Author Topic: The Electoral Reform Commission  (Read 61163 times)

Online Jerry Gosselin

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #345 on: April 25, 2017, 06:00:57 AM »
This was just a comment left by some Telegraph reader below what looks like a Telegraph editorial. Since when does anyone quote from the comments section rather than the main article itself? We don't know anything about the writer or whether they've even been to France. It could be one of the nutty Barclay twins writing under a pseudonym for all we know.

Worthless drivel, just like the paper itself. Mind you, a great future as a JEP columnist awaits this person if they ever decide to move to Jersey.  ;D

Online Jerry Gosselin

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #346 on: May 16, 2017, 07:56:26 PM »
Expect a big turnout of Reform Jersey goons at the Town Hall tomorrow night to support the failed Powergate electoral reforms ahead of yet another States debate set for 6th June:

http://www.itv.com/news/channel/2017-05-11/voters-asked-for-views-on-electoral-reform/


I can't imagine why a Scrutiny Panel has chosen now of all times to conduct a half-hearted attempt at a consultation when a definite decision has already been taken. Surely everyone in the island with any view on the subject has already contributed to the myriad of consultations, opinion polls and referenda that have taken place over the past decade or more. The vast majority, if not all, of the people attending one of these five public meetings will merely be re-stating their existing views and possibly a majority of them will be either present or past States Members who have participated in past debates. Nothing that we don't already know can possibly come out of it. Furthermore, if, as expected, supporters of the Powergate proposition are in the majority, what are States Members supposed to do? Change the way they voted only 3 months ago based on the views of a few dozen people shouting the loudest at these meetings?

The reforms, whether they be the Powergate or Farnham versions, will result in all parishes apart from St Helier having to share their own Deputies with neighbouring parishes, thereby diluting the representation of individual parishes in the States and making parishes more reliant on their own Constables to defend parish interests in the Assembly. However, these meetings are only being held in 5 out of 12 parishes. So the parishioners of Grouville will have their say at a meeting next Monday, yet the parishioners of St Clement, who will in future have to share their Deputies with Grouville (and possibly with St Martin too depending on which version becomes law), get no meeting of their own and presumably are expected to go to Grouville parish hall if they want to express their views.

Terrible waste of everyone's time.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 08:09:43 PM by Jerry Gosselin »

Online Jerry Gosselin

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #347 on: May 19, 2017, 07:50:05 PM »
Apparently there were no more than a dozen members of the public at the Town Hall on Wednesday for the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel consultation.  :-[ I presume that number doesn't include the usual States Members who always attend these events religiously. Did the States Members outnumber the general public? I would have thought it likely that they did if you include the ones on the Scrutiny Panel itself.

There were apparently about 50 people at Tuesday night's meeting in St Saviour, of which nearly a third were States Members.

The whole thing is being rushed through as fast as possible to get something down in writing in time for the States meeting on 6th June. I heard from last night's JEP (very small thumb-size article) that the Panel will be interviewing Len Norman and Lord Bailhache (the latter being the brains behind the great sham referendum of 2013) this afternoon. So less than a day's notice to the public.

Now we hear today that MORI have been randomly calling members of the public to question them on the (already approved) reforms but because the Panel did not make this information widely known, some people who have been called have presumed, quite sensibly, that the caller was not genuine. More details here:

https://mobile.twitter.com/BBCJersey/status/865505582769258496

This is ironic because I have said for years that the most accurate indications of what the public really wanted was recorded in those MORI surveys carried out on different occasions during the last decade. However, the States Members themselves did not agree with some of the public's views expressed in those surveys which conflicted with policies they had already secretly decided to adopt (e.g. extending the term of office for Deputies and Constables from 3 years to 4 years) and so the results of those surveys have been quietly buried and no new surveys carried out, to avoid potential further embarrassment.

However, this new survey has been commissioned at lightning speed with obviously very little thought put in by the Scrutiny Panel as to what questions should be asked. If the questions you ask aren't good enough then the answers won't be good enough either. This survey should have been commissioned in 2013 rather than have that 26% zero credibility sham referendum. Such a survey would have had to give the public a proper chance to say that they didn't agree with any of the Bailhache reform options and to explain exactly why they didn't agree. In that way, a properly conducted MORI survey in 2013 would have included the views of the majority of the electorate who either failed to cast a vote or, like myself, spoiled their ballot papers. It would have been far more representative of public opinion than a 26% sham referendum which, even to this day, Mezec regards as the one and only poll that the States Assembly must obey.

