The aftermath

Congratulations to all the candidates in the recent election.  It is the candidates who create the choices for electors, and without that there is no possibility of democracy.

Thank you to each of the 10% of the voters across the island that cast a vote for my decidedly green platform. By Jersey standards my manifesto would be considered radical but elsewhere it might well be judged modestly progressive. Recent electoral history demonstrates quite well that the Jersey electorate dislike letting politics and political debate influence elections.  Name recognition and perception of the candidate’s persona (rightly or wrongly) seems to weigh much more heavily.

If that sounds too strong or unbelievable, look at the evidence. Of the 28,218 who voted in the senatorial elections, 17,538 voted for Mr Bailhache and 14,981 for Mr Le Gresley. Therefore at least 4,301 people must have voted for both, despite quite considerable differences in their manifestos and political position.  A similar exercise could be done with Mr Gorst, who’s voting record can be compared with Mr Le Gresley’s in Hansard. At least 2,377 must have voted for both.

Anecdotally I had people from the campaign teams of all four of the successful senatorial candidates approach me to say they thought I had done very well on the hustings, my leaflet was very informative, the issues were really important that they would vote for me. The problem of course is that only a couple of thousand people maximum attend the senatorial hustings, and many of them are already committed to candidates or for particular political views, so the number of people who can be influenced is probably less than a thousand.

I also got asked a number of times why I did not stand for deputy. That is of course a well trodden path - and several of our current senators and ministers started as deputies in St Helier.  The question is predicated of course on the assumption that the campaign was about getting elected. I would have been delighted to have been elected and be able to use that platform to argue my case. However I think it is more important at this stage to explain the very difficult situation we are facing and the necessary measures to deal with them to as wide an audience as I can reach. That meant standing for Senator, doing the 14 hustings, and issuing a leaflet to every household in the Island.  And it looks like it had some impact.

Since the election I have had a number of calls and e-mails from former and newly elected States members, and by no means all progressive members.  It is clear they grasp that I am arguing something important but not easy to follow. That is because it is a different paradigm.  The sort of view I am arguing for is not an optional add-on to business as usual economics and politics.  It requires a wholly different way of looking at the world and the drivers that make thing happen and hence how to respond to the problems we have.  I find it no coincidence that I was almost the only person on the platform to predict significant food and fuel price rises and explain why that was inevitable. And just 2 days ago we saw the actual figures: food up 8% and fuel and light up 13%.

Perhaps those figures do not worry you, but they sure concern me.  Now I invite you to think back how you voted and what exactly your selected candidates espoused as their economic policy, if indeed they even had one.  If you don’t know, write and ask them - they are your representatives and you are more than entitled to do so.

Clearly policies on such fundamental issues as economics and the price of essentials such as food and fuel are not as meaningful to the electorate as the eternal discussion of the constitution of the States, and how polite people should be in the chamber.  From my perspective no amount of tinkering with the States structure will help. The only help will come from  electing people who understand the issues and their causes and can derive a prescription, even if unpalatable, to deal with the problems. And as for politeness, it is desirable, but I really do not care if the person sticking the stiletto in my guts is smiling nicely or screaming obscenities.

Now back to image, profile and name recognition. If you are still unconvinced, you might like to read a bit about how Derren Brown manipulates the choice of people on his shows, thereby enabling him to predict their behaviour. See

And a final note. If I am correct that image and name recognition count hugely for the chances for election, at least in senatorial elections, then the central role of the media must be recognised. The decision by editors to publish or not publish letters, to refer to people by their successes or their failures, to label people or not is a critical influence on our government.

How many senatorial votes to cast?

You can cast up to 4 votes in the senatorial  election, but you do not have to use them all.  So the question is how many to use?  Generally you should try to use all 4 votes if possible as that keeps out those you do not want.  However that does not work if you really want one or two , but are not fussed about the others. My recommended approach is this.

Put your four candidates in order from most preferred to least. If you would be comfortable to find  your first choice lost out by one vote to your last choice, cast all the votes on your list.  However if you would be very unhappy to find  your first choice lost out by one vote to your last choice, remove your last choice.   Repeat the whole for the new shorter list until you have a list where you are happy for any to be elected ahead of any other on it.

This would be a much easier operation for the electorate  if we had single transferable voting (STV).

