Saturday, 7 February 2015

A brief look at the start of 2015

With a new Council of Ministers composed solely of Jersey Conservative Party members, we find ourselves in a position where taxpayers' money is able to be spent on increasing their public profile (you actually paid for this nauseating party political broadcast!), where they are able to set the agenda and continue to feed the public the lies we have been fed since before the election, where the opposition is left to find alternative (and cheaper) means to get our message out.

The club of the Jersey Tories is exclusive. They don't issue membership forms and their party socials are normally too expensive for most Islanders to attend.

That is why this year Reform Jersey, if it is to be able to continue to float a message of truth in a sea of lies, will need to be innovative and will need to find new ways of getting our message out there, so that Islanders realise that we are being run by a circus, but there is an alternative.

Thankfully Facebook has been a God send. Reform Jersey is close to receiving our 1,000th 'like' on our Facebook page. It also must be said that the Jersey Evening Post has seen a remarkably positive shift since Andy Sibcy took over as editor. Twitter is... well... Twitter.

Alongside holding more public meetings, we are wanting to hold more social events (our Party for the Party before the election was fantastic, and we've done a few pub quizzes too), I intend to start blogging more and more this year after having a relatively quiet year in 2014.

So far at every States sitting we have had since the election, Reform Jersey has proven itself to be the main voice of opposition in the States (every single backbenchers proposition since the election has been lodged by us and we have asked 31/40 questions).

Not bad considering we only have three States Members!

The party membership will be meeting on Thursday 26th February at 7:30pm upstairs at the Post Horn Pub (St Helier) to talk about moving the party forward this year, holding events and compiling our comprehensive policy statement.

The meeting is exclusively for party members, so if you would like to join, you can sign up for free by filling in the online form on our website -

Let's compare the record of the Council of Ministers with Reform Jersey so far since the election -

- The Council of Ministers led the attack on workers rights and job security by increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims, despite not a single shred of evidence backing up their lies that it would help create jobs. Reform Jersey proposed the annulment of that move and led the fight back.

- The Treasury Minister has so far barely lifted a finger to assist the workers from JT who are being suspended left, right and centre, not being paid for hours worked and subject to exploitative zero-hours contracts. Reform Jersey has been fighting their corner and facilitating the communication from workers to government.

- The Council of Ministers, despite making it a "priority" to secure more open green space in town, refused to back the residents petition against the proposed Gas Place development. Reform Jersey supports the residents to the hilt and we have publicly represented them at planning department hearings.

- Despite the Chief Minister announcing his intention to focus on reducing poverty throughout this term he and his ministers opposed Reform Jersey's attempt to increase the minimum wage by 10p.

- The Council of Ministers insisted that a sick woman who uses cannabis for medicinal purposes to treat her terrible disease would be continued to be criminalised, where Reform Jersey was seeking to provide her with a licence so she could attempt to live a normal life.

- The Chief Minister sent a grovelling letter to the Saudi ambassador to lament the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarch who led a country which flogs women for being raped, publicly beheads criminals and amputates their limbs and executes gay people. All Reform Jersey had to do there was simply point it out.

On all of these occasions, the Council of Ministers has shown itself to be nothing more than a circus, so detached from the reality that most Islanders live in, but more impressed with looking good, rather than actually doing good (a criticism I am aware several local charities silently agree with). Ian Gorst believes he is some sort of Tony Blair, but doesn't realise he is more of a Gordon Brown.

We have seen the publication of a planned Strategic Priorities document which does not once contain the word "poverty", showing just how honest Senator Gorst's pledge on poverty was in the first place.

We also see a new revelation from the Ministers that there is a place in Jersey called "St Helier" where apparently a lot of people live. When I asked the Chief Minister at a private briefing what he was going to propose in his work on St Helier to ensure that there are good communication streams from the residents and businesses in St Helier to the top, so that nothing is imposed on the Parish against it's will, he answered (and I quote) "oh, I hadn't really thought about that". When I have asked him this in the States, he hasn't even listened to the questions put to him (as hansard will show) before spouting some pre-prepared lines, thus showing that his commitment to St Helier is totally disingenuous.

If all of this doesn't embarrass you, it really should.

But we will be there at every step of the way to provide more analysis on the failings of this government but, most importantly, let Islanders know that there is an organisation out there which isn't interested in platitudes, but wants to propose the measures that will make their lives better.


  1. I thought Jersey was an open and transpararent off-shore finance centre? On Sky News Miliband has just said if tax havens like Jersey don't start opening their books they will be black listed if Labour wins the election.

