By Lindsay Ash
THERE is a legendary Oxbridge exam question which was “Is this a question?” Many of the students wrote pages on this, but apparently the correct and most brilliant answer was “If it’s a question then this is an answer.”
Personally, I feel if I had written that the response would have been “Have you seen this? Ash has done nothing all year and thinks in the exam he can take the p*ss. What an idiot.”
But the person responsible for this answer apparently got a first and was hailed by all as a genius!
The reason I mention this is because I have just read the long-winded personal statements of the three candidates for the role of Chief Minister, and really the correct answer is “To put the Island and its needs first.” Something similar was what we had as our mantra when we formed a party and anyone who didn’t want to abide by it could b*gger off.
There should be no room for people wishing to parade their egos, but, due to the current system, we are where we are. So, I thought I’d sort out the candidates by scoring them in various sections.
Gorst: 3, Farnham: 3, Mézec: 5
Firstly, let’s look at political self-preservation. Deputy Ian Gorst is the master of this, although he was talking to people about launching a party for some time but always made sure he didn’t commit himself. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that Deputy Lyndon Farnham was also not too far behind either in the self interest preservation stakes.
In the case of Deputy Sam Mézec, he has always been a Party-first man, even to the extent of giving up a safe seat to stand as Senator, a move that nearly cost him his seat in the States.
Gorst: 4, Farnham: 3, Mézec: 2
Obviously Ian Gorst has led the Island for several years and, in fairness, did it fairly well without too much rocking of HMS Jersey. He also slotted in to the Jersey “Foreign Office” role very well when it would have been easy to throw Peppa Pig and Spiderman out of the pram after he was overlooked as Chief Minister.
Lyndon Farnham has served in one of the most difficult roles at economic development for many years and done it well.
Sam Mézec was Housing Minister and, by his own admission, at the end of his term we had a “housing crisis”. So we can deduce he wasn’t overly successful.
Away from Politics:
Gorst: 3, Farnham: 4, Mézec: 4
This is where I am largely playing guesswork, but it’s interesting to see if the person has other interests. John Le Fondré, for instance, is a very good shot. A talent he perhaps could have used to better effect during his term as Chief Minister!
Gorstie, I see as mainly a family man whose main interest is politics. It would be a surprise if we discovered he’s a massive Carlisle United fan who still has a season ticket and the club pyjamas.
Lyndon has a fairly wide range of interests – a man who would know the football results and cricket score, plus is a pretty clubable chap (that means someone who’s good social company, by the way not someone I’d like to club).
Sam is, by all accounts, a pretty useful performer on the local band circuit, which gives him another string to his bow!
Gorst: 4, Farnham: 3, Mézec: 2
I don’t think you can fault Ian Gorst on this. He has always put in the hours where necessary. While he is not John Le Fondré, few would match JLF on this.
Lyndon is definitely one who likes to get things moving along as quickly as possible as he appears to have things to do. This is not a bad thing, however as Council of Ministers meetings can drift into irrelevancy very quickly.
Sam will not shirk from his task in relation to party affairs, but on his last foray into COM territory appeared to me very disinterested as a Housing Minister on the finer time-consuming minutiae.
Can they makethe BIG calls?
Gorst: 3, Farnham: 5, Mézec: 3
One of the best ways to look at this is over the Hospital project. Ian Gorst pulled the vote when it looked as though his COM were going to lose over People’s Park.
Reform got on the wrong side of a debate (as honestly admitted by one of their team) in opposing a top hospital for all Islanders, whereas they should have been demanding one.
Lyndon showed a steel which few thought he had. He got the hospital over the planning stage for the first time, ignoring considerable abuse on the way.
As you can see, if you can add up better than some States Members, it’s very close with each having different talents.
My own view is that Sam does not have enough of the closet left to openly back him… in fact, one of them is bizarrely backing Ian Gorst! So he will probably need to wait until they have a majority – or near to one. Who knows when that could be? In 2026?
While I have nothing against Ian Gorst at all, I feel, should he triumph, you are merely shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.
What I would like to see is Lyndon and a unifying approach, which I believe he could bring using the talent available, (and believe me, it’s there if you look) to benefit the Island. That would mean Gorst as Treasurer, Sir Philip as Foreign Secretary, Kirsten Morel continuing at Economic Development (albeit with a word to the wise on his temper), Elaine Millar remaining at Social, Lyndsay Feltham and Carina Alves used in some capacity and Rob Ward at Education.
I would place his namesake Babs in as Sports Minister, which I would establish as a standalone department. She did a good job with the Caesarean Tennis Club and I believe that she could do the same here.
There will be some who will say Reform were not suited to government last time. I can see that argument and they tidily shifted the blame. I don’t believe they would get away with doing the same again and would knuckle down to the task in hand. If that could happen, I believe the next few years could actually prove productive…
As for Health Minister, it has fast become the Jersey equivalent of getting Northern Ireland – more a position you threaten people with if they step out of line! Moz Scott with Max Andrews as Assistant, perhaps?
Lindsay Ash was Deputy for St Clement between 2018 and 2022, serving as Assistant Treasury and Home Affairs Minister under Chief Minister John Le Fondré. He worked in the City of London for 15 years as a futures broker before moving to Jersey and working in the Island’s finance industry from 2000.
Feedback welcome on Twitter @Getonthelash2