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 - www.reformjersey.je
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.