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Friday, 11 January 2013

KILLING OFF DEMOCRACY BY STEALTH

Senator Gorst and Chief Minister Bailhache's cunning plan to sleep walk us into a 1000 year 'one party' State. And just like 1930's Germany it will all be done perfectly legally... 


DEMOCRATS AWAKE!


Anyone for totalitarian politics? No - then whether your political leanings are right, left or centre you had better start paying attention to what is going on today in Jersey. A fairly long post here it is true - but the seriousness of the subject surely warrants it. Democracy is in danger of being irretrievably hijacked; stolen - likely never to return this century by people masquerading as 'democrats' themselves!

OK so you all should have woken up and smelt the coffee when former Deputy Daniel Wimberley's fully independent Electoral Commission got hijacked by Senator Philip Bailhache - aided and abetted as he was by his alleged boss, Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst. But sadly not enough of you did. So with apologies to all of you excellent 'Progressive' types that did complain about this truth be told those of you who didn't really have only yourselves to blame.

Fair enough, in your defence its true you still have the much-vaunted 'referendum' to stop the construction of a 'right-wing' Chinese 'democracy' before its too late. Trouble is if you are one of those who has allowed him or her self to be duped into believing that Senator Bailhache and his acolytes want a true democracy where everyone is equal I have to suggest to you that you may not appreciate what is coming up on the blindside. In fact I'd put a wager on it!

Remember, though Bailhache and his 'Commission' - not to mention Establishment Party mouthpiece the Jersey Evening Pravda - are doing their utmost to keep you all from noticing the fact their favoured outcome will see an imbalance in favour of country parish voters that will make the current situation look like democratic Utopia. Town voters may as well not bother - which is what the Establishment Party want.

Yet now comes the other arm of the pincer movement...

If you didn't get catch Leah Ferguson's Channel Television interview with the Man who would be King then you really ought to try and watch it on line. On the surface this might have appeared predominantly about Senator Bailhache's great desire to be a fully fledged Minister by way of his puppet, Chief Minister Gorst creating a nice shiny new 'Foreign Ministry' for him to play with. At least until Senator Gorst has the 'Chief Ministerial' rug pulled out from under him by his colleague at the next election. But don't tell him - he looks so happy just now.

The reality of what this interview signals, however, is in truth the disemboweling of what democracy is still left in the States Assembly. Sounds complicated? Well, trust me - it isn't as I'll quickly explain in the next dozen paragraphs. It's basically all about numbers.

But if we don't stand up to this strategy now then Jersey 'the island that democracy forgot' really will be past saving. Actually, forget what Ian Bremmer describes in his excellent book 'The end of the free-market' as 'State Capitalism' Jersey will become the phoniest, and most unchallengeable 'democry' in modern history. It will be as 'tied up' to stifle and make any attempt at dissent as futile as Hitler's Germany.

No, of course we are not talking leaders marching about in Jackboots and overt racist policy here (hopefully). What we are talking about is today's laughable spin of a pretend 'consensus' government wholly abandoned for a system where any possibility of the key check and balance of any true democracy - an 'opposition' - will be written into the statute books as a thing of the past.

How is the Establishment Party planning to do this? It's actually pretty simple.

You have no doubt heard Senator Bailhache wants to reduce the States Assembly to 42?

You possibly quite like the idea - indeed, most of us agree to some degree that we really could cut down the numbers slightly. In fact 42 actually sounds all very plausible. I even once thought this degree of reduction might be workable myself. Yet that was before I learnt of Bailhache's desire to smash the crucial Troy Rule.

The 'Troy Rule' for any who don't know was designed to try and ensure that in a government without the grown-up politics and democratic checks and balances of a full party political system there would always be more States Members in the Assembly as 'backbenchers' than the number given posts within the Executive. The Chosen Few would never be able to rely on a guaranteed majority. Unarguably sensible really. Indeed, you would have to have utter contempt for the democratic principle to even question it.

Yet that is what Senator Bailhache and his sidekick 'Chief Minister' Gorst want to do now. And just to add insult to injury to all true democrats they are attempting to do it under the smokescreen of creating some additional 'much-needed' ministries to 'improve things'.

Firstly, the Establishment party 'wants' a Justice Minister...

