13 April 2013

Bailhache to (re)declare for Option B

Non-Politician Commission Member, Dr Jonathan Renouf
is supporting Option A

On Monday, Electoral Commission Chairman, Senator Philip Bailhache is set to re-affirm his support publicly for Option B. I say reaffirm, because we have known that he favoured this model in 2011, even before the Electoral Commission had officially come up with it from months of ponderings. The question is whether any of the other members will 'come out' too.

Senator Bailhache made his position quite clear, before he was elected that he favoured the yet-to-be-proposed Option B model. 'I do not support the removal of the Constables from the States... With 12 Constables there would then be 30 other seats. There are ways of dividing up those seats which require discussion. Once the States have found a solution, it should be put to the people for their approval in a referendum.'
Commission Chairman and pre-declared supporter
of the ex-officio role of Constables, Senator Philip Bailhache
It seems that he was clairvoyant because that was actually a recommendation of the Commission, that he chaired. However, his hopes of 'a solution' being found did not quite work out, because the non-States Members on Commission were not willing to run with the idea that only Option B be put to the electorate. This would have been unconscionable for them. They knew that all the independent academic advice and the Commission's own key principles, pointed away from the retention of the Constables with 30 deputies in 6 large districts. And so, we were given this fudge. Not just any fudge, but a Jersey fudge

Advisor to the Commission, Dr Alan Renwick, wrote that 'The option of retaining Constables makes overall apportionment worse than at present and in multiple parishes violates the Venice Commission’s criterion. Whether that is considered justifiable is not for me to judge.'

For one Commission member, Dr Jonathan Renouf, this certainly was not acceptable - prompting him, yesterday to come out and declare his support for for Option A as it is the only option to meet the basic democratic test of fairness and equality. 

'Its really very simple - if you support Option A, it is because you believe the electoral system should be based on fairness and equality.' said Dr Renouf. 
'The basic principle of any electoral system is fairness; everybody's vote should count for the same. If you don't have that then you have a situation where people are going to feel aggrieved, bitter and cynical about the system, because ultimately they know their voice is not heard as loudly as other people's voices.'

For some reason, Channel TV and the JEP did not take up the offer of a press conference with Dr Renouf. Apparently it was not newsworthy. However, expect Bailhache and Gorst's support to be front page news and a lead story on Channel, which we know are run by Establishment lackeys, despite some competent reporters. 

This 'outing' of support by such an articulate and erudite Commissioner will surely worry the other campaign teams, not least Senator Bailhache who desperately wants B to succeed in order to stymie any opposition within the States Assembly. It is possible that the other two political members may also join him by declaring their support - certainly Deputy Baker will do as he's told. However, Senator Bailhache will also be mindful that it may not be helpful for him and the other two politicians on the Commission to come out in favour of keeping the Constables and therefore further worsening voter equity in favour of the country, again at the cost of the urban voters. It is entirely possible that he is emailing round the two remaining independent Commissioners right now, in the hope of co-opting their support, however, he may be disappointed that they have integrity and will not simply bow and scrape to his presumed authority, as so many States Members do, unquestioningly.

Footage courtesy of Stewart Lobb via HERE


  1. Montfort.

    A vital part of the hijacked electoral commission's history is too often overlooked and your readers should be REMINDED

  2. more like Bailaches "Final Solution" for democracy in our governement

  3. Thank you Monty for posting Dr John Renouf's interview. I agree with everything he said
    Best Wishes

  4. It is entirely possible that he is emailing round the two remaining independent Commissioners right now, in the hope of co-opting their support

    On this you may actually be lucky: PB could be otherwise occupied in arguing with the Archbishop of Canterbury over the suspension of the Dean. There is only so much he can do before something gets dropped.

  5. At the forthcoming hijacked referendum PLEASE use BOTH votes.

    e.g. A #1 ......... AND ........ C #2

    Voting C as 2nd choice is NOT a vote against A because your 2nd vote does not count unless your first choice is knocked out in the first count,

    Your 2nd choice vote ONLY counts if your first is knocked out ...... USE IT !

