Thursday, 4 August 2011

Deputies Elections - Grouville 1993

Grouville has often had only around two candidates for the one Deputy's seat. In 1993, however, there were four. One, a sitting Deputy who had moved from a St Helier district, was to fail.

Dan Murphy was also to fail in his bid, but would later become Constable of the Parish. His occupation is one of the vaguest - "consultant", although he tells us it has something to do with "property-related financing", whatever that means. In the road to Constable, he would largely lose the nick-name "Spud" which he had for a long time, way back to when he was working in finance at Walford Merchant Bank in St Helier (in the currency market area, I think), which is when I first knew of him. Of course "traditional" nicknames were more common then - "Spud" Murphy, "Dusty" Miller, "Chalky" White, "Knobby" Clarke - we don't hear them so much today.

The threat of drugs seem to have been a very much more dominant issue in 1993 than they are today. That doesn't mean that the problem has gone away - the recent case of the Columbus Street butchers who packed drugs in cold meat shows that, and every month or two someone is sentenced for a drug related offense. But the public perception - and the political perception - has certainly altered significantly. It is no longer an issue high on the agenda at the electoral stump. The suggestions here are always harsher penalties as a deterrent, rather than better intelligence to catch and stamp out dealers. But there is a suggestion of better leisure facilities to engage young people to help deal with some of the root causes. Unfortunately, the leisure situation for young people, especially below 18, is still very poor although steps like football clubs have certainly moved some way to help.

The unfairness of the rating system which we have seen criticised in St Brelade and St Clement is again prominent, and the French system of assessment by area is mentioned; one that I've personally been in favour of, as any rating systems which depended partly upon room counts (as the Jersey one does) can be vitiated by removal of doors and merging rooms together - much as the ancient "window tax" in England was circumvented by the use of boarding up windows. The Jersey system is changing gradually, with the finer tuning of room use - a kitchen /diner is now counted separately from a kitchen and dining room as separate, as is a double or single bedroom, so matters are improving. But rating still has a largely subjective element, and whether it could be validated by double-bind experiments is unlikely.

It is interesting that Deputy Rabet mentions the "pillars of our economy"- and orders them "tourism, agriculture and finance". By 1993, agriculture was already in considerable decline, and the tourism boom of the post-war year had largely vanished by the late 1980s, when the cheap package holidays to exotic destinations grabbed the market away from Jersey. The perception, however, was still that tourism was a significant part of the economy, and the mass selling off of tourism stock to convert into luxury flats was some way away.

The clichés are still there, although "a proven ability to get things done" was to change to today's "proven track record", which gets said so many times that I often feel like saying "change the record, please". Variations on "new faces, new ideas and the will to push them through" were popular in the 1990s, although "new faces" always will to people of my generation, bring to mind a popular talent show on television in which Tony Hatch did a hatchet job on would be hopefuls, rather like an early "X-Factor". Now there's an idea to revitalise the hustings!

Curbing development in Grouville is a central plank of everyone's campaign here, and a connection is being made with immigration. Sadly, then as now, no one really got to grips with immigration problems. It is interesting to see the States Loan still being mentioned. Someone I spoke to suggested it might be an idea to bring it back - it was a good scheme for helping first time buyers get a rung on the property ladder, and the interest rate, while subsidised, would rise if their income went up.

Secrecy in the States rears its head again. The situation hasn't improved greatly yet until Freedom of Information legislation comes in. Ministers are happy to take credit for successes, but responsibility for any mistakes is dispersed generally, and question time has largely become an arena in which Ministers try the "Michael Howard/Jeremy Paxman" line of trying to avoid saying anything in reply to the question. Recently John Le Fondre asked the same question five times and ended up being told many vague things, but not the answer to the question he was asking. Questions on terms and conditions for employment of senior Chief Officers were also dismissed by Terry Le Sueur as "confidential matters", although after pay-outs of £750,000 recently to two former Chief Officers (who left their posts early of their own choice), you would think it was a matter of public concern.

"Green Issues" were beginning to make an impact in the voting population, Nigel Queree being the first prominent Senator with that as a main part of his mandate - and I still remember him trying to save oak trees a year or so back, when he rushed to "hug them" and prevent the chain-saws from starting. Imogen Nicholls was standing on a Green Platform, although apart from "many of the Island's recurring problems are interconnected ", there is nothing specifically Green mentioned here. Women's issues - inequality, pornography and abortion - feature strongly, and it is notable that they do not get a mention with the other candidates, who are, of course, all men. Imogen Nicholls was, in fact, elected Deputy; perhaps a different perspective helped.