Now this should be scary enough to any lover of democracy in itself because one: there is absolutely no-one in the Party ranks who is either capable or to be trusted with the job. Period. Two: such a step (on the way to the secret mission of full 'Independence') would remove at a single swipe the last hope for those bullied and strung out to dry by a 'Justice system' that at best already guarantees justice only for the rich and the powerful. That at worst is utterly morally bankrupt and corrupt; a tool, indeed used by the Establishment to crush any who would dissent within a pretence of legitimacy. With this position, of course, would inevitably come an Assistant Minister (or 'ministerial bag carrier' as many are called behind the scenes).

And now Chief Minister Bailhache and his Assistant Senator Gorst want a fully fledged 'Foreign Minister' too...

Now forget for the moment that as I revealed in one of my BTR 'leak of the weeks' that there has already been complaints from at least two Ministers unhappy with the fact that wherever Chief Minister Gorst goes his Assistant Minister Bailhache turns up too. What underlies this has a lot more to it than the curbing of these complaints or providing the Senator with the 'Status' of a title he drooled about with such zeal in Fergusons' interview.

What is really important here is that should this farce get passed by the Assembly it too will then almost certainly demand an 'Assistant'. Appreciate this and all you have to do to see the true horror of what I'm saying is to add up all of the numbers and then add in Senator Bailhache's bland dismissal that the Troy Rule isn't 'that important'...

1: Under the Electoral Commission's preferred option we would have an Assembly of 42.

2: Included in this would be the guaranteed 'push the POUR button on anything the Establishment Party put foward' right-wing block of the Constables.

3: With the introduction of both a Justice Minister; and the upgrading for Senator Bailhache to Foreign Minister this would push up the current number of Ministerial positions from 10 to 12.

4: Regardless of any spin to the contrary the reality is that this increase would result in each of the now 12 Ministries having at least one Assistant Minister. Remember, large departments such as ESC already have two even if it is absolutely unfathomable as to what they both do.

5: The result of all of this...an Executive of around 24 States Members. Leaving, in an Assembly of just 42 only 18 individuals outside of the party fold! The potential for philosopical/policy-based opposition scuppered at a stroke. And without the safeguards of a party system never any real chance of this cynical hamstringing of democracy being overturned.

Please dismiss the nonsense put forward by Senator Bailhache that the Troy Rule isn't 'that important'. Without a party political system in place it is all that stands between Jersey becoming a one party state for generations. And if you think the 'never mind the ability give him the job and he'll vote as he's told' type of 'consensus' politics we have now does nothing to raise the political standard of government you really won't have seen anything yet.

Indeed, if ever people of a 'Leftist, progressive, democratic' political leaning needed motivation to start working together more effectively this must surely be it, We fail to do so at our peril...

Keep the Faith - BTR 13 'Review of 2012' Part Two up on Sunday.



37 comments:

  1. Long but excellent Mr P. When you set it all out like you do here a picture begins to emerge that is pretty terrifying. Certainly if you don't happen to adhere to the go for growth mantra politics.

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  2. Thanks. Glad someone else is up late. speaking to a constituent only yesterday about the Troy Rule. Once people understand what it does they appreciate how important it is to keep.

    Bailhache's spin that if everyone was 'a part' of the Executive it would improve government is absolute tosh.

    Yes, it would cut down States debates even further - as if they haven't been dumbed down enough with this Assembly - but democracy and the ability of question and challenge that is essential to it would be all but dead.

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  3. Why is this mechanism called the Troy rule?

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  4. so trevor how do we stop it the likes of bailache and the mockery that is gorst have never given a rats arse about what the populace want.in bailache and gorst you have the most dishonourable diseased men you could think off if they were dogs you would have them put down.

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  5. I am a member of a small local sports club and even we have discussions about how we MUST ensure the executive does not outnumber the rank and file committee members. We feared such a situation might stifle change and progression. To prevent this happening we limited the numbers of honorary voting positions so that they could never outnumber the committee.

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  6. Hi Martin

    I'm sure you are talking in terms of democracy here with your analogy. As an animal lover I am a believer that there is no such thing as a bad 'dog' - only bad 'owners'. So I would say it is up to those 'owners' - the public - to strive to train their animals better. The voters are meant to be the 'masters' not the other way around.

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  7. Whoops! Running late - better make that 10.45!

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  8. Possible solutions:
    Eliminate the position of Assistant Minister
    Insist that Constables may contribute but not vote
    Reduce reduction of members to 49
    Question why a small 9x5 island needs 12 Ministries at all

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  9. All very well but it is the peoples' decision at the end of the day.

