Not for me

I have noticed a couple of people posting on fora assuming failed senatorial (and constable) candidates will stand as a deputy the following month. There is nothing wrong with being a deputy or a constable or standing again. However I have stated I think we should have a single election day with all of those seats that are up for election being contested on the same day. It would be somewhat inconsistent to have that policy and then blithely make use of the fact the policy isn't in place. So no, I won't stand as a deputy in November should I not be elected senator.

That doesn mean I'll just disappear into the shadows if not elected. There's too much that needs doing, and there are ways of making things happen from the outside.

Social 1

We should have a Minister for Children so that there is a single point of clear responsibility for driving relevant matters like implementing the recommendations of the Bull report.

We should sign up fully to the UN convention on the Rights of the Child

We need to develop an independent system of inspection and reporting for institutional care facilities, possibly along the lines of the lay police visitors scheme in the UK.

I support the call by the Care Leaver's Association for an immediate and unequivocal apology from the States of Jersey to all those maltreated while under the care of the States, and recognition of the failure of the system to protect the most vulnerable.

We must establish free and independent counselling services for Care Leavers.

We should ascertain if the UK findings that August born children are 20% less likely to go to university applies locally too. If it does we need urgently to review our policy on school starting ages with a view to being much more flexible like the French and Swedes are.


Parts of the States seem very keen on consultation. However my experience of participating in a couple of these consultative exercises in Jersey is that generally they fail. Good, useful consultation only happens when you take an open-minded approach to the exercise. Proper consultation is a risk - you may not get the answers you prefer. Indeed the public's choice may be very uncomfortable to the administration. Trying to manage the consultative process to avoid the difficult outcomes is disingenuous and necessarily diminishes any trust the populace has in the concept of consultation.

Similarly the mind set that sees no problem in commissioning a consultative report from experts and then hiding it down the back of a metaphorical sofa when it is embarrassing or critical has to be swept away. There will be no trust between the people and the administration while incidents like the handling of the Sharp report lasts.

The solutions to avoid and ameliorate the impacts of challenging global forces like climate change and peak oil will likely be huge societal and personal change. Imposition of radical change will only generate resentment and hostility. It is by meaningful and informed dialogue, debate and consultation with the Jersey people that we will find a consensual way to make these very tough decisions.

I am in favour of using referenda for deciding on long term structural changes that can be decided on a simple question.

Sea defences, sea levels and climate change

Climate change figures the States of Jersey like to quote suggest a 70cm sea level rise by 2070, plus of course increased storm surges. That's based on the Hadley Centre study using models and data from around 2002. It doesn't sound too much does it, around a centimeter per year average. Unfortunately its not likely to happen in the implied gradual way. There are often sudden events where a large ice shelf or part of a glacier breaks away quite suddenly. Sea ice melting doesn't add to sea level rise appreciably, but land based glaciers like Greenland do.

That 70 cm figure was a good guess based on the models and data available on 2002. Back then the IPCC figures suggested Arctic sea ice would disappear around the end of the century, and it would be decades before the North West passage opened up. Well it actually opened up this year. Reports like the big melt ( ) show that ice is melting many many times faster than was predicted back then. They also imply the Greenland glaciers are also melting much faster too. That 70 cm(2 feet) figure is much closer than our planning allows for, some would say only 20 years.

I have reason to believe not a few of our States members are interested in boats. Exempting marine fuel from the latest tax rise, testifies to that. So at least one or two of them must have been down to the harbour and marina and observed how close to the top the sea gets on a high spring tide. Two feet added to that and what do you have: a flooded area at least as far as the town church and right through the current underpass.

We urgently need to update our planning assumptions on sea level rises to more realistic figures and feed those back into a review of critical impacts, like whether our sea defences are up to it.


Now I happen to think culture is important, and that the States have a crucial role in culture for two specific reasons. Have you noticed how our society is becoming progressively segmented, typically by age? Too often our old folks are stuck in homes and don't get much at all. Our children are all herded for long hours into schools where the only adults are people in authority. Young adults can't go into pubs or many clubs so congregate together in public places in a manner that then puts off other people going there. Even in the workplace it is common for the older employees (managers) to be in their offices or meetings much of the time. The younger are in open plan sites.

Even the terminology we use emphasises this segregation. Youth and Community Centre immediately says to me that youth is not considered part of the community. How very wrong. This is in contrast to what the anthropologists tell us about natural human societies. Our natural structure is small mixed age groups of around 2 dozen people doing most everything together. I want to see cultural policy used to overcome this segmented effect on our society and to actively encourage mixing and interaction, particularly across the generations. I certainly don't want to see a series of special events aimed at particular age groups that perpetuate the disassociation already apparent in society.

