Starting gun now fired on party politics

WORK behind the scenes by the Guernsey Party that has yet to be published suggests the financial situation faced by this island is worse than official accounts disclose. To a degree, that’s unsurprising. The criticisms of the figures and the need to improve the way they are reported is well understood.

However, one of the founder members of the party writing here yesterday went further. The last three Assemblies have watched a very slow train crash happen without even noticing just how rapidly the cost of government was rising, he said.

At this stage, with the prospect of higher taxes, GST, or both, islanders would like to move on from the blame game. Establishing with clarity the true state of Guernsey PLC’s finances and what’s required to stabilise them is – or should be – the priority. Yet that happy state seems some way off and there is little prospect that the forthcoming debate on the tax review will provide much in the way of unanimity in what is becoming an increasingly politicised Assembly.

Commenting directly on what has been dubbed Farmhousegate while legal proceedings are live is difficult. But it is fair to say the controversy is due more to the alleged involvement of one individual than to any breach that may have occurred.

Confirmation today that the Guernsey Partnership of Independents is dissolving is effectively the lead into the development of policy-led political parties.

‘There are a significant number of people who share [the] view that Guernsey needs a positive alternative to the current government,’ says the Partnership. What’s required instead is something focused on Guernsey’s future that is fiscally and environmentally responsible and socially liberal.

It’s hard to argue with that, so any differential between future competing parties is likely to hinge on how each defines ‘responsible’ and ‘liberal’. And – we would add – ‘affordable’.

Island-wide voting is, in reality, still a work in progress and adapting to it requires further voter evolution and acceptance that parties are indeed the best way forward.

Meanwhile, since the last election, opposition politics has already become firmly established.

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