Every time we get an election in Jersey, someone will nod sagaciously and say, “…we are at a turning point, and this is one of the most important elections the island will ever face…”
They do it as a way of verbally underlining what they are about to say, of giving it ‘faux importance’ you might say.
Logically, that position is unsupportable. Every States Assembly is asked to make decisions which directly affect the heath and wellbeing of islanders, often for many years to come. Who is to say which one is more important than any other?
And yet so many people still see local politics (and often local news) as some sort of joke (talking about cats stuck up trees etc. etc.) and they would be much quicker to tell you who is a Minister in the UK Parliament, rather than in Royal Square.
The 2022 elections see a totally new system of voting, and no one has any real idea how that will work; the purpose, amongst other things, is to boost turnout.
Perhaps one of the many lessons of covid is that every single vote in Jersey will directly affect your life. Don’t believe me? Currently we have a Health Minister, contributing to ‘lockdown’ decisions, on the basis of election only by voters in St. Ouen. That is not to criticise Deputy Renouf at all, that is the system we have, and there are plenty of other similar examples, both now, and in the political past.
My point is very simply to illustrate how exceptionally, and directly, important local politics really is.
In this edition of Connect, given that it spans the year end, we take a look at the main news stories of 2021, all of which are certain to be candidates for our ‘news top 10’ in 2022, too.
When you draw together the strands of Brexit biting, the long tail of covid damage, a fractured civil service, our billion-pound borrowing plans for the hospital, rocketing prices, no staff, the lack (still) of a population policy, and yes…an absolutely new system of voting for the June elections, you may rightly try and argue that 2022 is “the most important year for Jersey in a generation.”
And if you think business will just ‘go on’, perhaps because the majority of your revenues are sourced internationally, then think again – in today’s connected world, the words, actions and decisions of each local politician will have an effect on both Jersey’s reputation globally, and on the environment locally in which you can base your business; not to mention the effect on your staff (or lack thereof), and the way in which you need to conduct your local operations.
Our role at Connect, and Bailiwick Express, is to keep you across the local issues which matter; after that, it’s up to you.
Thank you for your support, and we look forward to breaking stories, probing, exposing, informing, illuminating, commenting and entertaining, in 2022.