At the time I was, of course, quite candid in telling people, including Gorst him self, that for me the choice between the Senator and his opponent former Bailiff Philip Bailhache was very much like being told one had to choose between John Major and Margaret Thatcher: i.e. choosing between a misguided acolyte who might yet wake up and smell the coffee of democracy; or the actual political devil incarnate.
The 'hold your nose' approach...
To be quite fair to both myself and a few others who then took the ex-Deputy Bob Hill approach of ‘holding one’s nose’ and voting for the former Social Security Minister anyway for all the underlying concerns about his calibre and willingness to stand up for the interests of the majority rather than the few, it still seemed a wholly logical approach to risk.
Gorst, one truly hoped, was not quite past being saved from the failed political doctrine of ‘the Jersey Way’ silence on child protection failings, rabid ‘free-market’ fundamentalism and greed. Bailhache on the other hand was clearly already completely lost to this and the redundant ideology of the ‘natural order’ of a two-tier society of haves and have nots. Okay, to be quite blunt Bailhache was also demonstrably none too bright, and almost entirely bereft of both common sense and understanding of the most basic tenets of socio-economics with it. In short the ‘ordinary’ person’s worst nightmare.
Yet for all of this I now see in looking back at how Gorst’s opportunity to ‘lead’ has failed the majority of islanders - just as spectacularly as he failed to keep the basic promises he made to secure progressive’s votes – that apparently logical or not my decision to vote for Ian Gorst was wrong.
I really should have ‘held my nose’, had a stiff drink voted for Senator Philip Bailhache anyway...
But before I have people who have been so very - often wonderfully -supportive since Shona and I lost our seats in the States as a direct consequence of Michael Birt’s allowing the shamed and dishonest Victoria College paedophile protector, John Le Breton to sit a Jurat on our case angrily demanding to know just what the hell I am suddenly talking about I would briefly like to explain in this post my deeper reasoning for this change of heart.
Yes, as Chief Minister Ian Gorst has been revealed to be both a liar and a political fraud wholly out of his depth. He has been weaker in fact than any States watchers I know could ever have imagined. An on-going disaster who has shown himself to be without any shadow of doubt the worst of all three Chief Ministers this island has had since the move to ‘ministerial’ government in 2005. No mean achievement in itself!
But what overrides all of this for me upon reflection is that for all of the additional damage it would do to both Jersey’s community cohesion and socio-economic prosperity in the short term of perhaps five to ten years – not to mention our wider international reputation – this inept and sorry excuse for a politician has actually been played for a mug and used by those who have pretended to support him loud and long and never should have been afforded the opportunity.
Gorst I’m afraid to say, in my opinion, has been just a political glove puppet and I thus believe it would be far better in the long-term if those who have utterly manipulated him – not least in recent skulduggery surrounding both Plemont and the appalling treatment of Planning Minister Deputy Rob Duhamel - were now thrust into the spotlight as the true and deliberate architects of Jersey’s slide to an ever more deeply entrenched two-tier society whilst Gorst takes all the reputational bullets as the alleged Island leader.
Time to let the Man who would be King have it...
And this means of course Senator Philip Bailhache – champion and apologist of judicial injustice, child abuse cover-ups; and fundamentally of the ‘better’ people (i.e. the ultra rich, finance and big business interests) running the Island no matter how incompetent and/or vested interest driven any should be – finally taking on the mantle of Chief Minister himself in order that he can finally take the flak his machinations; and those of his little Prince Machiavelli, Senator Philip Ozouf so fully deserve.
Yes, letting Bailhache and Ozouf along with all of their little wannabe ‘Assistants’ openly take the helm would, within five to ten years, undoubtedly bring not just the poor but ‘middle Jersey’ to their knees with consequences such as I outline below - but this is actually the point. Perhaps things really do have to get much worse before the circumstances can arise to enable them to get much better?
As Chief Minister Bailhache would finally have his obsessive Holy Grail of ‘Independence’ (which he and his brother wanted former Police Chief Graham Power to undertake groundwork for) and with it, of course, we would consequently be severed from any potential intervention from the United Kingdom whatsoever when the finance industry abuses of the past 20 years finally goes belly-up due to changing global attitudes to tax dodging. Just as all true analysts – whether they are brave enough to admit it publicly or not - know will ultimately happen.
