04 April 2013

Cognitive Dissonance and Jersey Reform.

Sen. Philip Bailhache, Chairman of the Electoral Commission
A referendum is coming up in less than 3 weeks. Two campaign groups, the States Assembly and the electoral commission acknowledge the need for States reform, members of one group - Option C - are questioning the need for reform at all. 

So what is the case for reform?

Well, first of all, here is a little teaser. Can you tell me who is the originator of the following quote?

'There is widespread disillusionment with the political process. Some might say perhaps that this reflects the absence of party politics, but it is also a reflection of the relatively complicated and unfair system whereby we elect our representatives.'

When I saw this quote, I wondered who had said this. I thought it might have been me, but it was not particularly my idiom. So I thought it might have been Geoff Southern or more likely, Roy Le Hérissier. But no. Who was it that dare suggest that there could be anything even slightly wrong with our current system of government, and the way in which we ran our elections in Jersey?

Avid JEP reader, Jimmy Perchard

It is certainly a far cry from the idyllic picture painted by former Senator Perchard (who I hear is now campaigning for the abolition of the Senators) who said, on 30th March 2011 that 'Jersey is a great example of democracy; a beacon of democracy that we should hold up high for the world to look at.'

Hide it under a bushel? No! Not Jim, in any case. He was loud and proud of the Jersey system, which he is now, 2 years later, campaigning to change.

So let's put you out of your misery. The person who disagrees with Senator Perchard, that thinks Jersey is a not shining beacon of democracy, but a 'relatively complicated and unfair system' is none other than Seigneur Bailache lui-même

So the question is, now that it has been established beyond doubt, that Jersey's system needs change: what do we do about it?

Well, we have two options on the table. A or B. So which should we go for?

Senator Bailhache told us on 20th February 2013 that:

 'Reform option B creates greater voter inequity than we have at the moment.'

So, that naturally means that the Senator is supporting option A, (right?) which is fairer, more democratic and less complicated (his original reason for bringing reform). WRONG. Senator Bailhache is supporting Option B because he wants to make the system even more inequitable that it is at the moment. 

This is the man who topped the poll islandwide, but he has campaigned to change our entire electoral system which he thinks is unfair and he wants to replace it with something that is even more unfair.

This is an example of cognitive dissonance of the highest order. 

Of course, the Jersey mainstream media do not pick up on this contradiction in the system, in the same way they do not ask why Pierre Horsfall has done a U-Turn on the Constables, and is now supporting Option B. 


  1. Montfort.

    The State Media also ignore the fact that Senator Bailhache who chaired (hijacked) the Electoral Commission was "coincidentally" campaigning for Option B before it even existed back in 2011

  2. Could someone who is familiar with Jersey electoral/referendum law (Sam?) please advise us if there is a mechanism whereby papers which are deemed "spoiled" on the first count can be reassessed for "intent" on any subsequent recounts.

    If so this offers a mechanism whereby we can register our disgust by spoiling our papers but still having our votes count.

    I would intend to vote "A" #1 and "C" #2 and then spoil my paper by writing across it in big letters "HIJACKED"
    or something to that effect.

    I want my vote to count so my backup thought is to write Hijacked on a small pre-prepared blank piece of paper and fold it inside my ballot paper - advice please on this an an alternative.

    Would there be any way of finding out the nature of spoiled papers or any accompanying 'comment sheets' after the referendum ?

    This referendum has been "scent marked" by Bellyache and his 'bitches' - and it STINKS !!!!

    1. You can do that, but you'll be wasting your time. It will just be put in the bin with no notice ever being paid to it and no record ever kept of it. No political statement will be made by doing that.

      If hijacked is written on the ballot, it will be spoiled. If you put a small piece of paper with it, the ballot might be okay but the paper will be ignored.

      As far as I'm concerned, the hijacking was awful, but it's ancient history now. We need to win Option A or it's game over for democracy in Jersey. I recommend just holding your nose and voting for Option A.

    2. Excellent idea.

      Sam is wrong, the piece of paper saying "HIJACKED" , provided it is roughly the same size as the ballot paper, will be unfolded in order to be read and placed in a pile. It will briefly be there for all who are at the count to see - then it gioes into the bin.

      If there are a fair nhumber of these papers saying "HIJACKED" this will get noticed, by supporters, by counters, and by the jurats

  3. Mr. Tadier
    Re your comment on
    4 April 2013 10:52

    It is unbecoming of someone of your reputation to mock this afflicted person PB.

    "You must withdraw immediately !"
    ....... as the actress said to the bishop ........
    ..... or was it the schoolchild to a certain Ex-Vice Dean of Jersey ...?

    sorry, poor taste.

  4. Good reporting Deputy Tadier, two points, can you provide a link to the quote regarding 'Reform option B creates greater voter inequity. just in case people say you made it up.

    The second is that Ian Le Marquand who does not like the questions AB & C on a maths basis deeming them unbalanced.

    He pointed out that if a more or less equal number of people voted A and B as they whole heartedly wanted A or B to win, say out of a personal score out of a hundred scored their first option 90, and their second choice say " C" out of a hundred only 10 then if enough people from the A and B groups then vote C as a second choice " C " would win. This means the questions are two to one for keeping the Constables and a second choice, even of very low preference by voters could win getting more votes than the preferred A or B leaders.

    Only use one vote to block this possibility, on this occasion ILeM is correct.

  5. Hi

    I haven't seen any references to Sir B. supporting the B campaign. Can you post a link please?

  6. Would you expect the media to comment on an individual's change of view? Everyone is entitled to change their view. It's hardly news and not really central to the more important issues.

  7. This is what Senator Bailhache said whilst being questioned when he stood for Chief Minister on 14th Nov 2011:

    Senator P.M. Bailhache:
    I think that the public has shown very clearly at the hustings, certainly for the Senatorial elections, that they want the Constables to remain in the States. The Constables are a vital link between the Parishes and this Assembly and to remove the Constables from the States would be to diminish not just the office of Constable but to diminish the Parishes themselves, and I do not believe that that is what the people want. So far as the Deputies are concerned, I have proposed that the remaining number of Members of the States should be apportioned between Deputies sitting in larger constituencies. This is clearly a matter for discussion and a matter for debate but I do not personally think that that diminishes the role of the Deputy.

  8. Point 1.15 of the Electoral Commission's final report says

    'If the Constables were to remain in the States alongside a system of large
    electoral districts, it would make inequality of representation even worse than under the current system.'

  9. Bailhache is a disgrace to Jersey he not only hijacked the commission he inserted his own agenda into the findings disgraceful man PS watch Charlie Chaplin the Great Dictator I know who it reminds me off