Sunday, March 21, 2010

SHONA'S ORAL QUESTIONS FOR MARCH 23rd 2010.

Question One: to The Chief Minister

"Following on from the rejection of P9/2010 on 23rd of February 2010, when he stated that he would be appointing an independent expert in the shortest possible timeframe to undertake a review as to whether procedures with the suspension of the Chief (Police) Officer were correctly followed, will the Chief Minister inform Members whether the expert has been appointed and when the findings will be published?"



Question Two: To the Minister for Social Security

"Would the Minister inform Members, since the implementation of Income Support, how many recipients under 25 have applied for the Housing Component and how many have been refused?"

30 comments:

  1. Question one would be better read saying, why the hell do we need an independent "expert" to tell us all something we already know, it wouldn't be a stalling tactic employed by the Chief Minister would it?

    Ian (P9-26) Le Marquand has said the original suspension was dodgy and so did the Royal Court! What we want/need to know is who orchestrated the original suspension, what part did Bill Ogley and others play in it? And just as importantly what were their motives?

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  2. Voiceforchildren

    Subtle as a flying mallet but correct in intent I am sure. Can't imagine that pitching a question like that would ever get by the Guardians of the Jersey Way though? But could be an interesting day on Tuesday with this and other questions. Maybe even worth a jaunt down to observe from the public gallery?

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  3. Do you think I should go down and ask TLS or ILM for an interview?

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  4. Deputy Trevor PitmanMarch 23, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    Yes!

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  5. Personally I think it is disgusting that Bill Ogley is being attacked like this especially by a blog run by the JDA. Please explain why you are behaving like this?

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  6. How can asking questions about very serious issues be the same as attacking an individual? All the time that I have been checking out this site I haven't once seen anything that could be called a personal attack. Certainly not within any official comment from any of the JDA politicians. But difficult questions have to be asked when things clearly aren't right. The suspension saga is just one such example.

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  7. It is all down to Power's word against Ogley's.

    So its a no brainer where this will end up - stalemate. Please JDA start using these question times for things more serious. This line of questioning does not solve the unemployement problem and you know I am right.

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  8. I agree with Mike, there are a lot of people unemployed and the JDA will not even pass a comment about it or do anything to help. Come election time this won't forgotton. An unemployed person in St Helier does not give a monkeys about the Power suspension and I agree it only excites a handful of people.

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  9. Mike & Anonymous #2:

    Actually the JDA Deputies are spending a good deal of time and effort helping to sort out glitches in the new Income Suport system, as constituency casework. This is of very direct and practical relevance to the unemployed.

    The post-Clothier division of the States into an elite of mightily powerful ministers and a mass of relatively impotent backbenchers means that big strategic initiatives to promote new business in the island are very much the preserve of the Council of Ministers, and simply being in the States is no longer sufficient to tackle such issues. There are huge global economic troubles that may make the unemployment problem beyond "solution" by anybody right now.
    So the non-ministers have to focus on the fruit that does hang outside the ministerial fence.

    The 98% of the working population who still have got jobs for now can afford to worry about the way justice has not been seen to be done anywhere in the whole HdlG/les Chenes/Syvret/Power bundle of scandals. Maybe it has been, really, but the failure to catch up with 18th century thinking on separation of powers and checks and balances means that nobody out of the loop can have any confidence that the dealings have been clean and straight, whether they were or not.

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  10. rather strange, Anonymous, how if you only read the questions you would see that Trevor was asking only this week about the unemployment situation at Klienwort benson.

    Why not write something genuine instead of this waffle. One of my best friends lives in St. Helier, is unemployed and cares very much about the Power situation as it goes to the core of our democracy As Judy Martin said to Freddie Cohen, GET REAL!

    If only the CoM had listened to the JDA and supported the economy through the downturn far more instead of taking money out effectively with pay freezes we would be in a whole lot better position now.

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  11. Anonymous #2 sounds like a troll to me. "Come election time this won't be forgotten" A stock troll phrase or you can call me Gertrude. The JDA Deputies are doing a stirling job of fighting for working people and long may it continue. Was it the idiot Rondel going on about how we needed more lawyers in the States the other day? Nonsense. We need more ordinary hardworking people of the high quality of the JDA4, Wimberley and Higgins.