    Is Jersey a secretive tax haven after all?

    1. Did Ed Miliband actually say tax havens "like Jersey" or is that something you are adding at your own discretion?

      I've read the letter he has sent to the heads of government of all Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories and see nothing which has singled out Jersey in any way at all.

    2. Jersey was named and a couple of others. Geoff Cook was even interviewed.

    3. That's not what I asked. Did Ed Miliband on Sky News overtly call Jersey a "tax haven"?

    4. YES! He did. He said he would force all tax havens in UK Crown Dependencies such as Jersey. I don't think it can be any clearer that he called Jersey a tax haven. Further he wants these 'tax-havens' to issue a full list of beneficial owners of ALL structures, not just public owned structures listed on the CISX. This to me seems totally unfair given the UK and every other jurisdiction wouldn't ever dream of issuing a list of underlying beneficial owners of structures in their country.

      What is your position - do you support what Milliband is proposing?

    5. You are wrong.

      I've read the press release and watched the interviews and he does not explicitly call Jersey a tax haven. You're inaccurately paraphrasing him.

      My position (soon to be outlined in a full blog post) is that the UK has every right, whether we like it or not, to demand that we set up a public registry, and we therefore need to weigh up an appropriate response based on a conciliatory approach, rather than fanning the flames of distrust and blame, which is what comments like yours seek to do.

    6. He referred to UK Crown Dependency tax havens. Which was he talking about then? Would you please answer this then - is Jersey a Tax Haven?

      Why should we set up a public registry when the UK doesn't (unless it is for listed companies, which is already the case through the Channel Island Stock Exchange). Why should Jersey do something the UK doesn't even do?

  2. Its how many proposals a political person wins that counts, not how many questions they ask in the States. You make it sound like a question asking competition.

    1. If Reform Jersey were winning every proposition we would be the government, not the opposition.

      We are an opposition party, so our measure of success is based on how we are able to speak up for Islanders and hold the government to account.

  3. Can a states member bring a vote of no confidence against the Attorney General if not how can he be held to account if somebody had evidence of corruption against him?

    1. I believe that a States Member can lodge a motion of no confidence in the AG (as has previously been done to the Bailiff before) which if passed would mean his sacking.

    2. If I give you categoric proof the AG has acted corruptly will you bring a vote of no confidence against him?

    3. In all honesty, in this States of Jersey no matter how categorical your evidence was, it would simply be ignored by the majority of members who exist simple to nod and press the "pour" button when ever the Jersey Conservative Party grandees tell them to. Any proposition would therefore sadly be a waste of time.

    4. Just to clarify from your earlier comment, "...our measure of success is based on how we are able to speak up for Islanders and hold the government to account..."

      If there is evidence on someone in government acting corruptly, why won't you do as you say and hold them to account?

      Surely if you think it is a waste of time, then are you the right person to be in that job?

      I am very interested, and whilst you may be despondent about the system, and cant' be bothered, many of us would like to learn. Remember to break the damn requires small chinks. If even one person finds themselves no longer supporting the status quo by you raising such an issue surely is a success even if you fail to believe it changes anything - at the grass roots it may well do. The grass roots is what matter.

    5. The question isn't whether I am the right person to be in the job, but whether the rest are.

      As I've said, I'd back any proposition that had the evidence behind it.

      Most States Members won't because they are deferential to power and status. No matter how overwhelming your case is, they'd ignore it because they exist only the preserve the privilege of positions like the AG.

  4. So why don't you get the evidence, determine the validity of it, and take it forward?

    IT seemed from your earlier comment that you couldn't be bothered - I may have been wrong in reading into that. Will you do this?

    1. It's not about whether someone can be bothered or not, it's about tactics.

      The proposition would fail, and fail for all the wrong reasons, no matter how watertight the case was, and all it would do is politically secure the position of the AGnbecause he would be considered a victim.

      It would actually end up doing the opposite of what you would want it to.

    2. Thanks for disenfranchising me further!

  5. There will never be a Revolution in Jersey. The majority by far are financially well off relative to the UK, and with young families would not want a major political change.

    With this in mind, the majority of voters are people who with higher than average earnings relative to the UK are ensuring that the outcome of elections is centre to right-wing.

    This won't change, as Jersey is a wealthy jurisdiction, whether you like to admit it or not is irrelevant, it just is.

    You can cry Chicken Little that the sky will fall in, but it won't. For all your blustering, your political measure is well known around the island. In fact, it is less of a political party, more of a social club.