Comment - page 2

Peace restored after time of conflict

Horace Camp, AKA The Horacle, looks at recent Royal Court appeals against enforcement actions from the GFSC and concludes that although there are challenges in industry’s relationship with the regulator, things are better than they were

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...

Taking stock of our food offering

CELEBRITY chefs aside, the star of this weekend’s International Food Festival was Guernsey and its produce. Living in our islands, it is all too easy to take for granted the wealth of food and expertise literally on our doorstep. Standards of our eateries and food are consistently high – something we can tend to overlook until friends or colleagues visit our shores.

Development plan needs wider focus

IN JUST two-and-a-half weeks’ time this States will be put through its first real test. Before it will be the Island Development Plan, a vast and complicated document that will dictate what can be built and where for the next decade. For all the Development & Planning Authority’s insistence that things can change in that time, experience suggests that any large policy shifts will be almost impossible. It is crucial deputies get it right first time.

Squaring the population circle

As the States’ first policy planning debate looms, Deputy Peter Roffey examines the current population policy and suggests some of the questions we should be prepared to answer if the island is to secure its long-term economic future

Pre-school straitjacket was too tight

AMONG the political bombs going off in the States chamber on Wednesday morning was news of a volte-face on free pre-school education. The flat rate of £5.90 for 15 hours a week paid to each pre-school per pupil was to be replaced by a lower rate of £5 with schools able to charge a top-up rate of 90p if they wanted. For those wedded to the ‘universality’ of the plans it was a massive turnaround which undermined the whole ethos of the plan.

Education president must resign

A PAINFUL extraction of information about the future of secondary education yesterday revealed an Education president at odds with his committee and out of his depth in the role. The inadequacy of Deputy Paul Le Pelley’s opening statement soon became clear as deputy after deputy confessed to being thoroughly flummoxed. It eventually transpired that there had been a change of heart at a meeting of the board on Tuesday and its president was on the losing side.

Aurigny has to be ready to prove itself

THE open letter written by the competition regulator Cicra is addressed to the CEO of Flybe and the chairman of Blue Islands. However, there is a third airline to whom it is just as relevant. When, in January the codeshare agreement between Aurigny and Blue Islands came to an end, passengers, politicians and business groups voiced fears that service levels would deteriorate.

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

Deputies and officers must work as one

THE worst-kept secret in island politics finally spilled onto the airwaves this weekend as the vice president of Education went public with his grievances about the committee’s civil servants. By the genteel standards of the unspoken relationship between the elected and the professionals it was an extraordinary attack. Unnamed officers are attempting to influence policy by bringing their own opinions to the table and pursuing their own agendas. The committee is making little headway because their policies are not being translated into action.

The high cost of alcohol misuse

A RECENT report released by Guernsey’s Alcohol Advisory Service, which analysed the economic and social cost of alcohol misuse in Guernsey, paints a worrying picture. Alcohol misuse cost the island between £18m. and £21m. last year – 40 times more than the budget received by the island’s alcohol services. The report’s authors believe this is likely to be an underestimate, but it still amounts to a staggering £500 per taxpayer, with two-thirds of that going towards healthcare costs. Per head, Guernsey taxpayers spend nearly three times more on healthcare than their UK counterparts.

Tidal project nears its tipping point

ALDERNEY’S relationship with tidal power can be traced back to early 2004. Since then it has been busy setting up the institutional structures and instigating further studies to allow any projects to get going once the technology becomes viable. But it is a dalliance that has begun to turn sour as some residents begin to question the economics and the impact of the land-based infrastructure needed to make it work. What was once an esoteric concept has become very real with a looming planning application as part of a cable link that will run from France via the island to England.

Dithering leaves no time for Plan B

‘THERE are no cheap alternatives any more.’ And with that the uncomfortable reality of the solid waste strategy is laid bare. Costs are steadily mounting, the level of service is steadily falling, yet the island is on a one-way road with no chance to stop and engage reverse.

We’ve got to have choice

Perhaps Grammar is the odd one out in our system of education? It is the only ‘meritocracy’, yet it achieves no more than certain mixed ability schools in England. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 16108022)

Just when Horace thought he knew where he stood on the education debate, a bit of Googling and a curve ball from the Prime Minister sent him back to the drawing board. The result? Choice is what he’s looking for

FTP savings that exist only on paper

PEOPLE will have their own response to the news that, for every bus passenger carried, CT Plus gets the equivalent of £2.23 in subsidy. Some will consider it money well spent. One in five of the passengers – children under 5, old age pensioners, students – pay nothing. The remainder pay a relatively cheap fare for what can be a lifeline service and, by doing so, cut congestion on the main roads. Environment & Infrastructure estimate that for every £1 invested in the bus service between £3 and £5 is generated in wider benefits to the economy.

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