Monday, 1 December 2008

Secret Ballot for CM

I can't see any good reason for the Chief Minister election to be a secret ballot. The main reason usually given seems to be one of embarrasment if someone ends up having to work under a CM that they didn't vote for, etc.

Personal reasons.

I say that if these people can't put personal isssues aside, then they shouldn't be in the house.

Any CM candidate who can't handle people who may have voted for another candidate should NOT be putting themselves forward for the job. Any States member who's too ashamed to let the public know who they vote for? They don't have the courage to deserve their seat in the chamber.

Will we ever have open and transparent government when this kind of BS is going on?

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Every vote counts!

Remember this...

Deputies Election 26th November 2008, St. Helier district 3
Ben Fox 698 - elected
Suzette Hase 697 - unelected

Every single vote makes a difference. Many times I've been tempted to avoid the polling station, thinking that my one vote wouldn't really matter. So far this has been true, but the result above does show that we all count.

Remember to tell people that when they say they can't be bothered to vote because it never makes any difference! :)

Monday, 17 November 2008

New blog - a place to have your say

An alternative to leaving comments on Stuart's blog, if you require one.

Anonymity guaranteed. All sane comments published, no matter which side you're on! I will also keep the list of local blogs as up to date as possible, so it'll be a handy daily way to see what's new on the local blog scene.

Main requirements - keep it clean and don't expect me to defend it in court!

Use it or lose it, as they say :)

How to put web links in blog comments

It's a lot easier than you think.

First, a simple example to show how tags work, using < and > which are accessed from the comma and full stop keys when pressing shift.


If we put <i> tags around some words, it switches on italics mode from the first <i> tag and switches it off again when it reaches the </i> tag.

If your blog comment contains <i>some words like this</i>, then when the comment is published those words will be in italics like this.


If your blog comment contains <b>some words like this</b>, then when the comment is published those words will be in bold like this.

Web Links

To put a click-able web link in your comments, use <a> "Anchor" tags :
use <a href="">the words you want to be the link</a> for this.

An <a>and</a> around something will make it appear in blue, underlined etc (whatever your browser preferences have been set to). It won't link to anything yet, though. We need to put the weblink in. This is done by putting HRef="the web address" inside the first <a> tag (HRef means Hypertext Reference - uppercase doesn't matter, so HRef Href href all work).

The web address is easily snatched from the web browser's link bar. Go to the webpage you want to share with us, click in the address bar so that the web address (http://something...) is highlighted, and press the Ctrl key and then C at the same time to make a copy of this invisibly behind the scenes (you won't get any confirmation of this) into the Windows 'clipboard'.

When you come to write your blog comment, use Ctrl+V to 'paste from the clipboard' and that saved address will magically return and be inserted into your comment.
It's easier to start with <a href="">the words you want to be the link</a> and then go back to the point between the "" and insert the link then.

When you preview your comment you can check that it has indeed worked, before you click to publish it. In fact if you click the link while pressing the shift key, it will open in a new window to prove it has worked.
Simple as that!

Note for the curious

How did I get <> to appear here, then?
There are a series of & codes that show as particular characters. Putting gt or lt (greater than or less than) after a & makes <> appear in the rendered web page.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Black is cool

I thought I'd take time out from the political whinges to suggest something constructive for a change :)

Have you ever noticed how popular the black number plates are on Guernsey cars? Lots of motorists over there prefer them because they simply look better than garish yellow or bright white. A matter of taste and style maybe, but we call know how people are prepared to pay for that - even something as trivial (on the face of it) as having a J number with fewer than 5 digits.

So how about our motoring authority gets the chance to make some money for States coffers by letting us pay to have black plates? It can't be against any international rules and regulations if Guernseymen get away with it on new vehicles, so there doesn't appear to be any legal reason not to.

It certainly adds to the charm of a visit to Guernsey in some small way by making the place subtly different. Even if it's not a massive difference, most people will still notice it. Different. Difference is good to a visitor. Like blue postboxes, but that's another story!

With the state of our Tourism industry, we should seize any minute chance we get to be different and memorable.

OK, so it would be hard to police with ordinary J numbers - but if it only applied to the auctioned JSY plates, that would make those even more desirable.

Might as well rake in lots of dosh from willing motorists, yes?

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Our so-called 'democracy'

Islanders resident in four parishes will not be able to partake in the forthcoming Deputies elections, as their single candidates have been returned unopposed.

This means that in the last 3 years they have only been able to vote for 6 States Members (Senators) out of the 53, and maybe a Constable if they were lucky.

Many islanders will soon be able to have their say in who their 14th representative will be (out of 53). That's it - 12 Senators, 1 Constable and 1 Deputy - out of 53 in the chamber. We don't even have political parties such that at least we'd feel that we'd had a reasonable say in the makeup of the rest of the house - the other 39 members beyond our control.

It gets worse. Residents in one of St.Helier's districts actually get to vote for FOUR Deputies! (and other townies get 3 votes, or 2 in parts of St.Saviour and St.Brelade, St.Clement and St.Lawrence). Somehow because of a 'postcode lottery' these particular voters have more say in island affairs than the rest!

What a truly bizarre system we have. No wonder I'm not bothering to turn out this time. What real difference can I make? Whoever I could vote for, it doesn't really have a great deal of influence on much at all, does it?

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Stealing from the elderly

Isn't it great to live in a society which steals from the old?

All our working lives we contribute to a Social Security health insurance fund. We get sick here and there, our healthcare is paid for. We get old, need to move into a home and what happens then? They charge us for it!

What's the difference? If you're working and you're in hospital unable to fend for yourself, no charge. But if you're being cared for indefinitely, suddenly that makes all the difference. Goodbye all those savings. Goodbye house. Goodbye leaving something to the children and grandchildren.

Bit of a lottery, this life, isn't it? Some people get to leave their hard earned carefully saved funds to their kids, some don't. All based upon the random chance of how their final years are passed - needing care or not.

At this point I can feel some resentful people saying "Why should we pay for people who can afford to pay for their care?". The answer is simple. You're confusing apples and oranges. The ability to pay is irrelevant. In a fair and just system that's not even in the equation. That's a taxation matter. If you resent some people being wealthier than others, then deal with that by taxation somehow. Don't penalise people for having savings and having the nerve to become infirm!

This disgusting state of affairs needs to stop. Which of our politicians are going to do something about this? I'm furious for a friend of mine whose mother is facing losing all the savings she has to keep her going through her old age (and was hoping to leave to her grandchildren) because her husband is now in a home. As if she hasn't got enough stress learning to cope on her own, without finding that Social "Security" won't be happy until she's down to her last x thousand and then has to claim welfare back from them. And to rub salt into the wound, when she passes on they will claw back her husband's care costs from the sale proceeds of her property!

This is outrageous!! For heaven's sake Jersey, do something about this. I'm appalled.

You may as well sell up when you retire, live it up on high living and cruise around the world until you have nothing left, and then turn up at the States doors and ask them to look after you. Might as well get some enjoyment out of your savings. Otherwise they'll get taken away from you. Thieving scum!

Makes you proud to be a Jerseyman, doesn't it? .....

... no.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

The public have spoken?

Here is a graphic representation of how many people voted this autumn in the election for Senators (click on the picture for a larger and more readable version).

The numbers used are accurate enough for this purpose, taken from official figures - but because a census is rare these days, I needed to project the population forward to 90,000 and the number of people of voting age turned out to be around 74,000. Of these, just about three quarters are actually registered : 55,142.

The 44% turnout of registered electors is therefore just 33% of the total number of islanders of voting age, and 27% of the total population including minors.

It should be fairly easy to get a good sense of proportion about the number of votes cast for the six newly elected Senators.

For example, 6th place with 8.5 thousand votes out of a population of 90,000 only means the support of about 9.5% of us. Less than 1 in 10!

Good representation we have, isn't it?

So don't get down and miserable about how the people have spoken. Truth is, most of them haven't!

