Author Topic: The Electoral Reform Commission  (Read 61164 times)

Offline wakey

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2012, 11:58:57 PM »
I bet that their wives are looking forward to a little "business trip".
Don't forget the sun cream darling!

Offline danrok

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2012, 07:41:51 AM »
Does anyone know why you would need to travel to Barbados to find out how their government functions?

Meanwhile, Prof. Hawking discovers how the universe functions without leaving his house.  Admittedly, he is in a different intellectual league to these politicians.

Offline Fritz

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2012, 09:28:18 PM »
These folk don't give a damn for the lives of ordinary folk in Jersey.
The sooner this gravy train is de-railed the better.

Offline boatyboy

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2012, 02:14:28 AM »
There is something not quite right with the figures given the cost of three people who have decided that they are going to Barbados on a two day trip costing a reported £6,700.

Thanks to the JEP who published this.

A £6,700 trip to Barbados by two members of the Electoral Commission and a civil servant has been described as an ‘unnecessary jolly’.

Days after it was revealed in the States that the commission was considering visits to the Caribbean to see how other small islands arranged electoral seats, it has been announced that two members and one officer are en route to Barbados today.
Senator Philip Bailhache, the chairman of the commission, is flying out to the tropical island with vice-chairman Colin Storm and an officer.

They have scheduled meetings with politicians and clerks and will attend a parliamentary session, and will discuss the way that Barbados’ dual system of a Senate and House of Assembly works in practice.

http://www.thisisjersey.com/news/2012/07/23/fact-finder-in-barbados-’just-a-jolly’/

End.

If it is still the case all States travel bookings go through one agency which would achieves a discount. However after some research and noting the  published cost of £6,700, for three people each  way plus expenses does not seem at all feasible. It was reported that this figure came from Senator Bailhache personally.

May I share some information with you,

Three flights to Gatwick return at a cost of say £400.00 for three adults.

One nights stay in Barbados hotel 3.5 star costs £384.22 including meals. Per person. Total approx £1,150 there are several I have quoted the cheaper end. The party may not wish to stay in less than a five star.

The flights are the biggest problem with the budget quoted.

Sorry but before we get to them, meetings are to be held and a visit to the Barbados Parliament but the flight each way takes over 9 hours with boarding. This is not including Jersey to the UK a further hour each way or hours needed to be at the airports pre flight.

This trip has already absorbed ten hours each way of just plane air travel alone, but it is supposed to be a two day visit ?

Then having looked at the cost of flights ( a selection listed below for you to view ) I am really perplexed as to how three people traveling when they wish, in other words not taking the unsociable cheaper flights can do all this traveling on under  £7,000. It Looks impossible.

The links below gave me the prices, it might be that you have to refresh the page by inventing you own travel by pretending to be three adults; the cost should be the same.

Flight time confirmation

8hrs 45 minutes

http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/checkProcessingStatus.do#toMatrix

British Airways.

Our cheapest fares to Bridgetown (Barbados) p/p in First Our cheapest fares to Bridgetown (Barbados) in First £7,478 in July £5,152 other months.

http://www.britishairways.com/travel/low-price-finder/public/en_fr?eId=113021&origin=LON&destination=BGI&cabin=F&oneway=false&&openxzoneid=283&openxcampaign=TCO-lpbm&openxbanner=6212&openxtype=click

http://www.travelsupermarket.com/flight/FlightResults.aspx?aggregationid=1478900000000096643

£7689.26 per person

http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/checkProcessingStatus.do
£4114,50 . one day only flights not available other days.

Senator Bailhache under questioning about the trip ( quoted below ), is reported to have given the figure of around £7,000. I have no doubt that the better politicians who take their position of responsibility seriously in the States, which encompasses the spending of  tax payers money will be pursuing this matter with vigour.

Senator Baihache obviously feels fully justified in visiting the Caribbean at the expense of the people. CTV quotes him as saying

 “ will inform our ongoing research, and will represent, in my view, good value for money. The costs to be incurred by the Commissioners are estimated to be about £6,700."

http://www.channelonline.tv/channelonline%5Fjerseynews/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=500568

Now might be a good time to remind Senator Bailhache of his speech when inviting us to vote for him and then of course stand or fall on his own words.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zuPS7uXIjY

BB
« Last Edit: July 25, 2012, 04:38:02 AM by boatyboy »

Offline GeeGee

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2012, 04:36:19 PM »
Maybe the good Senator should be asked for a breakdown on costs on his return, or via a question when the States resume business again.

I have to admit, it seemed far too cheap to me and I think you may have caught him bang to rights BB.  ;) ;)

Offline imacrappaud

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2012, 11:52:16 PM »
On expedia.co.uk I have found many prices that would be well under what is being paid, although not including the flights from Jersey to London some are as low as under £900 per person with a room of their own in a 2.5 star hotel but even some 4 stars which is including london flights are around the £1500 per person. Mind you I didnt include business class so my deduction is they decided they are in need of business class so got a discount on that which makes them able to say they got value for money, yet they could have gone economy and still had a cracking hotel for a lot less than they have spent. Obviously I would never dare to imagine they would go economy class, after all they deserve a treat >:(

I have just resorted by price and there are loads of offers around the £1000 mark and I have allowed a full 3 days there.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2012, 11:55:13 PM by imacrappaud »

Offline Fritz

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2012, 12:20:32 AM »
Regardless of the cost. We, the tax-payers, should not be paying for jollies to the Caribbean.
If they do not know how to do the job they are paid to do they should be removed from office.
"Simples".

