Guernsey Press

We need a result from this debate

WHEN did we lose the art of debate? Has it been, as was heard in The Ladies’ College open debate on Monday evening, something else usurped by the omnipresent mobile phone?


The eminent broadcaster and TV journalist Michael Buerk is concerned that debate is a skill being lost, and so he was pleased to be in the island to host that Ladies’ College event.

‘The appetite for debate in society as a whole… is perhaps not what it was,’ he told us.

‘And that’s one of the reasons why I’m particularly keen on things like this, encouraging debate in schools.’

Our deputies will have the chance to demonstrate that they have not lost the art of debate this week – but voters are advised not to hold their breath.

The glacial change of behaviour in the States Chamber moderates after every election, but never as rapidly or radically as in this Assembly, where after more than two years, some deputies are still able to convince that they have never attended, nor even heard, a States debate before.

This week’s debate is definitely one of substance over style, however. The challenge for deputies is to reach some kind of conclusion on the Tax Review, or risk an unprecedented six-day debate dragging out still further.

However, unless some can start to see some reason in the thinking of the ‘other side’, a continued impasse looks more and more likely.