Just one more thing: I presume that MORI must be contacting these interviews with owners of JT landlines and JT mobile numbers listed in the JT telephone directory. 15 years ago this would not have been so much of an issue as anyone in Jersey with a telephone number would have been listed unless they were ex-directory. Today it is very different and a very large number of islanders no longer have landlines and instead only have mobile numbers with networks which don't publish a directory. It would seem that all these people are automatically excluded from MORI's telephone survey and this is a concern. It could make it more difficult for MORI to obtain a representative cross section of public opnion if the survey mainly contacts landline numbers, for example. People with landlines might well be older, more traditionalist voters and in my opinion, the reason that many have given up landlines over the past decade in favour of mobiles is the cost. This is certainly the case with me. If it was just as cheap to have a landline than to have a mobile then I might never have given up my landline a decade ago. The concern is therefore that people on low incomes are not being adequately represented in these snap telephone surveys.

« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 07:56:39 PM by Jerry Gosselin »

Offline Fritz

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #348 on: May 20, 2017, 12:34:50 AM »
I got a call last night, (On my JT mobile number), at 17:40HRS from, 0131-561-4532, claiming that they were carrying out a MORI poll on behalf of The States of Jersey.
I asked the guy which department and he said he didn,t know.
Like most folk would, I simply hung up thinking it was some sort of scam call.
How the heck was this supposed to gather any real information on public opinion?
« Last Edit: May 20, 2017, 12:44:37 AM by Fritz »

Online Jerry Gosselin

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #349 on: May 20, 2017, 05:03:43 AM »
You were lucky to get the call Fritz. As I pointed out in my previous post, it seems that people like me and thousands of others are probably automatically excluded from these phone surveys. Maybe they'll try to call you back if that many hung up the first time. It would be interesting to know whether they're asking the respondents for details of their occupation and perhaps the approximate household income. Without this information they can't even attempt to get a representative cross-section of the community so don't be surprised or offended if they ask. They should ask for your approximate age and gender as well.

http://www.channel103.com/phone-poll-on-voting-changes/

Offline Fritz

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #350 on: May 20, 2017, 10:03:09 PM »
In an Island as small as this, there should be no need for MORI polls, to gauge public opinion on any subject.
All, "The powers that be", should have to do is get out and about with their ears open for a week or so.
Then again, that would probably be too cheap and common for all our ,"Impotent", high flyers.

Guy from Barbados walking down street wearing top-hat and tails and carrying a cane is stopped by his mate and is asked, "Whats with the fancy threads brother?"
"I just been to see my docta,and he says I,m impotent so I,m goddamme gonna look impotent, "  ;)

Online Jerry Gosselin

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Re: States votes 30 to 10 to withdraw electoral reform plans
« Reply #351 on: June 07, 2017, 06:41:48 PM »
The States Assembly has this morning voted to withdraw the proposition which would have seen the introduction of super constituencies for next year's elections, thereby reversing the decision it approved just 4 months ago.  :)

It is a victory for those in the outer parishes who stood to lose their individual parish representatives (apart from the Constables). Parishioners in St Clement, for example, with one of the most urbanised populations in the island, will thankfully not have to merge with the Bailiff-friendly rural parish of Grouville.  :)

The decision comes after the release of the Ipsos-MORI poll results, which saw a statistically representative sample of 1,030 members of the public contacted by telephone. The findings of that poll are contradictory in part but are definitely not an endorsement of the (more than) decade-long trend by the States to try to merge parishes into super constituencies, lower the number of States Members and abolish the role of Senator, which have been the 3 main pillars of most previous reform attempts.

