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! :)