GP Opinion

Diverted by the state of the roads

PUBLIC Services’ report on charging utilities for digging up roads is packed with statistical delights. Who knew, for example, that despite Jersey being 15 square miles bigger than Guernsey it has almost 100 fewer miles of road?

Now is the time to fight for schools

IN A few short months Education will return to the States with the results of its Your Schools Your Choice consultation. It is not difficult to imagine proposals which would revolutionise the education service and provoke anger, division and strong emotions.

Democracy cut short by guillotine

REGARDLESS of the result, no one should be happy with how the Sunday trading debate ended. For decades the States has battled to find a solution to one of its most divisive issues. Last week’s debate was the 12th time that deputies have argued back and forth over keeping Sunday special versus a simple system of choice.

Uncertain future for all retailers

IT WILL be a long time before the full impact of last week’s States meeting becomes clear. The deregulation of Sunday trading and the open gate approach to milk retailing are decisions which will take months to implement and years to fully understand.

The moment Sunday changed

FINALLY the great debate on Sunday opening has closed, following this week’s landmark States vote for total deregulation. Despite decades of controversy, seven-days-a-week unrestricted retail trading was carried 25-19.

IDP fallout from house target move

IT was a tough ride for the Housing Department in the States this week. Politics aside, the decision of the Assembly to order it to carry out a new, improved housing needs survey has consequences elsewhere.

Ballot result bound to split union voters

IN MANY ways the only good thing about the ballot vote for public sector pensions is the result. Everything else could not be worse. Not only was it a narrow overall majority rather than a resounding victory but individual unions voted either heavily in favour or heavily against.

States finds new ways to inflict pain

TWO large carrots were dangled in front of islanders when the States proposed its personal tax and benefits review. One was that it was revenue neutral. This was not to be a means of fleecing islanders in many extra ways, it was a question of rebalancing the books so the island was not so heavily dependent on income tax.

Health at the heart of 2016 Budget

YEAR after year Health and Social Services has been the beating heart of States budgets and accounts. For much of this decade it has been attacked and criticised for being unable to meet its savings targets and regularly busting its budget.

Cinderella service gets a new home

IN SIX weeks the Mental Health and Wellbeing Centre opens its doors to the public – and, more importantly, to the patients it was designed to help.

Police charge puts charity into a spin

POLICE argue they are being careful with public money in times of austerity. It is now a common refrain from States departments as charging for public services increasingly becomes the norm.

Bring Town’s playground back to life

AMBITIOUS plans to breathe new life into La Vallette bathing pools and the surrounding area are to be welcomed. At its heart is a community spirit to pick up the pieces where the States has been unable to do enough.

Time to take guesswork out of GDP

IT IS hard to know whether to be pleased or annoyed by Treasury’s proposals to modernise the way the island calculates its GDP. Pleased because it will finally give the island confidence in a key economic indicator; annoyed because such a manifestly good idea has taken so long to implement.

Liberation back-up is not robust

FOUR months ago a reader of this newspaper became the latest to challenge Condor about its UK autumn schedule. C. Ryan of St Martin’s warned that Condor’s decision to take the Clipper out of service for more than a month made the island entirely reliant on the Liberation for its UK passenger service and put the link at risk.

The future of education is up for debate

TODAY lights the fire of a debate that will rage through to the end of this political term and beyond. It is a discussion on the shape of education for the foreseeable future and therefore a debate on the coming shape of island society.

Pension pot value set to decrease

HAVING twice tried and twice failed to get the States to raise the amount employers pay towards pensions and other benefits Social Security has found another way to balance its books: reduce the value of pensions. The effects will not be immediately obvious, nor in the short-term that dramatic. Government has learned that it is often easier to phase in unpopular measures on the basis that people care less about what happens to the next generation than to themselves.

Leopardess plans could still founder

COMMERCE and Employment is in for a rough ride with its plans to replace the Leopardess. With the revelation earlier this week that a local company could build a new vessel for nearly £500,000 less than the department’s favoured option involving a Dutch yard, its project is in danger of foundering.

A lasting bond forged in a few years

AS HYMNS rang out through Town yesterday and hundreds lined the streets to pay their respects to the Lt-Governor it was clear that in a few short years Air Marshal Peter Walker and his family had touched the island deeply.

Early steps cut risk of tripping over

THEY are too polite to say so but there must be quiet satisfaction in the corridors of Sir Charles Frossard House when they look across the waters to Jersey. In a month’s time Jersey States will be debating its Medium Term Financial Plan, designed to guide the island through to 2019.

The next con is around the corner

THE theft of £2.6m. three years ago has shown the island in its best and worst lights. From the embarrassment, ridicule, anger and disbelief that followed Treasury minister Gavin St Pier’s admission in July 2012 that his department had been the victim of a massive fraud to this week’s successful prosecution of two of the conmen it has been a rocky ride.

Marking their sacrifice

THEY gave their lives so that we could be free and yesterday saw the unveiling of a fitting tribute to the 153 airmen of the Allied Nations who died in Bailiwick waters during the Second World War.

Marking a milestone for monarch

TODAY, as the UK prepares to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II becoming its longest-reigning monarch, Her Majesty will be in the Bailiwick’s thoughts as well.

Answering the tax critics

THE political adventures of the Rt Hon. Jack Straw – and not solely over best part of a decade at the key UK government positions of Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary – are sure to attract a good-sized audience when he visits Guernsey as part of the Guernsey Literary Festival next week.

A true loss for our islands

TODAY our Bailiwick is without one of its finest ever representatives and one of its greatest, truest friends.

Finding a unity for the future

THIS week’s announcement of the appointment of the island’s new Dean is progress in Guernsey’s recently-troubled relationship with the Church of England.