A step into the unknown

THE social media stirrings which emerged after the conclusion of last week’s ‘green field’ debate, with allegations of staged walk-outs and disrespecting political colleagues, are unwelcome at best.

They have been denied by some who were alleged to have been involved, but this seems part of a movement we have seen for nearly two years now of States members appearing, on occasions, to have scant regard for the formal proceedings of the Assembly and the power, or even relevance, of debate.

Those who believe they have seen the foundations of a ‘block vote’ or even a ‘whip’ either emerging or coalescing since the 2020 election will probably be aware of some politicians who rarely, if ever, contribute to debate, and those who find it difficult enough to even sit in the States for any period of time.

Combined with the alleged ‘weaponising’ of points of order and corrections, and the now-routine use of the ‘guillotine motion’ to cut short debate, it all makes for a rather uncomfortable listen.

The guillotine motion has its place, but with the support of a majority, as was clear in the field debate, can enjoy untrammelled opportunity to change standard political practice for ever.

With a review of the machinery of government now under way, ‘reshaping government’ may be an ambition for some. For others, it’s already happening – as a step into the unknown.

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