Friday, 27 September 2013

A Rebuttal to JEP Propaganda 4 Re Reform

[EDIT - 30/09/2013 - I have added the letter I sent to the JEP regarding this editorial at the end of this blog post]

Just when you thought the JEP couldn't stoop to new lows, they surpass our expectations again.

Perhaps the most absurd editorial I have yet to read -

This comes after a few weeks where the JEP has actually done some excellent reports about the catastrophic failings in Jersey's mental health service with countless islanders who are incredibly vulnerable being totally let down by the system.

This is the sort of the thing the JEP should stick to, not these absurd editorials written by people who are clearly paid too much.

But here we go, one bit at a time -

"In essence, the 47-Member structure now on the table would, if approved, consist of six Senators, 12 Constables and 29 Deputies. However, the allocation of Deputies among the parishes would be changed to increase St Helier’s quota while – and this beggars belief – depriving St John, Trinity and St Mary of this category of representation"

It only beggars belief if you're totally ignorant on the subject. Though in fairness, that is probably a fair excuse for the JEP's editors.

I'm sorry but "category of representation" means nothing. What matters is just that second word - representation.

When in the States, Deputies and Constables do exactly the same thing. Their roles are identical. In most Parishes cases, they even represent exactly the same land mass.

In the small Parishes without many people living there, a second representative is superfluous.

"But if the idea of depriving three parishes of representation were not idiotic enough, the committee’s proposition goes further"

This is the part that annoys me the most.

No Parish is being deprived of representation.

The editor of the JEP is misleading the public of Jersey.

The Parishes will still keep their Constable. That is representation.

What he means by "depriving three Parishes of representation" is "depriving three Parishes of their unearned and undeserved privileged status".

What this editorial completely ignores is that in a proper democracy there is meant to be a correlation between representation and population. The fact is St Mary has one States Member for every 876 people, whereas St Helier has one for every 3,047 people.

If St Mary wants to keep a Deputy and a Constable, then to achieve equality St Helier would need 38 Deputies. I cannot for one moment imagine anyone thinking that is feasible or desirable.

So since St Mary wants to keep their Constable, they must sacrifice their Deputy. It is only fair.

How on Earth can we expect to have a sensible and informed debate in Jersey when the editor of our only newspaper peddles such nonsense? He was just being misleading, plain and simple, and he should retract it.

One final point on this I will make is that it is strange witnessing the editors indignation when he himself lives in Trinity which is a rotten borough that doesn't have contested elections for either Constable or Deputy on a regular basis. 

"Given the fiasco of the last referendum on States reform, the idea that there should be another will set jaws dropping in every corner of the Island."

Just because one referendum was a fiasco, doesn't mean all referendums are doomed to be fiascos. That's just illogical.

There are several key differences between the new referendum and the last one -

1. The last referendum was based on a biased report made by people with a financial and political interest in a particular outcome. The next referendum is based on a report that was written by independent people.

2. An option on the last referendum was objectively and quantifiably unfair, the next referendum option will be a fair system.

3. The last referendum was held on it's own and had a terrible turn out. The next referendum will be held on general election day and will be guaranteed to have a higher turn out.

4. The last referendum used a new voting system that made it harder to get a clear answer of what the will of the people was. The next referendum will be a simple yes/ no question that will lead to an unambiguous answer.

Of these factors combined makes this next referendum the referendum we should have always had from the start.

"As those jaws drop, their owners will very likely be thinking thoughts along these lines – they took no notice of what people said last time, so why on earth should the process be repeated?"

Again, the editor is being misleading. They did take notice. They took notice of the fact that most islanders weren't interested, they took notice of the fact that the majority who voted did not vote for Option B and they listened to the concerns of those that had legitimately opposed Option B on the grounds of unjustifiable unfairness.

The States voted the same way the public did. A majority against Option B. That's just a fact, but it's obviously beyond the JEP to understand it.

"The argument that the issue should be consigned to the background until there is enough breathing space to return afresh to the whole matter and start again from scratch is compelling. Only that radical approach offers the prospect of delivering realistic and acceptable results"

How very convenient for those that benefit from the current system.

