My first surprise of the evening was the almost absolute runaway success of Francis Le Gresley, being beaten only in one Parish, the home of Patrick Ryan who beat him by 12 votes in St John. I'll be interested to see if anything comes of his "progressive taxes" - he mentions capital gains tax in his manifesto, and I've always been of the opinion that the French model (where it is reduced to zero after x years) rather than the English one is the better way of justly curbing property speculators - who sometimes buy and sell new houses in a matter of months without even living in them - and so inflating prices of property.
I thought Patrick Ryan had the better policies, but didn't seem to get the public spotlight as much as Francis Le Gresley. By a stroke of good fortune Francis Le Gresley had also the Annual CAB report coming out shortly before the election got going - - and I don't think conspiracy - it is an "annual report" and due that time. It's just that random element called luck, as C.P. Snow used to say. It would be a shame if Patrick Ryan did not stand again, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of his manifesto ideas get "borrowed" by other States members.
The St Helier "surge" effect pushed Stuart Syvret into second place, after being behind Patrick Ryan in third place for most of the other Parishes. Yes this was not consistent - Stuart also came second in St Brelade, St Clement, St Peter and St Saviour. As Deputy Roy Le Hérissier pointed out, capturing about 1/5 of the vote, and coming a good second indicates a level of dissatisfaction with the Council of Ministers that they would be wise to acknowledge, otherwise, as he put it on BBC Radio last night, there might well be a "bloodbath" at the next election.
As a side issue, it was not such a good vote for green issues like global warming, as Francis Le Gresley is much more an "undecided" unlike both Stuart Syvret and Patrick Ryan who can see the scientific evidence is overwhelming.
I was also much surprised by the very good showing of Gerard Baudains, who I'd have placed after Geoff Southern, but evidently his appeal was broader. If he stands again, either for Senator in 18 months, or as Deputy, I think I'd rate his chances quite well. Evidently the Harcourt incident, where he was David to Frank Walker's Goliath, has not been forgotten. And yet, unlike Patrick Ryan, he didn't manage to top the poll in St Clements, although he did well there. And I was not the only one - one Assistant Minister suggested to me the order would be: 1. Francis Le Gresley 2. Stuart Syvret 3. Patrick Ryan 4. Geoff Southern. So I was not alone in underestimating the appeal of Mr Baudains; I think he'd should stand as a Deputy, especially after the manifesto promise volte-face of Deputy Anne Dupre over her GST exemptions promises.
Geoff Southern was another surprise, coming a poor third - after Stuart Syvret - in his strongest position in St Helier. As with the last Senatorials, outside his power-base in St Helier, the voters just don't go for Geoff. Even there, I would be worried about his poor showing - Patrick Ryan, after all, got top position in his home Parish. Whether he will do better next time with no Stuart Syvret remains to be seen, but the acrimony between the JDA (and Ted Vibert) and Stuart Syvret's supporters suggest they might look elsewhere. I think it would be prudent for him not to try again for Senator, especially with no second chances - the Senatorial and Deputies will be on the same day. I'd also be very interested in a breakdown of his election costs, with those large advertisements splashed across the JEP.
As for "Citizen" Nick Le Cornu, his positioning of himself as the left of Geoff Southern, and his "Tooting Popular Front" approach needs a rethink.
Philip Maguire, with his strange "guerrilla democracy" and bright waistcoats brought some colour to the proceedings, but it just wasn't clear what he was standing for.
Gino Risoli managed to beat two other candidates, and I fear that means we will see him valiantly striving for transparency in the next election. I suspect some people think invisibility might be a better option! Look for a letter heading to the JEP within the next 6 months.
And Peter Remon-Whorral polled 26 votes and his own, making 27, but someone had to come last, and his "stream of consciousness" approach to election issues made a refreshing change for the more calculated answers of the others, and I found it refreshingly different - he should have his own 5 minute "point of view" on BBC Radio Jersey, sharing whatever thoughts come and go during a week. I would genuinely enjoy listening to that rather than some politicians speeches.
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