Nick Mann

Brenda from Bristol reacts to news of another election.

Avoid voter fatigue, take heed of Brenda from Bristol

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

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

17684023

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

17621742

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

17427487

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

SD3N4928

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

16973277

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 

Scrutiny can shine a light into shadow of overspend

16849562

News that the work at Salerie Corner junction would cost some £80,000 more than budgeted has overshadowed what should be seen as a positive step, writes Nick Mann. He hopes that some light will be shone on the overspend by the Scrutiny Committee, but it would have been reassuring if Environment & Infrastructure had taken a more proactive stance and revealed why it was investing in things such as CCTV. Its failure to do so means that the heavily-criticised transport strategy has got off to an inauspicious start

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

16492714

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?

16391309

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