges/grammar, maybe I'm wrong, but if that is the case, it sends out a odd message. Surely, all students should be offered the chance to have an introduction to politics, that may go some way to help get better turnouts.

    1. I did the Youth Assembly in 2008 when there were reps from JCG, Beaulieu, Vic, De la Salle and Hautlieu. As far as I'm aware, Highlands started getting invited after that, but I don't know what happened at the Youth Assembly the other day.

      The Youth Assembly is a brilliant think that should be expanded upon. In Scotland they have permanent Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament where they get together very regularly to debate topical issues and talk with politicians to get their views across. Definitely something that Jersey should develop on.

  2. As Tony's Musings omitted to allow some of my previous postings through on his site and as now he requires everybody to be identified (cannot accept the argument), please post my response to his latest rant.

    Tony - I cannot believe what all the fuss is about, Jersey at the very least should just do as Guernsey has done, no problem with Parish officials, in fact they have more time to look after the Parish, unpaid.

    If they were more interested in cash or wish to take on the full time responsibilities of a Deputy they will stand for the position of Deputy and get voted in on a fair basis.

    Jersey need to make voting fair, as Peter Roffey explained a few weeks ago in the Guernsey Press, having the Constables as automatic States Members is not democratic in the 21st century.

    I must say the 'B' option is just absolutely crazy, how to stitch up Jersey Internationally hang on to a Banana Republic mentality.

    1. Don't muddle the Jersey system with Guernsey's. Guernsey has never had the strength of Honorary System that Jersey has. There is no merit in this comparison.

  3. You mean Guernsey did away with the Honorary System many years ago, whereby the public with connections could ensure their sons/daughters got off from potential charges and have since introduced a Police System that is on par with the UK.

    One of the issues that has been discussed between Guernsey/Jersey has been to have have one Chief Officer but the stumbling block is the Honorary System in Jersey not being compliant with modern days policing.

    What matters most is fair voting, those who are doing such a great job as constables and states members should all welcome being voted in fairly, the Parish arguments are just a distraction.

  4. Tony's Musings - "A question that would undoubtably spring to mind would be why no challenge to the existing system had ever been mounted, when it is clear that the same arguments would apply as much to the status quo."

    Surely that is a very simple question - I would expect that most people who want a fair system, would say, let's try to fix the problem ourselves if for some illogical reason that is not possible then make a legal challenge!.

    Tony's Musings - "I have been told informally that at least one of the people involved thinks it highly unlikely that any such challenge would succeed."

    I do wonder who thinks that!, I hope it is not from the person who was rather surprised that part of the referendum would not meet the international obligations of the Venice Commission.

    1. I think you're spot on Anonymous.

      Why would we bother mounting a human rights challenge when there is a referendum in a few weeks? That would be an insane waste of money. If we win the referendum, most of our objections (though not all) are sorted.

      Human rights challenges are very expensive and very time consuming. So if we could grow up and be a mature democracy and fix it ourselves, why bother? Tony doesn't seem to realise that logistical point there.

      On the Venice Commission, I've heard a few people say that I'm talking rubbish on it, but when I challenge them to clarify what exactly I am saying is rubbish, not a single one will give me any explanation.

      It's the old "you're wrong, because... well... you just are".

      Not good enough I'm afraid! I've done the maths, and these people can't even be bothered to get their calculators out.

  5. Sam,

    Laugh!! I nearly wet myself, at last the JEP (perhaps un-wittingly)has given us some 'facts'. Tonight's News Focus has dedicated itself to The Referendum, but more importantly it spells out who is backing Option A,B & C. Well the names pretty much say it all with regards to Options B & C, all the past slimy eels that have taken this beautiful Island into 'darkness', in Option B one particular individual (who from personal experience)you would most definately not want to leave alone with your wife or daughter (he will know who he is)this first grade scumbag is nothing short of a total disgrace. The rest of the 'criminals' whoes names are attached to Options B & C are to say the least, less than to be trusted. OPTION .A. and ONLY OPTION .A. NO SECOND CHOICE...THE CONSTABLES MUST BE OUT!!!

  6. Loving the fact the only the A team were clever enough to include some foreign language translations on their blurb to gather support. Neither the B or C group had the foresight to do anything but English, says a lot to me about the quality of people in the A team and the shocking ignorance of the B & C teams.

    Option A all the way :-)

    1. Full posters in French, Portuguese and Polish are on their way!

      If we have time Bulgarian and Romanian would be good too.

  7. I was very much of the option A opinion, but I am not quite sure now whether the constables should remain in the States and not sure how I will vote yet. At least you could argue that the constables are more approachable and maybe be a check on the council of ministers with a smaller states chamber?

    Although this vote is obviously important, there is a much more important vote coming up on the 30th of April in the States chamber. Well it is certainly more important to many of you younger people, probably less important to me.

    The proposal I am referring to is the one pertaining to social housing reform.

    It has been widely reported that states rents will increase by 20% to cover the cost of refurbishment, but that was all smoke and mirrors to mask the real objective of the proposal, namely to make the housing department in to a private company solely owned by the states of Jersey, then to borrow up to £160 million on the open market to fund the refurbishment project. That loan will be guaranteed by the tax payer.

    Increasing the rents will raise no extra money at all, it will actually cost the tax payer millions extra in private sector rent subsidies, but it will increase the value of the new company, therefore allowing it to borrow more.

    We have no public debt in Jersey at the moment, but is this the sign of things to come, there are other states department who they plan to incorporate.

    I say it is important to younger Jersey residents as it is you that will have to repay this money if the business plan fails. This is the sort of things governments around Europe have been doing for the last decade, now it has come home to roost.

    You could call it intergenerational robbery!

    Would be interested in others views

  8. Tony's Musings ""You cannot voter equity on the one hand and the link with the Parishes on the other. They are apples and pears. You cannot have voter equity if the Constables remain in the States, the commission has conceded that, but equally you cannot have a constitutional link with the Parishes if you have an Assembly composed only of Deputies representing large Districts. So which is the more important?"

    THEY ARE APPLES AND PEARS - So in fairness, the Constables could be provided with a link with the States, but as they would not be elected on a fair equity basis they should not be allowed to vote, simple, in fact there is no real need to have them taking up seats as they can forward their concerns of their Parishioners via Deputy Surgeries, although going by some of the turnouts they might not have much to discuss.