Plenty for new parties to get stuck into
WITH each passing day, the June general election nears and the issues upon which it will be fought crystallise.
To perhaps no one’s surprise, they are largely the same issues as dominated the landscape of the 2016 election.
(Sadly, it would be a shock if they do not all feature strongly in 2024 as well.)
Education – and in particular the secondary school transformation – air and sea travel, taxes and charges, population and land use are the perennial themes of this island’s politics.
It is a familiar hymn sheet and one the latest political party to emerge (albeit with, so far, just one candidate) has attempted to sing to.
The past four years have seen stuttering progress on the big issues and any emerging politicians, either independent or in a party, will not find it hard to make a case for better, more decisive, government.
All that said, they cannot say there has been no progress. The election of 2020 is not simply a rerun of 2016.
The black hole of government finances has largely been filled, the waste debate has gone away, same-sex marriage is established, no one talks about Sunday trading any more and public sector pensions, if not fully resolved, are no longer the headline-grabbing source of discontent they were.
A big win for many people was the referendum and the move to island-wide voting. Whether it proves the panacea they wished for remains to be seen.
There is still time, however, for new topics to emerge. The States always leaves a lot of meaty debates to its final few meetings and this one will be no different.
If anything, after a slow start, the policy pile-up will be worse than ever.
Deputies will be keen to ensure that their pet projects make it through the logjam. They need some last-minute successes for their political legacy and to make the last four years seem worthwhile.
Starting with a taxation debate this spring and the possible exhumation of the general sales tax, the coming months will offer plenty of substance for nascent political parties to get their teeth into.