Nick Mann

US Election

11-plus debate must rise above post-truth politics

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

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Long-term strategy needed to encourage sporting take-up

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With a debate tomorrow regarding the hosting of the 2021 Island Games and a Sport and Activity Strategy being produced by Education, Sport & Culture due next year, the stage is set to provide a perfect platform to focus minds on the type of active legacy the States wants to achieve

The period of calm will not last long for new Assembly

‘There’s no money left’: David Cameron holds up Labour MP Liam Byrne’s ill-thought-out handover letter following the UK General Election in 2010.

With presidents and committee members being decided with barely a murmur of disquiet, the new States Assembly may now be entering a period of relative calm, says Nick Mann. Now is a time quite different to the ‘policy-making whirlwind’ of the end of the last term – it is now the time for committees to get a shared vision in place before drawing up new policies in a hurry

P&R yet to plot a course for four-year journey

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It’s nearly three weeks since the general election and the States is still sorting out internal matters such as committee presidents and members. But even this early in its four-year lifespan, Nick Mann can see tensions arising and wonders how some big political names will fit into the new landscape

Stepping into the jaws of a politically-charged beast

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It has been an eventful week on the island’s political stage, with Gavin St Pier elected as the president of Policy & Resources, followed by the subsequent vote for his team. But compared to the previous term, the newly-structured government with a reduced number of deputies will see any imbalance or weakness much more readily exposed, says Nick Mann

Big decisions that brought four years to a conclusion

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In the final part of the round-up series looking at the key votes taken by this States, Nick Mann looks at an almost frenetic period for the government – deputies revisited and said ‘yes’ to island-wide voting, rejected the introduction of a reciprocal health agreement with the UK and approved the scrapping of the 11-plus and closing a secondary school