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  • Priorities – and what’s not…
    January 11, 2019 by
    Like every Deputy in the States, I've had to cut my cloth – I'm left with a small but critical pile of things that, come hell or high water, I will try and see through to the end. I want to use this blog to talk about...
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  • Happy New Year 2019
    January 10, 2019 by
    Happy New Year. Perhaps it’s getting a bit late to say that – we’re already double-digits into 2019. But I’ll say it while I can: if you are reading this, I really do wish you and yours every good thing for the year ahead....
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  • 5 afterthoughts on the Referendum…
    October 11, 2018 by
    The votes are in and Option A – a single, island-wide election for all 38 States Members – topped the poll in the first and last rounds of voting. That means big changes for Guernsey and a very short window – only eighteen months – to get...
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  • 5 thoughts on the Referendum …
    October 5, 2018 by
    With five days to go until Guernsey's first referendum, here are five reflections on our current political system, its virtues and vices. They're not a direct commentary on any of the options, but I hope they might help to highlight what could be gained and what could...
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  • Billet Blog: 24 October 2018
    September 28, 2018 by
    The pace of States' business picks up in October, with an agenda that ranges from benefit rates to airport runways. A report updating the Rules of Procedure will provide some opportunities to improve the ways that States meetings run, and will no doubt attract a fair share...
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  • Billet Blog: 26 September 2018
    September 4, 2018 by
    The States reconvene on September 26th, and once again the meeting starts with the election of a Jurat. This is an important role within Guernsey's justice system and, as ever, it would be good to see a contested election with several good candidates – if this is...
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  • Criminal Justice and Prison
    August 28, 2018 by
    In early August, I asked Deputy Mary Lowe some questions about criminal justice policy. These followed her announcement in the States that the Committee for Home Affairs might need to look at alternative accommodation for prisoners, because the prison is getting too full. ...
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  • Billet Blog: 18 July 2018
    July 12, 2018 by
    After a couple of relatively quiet States Meetings, the July agenda is full of interesting business, with seven policy letters – including proposals for the future of air transport licensing, and the publication of the KPMG housing market report – and a requete on the future membership...
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  • Billet Blog: 5 June 2018
    June 3, 2018 by
    The States will meet twice in June, and both meetings are significant. The first meeting starts on 5 June with updates to the Policy and Resource Plan, and is followed by ordinary business of the States. The second meeting will begin on 26 June, with consideration of...
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  • Assisted Dying
    March 25, 2018 by
    It is amazing how much can change overnight. As a parliament, we've gone from squabbling over environmentally-friendly buses to intense debate on matters of life and death. The bid by seven States Members to introduce Assisted Dying in Guernsey started quietly: when the proposals were published, we...
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  • Billet Blog: 21 March 2018
    March 15, 2018 by
    The March States Meeting, which begins on 21 March, is likely to be fairly short again, with only a couple of significant papers. There will be a general update on the work of the Committee for Economic Development (given by its President, Charles Parkinson) and an update...
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  • Billet Blog: 28 February 2018
    February 27, 2018 by
    I’m sorry I haven’t been writing many of these recently. A series of winter colds have eaten into my time, so I’ve had to focus mainly on Committee and sub-Committee work. Despite the snow today, I’m hoping this is a turning point! Here’s a short blog on...
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  • Billet Blog: 29 November 2017
    November 28, 2017 by
    After a quiet spell in the middle of the year, the States’ agendas for November through to January are much heavier, with the Budget just gone and important topics from the future of health and social care, to the shape of secondary and post-16 education, coming up...
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  • Billet Blog: 18 October 2017
    October 12, 2017 by
    The agenda for the States Meeting on Wednesday 18 October is light even by the standards of the past year, and it is likely to be a very brief States Meeting, unless it is brightened up by a lively period of statements and questions at the start...
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  • Billet Blog: 27 September 2017
    September 22, 2017 by
    The States Meeting starting on Wednesday 27 September is likely to be a fairly lively debate, particularly on the issues of College funding and the wall at L’Ancresse. In June, the States agreed that the Presidents of different Committees should take turns giving a general update at...
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  • Billet Blog: 6 September 2017
    August 25, 2017 by
    The States last met on Friday 30 June (although Committee meetings and parish work have continued throughout the summer). We reconvene on Wednesday 6 September, kicking off the second year of the 2016-2020 States’ term. The agenda for the first meeting is light, but a fairly wide...
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  • Voting Record – June 2017
    June 30, 2017 by
    Voting Record - June 2017...
