Wednesday, 24 August 2016

By election husting St Brelade

A spot of gentle rain  and a nice reduction in temperature are very welcome.  So an early finish for the day and I've a chance to review another husting recording,  This one is St Brelade .

Before I get to another very good question , a quick comment on a couple of the speeches.  Sarah Ferguson majored on a very valid point about the shift of tax burden  and particularly the way local trading companies can be used to avoid almost all tax as long as you don't distribute profits.  Top marks for speeches from a green point of view however must go to Guy De Faye. He nailed the population growth problems and previous target busting, back to the days when 80,000 was the limit!  Better yet he actually explicitly stated the economic growth model of the CoM is bust.  The only one to do so to date that I am aware. 

The question was put by friend Glyn Mitchell who asked if it wasn't time to put more emphasis on the environment,soil and ecology rather than on the economy.  There was also a concurrent question about supporting the MTFP, so I have included that here.

MD charges are a hidden tax. EU might change that as Brexit will cause examination. Might fail their tax considerations. He attended Dr Ingham talk. Some small scale work locally. Doesn't know if Jersey soil and agriculture were ever environmentally friendly. Should be an environmental candidate on the hustings talking about this. Brexit will affect it.

CM Could not agree to MTFP in its current form, especially health charge and commercial waste charge. On environmental consequences we have to be aware of negative effect of industry and not looking carefully at Jersey's environment. Future Jersey plan needs to be put into action including climate change and global warming impacts for low coastal areas. We are not prepared. See consequences at St Aubins bay. Have ideas from SOS – need to do more.

JY. On the health  tax he will bring an amendment to put on hold until sorted out. Will vote against MTFP if that fails. Last 20 years working on  environmental matters. Proud of what has been achieved. But environment is  taken for granted in Jersey. Strange as it attracts people and is put at risk all the time. In times of economic stress environment goes even lower on priorities. Population & limiting its growth is at heart. Need urban dev plan – too densely populated in urban areas -traffic too.

SO  Glanced over MTFP quickly. Need IQ over 200 to understand. Should be thrown out as unworkable. Stealth taxes ridiculous. On environment St Aubin bay -sea lettuce, Seymore Tower infestation  of asian crabs, Dont know what we can do but they are a problem. Should put sea lettuce on fields for fertilizer. Big machine is a waste of time & money.

SF. Has record for bringing propositions against budgets. Would bring amendment for charge to be held back until promised review delivered. One of few positive EU directives is requiring rotation of crops. Awaiting SOS testing outfalls. Part of St Brelade dev group on landscape building density & tourism facilities. Have to keep nice for tourists. Identification of brown field sites for new houses.

NleC Right wing candidates will be supporting MTFP. Don't be fooled by words saying they wont do it., they will they are loyal to govt. CoM are implementing austerity programmes -preserves income of the rich. Would be great to see an environmental candidate here Greens should get themselves together and get more candidates for the coming general election. Put pressure on govt that is indifferent to such issues.

GdeF MTFP latest version has to be masterpiece of obfuscation. Need code breaker to decipher it. Very unlikely to be able to turn around the collective responsibility of CoM with their lickspittles and camp followers seeking preferment who will vote for it en masse. Will try on key points. Like accepting charges in principle without defining workings. Not fair. Keen on environment was a member of Greenpeace at school. Also need perspective. Sometime environmental things cost a lot of money. See Guernsey recycling debacle.

SM no force on heaven and earth persuade him to vote for MTFP. Problem doesn't matter how squalid some members will vote for it because the minister tells them too. Amendments will only have 1 day to be laid after election.  He will lay an amendment as deputy anyway. On environment COM doesn't think environment makes money so they ignore it. Should be self sufficient in energy. Have local talent like SOS, Glyn to make changes, don't keep bringing in UK consultants.

HR. Been involved with MTPF. Biggest problem is get to end and its not clear if you can do it. See comments of home affairs minister  on impacts on fire, police etc. more work goes to parish and Hon Police. There are areas you will have to support. Sporting programme is losing people. Vice chair of Racecourse, negotiation with environment Department on keeping character. 32,000- registered cars -more than domestic houses? More sharing more public transport. Env is important.

