Saturday, November 22, 2008

Candidate Evaluation – St Brelade No. 1

Despite being an interloper from the wrong side of the tracks, Clameur de Haro? managed to sneak undetected into the St Brelade No 1 hustings at St Aubin last Monday night to view and listen to the candidates on offer – and emerged profoundly depressed.

CdeH? knows full well that for one or two comparative deadbeats to join one or two more or less palatable hopefuls on a Parish Hall stage is by no means unusual. This however was dire: not one of the three candidates displayed any discernable qualifications whatsoever for membership of the legislature of a small, but deceptively complex economy.

Now this is bad enough – but what was interesting to CdeH?, though, was the palpable, almost tangible, anger among swathes of the audience that, on a range of issues, either one or two, or in some cases, all, of the three candidates had self-evidently not done their putative electorate the courtesy of conducting any significant prior research into subjects which could reasonably have been expected to arise.

The level of sheer economic illiteracy on display was quite breathtaking. From Mark Sutton the audience heard calls for tourism to be subsidised: from Alan Beadle, calls for airlines to be subsidised: and from Angela Jeune, calls for agriculture to be subsidised. But from not one of them was there even the hint of any recognition that subsidies actually have to be taxpayer-funded, much less any suggestion of how, and from where. And of course all were predictably in favour of selective, populist, GST exemptions, without evincing any obvious appreciation of the problems of definition, the costs of the resultant administrative bureaucracy, or the sources from which the consequent revenue shortfall could be made up.

Now Clameur de Haro? is no defender of the supremely botched introduction of what should have been a comparatively simple, low-level consumption-based tax, coupled with a meaningful, commensurate reduction in States’ spending to mitigate its impact: and, like many of the silent majority, views with trepidation the prospect of the unjustifiably hubristic Philip Ozouf becoming Treasury Minister. Yet each of Jeune, Sutton and Beadle appeared to have nothing to offer (whether on GST or on anything else), apart from generalised platitudes and very non-specific protestations of caring and earnestness. In 2008, that really isn’t enough.

CdeH? mingled among the departing audience to gauge reaction – the overwhelmingly prevalent response was “I really couldn’t bring myself to vote for any of these three non-entities – I’ll either spoil my paper or won’t bother”.

Sympathise with the electors of St Brelade No 1 for the woefully inadequate representation they are going to get for the next three years.........

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2 comments:

goooooood girl said...

your blog is very fine......

TonyTheProf said...

Yes, but to use that well known cliche agriculture is not a level playing field. The EU Common Agricultural Policy is full of subsidies, and to let Jersey farmers compete against EU farmers with no subsidies is economic suicide. Of course, we could just close down Jersey farming, and rely totaly on imports, but that would seem to be rather foolish given the rising costs of food and freight. What is needed is to look towards parity. Farmers are no longer rich people as in the 1950s, but are struggling to stay afloat. As we cannot introduce tariff barriers, we have to go for subsidies.