Tweets for all

Deputies using ‘clever’ phones in the States? It’s an idea. But how long will it be before they’re updating their Facebook status to ‘bored’ or even ‘asleep’, wonders Neil Ross’s Emile...

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(Illustration by Peewee)

Cher Eugene,

I BET there’s one thing you don’t miss about Guernsey, mon viaer, and that’s the bloney hedge-cutting, eh? I’ve still got mine to do, me. I can’t believe how much it’s grown in the last few weeks. It’s like getting old, Eugene, it suddenly happens when you’re not looking, eh?

I’m writing this letter before the new States have their first meeting, so I don’t know how they’ll do, mon vieux. They had a meeting before but it wasn’t a proper one, it was just to elect the deputies who’ll be ministers, eh? There were a lot of new ones put in, Eugene, so that was a shock for the old ones, some didn’t even get a place on any committees, eh? They said they didn’t mind of course, and it meant they could spend more time representing their parish. Jack said he hopes they do a better job than when they represented the island then, eh?

One of the new ones, he’s been saying the States meetings should be televised, so people can watch the deputies in action. That shows he’s new, eh, mon vieux? Someone more experienced would never put the words ‘deputies’ and ‘action’ together, eh?

Jack said they already put that UK parliament channel on the local transmitter, even though we’re not in the UK, so if they’re going to give us another one with States meetings they might as well finish it off, by adding one where we can watch paint dry, eh?

And do you know, there’s even been talk about letting the deputies use those clever phones in the States meetings, so they can send Tweets and update their Facebook profiles, and whatever they do nowadays? I’m not well up with all these new gadgets, me, but I don’t see it will make much difference, Eugene. After all, some of the States members have been twittering on for years without any of these things, eh? Jack’s grandson, he said they could update their Facebook status to show if they’re happy or sad. I asked him if there was one for ‘bored’, or even ‘asleep’.

Talking of television, there’s a national TV channel wants to make a series on an island hospital, and they’ve chosen the PEH, them. They say they’ll include lots of island views and scenery, so it should be good publicity for Guernsey, and all for free, eh? Mind you, they’d better make sure there’s televised States meetings first, mon viaer, or there’s be lots of States members getting ill and being admitted to the PEH just so they can get on television, eh?

And even before their first meeting there were some deputies saying the last States should have used Guernsey firms more when they did their contracts. They said the English company that’s doing the airport runway, it’s built a deepwater berth to Longue Hougue for its freight ships, but a Guernsey firm could have done that, eh? And it’s true, Eugene, when you think Guernsey’s an island surrounded by sea, with locals who have built ships and jetties and harbours for centuries, but when there was a deep-water berth needed the States let an English firm do it that specialises in airports, eh?

And now there’s talk about a big review, to work out a master plan for how the ports should be used in the future. It’s going to look at what’s needed for passenger boats and freight ships and pleasure boats, and even cruise liners. But that’s typical States, mon vieux: they’ve just started £13m.-worth of work on the freight quay to St Peter Port, and then they announce they’re going to look at what freight facilities are needed. It’s a good job these planners aren’t responsible for collecting vraic off the beach, they’d never get the horse and cart the right way round, eh?

The lads down to the slip, they were saying the States always go round Sark to get to Herm, them. Like the freight quay in Town means the freight ships go past St Sampson’s to St Peter Port, then lorries unload them and take the goods back to St Sampson’s, eh? And I’ve said before, if there’s a deep-water berth to Longue Hougue they could make it a proper freight terminal, and they could bring the cruise liners in there as well, them. When you think, St Peter Port could go back to a pretty harbour the way she was, eh? I told the lads they could take that bloney customs shed up to Longue Hougue as well, and if they don’t want it for a cruise passenger terminal they could save money on a new slaughterhouse, eh?

Jack said the cruise passengers would have to be transported from St Sampson’s to Town, but they already go round the island in a bus, so they’d just start from a different place, eh? And when you think, that pedestrian safety group says local commuters should walk all that way to work, perhaps they could get a lift on the bus as well, them.

The lads were saying it’s about time they sorted out things for the boatowners, but there was bit on the Press that said that any report on the harbours would have to look at the piers in Town, and that would bring up paid parking again. Hang, even the new deputies must realise that’s a waste of time, mon vieux. It’s one thing that keeps us different from England, and most people don’t want it in Guernsey, eh? The Press said the piers are owned by everyone so it’s the taxpayer who pays to maintain them, but it’s just commuters and shoppers who use them to park their cars. I suppose that’s right, Eugene, but if they made the commuters and shoppers pay, even a new States wouldn’t put the taxes down for the rest of us, that’s for sure.

And when you think, these new deputies should have more important things to do than go over paid parking again. I mean, I told you about all that fuss with the Education, eh? Well, it turns out one of the schools has more than 100 pupils who haven’t done all the coursework they should have done. Caw, that sounds like the last States, eh? But it’s bad for the children, Eugene, because it’s not their fault and now they have to rush and try to catch up before their exams. They can’t leave it for the next intake like the States do, eh?

Anyway, I’d better finish this letter now, because Jack wants to borrow my whetstone for his sickle so he can do his hedge. I wonder if I could tell the constables I didn’t do mine because I was too busy celebrating the jubilee?

I’ll write again soon, mon vieux,

A la perchoine,

Emile