Offline imacrappaud

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2012, 02:02:09 AM »
I dont disagree with that Fritz. How disgraceful it is that any Tom Dick or Harry could use the internet to fact find yet Baillhache has to go to hear it in person, I would guess that what he hears in person would be little bits here and there about what the average human being doesn't get to hear about. A.K.A. how to keep what really goes on behind closed doors away from the uppity public who have no right to admonish during his tenure.

Offline boatyboy

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2012, 04:48:16 AM »
imacrappaud in reply 20 you make some very good points, maybe you are not aware that all long haul flights booked for senior members of the civil service and of course States members fly not economy, not business , but first class.

If this has changed because States members understand and sympathise with the hard time being suffered by a broad range of skilled people that no longer have employment. Those tough self employed, who have felt their social security payments and costs sky rocket, and of course the rest of the islanders who view States trading companies as a rip off,  like postal, JEC or telecomms upping their prices to feather the nests of the directors with little sympathy for working people who see their quality of life in a downward spiral, then I stand corrected and humble.

I digress, I want to visit Barbados and speak to important upper echelon, I want to go now, I want to go in style, and first class in no way can that be done for the figure of under £7,000 for three people. BA are charging over £7,000 per person, return flight only.

I would love to be proved wrong. I would also hope that the States members, the JEP or sigh aunty - the BBC actually  publish the truth as the accredited media.

If they are the professional accredited media hunting the stories, as we led to believe, why are you reading this on a blog and not in the paid press.

BB


 
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 05:57:23 AM by boatyboy »

Offline Sam Mezec

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2012, 04:50:58 PM »
Folks,

Hopefully many of you will get leaflets through your door soon about Reform Jersey which has been set up to take back the Electoral Commission.

The aim is to make our voices too loud that they can't be ignored by the commission so we can actually secure meaningful reform.

There's going to be a meeting at the Town Hall on Monday at 7pm which I'll be chairing with Daniel Wimberley and Deputy Le Herissier. The commission members have been invited, and they don't have an excuse seeing as a bus fare to town is a lot cheaper than a flight to Barbados.

More info can be found at http://sammezec.blogspot.com/2012/07/reform-jersey.html

Plus we're on facebook and twitter (search "Reform Jersey)

Cheers,
Sam

Offline boatyboy

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #25 on: July 26, 2012, 06:26:57 PM »


Could this be why Senator Bailhache  hijacked the electoral commission and has now headed off to Barbados ? This is looking quite serious and well done to Sam  Mezec for organizing a meeting it is indeed time to make our voices heard.  There is no use complaining after decisions have been made as to how candidates are to be elected - by the already elected with a personal agenda.

Part of another informative article by Tony the Prof. Link below.

Bicameral Government

Bicameral Government: Some Comments

Some small jurisdictions, such as Barbados, have a bicameral government.  In the case of Barbados, the second chamber, or upper house

1) is not directly elected by the population - it consists of appointees by the Governor-General but in some instances on the advice of the Prime Minister, and HM's Loyal Opposition.

As Jersey has been independent for a considerably longer regarding domestic policy, our system has had time to evolve more checks and balances. The imposition of a second chamber would impede the democratic system. The main problems with bicameral systems are:

- Unelected members (in the case where upper house members are appointed by the head of the executive branch)
- Less democratic legitimacy and under-representation of minority ethnics and sexes

http://tonymusings.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/bicameral-government.html

BB

Online Jerry Gosselin

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2012, 07:29:09 PM »
Everyone must start thinking a lot smarter here. Don't be sidetracked by trying to work out to the last penny how much this trip would have cost because this is not relevant with regard to the much bigger picture of how much say the people will have in their own future government. Both of these Commission members are very wealthy people and don't need to go on jollies at the taxpayer's expense. In any case, they will most likely announce on their return that they paid for a lot of the trip out of their own pocket, therefore 'saving' the taxpayer several thousands of pounds and wrong-footing any chamber opposition to their visit. No- I don't agree with their actions at all, but this is likely to be how they will justify it.

My great concern is this: Bailhache will know that he would face much harsher criticism about the expense of this visit if, after due consideration in a few months time, the Commission eventually decided to rule out the Barbados system altogether. In those circumstances, the visit could then justifiably be regarded as a huge waste of taxpayer's money. For this reason alone, I suspect that an in-principle decision to recommend a change to a Barbados-style of government has already been secretly approved by at least some members of the commission. It is fairly inconceivable, in my view, that Bailhache would have planned the Barbados trip without giving at least some form of explanation to certain ministers to convince them of the importance of the visit. Therefore I also suspect that some elements of the executive must also know if the Commission does indeed intend to recommend a Barbados-style government and presumably they don't oppose it.