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    1. It is the people's decision. However, with the JEP's obvious bias one fears another headline similar to "It's The Sun Wot Won It" after the 1992 re-election of John Major as prime minister in the UK

      The Beano is not the Rag

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  10. Anonymous

    Totally agree that reform should essentially be down to the people. But...

    Any referendum simply must fully inform the people on what the consequence of any vote will be.

    Thus far the hijacked Electoral Commission have failed to raise awareness as to just how unfair on urban parishes/districts the 42 seat but keeping the Constables would be.

    This clearly must be rectified. Likewise the impact of destroying the Troy rule. This has not even been mentioned by Bailhache and his cronies.

    The other thing is thatultimately, without it being a direct part of any referndum it will be States Members who get to vote to create a one party State.

    Today's cop out of offering to keep the status quo is also just what a few of us both predicted and feared. faced with a few raised heckles the old cop out of no change/no improvement is thrown in to be a spoiler.

    Probably the likely outcome if anyone is having a bet!

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  11. Have a look at the online comment on the main posting IN RED

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  12. Private message:

    Not long got back so will look into now and then contact within the hour.

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  13. You paint a bleak scenario. What is even more depressing is that you are probably right in your assertions.

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  14. Private message:

    Call me on the office number 863436.

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  15. Trevor, there is a comment on Bob Hill's blog saying "Graham Power wasn't afforded a hearing or the Minister helping with his funding. Now that is a another story and one the Minister should answer."

    Now that is a great question. According to Graham Power's witness statement, he was denied the funding for legal advice to which he was contractually entitled, because his contract was removed from his office safe without him or his representative being present. Where was the "equality of arms" that ILM talks about in Friday's JEP when it came to Graham Power?

    You could have a question bonanza here!

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  16. A poster asked the question as to why the mechanism relating to numbers outside the Executive is known as the 'Troy rule'.

    Another poster sent in an answer suggesting that this was related to former Senator Shenton and the Troy family.

    However, my understand - and I am happy to be corrected by one of my older, longer serving political colleagues or anyone else - is that this related to the former Deputy Troy of St. Brelade.

    Am I right or am I wrong?

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    1. You are right Trevor, the Troy rule is mentioned in the Electoral Commissions report on page 19 -

      http://www.electoralcommission.je/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/2013.01.08-Electoral-Commission-Final-Report.pdf

      Presumably if the number goes down to 42, the number of Ministers and Assistant Ministers will have to go down too, otherwise the executive would be in breach of the law.

      But obviously the law is subject to being amended or abolished. Clearly something to worry about in the future there. But on the face of it "Option A" seems good to me.

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    2. Sam

      As I have said - the whole, long game of the Senator and his hijacking of the Electoral Commission is to create, via what you can only call an abuse of the legislative process, a one party state.

      A one party state that with the potential to 'buy' votes and a 'don't rock the boat' subservience will mean there can be no real challenge.

      Remember, the Senator has talked before about having 'everyone' as a part of the Executive. Of course, this would be in meaningless title only. Lefties; Progressives; Greens (real greens not those who just pretendeded to be in using the Plemont issue for political gain)will simply be even further marginalised.

      The Establishment Party don't want any kind of challenge. They know they are fading away. They know their empire only needs a couple of crucial bricks pulled to begin the collapse of the whole ediface.

      This process is all about desperately hanging on to the 'old order'. We swallow it at our peril.

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  17. For those of you don't tweet - and I didn't until just over a month or so ago...

    Anyone else notice that the Jersey Evening Pravda were yesterday trying to con readers that Bailhache's hijacked Electoral Commission is actually 'independent'???!!!

    Dr. Goebbells would surely be proud. What next?

    Will they be telling us that people who chose deliberately to look the other way regarding evidence of child abuse don't then get to sit as Jurats for 14 years?

    Jersey - as a former Senator used to say 'you just couldn't make it up'!

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  18. Peter Troy, former deputy of St Brelade is the man to thank for the Troy rule

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  19. BTR 13 - Update

    Stinking cold and no sleep or not - BTR 13 should be uploaded Sunday evening.

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  20. I can't believe that anyone would seriously suggest that keeping the troy rule isn't of significant importance. Whatever one thinks of our so called "consensus" form of government, without party politics it is something we need. I further have to comment that the whole point of an "electoral commission" seems negated if it can put forward leaving things the way they are as one of its options. So just how much are we paying for this fudge?

