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...
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.