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.

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