Posted by: Deputy Ogier | September 25, 2013

Sea Defences

Despite the Environment Minister using cagy terms like “if Climate Change does occur”, “if sea level rise occurs” , we read in the official report of the Environment Department that  

1.2 Climate change is predicted to cause an increase in frequency and severity of storms  

1.3 it is generally known and accepted that sea levels are rising  

Yes, sea levels rise and fall naturally but not in the speed we are looking at. It’s the speed, the speed of change which species will have difficulty adapting to, the speed of change which isn’t natural, the speed of change which is man made, brought about by the release of tens of millions of years worth of stored sunlight into our environment over the last hundred years or so.  

I’m sorry to hear the siren’s call of the Minister’s take that somehow the jury is still out on climate change. Well it is if you put your faith in the 2 or so % of scientists who disagree with the 98% of worldwide scientists who are an authority on the subject.  On what other policy would you decide to side with the 2% instead of the 98% of scientists?  

The jury IS out if you believe the pressure groups, financed by the petro-chemical industry are telling the truth when they say that climate change isn’t man made and that we can continue to burn the very product they rely on to make a profit.  

The point of this is, we’re quite resigned to accepting that the levels of the oceans on this planet may rise but anything which this island could do to play it’s part in helping mitigate these effects over the time takes an incredible struggle.  

Yes, let’s build sea walls but no, let’s argue for 14 years about increasing recycling  

Yes let’s build sea walls because climate change is predicted to increase storms and flooding but no, let’s not have a photo voltaic array at the airport  

Yes let’s build sea walls because it is generally known sea levels will rise but let’s not endorse an energy report designed to reduce our energy use which is what the last Assembly did.  

To those who do not believe climate change is made made, what are the risks if you are wrong? The risks are that we do little which we could have done and the lives of our children and grandchildren will be increasingly harder, species die out, ocean acidification and a hundred other disasters. On the other hand if you are right, but yet we do take action, our societies will merely become more efficient with our use of energy, new industries created, cleaner less polluting sources of energy brought on line, very little downside . On a balance of risk, we should take action.

However, what we do is to accept sea levels will rise, build walls and other defences and turn down measures to reduce our energy consumption such as photo voltaic arrays, wind power, decent transport strategies, opening ourselves up to be a test bed for renewable energy so we can be amongst the first and second movers but instead we wait until technology is available off the shelf.   

We are not proactive enough when it comes to playing our part in mitigating the effects of what is causing us to raise our sea defences in the first place.  We’ll pass our sea defences, but we won’t prioritise photo volts.

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Posted by: Deputy Ogier | June 28, 2013

Population Management Regime – June 2013

Speeches

“It’s been a odd series of debates with some seemingly unusual voting patterns being observed over the past few days. I think that’s because the lines have been drawn not on a left / right split, perhaps as we are more used to seeing, but on a free market vs a protectionist split.

It’s clear those wishing to afford some form of protection to the people who have been living here for years, decades and in some cases centuries – a form of protection acknowledged as reasonable by international protocols which recognise an island’s right to protect itself and its population – it’s clear that those of that view have been roundly outnumbered by those who believe it is NOT right to continue protecting parts of the local market housing.

They’ve been outnumbered by those who think children born to local families are not local at 11, 12 or 13 years old but 14 years.

I’m teaching my nine year old where the clam beds are at Grande Havre, where the flat fish spawn, which sea weed you can eat, when it’s safe to go across the neck. She knows where Gran’s beach is, where you get cockles, she can already run or lope across a rocky beach, not bad for a nine year old. She in turn is teaching her younger sister to do bunchos. She loves the Babouins and doesn’t like budloes. She can grasp a nettle and not get stung, she can’t wait for the blackberries, she wonders what sloe gin tastes like…she can wait…

You try telling her at nine, she isn’t a Guernsey girl, you tell her she doesn’t have the right to live here, you’ll see a Guernsey Donkey dig their heels in.

It’s been said already that this assembly in this debate

“gave away rights precious beyond words, rights generations of our predecessors fought and died for, rights that were not even theirs to give”

Not my words, but strong words from someone outside this chamber, and like Deputy Trott’s source, it shows the depth of feeling being discussed in the community.

I firmly believe we need this new population management regime and we’ve fixed many problems but we’ve also lost something today and in this civilised debate with its lack of passion, it went with barely a whimper.

Deputy Harwood did say this debate would be the defining moment of this States, it was

This general lack of protection for islanders won’t be felt immediately but over the longer term it will have an effect. We hear of local families moving away from the island because it is getting too expensive, because their children can’t reasonably look forward to affordable homes – we’ve done nothing to fix those problems here today, in fact it could be argued that we have not only continued these problems but added to them.

It may be to the benefit of the economic prosperity of the island that this be the case, perhaps lower income families may be displaced by better skilled, higher wage earning families which will be a boon to the coffers of the island.

