For goodness sake! Don’t keep asking us what you should be doing

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From John Clennett.

I WOULD like to congratulate Peter Body for his realistic appraisal of the latest Strategic Plan.

I have always understood that the job or duty of a politician is to govern, or at least that’s what they tell us at the hustings.

The politician’s duty is to identify areas or circumstances where government action is required, to formulate policies to deal with the identified problem, and to give instructions to implement those policies.

Sadly, following success at the hustings, this is not what we get. What we get is effectively no more than a wishlist with a number of bland statements, some of which are incompatible with others. Having spelt out that the Island is in for a hard time, the politician concludes by asking the electorate what steps they would like to be taken. It’s akin to a doctor asking his patient what medicine he should prescribe.

To expect the public to plough through reams of verbiage and then come up with meaningful suggestions on subjects on which the majority will have had no access to relevant information is plainly nonsense.

Such an approach is bound to end in failure. No doubt various minority groups will make strong representations which politicians with an eye to the next elections will accede to, even though they may be incompatible with the wider needs of the electorate as a whole. To imagine that a consensus of the whole Island will emerge, in respect of unpalatable measures to be taken for some, is cloud cookoo land.

What in my view the public are looking for is a detailed plan of campaign, properly costed, emanating from the Council of Ministers, spelling out in detail what they are proposing and the expected effects of their proposals. The ministers have access to information and advice far greater than ordinary members of the public. Only thus will the Council of Ministers be in a position to gauge whether their proposals are acceptable.

Ministers are now reasonably paid, and in my view it is a dereliction of their responsibilities if they look to the public for suggestions as to what to do, and do not themselves come up with a properly formulated policy for the future. The success or otherwise of their policies would of course come up for judgment at the next elections.

Couelle Cottage,

Le Coin,

St Ouen.

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