And not before time I hear you cry!
Republic of Ireland
Congratulations to Michael D Higgins the new President, or Uachtaran, who gathered about 40% of the popular vote. The 70-year old immediately quit as President of the Labour Party, junior partner in the coalition government.
I was pretty astonished at how blatantly the two ‘quality’ Irish newspapers the Independent and the Times systematically trashed McGuinness and Gallagher when they appeared to be a threat. They refused to let the former’s IRA connections go away, and they emphasised the latter’s close links to the discredited Fianna Fail. Mitchell was weak and not supported by his party Fine Gael. Davis’ liking for a ‘bung’ no longer plays well with the cynical Irish people; Norris self-immolated by pulling out of the race then trying to jump back in whilst Scanlon, the fringe right-winger, went further down the drain by playing the hysterical victim.
No one gets to the top in party politics without having played some dirty tricks along the way. However Mr Higgins seems a generally nice guy with a caring, worldly outlook and he will make a good President.
Well, my predictions weren’t too bad. However Freddie Cohen appeared to have been terminally holed by his part in the Portelet fiasco and it was Lyndon Farnham – fellow runner and all-round good egg that nicked the fourth Senatorial spot instead.
The structure of Jersey government is such though that Deputies, voted for only in the parishes they represent, share equal status with the Senators who have an Island mandate. Thus it is that various loose cannons can get themselves re-elected and that genuinely talented people like Cohen and Rose Colley lose out.
I’m sure you’re not expecting me to name the loose cannons 🙂 You know who they are, and strangely they manage to maintain a level of support amongst voters. It’s a fact that an island of (let’s say) 90,000 people can’t expect to have 53 States members of quality. Neither can I expect everyone to agree with my pro-business viewpoint. Fortunately (so far anyway) the electorate has always been wise enough to put in place enough capable politicians to steer the good ship Jersey fairly steadily.
One thing we must be overwhelmingly thankful for is that party politics has little or no part to play in Jersey. The world over you can see how corrupting power, or the pursuit of power can be. There are few honest party politicians and too many with their snouts in the trough. In this respect Ireland descended to a truly sorry state under the contemptible stewardship of Fianna Fail. At least in Jersey you can generally see what you get. Oh, no doubt little deals are done, money or favours might have changed hands (particularly with regard to planning) but generally politics and business go their separate ways. The States are wise enough to recognise the importance of a stable business environment whilst the leaders of the financial world let the politicians get on with it, as long as they’re not planning anything too daft with tax or economic policy.