The choices that voters have made are not worth getting despondent about - the fact that so few people voted at all is the sad aspect of this.

Thursday, 16 October 2008


Frank is putting his usual spin on the election results, saying that it shows that the public have chosen stability and endorse the ministerial system.

Ha! Excuse me, but the poll topper is a new candidate who stood on a platform of calling for change, and the second place went to a Deputy most known for opposition and Scrutiny work.

Of the three ministerial Senators, one lost his seat and the other two limped in low down in the second half of the six, not very far ahead of the JDA and independent runners up. In St.Helier, with the largest number of voters, JDA party candidate Geoff Southern came third.

And all this with a turnout of just 44% - with most of the six newly elected candidates getting less than half the number of votes each as the 19,000 who signed the ignored GST petition.

The public have spoken. It is very far from a ringing endorsement of recent government performance.

Landslide victory for the Apathy Party

Poll topper Ian Le Marquand secured 14,238 votes from a total possible electorate of 55,142 - just 25.8%

6th place Sarah Ferguson got in with just 15.5%, just ahead of Mike Higgins with 13%

Let that be a lesson for those who can't be bothered to vote. Even if a fairly small proportion of them had actually turned up, the results could have been drastically different.

So why do they not bother? That's a matter for proper research by opinion polls, but every time I find I'm speaking to someone who won't vote it's because they say : "What's the point? It won't change anything. They're all as bad as each other and do what they want once they're in, breaking all their promises."

It is never : "I'm happy enough with things as they are".
It is always : "What's the point?"

Sure, it's a lot better than a brutal dictatorship, but our version of democracy is resoundingly rejected by a large majority.

Isn't it time we tackled that?

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Odds stacked against change

The whole system is arranged to keep a stable status quo, isn't it? With the position of Senator being a senior one with twice the length of term as a deputy, it's a sure bet that new faces will hardly ever enter the states via this route. Deputies are the way in. Yet we only get to vote for a tiny minority of those, and have to trust our fellow islanders in the other parishes and districts to do the right thing with all the others.

Is that fair? Do we need a senior position at all, if it keeps new faces out? I support an island wide mandate, but really don't see the need for the two-tiers, the different lengths terms, the seniority aspect. New faces would stand a much better chance of being given a chance if there wasn't such a distinction. I'd like to see a system suggested some time ago of only one position : 5 year term Senators with an island wide mandate, 8 elected each year, 40 of them in total. I'm ambivilant about Constables, I think their parishes elect them for a dual role, and that's fair enough. They are more grounded and in touch with reality than politicians in their ivory towers who never see how people really live at grass roots level. You could say they should stand for each role seperately on their own merits, but I like the way at least 12 people in the chamber are guaranteed to know how the average person is affected by States decisions.

Maybe the deputies system isn't so bad after all. Maybe I should rethink my distaste for having so little say in the make up of The House. If you view an election, Jersey style, as something of an opinion poll with a large enough sample size (total number of votes) to make the results statistically fair and accurate, then it could be argued that it's fair enough if all islanders are likely to think the same way about any specific candidates. A small sample from just one parish is likely to be the same as an island wide one (or is it? is it more easily skewed by friends and family? Is there really a significant difference between country and urban parishes?)

Usually, with an opinion poll, the sampling is done randomly with people selected by the pollsters... whereas with our elections it is a self-selected sample of people who want to vote. Does that affect the outcome? I'll leave that to any experts on statistics who may happen to read this by some fluke and consider it worth a reply (and I'll hold my umbrella up in case of flying pig droppings).

Right... I've had enough, my bed is more inviting than waiting for the final results.

Update, the morning after...
I now define Jersey democracy as :
A democratic system dominated by apathy, based upon a majority of politicians facing election in 12 seperate popularity contests with statistically unsound small and self-selected samples, with low turnouts.

Election figures, and parties...

Looking at the figures after just 5 results, it looks like most of the runners up are statistically in a bit of a bunch (that's a technical term!) apart from the tail-enders who are the only ones we can really say have been told that they're no-hopers by the electorate (this time).

