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Disrespect ‘will keep talent out of States’

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‘PERSONALITY politics’ and the lack of respect shown for States Members will stop talented people from running for office, a businessman has warned.

Kevin Keen

Kevin Keen, a well-known political and business commentator, said that he would not want to run for the States because of the ‘level of stick’ Members take for relatively modest wages and the risk to their reputation and career it causes.

He added that he thought he was not alone in feeling that way.

‘It’s a tough job being a politician. I wouldn’t want to be one. It’s completely thankless,’ he said.

‘Many a bright career has gone into politics and come out a sort of anti-hero. I don’t know many people who have come out of politics with their reputation enhanced in Jersey and more well respected.

‘And that is sad – how much stick they get. They don’t really go into it for the money and we elect them, so I think it’s a shame that as a community we are not a bit more respectful, although I think it is down to a minority.

‘There are plenty of politicians who I disagree with and I would show them the appropriate respect even if I disagreed with them.

‘Personality politics – playing the man rather than the ball – is very unfortunate and probably discourages a lot of people from going into it in the first place.’

He added that he did not understand why professionals such as teachers or doctors were treated with respect, even if they received complaints, but politicians were open to abuse and it seemed to be acceptable.

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‘Why is that happening? Why are people going to go into politics if that’s the end of their career and they are going to get just a load of abuse?

‘I think it’s really unfortunate,’ he said.

‘You have to be pretty determined to go into politics in spite of that. Also, it’s going to encourage people to go in who don’t have a reputation to lose in the first place.’

Mr Keen said that he would be in favour of increasing politicians’ salaries, as it would help attract the best candidates.

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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