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How I miss those late nights in a draughty parish hall...

Voices | Published:

ALONG with ‘big guns’ of Jersey politics like Senators Philip Ozouf, Alan Maclean and Sir Philip Bailhache, there’s another well-known, respected, popular even, face that will be missing from next month’s election.

Lucy Stephenson

He’s only small, doesn’t smell too good, and, for election candidates at least, is extremely annoying.

Yes that’s right, the JEP’s election fly has retired, and no he isn’t throwing his tiny hat into the ring for a seat on the Senatorial benches – not yet anyway.

However, we at the JEP still hear from him from time to time. Here’s his latest correspondence, which arrived today...

Dearest JEP colleagues – my lovelies!

How are we all? I do hope you are all working hard and keeping an eye on what those pesky politicians are doing? And I hear from my friend Mr C Gull there’s big changes under way at Cyril Le Marquand House – exciting stuff!

Any hoo, as you can tell I’m loving retired life, and it’s really chilled me out. I spend my time (when Mrs Fly’s incessant errand lists allow) flitting between the Guernsey dump and Jersey to visit the grandkids. I have to say your new recycling centre down at La Collette is rather fancy, but sadly it doesn’t have the pungent aromas that Bellozanne used to and is a bit too clean for my liking. The kids seem to like it, however, and have got quite addicted to something called ‘ecycle’ on Facebook.

However, my regular trips back to the Rock do provide me the chance to catch up on what’s been going on, especially within the States Chamber.

And, perhaps I shouldn’t admit it, but I still have some contacts who send me on the press releases and reports that I used to so love reading.

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Which brings me to the point of this letter – what a diverse bunch of candidates you have standing for election!

I know it is the nomination meetings this week (oh, how I miss those late nights in a draughty parish hall without so much as a sniff of a sausage roll), and I couldn’t let the occasion pass without passing comment, I always will be the Election Fly after all.

There is a saying you humans use about not judging a book by its cover.

But, I’ll tell you what, you can learn a lot about a person by reading their press release when they say they are standing for election.

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At this stage I won’t name names, it is only the beginning of the fun (read long) road ahead these next few weeks.

But here is what I can glean so far...

*Choice of photograph sent out with the press release is important, you don’t want the JEP digging out any old pic from ten years ago, do you? And it’s so important in fact that one Senatorial candidate sent six different versions with strict instructions to ‘delete the last one, use this one instead’, each time. If elected, they had better get used to being photographed here, there and everywhere, and not always in the most flattering of poses.

*If you are standing for election the least you can do is tell the public what you do for a living. However, one Reform Jersey candidate was described in his press release as simply having been working for a ‘large private company’ for 14 years. It’s all very MI5, let’s just hope he will be more open if elected.

*Pin badges are seriously cool and a clever way of sending the electorate a message. Like stripes on a pilot’s jacket, the more you can wear the better, and all must reference Jersey in some way. Gay pride flags in the shape of Jersey work particularly well, like a buy-one-get-one-free offer.

*Candidates need to be more careful about checking the facts, figures and spellings of their election literature. One candidate, for example, referenced the Child Care Committee of Enquiry. One presumes that person meant the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, that massive document published last year which we were all – rightly – told to take very seriously indeed. Tut tut, and a serving States Member too...

*And finally, the more times you can fit emotive election words into correspondence, the better. Think ‘parish’, ‘community’, ‘people’ and, for double points, ‘young people’. One candidate for Deputy managed to fit in three ‘parish’ references in one sentence – it made up a quarter of the words! Similarly, always capitalise such words to make them Stand Out and give those annoying reporters something to do when they have to go through and change them all to normal written English (which is allowed a capital because it is a proper noun).

That’s it for now – but I may be back. You’d better warn the candidates.

Yours at election time and always,

Fly x

Lucy Stephenson

By Lucy Stephenson
author

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