Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The States in Tweets

Playing Truant during Lessons

As usual, many of the States members were outside the States Chamber!

LucyStevoJSY I'm in the States Assembly today. However, not many politicians are by the looks of things!

SamMezec @LucyStevoJSY they're all in the computer room. Just struggled to get on one to print off my speech!

LucyStevoJSY @SamMezec What are they all doing?! A meeting of minds?

SamMezec @LucyStevoJSY hopefully all putting the final touches to their speeches in support of my elected Chief Minister proposition!

I don't think the cost would be excessive to set up an internet streaming feed, so that members of the public could see how many of their elected representatives are actually in the Chamber during important debates, and how many just make a speech and vanish, only to re-appear when it is time for the vote. All that is needed is vision. There are already sound channels for the broadcasting via microphones in use.

Not that the UK is much better. There is a division bell when MPs must tear themselves away from the Strangers Bar, and rush back to vote. But at least we can see how much activity there is there, and in a smaller jurisdiction that is even more important.

Waterfront Developments

Meanwhile, there was a mini-debate which former Senator Jim Perchard was Tweeting about on the States of Jersey Development Company pressing ahead with the Waterfront Masterplan, or at any rate, a loose approximation of the original. Jim wondered why a commercial enterprise should need the States to be involved. It's less free market economy, and more like Eastern Soviet style social engineering for business.

JLPerchard Why oh why are the states involving themselves in speculative development on the Waterfront SOJDC is digging itself deeper into the muck

JLPerchard I was under the impression that @philipozouf as minister would represent the interests of the people of Jersey, not the interests of SOJDC

JLPerchard The SOJDC is a liability that will almost certainly cost the people of Jersey millions. Why do the states think they R property developers?

philipozouf @JLPerchard the treasury minister's primary duty is tax payers and the public, as you well know.

politicsjersey Up to 7 Jersey based finance companies in talks with SOJDC over Esplanade Quarter after RBC went with rival site. But car park delayed

There's a degree of vagueness about the whole project that makes me wary. Just how many pre-lets will be put in place before it is considered "viable"? I fear, rather like Jim, that the political motivation will press on regardless, on assumptions that if some pre-lets are there, others will come along once the project begins. It feels like a gamble to me.

So a message to Jim Perchard about the Waterfront (with a nod to Star Trek): "It's development, Jim, but not as we know it"


Meanwhile, Philip Ozouf and James Baker had something of a political "love fest" over immigration policy. I suspect that "pragmatic and sensible" in this context means treating the target limits on immigration per year as something to wave at the electorate to keep them happy, and "sensible controls" mean the same laissez faire policy, but dressed up to look as if action is being taken.

philipozouf @JBakerJersey agreed with much of recent excellent speech in population debate. We need sensible controls that boost economic & jobs.

philipozouf @JBakerJersey need to strongly guard against sending out message controls designed 2reduce unemployment send message we're closed4 business!

philipozouf @JBakerJersey need2send strong message Jersey wants eco-growth, values inward migration. The policy needs pragmatic & sensible application

Given a choice between trusting Senator Ozouf and Deputy Baker over immigration, or Senator Paul Routier, I'd sooner opt for Senator Routier. His stance is not filled with euphemisms which really mean something different.

Statement: "sensible controls"
Translation: no controls for finance sector big players

Statement: "pragmatic and sensible"
Translation: say one thing, do another

Statement: "closed for business"
Translation: open for the finance centre.

The China Syndrome

JEPnews News - Green law 'threat to house prices'

Alan Maclean, in the meantime, having firmly placed speculative property development  against the Island Plan and laissez faire Sunday trading (give the consumer a vote) on his election agenda, has vanished off to China.

AlanMacleanJsy 1/2 Full schedule of meetings today in Shenzhen, China to promote Jersey and inward investment. Met culture, sport & tourism administration

AlanMacleanJsy 2/2..great opportunities for developing high value tourism by target marketing Chinese visitors to London

I am sure that some good comes of these visits abroad, but I can't help wondering that one problem is a lack of tools to measure how successful a venture is with "inward investment" or tourism.

Taxing Times
St_Ouennais @philipozouf @JLPerchard You said in States today: companies don't pay taxes, people do. Therefore follows you have no duty to business?

SamMezec Treasury Minister says he doesn't want to talk about morality and taxation. Surely tax is all about morality?

SamMezec @GaelMezec who we ask to pay and what we spend it on is a moral issue.
Tue, May 13 12:11:44 from Twitter for Android in reply to GaelMezec

JBakerJersey Want 2 ask @philipozouf ?falling tax, rising costs, wrong immigration policy. Diminishing returns. Higher costs. Less receipts =danger ahead

philipozouf @St_Ouennais @JLPerchard economists remind us ultimately people pay tax. My responsibility to the people of Jersey, business owners or not.

politicsjersey Treasury Minister says future taxation choices will be an election issue. Publishing spending and taxation plans this summer

GaelMezec @SamMezec I thought it was about raising finance to pay for government spending?

There is supposed to be a proposition from PPC imposing a moratorium on using Ministerial positions once nominations have been made, but that doesn't prevent Senator Ozouf from pre-empting it by publishing plans this summer. Expect an election "feel good" budget.

Odds and Ends

SamMezec Over 70% of Constable elections since 1999 were uncontested. Unacceptable for a national parliament. They should not be in the States

There is nothing to stop an election being contested. By the same logic, one should do away with the Deputy of Trinity because that was an unopposed election. Why doesn't Reform field candidates for Constables then, if elected, they could vote themselves out of the States?

Nigel Farage declined to stand in a bi-election for the UK parliament, and despite his words, it is pretty clear he didn't stand because he thought he would bomb out. An MEP is a much safer choice. I can't help thinking that the inability of the JDA to field many candidates in the Constables election indicated a similar failure of nerve.

Has Reform got the confidence to try? That is the real solution to uncontested elections - ensure they are contested, rather than complaining about it.

seanpowerjersey It is important that the Channel Islands maintain a strong and robust LO-LO service between CI and the UK, and develop a French link soon

I spy with my little eye something for the election manifesto.

politicsjersey No date yet for Steel report on safeguarding in the Church in Jersey. Bishop of Winchester considering its contents & what to publish

Procrastination is the order of the day, but thanks to Peter Ould, at least the agreement signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Winchester, and the two Deans has been made public. That's good, not least because there seems to have been little or no effort on behalf of any of the signatories to make it known to the average man or woman in the pew. It's been for their eyes only.

jerseyisland Gay rights group is urging the Chief Ministers of Guernsey and Jersey to allow same sex couples to get

It is ridiculous that Jersey should remain out of step with the UK on this matter. As things stand, if gay couples want to get married, they will have to travel to the UK to do it. And then on their return to Jersey, their status over here will be no more than that of Civil Partnership. Apart from the word "marriage", I don't see that there is any real legal difference between those statuses. So what is the problem? 

And finally, the dangers of brevity in tweets

itvchanneltv Gsy - Islanders urged to plan for death:

The linked article says that Guernsey authorities are encouraging Islanders towards "making a will, planning your future care and even registering as an organ donor." But the brief tweet itself sounds like a promotion of euthanasia!

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