Behind the scenes

I have been out putting up posters, and then dealing with various election related e-mails and messages that have piled up during the week. One item I had not expected to have to deal with was the anger that has arisen concerning the filming of the St Helier hustings tomorrow evening. As a result I did an interview that is now posted up  here.

As to how the election is going, it is very hard to say. My impression is that things are rather more muted than in previous elections in Jersey. That may be because of the single election day meaning many of the politically active people are spread even more thinly that in previous years. I also get a sense that people are less certain about their voting intentions than was apparent in previous elections. Sure many have their first preference sorted out, but the other options are uncertain, and there is little sense that people are intending to vote simply 'progressives' or 'establishment'. My instinct, and that is all it is, is that people want something different, but cannot quite articulate or identify what that different thing is. I suspect those standing on a platform of constitutional change will be beneficiaries of that, though I think the electorate will be disappointed if they get in. Reform of the States will not of itself do anything for the economy, the environment, food and fuel prices, or almost anything people recognise to be making their lives more difficult day to day.

Amongst those dozen or so people who have been around Jersey politics a while and are prepared to comment to me, the consensus is it is all too close to call. Mr Bailhache and Mr Gorst are front runners, but not by much as the factors are too many and too interrelated for anyone to be prepared to call it. Will Portelet drag Mr Cohen's vote down significantly (rightly or wrongly)? If Mr Syvret's vote holds up well will that be to the detriment of Mr Le Gresley who benefited from an anti-Syvret vote in the bye election? Are people riled up enough by the change in number of Senators to come out for Mr Farnham? Will the increase in registered voters in St Helier indicate a bigger turnout there, and what effect will that have? With just one hustings meeting to go, and barring some surprise campaigning tactic or faux pas, there are 7 candidates who have some plausible prospect of being elected.

Of the more intriguing observation that may help explain the voting uncertainty is that the candidates are more strongly aligned or differentiated on the libertarian/authoritarian axis than on the usual left/right one. Political compass is one site that explains this , and enables you to take a test to see where you come out. 

I took the test a few years ago out of curiosity. I came out Economic Left/Right: -5.25 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.49 Which appears to place me somewhere between Ghandi and the Dali Lama, in the green coloured libertarian left block. No surprise there then, albeit that I have very big reservations on using economics as a distinction of politics. Starting with the view that classical economics is inherently flawed in the real, finite resource world! This libertarian/authoritarian oriented view, may explain why candidates like Darius Pearce, myself, Stuart Syvret and others seem to be at odds with Sir Bailhache, as per the link above.

Countryside hustings

Last night we were at the Royal Jersey Agriculture and Horticulture Society showground in Trinity. I arrived early because I was traveling by public transport again. The society had sent out a suggestion of three points to cover in our presentations. For me it was pretty straightforward to work them into the material I usually talk about at the hustings It was an interesting mix of approaches taken by the candidates whose main platform has little bearing on agriculture or countryside issues. They ranged from Lyndon Farnham who gave pretty much his usual pitch to Mr Bailhache who spoke specifically on the topic. Stuart Syvret was first up and spoke about resilience and the significance of peak oil to out future and the industry. Unsurprisingly same of that was also in my presentation at number 11, along side climate change, food security and world population growth leading to the need for more self reliance in energy and food.

The first question was from John Heys. He pointed out only 0.5% of GDP was agriculture and shouldn't the balance be different and what to do about increasing that percentage. A lot had already been said by the time it got to me. I commented, uniquely, that food production and security is a strategic issues not just a commercial one. It is not the first time we have faced this situation. In 1608 we passed a law to prevent men knitting during the vraicing and harvesting seasons. Even four hundred years ago people understood that earning good money was one thing, but looking after the essentials,like having adequate food to eat, was also necessary. learn from history.

Mike Dun asked why we had agricultural workers living in portakabins, but this was unacceptable in finance. There was consensus that it was not acceptable.I also poor housing conditions for anyone was a cost to society in latter health problems, and that needs to be factored into looking at the costs and affordability of upgrading or replacing accommodation.

We were asked whether to much money and consideration was given to 'middle class dinner plate' topics rather than real agriculture and fishing. Most seems to be agreeing that might be the case. I refuted the premise of the question on the basis that the soil and cops are part of ecological systems and the external elements like pollinators and saprophytes are important. Removal or loss of a key species can totally alter the balance.

