Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Maureen Morgan: Hustings Speech

As Hustings speeches tend to be selectively quoted in the JEP, and Maureen's is not available on a blog, here is the text of it in full. Maureen's on the left, but not the dogmatic left. This was on Facebook, but I'm posting it here to be available to a wider audience.
 
She commented "This is the text for my hustings night speech, which I was sadly unable to read in full. This was in part due to my bone dry throat in the very warm Town Hall!"
 
Sam Mezec and Nick Le Cornu's Hustings speeches can be found on their respective blogs. I've not been able to track down hustings speeches of any of the other candidates.
 
Hustings Speech by Maureen Morgan
 
I'd like to begin with my reasons for standing in this by-election.
 
It's a long held dream of mine to one day serve in the States, and do my part in making Jersey a fairer place for all who live here. The States has lost direction and it seems there is no political will to tackle the problems that affect our everyday lives. The big issues for all of us are, of course, healthcare, housing, widespread unemployment and the cost of living.
 
So much time has been wasted on failed attempts at States reform, including the flawed and then ignored referendum. The constitution does need to change, but that isn't what keeps people awake at night. Those are issues like 'how am I going to pay this week's rent?' and 'how much longer will I be in constant pain as my surgery has been delayed yet again?'
 
You need a deputy who will roll up her sleeves and get on with the real work - that is me! I have been self-employed since 1986 and I'm well used to taking the initiative and being self-reliant. I want to help make Jersey a fairer place for all who live here.
 
So, What I am offering the electorate?
 
An undertaking to work hard within the States and at the constituency work and Parish involvement that are part of the job.
 
A real understanding that politicians are supposed to be the representatives of the people and not their masters.
 
A real understanding that tax payers' money is just that; not States money. I think we all agree it is fair to contribute to essential public services like health and education, but not to fritter it away or waste it on personal vanity projects.
 
I have a very analytical mind. I've worked in various IT roles, often as a trouble-shooter. In the States that will translate into quickly spotting the smoke and mirrors and the figures that just don't add up.
 
I have a science degree and a sound grasp of environmental issues.
 
Last, but not least I am good with money, having run my election campaign on an absolute shoestring to prove that I am the candidate you can trust if you elect me and it becomes YOUR money I am spending.
 
You may have noticed I have not put up any posters. I examined the whole business of campaigning from scratch and decided the only necessary expense was the production of a clear manifesto detailing my policies and what you can expect if I am elected.
 
In the last few weeks I've become aware that my main issues are your main issues too. Not one person I have spoken to or have heard raising issues wants to talk about States reform! Quickly, just for the record, I want a binding referendum in the autumn as promised.
 
I want to stress that I am diametrically opposed to asking the UK government to enact or propose reform for us: any move in that direction is the first step on the slippery slope of losing our political autonomy. If that happened it would inevitably lead to the end of financial self-regulation and with it doubtlessly the finance industry.
 
A strong finance industry is essential to the island, but currently we are totally vulnerable to the global downturn if we continue to put all our eggs in this one basket; Jersey's economy urgently needs more diversification. This is especially true when some people, even some past and present States members, are hell bent on telling the world we are an unregulated tax haven! If anything we are over regulated, with compliance now virtually a profession in its own right.
 
Financial services companies employ a vast number of workers, both directly and indirectly in the support industries and in the businesses where finance staff spend their wages: the restaurants, coffee shops, supermarkets, etc...
The way I see it, finance is the backbone of the island economy and small, diverse businesses bring financial stability and opportunities for growth. They can and should form a symbiotic relationship.
 
An unfortunate side effect of the global economic downturn is the extreme reluctance for banks to invest in new small businesses, some of which will become the big employers and tax contributors of the future. I feel more could be done to invest in local entrepreneurs by the States.
 
You may already know I have said the area in which I would most like to work is Health. There are so many problems that need attention urgently.
 
Hospital waiting lists MUST be reduced. We have a very good, well equipped general hospital which employs many excellent people. Unfortunately we are not employing enough medical staff to utilise it fully. Waiting lists are totally out of control and assurances that most people are seen within 16 weeks are not borne out in practice. I know some people who have waited nearly a year to be seen, especially if their problems are orthopaedic.
 
Of particular concern to many people who have contacted me is mental health care. Patients are being badly let down - I cannot even begin to cover this problem properly here tonight without a lot more time to speak. If any government service needs the application of joined up thinking this is it.
 
The Social Security subsidy for GPs visits needs to be raised, and more done to ensure that nobody has to forgo medical care because of low income. I will oppose any attempt to reintroduce prescription charges. Subsidies in dental and optical care need to be put in place for everybody who is entitled to the GP subsidy.
 
So many people are living in poor housing, overcrowding being the complaint I hear repeatedly. It is time for a thorough review of housing in Jersey, and more controls over unscrupulous landlords.
Bad housing impacts on every other part of life, especially health, causing absenteeism in schools and the workplace. Increasingly young adults are unable to afford to leave the family home and in some instances having to put starting a family on hold. This is, of course, quite unacceptable.
 
Turning to Environmental issues, I was horrified to read that 'fracking' is being suggested as appropriate for Jersey and this is something to which I am 100% opposed. The States needs members with a scientific background who understand the ramifications of such actions.
 
I have been following the debate for several years now, and I am certain that far more damage has been caused by the practice than was ever anticipated by the companies that carry it out. It is certain that it can cause contamination of the water supply and trigger earthquakes. It has proved impossible to predict the chemicals that may be forced to the surface until a particular site is drilled. This may include radioactive isotopes. Jersey is unlikely to have sufficient shale gas deposits to make fracking worthwhile in any case, but in an island where bore holes are still widely used this is a totally unacceptable risk to health. It could contaminate farms and beaches, threatening agriculture and tourism. These risks far outweigh any benefits.
 
I wrote in my manifesto about the problems caused by toxic ash. I am delighted to say that Kevin Lewis wrote to me since I published it online to say the situation has been resolved: the Asbestos will be stored until a suitable company can be contracted to vitrify it and the Ash is being exported for remediation and disposal as per D.E.F.R.A. and Basle directives. Funding has been secured and will begin this quarter.
 
Thank you for listening and I hope you will consider voting for me on 5th March.

1 comment:

Maureen Morgan said...

Thank you Tony! :-)