Monday, 10 January 2011

Parking, Waste, and Pericles

Gas place car park closes after today, and Transport and Technical Services say the spaces will be "made up" at other car parks. Perhaps they might also like to consider the parking of ex-Jurats. As officials, Jurats rightly receive free parking so that they can efficiently and easily carry out their official duties. What is not so well known, however, is that retired Jurats, even after a number of years after they have retired, often retain the free parking, which is a nice little perk, but not one which can really be justified. Perhaps some of those permits or spaces can be withdrawn?

On making it up, it has come to my notice that the transfer of rubbish from Bellozane to the new Incinerator in preparation to firing it up for tests is also juggling figures. Rather than employing existing staff on overtime, in order to keep within budgets, no staff overtime is being used. Instead private contractors - at a considerably greater cost - are being used to move the rubbish. This is fine though, as far as TTS are concerned, because it comes from another budget - probably the budget for getting the incinerator up and running - and therefore won't show on the States profit and loss account as wages, but hidden in another expenditure stream as subcontractors. It's a neat fudge, but one which probably is costing the taxpayer more money.

And lastly I notice some disturbing trends in local political thinking. Juliet Gallichan is in favour of bringing in a deposit of £500 for anyone who wants to stand for the States, which is a restriction against the poor, for whom £500 is a substantial amount of money. Indeed, I'd find £500 a substantial amount. It is to dissuade frivolous candidates, but it is an antidemocratic measure, and I hope it is opposed.

In saying it is antidemocratic, I would refer the reader to the funeral oration of Pericles, where he notes that "Our administration favors the many instead of the few: this is why it is called a democracy.", and in speaking of governing, he notes:

Election to public office is made on the basis of ability, not on the basis of membership to a particular class. No man is kept out of public office by the obscurity of his social standing, because of his poverty, as long as he wishes to be of service to the state.

or as another translation puts it:

Neither is poverty a bar, but a man may benefit his country whatever be the obscurity of his condition.

Well, a £500 would certainty make poverty a bar!

And in yesterday's Talkback, Terry Le Sueur commented that while he didn't think it possible, he would personally like debates to be limited to a fixed number of speakers. Looking back to Pericles, I suspect he would have some rather trenchant comments to make on this:

if few of us are originators, we are all sound judges of a policy,  and, instead of looking on discussion as a stumbling-block in the way of action, we think it an indispensable preliminary to any wise action at all

It seems the Chief Minister takes a different point of view!

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