The fact is, St Helier's under-representation is in dire need of being corrected. They need more Deputies to give constituents the attention they need and the louder voice they deserve to get the issues that affect them addressed. The current system doesn't do that.

PPC's proposal gives a short term fix, with a pathway to fixing it long term. How could anyone oppose that?

The current system is broken and we all know it is. The answer is not to sit back and allow it to perpetuate itself for more years.

But finally, the last part I'll address is the first paragraph of the editorial -

"The latest proposals for reforming the structure of the States Assembly, put forward by the Privileges and Procedures Committee, can be described very simply – they are an insult to Islanders’ intelligence."

No. The only insult to islanders' intelligence is this pathetic editorial piece, filled with illogical vitriol and downright untruths.

It is the JEP that is taking islanders for fools and feeding them this garbage expecting them to believe it.

But since they have hegemony of the printed media, it is up to us ordinary islanders to spread the truth by word of mouth. So I urge any one reading this to make sure they bring the points home when talking to their friends and colleagues about these issues.

I regularly get strangers wanting to talk to me about topical issues, and when they get all of their information from the JEP, it is normally incredibly easy to change their opinions in just 30 seconds by politely giving them an alternative point of view they hadn't considered before. Unfortunately there are a lot of people on the island so it takes more than just one kid with a blog to make a difference.

I intend on writing to the JEP and will publish the letter when it is done.

In the meantime, I better get ready for my gig tonight!


Letter to the Editor of the JEP -

Dear Editor,

I read the JEP’s editorial comment article “Reform: Piling farce upon fiasco” on Thursday with disbelief. I have not read such an ill informed and mischievous editorial for quite some time in the JEP and I had, perhaps misguidedly, thought those days might be passed us, given how good and balanced the JEP’s coverage of all sides of the referendum debate was.


What PPC have proposed for the States is a masterstroke. Everybody on this island knows that our electoral system is utterly broken. It is too complicated, it encourages voter apathy, and (worst of all) it is unfair. To go into the next election with this system unaltered would be unconscionable, but it has to be recognised that there just isn’t enough time to come up with a comprehensive reform in time for 2014.


Instead, PPC have proposed to go into the next election with the current system, however the Deputies seats will be reallocated to take into account the huge changes in population there have been since 1948 to make sure they are spread around fairly, whilst keeping the Constables in the States. It is simply illogical to argue that a system made in 1948 should be kept intact for 2014.


Fairness is what PPC is trying to take a step towards, so it is very disconcerting to see the JEP opposing it. You make the outrageous statement that somehow St Mary, St John and Trinity are being “deprived of representation”. This is utterly ridiculous. The role of the Constable in the States is identical to that of a Deputy. In small Parishes having a Deputy as well as a Constable is simply superfluous. They will still be represented; the difference is that they will be represented to a degree that is more in line with their population.


The population of St Mary is 1,752, meaning they have one States Member for every 876 people. Contrast this with St Helier with a population of 33,522 meaning they have one States Member for every 3,047 people. How anyone could argue in the 21st Century that this is fair is beyond me. Any proposal that doesn’t make some steps to redressing the under-representation of St Helier is doomed to failure. But PPC has accepted this point and said that any progress must be on that basis. Contrary to your column, that is not idiotic, it is common sense.


Under their interim reform, St Mary will have one States Member for every 1,752 people and St Helier will have one for every 2,394 people. No matter how the JEP attempts to spin it in your editorial columns, that is progress.


The reform process has been an absolute sham ever since Senator Bailhache hijacked the Electoral Commission which was originally supposed to be independent of States Members and therefore able to reach conclusions without worrying about their own financial and political interests. We’ve already had an independent electoral commission; it was called the Clothier Panel and it’s about time we were offered a say on that. I look forward to voting “yes” next year in the referendum we should have been given 10 years ago.


PPC’s proposals represent the best way forward for democracy in Jersey. It is the JEP’s editorial column that insults islanders’ intelligence, not PPC.

Samuel Mézec
4 Le Jardin a Pommier
La Rue de Patier
St Saviour


  1. Sam.

    Excellent deconstruction of the continued propaganda spread by the disgraced Jersey Evening Post. Although Deputy Montfort Tadier has also done an excellent deconstruction of his own IN THE PAST.

