Nick Mann

Ferries 2017

Deputies drove deal onto rocks through meekness

An unwillingness by the States to be seen publicly in disagreement backfired when it came to a possible deal with Condor to run an inter-island passenger service, says Nick Mann. That ship has sailed until next summer, but if a proposal had gone before the Assembly there is a good chance that the combined economic and social case would have won the day

Economic changes prove a mixed bag for islanders


With the contribution of wages to economic growth below 50% and the island so reliant on personal income tax and social security contributions to keep the government machine rolling, Nick Mann says the States needs to come up with long-term solutions to redress the over-reliance on such a narrow income stream

Public expects more from the States of Inaction

Generic bonfire image.

A year after they were elected, and weighed down by the need to show financial restraint, Guernsey’s deputies have yet to make any major decisions. But they did decide what we could burn on our bonfires. A lot of store is being put by the Policy and Resource Plan, but Nick Mann wonders if this will be enough to steer a drifting States onto some sort of course of action

Avoid voter fatigue, take heed of Brenda from Bristol

Brenda from Bristol reacts to news of another election.

She’s the most unlikely of political commentators, but Nick Mann believes the words of Brenda from Bristol, whose reaction to the snap UK general election caught the attention of the media, should be in the minds of States members when they debate the island-wide voting referendum. He says that many islanders believe the States should be concentrating on more important issues and the decision on IWV risks ballot box fatigue with elections every two years

It’s no use hiding under the covers over island-wide voting

Man hiding under bed for politics.

Nick Mann asks why have we ended up with variant options of island-wide voting on the table, after the States decided in 2015 for ‘full island-wide voting in one election if approved in a referendum’. Maybe it’s time the members crawled out from under the duvet of indecision and face the cold light of day

Transparency on the cheap sidelines code’s principles

Freedom of infomation

In July of 2013 the States voted on an access to information policy that was meant to signal a cultural shift in the way government goes about its business. But now, nearly four years on, Policy & Resources has set out its stall against reform and it is poor record management that has provided a major stumbling block for effective change

Access to information code is inadequate and toothless


Having had four years to bed in, the mechanism for openness and transparency is anything but. Data that should be freely available is not. A States too busy to be frank with the population about its work has surfaced and it will be islanders who suffer in the long term because incorrect decisions will remain unchallenged and unresolved

If not the population law, what is the alternative?


Tomorrow the States will debate, and vote on, the implementation of a new law to control the island’s population. There are deputies attempting to tweak it, but none brave enough yet to suggest its implementation should be delayed, despite a high-profile advertising campaign in the Guernsey Press and belated complaints from business groups. Nick Mann argues that the law draws a line in the sand and gives something concrete and understandable in the face of the unknown threat of Brexit

Scrutiny’s investigation into States charges timely

pols resized

After 10 years of unchecked dipping into the public’s pockets, a fresh look into the impact of increases in States fees as part of a review of in-work poverty will take place – a welcome move that will hopefully prove to be the catalyst for informed debate and highlight whether the States is achieving a fair balance

Dim twinklings of an economic recovery shouldn’t mean spend


The first financial surplus since the creation of zero-10 in 2008 has led several politicians to consider veering off the course of restraint. That the States has done all it must to make the public sector as lean as it can is questionable. Will the Assembly think long term and stay on track to maintain cost-cutting initiatives, or run away with this first year of economic positivity?

Swift action missing from conduct complaint debacle


The Policy & Resources Committee’s investigation into the events that followed Deputy Marc Leadbeater’s resignation from Education, Sport & Culture has revealed some of the political engineering that typically happens out of the public eye

Use technology correctly to enhance States debate

For politics - social media in the states chambers.

Electronic screens can be the curse of modern deliberation. Members’ attention often wanes in the wake of speeches that are too long or are constantly repetitive. However, employed in the right way, modern-day gadgetry has the ability to obtain answers, augment important issues and bring focus to wandering minds

Consequence of indecision is unsatisfactory results


An independent report ordered at the beginning of December into the Salerie Corner overspend is one example of the glacial pace at which work proceeds in the States as opportunities are lost and bills rack up, the waste strategy topping the problematical pile

Are car fumes or bonfires the real burning issue?

When deciding what is too dense smoke you have to compare it to the Ringelmann chart.

Whether the right area is being targeted is debatable as Environment & Infrastructure seeks to introduce legal standards on air quality to combat pollutants. The worry, as with any new law, is about enforcement, particularly when it comes to bonfires and car fumes

Lost in an exercise of percentage-based targets

The Torsvik power plant in Sweden where Guernsey might be sending its waste.

The rising capital and particularly operational costs of the waste strategy make for eye-watering reading. Is value for money a subject politicians have at the forefront of their minds ahead of next month’s States sitting?

Education up against it to deliver the goods on time

New Committee for Education, Sport & Culture member Deputy Neil Inder.

After eight months treading water and now with less than half of that time to devise a new secondary school system, Nick Mann asks whether it really is reasonable to expect Education, Sport & Culture to deliver a coherent policy within that timeframe given that four out of five of the committee have strong objections to an all-ability system

Freedom of Information Act not front and centre


More than 10 years ahead in its approach to the information act, Jersey has moved from a code to a full-blown law. In comparison, the way Guernsey’s code has been treated hardly encourages its use, suggests Nick Mann

2017 agenda will feel akin to climbing Alpe d’Huez

Stylised pics of the Alpe d'Huez for POLITICS Page.

The 11-plus vote apart, the States has been largely marking time since the general election at the end of April. But this year will be a lot different, says Nick Mann. Starting with a vote of no confidence in Education, Sport & Culture, big debates, including the waste strategy and the island-wide voting referendum, will follow one after the other

Inter-island co-operation needed on European stage


The UK has been our voice, eyes and ears within Europe, says Nick Mann. And losing that benefit post-Brexit should be of real concern for us in the Channel Islands – especially considering the attitudes of some countries towards the islands and our place in the world of finance. Stepping up our presence in Brussels is the right course of action, otherwise we’ll be left to watch as our interests are swept aside by EU decision-making

Time for the ‘musketeers’ to fall on their swords

Education, Sport & Culture vice-president Deputy Carl Meerveld, left and Deputy Marc Leadbeater, who has resigned from the committee.

Deputy Marc Leadbeater’s resignation from the Education board should be a catalyst for the remaining members to follow suit and avoid all the disruption and uncertainty that holding on will cause, suggests Nick Mann