ASPIRATION Jersey is committed to building a future for the Island that is better than its past. This means:
- A strong economy featuring innovative products and services, high productivity and high pay.
- An efficient, slimmed-down States sector focused on delivering excellent and affordable public services.
- New strategies for health, education and housing to align them as closely as possible with user requirements as well as long-term trends.
- A sensible fiscal approach that recognises the advantages of low personal and corporate tax rates.
- An effective immigration policy balancing the needs of the economy and changing demographics against environmental degradation.
- A fresh assault on disadvantage and deprivation in alliance with a vibrant third sector.
- Above all, an Island that allows each one of us to lead happy and fulfilling lives and pass on to the next generation a legacy that exceeds our inheritance.
To do this requires imagination, energy and above all teamwork. There are no silver bullets, no magic solutions. That’s why we have formed a fresh, forward-looking party to develop and implement policies that will take the Island in a new direction – one that recognises and rewards talent while offering generous help and support to those who need it most.
Our Island has a long and proud history of success. Through a combination of vision, opportunism, courage and – where necessary – caution we have built a strong economy which in turn has provided rewarding jobs, a generally high standard of living and well-funded public services.
But since the turn of the century things have not gone so well for us. A series of international developments and initiatives – notably the banking crisis of 2007–10 and the subsequent assault on offshore tax planning – have damaged our key finance industry.
Taxes have risen, living standards have stagnated. Pressing domestic issues include deteriorating public finances, an ageing population, failing schools, a creaking public sector and the need to replace the general hospital.
A succession of governments, preoccupied with responding to the external dangers, have repeatedly failed to grasp nettles that urgently need uprooting while (more seriously) also failing to plot a credible path to the future.
Aspire Jersey is determined to move away from half-hearted tinkering, retrenchment and retreat. We won’t stand by while the achievements of the past are frittered away.
The challenges ahead are no less daunting than those we’ve already faced. But we are confident that we can, together, build something even better than what’s gone before.
JERSEY is a special place, still blessed in many ways, but is in danger of losing its way, its traditional values, its pride and its sense of communal identity.
Big Plough, a movement as much as a political party, will develop policies for debate with the aim of restoring democratic control of Jersey’s destiny to the whole Island community and reducing the overgrown political influence of big business and imported UK-style bureaucracy.
We wish to set a population limit but, within it, will welcome both newcomers and new ideas provided they contribute positively to Jersey’s quality of life and the preservation of its precious heritage and environment. We seek to blend the best of traditional Jersey with creative new ideas from around this interconnected new world.
Big Plough’s values embrace common sense, fair play and honesty, qualities too often absent in the current autocratic model of Island politics. Our movement’s aims include:
- To recover the real Jersey Way, currently under threat from many directions and wilfully misrepresented even by some senior politicians.
- To channel and extend the phenomenal community spirit which still flourishes in Jersey outside the States bubble, reviving and renewing the united Island spirit of earlier times.
- To demand a new, more responsive style of government, with a more human face.
- To pursue social and economic policies designed to reduce poverty and wealth inequality.
Taking as its title and emblem Jersey’s legendary Grande Tchétue, the Big Plough once shared by industrious neighbours for the good of their community as a whole, we will initially seek:
- The reintroduction of a population limit, with a target of 100,000 by 2040, the majority housed in a revitalised Greater St Helier.
- New statutory requirements for all public-sector policies to take account of Jersey’s distinctive heritage and for civil servants to look beyond the UK for model policies, for example in health, planning and transport.
- A concerted campaign and programme to update and diversify the role of the parishes as social, cultural and political hubs.
- A searching review of Jersey’s proliferation of quangos and ‘arm’s length’ bodies and the strengthening of democratic control over them.
- The repeal of ministerial government in its present undemocratic and unresponsive form.
- The repeal of the zero-ten tax system and consideration of a fairer settlement in which finance companies pay 15% company tax and other businesses 5%, rising to 10% by 2035, with personal tax rates rising to 22% or 23% paid by the eligible on all income.
- An end to sweetheart deals in which super-rich newcomers are allowed to pay tiny proportions of their income in tax for the privilege of living here. We are all ‘high-value residents’ and we are all in it together, or should be.
- Constructive strategic planning for the probable long-term decline of the finance industry, with major investment in training established residents, graduates and school-leavers for jobs in agriculture, hospitality and the caring, creative and digital professions.
- Positive discrimination in favour of established residents in most public-sector appointments, linked to opportunities to harness the skills and experience of baby boomers beyond traditional retirement age.
- Development of a University of the Channel Islands, potentially specialising in Anglo-French studies and CI law, marine biology, conservation, renewable energy, media and the arts, while also attracting a new floating student population with the associated cultural and economic benefits.
- An intensive two-year programme to rescue and restore our cluttered streetscape, streamlining signage, planting and landscaping and creating a new urban Jersey design style for the public realm, using local architects and artists.
- Major investment in public transport, cycle ways and inland walking trails.
- Major increases in grants to cultural organisations to benefit both tourism and the creative industries, with Jersey Heritage and ArtHouse Jersey (formerly Jersey Arts Trust) invited to take over the management of Fort Regent in partnership with private enterprise.
JERSEY is a unique and remarkable place. We have a proud history of innovation, enterprise and community strength. But we face the toughest challenges this island has seen since the Occupation. Brexit, a wounded economy, rocketing immigration, failing infrastructure, a divided society and high levels of political exclusion are major problems. They threaten the living standards, the beautiful environment and the social solidarity that Jersey has traditionally enjoyed.
These challenges need a radical new approach to politics. Jersey needs a New Deal.
Our leaders have their head in the sand. They either deny problems exist or say they have them under control. ‘Stability’ is the mantra of the Council of Ministers. It sounds a reasonable goal, but pursuing stability at all costs has become another way of saying ‘do nothing, change nothing’. The trouble is, Jersey needs change.
What’s more, the pursuit of stability at all costs is self-defeating. Clinging on to the status quo creates greater instability in the long run.
Jersey Together is based on four simple principles: fairness, modernisation, sustainability and openness. It’s time for a new deal between Jersey’s politicians and its people. A new bargain. We will make clear what we’re offering. We’ll clarify the difficult choices that have to be made. And we’ll make a set of promises to which you can hold us.
We believe that Islanders are ready to have honest conversations about the future. They are mature enough to see the dilemmas the Island faces, and to make choices about them.
This is not a party of the left or the right. We have no dogma to defend, no sacred texts to worship, no heroes to follow. Our way is pragmatic, inclusive and innovative. We’re open to new ideas. We focus on what works.
Jersey’s political system has failed. There is no other way to describe a system in which less than half the electorate bothers to vote. Voters correctly perceive that their votes make little difference. They may elect good people to the States, but there is no way of knowing whether they will achieve power, or what they will do once in power, because they are not bound by a manifesto. We want to change that.
With all our candidates signed up to the same manifesto, voters across the Island can vote for the same programme. If we win a majority, then voters know the policies that we will pursue.
Our policies are:
- Major investment in education and training.
- Move towards a stable population.
- Increase the minimum wage until it has reached the level of the living wage.
- Modest tax increases targeted to achieve specific objectives.
- Strengthened protection for the countryside.
- Modernise the States and the electoral system.
We recognise that we are proposing big changes. Therefore we will follow a clear set of principles as we enact change.
- Changes will be notified well in advance.
- We will consult all stakeholders.
- Implementation will be gradual to allow for adaptation.
People in Jersey have become justifiably cynical about politics. Jersey Together offers a fresh start, with bold ambitions and clear policies.
Over the next few days we’ll outline our policies in detail, along with our promises. We hope you’re as excited by the possibilities as we are.
FOR A BETTER LIFE
SINCE the States reforms of the 1940s, Jersey politics has been based around consensus politics, with politicians grouped into large committees in charge of each public service.
Within each committee there would have been a mix of experienced and new members. Policies were discussed and open to challenge from members with a range of opposing views. Most individual politicians held little direct power. Party politics was frowned upon.
With the advent of ministerial government executive power moved to a small group of ministers.
The opportunity to introduce a party system was not taken up. Nearly two decades later, there is one functioning party with just three elected members.
A broader party political system brings advantages to the electorate:
- A manifesto giving a statement of the key policies that all elected party members will support.
- Increased likelihood that the party’s policies will be implemented if elected members form a majority.
- Giving a voice to grass-roots opinions through the party membership.
Without party politics, the voter is in the dark as to the views of candidates on important issues.
Election leaflets often feature family details and past achievements rather than commitments to policies.
This is not good democracy – voters deserve better and would- be politicians should be prepared to nail their colours to the mast by joining a group of like-minded candidates and signing up to a detailed manifesto.
For A Better Life, the party that I will be promoting, has fairness and equity at its core.
The party’s policies are designed to provide a better life for the average person, so that everyone gets the opportunity to:
- Have a good education.
- Work in a good job.
- Live in good housing.
- Leave a good environment to their children.
A summary of key policies includes:
TAX AND SPENDING
- Review the cost-effectiveness of public services.
- Minimise inequality by reducing the gap between the highest- and lowest-paid.
- Encourage workers’ co-operatives.
- Diversify tourism and agriculture to provide good-quality jobs.
- Promote maritime- and horticulture-related businesses.
- Promote healthy lifestyles for everyone.
- Set the new hospital within a wider health quarter to help sponsor the creation of medical health tourism.
- Broaden the educational experience for teenagers.
- Establish an all-Island fifth- and sixth-form centre.
- Provide lifelong learning opportunities.
- Develop renewable energy sources.
- Create a perimeter park around urban St Helier.
- Impose a green zone levy to raise funding for environmental projects.
- Rationalise the use of water and energy.
- Use reclaimed land to provide affordable housing.
- Introduce a basic income system.
- Relax the rules around pensions so that older people can phase in their retirement.
- Establish truly affordable home ownership.
- Cut the price of new-build homes using innovative building techniques.
- Protect rural and coastal areas from development.
- Oppose laws that create a two-tier society.
- Simplify elections so that everyone can vote for a better life.
- Review major policy frameworks every decade so we can all plan for a better life.
On 16 May, make sure you vote… for a better life.
GOVERNMENT policies of the present and recent past have been unsuccessful. They have allowed public expenditure to increase far above normal inflationary pressures while watching the economy decline.
In a failing attempt to balance the books their only answer has been to increase taxes. This spend-and-tax policy is letting the Island down. It is choking the natural enterprise of Jersey people.
In the decades following the Occupation enterprising Jersey men and women made the Island increasingly prosperous and financially self-sufficient. Today it is in debt and the government is planning to borrow more.
Not only will these loans have to be repaid by future generations, but as they grow an ever larger proportion of our taxes will be used to pay interest on them. With a stagnant economy the only way to maintain essential public services and meet debt repayments will be through continually increasing taxes. This is a recipe for long-term decline.
We will reverse the trend through a policy of lower taxation and support for enterprise.
We will take an approach to capital projects that is proportionate to the size and needs of our community so as not to increase debt. Just as Jersey families have to do, so Jersey’s government will live within its means.
When criticism of its economic performance is levelled at government its response habitually falls back on comparisons with other jurisdictions and it’s easy to find those worse off than ourselves.
But that is not an answer. The present political system – the government, the States Assembly and the public sector as a whole – has failed to grasp that through poor policy-making, flawed judgment and ineffective management it has lost sight of those natural qualities and characteristics that made our island a great place to live, work and prosper.
There is no magic bullet, no instant solution, but Advance Jersey sets out here its policies built on the simple principle of equality of opportunity achieved through choice, quality and competition. We will put our island on a path to a better future for everyone.
Our policies are:
- Equality of opportunity for all pursued through the three main pillars of our policy – Choice, Quality, Competition.
- A low-tax, high-enterprise approach to the economy.
- Focus on the essentials of government – education, health, welfare and security – and withdraw from those areas that are better and more cost-effectively dealt with outside of government.
- Fewer States departments and fewer States Members.
- Maintaining people’s right to choose what is best for themselves and their families without undue government ‘nannying’.
- Supporting the delivery of high-quality services to the people of Jersey and the Island’s external customers.
- Encouraging competition in the provision of public services.
- A more purposeful, disciplined and energetic government.