The JEP now reports that Senator Bailhache reckons his visit was "successful and instructive"
Of course I might well be wrong about my suspicions. Time will tell. However, I can't help speculating that if a new upper house were to be recommended by the Commission, particularly if it were to include the Constables automatically, how they would sell this to the Constables themselves, as their block vote would be vital. On the one hand, upper house membership normally entails less work
than that for lower house membership and therefore you would expect the salary to be correspondingly lower- and I'm sure the Commission would be very keen to sell their reforms on the basis that it will cut the overall cost of government. However, the Constables currently get the same £45k as all other States Members so what would their reaction be if they found themselves faced with a pay cut
under the new system, even if it supposedly meant less time spent in the Chamber? Senate members would also qualify to be ministers and I am sure that some Constables would continue to be offered such executive roles. However, that might entail a Constable running his own parish, doing the job of a minister/assistant minister, as well as attending all senate sittings. Surely he wouldn't be happy if his States salary was to drop to, say, £35k, maybe less, while still doing all that work? Meanwhile, some backbench benny in the lower house is still picking up £45k...
One possibility is that the Constables might insist on the law being changed to allow ministers and assistant ministers to receive substantially higher salaries than backbenchers
in order to ensure their non-opposition to the reforms. This was debated and rejected at the time when we first switched to ministerial government and I can see it becoming a hot potato once again. The executive will sell the idea to us all on the basis that Guernsey already pays its ministers more, so we ought to do it too.
The Constables might also try to get their own ratepayers
to supplement their wages to make up for any cut in their States pay, but they could run into parish opposition, so they would have to tread carefully and maybe try to get the States Assembly to approve such measures itself through a change to the Rates legislation, in order to avoid getting the direct blame for it. Therefore in future, a proportion of either the islandwide rate or the domestic rate might be automatically
diverted into the Constables' pockets, which they will try to justify as being the introduction of a token payment for doing their parish duties, whereas previously they didn't receive any payment at all for doing this work!
One should also add that it won't be just retiring or defeated loyalist States Members who would be eligible to be appointed- the Establishment will be able to appoint absolutely anybody it wants. In future we will likely see many 'non-politicians'
being appointed to sit in the States. For certain, that will include representatives of the most influential charities, arts, sports and other voluntary organisations, from Jersey Hospice Care, Headway and Durrell (but not
Christian Aid or Oxfam!), to the CAB (providing they continue not to criticise any moves aimed at clamping down on Income Support claimants), Womens Refuge, any organisation of which Daphne Minihane is a member of, the Scouts, Routier's MENCAP ... you name it, they will be tripping over themselves to show their utter loyalty to the executive and get that lucrative second income, which could possibly be for a far longer term than elected members, perhaps for as long as nine years, as was the original term of office for the first Senators after the war. Of course this loyalty will not just be a one-way process: the Durrell representative will be keen to ensure that the Zoo continues to get its multi-million pound grants and soft loans from the taxpayer, and the various charities who get grants from CI Lottery funds will be keen to veto any future attempts by the lower house to introduce the National Lottery to Jersey. It will be a professional lobbyist's paradise- not that these groups don't already have considerable hidden influence under the present system. In future though, they will also be claiming a considerable salary from the taxpayer.
After the lifting of the ban on serving civil servants standing for political office several years ago, these new reforms could lead us even further down the road towards a system of patronage
.Definition of patronage and extract from thefreedictionary.com:http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Political+patronage
It is a way to maintain a strong political organization by offering campaign workers rewards. More importantly, patronage puts people into government who agree with the political agenda of the victor.