Guernsey Press

Time to stop the walking dead

Having spent a week disappointed by what he heard over the airwaves, Horace Camp is now feeling a surge of rebellion

(Picture by Shutterstock)

Last week I binge-listened to a second-class radio drama which was nothing more or less than a rip off of The Walking Dead TV series.

I gave it a one star rating because there was no zero star option and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to a friend. Indeed, I wouldn’t even recommend listening to this States of Guernsey to my worst enemy.

In a twist of irony that even the most adept scriptwriters couldn’t conjure, the current States seems to have stumbled straight out of the zombie drama and into the real world. Struck down by some unknown virus as they took their seats in the Assembly, the promise they all self-declared during the election evaporated like an early morning mist at dawn.

We were left with the much-vaunted administration resembling nothing but a group of disoriented walkers, ambling aimlessly without direction.

The metaphorical groans of frustration from the populace are almost as deafening as the undead’s eerie moans, as the members of Policy & Resources’ once-vaunted energy and enthusiasm writ large in their manifestos, proves to be nothing more than false promises. The island watches in disbelief, unsure whether to laugh or cry, as the government lumbers on, arms outstretched, chanting ‘GST’ over and over again.

A tiny group of deputies had a natural immunity to the virus and for the sake of survival joined together in an unlikely alliance, but just like those hapless characters in The Walking Dead, they too find themselves grappling with a leadership crisis.

Like the zombies out to get them, they also have no leader. The best they can do is to keep moving and scavenge for any tiny crumbs to keep them alive until hope returns to dear old Sarnia.

The whole thing is nothing more than a tragic comedy, but made bitter-sweet because it impacts real people and their lives. Our people, our lives. The outside world is a scary place these days, as the eschatological prophecies found in the Bible of wars, famines and natural disasters fill our news broadcasts daily, and we can do little about them and how they affect us. However, here in our own land, we need a government that can keep us safe and as well cared for as possible.

It has become increasingly evident to me that the zombie government plaguing us will not miraculously cure itself of its afflictions in the limited time left. Just like the relentless undead horde in The Walking Dead, this government appears to be trapped in a perpetual state of inertia, stumbling aimlessly from one crisis to another, lacking the will or the capacity to effect real change.

The Apocalypse is upon us and I have seen the Four Horsemen. The Horseman of Inaction, with his grasp on the reins of power, seems to be steering us into a dead-end. The Horseman of Leadership Crisis ensures that decisions are stalled or watered down, leaving our island vulnerable and uncertain. The Horseman of Ineffective Communication continues to sow seeds of confusion and mistrust, further alienating the people from their leaders. The Horseman of Resource Depletion leaves the government with scant means to address pressing challenges, rendering it impotent in the face of mounting problems. Hey, let’s make it five. We’ve also got the Horseman of Public Discontent, fuelling the fire of dissatisfaction, pushing us towards the edge of despair.

Quite simply, they all have to go ASAP.

The one decision this Assembly needs to take now is to call for an early general election. The process must be expedited and a new electoral roll compiled immediately. I can’t imagine any resistance from outside sources, such as our overlords in the Ministry of Justice. An election early 2024 has to be our aim. Sooner if practicable.

I’m afraid it has to be a one-topic election and needs to be all about politics. The virus that has zombified our government means that there is no clear direction as to wither Guernsey goes.

We, the people, need to give clear direction and mandate to the next Assembly on whether we want big government and a nanny state (the GST option) or small government with personal responsibility and a safety net (the No GST option).

In making our choice we must do much better in electing the right people this time around. We made a complete dog’s dinner of it last time.

Although to be honest the bigger error of judgement was made by the deputies themselves in picking who should lead them.

How were we to know they would pick two political newbies with grand expectations who, by a twist of fate, found themselves with great power because they were, in my opinion, needed by the chief minister to prop up his presidency.

Wiser folk than me created the conseiller to ensure that inexperienced men and women should not overload the Assembly. How right they were, as inexperienced men have demonstrated the perceived issue was real, in this Assembly.

Earlier this week one of the few deputies I still respect wrote a piece in this paper, condemning P&R for its lack of leadership.

Of course I agree with him, but given that P&R is not the executive part of our government, I cannot exclude Deputy Peter Roffey nor any other deputy from my critical gaze.

Together they are the only executive we have. At no time has St Peter called P&R out and demanded their resignation. In fact, he was fully supportive of their unmandated GST policy. No, I’m afraid they all must go and stand before the people to be judged.

A few years ago another island, Iceland, faced a growing crisis and the people lost faith in their government. Icelandic people weren’t ones to sit idly by while their country faced economic turmoil.

Instead, they organised peaceful protests known as the Pots and Pans Revolution.

During these demonstrations, thousands of citizens took to the streets, banging pots and pans as a form of collective expression of frustration and dissent. They brought the government down.

I’m not advocating such a thing, yet. But if they refuse to go, perhaps they will need a little putsch?