Thursday, 28 July 2011

An unconvincing united front.

I'm amused and bemused -
(as usual - Jersey politics is only good for amusement, it doesn't work effectively for its intended purpose of running the island very well, and those of us with lives too busy to devote 100% to politics haven't a hope of influencing anything meaningful with our feeble minority voting 'power', so we can only watch helplessly from the sidelines and let off steam by running down the States at social gatherings - which, if you believe the Ministers, doesn't happen. Maybe because they don't mix with normal people like I do)

- intrigued, even - by the curious (or not) new found support that Deputy Trevor Pitman is showing for Ted Vibert. Having stood near Ted at a husting or two, hearing his views, observing his demeanor and manners, I would rather let one of those four inch and orange-striped garden slugs crawl along my stomach than vote for the guy to represent me in the Ego Chamber.

Ted, if you recall, caused a rift amongst the 'progressives' at the time of the last by-election (for ex-Senator Stuart Syvret's 'vacated' seat) to such effect that the only political party - the JDA - fell apart with calls of 'Ted being a liability', leaving us the rib-tickling spectacle of Geoff Southern being a party of one! Trevor being one of those who left, for ideological reasons.

Yet we are now supposed to believe that the progressives can all pull together to defeat the Goliath of the Establishment?! Granted, the progressives usually vote the same way on many issues that are perceived to be The Workers v The Priviledged, but they just don't seem to be able to get on - certainly not BETWEEN elections! They make no attempt to draw up a simple manifesto of supporting the underclass, and then stick to it, in a strongly cohesive party. Divided by clashes of politcal personalities (the worst kind!) and subtly different outlooks and motivations, whether it be pure idealism, bleeding heart niavety, union-led sabre rattling, or the Green movement.

They don't even seem to be capable of pulling together in support of the most crystalised issue of the day, when it comes to fighting the system - Stuart's attempt to prove that the island's management is as bent as the road around Westmount Hill. Some of them pick up some aspects of the case and doggedly fight that part of the cause, others pick their parts while barely concealing the personality clashes, and others stay silent for fear of reprisals or losing their seat. There are newcomers who promised at the last election to fight the incompetence of The System who have ended up voting along with the crazier of the ministerial propositions - I have to wonder at their chances of re-election. It would be soul destroying to watch, if I actually believed that there had been a real chance to change anything for the better, but that these hopes had come to nothing. I expected nothing, and haven't been disappointed. It's a shoulder shrugfest as usual. The world is mad, Jersey even more so. I feel helpless, so I just watch and sigh.

While I can see that presenting a unified face to the electorate - divided we fall and all that - is the only way to fight a stronger power, isn't it fundamentally dishonest to con the voters that there's a cosy togetherness that can save the day, when there plainly hasn't been - and won't be once the election is over, once the hustings chairs have been re-stacked and the parish hall floors swept clean?

If Trevor and Ted share a contempt for Stuart's approach, and are close in outlook again, why not rejoin the JDA and be honest about it? Why not work to reform the party (or form an alternative if that's too hard), change its internal systems so that they can come up with a joint manifesto that pleases the majority, and get on with a more believable united front. We would have more faith in an opposition party than we ever can in a mottley collection of bristly and unpredictable individuals all pulling in different directions and in the same heading only now and then, seemingly at random?

Nothing will ever change unless there's a really strong party in which we can have faith. Politicians are, by and large, either selfish slime or more selfless but too complex to work well with others (combined with a massive arrogance personality defect on the whole). It's only when they bury their differences and work together towards a common cause that we can have just a little more belief in any possible effectiveness/efficacy (delete as pedantic).

Come on, provide us some real political entertainment, while we watch here from our comfy chairs with a beer in the hand. Party on!

Hmmm. Yeah. Nothing will ever change.


Anonymous said...

You have articulated that well and from conversations I have had, particularly with people who never vote, you are far from alone in much of what you have written. The problem I suspect is in removing or at least subduing the personality/ ego aspects and finding an inclusive mechanism of making (party) policy.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you...
I hear too many people say that there's no point voting here as nothing will ever change... That's probably true to a point as the power all rests with the unelected officials !!
I always use my vote and encourage anyone else to use theirs...

Anonymous said...

Yet Rico Sorda, a nonpolitician, has managed to force some important questions to be officially asked and at least partially answered. Who would have expected that? He accomplished that with a new blog, a fierce commitment to researching the available evidence, and a genuine desire to help abuse survivors. He even worked at his full time job as he uncovered far more than any mainstream local journalist ever would. If Rico can make those
things happen, if Lenny Harper is still speaking out publicly against corruption in interviews with VFC, and if Stuart is still working full time through the corrupt local court system -without a salary - to force some real democratic transparency and accountability in Jersey, the least anyone can do is vote.