Peter Le Maistre asked who on the panel would be bold enough to support genetic modification of the Jersey Royal to protect from blight and eelworm. Easy one for me that. My fields are certified organic, I'm a supported of the Jersey Organic Association and the UK Soil Association . They are against GMO and so an I. The surprising bit of that was the amount of applause from the audience for my reply.

Tom Gruchy has posted a link with the speeches by me, Mr Bailhaches and Mr Cohen. 'Tom' has a different take on the best use of the land - housing- and prefers to see agriculture in purely financial contribution terms than as a strategic food security provision.

Waste and savings

Why are we applying ‘savings’ at a flat rate across the board? We never did that when we had surplus funds. It makes no account of how efficiently a department is run, or indeed any political priorities on the services provided by departments. More importantly if we have been building a proper sovereign fund during the good years, as the Norwegians have done, we might not even be facing the current budget cuts.

Reducing waste is essential. INSEAD produced a report last year entitled ‘Value of sustainable procurement practices’. It showed that applying environmental criteria to supply and procurement also saves money, up to 1/3rd of one percent of total revenues. For the States that’s £2 million.

We also have to tackle the enormous amount of food that is wasted in the chain from grower to consumer. Over £57 per month per household on average in the UK. Anaerobic digestion could deal with this effectively, along with other green waste.

More on-island reuse and recycling would be beneficial and needs investigating. We are we only at 30% recycling rates? Guernsey is closer to 50%, and places in Belgium have achieved 70% rates. We should investigate options for small scale recovery and recycling locally. If we could say recycle aluminium locally we could then develop some further light industry fabricating from that recovered material.

I have attended a number of the consultation meetings related to the incinerator, and the handling of the waste ash. I blogged on the sizing and siting and the inevitability we would be taking Guernsey's waste because it was over-sized. At the most recent meeting where TTS are proposing to double the height of the ash storage , basic questions like the mean time to failure of the leakage detection system could not be answered. As far as I know they still have not answered that question. The storage bags are expected to have a lifetime of 100 years, what are the chances to a leak happening in that time, and what are the odds the leakage detection system has failed?. The consequence when sited right alongside a RAMSAR site could be devastating on a special ecological system. Have we learned nothing from the debacle of the potato dumping at Beauport?

St Mary hustings and interesting questions.

A packed St Mary Parish Hall on Friday night and some of the best questions of the hustings so far, ranking alongside those of the youth hustings. I spoke first and was hence almost last to answer all the questions.

The first question came from deputy Wimberley. He asked how we would get more honesty into the debate on States spending. He cited the example that we spend less than other OECD countries as a proportion of GNI or equivalent, yet we are told spending is out of control and some want faster deeper cuts. Several candidates seemed either to not follow the argument, or to talk about consultation. No one that I recall, even those who have been talking cuts and reducing spending at other hustings, disagreed with the deputies key factual observation above, though Mr Pearce drew a different conclusion on spending from other comparisons.

My response was that to have a debate it is essential to make the accounting transparent. I have listened to States debates on the radio and it is astounding how monies, not in the budget, can be found for pet projects from odd pots of money. The public have little to no chance of following such opaque operations.

We also need to have some basic numerical analysis applied. For example I was at the health consultation at St Paul’s the other month. We were presented with three scenarios stretching 30 years into the future. But the variation in the projects costs was only 10%. Such projects could easily have errors or variability in excess of 10% so the comparison is rather meaningless. But those error bands or expected variabilities were not presented.

The second question was the ubiquitous electoral reform one – should we have a referendum and should it also have support from each parish to be passed. The answers were pretty much unanimous of supporting a referendum and against a parish veto.

Question three was a really interesting one that had also been raised at the St Mary deputy hustings. To paraphrase, what did candidates think of the proposed Intellectual Property law and its implication in education and other areas. Most candidates clearly had no idea. A couple talked of copyright and protecting the interests of authors and artists. Mr Bailhache, who should know something of it being a lawyer by background, merely saw it as a commercial opportunity for lawyers and trademark and patent specialists, and a diversification of the economy. But he did not answer the questions. Neither really did the other lawyer on the platform, advocate Colley give a clear answer. She gave the typical lawyer on the one hand on the other hand response to a question they do not know how to answer.

While I agree it has earning opportunities for lawyers and some other specialists, it is not a legal question, it is not something to be left to lawyers. It is a mater of public policy. I did not answer the education bit specifically, but addressed the other area part of the question. Is it right that bio-tech companies can claim ‘ownership’ of parts of the human genome and then demand payment for therapies based on that, or withhold right to treatment altogether? Is it acceptable that companies like Monsanto can claim rights on a gene found in nature and the sue subsistence farmers for saving the own seed as they have for thousands of years because it contains the companies ‘proprietary’ gene?

I also pointed out, from my personal experience as a research engineer, that it will not protect individual knowledge creators as they usual have their rights signed away as a condition of employment. I ran out of time to continue. The only other person on the platform who appeared to understand the question and respond appropriately was Stuart Syvret who commented on the ongoing patent wars of Samsung , Apple and the like and the problems surrounding that.

There was a questions on the statement in the education green paper on student who can benefit should have their choice of course influenced by costs. Ie funding students. One or two brought up not paying for irrelevant courses, or having loans. The consensus seemed to be the need to fund all students adequately.

The final question was on whether Jersey should look at a windfall tax as they have in the past and may again do in the UK, specifically to pay for our infrastructure bill. The majority seemed to be against. Senator Le Gresley was for a windfall tax on land rezoning gains (I agree) but went on to say he would like to 'whack' the finance industry, if he could. Top marks for political honesty there, but I think it is an impractical proposition while so much of our economy and people’s jobs depends on it.

Stuart Syvret was not wholly against the concept but interpreted it as a form of capital gains taxation.

My preference and priority as expressed in the meeting is to find a way to tax non-resident trading companies, who currently contribute no tax. Our infrastructure problem is of the States own making. We have only recently moved to GAAP accounting and using depreciation. We have known for decades we need to do something about the sea defences the Germans put in. The situation with the States housing stock is indefensible – tenants have paid their money as rents but we have not done the repairs. It is not fair on them, and it is allowing a major asset to deteriorate- madness. In retrospect I should have referred to question one on this point to – honesty in accounts.

Youth and Student Hustings and the Contruction Council

Yesterday was a busy day. I had to go to the Channel Television studios to record a short piece for them about my 'manifesto' . Immediately after that I walked up to Hautlieu for the Student and Youth hustings. I arrived early and had a chance to met the head teacher, Mrs Toms. The room we used was well laid out and good acoustics., we could probably have managed without the microphones. I counted 23 of the appropriate age group attended, not including deputy Tadier who attended for most of the meeting. Congratulations to Ryan for chairing the meeting and keeping the answers to the time limit enabling more questions than we've had at the other senatorial hustings.

I went off my usual approach for my presentation at this hustings, and without notes. I focused on oil supplies, climate change and tax. I outlined the importance of oil to the world's economy, and the fact production has flat lined and we've used half of known reserves. On climate change we are beyond CO2 concentrations that people originally thought were safe. Even if we halted all emissions those gases would be in the atmosphere and affecting climate for another 20 to 30 years. My generation is significantly responsible for the problem , we have known it was coming but we carried on consuming and polluting beyond what the planet could support. The cost is falling on future generation, and for that I apologised.

I also pointed out that iniquities in parts of our tax system. All those in the room pay tax, GST, even if they have no income or earnings - that's the epitome of a regressive tax system. I also pointed out if they set up a self-employed business they would likely have to pay 6% employees social security, 6 1/2 % employers social security, and up to 20% tax on the profits, even if not actually taken out, thanks to deemed distributions. A non Jersey owned business doing exactly the same would not pay that 20%. if you r competitor happened to be a 1.1.k he or she is likely already paying the ceiling social security and at the threshold in tax. That competition is paying 1% tax on the profits -more than 30% advantage over the school leaver setting going self-employed. That is no way to incentivise enterprise and innovation. Given the huge problems we face from oil dependence and climate change we need every bit of those skills - innovation and enterprise.

I thought at one point I had won the election. In reply to a question on climate change and oil dependency all the candidates said one way to another we were not doing enough. Since the core basis of my campaign is that we are not doing enough and have not set up a proper detailed credible plan to meet things like C02 emission reduction targets, that felt like a victory to me.

Immediately after the hustings it was down to the award winning Radisson Hotel for a presentation and event with the Jersey Construction Council. It seemed to boil down to fiscal stimulus was a great success, can we have some more please, and what are you going to do to help us. I have family contacts in the part so the construction industry, and my view of fiscal stimulus effects on smaller business is not as rosy as portrayed. Those business whose clientele are private householders don't see any benefit while others in the industry get a hand out of work to keep them going through hard times. It is not a level playing field.

