Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The Cheat Sheet

honest – 1. fair and just in character or behaviour, not cheating or stealing 2. free of deceit and untruthfulness, sincere 3. fairly earned (an honest living)

honesty – 1. the quality of being honest 2. Truthfulness

The Cheat Sheet

“Promises that the Waterfront office development would not go ahead until tenants had been found for 200,000 square feet of office space have been torn up to get the deal through.”

“We have maintained the spirit of what the States have laid out in terms of de-risking the project.”

(Bailliwick Express)

"There is a level of pre-lets that are required before any of the buildings can go ahead" Sen Ozouf 13/05/15

Alan Maclean has decided to betraying promises made last year to the electorate.

I would have had less objection had the change of use been made clear before the elections last year, but no – it was not. If Alan Maclean, or Ian Gorst, or Philip Ozouf had been honest and said "we are going to have to discard the pre-let provision in order to begin much needed work" - that would have been honest. It might have cost them votes, but not integrity. It would be truthful, and I would admire that.

But would Senator Maclean have done so well in the elections if it was known that he would reveal himself later on a cheat?

I would say that his actions show the utmost contempt for the electorate, and by not mentioning it before last October’s elections, he was misleading the electorate as well.

Clearly this change has come about because has dawned on the Senator (and no doubt Mark Boleat, that éminence grise behind the scenes) that it will never meet those conditions in today's market. A shortcut is needed. Expediency rules.

It has been said that political engagement in Jersey politics has sunk to an all time low. It is not perhaps surprising when those who are supposed to lead by example instead present only an example of duplicity.

Dishonesty in politics is the number one reason why Jersey people don’t vote.

If I played Monopoly like Alan Maclean has acted with the Waterfront, and had an empty plot, but  I did not have enough for a hotel, but only enough for a small house, I’d simply grab a hotel and put it on my square on the board.

If there were cries from others that I was cheating, I would tell them that in fact I could make up the rules or break the rules to suit myself, although I would not be so blatant. I'd use spin.

I would say that “I have maintained the spirit of the rules of Monopoly”. I could say that I will have enough from people landing on my square and paying me to pretend that I'd bought the hotel in the first place.

But I think most people would agree that I was a cheat.

It is somehow seen as excusable for politicians to make and break promises made to the house, as they see fit. After all, it was Alan Maclean’s predecessor as Treasury Minister, not him.

But Senator Maclean himself was happy not to speak out against that until after the election, indeed, just now, when it seems as if the honourable way of getting the project started - keeping that pledge - would mean that it would never happen.

Now it appears that Senator Ozouf "made a mistake". It has apparently taken since last October's elections  for Senator Maclean to discover this gem! We are supposed to believe that it has taken seven months for him to suddenly realise that!

It has clearly been a sudden and remarkable Damascus road experience, and he has been struck down by a blinding light, only to come to the revelation that Senator Ozouf was wrong to give such a guarantee. Unlike the story of St Paul on the road to Damascus,  I suspect the voice whispering in Senator Maclean's ear was not God, but Mark Boleat. 

Clearly the statement that GST will not increase given by the good Senator and the Council of Ministers is not worth the paper it is printed on. At any moment, particular when hard pressed, they will find that all other avenues have been exhausted, and like the Crocodile crying tears as it devours its hapless prey, they will raise GST.

I’ll finish with this quotation from Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary, which rather sums up how I feel about politicians who discover they are bound by the rules of the game, and then tear the rulebook up.

POLITICIAN, n. An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared... As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.

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