The second requirement is more long term, but possibly more critical. Continued oil and food shortages suggest we are heading for a world with less material 'stuff' around, and much more time, effort and resources directed simply to keeping the real necessities of life in place. I subscribe to the transition culture approach, believing we will adapt to this future by living simpler more localised lives. Without the material stuff that fills so much of our lives now there will be a big hole. Lets plan to fill it with diverse culture.

About me.

I have a public profile at:

Some relevant bits for this election:
I went to St John's school, then to Victoria College. I studied materials engineering at Nottingham University, and then went on to gain my Ph.D.

I was a County Councillor in Nottinghamshire 1988 -1990, winning the seat from the incumbent party. Before that I had been on the national committee of the Liberal Ecology Group, and of the Union of Liberal Students.

I gave up active politics to concentrate on the practicalities of earning a living and starting a business. While I continued to be a member of various campaign groups I never thought I might once again enter the arena (reminds me of 'Morituri te salutamus')
I find the introspection and determinedly narrow focus of the States of Jersey in the face of monumentally challenging imminent global issues such as climate chaos, oil depletion and over population to be breathtakingly negligent.

As someone who has been notionally in care as a child I am outraged by the recent revelations of the failings of and neglect within our care system.

I have reason to think I have some skills, abilities and experiences that are relevant to taking on the role of senator, but that is for the electorate to decide. For sure though this election cannot be about personalities, egos, Buggin's turn or wannabes. The stakes are way too high for that. It is the policies and the politics that have to predominate. Crucially it is the strategic direction we take that turns on the outcome of the next 2 months - is our future in growth or sustainability?

The big issues: peak oil, climate change, sustainability, population increases, environmental economics, food security, social justice.


The coming elections in Jersey represent significant change and opportunity for the people of the island. We will have the nearest thing to a general election since 1948. With the near absence of political parties, it is unclear how the results will affect policy detail. Having individual ‘independent’ candidates has it merits, but it means there is little scope for coherent consistent policy to be formulated in advance of the elections. If we can’t vote effectively on a party manifesto, what can we vote on? Candidates character is a possibility, political philosophy, the concerns that shape how they view the world is another.

Character is something only the beholder can decide for himself, but political philosophy is something that can be laid out by candidates in advance. This is an outline from a transition culture liberal ecologist perspective of how we move to a sustainable future. My view is decidedly one of supporting and promoting diversity. Just as natural systems gain their stability and resilience from bio-diversity I believe other systems also gain stability from diversity. Ecological, political, economic, and cultural diversity is highly desirable. We are going to need the resilience and strength that comes from that diversity to weather the coming global crises.

Democracy, government and responsibility

The last few years have seen many proposals to reform or otherwise change the structure of the states and the election of States members. From the recommendations of the Clothier report through the sacking of a senator as minister, to the decision of 3 constables to renege on their agreement to stand down at this election, our electoral and governmental system is under stress.

How we organise elections, dismiss and remove elected members depends very much on what the system is expected to achieve. In a uni-cameral body like our States it is essential we get good decisions, as there is no check in place on poor decisions as there would be with a second chamber. It is well known in business that you don’t get good decisions by having a board of ’yes men’. You need a plurality of views and opinions and argue it out. Our States should emulate that with an electoral system that promotes a wide range of views in the assembly. Diversity again.

How do we achieve such diversity? As far as structure of the States goes having a variety of deputies, constables and senators with different loci of interests and concerns and timescales in office is a benefit. I see no pressing reason to change that aspect – there are more important things we have to focus on.

However the senatorial election seems skewed against diversity. If you happen to vote for a number of candidates, none of whom is elected, then you have not had any effective say and your views are not reflected at all. The gang with a slight majority is highly likely to take the overwhelming majority of senatorial seats. A single transferable voting system for senatorial candidates would give minority views a prospect of being represented among the elected members.

I am in favour of having all the States members in whatever capacity elected on the same day. I would like to see an anually election day -the same day every year where 1/3 rd of deputies, 1/3 of constables and 1/6th of senators are elected each year. I would make constables ex-officio, giving them the right to speak on their parochial matters, but not voting. I think it would be fitting to mark and remember the sacrifices that were made by our forbears to gain the vote by exercising that hard won democratic right on Liberation day.

Having said that, should there be no support for the above, I would have to support implementation of the Clothier report, and have all States members elected for a 4 year period in a general election.

Parochial administration with its elections for most posts, and assemblies for setting the rates and many other matters is as democratic local control as you could reasonably expect to find anywhere. Many places in the UK and further afield would love to have such local participation available to them. That local strength has to be maintained.

