Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Business As Usual v Reform Jersey. The real choice in October.

As the October general election looms, States Members appear to be in a state of frenzy.

The media has reported anouncements of candidates (some sitting members) intention to stand for (re)election, with many of them announcing not a single policy of theirs, but simply who they are. Personality politics is obviously far more important than the vacuous inanity of policy debates.

Some States Members who are frustrated with how things have gone over the past electoral term have formed a political alliance (definitely not a party). They're meeting regularly, discussing policy positions, potential ministerial posts to aspire to and scope for collaboration. But, as I've said, it's definitely not a party, that would be ridiculous. Such an alliance sees members on the left of Jersey politics siding with others on the libertarian far-right in a very confused conglomeration. Oh, by the way, it's definitely not a party! (Get the point yet?)

Most curiously, the Treasury Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, has been out of the island since the Budget revealed a potential deficit of £95m over 3 years, and barely a peep has been heard from him since. He's gone to France, presumably to get some economics lessons from the Francois Hollande government.

They're even turning on each other in St Mary, where Deputy Le Bailly (who can't seem to workout whether he is a parliamentarian or a glorified councillor) has announced he is to challenge Constable Juliette Gallichan for her job.

Rumours are being shared every day in the States building and there is certainly a tension in the air.

Throughout all of this, Reform Jersey are ploughing along and things couldn't be better for us.

Our Equality Parade was a humongous success. At it's peak around 500 people coming together, in one of the largest demonstrations in years, to support a cause that is at the heart of what most decent ordinary Jersey men and women want for their island.

By running stalls in town and knocking on doors in our constituencies we've signed up hundreds of people to the electoral register. St Helier, I am told, has never had more people registered to vote.

We are currently organising our candidates for an announcement in the next few weeks. We have a really interesting and diverse bunch with a variety of backgrounds, but all of whom are committed to making Jersey politics work better for the people of Jersey and with the passion for principles of social and economic justice that has been sorely missing from government policy for too long.

As a result of being the most overtly organised force in Jersey politics (there are more organised groupings, but they do so covertly, and therefore undemocratically) Reform Jersey is now facing further scrutiny. Some of which is justified, some of which is motivated by fear and some is just to antagonise us.

We have not produced a manifesto yet, as we haven't hit the election yet, but our first leaflet has announced some of our key policies -

  • Ending abuse of zero-hours contracts
  • Introduction of a 'living wage'
  • Free GP visits
  • Updating out employment protection law to a 21st Century standard
  • Ending rampant population growth
  • Fairer Income Tax system where high earners contribute more
  • Lifting the Social Security cap on high earners so they pay the same rate as everyone else
  • Opposing increases in GST
  • Reforming the States electoral system to have one type of elected member in equal sized constituencies.
  • Reforming the justice system to improve access to legal aid and introduce an independent prosecution service.

Is this as comprehensive as it needs to be? Absolutely not. But it's not a manifesto. More detail will be published closer to the election.

A criticism we have gotten by the usual right-wing detractors is that we're typical barking mad Trotskyites who promise outragous things (like saying sick people shouldn't have to pay to see a doctor like 65m people get in the UK) without a word on how to pay for it. I've even been accused of being a Communist by Grouville's John Dix twice, which I take as a sign we are doing something right.

This, of course, disregards two of our bullet points that very clearly show that we have targeted areas to raise revenue.

The meat is not on the bones yet, but it will be.

Our members have demonstrated that they have the initiative to put together packages to achieve this end. An example of a previous attempt by Deputy Southern can be read here -

(Note - this is simply what has been suggested before as a way forward and will not necessarily be exactly the figures that Reform Jersey suggests)

The exact figures aren't on the table right now, but when have voters ever been given a fully costed and comprehensive policy guide at all, let alone over two months before the election?

As a geeky politico, I read every election manifesto in 2011 and our leaflet (which isn't a manifesto remember) contains more substance than probably 70% of those and certainly far more substance than anything put out by declared candidates in the upcoming election so far, who are simply hoping to bank on their name counting for something. So of all declared candidates so far, Reform Jersey has clearly demonstrated itself to be the most credible and it is the other candidates that should be interrogated hardest.

It has never been clearer that something in Jersey politics needs to change and a different approach to government is needed.

Despite the current state of our finances, Senator Ozouf was able to magic up £3.5m to buy Plémont. This proves something I have said in the States several times now that many of the things we do not get in Jersey, that citizens of other civilised countries are given as of right, is not out of finantial necessity but out of political choice.

We have a government that does not have as it's top priority to provide services to islanders to make their quality of life better.

Whilst the Chamber of Commerce and some business commentators want the government to slash public spending (despite the fact that this wil do nothing to help the economy grow and may actually cause greater unemployment) and offer fewer services to Islanders, there is another way.

In today's JEP, Peter Body made the point very well -

Well said Peter!

A fews day ago myself and Deputy Tadier wondered into the Farmers Inn in St Ouen for a couple of drinks (as one must do from time to time to discover the new and innovative ways the St Ouennais are driving the island forward).

After we'd managed to convince one local there that we aren't gay (apparently if you stand up for gay rights, that must make you gay), we had a really good conversation with the other locals there who were actualy quite excited about Reform Jersey and the different ideas we are putting forward.

I felt quite bad for them that they won't have a choice for a local Reform Jersey candidate in St Ouen because we aren't targetting that constituency, but they will still have their Senatorial candidates.

Jersey is not the conservative society that some suggest. We are broadly a progressive and social democratic comunity, but without a government that reflects it.

In October the people of this island have a choice - it's Reform Jersey or the Business As Usual Party.

The choice could not be more obvious.


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

March for Equality!