    Do you want B to win because you didn't use your backup vote?

    The current system (i.e. "C") is bad and undemocratic but least it is not "B", which is worse !!!!!!

    I will vote A & C and hope that our politicians do the right and fair thing and adapt the result into something that respects
    democratic principles like "A" but retains enough members for the much needed scrutiny function.
    Perhaps have 7 Deputies per district (totalling 48) or maybe keep the Senators.
    (keeping the island wide mandate is essential if the Chief Minister is going to get more powers)

    The hijacked electoral commission has given us hijacked choices.
    No change, or an elected dictatorship - a crass and immoral plan.

    If "B" wins on the 24th our feeble democracy dies. Jersey's equivalent of Germany's 1933 enabling act, giving us a semi-elected dictatorship.

  6. I spoke to someone today who I think may have sussed why the Option B team are so desperate to Gerrymander the voting system.

    I have been confused why Senator Ozouf is supporting B and not A, when the latter would give him 7 seats to get re-lected not just 5. Also, he purports to be a democrat, yet he supports the least democratic option. His theory is that he is desperate to be Chief Minister in 2014. He has not spent all this time working hard and essentially running the island (his way - remember all the Civil Servant casualties who got in his way?) to be cast aside at the next Senatorial elections.
    One might have equally expected him to favour retaining the Senators, but of course, he does not want to have to face the island again and explain why he mislead them on GST, giving a 'categorical assurance' he would not raise it, only to do exactly t a year of so later. 'Flip', as he is known in the country, knows that in order to get sufficient votes as CM, he needs to make sure the conservative voters in the country have a greater number of votes than those in the urban areas. The country will generally vote for the type of politicians who will support his candidacy. Option C is unreliable, as Senator Bailhache found out. So they have to rig the system.

    And how do you rig the system? Well, first of all, you put your put your mate on the Electoral Commission, it does not matter if he is already biased - in fact that helps. Then you stack it with two other compliant politicians, meaning you only need to convince one of the non-political members to your side. If you cannot do that, then you go to plan B: put two options on the table - one for a neutral reform which is basically fair and which will mean you might have to work a bit in order to get your boys (and girls) elected, or B which is admittedly and obviously rigged, but you hope that the JEP and enough cash will be enough to rely on to fool the public, who you generally think are stupid - after all, they have elected our sort time and time again, even though we only make life worse for the average person, close down a perfectly good swimming pool in order to make sure that a worse and more expensive swimming pool can be built on a shockingly bland waterfront, as well as make a whole host of other incompetent decisions, for which we are never held to account.

  7. Archbishop of Canterbury has just said that he will not become involved, so Bailhaches letter has fallen on stony ground.

    Not wishing to be personal but serving up these rubbish multi layered questions to an educated public is patronising, weak and says very much about the integrity and motives of the panel.

    Is this the reason for the excellent but carefully worded video interview with Dr Jonathan Renouf, he very much wanted to distance himself from option B. and C takes us full circle.

    What really gets to me, is that the States assembly critisized this load of rubbish and then the amendments were not voted in " none of the above " being one which would have shown the EC up for the poor choices offered.

    We can only hope that some backbone is shown when after the referendum the real questions hit the floor of the States.

    Well done for your consistent good work and questioning in the big house.
    Some oldie associates were saying how balanced you were with your questions in the States and they like you. Trust me that is a big step, if you new them.

  8. Hi Deputy.

    Speech of Senator Maclean, tells us the commission have given us a load of Cr*p. no one could of but it better & we weren't expecting this to come for him!

    You & your readers can Listen HERE


  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. A question to you Deputy Tadier.

    When Bailhache brought forth a new vote to overturn the already previously decided independant nature of the Electoral Commission and referendum, why then did not a single States member bring forth a vote to overturn Bailhache's move and to return the referendum to its originally agreed independant nature?

    This was the most important referendum of modern politics in Jersey. Why did you and your fellow States members simply accept Bailhache's overthrow of the already agreed independant format and not return fire with the same?