Referendum on Electoral Reform, Wednesday 24th April 2013 – OPTION C
Remember – Option C is the only option that; a) Protects the Parishes, b) Keeps the Constables and C) Saves the Senators ..
Electoral Reform – 6th March 2013
Option C. Over the next few days the campaign for Option C will begin taking shape – Watch this space …
Justice Policy – 16th February 2013
Update – 19th February 2012: States approve Justice proposition (P120/2013) unanimously by 49 for and no votes against.
My Proposition (P120/2012) asking the Chief Minister to consider ways of introducing political accountability with appropiate ministerial oversight of the Justice System is scheduled for debate on Tuesday 19th February: http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/AssemblyPropositions/2012/P.120-2012.pdf and http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/AssemblyPropositions/2012/P.120-2012%20Amd.pdf together with supporting comments from the Council of Ministers: http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/AssemblyPropositions/2012/P.120-2012Com.pdf
States Members Remuneration – 16th January 2013
Today the States voted not to suspend the rules that prevent them from debating Members pay. This was the correct decision as it is not appropriate for States Members to set their own levels of remuneration. This is done by an independent body. I have advised the States Greffe and the States payroll department that I do not wish to receive an increase in my pay and expenses this year.
Plemont – 6th December 2012
Thank you all for taking the time to contact me with your views about Plemont.
I feel that I have to say that I am reluctantly leaning towards supporting the purchase of the Plemont Headland. I say reluctantly because of the potential costs involved. In my opinion, the environmental argument for protecting the area is unassailable. The financial argument is not so strong but, if the States could release funds from the sale of unused land or property (for the development of housing) then it may well prove far-sighted to invest this money in the purchase of Plemont.
Quite simply, one must evaluate the cost of purchasing Plemont with the value of owning and protecting this small piece of our island forever.
As all of you who contacted me have expressed strong feelings either for or against, it would be impossible to placate everybody. Nevertheless, please be assured that I will continue to give the matter a great deal of thought and deliberation up to and throughout the forthcoming debate.
Plemont – 18th November 2012
The decision to approve the submitted plans for the Plemont Headland came as no surprise to me. I would very much like to see the Headland purchased by the States and retained for future generations but level heads must prevail. I am lead to believe the current value (with planning permission) to be in the region of £8 million but believe that the owners would now accept £14 million for the site and if this is this were proved to be the correct commercial value, then it is what should be paid. I would rather follow this option than seek a potentially litigious and costly compulsory purchase. However, I do not think that, given the current economic climate, it would be acceptable to the majority of islanders for the States to pay such a price. I would therefore seek to establish whether it would be possible/feasible for the National Trust to pay more towards the purchase. For example, I would be inclined to support a £4 million contribution from the National Trust matched by a £4 million sum from the States. The balance of £6 million could be loaned to the National Trust by the States, on favourable terms over a long period of say 40 years – just a thought but worthy of consideration as we may only get one chance to prevent any new development on the Plemont headland.
Proposition lodged for the creation of a Justice Minister and associated Department – 13th November 2012
Full details of the proposition and accompanying report can be downloaded as a PDF from the States Website here
States approve Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) - 8th November 2012
After three days of debate the first ever MTFP has been approved by 36 votes to 7 with 1 abstention. Having voted in favour, I do hope the advice of the Fiscal Policy Panel will be heeded and increased funding will be leveraged and injected into the economy to help end the ongoing recession and bring some confidence back to the Island’s businesses and consumers ..
A Gap in the law – 31st October 2012
A gap in the law has led to a convicted killer receiving a sentence that even the court passing sentence deems to be inappropriate. The Royal Court was unable to impose a life sentence because it cannot set a minimum period before early release is considered for manslaughter. It is therefore time to identify and consolidate areas of political accountability and responsibility into a Justice Department or Ministry to eliminate any grey areas of policy making and to ensure the Judicial system is receiving the appropriate support. http://www.thisisjersey.com/news/2012/10/31/killers-sentence-gap-in-law-raised-six-years-ago/
A Sensible Solution? – 25th October 2012
If Senators are put into the mix for the referendum, then I would suggest the following could be workable; Deputies in six districts (24) Constables (12) Senators (6) 42 .. Every member of the electorate would then be able to vote for eleven members (as opposed to 7 under the current proposal) and we would retain the unique and more represenative balance of Deputies, Constables and Senators – a sensible solution ..
Let the People Decide – 24th October 2012
Let the people decide. This is key my aim and objective in relation to the current proposals to reform the States.
The electoral Commission, in their interim report, have recommended that the public should decide in a referendum whether or not the Constables should remain in the States. A worthy question but why are they not proposing to ask the public the same question in relation to the Senators?
Whilst I do believe that the office of Senator should be retained my campaign has always been based upon the principles of public consultation and ultimately public choice. Should the public decide by referendum to retain either of, or both of the offices of Constable and Senator then that is what the electoral Commission should be recommending, but please, give democracy a chance and pose the correct questions – and let the people decide.
Read JEP article at thisisjersey.com
Electoral Reform – 21st October 2012
The Electoral Commission will be presenting their first Interim Report on Monday 22nd October 2012. I have a feeling that the office of Senator may be under threat!
Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) 2012 – 21st October 2012
I will be lodging an amendment to the MTFP tomorrow (Monday 22nd October 2012) which could save the States hundreds of millions of pounds in the medium term – details to follow .. http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/AssemblyPropositions/2012/P.069-2012%20Amd(6).pdf
Population News – December 2011
JERSEY’S population now stands at 97,857. Following months of speculation, it was this morning confirmed that the number of people living in Jersey has increased by ten per cent or 9,100 since the last Census was carried out in 2001 (JEP 8th December 2011). Approximately 6,800 of this figure has been attributed to net migration (into the Island) the rest is down to natural growth (excess of births over deaths).