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  • Billet Blog: 7 June 2017
    June 5, 2017 by
    There are three States Meetings taking place in June, with the first on Wednesday 7 June. The later meetings are meatier, with the annual Accounts and a debate on Island-Wide Voting taking place in the 20 June Meeting and the next phase of the Policy and Resources...
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  • Voting Record – May 2017
    May 31, 2017 by
    Voting Record - May 2017...
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  • Voting Record – April 2017
    April 30, 2017 by
    Voting Record - April 2017...
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  • Billet Blog: 26 April 2017
    April 25, 2017 by
    There are only a handful of items on the agenda for the April States Meeting, most of which are legislation for approval....
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  • Voting Record – March 2017
    March 31, 2017 by
    Voting Record - March 2017...
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  • Billet Blog: 29 March 2017
    March 28, 2017 by
    The main issue for the March States Meeting is likely to be the decision on whether or not to commence the Population Management law, with challenges to the new regime having started to emerge over the past few weeks. It will be a lively debate, with strong...
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  • Voting Record – February 2017
    February 28, 2017 by
    Voting Record - February 2017...
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  • Protest and Celebration
    February 21, 2017 by
    Last night, islanders met in the Sunken Gardens to protest the policies of US President Donald Trump, and to celebrate the values of diversity and tolerance which he seems to threaten. The protest began with a group of concerned citizens who wanted to stand in solidarity with...
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  • Billet Blog: 15 February 2017
    February 13, 2017 by
    I’m sorry not to have blogged for the first couple of States Meetings this year. Finally back in the habit for the second February meeting, which will take place on 15 February. This one continues a pattern of relatively light agendas (which will probably suddenly get much...
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  • Voting Record – January 2017
    January 31, 2017 by
    Voting Record - January 2017...
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  • Education – Open Letter
    January 6, 2017 by
    Following a leak to BBC Guernsey of correspondence between some States Members, I sent the following email and attachments to all colleagues yesterday (5 January '17):...
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  • Voting Record – December 2016
    December 30, 2016 by
    Voting Record - December 2016...
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  • Billet Blog: 14 December 2016
    December 13, 2016 by
    ...
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  • Motion of No Confidence – ESC
    December 9, 2016 by
    The email below was sent to the five members of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture (Deputies Paul Le Pelley, Carl Meerveld, Andrea Dudley-Owen, David de Lisle and Marc Leadbeater) earlier this afternoon, in the names of Deputies Emilie Yerby, Charles Parkinson, Jonathan Le Tocq, Dawn...
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  • Billet Blog: 30 November 2016
    November 28, 2016 by
    This meeting is the third and final States’ debate in a very long November! The dominant issue will be secondary education – specifically, the question of whether to retain the 11+ or move to a non-selective system. This, and the other items of business, are discussed further...
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  • Speech – Policy and Resource Plan
    November 17, 2016 by
    Sir, I entered the Policy and Resource Plan workshops full of energy and enthusiasm to make it work. I left dejected and dismayed. I know I was more than a little petulant in the second workshop, and I apologise for that. But it had become very apparent,...
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  • Speech – Innovation Amendment
    November 17, 2016 by
    Sir, I hope the first part of this amendment is not contentious. Through the Public Service Reform Agenda, and the commitment to transforming services across most of our Principal Committees, we have already embraced the need to think differently, to be creative and innovative, in the way...
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  • Speech – Children and Young People
    November 17, 2016 by
    Sir, The aim of this amendment is simple. No plan for the Future of Guernsey is complete without referring to our most important asset and investment for the future – our children. The whole spirit of the Plan reflects a commitment to the children of this island,...
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  • Speech – Capital Investment
    November 17, 2016 by
    Sir, I have the dubious honour of proposing the only amendment which the Policy and Resources Committee are specifically opposing. Wiser people than I might have advised me to hold on to my reputation a bit longer before coming out as a trouble-maker – but that cat’s...
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  • Speech – Fiscal Framework Amendment
    November 17, 2016 by
    Sir, This amendment replaces Amendment Five, which I was due to propose and Deputy Langlois to second, and which we have withdrawn. We have agreed the revised wording in this amendment with the Policy & Resources Committee, and I’d like to record my thanks to them for...
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  • Billet Blog: P&R Plan – Phase One
    November 14, 2016 by
    I had the honour of attending the Youth Commission’s annual “Youth Works” conference yesterday, and taking part in a workshop with the Youth Forum, who are preparing their plans for next year. We learned a useful approach to making plans. It goes like this: take a large...
