GP Opinion

Social media? Bring it on. More deputies should tap into its powers, says Horace Camp.

Simple ways to talk the talk

Once some deputies work out their iPad isn’t just for playing Angry Birds, they will be amazed. In the past our leaders may have got away with ignoring us but now they have to listen, engage, educate and inspire to get the difficult messages accepted. And social media is an essential tool, says Horace Camp

So stupid that it is criminal

CRIMINALS are stupid. Or at least the ones who get caught are. That can be the only conclusion of reading the details of court cases in this newspaper from just the past few days. The only question is who is the most incompetent.

Sour six stand in the way of progress

ONE undeniable positive to come out of April’s general election was the number of women deputies elected. At a stroke the States Assembly became more representative of its electorate. Not entirely – two-thirds of deputies are male – but it was genuine progress. The pictures of shared delight on election day were a heart-warming affirmation that if more women could find the confidence to stand voters would give them a good chance of taking office.

Meaning of SLP37 needs examination

STRATEGIC Land Policy number 37 is only one paragraph long but the way it is being interpreted has the potential to have a major effect on the island and its economy. The planners’ bible reads: ‘While ensuring economic and social objectives of the States can be met, opportunities should be explored to minimise the negative effects of car parking, particularly within the centres.’ The sentiments are understandable. Car parks are not pretty places and in a small island the amount of land wasted on empty tarmac should be kept to a minimum.

Timely review of overseas aid spend

OVERSEAS aid is a vital part of Guernsey’s role on the international stage. Carefully directed it can make a real difference to people’s lives and has the dual benefit of promoting the island as a good global citizen, enhancing its reputation at a time when it is under pressure like never before. The commission responsible for distributing some £2.6m. has a fine line to tread, though, and needs to get its message heard.

Milk retail changes leave a sour taste

ALTHOUGH now out of politics, the former minister for Commerce and Employment could not resist having his say over Wednesday’s page one article about milk retailers struggling to keep their businesses afloat. ‘Front page on milkmen is not economically important. Let’s change the focus to the issues that will shape our future,’ Kevin Stewart tweeted. Given the long and disagreeable history of the debate over who can deliver milk and the role of the island’s distributors it is perhaps not surprising that the one-time representative for St Sampson’s is dismissive of the story.

No time to waste to start government

AND SO the business of government can at last begin. Three weeks after the general election, deputies have belatedly slotted into positions most, if not all, will occupy for the next four years. Yesterday’s quick and painless election of members without dissent showed an Assembly that is perhaps starting to find its feet and act in unison.

Stepping off the election treadmill

BY THE end of today the shape of the new States will be clear. Members meet for another round of elections to fill the remaining committee seats, something that will help dictate whether this is a cohesive or dysfunctional government. Presidents have spoken about the need to mix experience and fresh voices, but with Policy & Resources already sucking out the core of that experience, the operational committees have been left with a politically naive balance. There needs to be some rapid on the job training in the coming weeks and months.

Business help comes in many forms

IN TODAY’S business pages Deputy Lyndon Trott, who is also the unpaid chairman of Guernsey Finance, calls for the promotional body for the island’s finance sector to receive extra funding from the States next year. The agency was in London last week staging its annual flagship funds event and will today be updating member firms on its activities in China, and though it is unlikely to counter any opposition, it will effectively be further justifying the use of its enhanced budget.

Education debate lacks direction

THE disastrous consequences of leaving the education debate until the end of a four-year term continue to haunt the States. If there is anybody who has a clue what the island’s school system will look like in five and 10 years’ time perhaps they could tell parents, pupils and teachers. As it is there could be four secondary schools or three, selection at 11 or later, continuous assessment, comprehensives or a Grammar. Or just the status quo.

New States system leaves a lot to learn

IN AN island where many still think of ‘the IDC’ as their planning authority some 12 years after it was scrapped, the next few months promise to be a steep learning curve. The Environment Department has gone, unlamented by many but at least its functions and responsibilities were understood by most. In its place come at least four bodies with partial ownership of the brief.

Leadership lacking on election day

AS THE dust settled on yesterday’s presidency elections signs emerged of pressure ahead under the new structure. Faced with a choice at Education between a continuity candidate which endorsed last term’s vote to end selection and one who wants it reversed, the States easily backed the latter.

Come on Mr President – rebuild our confidence

Stepping up to the challenge: The new president of the Policy & Resources Committee, Deputy Gavin St Pier. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 14872630)

Some dubbed the previous Assembly the Worst States Ever, but why? Not, perhaps, issues to do with waste, inefficiency and foolish, costly decisions, but because it kept telling us how bad things are looking for us just around the corner? If that’s the case, it has been responsible for limiting economic growth by reducing islanders’ confidence in Guernsey – and the number one priority of this new States must be to win back the trust of the people, says Horace Camp

Take your seats please deputies

TWO weeks on from the general election and States members are still working on a seating plan. The protracted transition from one government to another is frustratingly slow. If a week is a long time in politics, the three-week period of paralysis from the date of the island poll to a fully functioning legislature is an age.

A precious day in any year

NO ONE quite knew how Liberation 71 would pan out, coming straight after its spectacular predecessor – the all-singing, all-dancing 70th anniversary celebrations. The ‘bridesmaid’ year, while still a welcome day of remembrance and fun, was always destined to be a far more low-key affair – not helped by its landing on a Monday.

When gossip crosses a legal line

GOSSIP will always play a big part in a small community. It is a strength and a weakness. The former because islanders care and are interested in those they live and work alongside, the latter because the boundaries of privacy are all too often breached. It has always been so. Previous generations were no doubt more obsessed, not less, with their neighbours’ activities in the days before TV and the internet provided alternative entertainment.

Next election can restore States unity

A NIGHTMARE vision of Gavin St Pier and Peter Ferbrache playing rock, paper, scissors for the most important job in island politics slowly came into focus yesterday.

Polling place is now an irrelevance

THERE was political chatter on general election night about the best-performing deputies having ‘the mandate’ for a top role in government. The implication was that by doing well in their district somehow the newly-elected deputy had a greater right to a senior position in the States.

States goes in search of leadership

FROM poll-toppers to past politicians, a single strong message came out of last night’s general election: a huge responsibility rests on the shoulders of the 38 newly-elected deputies. This is no caretaker government, doing little other than keeping the island tidy. This is a States whose decisions will have real consequences for every islander of this generation and the next.

Let’s set the wash to all-white

We’re not expecting stubborn stain removal from States Plus – just a better life.

Our new States members have no baggage, the second-time-arounders’ baggage has been forgotten and the returning deputies have been absolved. The all-new States of Guernsey, States Plus, may not wash our shirts whiter or eliminate stubborn grass stains but it can fill us with hope that it will indeed be better than States Minus, says Horace Camp. Just a few pointers...

Thousands miss out on election day

MONTHS of effort and tens of thousands of pounds were poured into getting as many people as possible on the electoral roll. In the end, the campaign can be counted a success, if only because almost 600 more people signed up than four years ago. That took the total to 30,320 who can vote today (or already have through postal ballot).

Invisibility cloak taken off – for now

WHEN nobody is responsible, everyone is responsible. Sitting deputies up for re-election tomorrow have to hope that voters do not saddle them with all the ills of this States. For that is the temptation. With collective government the actions and decisions of individual departments and deputies are laid at the door of ‘the States’ without distinguishing between those directly responsible and the rest.