Comment - page 2

Team P&R looks to find its formation

For every action there is a consequence. This has been shown with the States decision not to fully back the Policy & Resources president’s picks for his committee at the start of this term. The consequence this time is the shoehorning in of Deputy Al Brouard to lead on environmental policy, not a field he has been a particular champion of in his States career including recently voting against investigating green taxes. But at least a vote in favour of funding the biodiversity strategy late last term gives some green credentials.

Simple ways to talk the talk

Social media? Bring it on. More deputies should tap into its powers, says Horace Camp.

Once some deputies work out their iPad isn’t just for playing Angry Birds, they will be amazed. In the past our leaders may have got away with ignoring us but now they have to listen, engage, educate and inspire to get the difficult messages accepted. And social media is an essential tool, says Horace Camp

So stupid that it is criminal

CRIMINALS are stupid. Or at least the ones who get caught are. That can be the only conclusion of reading the details of court cases in this newspaper from just the past few days. The only question is who is the most incompetent.

Sour six stand in the way of progress

ONE undeniable positive to come out of April’s general election was the number of women deputies elected. At a stroke the States Assembly became more representative of its electorate. Not entirely – two-thirds of deputies are male – but it was genuine progress. The pictures of shared delight on election day were a heart-warming affirmation that if more women could find the confidence to stand voters would give them a good chance of taking office.

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

Meaning of SLP37 needs examination

STRATEGIC Land Policy number 37 is only one paragraph long but the way it is being interpreted has the potential to have a major effect on the island and its economy. The planners’ bible reads: ‘While ensuring economic and social objectives of the States can be met, opportunities should be explored to minimise the negative effects of car parking, particularly within the centres.’ The sentiments are understandable. Car parks are not pretty places and in a small island the amount of land wasted on empty tarmac should be kept to a minimum.

Timely review of overseas aid spend

OVERSEAS aid is a vital part of Guernsey’s role on the international stage. Carefully directed it can make a real difference to people’s lives and has the dual benefit of promoting the island as a good global citizen, enhancing its reputation at a time when it is under pressure like never before. The commission responsible for distributing some £2.6m. has a fine line to tread, though, and needs to get its message heard.

Milk retail changes leave a sour taste

ALTHOUGH now out of politics, the former minister for Commerce and Employment could not resist having his say over Wednesday’s page one article about milk retailers struggling to keep their businesses afloat. ‘Front page on milkmen is not economically important. Let’s change the focus to the issues that will shape our future,’ Kevin Stewart tweeted. Given the long and disagreeable history of the debate over who can deliver milk and the role of the island’s distributors it is perhaps not surprising that the one-time representative for St Sampson’s is dismissive of the story.

No time to waste to start government

AND SO the business of government can at last begin. Three weeks after the general election, deputies have belatedly slotted into positions most, if not all, will occupy for the next four years. Yesterday’s quick and painless election of members without dissent showed an Assembly that is perhaps starting to find its feet and act in unison.

Stepping off the election treadmill

BY THE end of today the shape of the new States will be clear. Members meet for another round of elections to fill the remaining committee seats, something that will help dictate whether this is a cohesive or dysfunctional government. Presidents have spoken about the need to mix experience and fresh voices, but with Policy & Resources already sucking out the core of that experience, the operational committees have been left with a politically naive balance. There needs to be some rapid on the job training in the coming weeks and months.

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

compass

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

Business help comes in many forms

IN TODAY’S business pages Deputy Lyndon Trott, who is also the unpaid chairman of Guernsey Finance, calls for the promotional body for the island’s finance sector to receive extra funding from the States next year. The agency was in London last week staging its annual flagship funds event and will today be updating member firms on its activities in China, and though it is unlikely to counter any opposition, it will effectively be further justifying the use of its enhanced budget.

Education debate lacks direction

THE disastrous consequences of leaving the education debate until the end of a four-year term continue to haunt the States. If there is anybody who has a clue what the island’s school system will look like in five and 10 years’ time perhaps they could tell parents, pupils and teachers. As it is there could be four secondary schools or three, selection at 11 or later, continuous assessment, comprehensives or a Grammar. Or just the status quo.

Back in with the old...

Newly-appointed president of the Policy and Resources Committee Gavin St Pier. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 14875324)

...after a close-fought vote for the top job, as Neil Ross’s Emile explains to his cousin. And there is much for him to write about – not least an election, the slow forming of a ‘new’ government and the latest crime figures from the head of law enforcement

New States system leaves a lot to learn

IN AN island where many still think of ‘the IDC’ as their planning authority some 12 years after it was scrapped, the next few months promise to be a steep learning curve. The Environment Department has gone, unlamented by many but at least its functions and responsibilities were understood by most. In its place come at least four bodies with partial ownership of the brief.