Interestingly, taken in 20 year cycles, the increase is the lowest since 1951. From 1951 – 1971 the poulation increased by 14,085 (25.49%). 1971 – 1991 saw an increase of 14,753 (21.28%) and 1991 – 2011 the poulation increased by 13,775 (16.38%). Nevertheless, the Island can not sustain such levels of growth in the future and new policy must be put in place to address the situation. In the coming weeks more statistics from the 2011 census will be released giving a clearer picture of the charecteristics of the current population. This information will be vital in assisting to formulate any new policy – LF.
Good News Everyone! Well what a day election day was although it already seems such a long time ago. A very sincere thank you to everyone who helped with the campaign – it was hard work for us all and I really appreciate everything everyone has done. The final totals were as follows:
Sir Philip Bailhache: 17,538, Deputy Ian Gorst: 15,614, Senator Francis Le Gresley: 14,981, Lyndon Farnham: 11,095.
Making A Stand – Some of my thoughts in brief …
“When I stepped down as a Deputy in 2005, I said I’d take a few years out of politics to focus on my family and business commitments and come back and seek re-election on an Island wide mandate which is something I’ve always wanted to do, so I’m fulfilling an ambition. I also think we deserve better than we’re getting. To be honest the calibre of States Member isn’t what it should be and the States are a shambles at present.
On the States
“The States of Jersey are letting us all down. Petty squabbling and failure to find solutions to many important issues are costing us dearly, and have created a great divide in our States Assembly. I am standing for Senator because it is absolutely clear that the only way we can change the poor policies and decisions of the States is to replace the people who are making them. They are wasting time arguing and the island is worse off for it. If we could get rid of the time wasting and get some focus on good healthy debate on the really important issues, I think people might just start becoming engaged in the political process”
“My politics are about people. My politics are inclusive. My politics are not about left vs right or socialism vs capitalism, my politics are about hope, health, vigour, vitality and opportunity for all. We can all have different political views but I don’t see that as a barrier to working together for the benefit of the Island.
On the reduction of Senators
“The States took a decision to change the constitution of the States Assembly by reducing the number of Senators without consultation with, or the permission of, the people of Jersey. This means that every islander will have two less votes at the elections in October. Instead of being able to vote for six senators, we will only be able to vote for four. It’s practically unheard of in any modern democracy for changes to a Parliament or legislative assembly to be made in such a way, or with such a small majority (1 vote)! and, in my view, it’s simply wrong and is very disrespectful to the electorate.” For more information please visit www.democracy.je
“I love St Helier, I was born and grew up in town. St Helier has great potential to be something modern and special. If we plan our town carefully and efficiently we could make better use of space whilst creating areas of community and important open spaces.”
“We are living in a dream if we think we can freeze or reduce our population. The human race is growing and generally speaking there are more births than deaths and we are all living longer. We need to keep our population growing and mobile because without it, we won’t be able to grow and develop as an Island and as a community – but we must manage our population growth carefully and pay particular attention to immigration which must be tightly controlled”
On the job market
“Right now it’s a lot harder for young people to go into work which concerns me especially as we’ve got some great people coming out of the best universities in the UK. We have good but limited career prospects to offer them here in Jersey. The finance industry is vital and offers great opportunity, but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. We’ve got to look at encouraging and creating new opportunities and new industries. If we don’t grow and expand our economy then we do so at our own peril.”
“There are two sure things in life, death and taxes. We accept that but what I believe most people don’t accept, is why we should be paying for the mistakes of others. We islanders are a hardy bunch of people and we’re not afraid to put our hands in our pockets to pay taxes, but let’s get the island into a sound, solid manageable unit and then set the taxes accordingly – not the other way around.”
On being a Senator
“The office of Senator offers a huge propensity to do good. I think some of our States Members lose sight of that. They should treat their office as an opportunity to make a difference. Not to be divisive but to be worthy. The most rewarding thing for me when I was a States Member was being in a position to help people, to change lives for the better – “States Members should also realise that Politics is about serving their Island and not themselves … As we approach the election it is clear that there are those who are only interested in saving their seats”
“Jersey is my favourite place on earth .. Jersey is very special. I lived, worked and studied in London for four years and that made me realise just how beautiful our island was and how lucky we were to live here. We must remember though, we live in a fragile utopia and if we don’t govern ourselves properly and protect our surroundings and our environment, our prosperity is not guaranteed.”
Our health service is in urgent need of investment. We do not have the health service we deserve and the neither do the dedicated professionals working within it. Why have the States failed to act before now? We need a new hospital or a major re development of the existing General Hospital premises as a priority. We must also ensure that our Health staff have the infrastructure, support and equipment worthy of their skill and dedication.
On how the public are feeling
“The people are disappointed with the States. They feel let down, not listened too and disenfranchised”
“The States have a strategic reserve fund that stands at around £500-600 million. We had an unexpected surplus of £30 million last year, yet we still put GST up 2%. I would have held GST for another year and 2% would have stayed in our economy. Jersey Telecom announced record profits, and the States drew a dividend of approximately £4 million. Why do the States own a telecoms company worth hundreds of millions of pounds, and draw a comparatively small dividend each year, when they tax us disproportionately? Some States assets could be sold, and strategic reserves topped up to £1 billion, changing our whole financial aspect and outlook. With proper investment, reserves could generate enough additional income, negating further tax rises.”
On the economy
“Our local businesses have had a tough enough time recently, caused by the knock on effect of the world economic crisis. Although Jersey has weathered the storm better than most, it is important to ensure our economy is properly understood, properly managed and properly resourced.