Tuesday, 6 September 2016
Senatorial by election eve of poll
It is not easy picking a candidate to vote for. No one has impressed me with any great grasp of the ecological and global challenges that will impact Jersey and in which we have a moral obligation to play our part. Nor have I been impressed that some very important extant local issues have been barely mentioned, eg the Committee of Inquiry and its implications.
Council of Ministers supporters are very thin among the candidates. Only Mary O'keefee Burger seems to be fully behind their programme. Given several astounding gaffes from her they are probably thinking they would be better off without her support. She isn't going to get elected anyway. Nor is Nick Le Cornu or Mike Dun.
Mike Dun's campaign is arguably the most logical. This result won't change the CoM or their policies in any material way. So a single issue campaign is not a problem. The 20 month tenure of the successful candidate tallies fairly well with the Brexit timetable . It could have significant implications for Jersey, particularly in trade and labour. But ecologically it is largely irrelevant. If you think Brexit is the overriding concern of our time or if you want a Senator who questions everything Mike might be your candidate.
On paper Hugh Raymond is exactly the sort of candidate Jersey likes. Extensive business experience, including in finance, public service as an honorary officer, and several other public roles. Despite what Mr Ocean claims, he probably is the dependable safe pair of hands type option. My impression is he is doing better in the country parishes than might be supposed, but not so well in urban areas. He has several times mentioned climate change and also questioned the volume of cars owned locally.
Christian May is doing well amoung younger professionals. He has run a positive campaign on the whole, whilst trying to distance himself from the Council of Ministers. He is going down well amoungst liberals and many professionals who like a conscience salving bit of social progress to go alongside their otherwise business as usual agenda. He has made a specific point about climate change impact locally a few times (a definite plus) and university access. I like a lot of what he has foccussed on (but then I am a liberal so that's no surprise) on the social agenda, but I am unconvinced he has it to take a real fight to the Ministers in the assembly if it came to it. He will do well and has a chance of winning.
Sarah Ferguson appears to be doing well. Probably this is down to her opposition to CoM policies on tax and finance. Some of her analysis here is good, but her record of voting for GST and against exemptions for food does not chime with her current position on the hustings. She has tried toning down her climate change scepticism, but after the St Ouen husting she reinterated to me her opposition of renewables on some sprurious tax ground leading to fuel povery to pensioners (that is not renewables, that is down to regressive tariff structures). She might appeal to right wingers/libertarian types , but it is definitely a no from me.
Stevie Ocean's policy platform makes no political sense to me. He is very well known, and usually that plays well for candidates, unless they are associated with problems or perceived failure. Guy de Faye is also very well known, but comes with 'baggage'. It will be intriguing to see which one polls better, but neither seems set to become senator this election.
Reform's candidate is Sam Mezec. He as spoken well at the hustings and has made some impact with his campaign. He hasn't been as strong on environmental matters as I would like. If your politics are social democratic, Sam is your candidate. He is in with a chance of winning, all depending on the turnout in St Helier and some of the other urban areas.
Lastly there is John Young. His performance hasn't been the most polished, and his leflet isn't eye catching, but the content has been overall pretty decent. Definitely on the progressive side, and with a track record of asking awkward questions and bringing, sometimes winning, propositions to the assembly. He has been consistent on the built environment and utility scale renewables, if like the others rather lacking on ecological matters. From my non scientific survey he is getting a good proportion the deep green votes, not that there are enough of those to give anyone a victory.