I am happy to support the need for training and not just vocational skills, but also things like running a small business since the overwhelming majority of construction companies are 5 or fewer employees and almost half are one man bands it seems. As someone who is keen on economic diversity I went to the event interested in supporting the industry through difficulties , especially where they are using local staff and materials, and circulating the money in the local economy. Those who's work is in maintenance and extending the life of existing building is an all round good thing to do. But we know the big money and the big players are in new builds and big schemes, and this is really where the focus lays when people talk of supporting the industry.What I heard and the approach of the Council did more to put me off than to foster that opinion.

It seems only Mr Cohen and one other person understands the mechanics of determining affordable housing in new developments. I find it very concerning that after the election we may have only one person who understands the scheme. I have never really understood how people could consider £260,000 affordable by people on typical incomes outside the finance industry. The reason became clearer last night.The definition of affordable is what is negotiated as affordable for developers to offer, not what is affordable by people to buy.

One other point to note about the Construction Council. It's membership is nearly 100 companies. But there are more than 1100 businesses in the construction sector in Jersey.

A flavour of what could be

There are many lessons for us in this film. Totnes is doing a number of the things we need to look at too. They started their recent resurgence without many of the advantages we have - better sun, local food culture, solid horticultural roots, a rich marine environment and, of course, a well established local currency If we only grasped the opportunity to make this sort of thinking happen here we could have a more dynamic vibrant resilient and diverse economy alongside a happier healthier community.

St Ouen Hustings and reform

I have been remiss in not posting about the St Ouen husting on the 28th.  In part that is because I was feeling so unwell on the day with a heavy cold and sore throat I struggled greatly just to get through the meeting.  I do not read out a prepared speech at the hustings. I do have a few headings I use as prompts to make sure I get some sort of logical flow.  A lot of what I am concerned to articulate and explain is interconnected and it is easy to come across all disconnected and vague otherwise. It also means I can respond to other comments in other candidate's speeches if necessary.

Two things stood out for me about the St Ouen husting. First was the absence  of  key sitting ministers like Sen Ozouf and Maclean and Mr Rankine, who appeared to be at all the other hustings. I'm not sure why and whether that says anything about St Ouen , or the missing observers.  It wasn't because there was another husting that evening.  The second observation was how people became keen to dig out their St Ouen family connections (A'Courts dominated!). It hasn't happened anywhere else, and I doubt it shall.  Perhaps  it is a subconscious recognition that in this parish we have a sense of belonging and local community that is strong and candidates fell the need to associate with it.

For the St Ouen husting I changed the content somewhat away from my usual stuff on why food and fuel prices are rising faster than earnings, and how my agenda for diversifying the economy and becoming more self reliant in food and alternative energy could help reverse that over time, and create more local jobs and give a bit more choice of careers. It was still there of course ,as was food security, and oil dependency, and community cohesion.  But because of the date I had to talk about constitutional reform.

September 28th is important in Jersey for two reasons. First, it is the date Guillaume (William) landed at Pevensey with his army to assert his claim on the crown of England, as promised him by Edward the Confessor. It was the success of that campaign that created the link between Normandy and the English Crown, and hence laid the foundations of our constitutional position.

Second it is important because on that date in 1769 that around 500 people descended on the Royal Court.  They were demanding that laws be written down, that there should be consultation before laws were passed and an end to certain food exports.  Just like in the Arab world today the underlying political discontent was set alight by problems in staple food prices. Back then the wealthy land owners were exporting wheat to   France to get a better price, which drove up prices locally. Since rents and rates were based on quarters of wheat, this drove up those prices too. A vicious double whammy for the ordinary islander of the day.  The upshot of the mini revolution was, among others, the removal by the Privy Council of the corrupt Attorney General, and the adoption of a code of laws.

Constitutional reform is not a feature of my election campaign, but there are 4 candidates in the senatorial election for whom it is their main issue.We made a mistake in not putting Clothier to a referendum , and simply letting the States cherry pick bits.  In fact I would argue we should put constitutional changes to the people in a referendum on  principle.  It is about the only time a referendum should be used.

