Friday, 29 July 2016

Must try harder...

I did a piece for ITV Channel News yesterday in response to an item the appeared on the Bailiwick Express site.   I believe it wasn't used.

The original piece was childcare recruitment jersey has serious image problem

I do not doubt they are having problems recruiting, but I am sceptical to say the least about the reason given.  We know other caring professions - nursing and teaching come to mind- where recruitment is also a problem. That indicates to me there is a systemic problem.  Further, I have seen no evidence of a properly conducted survey on the reasons recruitment is so difficult  in social work, let alone the results of any such survey.  

I have one other reason  why I am doubtful.  It is the nature of vocational work  like childcare.  People who have a vocation want to make a difference .  You do that by going where there is a problem or a need, as long as you feel you can change or improve things.  Well Jersey has a need, and any quick online search would confirm that.  It isn't a deterrent, if anything the opposite.

But my real anger is the  use of that tired  meme  the 'Image of Jersey'.   It has been used all along by those who wanted to refute the evidence of abuse in our care system, and by those who wanted to deny having a Committee of Inquiry. And it is the mindset that is at the heart of the problem.,  The moment someone in authority -a manger or a politician decides himself, or instructs a junior to prioritise the Image of Jersey there is a problem. The idea that it would be better to keep this quiet, not make an issue or a fuss, because it would look bad of the island, that is where the canker festers and the cover ups begin. It is the most rotten of mindsets.

I was reminded of a quote of Gandhi - first they ignore you , then they laugh at you , then they fight you , then you win.  Survivors in Jersey were ignored, their claims were ridiculed, they have continued to fight, so the next step....  It may take a long time.  You only have to look at  time it took for campaigners at Hillsborough or North Wales to see justice ( Indeed I am coming to the conclusion it will take the passing of a generation of vested interests before the real truth gets out.  Too late for far too many who suffered so much, and denying justice to many.

The piece that ITV did show:

Thursday, 14 July 2016

A consultation offer from the Borg.

If you have a mind to you can read the grand plans for the digital takeover of Jersey .  See  Digital Policy Framework  Helpfully they even tell you what questions you should consider and respond to.  My advice - dont' bother. There are much bigger better questions and issues then those you are invited to consider.

You might also wonder if it is worth your time.  As this press released item digital jersey and population office  demonstrates it has already been agreed that 30 licenses will be given to the digital sector ahead of any outcome of  the consultation. As they say in politics: never ask in public a question to which you do not already know the answer.   Where I would like to know is the research to demonstrate we do not have the skills and knowledge locally?  How does Digital Jersey  and the Population Office account for having highly skilled and experienced local software developers in the island working in other sectors ?  Why cannot it attract them (hint: it isn't about the money).

The policy document reminds me of the sort of think I used to read in the '90's working on AI systems and research.  Lots of overblown and politically unacceptable stuff from business and tech heads on what is possible, lots of big claims economically about transformation etc, but almost nothing on societal impact, ethics or principles. More of a sales and marketing pitch than a policy discussion  and certainly not a well rounded integrated piece.

How about a few quotes from the draft.

'Where will Jersey be in another 10 years?'  That is the only time frame I can see in the document.  It is not inappropriate to have a 10 year view, but tricky  - I'll come on to some the technological changes others expect to happen in the next ten years another day. See if you think some of these other quotes make sense on a ten year view, if  they are in fact acceptable at all.
“Digital technology will be the backbone of Jersey's economic activity”.   Bye-bye finance?

“Digital will be the default format for all economic activity”. Yes by default Jersey Royals will be exported digitally.  3D print your own Royals on demand , perhaps.   

How about page 7 " Government has responsibility to ensure every Islander has the skills they need to thrive in a digital economy."  Sound sensible to you?  How about if I rewrote it as Government has responsibility to ensure every Islander has the skills they need to thrive in a finance based economy  or Government has responsibility to ensure every Islander has the skills they need to thrive in a car based society." NO.

The centrally planned economy dictated from our authoritarian overlords doesn't stop at telling us what jobs we may work at.   Under government digital transformation we have 9. Develop and implement an effective Digital ID for all Islanders.
Yes under the new totally digital economy you will be uniquely identified.  Every move interaction and location will have the potential to be tracked, logged  and preserved by the government for what means?     You think they wont?  Not our nice friendly cuddly Government, surely! 

Try this then, they are thinking to collect your personal data to sell to private companies.  Truly.  
Make better use of government data for the benefit of the public and private sector: Alongside the direct advantages of moving government services online, Islanders will also benefit indirectly from the wealth of data these services will provide. This data will enable public officials to make better policy decisions, based on more detailed and up-to-date evidence. Furthermore, if this data could be made available to the private sector, the benefits could be multiplied. The public sector – both government and state owned companies – in Jersey collects a wealth of data that, if disseminated appropriately, has the potential to be a useful raw material for digital businesses in the Island.

I like the throw away comment, cited as a challenge " A small minority of Islanders still do not have access to the internet".  They will be complaining that using cash  undermines the digital economy next.  That is the choice people must have in an open society.  It may be very inconvenient  to Ministers perception of the Island as a business , but we are not all slaves or State employees. 

I have a different way of looking at these things.  I see computers/ IT /digital to be the servant of people, not the tools to trap, ensnare  and control them.  I think Government should be a tool of the people....

If you give up your freedom to really choose for a few paper token of fiat currency , you will end up with no individual identity, no personal choice beyond which part you would like to be in the great machine.