We are about action, not just words, say Charter 2018 group
‘NOT just a talking shop but an action shop,’ was how Neil Inder described the newly-announced Charter 2018 group of States members.
Revealed yesterday, it is an affiliation of 11 members who have backed a charter which sets out the political principles which will guide them for the rest of this term.
The majority of the group met media representatives yesterday and stressed that this was not a political party, nor was it an attempt to create a ‘shadow cabinet’ of Policy & Resources.
‘It’s a common-sense group of people,’ said Deputy Peter Ferbrache.
It was not out to oppose everything that Policy & Resources came up with. ‘Let’s say that P&R came up with something wonderful, we will say we are 100% behind it,’ he said.
Deputy Carl Meerveld said: ‘It’s quite clear that we are very concerned with the left-leaning over-environmentally-friendly position of the States.
‘It’s an affiliation, not an association or an organisation.
‘It’s a group of people who are concerned about the emphasis on social engineering aspects of things that have been brought to the States so far [this term].’
The group says it was a reaction to the ‘left-leaning policies’ of the Assembly and if anything it was in contrast to what many saw as a ‘shadow party’ at work in the States. ‘Ours is a group which is out in the open, balancing out the shadow party we have been dealing with.’
Many of those in the group have been talking to each other for several months and emails have been exchanged on various issues.
There was no plan to have a block vote among members on issues, however.
‘What we are saying is let’s get together and bring in requetes and amendments as needed and work together and discuss things,’ said Deputy Meerveld.
In his view, the economy was the key issue to be addressed. It was all very well looking to improve islanders’ quality of life and make it a happy place, but it was necessary to find a way to pay for that, he said.
Deputy Rob Prow said for him the group was about having conversations with the public.
The charter group would be open and transparent and would look to talk to each other and islanders about items coming up in the Billet d’Etat.
‘That’s a totally healthy thing,’ he said.
‘This is about developing our ideas as individual deputies but widening the conversation before we meet in the States to discuss these things.’
Deputy Marc Leadbeater said the group’s discussions were ‘quite a fluid arrangement and we talk over email. We don’t have to physically meet up.
‘It’s certainly not a political board but a vehicle to try and agree some dynamism and change within the Assembly.’
The instigator of the group idea was Deputy Inder, who said that its members had often spoken privately.
‘We’ve spoken generally as people but we were like ships in the night,’ he said.
There was no ‘master plan’ behind the group: ‘We’re a bunch of people who seem to fit.’
Although instrumental in setting up the group he said he was not in charge. ‘Just because I was the draughtsman doesn’t make me the leader,’ he said.
‘This isn’t just a talking shop – it’s an action shop.
‘It’s not always about winning, it’s how well you lose.’
Part of the inspiration for formalising the group was that he had heard Policy & Resources president Gavin St Pier was looking to do something with another States member, Health & Social Care president Heidi Soulsby. ‘I thought it was time we did something ourselves,’ he said.
Getting together in a group meant that members would be able to tap into each others’ expertise and he cited how former civil servant Deputy Prow’s background could be useful, as could Deputy Ferbrache’s legal experience.
As for issues which he would like to see addressed, he said a requete was coming aimed at removing the ‘ridiculously high’ salary paid to the president of the States Assembly and Constitution Committee.
Deputy Matt Fallaize has just announced that he is stepping down from the job, since being appointed president of Education, Sport & Culture, and Deputy Inder said that with no incumbent in the role it would be a good time to address the issue.
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