Under Bailhache and his Machiavellian gofer jobs will also become ever harder for local people to secure as the truth behind the current rehashing of old and failed immigration control propaganda from 2007 is quickly exposed. Ozouf’s ‘Go for growth’ and hang the consequences will lead us on helter-skelter down the yellow brick road to becoming a high-rise concrete jungle with environmental protection issues all but abandoned other than as a spin exercise in advance of elections.
Zero hour contract exploitation will mushroom as will the legislative enforcement via Social Security of ever more minimum wage ‘opportunities’.
A youth exodus of never before seen proportions will undoubtedly follow as young aspirations and dreams of career and a home are crushed beyond all hope.
A related knock-on effect for those already on the property ladder, negative equity will be the new ‘growth business’.
Oh yes, and we will also finally become a Human Rights pariah on the international stage – all without even the current potential fall back of UK assistance which we should be able to access to challenge judicial corruption in our courts now - and would if only our tax dodging activities were not still so beneficial to some in the City of London.Indeed, let us not kid ourselves: under a Chief Minister like Philip Bailhache and his economic hit man Ozouf Jersey would be taken to the brink of no return.
It would quite frankly be horrible: a kind of modern day Dark Age. Neo-Feudalism for the 21st Century albeit hidden behind a crumbling façade of a whiter-than-white Disneyland ‘respectable and responsible’ finance centre.
Yet the fact is it could all ultimately also be wholly worth the ensuing pain...
Because exposing these champions of elitism, privatisation and the concentration of political power in ever fewer pairs of hands by ensuring that they had to at last take open political responsibility; instead of pulling strings whilst hiding in the shadows behind a weak and ineffectual ‘Chief Minister’ could bring an end to their machinations and selling of Jersey’s soul quicker than any other way currently likely in an island where political apathy has become a sad and sorry norm. Not to mention a deliberate Establishment policy.
It is in direct tandem likewise, I believe, time for those of a ‘progressive’ or leftist leaning persuasion within the States to also stop playing along with the games. By this I mean that they should let the real architects of two-tier society Jersey and all of their Establishment enablers finally stand exposed in all their narcissistic glory.
What I mean is that it is time for progressives to not even contest positions such as Scrutiny Chairmen or the heading up of the Privileges & Procedures Committee and Public Accounts. Instead let Bailhache and Ozouf have their stooges and placemen fill them unopposed – with all ‘in Chamber’ opposition being swept away.
For the truth is every informed political watcher knows full well it is absurd that those on the ministerial side of government should then be able to vote to install Chairmen who will actually give the Executive the easiest time. Yet we let it happen and with the few brave enough to challenge and voice dissent the illusion of a democracy is maintained.
Thus the overall goal of what I am suggesting - let the public see if a wholly unchecked, unchallenged assault from the elitist right for several years will really give them the community cohesion and economy they have been conned into thinking they both want; and which will benefit not just their children but their children’s children. Conned let us not forget with the collusion of Jersey’s gutless ‘repeaters’ of the Establishment’s mainstream media.
After all, once the reality of a few years of this hit you how many ‘ordinary’ people struggling to make ends meet would really want a government of the sort Bailhache and Ozouf aspire to where questions, let alone direct challenge simply no longer happen?
For increasing numbers of the people who contact me or simply stop me out and about right up to this day of writing it seems the sense that a harsh ‘wake up call’ to prevent an inevitable and wholly irretrievable collapse of everything that has historically made Jersey so special a little further down the line is now called for. The approach I outline above appears to fit the bill no matter how seemingly extreme. A sort of new twist on Ghandi’s passive resistance one might argue.
I repeat: let Bailhache and Ozouf and all of those who enable them now carry out their policies and stand up to own and explain them in the full glare of the spotlight without either spin or others to give them the current smokescreen of democracy. And ff the majority of the public still support them after a few years of the official one party, two-tier society State then all well and good - whatever my own political perspective.
And if they do not, yet the same said public still just sit on their butts in continued political apathy of ever-decreasing electoral turnouts and passive acceptance of abuses of both justice and the most vulnerable of children as their long-term future crumbles around them then one has to conclude that the old saying that a ‘people get the government and policies they deserve’ may unfortunately well be right on the money.