Nick Mann

‘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.

The period of calm will not last long for new Assembly

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

The ‘boomerang’ issues and what was decided

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In this instalment of the key votes from this term of government, Nick Mann finds a few ‘boomerang issues’ that kept coming back: rebuilding La Mare, the transport strategy and Sunday trading

From debt to La Mare via paid parking and car duty

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Nick Mann continues his guide to the key votes in the last States. Here he takes a look at a period where borrowing is approved, the transport strategy begins to hit the rocks, the story of La Mare and the future of secondary education begins and the Assembly debates the future of tax, pensions and benefits system, including a GST

Public dissatisfaction starts to rear its head...

Primary school closures, paid parking and first registration duty were some of the first issues to galvanise islanders into protests against this Assembly.

In the second part of a series looking at the key votes taken by this States, Nick Mann looks at a period where public campaigning came to the fore. He also considers some previous votes on the hot topics of education – in this case the closure of two primary schools – and the transport strategy, when the Assembly approved proposals for paid parking...

At-a-glance guide to key votes of this Assembly

Back in October 2012 members rejected a requete that called for a trial period of Sunday trading. But the debate did lead to a promise from Commerce and Employment that it would prepare a full report into the issue, which subsequently saw the Assembly discussing it again at the end of 2015 and voting for full deregulation.

As nominations open in the 2016 General Election, Nick Mann begins a series looking back on the key votes of this term. This week he looks at the 2012 vote on States members’ pay, an early (failed) attempt to move towards Sunday trading, the Strategic Plan, residential qualifications and managing the States’ property portfolio

PSD and the whole sorry saga of a wasted strategy

Picture By Peter Frankland. 15-01-16 Generic Mont Cuet pictures.

Deadlines missed and key elements dropped, coupled with soaring capital costs – the Public Services Department’s waste strategy has seen so many twists and turns over this political term, resulting in people struggling to believe in the ever-changing plans that set out to deal with the island’s waste and whether they will ever be good value for money

Answers needed on the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ deal

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There remain many questions about the bond of £330m. which the States took out in 2014. Not least of these involves the absence of predicted costs. Efforts by Deputy Laurie Queripel to get some answers have not led to anything more than broad-brush responses, but the public deserves to know more – if only to convince them that this was a good deal

The puzzle of engagement

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With the electoral roll now closed it has emerged that about 20,000 people have not signed up. How could these people be more engaged? While island-wide voting is seen by many as a ‘magic bullet’ that could see disenchanted islanders returning to the roll, is there perhaps another way to get people interested in local politics?

The £400,000 question

Island wide voting graphic for politics.

In the 13 years since the States passed a policy to instigate referendum legislation it has failed to do so. Why can’t government just be brave enough to do what it has been tasked with and make a decision on island-wide voting, having all the information before it already?

Education needs to do a lot of convincing over its plans

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The Education Department is again under fire as its proposals to abolish the 11-plus and create a single secondary school over four sites have been criticised from several angles. If it wants to push them through in the life of this Assembly, there are some things it needs to do in order to show everyone that what it is proposing is better than what the island has...

Comments undermine sensible discussion of refugee decision

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Use of the word ‘Islamophobia’ by the chief minister last week has instigated a slew of coverage in the national media and attracted the attention of a few far-right groups. But if there are sound reasons for the island not to take in Syrian refugees any debate on the issue is now going to be difficult following his ill-thought-out comments...

Misplaced secrecy a stumbling block to effective government

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Two critical, if dissimilar, issues were propelled into States debate last week – the matter of herbicide glyphosate in local streams and the reciprocal health agreement, both topics where greater clarity would have led to a far quicker and better-understood conclusion

Lack of scrutiny only adds to housing policy failure

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With the average property costing 15 times the average salary and a housing market that has all but completely stalled, Nick Mann says a body independent of the Treasury and Housing departments is needed to scrutinise the issue of housing and what has become a failed States policy

Spending scrutiny should extend to States partners

Politics. Scrutiny.Generic money under the magnifying glass.

Public spending is always under the taxpayers’ magnifier, but scrutiny of expenditure can hit a wall when money is paid out to government partners which do not publish public accounts. Nick Mann argues that if money is going to be spent outside States departments, taxpayers should still be able to know their contribution is being used in the right way

It is not just approving new laws that needs speeding up

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A suggestion that new laws should be ratified on-island and be sent to the UK Privy Council only for review sounds like an attractive proposition from the point of view of getting these laws approved quickly. But Nick Mann wonders if doing this really will speed things up and points out that the States’ record is far from good in getting new laws drafted in the first place

Lobbying shows power of liberating the people’s voice

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Lobby groups have proved very effective in influencing debate during this political term – from Enough is Enough’s demonstrations on taxes to Liberate’s successful efforts on same-sex marriage. But with the island having no referendum legislation, Nick Mann argues that there is still a democratic deficit when it comes to everyone having their say

States meeting set to make big changes to island life

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Decisions made by the States this week are set to have a major and almost immediate effect on life in Guernsey. With the return of the subject of Sunday trading deregulation and proposals to legalise same-sex marriage, members are facing issues that have galvanised some sections of the island and ignited heated social media discussion. But, writes Nick Mann, it’s healthy to have pluralist arguments and differing viewpoints

Population report says little about growth consequences

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While removing any actual numbers from their talk of population growth might leave ministers thinking they’re onto a winner, Nick Mann suggests that this will leave the next Assembly with an abstract policy with no idea of exactly how many people the island needs to keep it running. But perhaps they could look back at the 2007 population report to get an idea...

States policies subject to fraught money wrangle

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With the Treasury department effectively saying no to any new funding requests in an attempt to balance the books, and likely to continue with that stance through to the end of the political term, States members have been left in the unenviable position of putting favourable proposals on the back burner