Monday, 11 December 2017

Election Line-Up

Election Line-Up

In a shock public announcement at the Constable’s Soiree at St Brelade, Constable Steve Pallett said that he would not be standing for re-election as Constable but would still seek to be engaged in local politics. The likelihood is that he would try for Senator. Who will stand for Constable? At least one candidate is almost certain but I won’t mention them by name until they declare themselves. It may be that the early announcement is to give time for other candidates to come forward.

John Refault is definitely retiring as Constable of St Peter. St Peter’s is very much a divided Parish between newcomers who have settled in the last 20 years or so, often in housing developments close to the Parish hall, and long standing families who resent them. A contested election is on the cards.

Will Kristina Moore remain as Deputy or try for Senator? Rumour has it that she might, as well as some other sitting Deputies. It is a truism that a Senator has no longer term of office, and no more votes in the house than a Deputy or Constable, but it is also extremely unlikely that a Chief Minister would be chosen from ether of the other ranks.

Ian Gorst has yet to decide whether he will stand again. This may depend on whether his amanuensis, Paul Routier is standing.

The JEP list of 22 September 2017 had the following sitting members intending to stand for the assembly, but as events have shown, evidently not necessarily in their current seats. It is possible that other may throw their hats in the Senatorial ring.

St John Constable Chris Taylor
St Mary Constable Juliette Gallichan
St Brelade Constable Steve Pallett
St Saviour Constable Sadie Rennard
Grouville Constable John Le Maistre

St Helier District 2 Deputy Sam Mézec
Grouville Deputy Carolyn Labey
St Helier District 1 Deputy Judy Martin
St Helier District 3/4 Deputy Richard Rondel
St Ouen Deputy Richard Renouf
St Helier District 3/4 Deputy Jackie Hilton
St Saviour District 1 Deputy Jeremy Maçon
St Mary Deputy David Johnson
St Brelade District 2 Deputy Graham Truscott
St Helier District 1 Deputy Russell Labey

Of the sitting Senators, Senator Ozouf is clearly vulnerable over the States Innovation fund, and the tardiness over repayment of expenses accrued by himself on his States credit card. According to Bailiwick Express, he was finally issued with an invoice by the States for up to £11,455, four months after he was first asked to repay the money, and only then promptly repaid the sums.  While technically he did nothing wrong, the Express noted that he paid no interest on the delayed payment. Rumour has it that he may be looking to take over Terry Macdonald’s seat in St Saviour if Terry retires, coming in as a Deputy.

Also in St Saviour, I would think that Louise Doublet is vulnerable because of her continual absence from the States - a look at her voting record or rather lack thereof - does not make pretty reading. Will Rob Duhamel try to come back? I think he could stand a chance.

Senator Andrew Green is clearly vulnerable over the hospital. First he went for the People's Park, then backed down, ruled out the Waterfront locations - it is rumoured after political pressure was put to drop those sites - and came up with a close to current site option whose scale on computer generated mock ups seem to bear little resemblance to the actual size, and asked for compulsory purchase of buildings before plans have been approved. And the decision to move catering off site far out to St Peter seems daft when the States must own property closer to hand. Given the post of Health Minister as a safe pair of hands, he is in desperate need of political life support.

Lyndon Farnham's track record has not been too brilliant. Rapped over his part in the States Innovation Fund, he has also failed dismally in managing to ensure that Condor provide a reliable service to the Channel Islands. He's very good at saying words to the effect that "this isn't good enough" but poor at doing anything about it - the electorate may decide likewise. His radio interview blaming Guernsey for no inter-island service and saying that the timetable was proceeding as plan when his Guernsey counterpart thinks otherwise suggests someone who has not forged good lines of communication with Guernsey.

Meanwhile Alan Maclean, in charge of the Island's finances, is managing to find extra money in the pot - as with the surprise increase in student grants. The Treasury Minister is always in the advantageous position of being able to effectively bribe the electorate, but has rather mismanaged hospital funding plans - first Ben Shenton, and now Philip Ozouf have both come up with better strategies. The failure to sort out hospital financing, highlighted by a letter from senior clinicians, highlights the fact that he has withdrawn and amended proposals, causing further delay in a badly needed project.

However he is one of those politicians who are naturally lucky, and have a smooth tongue, as evidenced by the fact that the electorate never seemed to take into account his £200,000 fantasy film grant, or for that matter locking the island in the current contract with Condor due to the haste in which the deal was signed off.

Having done well in Trinity in the last Senatorial bi-election – where he topped the Parish – Hugh Raymond may well return to topple Deputy Anne Pryke, whose Ministerial post has become increasingly a sinecure since the last election, with most of the old Housing Department staff transferred to Andium Homes and any administration done on an ad hoc basis by officials seconded from the Chief Minister’s Office.

It is not yet known whether Murray Norton will stand again in St Brelade No 1, but John Young is back on the Jersey scene, and may well contest that seat.

Deputy Eddie Noel is leaving the States, so it is again almost certain there will be a contest in St Lawrence.

There might also be a Constable’s election.  Constable Deidre Mezbourian is vulnerable over her handling of the extension to St Lawrence’s Church. St Lawrence Parishioners have invoked an old law to force a parish assembly and vote on the £80,000 plans to build a new toilet near the entrance of their 800-year old parish church. But she took legal advice and rejected holding an assembly. It is not a question of who is right here, it is a perception of being high-handed in her dealing with the matter that makes her vulnerable.

I hear reports that at least two other sitting Constables are vulnerable to being contested as they have upset Parishioners. Simon Crowcroft, with his recent windfall on rates, and agreement that the States pay rates, as well as an extension to Millennium Park, is sitting pretty. 

No comments: