Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Guest Post by Montfort Tadier

What drives a politician? What makes someone want to become engaged and enter Jersey politics?  I asked Montfort Tadier to tell me about himself and some issues facing St Brelade and the Island. The piece below gives you a far better picture, I think, than a mere manifesto, even if those are useful for putting core issues together in an organised way.

This semi-autobiographical piece shows why he has a strong commitment to St Brelade, where his formative years were spent, and where he is standing for election, and also what drove him to campaign for a better and fairer society not just for the few, but for all.

Guest Post by Montfort Tadier

Knocking on a door yesterday in Parcq du Pont Marquet, one young(ish) man (supportive, incidentally) said that he thought it strange that anyone could put themselves forward for election without having to provide a C.V.

The sentiment expressed, is entirely understandable and the premise valid – especially in the current Jersey context where we are generally voting for individuals, where the job of a States Member is becoming increasingly unattractive and where historically, a significant number of the 49 can seemingly do and say nothing for 4 years, but press an acquiescent button in favour of whichever permutation of Jersey conservatives happen to be leading the Council of Ministers at anyone time.

So given that sentiment, here is a précis of my own C.V. and personal background.

I lived and grew up in Don Farm. I was one, the youngest, of four boys. My mother came to Jersey from France at the age of 33. My father was born in Jersey of Breton and Jersey Parents.

I attended La Moye, Les Quennevais and Hautlieu Schools.

I learnt my work ethic young, with two paper-rounds from an early age (I got to know the area well (Clos des Sables, La Route des Genets, and occasionally helping out with my brother’s rounds in other parts of the Parish).

I always had an interest in travel, something I would later learn was called Wanderlust, in German. I did my project Trident work experience at what was Bellingham Travel, next to where Wally’s Chippy is now.

In my teens, I worked at the Co-op after school, at Servisair at weekends, and I even did a short stint as a porter at the Atlantic Hotel after my A-Levels before taking a gap year. My gap year was spent working in a ski-hotel in the Alps, where I was a kitchen porter.

It was at this time that I started learning to play the accordion (melodeon), which was an 18th birthday present from my parents. The hours were long, often 12 hour days (split shifts) in peak season. One day off a week. The benefit was that I learnt to snowboard, learned to busk, improved my French and met lots of interesting people. For the rest of the gap year, I worked the season in Jersey for Condor Ferries, where I stayed for 3 years during university.

My studies were conducted in Sheffield, where I read Modern Languages (French, German, Spanish and Dutch). For full transparency, I achieved a 2:1, with distinction in Spoken French. My 3rd year was split between La Réunion and Berlin.

Do you want more? Ok then. I spent the next few years after graduation working in Jersey, for Jersey Tourism, Trident Tours, Zebra Hire. I did two stints teaching English in the French overseas departments of Martinique and La Réunion. From 2003-2006, I worked for Jersey Telecoms as a customer services agent, in the call centre.

During all this time, I was interested in politics, local, UK and generally. It was the sad and shocking revelations of child abuse in Jersey which was the catalyst for me going into local politics at a relatively young age – first as a campaigner, then as a candidate.

I don’t want to use this blog to talk about the various successes or works in progress I have campaigned and continue to fight for in the States as they are generally matters of public record.

But the reason I went into politics was from a simple motivation to make life better and, wherever possible, simpler for people. I don’t like injustice. Whilst I know we are all different, and I have increasingly come to value diversity, there is much more that unites us that divides us. I often think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. 

Much of my own, and the party’s manifesto, is understandably concerned with raising the standard of living for islanders, including raising housing standards, and making housing affordable. But there are other areas I am equally passionate about.

We need to think about infrastructure, and built and natural environment, in the parish and as an island. This must be intrinsically linked to getting our head around a humane and effective population policy. But we also need to think about reducing car ownership, car usage. 

Cars (as a political issue) are interesting. Universally, residents of Les Quennevais and La Moye will decry the increase in traffic –especially at Red Houses, but people are reluctant to be told to stop using their cars. It is other people’s cars that are the problem! I hold my hand up too. 

So we need to start being honest and ask what kind of island and world we want to leave for the next generations. Whether it is using less single use plastic, paying more for good quality organic food, or leaving slightly earlier to walk, cycle or car share to work, we must look to ourselves, as well as central government and businesses, to all change our practices for the sake of us all.

As Ghandi said, be the change you want to see in the world (island).

Thank you for indulging me. And one last plug.

Please vote for Reform Jersey candidates wherever you can. It is only by working as a team that we can have balanced, sustainable policies that benefit all islanders and the environment and start moving away from some of the excesses and deficiencies of the last Council of Ministers.

Having an impressive CV does not necessarily make you a good politician. We need diversity in the our States Assembly. Much of being a good representative is learnt on the job, and is more reliant on a predisposition to help people, to like people, to be interested in a wide variety of issues and to diligently follow up on case work when asked for input or assistance.

It is a shocking statistic that despite many capable women running for the two seats over recent elections, St Brelade no. 2 has not had a female representative for over 30 years! That is 10 elections with two seats each time going to supposedly the best men for the job.

I have been impressed by the quality of the candidates, especially the female candidates that Reform has to offer. If they were Tories, they would have been co-opted a long time ago by the Establishment machine.

My running mate Garel Tucker, also impressed me with her interest in community matters relating to road safety and pedestrian facilities for people and pupils walking around La Moye. She lobbied DfI and petitioned the States for a crossing outside the school, which they have agreed to install. She is an advocate for more grass roots involvement in issues that affect Les Quennevais and La Moye residents, including proper consultation on what should be done with the current sceondaray School site, once the new one is built. She is also passionate about animal rights.

I know that Garel will be a visible and active part of our community in the Parish and in the States, if elected. She will bring a much needed woman's perspective to the role, after 30 years of male chauvinism!

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