The 8th of July 2014 could be remembered in Jersey political history as the day the States of Jersey disgraced itself by failing to stand up for equality for all islanders because they didn't have the courage to oppose those motivated by homophobic tendencies, or it could go down as the day that islanders realised that nothing will change here unless they mobilise and organise.

The lesson that must be learnt from yesterday's shameful events in the States is that we have a collection of politicians who are completely out of touch with reality, but that situation is completely down to the fact that too many good Jersey men and women just don't go out to vote.

In October we have an opportunity to completely overhaul the membership of the States and replace those that were too cowardly to back equality with members with more integrity.

Not voting is not an act of protest, it is an act of surrender.

Reform Jersey has pledged to hold a rally and march this Saturday for those that believe in equality for the LGBT community. We'll be gathering at the Royal Square at 12pm before marching to Liberation Square at 12.20pm to hear from guest speakers and campaigners on what Jersey people can do to make sure from October we have a States that will have the courage to drag Jersey into the 21st century.

We hope you will join us.

In the meantime, here is a list of all the States Members (plus email addresses) who were too scared to do what was right, and instead kicked this into the long grass.

There are names on this list that I am incredibly disappointed to see there. They are not homophobes, but they naively backed an amendment that was fuelled by homophobia, having been duped by the more reasonable (although totally phony) elements of their argument.

But most disappointing of all is our so-called Chief Minister Senator Ian Gorst who has demonstrated that he is not the Chief Minister of the islands LGBT community. He could have followed the admirable example of the Prime Minister David Cameron who (in my opinion with complete sincerity) pushed for equal marriage, even though it would be difficult to reconcile with large parts of his political and electoral support basis.

Instead, he put it off to another day and refused to stand up and tell gay and lesbian islanders that he is a Chief Minister who will represent them and stand up for their rights.

For this alone, he does not deserve a second term as Chief Minister and I will not be voting for him.

Votes for delaying an in principle decision on equal marriage -

Senator Sarah Ferguson -
Senator Ian Le Marquand -
Senator Francis Le Gresley -
Senator Ian Gorst -


Constable John Gallichan -
Deputy Anne Pryke -

St Clement

Constable Len Norman -
Deputy Gerard Baudains -
Deputy Susie Pinel -

St Peter

Constable John Refault -

St Lawrence

Constable Deidre Mezbourian -
Deputy John Le Fondré -

St John

Constable Phill Rondel -

St Ouen

Constable Michael Paddock -
Deputy James Reed -

St Saviour 

Constable Sadie Rennard -
Deputy Rob Duhamel -


Constable John Le Maistre -

St Helier

Deputy Jackie Hilton -
Deputy Richard Rondel -
Deputy Mike Higgins -

St Brelade

Deputy Sean Power -
Deputy John Young -

St Mary

Deputy John Le Bailly -

Friday, 4 July 2014

Crunch time for Equal Marriage - How can you help?

We now have a time and date for the Equal Marriage debate in the States of Jersey.

On Tuesday 8th July at 9.30am we will crack straight into the debate which could take several hours before it culminates in a vote.

Victory is by no means predetermined.

States Members have received all sorts of correspondence from all sides of the argument.

Needless to say, the opposition to it is noticeably the least articulate and logical, but we have had more against than for so far.

We have a perfect opportunity to take a huge step towards equality for a previously marginalised group. If this fails, it will be a sad day for Jersey.

So what can you do to help?

The simplest thing would be to contact States Members and lobby them to vote for "the P.102/2014 proposition on same-sex marriage". I've copied their email addresses at the bottom of this post. You can

They are YOUR States Members and you have every right to email them and ask them to vote in favour of this. Believe me, the people who are asking us to vote against it have not needed prompting on this point!

Write them an email asking them to vote for it. It can be as long or as short as you want. It will have an effect. States Members love to reject decent propositions with the nonsensical argument of "ah, well I've not had any Parishioners contact me asking me to support this!" so don't give them that amunition.

If you are free, you are also more than entitled to come and stand in the Royal Square as members are walking into the States building (from 8.30am - 9.30am) and try and stop them for a chat to lobby them. Obviously that sort of thing requires a bit of confidence, but some people have a real knack for that and can be very persuasive, so if that's your thing, give it a try.

Finally, States proceedings are open to the public. Most weeks the public gallery is completely empty, but sometimes a specific proposition can enthuse enough people to see it packed. The presence of the public in the room does have an effect. It means members are extra careful about what they say and know that they are dealing with an important subject matter.

The entrance to the public viewing gallery is at the end of Halkett Place, opposite the entrance to Morier House. You will be scanned with a metal detector as you go in and your bags will be checked (to make sure there's no hand grenades or anything in them...). If you have difficulties with getting up stairs, there is no lift through this entrance, so you would have to go in via the Royal Court entrance and they should show you where to go.

So if you aren't working, come down and watch it. It's sure to be an enlightening event!

You have until Tuesday morning, so get emailing!!




Thursday, 3 July 2014

Reform Jersey Press Release

02 JULY 2014


Jersey will have a new political party this week. The application of Reform Jersey will be processed in the Royal Court on Friday, at which point the party will be officially recognised.

Speaking on behalf of Reform Jersey, Party Chairman, Deputy Mézec said: ‘We are delighted to now be at the point of having official recognition as a Party.

We believe that voting for a party with a clear manifesto is the only way to connect one’s vote to the delivery of policies in the States.

Our first objective is to make sure people are registered to vote and know how to vote. We have already started our voter registration campaign and we have been encouraged by the positive response we have received.’

Members, friends and supporters are invited to join us in the Royal Square at 09:45am on Friday and join us in the Royal Court at 10am.

Anyone wishing more information can contact Deputy Mézec on 07797 811130 or by email:

-          ENDS-

For Interviews, please contact Deputy Mézec above.
We would be delighted to see any members of the media at 09:45 for a photograph and for comment.