The rest of the runners up should accept the disappointment this time around and resolve to raise their profile for an attempt as deputies.

Given the way the island usually votes, ending up amongst the middle of the Senatorial pack is a sign you're doing something right, at least.

As for the parties, it doesn't seem to be panning out that it's made much difference, with a spread of party or non-party candidates amongst the runners up. One thing is clear : even a party member candidate is prefered to a relative unknown or a beardy green!

Not exactly a total rejection of party politics, is it?


Just vote!

From now on, when I hear anyone moaning about the States, I will stop them and ask if they ever bother voting. If not, I will refuse to listen.

If enough whingers get off their backsides and make a quick trip to the polling station to vote for change, it CAN happen.

"But voting never makes any difference"
they whinge....... maybe so far, but ONLY BECAUSE SO MANY PEOPLE CAN'T BE A***ED!

Put up or shut up! :)

Friday, 19 September 2008

Possessive Parishes

Parish-named places - why are there so many unnecessary plurals or apostrophes? You never see Jersey's Something-or-Other... or Jerseys Doodads... it's Jersey Pottery, Jersey School of Corruption or whatever - like you see London Business School, Wibblesworth College or Fulchester Rovers, etc.

In the phone book, Grouville places don't need an s, and Trinity's School would look silly too, when Trinity School sounds perfectly reasonable. So why do the saints parishes (parishes named after saints, as opposed to saint's parishes belonging to them!) get so inconsistent?

St. Catherine is the place, not St. Catherines or St. Catherine's.

St. Brelade is the parish. Parish of St. Brelade. You want to name a bowls club after it? St. Brelade Bowls Club. Simple. So why do we get St. Brelades Church, College, Parish Hall, etc? (without even the apostrophe?!)

St. Helier seems to be well used - all as it should be - with no St. Heliers in the phone book.

St. Malos Town Center would look and sound horribly wrong, wouldn't it?

I reckon that if it's named after the saint then an 's is correct, but if it's named after a place that is named after a saint, then the name on its own should be used, unmodified.

St. Martin School sounds more logical to me. You'd think a school of all places would get it right!

Monday, 15 September 2008

Vote 4 Senators, not Deputies?

(Updated since first posted)

For some time now I've felt that voting has been a waste of time. There are 53 members of the States, and how many do I get to vote for? 12 Senators, 1 Deputy, and a "Connetable" if I'm lucky and someone contests the post.
Out of 53.
My calculator reckons that's 26.4% of the house I can vote for - only just over a quarter of them.
Remind me why I should bother voting?

Many of the things that really irritate me - meddling changes to St.Helier - are beyond my control. I may spend about half of my waking hours in town (being an office worker) but because I live in another parish I have no say in who the Constable is, let alone the rest of the parish appointed Roads Committee, etc.

I would have to be really stressed about any particular issue to directly contact any of the States Members.... but the fact remains that I shouldn't have to... I should have been able to vote for them in the first place.

I firmly believe that an Island Wide Mandate - Senators - for all States Members - is the way forward. I admit it would make voting tricky, with absurdly long ballot papers unless the terms could be overlapped in time with a certain number up for election each year, but at least that would keep politics in the public eye and keep issues fresh if there was an election every year.

I can't imagine convincing enough people...
.. but I feel I must protest somehow.

And the way to protest is as follows...... if we have two different elections this year, one for Senators and one later for Deputies...... then all we need to do is turn out in force for the Senatorial election and stay well away from the Deputies.

Obviously it would take a lot of like-minded people to participate for this to affect the results enough to make a noticeable difference.

But it's worth a try. What better way to register a protest about unreasonable undemocratic representation?

I'll vote for Senators. But not for a pointless Deputy (just one of 53). Who's with me?

I've seen the error of my ways. Looking at it from an angle of the democracy depending upon 12 different opinion polls, it's vital that every elector plays their part and has their say, no matter how few candidates that's for. If everyone does their duty, then the sample sizes can be almost reasonable and the overall result isn't as bad as I originally thought.

