So, here we are. It?s been a blast for the last few years but unfortunately with the economy picking up and Baby X yet to come to terms with the whole ?don?t try to eat anything bigger than your head? issue, I find myself with a whole pile of important things to do and not much spare time to utilise – a situation I call the ?reverse Syvret?. More worryingly, I?m finding it harder and harder to find new and interesting things to write about. And I have a nagging sensation that no-one apart from my mum actually reads beyond this bit anyway. Hello? HELLO?
With my last column, I thought I?d set out my manifesto for a better Jersey so that any budding politicians reading this can pick up the X torch and create a future where crime, poverty and Guernsey cease to exist. So strap on your safety helmets and prepare yourselves for one final shot of unfiltered, 110% proof awesomeness delivered smack into your brain via the magic of wordy goodness.
Step 1: Give tazers to police and teachers
I can?t actually believe that this hasn?t happened yet, but if anyone in the States had an ounce of common sense then by next week tazers would not only be legal but compulsory for all police and teachers. You could watch the number of drunken idiots in town visibly decrease each week once they realise that antisocial behaviour is from now on immediately rewarded by a good hard tazing. I?d be trying to think of a way to sell tickets to the Weighbridge every Friday night and happily observe immediate justice being dished out by way of 10,000 volts administered directly to miscreants? genitals. Channel TV could buy the CCTV footage and produce a ?Tazin? Townies? special every Monday.
Teachers would get toned-down versions which would be enough to temporarily but effectively incapacitate an annoying child – and immediately pupil behaviour would improve 1,200%. Even particularly thick kids would get the message that fighting in class or swearing at Mrs Miggins isn?t tolerated after two or three doses of electrically-induced incontinence. With less time being needed to sort out troublemakers, overall educational standards would quickly rise and everyone would benefit in the long run.
Step 2: Make benefits conditional upon contraception
Here?s the news: if you?re a long-term receiver of unemployment benefits, you probably shouldn?t be having lots of children. Of course, it?s your God-given right to procreate if you want to, but it?s also my God-given right to call you a sofa-shaped waste of carbon, so we?ll call it quits. Or will we? How about changing the rules so that you?re welcome to have as many children as you like, but if you want to claim unemployment benefit (or income support, rental subsidy or whatever you want to call it) then you are required to have contraceptive injections every few months. If I was feeling really nasty, then I?d only permit those paying income tax to receive Sky TV. Voila: a vastly reduced social security bill and a significantly lower risk of ending up with the future envisioned in the film ?Idiocracy?.
Step 3: Reduce the size of the States but pay them properly
Jersey has fifty-three professional politicians. FIFTY-THREE. If the UK had the same proportion per head of population, the Houses of Parliament would have to cope with over thirty thousand MPs. That?s a premier-league stadium full of people. Let?s make it easy. Every Parish gets to elect one States member per five thousand inhabitants. They can also have a Constable, but that person only gets to attend and vote on matters which directly concern their parish. We therefore now have twenty States members plus Constables who turn up when needed. Most bright, hard-working
people who would be great States members are put off by the
simple fact that if you?re genuinely bright and hard-working, you?re probably going to have to take a considerable pay cut if you?re elected. I?d solve this by paying States members the average income they declared to the Comptroller of Income Tax over the last three years (with a cap at £100,000 or so). Congratulations – you now have a brighter, streamlined, more motivated set of politicians. Possibly including me.
Step 4: Abolish Guernsey
OK, this wouldn?t so much be an official policy, but wouldn?t it be an excellent plan if instead of paying tens of thousands of pounds per criminal per year at La Moye, you simply took each freshly-sentenced drugs/petty theft offender to one side and cut a deal whereby they agreed not to return to Jersey if you left them at the beach for a few minutes near a pile of canoes and maps with directions to Guernsey neatly marked in red pen. Within five years St Peter Port would be like a set from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. I?d even pay to have Tina Turner shipped in.
Step 5: Don?t slavishly imitate the UK
So, you want a health service that offers everything the NHS has? You want States employees to have the working conditions and pensions that UK public sector workers have? You want to create umpteen new crimes every year and impose endless legislative requirements on every activity imaginable? Er, no. The bad news is that if you?re copying the UK, you?re copying a model which has led to an unimaginable level of public deficit and waste. And the people who live there still aren?t happy. Get it? Here?s an easy way to understand things: every time you read a JEP headline featuring the words ?cuts?, ?redundancies? or ?change?, substitute the word ?reality? in their place. Recent examples include: ?Unions refuse to accept reality?. ?Deputy seeks to fight reality?. ?Public sector workers ready to strike over implementation of reality?.
Step 6: Be creative
Even though I freely accept that this column has wildly varied in quality over its lifetime (usually depending on whether I have a day or twenty minutes in which to write it – somehow it still comes as a surprise every month when the Gallery printing deadline magically appears and I haven?t actually done anything), writing it has been a hugely rewarding experience. I only started doing it because I was bored one Sunday afternoon and had just read about a stupid legal case. One unsolicited submission later and Pow! I had my own column. I?m sure most of the people reading this either i) think they could do better but don?t bother or ii) actually have done better but are nervous about submitting their work. To reassure the latter, I?d like to finish by quoting that great orator and philosopher, George W Bush. He once said the best piece of advice he had ever been given was this: ?You can fool some of the people all of the time. And those are the ones you need to concentrate on.? Bye!