Nick Mann

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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

11-plus debate must rise above post-truth politics

US Election

Tomorrow’s selection debate will result in a vote like few others because of its fundamental impact on the community, both now and how it will evolve, requiring deputies to weigh up the evidence, rise above the rhetoric and make informed judgements

Chalkboard system left languishing in digital age

Broken chalk on a black board for politics

At the end of the month, Education, Sport & Culture will ask the States whether to retain selection or move to a comprehensive system. But with many islanders unable to see past their own 11-plus system experience and the majority of teachers campaigning for change, the weighting of the arguments will prove crucial in what is expected to be a tight vote

Barrage of proposed changes could over-complicate plan

Environment & Infrastructure president Barry Brehaut, who with his vice-president Mark Dorey has placed several amendments to the Policy & Resource Plan. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 16575886)

The Policy & Resource Plan is facing 20 amendments when it goes before the States. But while many of these are well-intentioned, Nick Mann wonders if some are just adding layers of unnecessary complexity, while at least one seems totally superfluous...

Plan looks to marshal States’ Wild West urges

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Given the savings targets expected of the States during the next three years, the long-term planning and prioritising of projects when linked to detailed business plans of the committees next June should, in theory, help stop the States entering uncharted territory

Scrutiny needs to find its voice and skip the chitchat

Picture By Peter Frankland. 17-10-16 Scrutiny hearing re education.

The idea of shining a light on the work of States committees to get a better understanding of how they are progressing has to be a good idea. But what if those holding the torch fall short of gleaning any new or worthwhile information from their fellow deputies? It may still be finding its feet, but it is critical that Scrutiny holds committees to account when given the chance, says Nick Mann

What’s the real buzz about P&R’s vision of the future?

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The Future Guernsey vision is seeking to make the island ‘the happiest place to live’. But at the same time as promoting this dream, P&R is saying there is no money to help the island’s poorest. The apparent contradiction between the goal of reducing poverty while bringing in tax rises and increased charges shows the tensions inherent in this bold plan

A good time to look at reform of the Ecclesiastical Court

Photo By Steve Sarre 04-08-16Weather Page Scenic Town Church

The French scrapped theirs during the Revolution in 1789, the UK in the 1850s and Jersey in 1951, but in Guernsey the Ecclesiastical Court remains and continues to play its finances close to its chest. The Guernsey Press has pushed for the court’s accounts to be released and in Nick Mann’s opinion, publication would enable an open discussion about its operation. Nobody should fear this – although of course islanders may not like what they see...

Coping with the conundrum of consensus government

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If the ongoing debacle involving the Committee for Education, Sport and Culture and its split over the future of secondary education has shown anything, it has highlighted the difficulty of consensus government, writes Nick Mann. It has also put the president in a position that could well lead to his having little choice but to step down...

Alderney’s issues are laid bare by eloquent report

Pic by Adrian Miller 29-10-15Alderney Stock photos for archive

A report by the Constitution Unit of University College London into Alderney’s administration warns that it is inconceivable Alderney can be administered satisfactorily by 29 people and that shared services are going to come under ever-closer investigation in Guernsey as it looks to control spending and ensure efficiency. Change is vital if its independence is not going to be questioned, suggests our political columnist

States finds three ways to juggle hot potatoes

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Instead of States assemblies moving in a linear direction and coalescing around major policy ideas in a timely fashion, Nick Mann ventures that governments just can’t help but revisit the same old ground in order to put their own stamp on proceedings. And with committees running off down blind alleyways, complexity is added to issues that have already been thoroughly analysed

Referendum brings chance of electoral certainty

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It should be no more than a sideshow given the major issues facing the States, but whether its members should continue to be elected by district or via some form of island-wide poll is high on the political agenda for some. A binding referendum has been promised, but, as Nick Mann says, that is about the only thing certain about an issue which will cast a shadow over this Assembly, just as it has its predecessors...

Old habits die hard when it comes to politics game

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A new system of government, but nothing much has changed, says Nick Mann. Politics being what it is, the usual issues are surfacing less than four months into the new States with planning, education and the waste strategy showing that April’s new broom hasn’t swept away much of what was there before. But these minor political spats are likely to be forgotten when the States runs into the tough decisions to be taken on the Budget, pensions and benefits and the full debate on the Island Development Plan

The lazy days of summer are about to end for States

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When it comes to Guernsey’s consensus model of politics, it takes a while for a new States Assembly to get up to speed on matters – including introducing new members to the intricacies of our government, says Nick Mann. And while there may be brief flashes of excitement during this relatively quiet period of an Assembly’s term, it will take what will feel to outsiders like an inordinate amount of time for any real agreement on high-level policies to be reached

Development plan a tough balancing act for planners

Tightrope - politics.

Build only in the main centres? Should the rural parishes take more of the new-build burden? These are the questions that continue to be asked by islanders in relation to the proposed new Island Development Plan. In creating it, the Development & Planning Authority has had to consider the needs of homeowners and businesses as well as providing a plan that is flexible enough to work at a broader level in conjunction with other States policies

Waste strategy may end up being dumped – again

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When will the waste strategy be signed, sealed and delivered? That has been the perennial question on many islanders’ minds, including Nick Mann’s. The latest preferred option of shipping waste to Sweden still draws scepticism from certain quarters and may well lead to the whole argument being opened up again by the new States Assembly

Now is the time for the island to make itself heard

Liz Truss arrives in Downing Street to meet new Prime Minister Theresa May, who has appointed her Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. This has led to the island’s ‘man in Westminster’, Lord Faulks, resigning in protest. (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

As the aftershocks of Brexit and the change at 10 Downing Street rumble on, Guernsey needs to make sure that it forges good relationships with Theresa May’s new government. But at the same time as making new political connections with political departments, it will also want to add its voice to those of other ‘microstates’ in similar situations

‘Taxpayers will not be fooled’ over States cuts

Pic by Adrian Miller 28-10-15Royal CourtsStates meetingdeputiesMary Lowe

In light of Home Affairs president Deputy Mary Lowe’s claim that her department has already ‘cut to the bone’ its spending, Nick Mann argues that if the public are to accept such claims and reach further into their pockets there will need to be clear evidence that real change is occurring within the public sector – including an end to the culture of automatic rises through the pay grades

A question of trust

Trust falling people team building for politics

Political history is littered with promises broken and lies spoken, so is it any wonder that politicians can struggle to gain the trust of the people they are supposed to represent? In the UK, campaign pledges made in the run-up to the recent EU referendum have already begun to unravel. And in Guernsey, the last States promised much but delivered comparatively little. So how can our politicians regain the trust of the public? Communication and scrutiny could be the key, says Nick Mann

Island, like the UK, needs clarity in the wake of Brexit

EU referendum

The vote might be over, but it looks like being a long time before the shock waves from last week’s Brexit referendum result start to abate. As for what this means for Guernsey, Nick Mann says it is important that the island’s position is not weakened during any renegotiation of Protocol 3. But so far, the only certain thing to come out of the vote is a whole lot of uncertainty...

States a long way from delivering on the economy

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It’s been the same every year since 2008 and the introduction of zero-10, when the island started running a deficit. The improving picture of the economy painted in the Budget looks completely different in the reality that is the accounts. Nick Mann says for that to change, the States has to do its bit to end that trend and spend less – and it’s a long way from delivering on that