Guernsey Press

Reject 'fag packet' politics

FEW people, least of all States members, as guardians of the public purse, like to make decisions without the support of the facts.


It’s one of the reasons the States often agrees to postpone making decisions – there is an enthusiasm to commission new reports and check facts.

But with the gestation period of the Tax Review being a full 18 months, and incorporating two full reports, commissioned from two of the Big Four accountancy firms, one would think members, and interested islanders, couldn’t have much more information on which to base a decision. However in parliament, too much information is never quite enough for some.

But why should it be acceptable, almost expected even, that States members will cook up their own plans, on the hoof, in the middle of debate?

That’s politics, we presume. Fag packet politics, certainly.

And certainly some of the moves pulled last week were certainly ‘political’ of a nature, seeking more to create a diversion or a distraction to head off a possible result than to secure a result of their own.

But as States' financial disciplines request the proposers of amendments to at least be cognisant of the cost of their proposals, and that amendments to the States Budget must be costed, these last-ditch amendments on money matters don’t look smart, nor serve the States, and basic governance, well.