Separation of the dual roles of the Bailiff is essential.

Imagine Jersey 2035

Imagine Jersey 2035 was an excellent concept in principle and an approach we should repeat properly. But it was doomed as a consultation exercise by prejudicing the outcomes and failing to put the essential context around the event. In taking a one dimensional view of the specific problem of paying future pension commitments the outcomes of the event are not generally valid. The proper approach would have to consider the impacts of global factors like climate change and peak oil on Jersey society in 2035 before overlaying the pension payment issue and being open to wider solutions. Artificially inflating the population figures, as the consultation outcomes suggest, must increase our carbon emissions both directly and indirectly. The more people we have the more resources we need to import to maintain those people and the more pollution we necessarily produce. This is all in direct conflict with the state of the world as most see it in 2035.

Change is coming: global forces are at work that we cannot avoid. The only real choice the States has is to face those challenges and prepare the population now, or defer the tough decisions and risk real social upheaval and perhaps even unrest when emergency measures become inevitable. We need a model of how life will be in 2035 if we are to prepare ourselves. This is no easy task: there is no credible ‘dolce vita’ option on offer. Here’s a few scenario examples of changes some seriously minded people think will have hit by 2035.

  • Inflation will be a problem. If commodities are in short supply, and global population and living standards are growing, then any society like ours that is an importer of essential goods faces stiff competition to buy those basics. It is an external driver that the Government cannot manage. The only way to avert spiralling costs will be to avoiding having to buy these things in. That means becoming much more self reliant on basics like food and energy

  • Air travel will have all but ceased. Even if we had surplus oil to burn by 2035 our CO2 emissions targets would make air travel a social taboo. A flight from Jersey to the USA would emit as much C02 as the target yearly emissions for that person.

  • Manufactured goods and especially electronic entertainments and gadgets would be highly questionable. Not only would the materials and energy of production be very expensive, but also the power consumption would be unacceptable. How will people fill their time if not playing ipods, using games machines, watching tv and DVDs or even blogging on the net?

  • Energy Generation. By 2035 we should have implemented a programme of tidal energy generation, backed up by a widespread microgeneration. This is a significant capital investment, but a far more useful one than the Waterfront development.

  • Food will be a critical part of our economy. We will no longer be exporting significantly, but will have adapted to a more market garden style growing for a local market.

  • The trauma that accompanies abuse, especially childhood abuse, can last a lifetime. In 2035 we will still be dealing with the after effects, and assisting some of the victims and survivors of historic abuse to cope. It is a long-term commitment that is required on the part of society


External travel links are critical to an island. The question is what type of links will we have in 2035 and beyond. By then flying will be prohibitively expensive for most people. Therefore we should be limiting our investment in the airport with a view to reducing its scale and diverting the resources to harbour facilities.

Private transport is always going to be difficult to change. It would help if our cycle route patchwork were a proper network. It would help if we had more frequent buses that were convenient to use. If people insist they have to have private cars, then it would be better they were not fossil fuelled. Electric cars would suit Jersey, but the price new is high, and many people simply could not afford a new car. To remedy that we need a second hand market. The fastest route to that is to require all hire vehicles to be non-fossil fuel powered within a 5 year period. A few years after that a flow of ex-hire vehicles would become available.

Short-term we must have a functional bus service - one that people find usable. We need buses for more than just getting workers to the office and back, or visitors to the airport People need to travel on Sundays, they should be able to participate in cultural activities outside of working hours. Buses need to be much more accessible to people with young children, buggies, large parcel, rucksacks etc. Frequent minibuses seems to be more feasible than large buses for many of our routes. The routes need revision - how insane is it that people in St Mary and St Ouen can't get a bus to our local shopping centre in Quennevais?


Being an importer of food at a time when world grain stocks are at all time lows, and there’s barely enough harvest to feed everyone in the world is not a comfortable place to be. The prognosis is worse as populations increase and the fossil fuel inputs to artificial fertilizers, shipping, storage and packaging all act to increase prices. There is little if anything the States can do to contain these price rises.

We must have a food security policy. We must look to producing as much as we can for local consumption. Our patterns of agriculture will have to evolve into something more like traditional organic, low input, market gardening models. One answer to what do we all do in a post gadget economy is grow your own –allotments. Growing your own is one sure way to minimise the monetary cost of feeding yourself. Once we have allotments available they should be prioritised for those who live in flats, have children, and don’t have gardens. Horticultural courses will be in high demand as people relearn the skills of fruit and vegetable gardening.

