Blog: Ozouf ousted. But what next?

Senator Philip Ozouf Credit: ITV Channel Television

The views in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of ITV News.

Today marks the end of Senator Philip Ozouf's career as a senior politician.

It may yet also mark the end of his political career, entirely, if he also chooses to quit the States completely.

Last week I reported, on multiple occasions, of manoeuvres to remove Senator Ozouf from the Council of Ministers, either through his resignation or by the Chief Minister sacking him.

So why did he go? Well, simply because his position was untenable. When somebody has become so politically toxic, both among significant swathes of Islanders and among a majority of elected politicians (though notable not among those in the digital and finance industries he represented) he had to go.

That the Chief Minister, against advice, bottled it last Friday and over the weekend could yet prove a strategic error which undermines the remaining eleven months of this parliament if he survives today's Vote of No Confidence motion.

Senator Ozouf, in a series of blog posts over the weekend, sought to set the record straight and clear his name.

It was a 'witch hunt' and 'bullying', he argued. But, as I pointed out in a separate blog on Sunday, it was as partial a version of history as the one he was criticising his detractors for.

There are others who deserve criticism here. Constable Chris Taylor using a vote against the Chief a Minister citing a list of issues, when he really wanted to use it to get Senator Ozouf out is hardly statesman-like.

Whether the thirteen who backed the motion were purely supporting it for the reasons they stated, or because of the 'Ozouf problem' that Constable Taylor admitted to, I do not know.

So where now?

Well, if the Chief Minister survives his vote, the Council of Ministers will be more settled. A significant number privately wanted Senator Ozouf sacked, with only a handful speaking up in his defence.

I can't see Senator Ozouf wanting to languish on the back benches. His knowledge and connections which can only aid Jersey's biggest industries are vast.

Last week, former Chief Minister Frank Walker was announced as Digital Jersey's new chairman. I can't help but feeling that is a position Senator Ozouf would be well-suited to. His 'robust' style is an asset when it comes to cutting through red tape. His network around the world is a who's who of deal-makers. His passion is a huge asset.

But the way his personality, ego and approach manifests itself in a relatively small government machine is often seen as destabilising, undermining and unwelcome.

That said, without disrupters there is no progress. Finding the right outlet for that can still be to the benefit of Jersey. I can't help feeling we really have not seen the last of him.

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