Friday, 15 September 2017

They do it differently in Iceland

Iceland do a few things differently. They read more books per person per year than anywhere else. They jail bankers when they crash the economy. They hunt whales (boo!) and they call elections over a breach of trust, see  child molesters scandal  "Icelandic PM calls snap election due to child sex abuse scandal. Bjarni Benediktsson has called for fresh elections in November after one of his coalition partners withdrew from the government due to a 'breach of trust' All so very not the Jersey way......

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Glyphosate Petition


The States of Jersey does not yet allow electronc petitions. The following link should take you to a downloadable pdf you can print on your own parchment or vellum or plain old paper. Signatures don't have to be with a proper swan feather quill, you can just use your own biro. Glyphosate petition



The printed doc should look like this picture.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Who owns the World?


Noam Chomsky is a very good mind.  Worth watching his  presentation. He starts with Adam Smith!



"It takes genius not to see it"

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

When policies collide.


Today is Earth overshoot day.  It is the day in the year when humanity collectively has used up our annual available eco services.  That isn't just direct consumption it is also the ability of the planet to deal with our pollution.  It was at 1 in the early 1970's ie back then the planet was just able to handle our impact - there was no overshoot.  Since then the day has got  inevitably earlier.  Another way to look at it is we are collective consuming about 1.7 planet's worth of eco services every year.  Imagine spending 1.7 times your income each year.  You would be in big trouble pretty quickly unless you have a big pile of  wealth behind you.  Even then that pile would diminish rapidly.  And that is exactly what we see in the world - diminishing fish stocks, less pristine forest, fewer animals  both species in many cases numbers. 

The impact varies round the world, country by country.
Of course it is crude, but no less so than using GDP to determine whether society is progressing or not. Looking at that country list I would expect Jersey's position would be around the 3.3 planet level. It would be useful to know as an indicator of how we are doing , are we going in the right direction , can we get to a satisfactory, sustainable position before disaster strikes? 


It happens that we are in Jersey taking the first steps in developing indicator metrics  like the footprint above.  That's the ongoing Future Jersey exercise.   Imagine 2035 purported to do something similar a decade ago.  That fiasco tried to engineer support for one of a pre selection of growth policy ambitions and completely and  ignored future  impacts like climate change.  This  current project has some  hope of working.  The wide ranging  questionnaire and topics at the outset of course means we have at the raw data level a set of incoherent ambitions.  Resolving those tensions and conflicts is where the real work  happens. 


It was a great pity that the IJCI report was delayed and therefore couldn't really feed  into this Future Jersey  activity more fully.  It certainly touches on some relevant  points .  One  area the survey suggested was very good in Jersey was being or feeling safe.  Yet the evidence given to the Care Inquiry and one of its key conclusions arising is  that children in the care system in Jersey continue to be put at risk.


Comments were also made by the ICJI report on decision making, politics and structures in Jersey. Eg form the executive summary " (x) Failure to tackle a silo mentality among public-sector agencies. States departments and institutions have been characterised by territorialism and protectiveness rather than openness to pooling resources and learning. As a result, there has been a lack of a comprehensive strategy to secure the bests interests of children in the island."  Such behaviour and mentality is very unlikely to  work when tackling holistic concerns and policies. 



I think the work of Future Jersey gives a chance to begin unpicking that silo mentality and get to a position of better decision making and cooperative working across States departments.  Intriguingly this opportunity arises from what many would probably see as the biggest weakness of the whole Future Jersey  project - it doesn't change anything!  And that criticism is largely true.



What we should have when all fifty plus of the indicators in the report are developed is a set of metrics to serve as a decision support tool.  Every strategy and report could then be assessed against the metrics to see its impact and ensure aspects outside of the immediate expected consequences are considered.  In theory we then get better decisions.


Quite what mechanics will be deployed to achieve hasn't been described.  We already have a requirement in States propositions to complete a statement of manpower and financial implications. Having a statement of all fifty indicators might be to cumbersome, but it would put the factors up front in proposals.  An alternative would be to have scrutiny review against the criteria.  There are a few concerns here as scrutiny panels are segregated by area of interest and wouldn't necessarily have knowledge across all the factors.  Also scrutiny do not call in all  propositions for scrutiny, and occasionally policies don't even get to scrutiny or even the the States assembly (eg the current Rural economy strategy).  As a third option we could have someone independent - equivalent of the Comptroller and Auditor general using the metrics to review  , but that would certainly be retrospective, missing the main benefit of informing debate in the chamber.



However it comes into being we desperately need a mechanism for reviewing policies and actions in the round. These decisions are hard, sometimes very hard.  I think about the impacts of my actions a lot , but I still find it hard to get to an acceptable sustainable position in my own life.   I've sometimes been called a zealot or idealist trying to align what I believe is necessary with how I do things. But even  with my 'extreme' decisions, even  my footprint doesn't quite get to the necessary 1 planet level.



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You can get a footprint for yourself at  http://www.footprintcalculator.org/#!/

The Future Jersey report is at FUTURE JERSEY

Friday, 28 July 2017

One step backwards


On the day we start recruitment for a Childrens Commissioner we have this. Respite centre to stop allowing teens


A respite centre that provides care for young teenagers with learning disabilities is changing to be an adult only unit because there is not enough demand for the service.





Monday, 10 July 2017

Divide and conquer?


Rather an interesting comment from  Alexis Jay of the UK child sex abuse inquiry.  Powerful want us to fail     

I haven't seen anything to clarify who are the powerful who want to derail the inquiry.  There are some obvious candidates.    Well connected politicans?  Mandarins at the Civil Service? The Church? The judiciary? The Monarchy?


Of course we had some 'senior politicians'  here who wanted to see our recently reported inquiry fail even to happen.   One cannot help but wonder if the carefully incised terms of reference of our inquiry weren't done to protect the same interests and prevent the really problematic questions being asked.


All of those on the list above have either influence or responsibility for important parts of Jersey governance.   Form the Appeal Court to the Privy Council to the apppointment of Crown Officers they all have influence here.  


If any of them is a vested interest wanting to see the UK inquiry implode, and given the role each has in Jersey's governance, one has to consider why our inquiry wasn't  more closely connected to the CSA in the UK.  And isn't it revealing that they have asked for the report to be forwarded to them.  Why would they need that if there were no connexion?  It seems a good bet that there are unresolved trans-jurisdictional issues here. 


One obvious reason to have kept the inquiries separate of course is the age old tactic of divide and conquer.