Monday, 14 May 2018

Simon Bree speaks out on criticisms

An extra guest post from Simon Bree, as this may be only seen on his Facebook Page.

If you click on this link you can review his full voting record and list of scrutiny panel chairmanships and other panel memberships.

His website can be viewed at:

This is being posted as part of my policy to inform the public as much as possible about candidates before the election.

Response to Criticisms
by Simon Bree

For the avoidance of doubt I feel that I should respond to a number of criticisms that are being made with regards to my conduct as a States Member over the last term.

1) Criticism: the worth of a politician can only be judged by the number of pre-lodged questions asked in the States Assembly, and the number of propositions that they have lodged. 

The reason I have chosen not to ask any pre-lodged questions, nor lodge any propositions as an individual “back bencher” is that I realised very quickly upon joining the States that both these actions were, on the whole, very unlikely to have any impact on the policies put forward by the Council of Ministers, and are used by some as a “soap box” just to get their views aired with little if any chance of success.

I took the route of working very hard within numerous Scrutiny roles as this, in my opinion, offered the best opportunity to influence policy before it comes to the States for debate. I have already posted onto this page a link showing my involvement in the Scrutiny process. When deciding on whom to vote for in the Senatorial election, I would urge all members of the public to review each candidate’s voting records on the major issues effecting Islanders, and to watch the candidate’s speeches during debates – all of which can be found on the website – I stand by my voting record.

2) Criticism: I have actually done nothing whilst on Scrutiny: 

It is a complete fallacy that the work of any Scrutiny Panel can only be judged by the number of reports that it produces. My Chairmanship of the Economic Affairs Scrutiny Panel has come under particular criticism for some reason, and it has been suggested that this particular Panel has been totally inactive. 

For those who may believe this incorrect statement, I would urge you to look at the minutes of this Panel’s meetings (which can be found on the website which very clearly illustrates the hard work of this Panel. 

This particular criticism probably arises from a lack of understanding of how Scrutiny actually works, and the fact that if a Scrutiny Panel has managed to influence, for the betterment of all Islanders, Ministerial policy prior to a Draft Law being lodged, then it is better to either lodge a Comments Paper to that effect, or simply support the draft legislation during the debate. 

As to the Draft Licencing Law debacle that ended up with the proposition being withdrawn at the last minute, thus denying the States Assembly the opportunity to debate it, and the whole episode being blamed solely on the Economic Affairs Scrutiny Panel, I would once again urge you to read the Scrutiny Panel minutes to get a clearer understanding of what actually happened. And I would ask the question – how can a Scrutiny Panel write a report on a piece of draft legislation that is constantly being changed?

3) Criticism: I should not have voted in favour of an independent public inquiry into the Lifeboat dispute. 

I voted in favour of this proposition because I believed that the only way in which the public would get to know the full facts was from a public inquiry. This was not a vote for the JLA nor was it a vote against the RNLI. It was solely intended to establish the full facts, find a workable solution on which we could all agree upon, and move forward. 

Considering all the conflicting statements being made at the time by both parties, and that most members of the public I spoke to were concerned that they did not really know all the facts, this seemed to me to be the most sensible way forward. As you will read from Hansard, my speech in favour of the proposition clearly laid out the reasons why I supported it.

4) Criticism: That my speech at the St Saviour hustings regarding my place of birth was “interesting”. 

I am not sure what the term “interesting” means in this context, but the very fact that it has been used by one commentator concerns me. For those who have not seen this hustings (which I have posted on this page) in response to a question which, amongst other things, asked “where were you born?”, I replied, openly and honestly, that, whilst I hold a Jersey birth certificate, and am proud to be a Jersey man, I was adopted as a very young baby, and my actual birth place was London. 

I have always been totally open about this fact, and have always considered myself extremely lucky and fortunate to have wonderful parents, and I am very proud of my family’s heritage on this Island – for the record my mother’s maiden name is Baudains. What concerns me is a possible inference from this commentator that because I am adopted, you should not vote for me. I can only hope that I have misunderstood the use of the word "interesting".

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