Thursday, 6 November 2014

Playing Safe – or Playing to Strengths?

Playing Safe – or Playing to Strengths?

Geoff Southern accuses Ian Gorst of playing safe, and Ian Gorst presents his new team as playing to the strengths of the candidates. As usual, the truth is probably somewhere in between.

One thing is certain – this is a broad Council of Ministers, not one of Ministerial cronies. If anyone forgets what that looks like, I suggest they look back at Terry Le Sueur’s dismal tenure when the Council was largely packed with people he felt safe with. Even so, he miserably failed to prevent the falling out between Bill Ogley and Philip Ozouf, despite signing the golden handshake deal with Mr Ogley.

By contrast, this is a Council of Ministers picked carefully more for talent. Although one thing has gone without notice by other bloggers - all except Rod Bryans are Yes Campaign supporters. I'm sure that didn't play a part in the choices, but was more of a statistical side-effect.

Treasury – Alan Maclean
Playing safe – Alan Maclean came 3rd in the Senatorials, and was in a strong position to challenge Ian Gorst, make divisions which might have been difficult to live with. The easier choice was to give him the role he aspired to. There’s a sense that there is a Blair / Brown deal behind the scenes. Whether someone who gave away £200,000 to a fantasy film without due diligence is a good choice remains to be seen! But perhaps he has learnt from his mistakes.

Health – Andrew Green
Playing to strengths – Andrew Green has shown admirable skill at Housing, and was also able to work with Deputy Tadier regarding the latter’s proposition on rental dwelling minimum standards. His showing in the elections demonstrate the electorate see someone who can sort out the various problems facing the health department – a critical report on mental health, a new hospital site, and an entrenched silo mentality and large managerial structure. The only organisation charts of the entire structure are those prepared personally by former Senator Sarah Ferguson!

External Relations – Philip Bailhache
Playing to strengths – Sir Philip is perhaps not that dynamic, but he has the gravitas needed for dealing with Whitehall mandarins and the like. You need a Sir Philip to deal with a Sir Humphrey Appleby.

TTS – Eddie Noel
Given the property holdings portfolio moves with Eddie Noel to TTS, if he gets the post, this is playing to strengths. But will we finally get the Street Works Law promised by Kevin Lewis during most of his tenure as Minister, and forever delayed? Does Eddie have the ability to deal with the layers of management that have accrued to the Department? (Managers at the incinerator outnumber the workforce by at least 2 to 1). And will he get it or will Kevin Lewis get back in? I think this may be a close run thing.

Home Affairs – Kristina Moore
A move from Scrutiny to Minister. Playing to strengths. Scrutiny requires the ability to be critical but constructive, and someone good at scrutiny could also be excellent as a Minister. It’s a pity Deputy Hilton, who has delivered outstanding Scrutiny reports, has not been given any role though.

Economic Development – Lyndon Farnham
Long awaited, and playing to strengths – Lyndon is certainly the one to deal with tourism and his experience of the industry will stand him in good stead. Perhaps not so strong with finance, but some of that will shift to the Chief Minister’s department under an Assistant Minister, Philip Ozouf, in a role created specially for him.

That is also playing to Senator Ozouf’s strengths, and getting him to focus on specific areas to bring in business from abroad, where he already has built up networks to use, and taking him away from the Treasury, where he has sometimes been to ad hoc in decision making. But the decision about Philip Ozouf is also playing safe – with a remit like this, he won’t challenge Alan Maclean.

Social Security – Susie Pinel
Playing safe. She was Assistant Minister. However, she was very much a silent partner under Minister Francis Le Gresley, making virtually no contributions at States sittings. Will her light now come out from under its bushel? Or is she really too lightweight? Time will tell. But by nominating her when she has expressed a desire for the department, Ian Gorst avoids her challenging someone else for the post.

Education, Sport and Culture – Rod Bryans
Now reduced to Education and Skills, it will certainly not be left and neglected as it was under Patrick Ryan, a Minister so concerned with not making mistakes, that he didn’t make anything happen. Bryans is a peculiar member of the States, sometimes coming out with “blue sky” or “whacky ideas” like his cards to give out for acts of kindness. But innovative thinking outside the box is perhaps what is needed. Playing to strengths, and by no stretch of the imagination playing safe. Edward de Bono would approve.

Housing – Anne Pryke
Playing safe. Now that housing has mostly left to Andium Homes with housing staff, this is a clear demotion to a skeleton department. Stuff to deal with – deposits, implementing the minimum standards legislation. But small fry. Interesting that she has still been kept on as a Minister whereas Kevin Lewis has been booted out. It is clearly playing safe because by putting her here, she is removed from Health and will not challenge Andrew Green because she has a Ministry.

Planning and Environment – Steve Luce
This will be interesting – after two planning ministers with grand ideas (albeit different ones), will we actually get someone who has some notion of what is best for the island? I suspect his major input into the Yes Campaign may well have tipped him for higher office. Clearly playing to strengths. We don’t want another Freddie Cohen with Masterplans and Freddie’s Folly at Portelet, or Rob Duhamel with maverick planning decisions.

1 comment:

Nick Palmer said...

"We don’t want another Freddie Cohen with Masterplans and Freddie’s Folly at Portelet, or Rob Duhamel with maverick planning decisions"

Luce? I thought you were intelligent, Tony? At a time when we needed an Environment Minister capable of steering Jersey towards decarbonisation of the economy and not sabotaging it, we get a yes man candidate who, when lobbied by Mark Forskitt and myself just prior to Gosrt's re-election as Chief Minister, expressed a particularly deceptive (if you're scientifically illiterate) denialist meme about Antarctic sea ice as what he clearly thought was some sort of "answer"- thus showing he absolutely should not be allowed anywhere near the levers of power. What was Gorst thinking of? It's just utterly incomprehensible how downright functionally ignorant these people are.