The main summary of the Ipsos-MORI poll is as follows:

i. 58% want to keep the position of Senator (versus 19% who do not)

ii. 65% want to keep Parish Deputies as they currently stand (versus 17% who do not)

iii. 55% reaffirm the position of Connétable in the States (versus 26% who do not wish to retain)

iv. 50% were satisfied with the present level of representation in St Helier (versus 22% who were not)

v. 42% did not consider that St Helier should have more Deputies (against 30% who did)

vi. There was no clear picture on increasing States members in order to achieve more equal voting power. When asked if the number of States members could increase if this led to a more even distribution of voters per elected Deputy, 37% agreed and 38%disagreed; 15% neither agreed nor disagreed, and 10% either did not know or had no opinion.

vii. Of those wishing for more Deputies in St Helier (42% against this notion compared to 30% in favour), 59% did not agree that this should be achieved by reducing the number of Deputies in other parishes (versus 30% who did agree).

viii. 50% did not agree that the Council of Ministers should make up more than half of the Assembly (23% did).

ix. Where the results of MORI are less clear is that whilst 75% did not know very much about the proposed reforms before being contacted, 33% liked the idea of super constituencies (in principle) versus 29% who did not.

x. Whilst 91% of respondents did not know which other Parishes they would be combined with under the proposed new super-constituencies, 83% were still able to provide an immediate answer (51% in favour and 32% not), once the combinations were read out to them. This highlights the difficulty in interpreting responses to the proposal-specific questions, where no prior knowledge exists.

xi. Where those polled were very clear were :

a. They strongly considered (71%) that a referendum should be held on the proposed changes.

b. They strongly thought (87%) that there should be greater communication with the Public on matters relating to significant changes to political representation or governance.

The above is an extract from pages 11 and 12 of the report called 2017 Electoral Reform by the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel, which can be read in full here:

http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/ScrutinyReports/2017/Report%20-%20Review%20of%20Electoral%20Reform%202017%20-%205%20June%202017.pdf


There are a couple of particularly damning findings for States Members in these poll results. For example, the revelation in vi. above that the public are neither hostile nor supportive of increasing the number of States Members if this led to a more even distribution of voters per elected Deputy drives a coach and horses through all previous reform proposals, which have all been founded on the unchallenged principle that whatever type of reform was proposed, the number of States Members had to be drastically reduced. This principle was the foundation stone of the great sham referendum of 2013, where the public either had to approve one or other reform proposals that would have both resulted in a drastic cut in the number of States Members, or just reject any reform. No surprises that only 26% of the electorate bothered to vote. The further finding in vii. above that 50% did not agree that the Council of Ministers should make up more than half of the Assembly versus 23% who agreed only strengthens the belief that the public are not wholeheartedly in favour of further drastic cuts in the number of States Members as has always been unquestioningly assumed.

As an example of how big this gulf in understanding is between the public and States Members, Senator Philip Ozouf lodged 2 electoral reform proposals of his own in January 2017. The first would have seen the Assembly reduced to just 38 Members and the second (lodged when he realised the first one didn't have enough support amongst his colleagues) proposed a reduction to 43 Members. He stated in that first proposition that "There is broad public support for further reducing the number of States Members." That mistaken belief was based on the submissions made by members of the public to the Bailhache Commission. Obviously those people who made submissions already had their own clearly-established views on reform and many were political insiders (e.g. ex-States members and those who have a close interest in the activities of the States). However, those people do not represent an accurate cross-section of public opinion, whereas the results of this Ipsos-MORI poll do. 

The poll also revealed that 59% of those who wanted to see more Deputies for St Helier did not want this to be achieved by reducing the number of Deputies in other parishes versus 30% who did see vii. above. This is another huge blow for those States Members who have been championing the various reform proposals because it is clear that only St Helier stood to gain significantly at the expense of other urban areas in the island like St Clement. It is a particularly damning indictment of Reform Jersey's main raison d'etre, which is based on the principle of St Helier Uber Alles, where the residents of St Helier are supposedly the only victims of the current electoral system and that consequently they should benefit from any reform at the expense of the other 11 parishes. The idea was to create a sort of them and us mentality amongst St Helier voters, where, conveniently, Reform Jersey were the only party standing up for St Helier.

As page 5 of the Scrutiny Panel report sensationally reveals, this approach by Reform Jersey has failed to convince the residents of St Helier - let alone anybody else:
Quote

... more than half of those living in St Helier did not agree that St Helier should have more Deputies by reducing Deputies in other parishes.

 
« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 06:47:54 PM by Jerry Gosselin »

Offline Fritz

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #352 on: June 08, 2017, 12:14:41 AM »
How the heck can the MORI poll results even be considered when most of the folk phoned thought it was a scam and hung up?

