Thursday, 16 October 2008

Election Analysis 2008 Senatorials

Same old, same old.

The Establishment has won
Why? Some thoughts:
1/ Confusion:
It's not always easy to find out where to vote when you're in St Helier. Three people I knew wanted to vote but didn't know where to go. I checked the website, which did not list the road names for the different polling stations but provided a link to the CAB website with their own list. That did not have the names I was looking for either. So I phoned the Town Hall and the phone was cut off. Then I phoned again. Finally I got the required information for Ann Street, Columbus Street and Rue de Podetre. I'm interested in politics and I found that time consuming. How many people are deterred from voting by this nonsense of polling stations for different roads? (and not everyone knows their district).
2/ The core establishment vote:
Denzil Dudley, on Radio Jersey, had noticed almost matching votes across the parishes for 3 candidates - Alan MacClean, Philip Ozouf and Paul Routier. Well, I expect that's because there is a network of people across the Island who voted the "Establishment" vote. This is not some sort of strange conspiracy theory but a belief that groups in power organise their friends and associates to support them, and clearly these were the chosen candidates.
3/Too many candidates:
The anti-establishment vote was diluted due to the number of (good) candidates. One way to stop this happening again is for there to be no gap between senatorials and deputies' elections.
4/Lack of Appeal:
There are people who will stand for the States so they have a platform to air their views and expect the electorate to take them as they are. Well, good for them. But if someone does want to be elected they have to be appealing to the voter. The average voter is, in my experience, over 40 years old. I know - I have spent the whole day at polling stations. I also spent a lot of time talking to elderley voters at a previous election and most of them said they wanted to vote for "A young man", which meant a man up to about 50 years old. Also, a fair amount confused Stuart Syvret with Philip Ozouf, voting for Philip becuase they thought he had done what Stuart had done. Please note, I am not trying to make fun of older people, just stating what actually happened. It seems to be important to be a good speaker, look presentable (eg, no beards), wear a suit, etc. This may not be the most flattering view of the electorate, but it's not what you say that counts, but how you say it and what you look like at the time.
5/ Money:
Time and again it can be seen that those who can only afford to spend a small amount on their promotional material do not generally do well. It helps to be a millionaire.
6/ Money again:
Looking at succesful newcomers in the senatorials over the years - what do they have in common? Either they have great personal wealth and property or they protect it (eg, magistrate, investment manager) This is, after all, a finance centre, and there will be many powerful people who want to keep it just as it is.

No comments: