Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Geoff Answers Ben Queree

Deputy Geoff Southern's letter to the JEP, responding to Ben Queree:-

The careful reader of Ben Queree's column (8th June) would draw the clear implication that my motives in bringing a motion of no confidence in the Chief Minister were solely based on opportunistic electioneering. Such an accusation would be fair (but mistaken) if coming from from a rival candidate, but totally inappropriate when expressed in the island's only newspaper about one of nine candidates in a by-election. I am grateful therefore to the Editor for granting me this right to reply.

Ben Queree appears to have a limited grasp of the realities of political life. To oppose and defeat a major piece of the Council of Ministers' policy, no matter how ill-thought out and badly constructed, requires enormous efforts. The argument and debate will go on to September, and will pre-empt the budget decisions in December. It is not just a case of turning up and giving a speech on the day. The weaknesses and flaws need to be aired early and often in order to allow them to be firmly established.

The fact is there is no political coherence to the Comprehensive Spending Review. In the absence of a strategic agreement amongst ministers, and with no consultation with front line workers, it has been left to chief officers and senior mangers to produce the 2% savings. The States still has no evidence of what the full cuts (10% or £50m savings) will look like. Neither do we have any idea of what alternative tax changes might be acceptable to mitigate the cuts. We are making decisions in the dark.

An early and full debate on the overall strategic vision of the Council of Ministers in the serious context of a no-confidence debate is, I believe, legitimate. What has happened so often in the past is that some individual parts of the package will get picked off by members and defeated but the main body of measures will get bulldozed through. Scrutiny will do its best, but in the rushed timescale required, but it cannot amass the required evidence of the harm that these savage cuts will do to the workforce and to the most vulnerable in society. Scrutiny is in any case often ignored.

I have brought over 80 propositions, including votes of no confidence, to the States in my time and I know that timing is critical. The CSR debate needs to be had now, before it is firmly established as the only option. A no confidence debate, whatever the outcome, will set the context for the long campaign to come on this, the most serious issue which has come to the States in recent times. It will affect the quality of life of all residents for years to come. I maintain that my actions are appropriate, timely and based on a long-held promise to protect public services.


  1. An ex-Stuart voterJune 9, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    Fair answer. It is interesting that Stuart has been whining again on his blog about unfair treatment for Geoff from the JEP, yet tonight also has letters from other candidates too. Really I don't know what my ex-fave politician is moaning about. He has had loads of coverage over six long months for doing very little more than nowt sulking in London, pretending to be an investigative journalist or some such.

    What I would like to know from Stuart is what precisely of his recently published 'evidence' - and don't get me wrong, I share many of Stuart's concerns about the 'Jersey Way' - he could not have got hold of or published over here. From what I have read the answer to both probably, but certainly the latter, is absolutely nothing. Sad. Very sad.

  2. Geoff you are a windbag - your love of the sound of your own voice diminishes your message. I hope you weren't an English teacher! I have taken the liberty of editing your speech from 470 words to 145.

    "Ben Queree implies my motion of no confidence in the Chief Minister is opportunistic electioneering. A bit prejudicial coming from the island's only newspaper! I’m grateful for right to reply.

    Defeating the Council of Ministers is hard.
    Fact: Politicians aren’t deciding the 2% cuts - senior civil servants are.
    Fact: We have no evidence of what the full cuts (10% or £50m savings) will be.
    Who knows the tax implications?

    We need to debate this before the cherry picking begins. We can’t leave this to Scrutiny who are so often ignored.

    I have brought over 80 propositions and votes of no confidence and know timing is critical. The Comprehensive Spending Review debate needs to be had now, it is not the only option. This is what the no confidence motion is about - the future quality of life of all residents. My actions are justified to protect public services "

    See? Not hard is it?

    Give Syvret a clear run, please as he is the only person who can intellectually challenge the COM you are letting Le Gresley in who'll be eaten alive.

  3. Anonymous

    Will Mr. Syvret be challenging the COM from within the Chamber or from a pizza parlour/pub/sofa in London at the expense of the Jersey taxpayer?

  4. I have never voted for anybody in the JDA before but next Wednesday it will be a first.

    Stuart Syvret has had his time in politics and it is time he called it a day. Be an investigative journalist, be a carpenter, be a spokesman for the Jersey Care Leavers, but for goodness sake stop wasting everybody else's time in standing for more time in a Government you openly despised for so long.

    He has had nearly 20 years to change things and why can't he admit it that he can't because he is too disruptive?

  5. I do not agree with Geoff Southern on many things, but at least he tries to make a difference. Syvret is finished and will no doubt face a day of reckoning in court very soon.

  6. Sorry. Shona should have stood. The only woman - ok, so maybe Judy Martin too - in the States who gives a fig about working people and has the guts to stand up for them. A lone woman among this herd of men would have had a real shot at the title.

  7. Just a question, and I know this may just be down to having loads of work on, but Trevor 'Big Trev' Pitman seems to have vanished off this site the past two weeks. I know he has been at some of the hustings but is there a reason for the silence? This isn't a criticism either, he talks more sense and has more TF then all of the other new members put together. Just find it a bit odd.

  8. Big Trev took a rare and well-deserved holiday, and will be returning to the web as soon as he has caught up on the work that came in while he was away.
    Don't worry - we haven't got rid of him!

  9. All at JDA. Ted Vibert said three or four years ago that Ben Queree was "The worst damn journalist in the western world". Ted was right then and he is now.


  10. JDA

    I am a Stuart supporter and I would just like to say that not all of us are as sad as these handful of idiots who keep attacking the JDA now, and Geoff and Ted in particular. Though I support Stuart I can well believe that Stuart set all of this unpleasantness in motion because I have heard about the threats from within citizens media. I just wish everyone could now let it go and who ever wins focus on doing their best for Jersey's peoople. Other than that I will just add that Trevor and Shona are class and always stand up for the people who elected them. If that monirty of Stuart supporters start attacking you two as well please just ignore them.

  11. 'Big Trev' can you please get back on the blog soon!

  12. JC - Unfortunately, I have seen no threats or anything untoward in either Citizen's Media or Stuart's blog. Sadly, when I queried all this on another JDA posting I was informed that there were 'phone calls' which couldn't be produced, and when I then said it was all a bit of 'he said, she said' I was told that there were e-mails as well.

    To date these have not been placed in the public domain, which one would have expected to back these claims up. So, until that time, we are talking 'tittle-tattle', nothing more, nothing less.

    Trevor is a sound man for whom I have a lot of respect. Pity he is in the thick of all this.


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