The audience impresses more than the candidates

- Advertisement -

FROM assisted dying, the role of the Bailiff and immigration levels to reform of the civil service and housing, I have been impressed by many of the questions asked at the election hustings so far.

In fact, in the main, the questions and the passion, character and knowledge of the audiences who have gathered in parish halls across the Island so far to hear from Senatorial and Deputy and Constable candidates have been more impressive than the candidates themselves.

Which is a really sad state of affairs, isn’t it?

Because the electorate seem to be better informed and more passionate than I remember in the elections of the last few years. And, to be honest, I’d expected the opposite.

And all of this makes it even worse when the candidates fail to measure up.

People across the Island are raising their concerns about this very issue, but there is no way out of it right now.

All we can do is work with what we have got and hope that we are surprised, in a good way, by some of those who will get in.

One question, however, has stuck with me for the wrong reasons.

The person asking it wanted to know if the candidates would still be standing for election if States Members weren’t paid.

The answer from both candidates was predictably dull – yes. They may have mentioned something about giving back to the community and blah blah blah too.

It is exactly what they were expected to say, exactly what the person asking the question had wanted to hear (you could tell by the way it was asked) and exactly what the pressure in the room as the question hung in the air demanded.

But there should be no pressure to say yes. In fact, quite the opposite.

What I wanted my candidate (whichever one that was going to be) to say was that while they did or did not necessarily need the money, it was entirely proper that politicians are paid to ensure that the system is not elitist and inaccessible to the large majority of society.

To earn my vote I wanted to hear about how we were currently trying to break down barriers within and with access to the States, not build them up. And about how paying people a fair wage to do the job is therefore entirely correct.

They could, time permitting, have gone on to say that there are issues with the States having to approve its own pay rises, albeit following recommendations from the States Members Remuneration Board, and even touched on the debate about paying ministers, particularly the Chief Minister, more than other Members, whether they agree with it or not.

Because I want my politicians to stand up for what is right for the Island as a whole, not just for what suits them or what they think people want to hear.

(It is possible to acknowledge the first two in the same answer, however.)

And they should be standing up for what is best in the bigger picture on the hustings stage just as much as they should be if – and when – they get into the States Chamber.

Which is exactly why I will only be voting for those people I actually want to get elected and who have proven capable of this.

I will not be ticking any boxes on 16 May just because they are the only choices, and most definitely not in the Senatorial election where this time around eight votes feels like it goes a very long way – perhaps too far.

So far, there has also been a distinct lack of acknowledgment of just how important Scrutiny is going to continue to be going forward.

Sure, most would-be new Members say they want to be a part of it, but I have heard very little about just how integral to the system effective yet collaborative scrutiny is going to be, especially with so many first-time ministers in place.

And that lack of acknowledgement worries me.

Those who are successful will do a fine job, I’m sure. After all, thanks to the actions of the previous government and decisions within the civil service – some of them hugely unpopular but necessary – the system behind our politicians is going to be much fitter for purpose. Which is just as well.

Perhaps they saw this election coming?

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.