The current issue of proposed cuts to free nursery places for families earning more than £75,000 per year exposes the raw schism in Jersey between the way the politicians and the Establishment media discriminate between the very richest and the very poorest in our community.
1) The Minister for Education is currently proposing stopping entitlement to 20 hours per week free nursery care for families with combined incomes of more than £75,000
. This will apparently affect only 100 families per year
in Jersey and save a relatively modest £0.25 million per year
. Yet the reaction from the Establishment media has been furious
, to say the least and queues of elected politicians simply can't wait until the end of the Easter holiday to start asking questions to the Minister, organising Scrutiny hearings, lodging propositions, presenting petitions, appearing on TV and radio to voice their opposition, fronting angry demonstrations in the Royal Square - you name it. The fact that 2,200
people have apparently signed an online petition within a very short space of time when only 100
families actually stand to be personally affected shows that a lot of money and resources are going into this campaign to force Deputy Rod Bryans to withdraw his plans.
2) Now cast your minds back just 6 months to when the States Assembly approved Deputy Susie Pinel's proposition to introduce a raft of different measures to save £10 million of benefits expenditure by 2019, most of it targetted at the very poorest working age income support households. At best, only 9
States Members voted against her proposition P.103/2015 on 8th October 2015 which, amongst other things, saw 1,300
single parent households lose their additional £40.39 per week
single parent rate component of income support, phased in over 3 years. In 2016 alone, this cut in the single parent rate component will save an estimated £0.8 million
, rising to £3.2 million
Just a few months earlier, the Minister had used (or should I say, abused) her powers by making an Order that immediately disentitled about 75 jobseekers aged under 25 to the adult component of income support, saving an estimated £0.2 million per year
- a very similar amount to the saving proposed today by Deputy Bryans in respect of families earning more than £75,000 a year. However, neither the Establishment media nor elected politicians raised any major concerns last summer about Pinel's arbitrary decision to close the claims of those 75 young jobseekers and the potential effect on other members of their families.
Compare this with the amount of attention being given now to those 100 or so families earning more than £75,000 per year and you get some idea of the vast gulf in political representation between these two separate groups of people. One group is obviously over-represented in the media and in the Assembly while the other group has no effective representation at all unless you regard the 3 members of Reform Jersey as providing them with some sort of representation that could be credibly labelled 'effective'.
Members of the States Assembly were so unconcerned by these drastic measures in P.103/2015 that they did not even call for an appel to record how each Member voted (pour or contre). They were passed on a mere standing vote and only the vote on the principles and the third reading were subject to an appel:
Read the ongoing campaign by Bailiwick Express to force Deputy Bryans to drop his proposals, if you can be bothered. William Randolph Hearst eat your heart out! :
And the JEP: