GP Opinion

The virtual politics of a referendum

SO, that’s clear then. In March, the States comprehensively rejected Deputy Laurie Queripel’s amendment calling for a referendum on island-wide voting by 38 votes to eight. Less than four months later, the same deputies agree to a referendum by a single vote.

Vision must be applied with direction

THIS week’s political events in the UK have only served to highlight why Guernsey is right to be cautious of blindly following educational reforms being trumpeted by whichever politician happens to be in charge.

Smoke bans move beyond passive steps

WITH the exception of a diehard few, not many people would willingly return to the days when smoking was commonplace in pubs, cinemas and even on flights.

Cost-cutting must come before taxes

MINISTERS behind plans to overhaul Guernsey’s tax, pensions and benefits system are taking every opportunity to get their message across. But it is proving a hard sell to a disillusioned electorate.

The price of being rubbish with waste

HAVING at times been unhappy with what it sees as this newspaper’s unreasonable focus on how much the new waste strategy will cost islanders, Public Services has decided to take the bull by the horns in its latest consultation.

Self-review system will not quiet critics

THE Education minister’s confirmation that the department is finally to be inspected is welcome. But what sort of review will it be? The minister says it will cover the board and its officers ‘and it will be covering everything involved in the way things work’.

Ensuring an equal case for all

IT’S temping to mock news that deputies may soon receive ‘diversity’ training offering tips on how to deal with people from a range of backgrounds.

Does anyone want to go to this party?

DULL and disappointing though it must have been, in a strange way the lack of interest in the recent three-hour drop-in was an endorsement of the States Review Committee’s position.

Net effect of politics

IT’S welcome news that controls on broadcasting States meetings could soon be scrapped. If proposals from the States Assembly and Constitution Committee are approved next month, then at some not too distant stage in the future, historic mandates could be changed, leaving the door open for proceedings to be streamed live over the internet.

Building on community foundations

ONE of the reasons Guernsey is so different to other places is its overwhelming sense of community. Stick a pin anywhere in a map of the island and you’ll find a close-knit group of islanders, most with proud links stretching back generations.

Environment monolith rumbles on

NEW Environment minister Yvonne Burford is right to insist that the job is much bigger than paid parking and the transport strategy.

Kept in the dark over jail death deal

FOLLOWING the death of a 64-year-old civil servant at Les Nicolles – in prison for six weeks for a drink-drive offence – a disturbing series of omissions and failures over his care were disclosed. These came in a Prisons and Probation Ombudsman report and in comments by the judge at the subsequent Guernsey inquest hearing.

Why a spring start for paid parking is apt

FOR many, the unthinkable has finally happened: paid parking has been voted through and will be introduced next spring. It’s actually an appropriate date given the claims by this Assembly to represent a Sarnian Spring because the decision to charge commuters to park certainly represents a freshness of outlook.

‘Least worst’ is not always for the best

IN THE aftermath of the debate leading to Guernsey’s transport strategy, one question has to be posed: what will happen when the population management proposals are finally debated? The island’s traffic issues are so serious, we are told, that nothing less than an integrated system penalising certain classes of drivers, introducing paid parking and spending £20m. on a new bus depot will do.

Home could yet be top of the class

WITH this Assembly half way through its political term, attention has inevitably turned to how well it is doing and whether it has yet earned the title of ‘worst States ever’. The answer is no. It hasn’t done enough yet for islanders to draw an informed conclusion.

Transparent need for more open decisions

‘MUST do better.’ In the face of two damning indictments from the Planning Appeals Panel, the Environment minister’s response is wholly appropriate – and barely adequate.

Prison is for punishment, not pleasure

A DECISION to install phones in prison cells was always likely to divide opinion and two schools of thought have come to the fore. The first is that prison is a punishment and inmates, while treated with humanity and respect, should expect to lose access to a lot of life’s pleasantries.

Uni plans are grand - but not risk-free

GUERNSEY’S chief minister insists that a lot of progress is being made in pursuing plans to establish a University of the Channel Islands in Guernsey and officials are working with the private business behind it to ensure it happens.