Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The States Live Televised

For the first time today, the sitting of the States Chamber has been televised both as live streaming and as a view again for 6 months from the live date. This means that not just tone of voice can be seen, but also all the mannerisms and body language and how the States conducts its business.

It is a major educational tool, but one thing which is missing is a floor plan of where the Constables, Senators and Deputies sit - do they have chosen places which they retain for the duration of the States until the election? I know the different classes of members have their own "benches" but within that, how do they choose where to sit? Do existing members keep priority over new members? 

A floor plan would also answer questions on absence. Who is missing from the place beside Senator Gorst or Senator Green? Or is it that the reduction of Senators from 12 to 8 has left gaps in the benches and these are in fact spaces resulting from that change in the composition of the Assembly? That's my guess.

I noticed that Deputy Tadier slipped out for a brief comfort break, but it was very brief, as he was very soon back again.

The other interesting thing to watch is the dynamics of States members when they are not speaking. Some just sit and look ahead, or look down, but others are chatting, or reacting by expression and gestures to the speakers.

In the instance above while Rod Bryans is speaking, Deputy Lewis and Labey exchange notes. 

And for the fashion conscious trivia brigade, of course, what ties are the men wearing - red for Reform, blue and striped for Rod Bryans, and what outfits do the ladies sport? Sarah Ferguson, by the way, is no longer wearing "election pink". All the couteur can now be seen, as well as the honorable member in the background who appears to be taking a brief nap.

All told, this is good for democracy, as it demystifies the workings of the States Assembly, but also can be a useful tool for educating the public into how members deport themselves. 

There is a lot of courtesy evident in this first broadcast, and it will be interesting to see how matters change as we approach elections in 18 months time.

One final comment - the low placement of the microphones mean that most members seem to have to stoop a bit when they speak in order for their voices to be picked up. It would have been interesting to see Roy Le Herrisier speaking; one imagines that the former Deputy, well known for his booming delivery, had no problems on that score. 

The States of Jersey is committed to providing Islanders with an open and accessible decision-making process and, with this objective in mind, meetings of the States Assembly will be webcast. A webcast is a transmission of audio and video over the internet. Video cameras in the States Chamber will capture the live information and through the use of your Internet connection you can view the meetings from the comfort of your own home. You will be able to see how decisions which affect you and your Island are reached, without having to attend the States Chamber in person.

Recent and upcoming webcasts are displayed to the right of this page. To view, click on the title and the webcast will begin automatically.

All webcast meetings will also be held in an online archive and can be accessed at any time by clicking on the webcast library tab above. 

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