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  21. You are perceptive in suggestion that the future of Jersey is as a “'right-wing' Chinese 'democracy'”. The Chinese or perhaps Singapore version of authoritarian capitalism has much appeal to our rulers. This is essentially what the plan for “Independence” is designed to achieve. There will be a docile workforce with no political choice except that dictated by the ruling elite.

    The present model with its low levels of voter participation provides a veneer of democratic legitimacy without any danger that things could change. Stability is vital for capital arising on an international basis and this is what the Tax Haven offers. With only the comfortable voting, the rest are safely isolated to impotence with daily cynicism about politics and politicians.

    The recent recommendations of the Electoral Commission are all about consolidating power in the hands of a few and only ostensibly in extending democracy.

    The cultural factors towards conformity in a small society are apparent. The serried ranks of trust administrators and clerks learn quickly to hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil, if they wish to advance their careers. It does not pay to hold opinions that others do not.

    Capital has captured the island economically and politically. What we need to do is educate working people as to what this means. They and they alone are the potential agency for change.

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  22. www.thisisjersey.com/election/senators/deputy-peter-troy/
    "I introduced what has become known as the 'Troy Rule' "

    I (no, I'm not PT) believe it's vital that we don't let the establishment seize a permanent majority by this backhand strategy. If they do, it's all over.

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  23. This is incredibly serious, lets spin it the other way, The Troy rule is of little importance if you want to scrap it which obviously Bailhache and some ministers do. A small group of useless establishment " do as you have been told " politicians are told which way to vote, however progressives States and free thinking back bench members question and win certain propositions.

    If the executive get a mathematical numbers advantage in the assembly, this means they can run riot out side of decent democracy in the first few years as the opposition and accountability has gone.

    Then comes independence, Game Set and Match to the Jersey Mafia.

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  24. For those who don't tweet - Bald Truth Review 13 now filmed but up lunchtime Monday.

    Apologies but difficult week with the knock on from the bereavement and this s***** cold on top. Certainly once again puts other things in perspective. No child should have to lose their mum so young - ever.

    Thanks

    Trevor

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  25. I intend to be Voting for option A - whilst I too look on in horror at what 'King Bailache is proposing (the Bahraini model of democracy?!) nonetheless I feel not all doom and gloom as IMO the Super Constituancies do favour Political Parties. Whether the great unwashed (us and me!) can be persuaded to get off backsides and "capture" the States Chamber is another question - but the mechanism is there to do so and with something mainstream (i.e. not the wishful thinking looney end of the political spectrum).....a Democratic Counter Coup?! The Potato Revolution? :-)

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  26. Oh deaar - more excuses from me! I'll have to join the Establishment at this rate. Anyway, finally the BTR 13 will be up around dinner time (that's tea time if you are a working class peasant like me) or soon after 6pm.

    Meanwhile thanks to all of those who have sent cards, texts and other messages of support following on from our bereavement. Really nice to know that so many people care enough to take the time to do so.

    Thanks

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  27. Perhaps repetitious use of your term "Chinese Democracy," may finally convince the self deluded to pay attention to the ominous direction the would-be-king hopes to take them. What does it take for more people to take note of the erosion of their few fragile democratic rights?

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  28. Hello and goodnight!

    Why? Well, perhaps to cap a week I will be pleased to put behind me the latest is that gremlins seem to have infiltrated the BTR system.

    Problems with uploading the (cursed?) BTR 13! Does not want to upload so am leaving until Tuesday as I still have work to do for the States sitting.

    Yet more apologies...

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  29. Dear Trevor, I wanted to know if you could clarify something? in relation to Sir Philip Bailhache who sat on a case as Judge that implicated a huge conflict of interest. His brother Willima Bailhache prosecuted the father and then Sir Philip Judge at the time would not when asked 'to not be a Judge on the son's case' would not do so. Sir Birt allowed this to happen. So when Le Cocq writes this quote: proves this is not the case. This was in the JEP's interest but they would not publish it. Of course Sir Philip is no longer a Judge but he made the rules...how can this be avoided?

    “They shall not sit in a case where they have a financial or other interest or where the circumstances are such that a fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the given facts, would conclude that there was a real possibility that the member was biased.

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  30. My dear Mr. T. Pitman!
    Faust signed a contract with Mephistopheles, because they were agree, that
    An art is great,
    And short is our life.
    I love you.
    Lee Schneider, leeschneider34@yahoo.com

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