From Chris Fairbairn.
WITH the branchage season upon us again, I’ve just got back from my own parish event where we checked that occupiers had trimmed back their hedges and cropped back their trees, a very necessary annual task.
My pal Herbie Le Coupier moaned that a £50 fine was unfair as his tree was a protected species although it hung dangerously close to the ground knocking a series of Austrian tourists off their bikes twice in one day. The fine was paid, and the tree was cut back and the object of the exercise was successfully completed.
However, this rang a bell as the other protected species, it appears to me, that needed to be cut back sit in the States. So, why can’t the States get ‘branchaged’?
With this in mind, recent recommendations from the Privileges and Procedures Committee that the States should trim back their numbers was put to them last week , and the turkeys once again voted out Christmas, and voted to stay the same, although the JDA members rightly voted ‘pour’ the proposition.
To add insult to injury, States Members forced a pay freeze on their employees and awarded themselves a £1,000 pay rise, then increased States’ tenants rental rates by 2.5 per cent as the ‘coup de gras’. It seems that we have cutbacks forced on us, while the States seem immune to the current financial situation and their lives just get better.
To cap it all, as all of this wasn’t enough to prove to the voters that their actions were verging on lunacy, they have messed up their own future chances at a ‘doubled-barrelled’ election, having now voted to have all the elections on one day thus preventing them from losing at one and standing at the next, a shot in the foot for them and thank goodness for that.
I have a compact bunch of friends who would love to do the job free of charge and set a better example to Islanders when they’re not fishing, rabbiting and farming. It was no wonder that I won yet another three tons of mature vraic on the outcome of the vote on the reduction of Members from my ‘honest bookie’ up north, although my side bet did less well – to get rid of the lot of them.
Years ago, the same question of reducing the number of States Members was believed to have been put to the P&R Committee, and a bold president suggested that 36 Members would do the trick just as well. Mind you, that was before they voted themselves to be paid the current £44,000 a year. However, all is not lost.
If you really think that you are getting a raw real from States Members, ‘ma belle tante’ Enid Brioche suggested that we make a list of those particular ones and pin it up on your bathroom mirror. Every morning, having read ‘The Post’ the night before, look at the list, add, or even subtract names and, when the next round of elections comes along, vote accordingly.
I suggest that the outcome might well act as the long awaited ‘branchage’ of the States, and with a little luck we could land up with the correct amount of the right sort of Members being elected, saving millions of pounds. If this sounds good to you, phone Auntie Enid on North 24 for further details.