Democracy

Democracy and citizen involvement
We need to rebuild trust which has been largely destroyed

  • by the kind of spin used in ‘Imagine Jersey 2035’
  • by the kind of manipulation used in ‘Imagine Jersey’
  • by ignoring what people have repeatedly said that they want, the most notable example being – the population question
  • another example being the demand for a general election date which was also ignored

I want to see a new era of genuinely open government.

I am absolutely committed to honest democratic involvement, a new and better relationship between States and people. I lived in a democatic housing co-operative for 5 years and I know from the inside what democracy really looks like, arriving at all decisions through honest discussion and consensus. It is one of the greatest challenges facing Jersey as a society, I am familiar with the concepts around participation and democracy, and I promise you to do my best to see that it happens.

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POLICIES

I pledge to do all I can to clean up their act and to restore your trust by honest two-way communication

Overhaul our election system

Few now support this (see MORI Survey on Electoral Reform  2007). These 21 candidate elections show once again that the system is broke. Start from first principles: proportionality, representation, and the need to involve the electorate. For my letter to the JEP on ballot papers see “re-open nominations” option on ballot papers.

More detail on this: including Clothier, proportionality, general election, Constables in the States, number of members

Parish reform
I am not at all sure that the Parish Assembly is the most democratic way to run a Parish. We should move towards elected Parish Councils who would run the day-to-day affairs of the Parish and work up proposals, and only call a major Assembly to approve the budget and major initiatives.  I saw a similar corruption of the democratic process when I was at university.

I know “it is the way we do things” and I respect that, but it is not democratic, and  this is one area which will need to change if young people, and others too, are to take our democracy seriously

Promote democracy and participation in our schools
Pupils can learn democracy first and above all by practising it, by shadowing and questioning politicians and others involved in public life, and by role-play as with the excellent primary programme where schoolchildren conduct debates in the States Chamber itself.

Explore better ways of involving us in decisions
Many consultations in Jersey are well managed and work has been done by the Communications Unit to evaluate the usual “written consultation” model. They have also set out the methods-of-consultationwhich are available. Community Planning was used in St. Aubin successfully. Let us try more of these methods. Of course they all depend on trust.

I personally will set up a kind of citizens’ jury, to act as my sounding board . . (see paragraph on integrity)

Responses

  1. Nebulous platitudes mostly I am afraid, apart from the proposal for civic education is schools which I endorse. I learnt nothing at Victoria College about Jersey institutions and history, because nothing was taught.

    Concretely the issue of “Democracy” turns in part around the Clothier report and its recommendations. I wont touch here the role of the Bailiff, that anacronism of the Ancien Regime, pre democratic and popular era.

    The government established Ministerial government to take control of the commanding heights of power – to control the civil service – to control the state more effectively than the old committee system with its disparate sources of conflicting direction. They ignored deliberately the counterpart – the democratic counterweight of electoral and States reform.

    You omit to tell us your position on the Clothier recommendation for one category of States Member ie all Deputies, as is the case in Guernsey. This is the most democratic way to proceed, but many who sit on the fence cannot get to grips with the necessity of abolishing Senators and taking Constables out of the States. By not being robust one is deferring to the existing conservative power group and their desire than nothing should change constitutionally. If you cannot battle them on that core issue, what chance on any on the other barriers and blocks that entrench their elite power?

    Constables should go back to doing what they do best, and the basis on which they got elected in the first place – namely running the Parish. They do not get elected for their knowledge of legislation on Protected Cell Companies; they might get elected because they grow prize dahlias.

    Senators with six year terms were set up post war to prevent a “democratic event” causing a change of government. They built in to the constitution special structures that ensured conservative continuity.

    So tell us Daniel if you will vote for the removal of Connetables from the States and the abolition of Senators?

    Will you vote for the abolition of “pocket boroughs” like St Mary, with a handful of people electing two representatives – a rural electoral district with wealthy old Jersey rentiers and wealthy upper middles in Finance? Do you believe in larger super constituencies?

    Your starter for ten on basic reforms.

    I am prepared to stand down in three years to achieve the one category of States member and an island wide general election at which all are elected on the same day. I will not be fighting a reactionary rear guard defence of privilege. Will you?

    Regards,

    Nick

  2. Thanks for the post, Nick, sorry it has taken so long.

    See rewritten page on DEMOCRACY and new page on ELECTIONS REFORM.

    Comments welcome

    Daniel


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