Thursday, 18 August 2011

How to Translate Philip Ozouf

I've been looking over Philip Ozouf's replies to the JEP survey, and decided, in a light-hearted way, to translate what he says into what he may actually mean, or what may the be intended outcome.

The "translation" is very much an opinion based on what he has said, and is intended to be somewhat tongue in cheek. The idea that he might really be slightly duplicitous, and conceal his real intentions behind well chosen words, is of course, a figment of my fevered imagination!

He says: The States need to organise their business more strictly, introduce time limited speeches and find a mechanism where proposals that are never going to get a majority approval do not dominate States assembly business.

Translation: When I am Chief Minister, I don't want lots of speeches from backbenchers, and I want to cut out any propositions that backbenchers may bring against me.

He says: The Council of Ministers is elected to serve the Assembly and the island; ministerial government has been in place since 2005. Now, with the benefit of experience, I believe there are important aspects about the way the Council of Ministers operates that need to change. Most importantly the Council of Ministers needs to work better together as a collective committee, making joint decisions, without individual agendas becoming dominant.

Translation: When I am Chief Minister, I want a Cabinet Style government, with the Chief Minister acting very much like the Prime Minister in the UK, with the power to ensure other members come to the "right" decisions.

He says: Many scrutiny panels have been characterized by in-fighting, yah-boo point scoring, and reports that have lacked research, balance and depth.

Translation: I don't want any Scrutiny that criticises me seriously at all, or scores any points against weaknesses in my arguments.

He says: Going forward, we are proposing to cut spending by 65% (to fill 65% of the deficit), and raise 35% of the deficit through more taxes. That means more taxes on business, raising the cap on social security contributions, and more tax on islanders with the increase of GST to 5%.

Translation: More means testing and stealth taxes, another rise in GST (I keep my promises!) and no extra taxes on business because despite endlessly promising that something would be done about local trading companies owned by overseas shareholders who pay no tax at all here, I can't think of anything that will work. Meanwhile, I'll stick to Mr Micawber's line - "something will turn up". And taxes on islanders doesn't include 1.1(k)s, of course.

He says: We need to be careful and sensitive about immigration, looking after the island and protecting the right of locals, while still accepting and welcoming the skills, expertise and hard work of new residence.

Translation: Expect Chief Officers to be appointed from the UK, as they have been mostly for the past decade, and paying them massive salaries for their "expertise".

He says: One of the downsides of strong economic performance that Jersey has seen in the post war period is that house prices have risen to unaffordable levels for young people and first time buyers. Providing affordable homes for islanders should be a very high political priority. With the right to develop land should come the responsibility to provide a proportion of affordable homes. The island plan provides for the first time, planning obligations on all sites that will be developed in the future, limited re-zoning of brown field sites will also provide affordable homes for first time buyers.

Translation: You can expect more luxury development, but the developers will have to provide houses for first time buyers, providing they are rich enough and probably work in the finance industry.

He says: We need to deliver affordable homes on states owned sites and give further consideration to the scale of re-zoning that is going to be required.

Translation: Now that John Le Fondre has been sacked and is no longer in charge at Property Services, we can get all kinds of deals passed without careful financial scrutiny. Expect more costly States mistakes like the "affordable homes" at St Lawrence, where Housing can rubber stamp deals.

He says: As an elected member, perhaps it's inappropriate for me to answer this question! I suppose I would like to know a new States Members view on long-winded speeches, and how many, if any, they intend to give.

Translation: I want States members who are quiet, say little, but just vote the way I want them to.



Anonymous said...

As usual, you've got it pretty much correct. But I think you've been a little too kind on Philip.

As for his style of leadership, I think you're right in him wanting to be seen as Prime Minister, but only as an interim measure. After a while he'd be heading towards a Presidential style - Commander-in-Chief etc. Very fitting if Sir Philip manages to drive us towards independence.

Ah well ...........

Anonymous said...

Spot on, I reckon Tony!