Tensions over class and privilege surfaced this week at a rowdy public meeting. A reportedly record crowd packed the Town Hall’s Assembly Room to hear protests over apparent inequality in wartime sacrifice. While the poor endured rising prices, the audience was told, the rich prospered. Jersey needed to change, and a new political party was forming to ensure that it did.
Leading the case against the establishment was recently elected Deputy Gray. Complaining that increasing food and fuel prices represented a tax on the poor, he demanded government action against those who would profit in wartime. The Jersey Gas Company, which had recently raised its prices to 7/6 per unit, was singled out for particular contempt. While the poor suffered, Deputy Gray berated, the families of company shareholders benefited from increased profits
We are at war, yet not seeing equality of sacrifice, Deputy Gray continued. And the States are doing little to address the matter. He concluded by announcing the ‘Jersey Political Association’, a new local political movement determined to challenge the status quo. They were not Bolsheviks, he assured the audience to sustained applause, but a ‘new ship on the sea of reform’.
A/D3/41 contains a petition from the recently formed Jersey Political Association demanding a change in States’ membership, extension of the right to vote and a review of electoral districts.