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  • Voting Record – November 2016
    November 4, 2016 by
    Voting Record - November 2016...
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  • Speech – Residence Test on Supplementary Benefit
    November 3, 2016 by
    Sir, I will limit my speech to one main item. As Deputy Le Clerc indicated in her opening speech, Deputy Gollop and I have – in his words, I believe – gone rogue on Proposition 23 of this report. I can only apologise to my fellow Committee...
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  • Speech – Budget 2017
    November 1, 2016 by
    Sir, The progressive intention of this Budget is welcome, although its progressive credentials hang entirely on two measures: Document Duty, which is being reorganised in a way that should reduce the cost of buying housing at the lower and mid-range of the market; and the withdrawal of...
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  • Billet Blog: 1-2 November 2016
    November 1, 2016 by
    The first of three States Meetings in November (we meet again on 15 November to talk about the Policy & Resources Plan, and on 30 November to debate other business, no doubt including the future of secondary education) will begin with the Budget, and will also include...
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  • Voting Record – October 2016
    October 30, 2016 by
    Voting Record - October 2016...
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  • 6 Households, 3 Reports, 1 Budget
    October 28, 2016 by
    The States is considering three really important policy letters in November: the 2017 Budget, which raises taxes and directs government spending for the year ahead; the annual report on Social Security Benefit and Contribution Rates for 2017; and the Policy & Resources Plan (which I’ll only touch...
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  • Speech – Affordable Housing Amendment
    October 12, 2016 by
    Sir, Deputy Ferbrache began by urging us to make the right decision, having carefully considered the arguments. I fully agree with him. I therefore rise simply to add a couple of items to the evidence he laid before us, which I would ask members to consider before...
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  • Billet Blog: 12 October 2016
    October 10, 2016 by
    The October States Meeting will be dominated by the Island Development Plan – which I have blogged about separately here. There are a few other items of business, which I have covered briefly below....
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  • Island Development Plan
    October 9, 2016 by
    The Island Development Plan, or IDP, is a baptism of fire for us new States Members – over a thousand pages, spread over two reports and eleven appendices, plus extensive supporting guidance and technical background. It is also the first time, for many of us, that we...
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  • Statement – Supplementary Benefit
    October 3, 2016 by
    The front page of today's Guernsey Press carried the news that Deputy John Gollop and I dissented from one proposal in the Committee for Employment and Social Security's annual policy letter on Benefit and Contribution Rates. For the avoidance of doubt, we fully support all the other...
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  • Voting Record – September 2016
    September 25, 2016 by
    Voting record - September 2016...
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  • Speech – Extradition Legislation
    September 21, 2016 by
    In rising to speak on this policy letter, I must begin by placing it in personal and political context. The personal, then. Anyone who has visited my flat will know that it is pretty much furnished, insulated and decorated with books. That’s hardly a surprise. But a...
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  • Question on Pre-School
    September 21, 2016 by
    Sir, this Assembly will know from the development of the Children & Young People’s Plan that the early years of a child’s life are where the most profound difference can be made in terms of their life chances. It appears that a scheme as designed by this...
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  • Billet Blog: 21 September 2016
    September 11, 2016 by
    The first States meeting of the autumn was over in a morning. All the items were passed, with very little debate. The second meeting, on 21 September, is likely to have more substance – and this blog is longer as a consequence. Key items include updating our...
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  • Question on Recruitment
    September 7, 2016 by
    Sir, the stop and check recruitment process has an obvious appeal and the savings so far, of course, are welcome – although they are only one third of a percent of the 2015 pay spend. But I would submit that it is neither good nor efficient governance...
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  • Billet Blog: 7 September 2016
    August 30, 2016 by
    After a quietish summer, the States will meet again in just over a week's time: on Wednesday 7 September. There are two States’ Meetings next month – the second begins on 21 September. From then, it is all systems go until the end of the year. This...
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  • Prevention and Health
    July 18, 2016 by
    Every year, about 20 people in Guernsey and Alderney under the age of 75 die of liver disease. On average, 19 of those deaths (95%) are thought to be preventable. Likewise, around 35 people die of respiratory causes before their 75th birthday, and 22 of those deaths...
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  • Voting Record – June 2016
    June 30, 2016 by
    Voting record - June 2016...
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  • Speech – Police Complaints Commission
    June 29, 2016 by
    Sir, reading through the Report, there were three points that sprang to mind. The first, as my colleagues have touched on, the lack of statistics in that Report. Because I am new to this, I went back through the history of how we came to have a...