Crapaudpinion said...

Thanks for the comments.

To the last Anon - what has all this got to do with voting?

'Democracy' in Jersey boils down to one thing : we get to vote for a small subset of all the States Members, based upon personality, and we merely have to choose the best of the bad bunch (the ones we'd least hate to sit next to at a meal, if forced to at gunpoint) - and then hope for the best.

If they do anything particularly stupid and annoying then we can protest, march, sign petitions - but experience has shown us that this is usually futile.

That's why I'm tempted not to vote, each time Election Day comes around. I still wonder why I actually bother.

voiceforchildren said...

It's difficult to remember when I've heard anything more detrimental to the "democratic" process. People across the world die for having the bravery to put an x on a ballot paper. I know people who walk for three days to get to a voting booth, in South Africa and you've got the audacity to say you're tempted not to vote?

If you think things are bad now, just wait to see how bad they will get if even less people vote. If you're happy with the way things are on this island and want them to keep going in the same direction, then sure, don't vote. If you want to help make a difference and protect our children and less well off from this lawless regime, then you've got an "obligation" to vote.

Crapaudpinion said...

That's what usually swings it for me, Neil. But the fact remains that the votes we are allowed really don't amount to all that much overall. I have voted EVERY time I could in my adult life, and where has it got us?

Anonymous said...

You have both fallen for it! That's what they WANT you to think - you're so lucky to be able to vote, you should just do it and be grateful. Pile on the guilt that we're better off than many other people around the world.

It plays right into their hands. We vote like good little sheeple, and it legitimises their corruption and allows them to carry on getting away with it!

Nick Le Cornu said...

That 75% of District No1 St Helier abstain from voting it is indicative that the government does not have much legitimacy. The residents are essentially working and middle class – low and middle income earners – an increasing number of unemployed - and a significant number dependant on welfare benefits to exist. Indeed Jersey society is polarising.

A political party that can represent the interest of the working people needs to be built. This is the only way to assert the social and economic interests of those low and middle income earners. This is a project for after the elections, but one that has to be kept in mind when voting. Some existing politicians will participate and others clearly have not the slightest interest, so desperat are they about securing their future income and fully aware their skills for sale on a fragile labour market would offer them few prospects.

I enjoy you comments and it is unfortunate that you only allow us your valuable insights so infrequently.

As Oliver said, “more please”.

Anonymous said...

I know you won't want to hear it, but the most destructive force in the upcoming elections (assuming he is at liberty to do so) will be Stuart.

Stuart obviously has a number of close friends who have supported him vocally in recent years, however they are now being forced to reconcile themselves with candidates who Stuart has, and continues to, criticise in the strongest possible way. (Ted, Trevor, Shona etc)

If he believes in the cause of progressive politics, and he is unwilling or unable to stand himself, he needs to realise that he should pay back the loyalty of those who have supported him by either backing the candidates they have chosen to support, or at the least, holding back on the vitriol until after the elections. This is important, because at some point, these friends are going to be put in the invidious position of having to publically remain loyal to Stuart, or foregoing their credibility by attempting to support both his criticisms, and teh targets of those criticisms.

Blog Reader said...

"Ted, if you recall, caused a rift amongst the 'progressives' at the time of the last by-election (for ex-Senator Stuart Syvret's 'vacated' seat) to such effect that the only political party - the JDA - fell apart with calls of 'Ted being a liability', leaving us the rib-tickling spectacle of Geoff Southern being a party of one! Trevor being one of those who left, for ideological reasons."

This is something we must not allow to be forgotten.

And it's something that we can not allow today to be brushed off as being trivial enough to be worthy of "letting bygones be bygones".

I'm disgusted with the support I'm seeing for Vibert from Pitman. It's angered me enough to ensure that Pitman has lost what previously was a virtually guaranteed vote from me.

I'm sick and tired of supporting "progressive" politics on this island only to see it time after time take three steps backwards for every one step forward.

After years of despising the likes of the "establishment" I'm slowly finding myself developing the opinion that the current "progressive" collective do not deserve further time in government, and it might be for the best if they were to disintegrate with this election.

At least then there would be a chance that a fresh strain of progressive politics would rise from the ashes a few years hence, one that doesn't need to cling to a relic from a bygone era out of sheer desperation to bulk up the numbers.