I’VE always been a staunch supporter of the party system in politics, but just take a look at the dire state of that system in Jersey today. The oldest party on the Island – Reform Jersey – are yet to celebrate a decade of mostly underwhelming existence. Then we have the so-called ‘Progress Party’, barely out of their chrysalis, who consist of a meagre handful of current politicians whose record in office argues forcefully against re-election.
Finally, we have a brand-new body calling themselves the ‘Jersey Liberal Conservatives’ who, regardless of their individual qualities, appear to represent that invisible hierarchy that have quietly been pulling the strings behind the scenes for decades – otherwise known as ‘The Great and the Good’. All in all, the party-political system in Jersey can best be described as both fledgling and not fit for purpose. So where does that leave an advocate of this system, such as myself?
Well, it may surprise you to learn that what I believe Jersey is most in need of right now is a small number of stubborn, opinionated and forthright individuals with the single-minded determination to swim against the tide and stand up for what is right for local people and their Island, however unpopular that may be in some quarters. Moreover, such individuals should have absolutely no vested interests whatsoever.
Put more bluntly, they should not represent farmers, fishermen, local retail businesses, landlords, property developers, teachers, nurses, trade unionists, hoteliers or any other particular group of citizens. It is my firm belief that only an individual who claims to represent no one can truly be said to represent everyone.
It is often said that an individual cannot achieve much standing alone in the States Assembly. I disagree. A person of clear and obvious integrity with a heartfelt, yet logical, argument to make, and the force of character, conviction and self-belief to command attention and respect for that argument – such a person can, and often does, achieve more than a party of individuals seeking merely to pander to their own select electorate.
This, I think, is what Jersey is in sore need of now, and especially come the general election in 2022. Someone who is not afraid to stand up for the best interests of the Island as a whole, even if it means being one against 48.
Do such individuals exist? I think so. They always do.