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  • Question on Public Sector Transformation
    June 29, 2016 by
    Sir, a 3% reduction in cash limits is significant, and will probably require policy choices; yet, as I understand it, these targets have been agreed at an operational level. How will the two be reconciled in cases of conflict?...
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  • Billet blog: 29 June 2016
    June 28, 2016 by
    Following today’s debate on the States’ Accounts for 2015, the States has an ordinary meeting tomorrow, Wednesday 29 June. We will consider the following items:...
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  • Maiden Speech – States Accounts 2015
    June 28, 2016 by
    Sir The way we organise our Accounts demonstrates what we value, and goes some way towards explaining why the States behaves as it does. What we see here is what we will get come Budget time unless we spend some time thinking about it now – as many...
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  • Brexit
    June 24, 2016 by
    I have a soft spot for smaller communities who want to withdraw from the jurisdiction of larger countries, although I deplore the violence that too often comes with such movements. Their longing for self-governance is no different to our own – and I am proud of, and...
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  • Guernsey in Statistics
    June 20, 2016 by
    Last week, States Members met to define a vision for Guernsey and Alderney: the heart of our plan for the next four years and beyond. I blogged beforehand about what this might involve; the Policy & Resources Committee released a short statement afterwards about what we had...
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  • Policy and Resources Plan
    June 12, 2016 by
    Soon after the Policy & Resources Committee first met, it was announced that all States Members would be invited to two workshops to help shape the vision and direction of travel for government policy, for the next four years and beyond. The first of those workshops takes...
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  • Billet blog: 8 June 2016
    June 2, 2016 by
    Following a month of elections, next Wednesday (8 June) is the first ‘proper’ meeting of the States – a meeting where we will begin to discuss policy proposals and approve legislation....
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  • Voting Record – May 2016
    May 31, 2016 by
    Voting record - May 2016...
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  • Inductions
    May 27, 2016 by
    This week has been a whirlwind, as we have all been getting to know our new Committees. I have been on the hospital site every day, with Health & Social Care meetings held in the heart of the PEH, in the Vauquiedor Office, and in the award-winning...
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  • Committee Roles
    May 19, 2016 by
    If you had told me what Committee responsibilities I would take on in the States, a month ago, I would not have believed you. I would have sat myself down and given myself a stern talking to. Today, I was elected as an ordinary member of the Committee...
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  • Speech – President of the Overseas Aid and Development Committee
    May 18, 2016 by
    Sir, Compared to the challenges some of my colleagues are taking on today, Overseas Aid and Development is a quiet little job. It does not have any policy-making responsibility: rather, its role is to fulfil a policy made at the level of the States, to distribute around...
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  • Question to E&I Presidential Candidates
    May 11, 2016 by
    Sir, my interest is in inclusion generally and, of course, physical accessibility is only one part of that, but being unable to physically access a place does send people a very clear message. What is the view of the candidates on the role of inclusion in shaping...
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  • Question to ESC Presidential Candidates
    May 11, 2016 by
    How will candidates ensure that the voices of children and young people are heard in the shaping of our education policy?...
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  • President of Policy & Resources
    May 6, 2016 by
    On matters of policy, our new President of Policy & Resources, Gavin St Pier, and I have relatively little in common. He pushed for the closure of one of our secondary schools; I would prefer to retain all four. I am deeply sceptical of the wisdom of...
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  • Question to P&R Presidential Candidates
    May 4, 2016 by
    Sir, if economic stability is our greatest concern, the quality and sustainability of our health system must surely come soon after. How do candidates see the challenges in this area? And how will they and their P&R Committee support the Committee for Health & Social Care in...
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  • Disability
    April 7, 2016 by
    I’ve been involved in disability issues from the start of my career: during my second year as a civil servant, I became the officer responsible for developing the Disability and Inclusion Strategy, which was eventually approved by the States in November 2013. When I left the States...
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  • Education
    March 29, 2016 by
    The new States will have to hit the ground running on Secondary Education. In theory, the debate on selection is finished and the new Committee for Education, Sport and Culture has been sent away to evaluate possible three-school configurations for the new system....
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  • Deficit
    March 24, 2016 by
    One of the first challenges put to candidates on social media was to explain our position on the deficit. According to the T&R Minister, at the end of 2015, the States had raised £382m in tax and other income, but had used about £405m (£365m on public sector...
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  • Welcome
    March 21, 2016 by
    I'm delighted to announce that I am standing as a candidate for the West in the 2016 Election. Over the next few days and weeks, I'll post here about important and relevant topics - questions I've been asked on doorsteps, or at hustings, or issues that have...
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