M OK B. Sam won't be doing propositon. She had to stand down as Centenier to stand, Sam has let down St Helier no 1 (MBF Not hes deputy for St Helier no 2district!) - should stand down too. Does not like new projects when we are overspending. Main project like schools and sewage system should go ahead. Not in favour of stealth taxes to cover infrastructure spending. Environment is expensive, start with hearts and mind. Go in schools.


Monday, 22 August 2016

Are you sitting comfortably?

I was interested to hear reports today that Germany has issued new civil defence advice to citizens.  There is a summary at security-stockpiling . Sources differ slightly in the details of the leaked 60+ page report, but include up to 10 days water & food, blankets, cash, medicines, coal and wood, candles, torches, batteries and matches. It is also thought the government is setting up stocks of antibiotics, and dumps of petrol and oil round the country.

Given Germany is one of the strongest economies on Europe, and has very good air, rail and land links across the continent and beyond, this should be prompting some questions locally.  We have but one airport, and one port, no road or rail connectivity to the rest of the world.  We are far less self sufficient in physical material resources than Germany is. How much more precarious our position compared to Germany?  

Still think my one man campaign for a proper government food security strategy is irrelevant?

Friday, 19 August 2016

By election husting at St Lawrence

In a complete volte face from a couple of days ago it is now too wet to be working in the field.  So another chance to review a video recording of  hustings.  This time it is St Lawrence

By good fortune the first question was from my friend Nick Palmer. He asked 'I looked at your online manifestos and, bar two, I found no mention of your policy on climate change. Was this an oversight or do you consider it an unimportant side issue?'

As before I'll list the responses in the same order as on  the night.  Alvin  Aaron is no longer attending hustings so no answer is given.

SF        It is not clear what are the reasons for climate change.  She has been working with the Organic Community Garden at Le Marais.  Not doing gardening, just the administration!

M O'K B 'We have to protect the environment'. She has been talking to the chair of biodiversity.  We should do more with children in schools. We should engage finance industry on green finance.

GdeF    I take climate change very seriously it is a major global problem though our impact in the Channel Islands is very small. The renewable and marine energy efforts have stalled.  We have lots of rooves, little solar.  Is that Jersey Electricity's fault?

JY       Former chair of the Environment scrutiny panel. Oversaw a major report on renewables. Agreed by States but no action.  Wants to see utility scale renewables and become exemplar in electric vehicles.

MD     He is unhappy there is no Green candidate in the by election ! Brexit covers the issues such as fishing and pollution.  The last Island Plan stated we are signed up to 300 international agreements.  No one can elucidate what they are though. 

NLeC  Agreed with MD - have to intervene and push an agenda.

CM      It was in his 10 point manifesto. Effects are critical such as sea level rise. 2015 report was damning.  Have had no action.  Have to cut cars at least have more of them electric.  Tidal and wind power needed.  Clearly arises from human activity.  We will all be living in a desert, apart from those who are living under water.

SM      'Very fair question'. The 500 word manifesto focus is on things most pressing on voters minds. It is the greatest threat affecting humanity.  We should be self sufficient in generating energy, but States deficit prohibits investment.  Support public transport - stop  increasing bus fares to help get cars off the roads.

HR     We have 32,000 private cars for 100,000 population. Needs to reduce and look at electric vehicles and public transport.

SO      Parts of St Helier are blocked off. So many things we could do. Electric cars are expensive.

Quite why the 'greatest threat to humanity' isn't  important enough to appear in a manifesto, or why you have to have a 'green ' candidate to have such vital things considered is beyond me.  Perhaps if elected representatives and those aspiring to join their number took these issues seriously they might resonate with the electorate and we wouldn't have such a high electoral abstention rate? 

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

An abandoned generation

It gets far too hot in the middle of the day for me to be working in the field.  So I took the opportunity to watch the first by election hustings over a long lunch. I wish I hadn't - it was unsavoury, unappetising and nearly made me wretch. I'm not referring to  the food.  The video is at St Saviour husting

I won't run you through a critique of all the opening 3 minute speeches.   I'll cut straight to the answers given to one very good question from the floor.  What are the three greatest challenges to Jersey over the next 20-30 years? 