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  12. I really don't think anyone can seriously accuse the JDA of not supporting the unemployed. A silly comment frankly.

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  13. "I really don't think anyone can seriously accuse the JDA of not supporting the unemployed. A silly comment frankly."

    Being unemployed in St Helier Number 2 I think I can and if you don't take this seriously then I will write a letter to the paper and really lay into the JDA and I am serious about this. This line of questioning is doing nothing for people in Number 2. The JDA are just on a self centred mission and the responses to my comment says it all. Now answer the question and stop taking the mick.

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  14. Anonymous #5:
    You have not really made whatever your point was supposed to be with any clarity.
    The JDA do take employment issues seriously. You can write to the JEP and claim otherwise if you like, but if you want it printed you will have to put it in clear English, and sign your own name to it. If you haven't noticed, Chris Bright is more professional than I would pretend to be, and he doesn't publish incoherent rants, whereas I often let people show themselves up.
    Both questions are of relevance to all Jersey people, including those in St Helier 2.
    What question are you rudely demanding an answer to, anyway?

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  15. Okay, well I don't want to be on social security hand outs for the rest of the year so please address some real issues for a change.

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  16. As a working taxpayer myself, I don't want to be keeping you on handouts, either. But nor do I want even more of my taxes spent on giving you a cushy job in a States department that doesn't really need you, just to get you off the unemployment statistics.
    So, the key has to be to make Jersey a good place to set up enterprises employing local people in good jobs to draw revenue from overseas. The classic example being the finance industry. The power to do that is now in the hands of the Council of Ministers.
    Anyway, if you have a credible scheme to do that, that has a realistic chance of being accepted from a backbencher's proposition, you are very welcome to join the JDA yourself and get us behind you.

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  17. I am not interested in this GP subject matter its too cumbersome for me to get involved.

    But where does the JDA stand on this 20 MPH speed limit proposal through the whole of St Helier which a deputy Wimberley is suggesting?

    Also does it not irritate St Helier deputies when suggestions like this are tabled by outsiders? Should deputies just stick to issues in their own parishes?

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  18. Jason:
    We have never considered the question of speed limit changes, at all. Our position on urban traffic is:-
    "The JDA call for investment in a greatly improved bus service on principal commuter routes and around Town, including the reintroduction of a “Hoppa” type service, as the only realistic solution to the present congestion and pollution. We feel that cheaper fares are the way forward, and believe that it is unfortunate that the terms of Connex's present agreement do not encourage them.
    We would like traffic management policies to become more focussed on the purpose of efficiently moving people and goods in and out of Town. We are also concerned about the volume of vehicles on the island’s roads, which puts a strain on both our infrastructure and on the environment. Whilst expanding the road-network might be appealing to some as a way to solve congestion, we believe this to be short-sighted and prefer moves that will ultimately encourage people out of their cars and onto more sustainable, greener forms of transport i.e. cycles and buses."
    I don't think any of our active members have ever expressed an interest in the subject of speed limits. I am probably the most interested one, and I would argue that we should not support Daniel's plan, if he asked us to.

    Deputies are sent by the parishes to deal with island-wide matters. It would be a dereliction of duty to confine themselves to parochial issues. The excuse for having Constables in the States is that they are supposed to represent the parishes, but they, too, have an overriding duty to take an island perspective on their States work. Besides, St Helier is Jersey's Town, not a self-contained enclave, and its roads are used by almost everybody.
    So, I would personally say that Daniel is in order to bring it in principle, but misguided in the actual substance of this one. 25 years ago the limit was still 40, but I don't remember pedestrians getting mown down left, right and centre.

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  19. Deputy Trevor PitmanMarch 27, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    In answer to Jason's question.

    No, it does not irritate me particularly that Daniel is bringing this - other than the fact that he has failed to discus his idea with any of the Deputies to the best of my knowledge.

    As an elected Member he obviously has the right to bring forward anything he, or those who might have contacted him and convinced him about, see fit. But given that a dozen or so of us meet regularly I am surprised that he didn't bring this up though.

