States reform: Give voters a fourth option, says Senator

ISLANDERS should be given the chance to vote against all options in a referendum for States reform, according to a States Senator.

Senator Lyndon Farnham
Senator Lyndon Farnham

ISLANDERS should be given the chance to vote against all options in a referendum for States reform, according to a States Senator.

Senator Lyndon Farnham wants a fourth option to be added to the public vote in April giving people the chance to choose ‘none of the above’.

In doing so he says that Islanders would be able to register their opposition to all the recommendations of the Electoral Commission and to the current system.

Currently, it is proposed that the referendum would give people three options, from which they would choose up to two to rank in order of preference.

Those options, which have been proposed by the Privileges and Procedures Committee on behalf of the commission and would use transferable voting to get a result, are:

A – 42 States Members elected for a four-year term, known as Deputies

and split into six large districts

B – 42 States Members on a four-year term, with 30 Deputies split

into six large districts and 12 parish Constables.

C – 49 States Members with eight Senators, 29 Deputies in parish or sub-parish districts and 12 parish Constables.

Comments for: "States reform: Give voters a fourth option, says Senator"

Scrutineer

In some ways, this is a little unhelpful, since it is back to the start. One would then wonder why a commission was set up in the first place. Mind you, it was not selected in an open way, and perhaps the commission itself ought to have been elected.

There are a number of people who think that there ought to have been a greater focus on senators, and perhaps this is what Farnham is getting at (I have not seen the print edition yet today).

Is this 'self preservation' in the way that G Southern has complained about the existing 3 choices: perhaps?

lewton

Or alternatively give everyone a clean sheet of paper a pen and a box of crayons, the best ideas could then be sent to Vision On.

Disraeli

What sort of political leadership is that?

Sam

A "none of the above" choice results in the same outcome as Option C.

Not sure it's that helpful to have half of the possible answers to the referendum be the same. A vote for Option C is surely the same as "none of the above"?

The referendum is better off with fewer options, so that the final winning one commands enough of a mandate to be put into practice.

James Mac

It isn't <i>quite</i> the same. You might want option A but with 48 members rather than 42, for example (there are questions over whether 42 members is enough for proper scrutiny of decision-making). I suspect that Sen Farnham has his own agenda of taking the senatorial numbers back up to 12. <i>N'est-ce pas</i>, Lyndon?

But on the whole I'm with you in saying fewer options are better.

Islander

I notice that the first 2 options state a 4 year term. The third option does not give any time limit.

My own preference would be something close to option A which is just Deputies and no Constables. I am sure that the Constables do a good job but it seems strange to give them two jobs and also have many of them "elected" unopposed.

The more important point is that 4 years is too long. We need to be able to get rid of politicians we do not like sooner than that. Just remember that Senator Ozouf promised to oppose any increase in GST and then he did increase it. It would encourage them to keep their promises if the term was reduced to two years.

Whatever the outcome is we will mostly get the same politicians anyway, regardless of their titles and districts. There are always only a few people who are prepared to go through the election process and do the job. Those who could do a good job are very unlikely to subject themselves to the process.

anon

He is right. The options all allow for far too many members with a parish or even district only mandate.

My view is that there should be one constable to represent each parish together with 10 to 12 senators with island wide mandates (say 5 or 6 elected every 4 years).

There would be a maximum of 24 states members (which is enough for a population of 100k).

Members can be paid more and expected to do more (i.e. it must be their full time job), thereby (in theory) attracting the best possible candidates.

There is no need for such a large States. In the UK, you would find a maximum of 2 MPs per 100k. So, taken together with the equivalent (to the positions in Jersey's council) cabinet ministers who make the key policy decisions (which is really all we need the senators to be doing), a similar sized constiutency in the UK would expect to have about 12 people running the show for them (i.e. the MP and the cabinet). 1 deputy and 12 senators should therefore be more than enough from each Jersey voter's perspective - especially as the senators will have island wide mandates.

James Mac

A 24-member states with 10 ministers?

That's banana republic territory.

jonty

umm, not quite. whether we are a banana republic has nothing to do with the number in government.

in any event Jersey is a banana republic, using the oxford definition: "a small state that is politically unstable as a result of the domination of its economy by a single export controlled by foreign capital." describes us and our finance industry perfectly.

dave

And a 5th option to re-introduce the Jurats

And a 6th option to re-introduce the Rectors

Who?

I had forgotten Lyndon Farnham was a Senator.

The whole revaluation of States seats has no doubt been pre decided and the referendum is just lip service.

TheMoaningOldBugger

After listening to Sir B and him saying that if there is not a 50% marjority then the 3rd vote will be split between the 2 bigger piles.......what happens when there is still not a 50% marjority then does that mean the vote is void!!!!

Doh!!

I think you'll find with only 3 options you are bound to get a 50% majority if the 3rd vote is split between the other two. Doh!!