Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Manifest Deviation

As the end of the year approaches, and an election year looms, I thought it would be interesting to look at some election manifesto's and see how they measure up to what has happened. I know some of the politicians are not standing again, yet their manifesto can be still instructive. I keep copies of old manifestos, and JEP or BBC interviews or questions, because they are always interesting to go back to when elections come around. I will be going over more of these in 2011, when it is known who is standing - and I also keep manifestos from failed candidates, which can be just as interesting to review the next time they stand.

Some are vague generalities, and don't really commit the politician to anything at all - like the Mystic Meg and her "cold reading", they can be taken as appealing to virtually everyone, because everyone can read into them what they want to hear, but in reality - like with "cold reading" - they say nothing much at all. Here are a few examples of this by Terry Le Sueur from 2005:

Finance industry - Our primary source of jobs and revenue needs support by political stability, modern legislation, realistic regulation, confidence in our future and good fiscal policy.

IT industry - Essential to have a good IT service industry to support States and business sector in delivering maximum efficiency.

Who is really going to say that is a bad thing? But it is hardly a commitment to anything but the most banal cliché.

But he has some statements - just one of two - that do make a definite statement:

Health - More focus on preventative care. Realism about the need to find specialist treatment elsewhere, including France.

Since 2005, of course, Jersey has lost the reciprocal health agreement with the UK. And never have I seen the slightest indication of any consideration of links with France. Did the idea get dropped after he got in? Or was it just put in as an example of "forward thinking", which never would ever really amount to anything.

Tourism Industry must be more forward looking. Waterfront development must stimulate growth. Joint marketing with other Channel Islands.
Waterfront Must be developed into a top quality product serving needs of residents, tourists and business community. Some reasonably high buildings could enhance this, and should not be condemned irrationally.

This was clearly mooted at a time when high buildings on the waterfront were being seriously suggested - remember the rigged JEP phone vote - and Terry is trying to have one foot in that camp. High buildings where fire engines are unable to reach upper floors would, I would consider, to be a rational condemnation of the idea, but that's the sort of fact that doesn't enter this.

As far as "forward looking" tourism goes, there is not really much in the way of joint marketing that has emerged. One possible contender was a proposed CI-Paris air link in 2006, which was scuppered when Jersey did not want to give the same backing as Guernsey. Nothing else has really emerged.

Turning to Freddie Cohen, there are a few interesting surprises there.

I would promote measures to encourage local businesses to lower consumer prices and I have innovative proposals to develop new industries.

Well - prices have been going up, and I can't recall any "new industries" emerging from those "innovative proposals", or indeed, hearing that much about those proposals at all since 2005.

The JEP also reported that Mr Cohen would "also insist on GST being pegged at three per cent", which seems to have been one of those commitments like Philip Ozouf's that vanished, although perhaps because it was tucked away in a JEP election profile and interview rather than Hansard, did not come to the public view.

When she was standing for Deputy in 2005, Juliette Gallichan also said: "I believe there is a strong case for exemption from GST on medical items, food and children's clothes." Her voting record is completely to the contrary.

Ian Gorst, on the other hand, in 2005 said that "GST and exemptions - I will vote against any proposal to increase this from 3%. I would support a review to exempt medical supplies, providing the administration costs of such an exemption were not prohibitive. It might be that help towards medical costs are best dealt with through the new low-income support scheme." True to his commitment, he did vote for exemptions in the recent vote in 2010.

However, nothing seems to have become of his other - and I think good - suggestion: "Tax incentives - I would support tax incentives for employers who take on trainees and apprentices." In these times of high unemployment, that might be open to review.

Deputy Sean Power - in his 2005 version, was supporting "the need for a Parish Newsletter and the proposal to have alternate Parish Assemblies at Communicare." The former has occurred; the latter has not. But I had not realised until I read his 2005 manifesto that he was as committed as Guy de Faye towards reclamation at St Aubin:

The reclamation project for St. Aubin, including much needed parking, is a never-ending story, and it needs to move on. St. Aubin is now at a stage, where it is choking with cars, and residents and visitors alike will benefit from new car-parking. Businesses and the local tourism community will benefit. Given the remedial works now necessary to rebuild the north pier (on the Parish Hall side ) at St. Aubin, it is time for Parish authorities to now sit down with the Harbours department and see if the two projects can go hand in hand together. It may well be possible to re-use the beautiful granite on the sea wall at St. Aubin and integrate it into the new sea wall needed to encircle the new proposed reclamation area.

The 2005 reclamation scheme was totally chucked out by the Parish, but last year Mr de Faye has come up with his own fantasy version. It would be interesting to know what Mr Power now thinks of that.

Incidentally, in 2005, the following Parishes returned candidates unopposed: St Ouen, St Peter, St Saviour No 3, Grouville, St Martin, Trinity. If 5 1/3 Parishes had no elections in 2005, what does that say about the state of Island democracy?

And finally, another generality, but this time with a characteristic grammatical mistake of the kind that John Prescott makes.

To make policies that is good for all employers so that they are successful.

Any guesses as to the Jersey politician?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is sure to be an election in St Ouen next time. Unless Deputy Reed goes for Senator.