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Sunday, 12 February 2012

Holding politicians accountable

Pierre Horsfall,
the man who began the destruction of Jersey
There has been a great deal spoken about the problems with giving bankers bonuses before any problems come to light, recently Fred Goodwin has been stripped of his knighthood and pressure has been bought to bare, successfully, on a number of senior bank executives to forego their bonuses.

The problem is that people expect to see results immediately, bonuses are paid at the year end based on the paper profits realised in that year. This has I believe quite rightly been linked to the problem of risk-taking by banks, although governments were quite happy to squander their portion of these profits which they took in taxation and to partner the banks perhaps even encouraging their actions so that the 'favourable economic situation' could be used to support their own re-election.

Many years later we can see that the actions of our own politicians have led Jersey to the precipice of economic disaster, and I would suggest we are beyond the point of no return.

The architects of our failure - Horsfall, Walker, Ozouf and Bailhache are of course not entirely to blame. The ideas sprang originally from the Civil Servants; the nameless, faceless enemies of the people who exploited the egotistical nature of these men to have their damaging big government, high tax policies pushed through against the will of the people, time and time again.

These were small men promoted beyond their ability who once lost in situations beyond them relied on the advice of those same civil servants.

As representatives of the people they are clearly failures, their place in history is assured, but it has taken many years for the poisons released during their reigns to become apparent, and many people in Jersey are still not willing to accept the truth. The bliss which accompanies ignorance is not a driver for independent thought.

The same problem that drove the bankers drives politicians also, they have nothing to gain or lose by the long term consequences of their actions other than to blacken their names and those of their families for generations, they are solely concerned with the immediate need for re-election and that requires that the electorate are bribed time and time again, not only with their own money but with the future earnings of their children and grandchildren.

Whilst bankers can have their pensions and their titles stripped from them, what sanction can we bring to bear against people such as these?