    Will I support it? No. There is a clear case for such a limit in specific built-up areas, I fully accept. Making it across the board in St. Helier, however, is ridiculous in my view.

    Mind you, I also think allowing people to cycle the wrong way down selected one-way streets was, and remains, a bonkers decision.

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  20. The reason I bring this up is because it is obvious from Channel Online that some St Helier residents do not like the idea of a St Mary Deputy making suggestions for St Helier. In fact some seem very upset about it so should St Helier Deputies step in and say what they think about it now? Now I don't care for speeding motorists in town when it is close to 9.00 a.m. and young drivers who speed through town in the evenings but zebra crossings do their job in some built up areas.

    The other thing is that you say you do not recall people being mown down left, right and centre but sometimes you do have to jump out of the way and funny enough buses hurtle through town over 20 MPH for sure sometimes and they can be scary.

    I just also want to echo some of the comments I have read on here. There are a lot of people unemployed at the moment. 4 people I know in town have been on benefits for almost a year and they are understandably touchy people. There is a feeling that the Deputies in St Helier and not just from the JDA but independents as well (and its probably the same in other parishes), never seem to be around or involved with the people. Whenever any appear on Talk Back it is very rare that they talk about their own Parishes it is generally heavily involved in rivalry against the Council of Ministers.

    This is just a general observation but you have to ask why people do not bother to vote?

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  21. Deputy Trevor PitmanMarch 27, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    Interesting points.

    Given the significant number of contacts I get from people and the number of people that I meet week in/week out - my JDA colleagues likewise - I am not sure that I can agree with the view that Deputies are 'never around'.

    I am in St. Helier meeting people every week - again, like my JDA colleagues; in fact barely a day goes by without talking to/visiting people about problems. Geoff and Shona obviously made their name with their constituent work and I hope Debbie and I are keeping up that tradition.

    I accept, of course, that different Deputies approach to responding to people will vary.

    Personally , however, as a number of people could attest, even on those occasions when someone has phoned up the office number whilst I am elsewhere and decided not to leave a message for whatever reason, upon seeing the answer phone light flashing I will still always endeavour to do a 1471 and call the number back.

    This happened only this week with a gentleman, who though from outside of St. Helier No. 1 decided at 9.30pm one evening that he wanted to raise the issue of the car parking situation at Ann Court. He was, I can say, somewhat surprised that a politician would take the trouble to get in touch with him even though he had left no actual request to do so, no subject matter, or number.

    I couldn't actually do much about his concern in this case but at least I got back to him and was able to give him some details that he didn't know. I am also in the process of getting some more information to feedback to him next week.

    But to take this a stage further, if some people think all politicians 'do nothing' and 'are all the same' as you frequently hear then in many ways I think that it is not surprising. Take last Monday night as an easy and recent personal example.

    Having done a full days work involving Scrutiny, constituent meetings covering a variety of issues including health, income support, housing accomodation/eviction and sudden redundancy problems, in the early evening I then was asked to attend a Human Rights group meeting.

    Straight after this I had to write, print out and then deliver by hand leaflets informing all the residents of Berkshire Court about a meeting to be held to tackle security and anti-social behaviour problems that I was organising for the Wednesday evening.

    Would/could anyone else amongst the public know that I finished this at about 9.40pm and then came home to do my paper work and get ready for the next day's States debate? Obviously not. Maybe some of us backbenchers should ask to employ the 'Communications Unit' oddly only available to spin the message of the Executive?

    Sorry, Jason, but I can only judge from what I see my JDA colleagues and I putting in. More often than not its a six day week as standard, and in fact the hours needed seem to be getting longer and longer as the past year as progressed.

    Maybe, given all of this, and the clear fact the Scrutiny really isn't working (as I have said many times) - stunningly evidenced, of course, by the revelations about failings in Health & Social Services this week and how an excellent Scrutiny review was ignored by the COM and their followers for no other reason than they didn't want to acknowledge the problems - one possibility to make better use of increasingly limited time would be to just drop Scrutiny work?

    After all, some politicians have played no part - or next to no part - in either Scrutiny or the Executive since the elections. Though I have been critical of them maybe they are actually right?