I am a big fan of local and decentralised systems  for food and energy production. I want to apply that to government too.  For us in Jersey that means the parish level and I warned those candidates concentrating on constitutional reform that anything that undermines the local and parish level would not be well received by the public.

I had previously made a couple of other observations about constitutional reform that I did not have time to do on the 28th. Various reasons are given by the different candidates for pressing for change. Some are more logical than others.  I can see that reducing numbers would reduce costs (States members pay), However claiming that States reform , especially reducing numbers, would lead to improved quality and fewer questions and no 'unimportant back bench propositions' does not follow, either logically or politically.

It is not a given that more questions are a bad thing. That may reflect poor decision and policy making on the part of the Council of Ministers-so there is more to question., In part I think in recent years it also indicates a greater volume of work and increasingly complex legislation being brought forward.

There is an important question to be asked about the quality of  States members, and the importance or otherwise of backbench propositions. Who decides what is quality, and what is important?  In a representative democracy that is the decision for the electors to make. If they are unhappy with their representatives they lobby them, and if still dissatisfied with their quality or actions then reject them at election time.  Those who want to change this mechanism need to specify who they would set up as judge and jury in place of the democratic decision of the people and explain exactly why that is better than democracy. They will find it very hard to convince me as, to paraphrase Churchill, democracy is the least worst of the systems we have tried.

Logically it follows that a reduced number of States members would likely result in a reduced range of opinion and political divergence in  the Assembly.  I happen to believe in diversity as an essential aspect of stable and resilient systems, be they ecological, economic or political.  I find that argument for reducing numbers unconvincing. Moreover logically what you lose at the low quality however defined end, you also risk losing at the high quality, however defined end.  There is simply no guarantee that changing numbers changes the quality of members or debate, even if that were desirable.

To my mind the key  issues that give rise to many of the arguments for reform are caused by other aspects of our political system. First is the partisan way ministerial government has happened in the last 3 years. Our current chief minister has chosen to nominate his political friends and allies to ministerial post, rather than a broad cross-section of the political views in the assembly . In doing so he  has also undermined the role of senator by leaving so many out of ministerial posts, The inevitable consequence is that those without ministerial or assistant ministerial posts are consigned to scrutiny or oblivion.  Unsurprisingly therefore scrutiny has become a centre of opposition, rather than its proper role. So now that part of the apparatus does not function, and there is a dearth of a formal check and balance mechanism.  At this point I invite you to review the item  above about the number of questions in the assembly, and why that has happened, and whether it is a bad or a good thing.

The second reason is to do with the premise on which members are elected, and the low turn out in our elections.  There are two things noticeably absent from our election system. They are that the electorate cannot vote for a fully formed, all embracing, costed and planned out programme of government. The other is that the mechanics do not allow debate and testing of the policy platform between candidates. We are limited to electing 51  individuals not one of whom can possibly have a fully enough detailed progamme on their own, and whose 'manifesto' cannot possibly be  implemented in its entirety anyway. In short there is nothing for which we can  hold the members, and the council of ministers in particular, to collective account.  We are reduced to buying the sales and marketing brochure pitch with no trading standards equivalent right of redress when the service provided does not match up.

There are arguments for States reform, and voting reform too, based on equality of representation and proportionality of votes. Immediately it is obvious here the difficult point is the ConnĂ©tables.  With parishes varying in number of electors by a factor of 10 , proportionality is not achievable if  they are the only parish representation. Yet as I have indicated I, and I think a lot of other people too, am very keen on the localised government represented by the parishes.

The obvious solution to my mind is to retain  ConnĂ©tables in the assembly, with a special responsibility for heading up scrutiny, but without a vote in the assembly.  This retains a voice for parishes, especially those bigger ones that comprise multiple deputy districts, and retains the mechanism of the requete etc. It would be necessary to remove the policing functions  to the Chefs de Police.  In effect the  ConnĂ©tables would take on the responsibilities of a revising second house, albeit in the same chamber.

Without a vote the proportionality issue is much less troublesome and with a secure voice in the chamber for each parish, the way is freed up to have non parish bounded constituencies, or just one island wide constituency if that was desired. I have no strong view on this, though I note surveys have suggested people strongly favour the island wide mandate. Whichever way, if we have multi-member constituencies we must have some form of PR if we are to have any sort of representative chamber.

Worryingly that seems to put me rather close to the camp of the conservative forces.