Details are not the goal, delay is
Tuesday 27th August 2013, 5:00PM BST.
IN A refreshingly candid interview the chief minister has sought to proffer an olive branch to disgruntled deputies who scuppered the Policy Council’s two flagship policies.
‘There is certainly a feeling of “them and us”,’ he said, blaming the division in part on the States debating chamber’s upper and lower tier.
There is, of course, much more to this than seating plans, for there is a clear split between those who would drive the States forward from the centre and those who prefer the level playing field of committee government.
The disappointment for the island is that caught in the crossfire are two very good ideas. Looked at without the baggage of internal politics, the Government Service Plan and the Strategic Asset Management Plan are slam dunk no-brainers.
Imagine a business which had no idea what its thousands of staff were working on, how much it was all costing the firm and whether some of the work was a pointless, outdated waste of time.
Then consider that that same company had expanded over time into countless valuable buildings, many of which were half-empty or manifestly unsuited for the job in hand.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to make a good case for leaving those twin disasters untackled.
Which is why deputies opted not to talk about the benefits of the GSP and SAMP and chose instead to rail against a lack of detail in the proposals.
That way they could put the brakes on the plans without admitting that only a centralised solution can address such a massive States-wide problem.
This was not about seating arrangements, it was about who holds the whip hand. These may be two vital ideas which will take years to develop and countless more States votes but, for many deputies, nothing could bring them to contemplate such a centrist coup.
Unfortunately, until the gulf between the ‘them and us’ camps is bridged – perhaps in the way outlined opposite – the tensions and conflicts will remain.
In turn, the joined-up government promised in 2004 will remain an illusion.