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!