But our population management regime should have been about fairness to all, but it’s been about equality.

This is the problem with equitable treatment. I recall the small cartoon of a mother and her two children trying to see over the wall to watch Vale Rec. They have all been treated equitably by being given the same sized square box which enables the mother to view over the wall, the teenager to just peer over the wall and the small child is left still staring at the wall, all standing on the same size of box. One size does not fit all, treating people equitably is not necessarily fair.

My grandfather was French, one grandmother was Scottish, my father was born and raised in Scotland, I’m not xenophobic, I welcome much needed essential workers coming to the island, coming to this safe harbour because it’s getting a tough world out there and Guernsey is a wonderfully safe, beautiful, prosperous place to live and work. I do think however, that those living here already should be afforded some form of protection, whether it be that their children qualify for residence quicker or whether it’s that a section of the housing market is protected. This Assembly has thought differently and Guernsey should recognise that their island is changing and will continue to change and may change faster from this point in.

There may be some friction between this new direction and the aims of this assembly to maintain and enhance our unique cultural identity.

This debate was indeed, the defining moment of this new Assembly”

Posted by: Deputy Ogier | May 11, 2012

Elections over

What in incredible day, I say day but I really mean morning; it was all over so quickly. An event which would take all day in the old Assemblies went through with barely a ripple. Whether this is a mark of a new streamlined corporate approach or a symptom of political inexperience may be exposed in due course but from where I am sitting it looks to me like the first opening moves of a new purposeful Assembly.

Since the new machinery of government changes in 2004 we have not had the Ministers and Chairmen nominations go through completely unamended. The records will need to be checked but I find it difficult to believe there has been an election to fill States committees before 2004 where the chairs of committees did not receive a few unsought guests.

What this means is that there is no excuse. There should be clear accountability. The teams have been carefully picked by the Ministers and Chairpersons to work well together and to match skill sets with departmental and committee needs.

Everything is now set, we have 6 new Ministers, 4 new chairpersons and 22 new States members. If ever there was a clear-out this has been it. This is a change of government of revolutionary proportions, the old swept away and a fresh new wave of enthusiastic, dedicated States members parachuted in by the electorate to bring about meaningful change.

Somewhat tongue in cheek this change is being called the ‘Sarnian spring’ by some politicians and observers. As changes of government go, replacing nearly half the members in one fell swoop is pretty revolutionary. This has been achieved through the legitimate democratic process without bloodshed, rancour or instability. As an advert for the concept of democracy its pretty resounding. The people of Guernsey wanted wholesale change; that has been delivered.

Viva la revolution.

Posted by: Deputy Ogier | May 10, 2012

Membership Elections

It’s been a funny time this week. We had the ministerial elections on Tuesday followed by a bank holiday, giving ministers one furious working day to find a good fit of four more members for their department or committee,  eight in the case of scrutiny committee before elections on Friday.

One Minister expressed dissatisfaction at the process which gave him so few precious hours to fill a team which had to get on together for four years. He wondered whether the Ministers should attempt to sit down together and allot spaces for Deputies after the Ministerial election and inform colleagues where they had been placed.

That’s perhaps taking things too far, but is it right that Ministerial choices are challenged? As former Deputy Peter Roffey writes, on one occasion the Assembly voted for none of his choices. Should a Minister be sent to run a department without any of the tools he or she feels they need?

As the day draws to a close however, most departments have published their nominations. We haven’t heard from any of the committees as yet. The Committee elections come towards the end of business after the Departments and usually act as a sponge to soak up those who did not find a departmental place or those who only found one of their first choices. As such, the committees tend to suffer from poor member selections, ill fits and mismatched skill sets which doesn’t start them off on a strong four year footing.  The departments by comparison look like solid units of matched skill sets which will give them a fighting chance.

Posted by: Deputy Ogier | March 17, 2012

Welcome

Hi

Thanks for visiting

I have put my manifestos above so you can see what I have said down the years and maybe compare what I said I would try to do with what I have achieved.

Sometimes it’s like trying to steer a super tanker with 47 pairs of hands on the wheel!

People warned me things wouldn’t change overnight and they were right; I am often dismayed by the slow pace of change.

Despite this however, we do have new schools built, a new Hospital wing and a new waste strategy based around high recycling so there are some positives.

This coming term we will need to eliminate the £27m structural deficit or ‘black hole’. It is intended that efficiency savings will largely eliminate this deficit: up to £31m per year by 2015 through the Financial Transformation Program, £6.5m of that this year. Indirect taxes are an option, but in my view the people of Guernsey have already done their bit with wastewater charges, waste charges & increased social security contributions. We must reduce our deficit in a way which does not impact on islanders indiscriminately by ensuring that we target individuals and companies most able to contribute and that is NOT through GST.

I am happy to take any questions and my contact tab above will let you know how to get hold of me.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @DeputyOgier.

Best wishes,

Scott

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