We must therefore look carefully at the Barbados system of government and try to work out in advance of the Commission's recommendations what has likely attracted Bailhache (and presumably some other ministers) to take such an interest in it.

The first difference I notice is that the Barbados parliament is bicameral, with 30 directly-elected Assembly members and a further 21 senate members who are appointed by the Governor General (the Queen's Representative) as follows: 12 on the advice of the Prime Minister; 2 on the advice of the Opposition Leader and 7 "at his discretion" (source: CIA World Factbook). Therefore my first conclusion is that the Commission (and the executive?) intends to abolish the islandwide popular vote for Senators and move to a system where the new senators will be indirectly appointed to office, with the Chief Minister having the biggest say and presumably other Establishment influences choosing the remainder. Obviously there would not be even a token representation for the opposition in the Jersey appointments process because Jersey does not officially have one, although it has a handful of individual politicians with widely-varying views and little allegiance to each other all claiming to be the opposition. Furthermore, recent experience with the JDA strongly suggests that even if a group of 3 or 4 politicians gained office and declared themselves to be the only official opposition, their claim would have no credibility, as opposition groups are formed every election year, only for the members to then break away from the group once they are elected to office and the opposition party then disintegrates. At heart then, Jersey will remain a one-party state, but it will be trying to adopt a legislative system which was designed for multi-party democracies.

My second thought is that if an upper chamber consisting of appointed senators were to be created, then presumably they would take over the scrutiny function which is currently performed by directly-elected politicians. Furthermore, given that this future senate will consist entirely of Establishment or executive-approved members, this would extinguish any realistic attempts to use Scrutiny as a means of opposing the government in the future. The appointed senators of the future are hardly likely to be the Geoff Southerns and Pitmans when their town seats are abolished. On the other hand, they are very likely, in my opinion, to be existing Establishment politicians who are either standing down from elected office after many years of loyalty or who can no longer muster enough votes to continue to stay in office (I don't know why but Paul Routier's name comes into my head at this point).

The only thing I am not sure about is how many Members will sit in the new Chamber and what will be the proportion between elected and unelected members. The Barbados Chamber consists of 51 seats (30 elected/ 21 appointed). I think Bailhache previously said before he was elected that he wanted a Chamber of 43 (or am I wrong?). Given that the appointed members will still be able to take up ministerial positions and presuming that Bailhache would prefer as many appointed members as possible (as they can be relied upon not to rock the boat by engaging in divisive politics), I suspect that he might want more than just 12 members of the new senate. Could he possibly throw in a joker by calling for the Constables to be no longer directly elected to the new lower Chamber, but instead to be automatically appointed to the new senate by virtue of their office (having in most cases succeeded in an uncontested election at their parish hall)? This way he would get what he wants (the Constables to remain as States Members and still paid by the taxpayer and eligible for ministerial roles), but it would also wrong-foot the opposition, as some elements who want the Constables removed might be tempted to vote for a system where the Constables become members of a new Senate, as they will fear that if they don't vote for it, the whole reform process will come to nothing and the status quo will continue as before.

Well that's my tuppence worth anyway.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 07:45:58 PM by Jerry Gosselin »

Offline Calimachon

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #27 on: July 26, 2012, 10:02:26 PM »
Very interesting comments Jerry and which were concise, to the point and easily understandable. 

I have no idea how one combats the type of subterfuge used in the corridors behind the doors of our most powerful iconic building of power in the square but sure as eggs we need comparable young brains on this side of the door to outlive the crusty old b*&^%s on the other side who are scheming such happenings.

It is so obvious that the Assistant Chief Ministers loyalties are right where they always were from the very start.  With such powerful backing to all intents and purposes he can't lose.......or can he?

How strong are the people and what could they do in order to gain the type of government they deserve?

Cali
TOMORROW (Noun) = A mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation an achievement is stored

Offline imacrappaud

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2012, 11:29:53 PM »
Boatyboy, for some reason, cant remember why or what caused me to think it I thought they were meant to be going economy and not wasting more money.

Gerry, those are some brilliant points you make and frankly a little more than worrying. I always thought Baillache had his interests at heart, and those of his buddies/comrades. I mentioned this to a lad I work with at voting time and all he could answer with was that at least he appeared statesman like so should make a great leader!! I think he would regret his decission but does not read papers, blogs, forums etc but I do mention now and again what his voted leader is up to and he does appear at least without saying out loud to wonder just what it is he is really up to. The only reason for pointing this out is because I firmly believe that his opinion was the same as many who voted for him at the time and also many probably dont have a clue what is going on after they voted for him. If it werent for the JEP's blatant electioneering on his behalf I doubt he would have received as many votes but still would have got in via ignorance alone.

Obviously, I didnt vote for him.

Online Jerry Gosselin

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2012, 11:51:31 PM »
The JEP now reports that Senator Bailhache reckons his visit was "successful and instructive":

http://www.thisisjersey.com/news/2012/07/28/barbados-trip-was-good-use-of-public-money-says-senator/

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

Quote
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.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2012, 12:11:55 AM by Jerry Gosselin »