There was a huge struggle to get the Women's refuge off the ground, with shameful prevarication and delays, and in 1993, the Island was simply paying for people to go the UK for abortions, and pretending that abortions did not happen over here, so the Island was thereby more "moral". In fact, abortions were happening, and being funded by the tax-payer, but because they happened off-island, the moral majority were quite happy; it was a peculiar kind of hypocrisy. It wasn't until Stuart Syvret's time as President of Health that this was finally changed, against considerable opposition..

Deputies Elections - Grouville 1993

David Cadoret
Occupation: Grower
Age: 46

A CENTENIER since January 1992, David Cadoret has also been chairman of the young Farmers Club and bulb and flower chairman of the Jersey Farmers Union.

He joined the honorary service in 1981 and was a Roads Inspector for six years and Constables Officer for Longueville for six years.

Mr Cadoret has always been interested in politics, and feels that he now has the time, energy and enthusiasm 'to enter the political arena'. He thinks that Jersey's rating system is very unfair, with identical houses paying different rates, and feels that we should adopt the French method of assessment by the square metre, so that people pay the same rate regardless of how they improve their property.

He believes that law and order must he maintained with stiffer penalties. 'The vandalism and assault currently being experienced cannot be tolerated, and the "soft-softly" approach should be abandoned for far stiffer sentences,' he said. 'The menace of the drug problem must also be eradicated to stop suppliers corrupting our young people.'

He also wants to curb luxury development in Grouville and concentrate on developing small cul-de-sac areas suitable for States Loan starter homes.

Daniel Murphy
Occupation: Consultant
Age: 53

COMMONLY known as 'Spud', Daniel Murphy was born in Grouville and educated at Grouville School and Victoria College.

He worked in finance until 1971 and since then has been self-employed in property-related financing in the UK, USA and Ireland.

He is opposed to any large-scale development in Grouville, but not against infilling or small unit developments providing they are low-cost or States Loan category.

He is concerned about anomalies in the rating system, and proposes that the Island should be professionally rated and that new properties should be valued and rated on completion.

Mr Murphy believes that the drug problem should be tackled by harsher sentencing of dealers and by providing more sport and leisure facilities for young people.

He considers that the winter work scheme is only a temporary solution to unemployment and that re-training and subsidies for new employers are helpful.

He feels that the issue of secrecy in States Departments must be addressed immediately. He also proposes that an Audit Committee is set up to call politicians and civil servants to account for their spending He thinks that Jersey needs new faces, new ideas and the will to push them through.

Imogen Nicholls
Occupation: Music teacher
Age: 35

IMOGEN Nicholls was educated at Beaulieu and the Royal Academy of Music. After a successful singing and teaching career in Oxford, she set up a music school in Jersey in 1990.

She is a member of the Green Party and chairperson of the Jersey Woman's Aid group. She says that the election of a Deputy is also the election of a politician who will share the responsibility of governing the entire Island, and feels that parish problems can only he solved on this basis. For example, she feels that the creeping urbanisation of Grouville can only he prevented by strategic government planning and an effective immigration policy.

She has spoken out publicly about the Longbeach development and Grouville Annexe, and on various contentious women's issues, including inequality, pornography and abortion.

She feels that many of the Island's recurring problems are interconnected and that Jersey stands at a political crossroads. 'As a businesswoman and mother. I well understand the need to plan for our long-term future,

'We must set aside short-term expediency and elect States Members capable of leading our community towards the 21st century, she says.

Graeme Rabet
Occupation: Proprietor
Age: 54

GRAEME Rabet has been Deputy of St Helier No 1 district for six years.

Semi-retired, he worked in the motor industry for 35 years. He has been president of Tourism and of the Occupation and Liberation Committee, and has also served on other committees, including Agriculture and Fisheries, Housing, Postal, Public Services Sport, Leisure and Recreation.

He has been chairman of the Jersey Battle of Flowers Association, vice-chairman of the Public Lotteries Board, and a member of the Jersey Conference Bureau.

He feels that we must continue to support the pillars of our economy - tourism, agriculture and finance - because the money these generate helps to pay for services we have come to expect like health and social security.

Deputy Rabet wants Grouville to remain rural with no more large building development and believes in controlled immigration. He is also concerned about parish and unemployment, wants more leisure facilities in the east of the Island, and thinks that preservation of the countryside and maintenance of the honorary system are vital.

He believe in the election of States Members who work for electorate and who have a proven ability to get things done.

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