Online Jerry Gosselin

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Re: The Electoral Reform Commission
« Reply #353 on: June 08, 2017, 06:38:12 PM »
Here are some further extracts from the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel's 2017 Electoral Reform report, based on the Ipsos-MORI poll results, which emphasise the huge gulf between professional politicians, many of whom have long ago nailed their colours to the mast of so-called "voter equality", and the general public, who clearly haven't. Paragraphs 39 to 41 of the report are enlightening:

Quote
Public's Attitude to Voting Equity/Power:

39. Whilst it is very difficult to comment on the public’s attitude to voting rights and power26, without the opportunity for further public engagement beyond the timeframe of this review, the Panel believes that in lodging the changes in P.18/2017, the Assembly overestimates to what extent the Public is concerned with equal voting power. The Panel’s Ipsos MORI poll found that:

  • 50% are happy with the current level of representation in St Helier (with only 22% being unhappy).
  • 58% (the highest response for any parish) of St Helier residents were happy with their current level of representation.
  • There was an even split (37% versus 38%) for the response to the question “The number of States Members could increase a bit if this led to a more even distribution of number of voters per elected Deputy.”
  • 42% disagree that St Helier should have more deputies (versus 30% who felt that there should be an increase).
  • 43% of St Helier residents disagree with an increase in Deputies for their Parish (versus 32%).

40. These results, as well as the written submissions and comments made at public meetings, support the notion that desire for equal voting power is overestimated. Given the public’s response to the poll was also in favour of retaining Senators (58% versus 19%) and Parish Deputies (65% versus 17%), the Panel would draw from this that the priorities of the members of the Public they engaged with lie with supporting the current structure of their Parishes, over any change based solely on equal voting power.

41. The Panel would highlight that the Public are more in favour of increasing the total number of Deputies overall (37% is favour versus 38% against) than the 10% of the total respondents who were in favour of increasing Deputies in St Helier, by reducing Deputies in the other Parishes. This clearly sits at odds of P.18/2017 and its amendments.

26Equal voting rights relate to the same number of votes per voter. Equal voting power means the equal distribution of seats per constituency (Taken from the Venice Commission’s definitions)

http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/ScrutinyReports/2017/Report%20-%20Review%20of%20Electoral%20Reform%202017%20-%205%20June%202017.pdf

Reform Jersey's St Helier Uber Alles policy has clearly suffered a critical blow to the head with the revelation above that more St Helier residents in the Ipsos-MORI poll disagreed (43%) with an increase in Deputies for their parish than agreed (32%). If they can't even persuade a majority of St Helier residents that St Helier needs more Deputies than they are wasting their time standing on a platform of so-called electoral reform.

Another myth that has been challenged in this report is the supposed sacrosanctity of the 2013 referendum result amongst many States Members and the views of Bailhache and others that another referendum is not needed because the public have already voiced their opinion in 2013 and 2014. The Panel points out certain differences between the Powergate 2017 proposals and the Option B proposals back in 2013 to argue against this view. Paragraphs 67, 68, 72 and 75 highlight some of the deficiencies of that 2013 referendum:

Quote
67. The general attitude from the public at the Panel’s public meetings, regarding the 2013 referendum, was that the questions were too complex and should have been a simple yes/no answer.

68. The Venice Commission’s Code of Good practice on Referendums supports this view, stating that,
“The question put to the vote must be clear; it must not be misleading; it must not suggest an answer; electors must be informed of the effects of the referendum; voters must be able to answer the questions asked solely by yes, no or a blank vote.”

72. The Panel note that whilst 80% of respondents did vote for change, this was only from a turnout of 16,624 people, 26% of registered voters. This low turnout is in keeping with comments made by the public to the Panel, who stated that they either did not understand the options or had no option that they wished to vote for.

75. The Panel would hesitate to base constitutional change solely on a referendum from 2013, where only 8%of the total population39 (if presumed 100,000) chose “Option B” as their first or second choice, without a consultation process on the current proposed legislative changes.

Overall, my impression is that the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel have done a far better job in just one month of examining the issue of electoral reform in Jersey in an objective way than the current Privileges and Procedures Committee have managed since 2014.

No doubt Reform Jersey are arranging to have their hard copies of this report dumped in that asbestos pit at La Collette and securely sealed, never to be spoken of ever again...  ;D
« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 06:42:29 PM by Jerry Gosselin »