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.


voiceforchildren said...


Credit must go where it is due, and that is to Jersey's State Media. They have played a blinder and were all "on message" to get Philip Bailhache elected and to ensure others DIDN'T get elected.

Will be doing a series of postings involving the influence of the State Media at elections in the coming weeks and the "dirty tricks" campaigning employed by some.

Tom Gruchy said...

Blame who you like - the simple fact is that the so called "opposition" is a shambles.
That the establishment is better organised and has the JEP et al on its side is really not worth wasting time on by further analysis or discussion.
The problem - as always - is to organise an alternative group of people who are fit to govern with a different set of values.

Julia said...

Mark, please do spend some time analysing the role of the media. People are quick to forget the role of propaganda despite it being a component of most history courses including the current GCSE syllabus.