Signs of action but States must still be better

LAST November 2020, the president of the Policy & Resources Committee offered much to his fellow States members. In setting out an agenda for action, Deputy Peter Ferbrache pledged that in a number of instances – way too many to be achievable – he or members of his committee would report back to the States in three months. Most, if not all, of those deadlines were missed.

However maybe now, seven months later than hoped, islanders are starting to see signs of this action which so enthused the Chief Minister.

The decision taken on a way forward for secondary and post-16 education may still look to many to be sub-optimal at best (now only time and teacher commitment will tell), but perhaps it will prove an indicator of progress for this States, a cure for the log jam of indecision and death-by-strategies which appeared to dominate the previous Assembly.

No sooner is an education decision made, a ‘revolution in connectivity’ is announced, with plans to develop a new fibre network to every household in the island.

Latest plans to reverse the finances of Aurigny have been published, alongside a new, (and it should be said, relatively simply-worded) air policy framework.

Some of the 20-plus issues listed in Deputy Ferbrache’s speech have also been actioned, or one can gain the impression that they are moving forward. On others, there is no hint of progress.

For every movement forward on housing at Fontaine Vinery, there is a step backwards on the development of the Eastern Sea Front.

But at least there are positive signs of action from this government. The challenge now for deputies, should they wish to embrace it, is to nurture these green shoots of progress with the development of a new kind of politics visible to islanders.

This government may, soon, wish to be judged on its actions, on the progress it is seen to be making.

It will not wish to be judged by the worst kind of parliamentary politics which islanders are still seeing – unbreakable party affiliations, playground name-calling, back-biting, and the near contempt shown by some to the process on the floor of the Assembly. This States needs to be better than that.

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