Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Election Fever

You can blame Deputy Monty Tadier for this blog posting. For it was he who posted on Facebook this comment:
 
"Fed up of election fever gripping St @StHelierJsy ? Move to Trinity - you'll never have to vote again #Jersey #StHelier #JerseyByelection"
 
And of course, he is by and large right. As Ralph Vibert noted many years ago "It was then considered not quite 'the thing to do' to oppose a Deputy who had served the Parish well and was willing to continue", something which the Parish of Trinity certainly bears witness to.
 
But Ralph Vibert went on to say "I hope that this charming but silly idea is no longer held, because competition is what we need". Alas, that silly idea still seems to predominate today, and the smaller rural Parishes rarely have a contested election, more is the pity.
 
"Election fever", to my butterfly mind, immediately calls to mind John Masefield's poem, "Sea fever". So here is a pastiche of that poem, written especially for this bi-election:
 
Election Fever
 
I must go down to the polls again, to the lonely booth that I spy
And all I ask is a high vote, and my name with a cross to apply
And the tally's count, and the vote I long, and ballot paper shaking
And a beaming grin on a victory face, and a smile now a-breaking
 
I must go down to the polls again, to check on the populist tide
Comes a final call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is the winds of change, with my votes so high flying
And the ballot cross, and voters come, and my star will be rising
 
I must go down to the polls again, to the change in my way of life
To the Deputy's way, and the elected way, and the tension like a knife
And all I ask is a lesser vote to my rival fellow rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

1 comment:

Maureen Morgan said...

The silly idea that "it was then considered not quite 'the thing to do' to oppose a Deputy who had served the Parish well and was willing to continue" probably arose because service in the States was unpaid then. I expect there is also a nod here to that thankfully outdated notion that people should 'know their place.'

I won a States scholarship to JCG in 1971, which my mother told my headmaster to refuse as she "didn't want me getting idea above my station." Thankfully my dad intervened and I got an education.

This 'silly' idea is lunacy in these days of paid politicians, a change which has brought more balance to the Chamber (although more is needed).

The trouble is, what do you do if a seat is uncontested? You can't scare up an unwilling stalking horse for the sake of an election and you can't penalise the electorate by disenfranchising them. Any ideas Tony?