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Friday, 24 February 2012

Lessons for Jersey from the US electoral process

With apologies to Tom Gruchy, but it has taken a while to condense the lessons from the US political process into a legitimate idea for the future of Jersey politics.

On the 280th anniversary of George Washington's birth the final four met to debate the issues. A lot of speculation has arisen as to whether Mitt Romney will have Ron Paul as VP (or perhaps his son Kentucky Senator Rand Paul).

Even the Guardian which has ignored Paul's presence to date is now looking at the candidate with fresh eyes and recognising that his campaign may be delivering results whilst not always getting headlines.

But what was more interesting for me was the way that all four candidates were drawing together on policy and it seems to me that behind the scenes the Republican Party is drawing up its manifesto: (converted into Jersey English)
  • Return welfare from the federal government to the States (return welfare from the States to the Parishes)
  • Balance the budget and work to pay down the debt (this is a foreign concept to Jersey)
  • Ensure that government workers do not get paid more than private sector employees (this is a foreign concept to Jersey)
  • Repeal all the civil service laws and introduce modern management techniques (this is treason in Jersey)
  • Return as much responsibility from the federal government to the individual states as possible and from them to the people (this is treason in Jersey)
The Full Debate (1hr 45mins)

I would be voting Republican based on this debate. You have to say that that is pretty much Paul's platform, even if they are still dead set on war in the Middle East.

A significant proportion of this debate was focused on attacking the stance of Barack Obama. As we close in on Super Tuesday with 14 states voting in a ten day period starting on Tuesday with Michigan and Arizona, the race is starting to sharpen in focus.

There is something to be said for an election to decide the opposition, not just the people but the policies, and it is something that those who would seek to change the direction of Government in Jersey might do well to consider in 2014.

If a series of Parish caucuses, took place in advance of the nominations, all those who would seek to change the direction of the Government could come together. Through the process, a unified message could be derived, which could then be extolled by the candidates selected by that process. A proper election could then ensue with a legitimate choice between the agents of government (Bailhache, Ozouf etc.) and the agents of the people, selected by the people. 
  • It would provide valuable public speaking opportunities to potential candidates
  • Give additional exposure to those who are not widely known, particularly if we received the support of the BBC, etc.
  • It would set an agenda for the election which was chosen by the people and not by the government.