The Perils of Short Term Memory
Senator Kristina Moore has recenty attacked John le Fondre’s ability as Chief Minister. She said: ‘I want to hear from a leader with a plan. There was a clear lack of leadership demonstrated [at the Scrutiny hearing]. The Assembly went through a process to choose a new Chief Minister that clearly demonstrated they want to see a change in style. But we’re over 30 days in and the Chief Minister clearly doesn’t have a plan. You would hope that a new leader would understand the importance of hitting the ground running and taking on such a leadership role with a plan to execute. I wasn’t filled with confidence.’
Senator Le Fondre in the meantime replied that:
‘Just over a month after this government was formed, we are making good progress on developing the details of our common strategic policy. I want to see the Council of Ministers having robust discussions at an early stage so we can base our decisions on facts, evidence and advice. We will be presenting our Strategic Plan to the States Assembly, as required, on 4 October, for consideration by Members and Islanders.’
So let’s cast out minds back, and see a few things in perspective.
Even despite a summer recess, John Le Fondre will be filing his Strategic Plan to the states on 4th October. Given the elections for Chief Minister and Scrutiny took out most of May, we can count June, July, August, September for early October. That’s about four months for a government newly formed, with a new Chief Minister and a lot of other Ministers and Assistant Ministers new to their roles.
Ian Gorst was elected Chief Minister for a second term in 2014, with a considerable number of Ministers or Assistant Ministers who had previous experience. There was a short Christmas recess, and the Draft Strategic Plan 2015-2018 was logged on 6 March 2015 (for debate in April that year).
Again, not counting November, in which Ian Gorst and other posts were elected, that gives December, January, February for early March. That’s three months for a government with the same Chief Minister as before, and many more Ministers or Assistant Ministers now moved up to Ministers to get their plan in.
So much for “the importance of hitting the ground running and taking on such a leadership role with a plan to execute”.
And she was there as Minister for Home Affairs.
Now if John Le Fondre takes one month more than his predecessor it is hardly surprising considering the seismic shift that had taken place in the make up of the Council of Ministers. But it is notable that a Chief Minister, coming into his second term of office, took three months before a Strategic Plan was produced. Kristina Moore seems somehow to have amnesia about that!
Meanwhile with regard to her Scrutiny Panel’s questions for Susie Pinel, Kristina Moore commented that:
“I am sure we will have a very different person. The role of Treasury Minister is an important one around the Council of Ministers’ table. I expect the hearing to be more focused and constructive. Deputy Pinel got to grips with the technical aspects as Social Security Minister and displayed a strong understanding, so I am sure she will have a good grasp of the technical aspects of being Treasury Minister.”
Or could it be that Susie Pinel is one of her chums from the last Council of Ministers?
Lest that seem too poorly evidenced, it is instructive to see what happened with Russell Labey’s proposition to allow the Inspector wider terms of reference that confining him to the current hospital site. It was supported by 34, and opposed by 7, with only 1 abstaining, and 7 absentees.and Ian Gorst out of the Island on Brexit business.
Going by the tendencies in the past, this would almost have certainly been blocked and not supported by the Council of Ministers en block. That didn’t happen this time. But among the 7 voting contre were:
Senator Lyndon Farnham Contre
Senator Kristina Moore Contre
Deputy Susie Pinel Contre
Deputy Stephen Luce Contre
Those are the remaining “rump” of the last Council of Ministers still remaining in the States, which is certainly an interesting coincidence. Whether it is more remains to be seen in future votes. Watch this space!