I'm very much in favour of voting. We're lucky that we can, are we not?

All the dissatisfaction people have with our government is entirely due to their own collective apathy. We truly do all suffer from the government the apathetic majority deserve.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

GST on Air Display programme!

I always buy a glossy programme for the air display, important to support the worthy cause and all that. So I popped into the newsagents in Bath St on my way past, grabbed one and put a fiver on the counter. As I was putting my wallet away and was about to leave, the assistant asked me for the further 15p....... GST!!
As she already had my fiver and I was holding my purchase it felt a bit too late to complain (and 15p wasn't going to ruin me), so I paid the extra charge wearily and left.
But the principle of the thing has annoyed me. Taxing the worthy cause? Whatever next?!
I think the States should make a donation to compensate, at the very least.

Next year (if there's a display next year) I will buy one from somewhere where the States don't get their greedy paws involved.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Ferry Fair?

Is it very fair to expect a ferry company to operate all year around, when only the summer months are profitable? Why must they take a financial hit in the winter, being bullied into only being able to keep their ramp permit if they provide a service all year long?

Surely in the classic free market the abundant times should be available to all comers with open competition, and if the winter time is loss-making than the States should - if they insist upon having a service provided - put those months' service out to tender and subsidise it?


Or am I missing something? (I daresay I could be... so let's hear from you....)

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

CM - is the unwanted job worth having?

In the UK the job of Prime Minister is highly prized, being seen as a real accomplishment of great prestige. A great many politicians no doubt aspire to move into Downing Street and take their place in history rubbing shoulders with other emminent world leaders.

In Jersey? Nobody seems to want the top job of Chief Minister! Why is this?

Not worthy?
Are they all suffering from such low self esteem that they think they're not good enough? With my opinion of politicians I don't think that's likely.

The Job doesn't appeal?
Surely not - with politicians generally appearing to be more "up themselves" than even the most repulsive Big Brother show contestant, I can't believe they would pass up the chance to obtain such status and to lord it over us and the rest of The House.

Don't challenge the prefered candidate?
This is more like it. The Establishment Party has already decided who's best for the job, and the other politicians fall into line and don't dare to challenge the Chosen One. This is plainly wrong for democracy and should shine a light on the state of politics in the island for even the most brainwashed head-in-the-sand believer that Everything Is Just Fine.

It isn't Just Fine.

If the job of Chief Minister isn't something that a number of politicians are clamouring for, then how can it be worth having? It is just another appointment by The Oligarchy if the position isn't openly contested.

So - what are the real reasons, dear States Members, for no-one running against the sole candidate already titled Deputy Chief Minister?

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Nanny State caught napping

Considering just how many things we're banned from doing just in case something exceptionally unlikely should happen, I'm absolutely amazed that the Powers That Be would allow a high powered racing car to gun it down the crowded Battle of Flowers arena, just feet away from children sitting on the kerb.

OK, so mechanical failure was unlikely in a highly engineered and well maintained Formula Renault car. Lapses of concentration or judgement were a tad unlikely for an experienced driver, and sudden health problems are quite unlikely in a fit young man. But if ever there was a case for the chance of a youngster suddenly running out or the consequences of a mishap being very dire indeed - this must have been it.

If you saw the report on the telly you'll have seen how Mr Walker was accelerating as impressively and noisily as fast as he could, the back end was skittishly scrabbling for grip, and he was obviously fighting to keep it under control in a straight line. All this just inches away from crowds. Quite amazing, in this day and age!

Forgive me for spotting double standards a mile off, but if I ever get a ticking off for 'dangerously' accelerating hard I will be sure to remember this one.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008


Welcome to crapaudpinion.
I had previously thought I'd stick to the photos and videos and leave my personal opinions out of it (apart from the odd comments here and there), but then I thought up the c***opinion name and thought I may as well grab it before anyone else does (not that it's likely!).
So if I need to vent on any subjects, here's where it will happen.
I'm not expecting much of an audience or a huge amount of comments, but it's good therapy to let off steam isn't it?