Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Political Trivia

Favourite quote from the last States sitting:

Senator Ian Gorst: “I may look like I have got a wallet in my pocket but the gentleman with the wallet is sitting in front of me.”

Evidently Senator Maclean is the States member with “the wallet”, which holds all the States finances together. Let us hope he does not get a hole in his pocket! Is it the left pocket or the right pocket. I can see other politicians lining up to pick it!

Personally, I think Senator Gorst was secretly hinting that he wanted Senator Maclean to buy the first round in the Peirson when the States adjourned for lunch. I was tempted to send in a Freedom of Information request, but then realised it would breach the Data Protection Law, as Senator Gorst’s choice of tipple is surely highly sensitive personal data.

Susie Pinel rather made a gaffe about understanding Income Support and the rental component, when she said: “I think the Assistant Minister for Treasury and Resources and I do have a vague understanding of this.”

It is always nice to see that politicians have a firm grasp of the Department they are supposed to be Minister of! Vagueness translates as: I don’t really have a clue, but this will buy me some time and with any luck I won’t have to answer the question at all. She gets the “Jim Hacker Award” for the last session of the States before the summer recess.

When Philip Ozouf suggested AirBnB should be welcomed, Senator Lyndon Farnham said that “It is happening now and I would hope a new Tourism Law could be in place sometime in 2018.”

There is an terrible lot of vagueness about deadlines with politicians, but when they are sucking up to the UK authorities, with the Beneficial Owners Register, they were happy enough to give a deadline of 30 June for all limited companies registered in Jersey to comply with.

While Ministers have shifting goalposts, the rest of us have to live with promised deadlines to the UK. Did they consult the business community first? No. Did they consult the JFSC, itself in the process and mid-way with revamping a legacy system? No. The deadline was 30th June. A date was given.

But ask them to give a date, and it recedes into never-never land, like the extension of Freedom of Information requests to States Quangos like Port of Jersey or Andium Homes; the time scales of that extension was extremely elastic.

Meanwhile, Senator Lyndon Farnham was saying something about the “Economic Productivity Growth Drawdown Provision Fund”, which if you put it into a paragraph or two, consumes most of the time for answering questions. Who on earth invents preposterous names like this? Is it a civil servant in a backroom, brainstorming suitable candidates that will sound both pretentious and absurd.

The oddest reply to a question was about staffing levels at the hospital and for mental health. Apparently we have places for 4.1 psychologists, but only 3.5 are in posts, and there is 0.6 of a psychologist vacant! If you see someone in a white coat with a blank look, only one arm, a wooden leg, and an eye patch, it’s that vacant 0.6 of a psychologist. I imagine he was the one who came up with the “Economic Productivity Growth Drawdown Provision Fund”.

And finally, my favourite gaffe of the month:

Andrea Leadsom on leading female figures, speaking in the House of Commons, showed she has lost none of her ability to unerringly put her foot in it:

“I would just add one other great lady to that lovely list, who I am delighted to join in celebrating, and that’s that of Jane Austen, who will feature on the new £10 note, which I think is one of our greatest living authors.”

Waterstones tweeted: "We are currently moving all our Jane Austen stock from Classics into Greatest Living Authors. Thanks Andrea Leadsom for the heads up." and later added: "Anyone know who Jane Austen's agent is? We'd love to book her for an event"

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