Sunday, 4 September 2016
A touch of dissonance
I was amused by a small posting on the gov.je web site about the successful (aren't they always?) fact finding trip by the assistant ministers to Estonia. Digital fact finding
Of course in the days before Tim Berners-Lee put the world at our fingertips, it was generally necessary to do trips like this to find out how things are done differently elsewhere. It is good to be open minded about what others do. That is one of the ways we learn and improve. However there is something dissonant about this trip.
Estonia is a digitally fired up country, perhaps the world leader when it comes to e-gov. Jersey has spent tens of millions of pounds of public money on the fibre project Gigabit. The question has to be asked therefore is e-gov anything like it is cracked up to be. The bandwidth is there, the technology exists, but if we cannot get facts on a relatively open government like Estonia through digital, is it ever going to deliver? It doesnt register very highly on the credibility stakes to have assistant ministers doing a marketing pitch on something , but then failing to adopt the policy aims themsleves. Why could they not teleconference, what exactly did they expect to find out with their senses about digital what couldn't be done, well digitally?
They are not alone of course. We have a sustainable transport policy of sorts, but we have reserved car parking spaces at the airport so ministers and assistant ministers can demonstate their commitment to the policy! We have cuts to all sort of services to save money, but strangely the States member's pay and the expenses allowances remain sacrosanct.
If our elected ones really want to see higher turn out in elections, more participation in the machinery of governemnt, they could do an awful lot worse that demonstrate some practical leadership on those things they spend so much time talking about. Start to close the credibility gap or it is only going to get worse.