Sunday, 3 November 2013

Email to States Members on reform

My email to States Members in the run up to the reform debate next week.

Also, anyone who is free (which probably won't be many because of the timing), come join us in the Royal Square at 9am on Tuesday to lobby States Members as they go into the chamber that it's about time they put aside their self-interest and gave Jersey a proper democracy.

Obviously if the weather is as bad as it is now, the lobbying might have to take another form!


Dear States Members,

They say that hindsight is always 20/20, and after the past year and a half of attempting to reform the composition of the States of Jersey, there are few that would say that big mistakes have not been made along the way.

After the hijacking of the Electoral Commission followed by the referendum debacle, the electorate’s view on politics and politicians in general has probably never been lower. Jersey already suffers from terrible political apathy and the States now runs the serious risk of losing all credibility and legitimacy if nothing is done to restore confidence before the next elections.

Reform Jersey wishes to canvass members to vote in favour of introducing a fairer electoral system in time for the next elections, so that the next assembly will be more likely to reflect the views and values of the public and can hold their confidence.

Namely, this means voting for -

  1. P.98 to implement the Clothier reforms, or if you could not do that in all good conscience without holding a referendum first, you could alternatively vote for PPC’s P.116. 
  2. P.86 to change the voting system to STV and AV. 
  3. P.110 to improve the actual election process and make it easier for islanders to vote. 

No jurisdiction can claim to be a proper democracy unless all islanders have a vote that is of more or less equal value. That is the current system's major failing, and that is principally why the States was right to throw out Option B in July, because Option B did not even attempt to rectify that fatal shortcoming. Any reform of the system has to take steps to reduce this unfairness; otherwise it is not fit for purpose.

The report commissioned by PPC and written by two professors as a comparison of all of the reform proposals is dynamite. The conclusion it draws is very clear and that is that the best of all of the propositions, on all criteria, is Deputy Southern’s proposition to adopt the Clothier recommendations.

As well as being the fairest and most democratic in the judgement of those two professors, it also has the benefit of having been created by an independent panel of eminent locals plus an experienced judge, who dedicated much time and resources to it. This contrasts with the rest of the proposals (with the slight exception of PPC’s interim reforms) that have been created by a single States Member with no public consultation or resources.

It is the fairest, most democratic and only credible alternative to the current system that has been proposed and we urge States Members to adopt it. Had the States adopted it 10 years ago, then we would never have been in this position and the States could have spent all of that time tackling the issues that really matter to ordinary islanders.

If you cannot find it in you to adopt such a significant change without first asking the public, then we consider it a reasonable compromise for the States instead to adopt PPC’s proposal to pass some modest changes for the next election and hold a referendum on adopting the Clothier reforms.

The public are sick and tired of so much time and money being wasted on something that is not rocket science. This week you have an opportunity to end this sad chapter in Jersey's political history and turn the page to a States of Jersey that is fit for purpose in the 21st Century.

A vote for anything that perpetuates the inequalities that are found in the rest of the reform propositions is simply delaying the inevitable and will make the calls for reform louder, not quieter.

We hope you make the right decision next week.

Kind regards,
Sam Mézec - Reform Jersey

The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.” Article 21(3), Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Note - Reform Jersey is a non-politically affiliated group of islanders, dedicated to campaigning for more democracy in Jersey.

1 comment:

  1. Urgh, not even an hour since publication and this post gets a comment from the troll.

    Seriously, get a life.

    Why the hell would anyone report me to PPC anyway? I'm not a politician.