Thursday, 8 September 2016

Election Review

The turnover was lower than even I suspected, with 20% overall, only 10% for St Helier. I had given the four top candidates – Sarah, Sam, Christian and John, but rather judiciously had not given any predicted order. The gaps were both closer and further than I anticipated.

Sarah Ferguson 3,649 The Power of Pink Outfits!

I half suspected that Sarah Ferguson would do well, but the scale of her triumph, winning Parish after Parish, except for three, did surprise me. A lot of this must be due to the fact that she was a known candidate; as I commented yesterday, being there and the electorate knowing where you are counts for a lot. Evidently her support, always good last time when she lost to Philip Ozouf has been maintained in the intervening years, and she has also notably both had an outlet as a guest columnist in the JEP, and been active with Freedom of Information requests.

As for Parish Matters, unlike some politicians, losing last time did not make her turn her back on Parish Assemblies or St Brelade’s issues, but she still showed engagement and commitment. I remember the first Remembrance Sunday service at Noirmont after she was out of the States. Other politicians turn up there – and the newbies - Graham Trustcott and Murray Norton - put in an appearance because that is what sitting politicians do! But Sarah was still there, still participating, even though she was not a Senator. That level of engagement both at Parish and Island level was certainly what won her the election.

Her stance on GST and 0/10 was highlighted in the election, but also may have made people aware of the fact that she had changed her mind – as the JEP columns make very plain. Voting for 0/10 then, and considering it a mistake now are not signs of inconsistency, but of taking account of long term and unexpected effects on the economy. And the 0/10 voted for included “deemed dividends” which made some payment necessary by local shareholders whether or not they took a dividend; thanks to EU tax harmonisation, that had to go.

Sam Mezec 3,518

Sam Mezec I had suspected would be a respectable fourth, but in fact he came a very close second. As a relative newcomer to politics, it may be a disappointment, but he still has a lot to be pleased about, especially in St Helier, which pushed him to a whisker of defeating Sarah. The impact of the Council of Ministers on the ordinary family, the defence by Reform on a non-means tested Nursery education (which led to a higher limit and sliding scale in response), and the fact that Nick Le Cornu was standing certainly helped. The urban vote (including St Saviour) is a strong Reform base and maybe that is where they should build.

Against Nick, Sam could be seen to not be against the finance industry, moderate left against hard left. But St Helier was the landslide Parish, and his place as Deputy next time is almost a betting certainty. Whether he would manage to get in as Senator in an 8 horse race is another matter, as we still do not have Single Transferrable Voting, and he might be wise to consolidate in his home base.

Christian May 2,018

Christian May did not do as well as expected; I fear that a Facebook well-wisher – namely Philip Ozouf – may have spoiled his chances. My son thinks his social policies – i.e. Gay Marriage etc – may have affected his vote in the more rural Parishes, but he was not notably below par in Grouv ille, where the arch-conservative Vicar Gavin Ashenden has been recently spouting off to the National press about gays in the Church of England. I think a weaker or vaguer position on immigration, coupled with an apparent endorsement by the establishment, the use of the same kind of phrases and buzzwords as the Council of Ministers, and perhaps too slick a delivery worked against him.

But he came a very respectable third, and I think he would be foolish not to stand again, and stand as Senator rather than Deputy; he has enough of a strong Island vote which held up throughout. A good result for an outsider.

John Young 1,240

John Young came a rather disappointing fourth. As in the last election, John simply does not manage to appeal to an Islandwide electorate. His vote also suffered almost certainly from “split vote syndrome” – without single transferrable vote, the centre vote was probably split between him and Sarah – but not evenly. It is notable in St Brelade, that while trailing Sam, he managed to beat Christian May. St Brelade No 1 was his base as Deputy, so that is what you would expect. Of course it is also Sarah’s in St Brelade No 1, so unsurprisingly, especially as known, popular, and engaged in Parish matters, she came top. . Sam came second, but Reform – with Deputy Tadier – do have a strong base in St Brelade No 2 where Monty’s vote has always held up.

But to get above the 1,000 mark is still good, and given his showing, John would probably do well if he returned to his roots in St Brelade No 1, especially as the sitting States member has seen his popularity plummet and is largely considered an establishment “nodding dog”.

Hugh Raymond 988

Hugh Raymond as a candidate largely on the right came across just as that: a typical right wing country politician. But he also came across as someone with energy, and being top in Trinity – which is what I suspect was at least one of his aims – shows that he has the confidence of the electorate there. Given the dismal showing of Anne Pryke in the Council of Ministers, it is likely that the 15 votes distance between the two of them in 2014 when he stood as Deputy have narrowed; he stands a good chance of being next Deputy in Trinity, and despite being on the right , his rather old fashioned no-nonsense attitude would do the States some good.

Guy de Faye 254

Guy de Faye suffered from the same factor as Sarah but detrimentally. The trouble was that people did remember his time in office, and what happened there. His performance didn’t help – presenting yourself as “Mr Fixit” is rather a joke. He is yesterday’s politician, sadly trying to recapture lost glories. Some, like Terry Le Main, don’t try to make a comeback, but others can’t resist the lure. Let’s hope he doesn’t think he did well enough to try as a Deputy: he didn’t.

Mary O'Keeffe-Burgher 246

If you present yourself as “an intelligent woman” with “an MA”, you should do your homework on the difference between mean and median, or you come across as simply pretentious with airs and graces above your station, and that is what Mary tended to do. Trying to stop a St Lawrence parishioner speaking or sending insults to Guy to Faye behind the scenes (but be sure your sins will be published in the JEP nowadays!) could not have helped her campaign.

She also seemed to be trying to garner both the establishment vote (on immigration), and those who criticised the Council of Ministers, playing both, and not doing it well. Her “immigration app” which all new immigrants would need on their smart phones to show where they were was probably the straw that broke the camel of credibility’s back.

The Also-Rans

On the others Nick Le Cornu is clearly still unpopular, only managing to beat Guy de Fayein St Helier, his home base. He had his chance, and his Michael Fish moment has lost him the future.

Alvin Aaron proved that the hustings need not damage your chances. He came very low, but beat Mike Dun and Stevie Ocean who attended all hustings! As for Mike Dun, the strange poster with “Jabrexit” explains his poor showing. And who was going to vote for a fantasist like Steve Ocean who couldn’t even get an endorsement on Twitter of good luck from David Hasselhoff.

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