Diets are likely to change in the coming years just because of circumstances. Meat and dairy will become relatively more expensive. It takes more land to produce food from animals than from grain and vegetables. With more mouths in the world to feed we either have to find more fertile land, or eat less meat on average.

It is unlikely we would to still be using oil based fuel for agricultural machinery. We might look to biodiesel and the like for keeping the food system going. In the worst case we may even have to contemplate a much higher agricultural labour force.

With climate change we will have to consider what are suitable crops to be growing. Already in the UK there are adventurous growers experimenting with new crops for them like citrus and olives and tea.

Tax, finance and resources

It is a matter of principle that tax measures should be progressive: they should be broadly proportional to the ability to pay. Regressive taxes like GST must be replaced.

Our taxation system has to move to support the urgent drive to reduce consumption, pollution and promote sustainability. We are likely eventually to be taxing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. We may have to tax imports based on their embedded energy. Short-term we will have to implement environmental taxes to replace part of the lost revenue from abolishing GST. The stategy is to tax socially undesirable items, that people can avoid if they change their behaviour and lifestyle.

The drive to environmental sustainability will not be comfortable. How we distribute limited supplies to an excess demand is a vexing question. The most credible solutions on offer to date are tradable personal carbon credits. This limits the total to acceptable levels, and allows those who consume the least (usually the poorest) to sell their allowance to those who wish to use more.

Excessive short-term residential housing gains are a clear candidate for taxation. Houses should be places for people to live, not quick return investment opportunities for non-residents. A scheme that takes account of inflation, through indexing, and typical running repair costs should be possible and is necessary. Something like a relief of rpi +1.5% cumulative per complete year owned would work to tax short term gains, without penalising long term owner occupiers.


Just as being an importer of food is will cause difficulties in 2035, so will being an importer of energy. The costs of energy will drive people and businesses to investigate energy saving approaches for themselves. Microgeneration will be essential, and recycling will be normal.

We may by 2035 have got tidal energy to supply a significant part of our electricity needs, possibly enough to be able to export energy. But that requires a significant capital commitment, political willpower, and a long lead time.

The incinerator will be replaced early for one that better suits our reduced waste needs, and minimises health risks from gases and particulates.

All planning applications would have to be accompanied by an embedded energy and implied lifetime emissions statement.

Economic diversity

Agriculture has a core role, but it will be primarily producing local food, not an export/cash crop business.

Eco tourism is a possibility. Assuming the price of fuel hasn’t driven the cost to travel too high, we could develop an eco tourism industry. This would only be really plausible if as an island we are coherent and cogent in making the environmental and sustainable living an integral part of life. We would have to protect our open and wild spaces, make transport to the island easy and low emissions. We would have to make the stay here low impact and high in sustainability. Everything from the building construction standard and materials to the food we supply would have to contribute to a plausible and credible offering.

We clearly need to be alert to the possibilities of developing new sectors, as well as reviving existing ones. Already reputable universities are teaching and the principles of Ecological Economics (e.g. This thinking has yet to make it to the mainstream accounting and financial professions, but it is coming. Jersey has a great opportunity to prepare itself by acquiring and developing expertise in this area from among our existing finance community to develop a niche in providing that expertise as consultancy to others. A far-sighted government might even see potential in promoting our indigenous software industry through the intellectual property rights associated with this new economic approach, in addition to the tools and suites to facilitate it.

Individuals, communities and even some local governments round the world are looking for solutions to cope with oil dependency, climate change and food insecurity. Consistently the themes they identify as core to dealing with these issues include–localisation, resilience, and community activity.

Paris has a free bicycle scheme (velib), not unlike the green bike scheme we abandoned some years ago. Totnes and Lewis have both introduced local pounds accepted by local business to encourage local spending. Llandeilo set up a community orchard where in 1905 there were over a hundred orchards and today there are none.

Look at Jersey and you realise we have faced many of those challenges in our recent history. Our tradition of small somewhat mixed farms is exactly what the rest of the world is thinking of moving towards. We long ago set up our own pound, with good effect. We trailed the use of electric cars ( . Just within living memory we have the experiences of the last year of the war and what it means to lose your supplies of fuels and other necessities and rapidly adapting to those circumstances.

The island that gave the world the Royal potato, the Jersey cow and a world beating Durrell has a lot of credibility in talking localised growing and conserving. Developed properly we could organise the information, the skills and the training to offer the world the chance to learn that we have done and how they can do it too on a local, sustainable way. Were we to adopt genuine sustainable, localised approaches we could be an education, training and skills resource the world wants, and be in the position to make a contribution far in excess of our size.