Odd and Ends

Historical Explanations and Fact

Those who have attained the chief places are led to seek the character of “safe men,”—which is gained by avoiding entering into questions or giving reasons, that they may “not commit themselves;” by evading difficulties neatly; and by speciously turning away from troublesome duties, and letting evil principles work themselves out at the expense of the public, unless forced into notice by clamour,—applying the rule—“Never to act until you are obliged, and then do as little as you can,” …

—Chadwick 1854: 

I noted Kevin Keen’s recent tweet: “Disagree with him often but Ian_Gorst is a good man. I for one want to see less playing the man & more playing the ball in Jersey politics.”

Imputing motivation is fraught with dangers, but whenever history is written, there is a need to consider motivation, either in the absence of a response, or even when a politicians statement might not be taken at face value. Anyone who has watched "Yes Minister" understand this only too well!

But in fact no one has taken the view expressed by Sir Humphrey in the photo....

Promises, Promises!

Promises, Promises!

Moving Rural Goal Posts

Ian Gorst said in 2014 as newly elected Chief Minister:

“Agriculture and Fisheries, of course, continue to be important to our Island community: our farmers are valued custodians of our countryside who help to sustain our environment and keep Jersey beautiful. Our fishermen maintain our essential connection with the sea, providing us with highly-prized and freshly-caught produce and are a growing export product. New strategies for the rural economy and sea fisheries will be important milestones in the evolution of these industries. “

I spotted a part of this, to do with Food Security, was being produced by Delta Innovation - Project: A draft Food Security Strategy for the States of Jersey....

An Eye on Local Politics

Retconning the Past

Reconsider, v. To seek a justification for a decision already made. (Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary)

In his defence of the shambles of the Innovation Fund, Senator Ozouf says he is "disgusted and dismayed" that he was "given the responsibility" but not "all the information that was required".

But when the Logfiller managed to grab a loan which disappeared, he was much more bullish about his knowledge. In a JEP report of June 16, 2016, he said: “What I can say is that I am totally satisfied, and have been throughout the procedures....

The States Innovation Fund: A Disaster Waiting to Happen

The States Innovation Fund: A Disaster Waiting to Happen

Now that the Auditor-General’s report is out, a lot of blame will undoubtedly accrue to Mike King, who has just resigned as Chief Officer for EDD. That may well divert attention from other failings by others, or statements made which should not have been made by others in defence of the fund.

The Case of Philip Ozouf

The report states:

06 Nov 2014 New appointment as Minister for Economic Development with responsibility for the Fund. Assistant Chief Minister (Senator Ozouf) assigned responsibility for Innovation

12 Jan 2015 B Board advised that Assistant Chief Minister with responsibility for innovation would have delegated responsibility from Minister for Economic Development to approve loans from the Fund

01 Jun 2015 Approval of loan applications delegated to Assistant Chief Minister with responsibility for innovation.

So Senator Ozouf appears to have been effectively signing off loan applications as approved, which no doubt explains why he has recently tweeted “Expect proper analysis on performance of officials”, suggesting blame will be shifted firmly off his shoulders, and probably onto those of the hapless Mike King, who has resigned, and no doubt signed a gagging order as part of his resignation deal....

The King’s Abdication

Canbedone Productions Keith Cavele  and Mike King

The sudden resignation of Mike King was not perhaps a surprise: his position had clearly become untenable, prone to media revelations about profligate spending.

He will certainly become a scapegoat for a few decisions - namely the Innovation Fund, where the decision on Logfiller was, as I understand it, pushed by States member in the Council of Ministers with undue haste, and undue diligence.

While he was extravagant with regard to South Africa, it seems that he was to some extent set up, the information being deliberately leaked to the press. His rugby trips, funded by the tax payer, were another example of flouting the States drive to austerity and cut-backs.

What did indeed emerge from the South African trip that has brought some benefit to the island?...

Fiscal Fantasyland

Reports from the Jersey Innovation Fund show that a loan was given to “Logfiller Limited” 18 months ago to support the development of “a sophisticated computer software solution that measures user experience of application and system use”.

The States Innovation Fund Board granted a £400,000 States loan to the company. Online records showed:

Logfiller is a private company founded in 2013. It is the brainchild of Jeremy Barker, Co-founder and CTO and is now the No.1 REAL User Experience company....

Politicians Pay, Patronage and Equity

Politicians Pay, Patronage and Equity

Place your duties before reward.

Appointing good people to government and paying them well is an ancient Confucianist concept .
Goh Chok Tong, Prime Minister of Singapore, National Day Rally Speech, 20 August 2000

The quotations above illustrate how easy it is to misquote an individual thinker, especially when the misquotation supports your own point of view, and thereby legitimises it.

I've selected those quotations because they sum up the divide between those who think that States membership is to some degree, even if paid, a public duty, and those who argue that you have to increase the pay of States members to what they are really worth.

It might be thought that most people, in these times of economic austerity, regards States members pay as very good indeed....