  2. As you know the jep readership is going down by the day, and their editor soon will be gone.

    The jep and establishment are clutching at straws/on the ground kicking.

    Let them go disgracefully!?

  3. All I can say is, it wouldn't be reported like that in the Guernsey Press - you ought to invite Richard Digard of the GP, to run an article in Guernsey based on the facts, that you could then point to as an accurate report (as he always does).

  4. Sir,

    How can anyone possibly back STV and AV in elections when the clear 55/45 result in the referendum is spun as a loss for option B? Option B won. We don't know why people didn't use their second preference just as we don't know how many A voters voted B as their second preference. The simple fact is B was the most popular option on the day.

    1. It has never been spun as a loss, you are misleading my readers.

      I've never denied Option B won the referendum. It did.

      But it was a terrible system and deserved to not be implemented. If you are going to implement a system that leaves St Helier voters as second class citizens, you need a bit more than 49% of the vote from a tiny turn out.

      There is a difference between a "result" and an "answer". I say that in virtually all of my posts on the referendum.

  5. Wow Sam! This is a brilliant post- well done.
    Perhaps 7 could be;
    'the last referendum included a jolly in Barbados, the next referendum won't.'

    Anon yesterday at 22.08 Good idea. Perhaps you could find a solution for the BBC too. BBC Guernsey still has 'Talk Back' (2 hours) and we only get 'The Politics Hour' (much less than 1hr with traffic, news and controlled stories. Once when Mathew Price was interviewing, he even played 4 songs! unbelievable) - wierd that ey?

  6. "It is simply illogical to argue that a system made in 1948 should be kept intact for 2014"

    Hi Sam,

    Hate to be technical again but there is one minor point to note.
    Since 1948, a small change was made to the number and distribution of the Deputies.
    I supply my own information that I researched from the Almanacs in the Library for the years 1965 and 1975. However, I don't have the detail of which Parish or Parishes benfitted from the extra seats, nor the date when this minor reform was made.
    In 1965 there were;
    - 12 Senators,
    -12 Constables,
    -10 Single Member Deputy Seats and
    18 Multi Member Deputy Seats.
    52 in total

    In 1975 there were-
    -12 Senators,
    -12 Constables,
    -9 Single Member Deputy Seats and
    -18 Multi Member Deputy Seats
    53 in total.

    I think St. Brelade was given an extra seat but not sure of other changes.
    In all other respects, supurb letter and blog-
    Well done.

  7. This bears repeating; from the 2nd page of comments (#215) at

    2 October 2013 15:02
    "A civilised Jersey conservative" said...

    Mr Syvret, the magnitude of what you have done may well be lost on most of your readers. It isn't lost on the legal profession nor intelligent observers further afield. You have, as you correctly observed, 'faced down' the Jersey courts. People never, and I mean 'never', 'face down' a court. At least, not if the society is respectable and the person not a tyrant with an army at his back. Or, of course, in the case of an ordinary person like yourself, no court confident of its respectability would be 'faced down'. Our society is not respectable. And alas our courts even less so. As some 'higher external power' has finally had the good sense to recognise, it would seem. There can be no other explanation for you not being in prison. I am, incidentally, glad that you are not, and relieved, and deeply saddened at the same time. I've savoured a certain schadenfreude when discussing the situation with other lawyers & saying 'I told you so' when reminding them of the innumerable times I said 'no good would ever come of the folly of the actions against you, and it could only end in lasting damage to the island'. So it has come to pass. It saddens me that so many colleagues have been too fearful & foolish to have moved to stop this madness (and that is not an inappropriate word)when our Crown Officers embarked on the lunacy several years ago.

    Will you be a candidate in the next elections?

  8. Stuart Syvret, the former Jersey Health Minister and Ex-Political Prisoner speaks on journalism being made illegal in the British dependency of Jersey by the hijack of the Jersey Data Protection Law:

    Perhaps CTV could cut and paste this and pick up another of those 'Royal Society' television award thingies?

    Does anyone remember their last one ????? PMSL

    Does "CTV" stand for Coverup-TV ? -it seems so.