Tonight in the first of a three part posting I look at the question of who will succeed Senator Terry Le Sueur as Chief Minister after the October election. Of course it would be very easy to write reams about this subject and the plethora of other issues that underlie it. For example the desperate need for a reformed ‘open’ Chamber vote.
But keeping this to the style I am advised best suits the internet . I’ll be keeping this short and (occasionally) sweet within a few brief self-explanatory headings.
I will, of course, be discussing all of this in much more detail nearer the election. But in part one we start with the two alleged favourites. Senator Philip Ozouf and Senator Ian Le Marquand.
Senator Philip Ozouf
Though this may surprise many people I actually get on very well with Philip. We both respect that the other works very hard and, like me, he at least wears his political colours on his sleeve. This I will always respect over the spineless populists who appear to have no real political perspective other than rampant populism and/or head-nodding subservience in the hope of getting re-elected and gaining office.
I’m nevertheless forced to be quite honest. In my view should Philip be elected Chief Minister Jersey will, as a consequence, get the most right-wing, free-market fundamentalist driven ‘government’ in our history. Those of us on the inside know that Philip already pulls nearly all of the strings – and believe me, he is very adept at it too. Awarded the official mandate of Chief Minister, however, policy direction will quickly make Margaret Thatcher look like a Socialist!
Finance and wealthy tax evaders – both overt individuals and those hiding behind ‘non-local’ companies etc will continue to be the tail that wags the political dog. Public services will continue to be eroded and ultimately destroyed to be privatised. Public sector workers’ terms and conditions will be hugely undermined. The living standard of the ‘average’ man and woman in the street will reduce. The elderly will find it ever more difficult to live rather than simply ‘exist’.
All of the above in the interest of cosseting the super wealthy and big business from the real world - or should I say ‘from a fair world’.
Achilles heel to gaining Chamber support
May not be able to get over the finishing line due to many – even on the political right – not liking his domineering style, Many such Members, of course, would never have the backbone to tell Philip this to his face. The fact that the Chamber vote is still currently in secret, however, may be the thing that finally scuppers his ambition.
Would I serve in a Senator Ozouf led Executive?
Only if Philip stunned us all by appointing ‘Progressives’ to a full 50% of Ministerial posts. Well, we can always hope…
Senator Ian Le Marquand
Inclusive government rating (out of 10)
Ian is someone that I have always got on well with even before the 2008 election. Hence my huge disappointment that he allowed such a partisan, one-sided mess of an ‘investigation’ into the suspension of Graham Power. Indeed, before the election Ian always made a point of telling me that he was a ‘mixture of left and right’. And, so he said, had much in common politically with me
Perhaps should he actually become Chief Minister he will be able to regain some of the significant ground lost with those of us committed to genuine social justice and rise above the limiting, right-wing ‘group think’ that dominates this present Executive. We need to see some hard evidence of a commitment to both Discrimination laws and Freedom of Information.
The truth from colleagues I talk too is that the jury is still out following the Power/HDLG affair. Has the opportunity to make a real and hugely beneficial change of political direction for Jersey by pulling away from the discredited and redundant elitist policies of the Horsefall/Walker/Le Sueur & Ozouf clique. Could he do it? Only if he is big enough to appoint on the tandem basis of ability and social awareness rather than right-wing cronyism as has been the case since 2005.
Consequence of election
As I indicate above, this very much depends on Senator Le Marquand’s willingness to attempt to bring about genuine inclusive government. There are a significant number of very capable people in the States who have been completely frozen out – quite deliberately so – under Senator Terry Le Sueur. This simply because they would not be willing to support the shameless policy of appeasing the Finance industry at every threat; likewise the Island’s super wealthy. Should Ian not have that political backbone then the sad reality is that Jersey will continue on its present course and the opportunity will be lost.
There are only three certainties if Ian becomes Chief Minister. Deputy Jackie Hilton (if re-elected) would be offered her choice of either Home Affairs or Housing. Senator Philip Ozouf would be offered to stay on at the Treasury. Deputy Ian Gorst (if re-elected) would continue at Social Security. The big question of whether it would be a bright new future or simply more of the same would be who fills the others…