‘Maybe there are too many middle-aged male candidates’

A SEASONED politician believes the number of middle-aged men on the ballot paper could be one of the reasons why election fever has yet to grip the public.

As the race to be deputy enters the final two-week stretch, there was a fairly low turnout for the well-promoted ‘meet the candidates’ event at Beau Sejour.

For political geeks it was a Disneyland of 116 candidates, but many commented that they had expected traffic to be backed up to the Vrangue and they did not anticipate finding a parking space so easily.

Deputy John Gollop, a veteran of elections, knew around a third of the faces, as people who were already part of the island’s ‘political landscape’.

While many commentators have predicted that the 29 sitting deputies will have an easy ride back into the new Assembly, Deputy Gollop forecasted a new broom, but not a total clean sweep.

‘The turnout is OK, it’s not spectacularly good like the charities fair at Christmas, and it’s a guess on my part, but the newer female candidates are attracting the most of the potential voters.

‘I think for many people the candidate range, although large, is not particularly broad, there’s a lot of middle-aged males when you look at all of the faces.

‘Some think it will be easy for the present incumbents to survive this process. I’m not so sure about that because I think the less well-off element of the electorate, who are neither ideologically left of right, are very dissatisfied at the moment and they’re looking at the new candidates.

‘But they’ve got such a large number to choose from so that’s a logistical problem, but I think they are fed up with most of the incumbents.’

The word that Deputy Gollop has been hearing on the doorsteps is that people are not keen on the idea of political parties, but will still vote for individuals within the parties.

There was a queue of voters waiting to speak to Deputy Peter Ferbrache, who is another veteran of elections.

Island-wide voting means that he has got a Facebook account for the first time in order to connect with more of the electorate.

Asked to stick his finger into air and make a prediction about the 38 seats in the new Assembly, he thought it could be half existing deputies and half newcomers.

‘It’s always more difficult to get in for the first time unless you’re really well known. As to how many of the 29 deputies will get re-elected I don’t know, my best guess, but it’s just a guess, would be 20.

‘I certainly hope it’s not all 29, because I don’t like some of their political views and also because you need churn, you need change, otherwise it’ll just be the same.

‘I don’t think anyway there should be career politicians, we’re too small.

‘You need to get experience of life, I don’t mean you have to be a certain age or be a certain thing, but you’ve got to have a life.’

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