Thursday, 14 October 2010

Jersey - Now 22.7% less "democratic"

So, after yesterday's vote in the Fun House, we are to (by 2019) lose four of our island-wide elected Senators, bringing down the number of States Members from 53 to 49.

Previously, (as noted here), many islanders had a say in the vote for the 12 Senators, a Parish Deputy and a Parish Constable - which is just 14 out of the total 53 politicians - which is 26.4% of them that we can vote for (some larger parishes have 2, 3 or even 4 Deputies, just to make things even less democratic against single-Deputy parishioners).

Now it will be 8 Senators instead of 12, making it 10 out of 49 we can vote for - now just 20.4% of them.

A drop from 26.4% to 20.4% means that those voters in single-Deputy Parishes now have a say in the make-up of The Bad Decision Factory which is just 77.3% of what is was - a comparative drop of 22.7%
(or if you prefer, the drop of 6 from 26.4 is 6/26.4 = 22.7%)

I believe it's an attempt by the Ministers and their foot stamping followers to shift the balance of power even more in their own favour. Considering the number of Ministers, and Assistant Ministers eager to move up the chain and not ruffle any feathers, it leaves the number of back benchers (our only opposition) even lower and less able to vote effectively against ministerial plans. It leaves the ministers in a position where they can get away with anything they like, as there simply won't be enough members on the opposite side of the political spectrum to prevent votes going their way.

This is, I believe, the beginning of the end for Senators. The same day vote for all posts, and same 4 year term of office for all, means that there is no point standing for Senator - having to please the entire island instead of being able to concentrate on one parish. The Senators & Deputies posts will be switched around in effect, so that the newcomers try to get in as Senator, it will be seen as a beginner's post, no longer seen as a promotion. Eventually, it will fall into such disfavour that it will be done away with.

All this meddling with the system won't put me off voting. I'll still vote for those rare politicians who are blessed with common sense, courage, and selfless motivation... as and when we get some! No amount of tinkering with the electoral process is going to change that particular problem!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

End of School Milk, end of Jersey

States votes to cut school milk
Jersey's government has voted to stop providing free milk in school as part of spending cuts.

I have always thought that this issue served as a useful barometer of whether the States of Jersey (and the minority of voters that elect them) actually cares about the welfare of children and our society in general. With this decision we have finally arrived at the position where it's plainly obvious that we're beyond hope, slipping down a greased slide into oblivion. What hope is there for an island which used to have "money coming out of its ears", that is now so badly mismanaged that we can't even afford to give our youngsters free milk from our world famous dairy herd?

Last one to leave, don't bother switching off the lights, they won't be working by then anyway.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Fireworks or not?

Would a bit of consistency be too much to hope for?

Fireworks rounded off the Battle of Flowers Moonlight Parade (a little too soon, and a little too far away, but never mind) and also the Gorey Fete.

But hang on - didn't we decide that fireworks are environmentally unsound and best avoided? Didn't the island mess about Terry Macdonald considerably because his record breaking attempt was called off due to green concerns?

Terry has been treated disgracefully (google it if you're unfamiliar with the story!) so I have to wonder - are we happy with fireworks or not?!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

How the other half live

Here's where the Planning Minister lives.

- and here's where other Jersey people live.

Note the contrast?

Nobody said life was fair!

One man has the power to blight our lives by approving the building of monstrosities to ruin the charm of the island so that the rich minority can get even richer.

And today on the BBC phone-in it was made very apparent that lots of less fortunate islanders are enduring poorly heated States-provided housing, freezing in the winter in damp and mouldy conditions. For an island with money coming out of its ears thanks to the finance industry, and more flashy sports cars and status symbol 4WDs than you could comfortably count, and mansions aplenty, it must be obvious that something has gone very wrong with this island!


I did wonder about publishing this blog entry, but with the visit of the Google "Street-view" car in the news, I thought it was timely. The Senator's address is freely available, it's on election papers and it's in the phonebook. I took the photo from a public road, and it's a view anyone can see by going there for themself. I don't have an issue with Google photographing where I live - why should I? I believe in the power of the internet to show us as much as we want to see, within reason.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Broken Memorial

Does anyone care that the Vega memorial on Albert Pier is damaged?

Can we afford to fix it?

Monday, 21 June 2010

A Little Protest

Time 4 Change's "Stop the cuts" protest didn't draw a massive crowd...

(caption contest, anyone?!)

OK, to be fair, in the run-up to midday there were about 20 people milling around, and the above shot captured Monty asking them to draw closer. Shortly afterwards there were about 50 assembled...

Friday, 11 June 2010

Wobbly Lines

I've noticed a number of badly repainted white lines lately - have we lost the art of painting a straight line in the middle of a road, like the sadly lost art of smooth tarmac on resurfaced roads?

Has someone been drink-painting?

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

It's like a jungle sometimes...

.. it makes me wonder how they keep from going under.

Recently announced cutbacks on Jersey Zoo (or whatever they're calling it these days after a couple of name changes - JWPT/JZ/D) staffing levels look like the begining of the end. How sad.

Fellow local blogger Tony today had this to say about entrance fees

I know I can do a great impression of a skinflint at the best of times, but I really do balk at that price to get in the place, even when taking into consideration the Good Cause aspect of it all.

Many's the time where I feel like a nice walk around the peaceful gardens and a look at the animals, even if I'm on my own with an hour or two to spare I'd have a nice stroll around, see if I can get some nice photos, but 13 quid is too much for a pleasant walk compared to the free scenery on offer elsewhere.

Surely the huge turnout at the free entry day last year proved that demand was there but that price had been a barrier? I suppose that brighter minds than mine have done the sums and who am I to question their policy, but is there really nothing that can be done to tempt the locals up there more often? Discount vouchers for repeat visits within a number of months, for example? Anything that makes people think that they're getting a good deal and that would help to get people into the habit of going there more often - would be a good thing.

If they can't depend upon us locals to support them, then the writing's on the wall. As Tourism is a faded shadow of its former self, and I suspect that an attraction like the zoo absolutely depends upon the levels of mass tourism we used to enjoy but no longer see... then it's hard to escape the conclusion that the show's over before much longer.

We have a great place there, fellow islanders.... and we're in danger of losing it. Place your bets on how many years it will be before they say enough is enough and close it down. Will it follow in the Living Legend's footsteps (and numerous others) and revert to a private manor house with a luxury housing development around the sides before long? Will we moan about it? Will we do anything to prevent that outcome? Will the States do ANYTHING to halt the complete destruction of Tourism and actually support what little we have left?

I think we can easily guess the answers there. This rock gets worse year by year!