I'll summarise the responses in the order candidates gave their replies.  There was a time limit to answer jointly two questions so some could not give three priorities.

M O'K B  Brexit, economy, education
AA           Economy . immigration (no third)
HR           Brexit, (no second, no third)
JY            Brexit, finance sector growth, population growth
SF            Brexit, banking industry, falling productivity
MD          Brexit (no second, no third)
CM          Diversify Economy, education, ageing population
NleC       Alternative for finance industry, Brexit, Inequality, Constitutional reform   (YES That is 4!)
SM          Culture of Complacency, Brexity, population
GdeF       Transport links, creative thinking (no third)
SO           Establishing a film commission , Brexit.

I'll happily accept population, and diversifying the economy is a tolerable answer, but as to the rest, I have to ask really, I mean really?   Brexit may not even happen.  If it does we cannot yet foresee the impacts or manner of it happening, it may even be beneficial.  Compared to the certain increasing challenges of climate change, food security, resource depletion, ecosystems collapse over the same timescale, I want to ask the candidates what f**king planet are you on?  It is certainly not mine! 

OK so you are not really internationalists, but what about local issues?  Does no one expect or hope for any major impact of the COI over the coming decades.  The evidence is there we  had kids in care abused over decades, but it is now just sweetness and light , all dealt with , is it? Justice?  Is there really no challenge or change required in our justice system over the coming decades? What about the galloping rate of science and technical change and the impact it will have - the surveillance and personal intrusion of having everything tracked and monitored?  Have we no ambition on renewable energy, self reliance for the coming decades? What about inclusion, participation, democracy itself? 

My overall assessment.  FAIL , the lot of them.  I'm bitterly disappointed in Sam Mezec and John Young who I had hoped might have a grasp on a few of these issues and be prepared to take them on.  The best prospect on those criteria based on the St Saviour hustings was Christian May.  He mentions climate change in his profile (as does Hugh Raymond). He talks of standing up the COM and power, but he uses all the CoM current buzz words and favoured topics (like ageing population and digital). When a One Nation Tory (as I believe he probably is) is your best bet you now things are pretty dire.

And as for my children's generation.   They have been abandoned by our aspirant politics it seems.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

It is all too personal

In an Island of just over 100,000 people officially, I guess I know about a thousand with some chance of remembering the name that goes with the face.  What does it say about our electoral system and its representativeness then that I personally know 8 of the 11 candidates nominated for the by-election tonight, and two others are somewhat familiar to me from previous elections.  I expect six of those would recognise me too.  Elections shouldn't be that personal, it really isn't a healthy sign.

Here are the candidates

Alvin Aaron
Nick Le Cornu
Mike Dun
Guy de Faye
Sarah Ferguson
Christian May
Sam Mezec
Stevie Ocean
Mary O'Keeffe-Burgher
Hugh Raymond
John Young 

Yes, I'm not one of them.  Yes, I was asked by a few people, but really what would standing achieve?  Without a detailed wide ranging and coherent thought out manifesto for government and an organisation  and some support by other elected members for that programme, nothing will happen. There are only 2 candidates on that list who from my knowledge have any grasp of the ecological and environmental issues, but I suspect neither will make it a major element of their election bid.  

Hustings as in number of are being hotly debated, but why I wonder.  In all my time campaigning in local, county and national election in the UK I never had a candidate hustings.  That only ever happened in student elections and in candidate selection meetings.  The format with more than a handful of candidates leaves no scope for debate , no means to challenge other candidates positions and policies.  Just like the vapid statements so often put out as manifestos, it reduces the whole affair to little more than a name recognition  exercise for the public.  I guess that suits those with dubious to shredded records to defend , or in our system not have to defend. 

I am not against having hustings.  I've done them and I think it is good the electorate have an opportunity to see the candidates and hear someething of them.  However it is to my mind inadequate and insufficient for the reasons given above.