    As for talk-back, how many backbenchers get asked on anyway and certainly never to talk about their parish? The only time I have been invited on it was to talk specifically about my proposition on tackling youth offending. It seems to be pretty much the reserve of a handful of Ministers.

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  22. Trevor, I thought the word on the Street was that Scrutiny had no teeth so was therefore a waste of time? How many items (that you know of at a guess) have Scrutiny over turned since you got into the States?

    On the Phone-in and Talk Back, I thought it was just reserved for about 6 regular callers to rabbit on about cover-ups and Haut de la Garenne all the time? Its not politics when I listen in, just the same nonsence but a different day.

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  23. Deputy Trevor PitmanMarch 29, 2010 at 9:41 AM

    Matt.

    As I indicated, I generally share your view of the Scrutiny process not being effective. Indeed, I have said this many, many times. This is not to say that it is down to any lack of hard work by many of us involved or lack of good Scrutiny work/reviews.

    The problem lies within the way that the whole Ministerial system was set up i.e. particularly that the present system has no real teeth and cannot force the Executive to take on board even recommendations that would quite demonstrably improve a service etc.

    There are so many examples of this it would almost be comical if it wasn't so very sad. Just consider the Income Support review of 18 months or so ago that could have rectified and prevented so many of the current problems. The Vulnerable Childrens services review and the refusal to back a Committee of Inquiry that we are just seeing the fallout from now is another.

    Do these faults lie with those on Scrutiny - clearly not.

    The truth is, whatever your politics, that the whole Ministerial system needs to be re-examined. Indeed, I understand now why so many people who have worked in both are saying that we should go back to the Committee system.

    A two hour programme like Talk-back should be 'political' and I don't see any excuse for it not being so. It is also surely in the interest of good debate to have people on from all political perspectives.

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  24. Apart from Alan Breckon all Senators should be barred from Talkback. Or you could do a comedy show with two and call it "How to look stupid with Jim & Ben" The Laurel & Hardy of Jersey politics!

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  25. Matt is right, listening to the phone-in yesterday and it was the same regular callers and they were saying Syvret should be let off by the courts and allowed back! I am sure his scores of victims, none of which have been charged with a thing to date would also like to see him back in the Isalne so that they can now take action against him.

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  26. David Rotherham, are you also a member of the TJN seeing as you support Richard Murphy openly on his blog now?

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  27. Matt:
    No. I have never been a member of TJN. I don't entirely support Richard Murphy, either. However, I do read his blog, which is interesting, and I do think his Keynesian economic theory is a whole lot more sensible and realistic than the fashionable hard-right claptrap that he frequently attacks.
    If you are so curious about my position, you can trawl through IsThisJersey to find my criticisms of Murphy on Jersey.

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  28. Matt

    Excuse me for asking but are you the same person, as your style of writing suggests, who regularly writes random, anti-JDA nonsense on the sites of Channel and the JEP? I only raise this point because these rants I refer to also never have any real relevance to the JDA or even the issues being discussed in the threads.

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  29. Matt:
    Regarding your comments to me on Richard's blog:
    I am not a conspiracy theorist, and I don't hear conspiracy theories being propounded on either Channel 103 or Radio 2 - you must listen to different stations to me. However, I do see them on the internet, and occasionally in the JEP, so I am aware of them. And they do allege the situations which the UK has declared that it would intervene in. But, neither I, nor - I think - the UK Government have anything like proof the conspiracies exist, so I am not expecting direct rule anytime soon.
    The numerous cases that the "vile blog" dwells on seem to me to be like a row of beads. Maybe they are all on a thread I can't see, but I think they are simply resting on the same table top, made of low standards and archaic organisation.
    And as for turning the record over, that was my first comment on the subject, and this my second. I have a life, and I don't even get round to writing all the things I want to once, let alone keep repeating myself.

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  30. I question JDA theory, I don't write 'anti-JDA nonsense' on the JEP or Channel Online website.

    As a person who works and pays taxes in the private sector I find the JDA's unhealthy closeness to just the public sector and the TGWU slightly irritating.

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