Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Kit Ashton on Climate change, Trump and bigotry - a guest post

I'm delighted to publish for the record the recent letter to the paper written by local democracy and Jèrriais campaigner Kit Ashton.

He tackles climate change, Donald Trump and Jersey-based racism, and what progressives need to do to respond.

We'll be discussing some of these subjects at our next 'Pint and Politics' event upstairs at the Green Rooster at 8pm on 9th December. Come join us for a discussion on the "Trump Effect" and how progressives should respond. We'll have guest speakers and live music. The last event was really good fun so hopefully this one will be even better!


Dear Editor

I write regarding Bram Wanrooij’s perceptive column on the election of Donald Trump and the rise of the populist far right.

Mr. Wanrooij makes some excellent points, and the questions he raises are now paramount not just for abstract debate – but – and I mean this with no intention of alarmism – for the continuing existence of humanity as we know it.

Beyond Trump’s arrogant, bullying manner; beyond his ignorant, fascist, nepotistic, and (partly) anti-Semitic cabinet; beyond his disgusting approval of racism, misogyny, torture, murdering the families of whoever he decides is a terrorist, pre-emptive nuclear strikes, and authoritarian autocracy; there is one policy position that should strike dread in every citizen of Earth: his stance on climate change.

On the same day Trump was elected, the World Meteorological Organization delivered its latest report, which reconfirmed the urgency for action: climate change is happening, it’s devastating, and humans are responsible. The evidence (if you’re a person who will actually weigh up evidence) is compelling.

Yet Trump is planning to defy 97% of peer-reviewed climate scientists, billions of global citizens, and the painstaking agreement of nearly 200 nation states, by tearing up the Paris Agreement, which may have mitigated the worst effects of environmental chaos. This is very bad news indeed.

So what can we do in little old Jersey?

First, I believe we should get our own house in order – Jersey’s slow progress on our carbon footprint, our dependence on petrol cars, indulgent lifestyles, over-population, and our woeful food security must be addressed. This mean us all mucking in.

Second, we can pressure our politicians to act - and to influence Trump’s position where possible.

Third, we need a cohesive community response, public debate, and a positive alternative to the politics of hate, division, and of course climate denial. This has already begun - with Jersey in Transition, Reform Jersey, and other helpful groups.

Finally, the good people of Jersey must remember our history and not shrink back from confronting and calling out the far-right for what it is. Trump’s bigoted allies and supporters are amongst us, though they mostly hide in euphemistic language.

Indeed, judging by his consistent, cringeworthy endorsement of all things Trump on social media, one such person even writes a column for the JEP… I’ll give readers a clue: he’s not from Jersey, he’s got a few quid, and his name is not Bram Wanrooij.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

A Day in the Life of Deputy Sam Mézec - Town Crier

This month's edition of the St Helier Parish magazine, the Town Crier, features an article about what I get up to on the job!

It's available in outlets across town, but here's a copy for those who miss it.


So what is a typical day in the life of a States Member actually like? Well, the short answer is that there is no such thing!

I guess that is partly why I enjoy being a Deputy, because there is always a new challenge on the horizon or a new controversy brewing which must be dealt with, which keeps the job exciting and keeps me motivated.

But the one thing which is the same for me every day is that I get to start the morning by walking through the heart of St Helier No. 2 where I live, through the Millennium Park and get to stop and chat to constituents, often friendly words of support but also keeping me up to date on the local issues in the area.

The park is always packed with people enjoying the open space, playing football or taking their kids to the playground. I will continue to put pressure on the Council of Ministers to keep their promise to improve life in St Helier by purchasing the Gas Works site so we can extend the park and provide more open space in the most densely populated part of town.

The most important duty of a States Member is to attend debates in the States Assembly and represent our constituents. I think I’m a very active States Member in the chamber. I regularly bring propositions to try to achieve my manifesto pledges and ask more questions than most other States Members put together to hold the government to account. I think the majority of people in St Helier are dissatisfied with how the Council of Ministers is letting our Island down, so I try to give a voice to those people who want to see the government of Jersey deliver something much better than we are currently getting.

Sometimes it can feel like banging your head against a brick wall, but I feel optimistic that one day in the future we will have a proper States Assembly which will genuinely work in the interests of ordinary Islanders!

On a day when the States is not sitting, I’ll probably be out and about in town scurrying between different States departments trying to help people who are having difficulties, or working with the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel of which I’m a member.

I meet several times a week with my colleagues in Reform Jersey, Deputies Geoff Southern and Montfort Tadier. We work very closely together and I think we’re a great team and are much more effective than we would otherwise be if we were independent members.

Politics is serious business and it can easily grind you down if you don’t make sure you keep enough time free to enjoy yourself. So even though this job dominates my life (and I’m not complaining!) I keep sane by playing guitar in a band and spending time with my friends and family.