Friday, September 25, 2009

Thank you, Senator Maclean

The Council of Ministers has been forced to reinstate the funding for the Millennium Town Park by one of their own members pressing the wrong button when it came to the vote. After many hours of debate -which will be available on Hansard (www.statesassembly.gov.je) in a fortnight or so - Deputy Geoff Southern summed up and called for the 'appel'. Senator Alan Maclean, formerly a Deputy for St. Helier No. 2 District in which the promised park and car park are to be built, had previously spoken against the proposition, and, one assumes, fully intended to vote against it, too.

But, he told the Greffier who was in the chair, the papers on his desk meant that the 'pour' button was pressed by mistake. The result, 23 in favour, 22 against. I missed seeing the look on the Treasury Minister's face as the Senator behind him tried in vain to have his vote changed, as I was too busy enjoying this momentous day in the States Assembly; there was even a burst of applause (most unparliamentary behaviour) over the traditional footstamping, and for States Members who have campaigned, argued, and pleaded for this particular promise by the States to be kept, it was an emotional few moments.

The four JDA members all spoke well, especially Deputy Southern, and there were persuasive arguments from the other St. Helier Deputies, apart from Deputy Ben Fox who inexplicably voted against. Daniel Wimberley, Deputy of St. Mary, made the best researched contribution, although Senator Maclean (how he must regret his hubris) chortled as he mocked the length of Daniel's speech. Perhaps the most compelling speech came from Senator Ian Le Marquand early in the debate, when he distanced himself from the Council of Ministers, recognising that the North of St. Helier Masterplan was simply a delaying tactic to avoid delivering the long-awaited preferred Millennium project for Jersey.

9 comments:

st-ouennais said...

An excellent result, not just for town residents, but for all islanders.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant- At last, a good vote in the States.

Back in I think it was 1997, I gave up lots of my free time to collect signatures, attend workshops and meetings in reference to the proposed park. I was one of many people doing this so collectively thousands of voluntary hours must have been given to this project.

For ages nothing happened except the millenium year passed by and a generation of children missed out. The promised park was to be a benefit to all of us and especially the local people and their children who live cramped up in the flat part of town with no-where to go close by that is communal and free.

So when I recently saw the COM plans and heard the spin, I felt kicked in the stomach. A promise broken by our goverment. What message is this sending out to young people? Not the right one.
Todays vote may have been won'accidentally' but the bigger fault is the sheer delay of this project and the loosers are the people. Did the COM really think we would forget or believe their spin....never.

Anonymous said...

Yes a good result by default but did Deputy Vallois really vote against or was my hearing faulty?

But now of course that half baked and expensive North of Town Regeneration scheme goes in the bin and another will have to be produced by Freddies Friends. Yet several Island Plans have demanded that similar area regeneration plans should be produced for at least 6 other parts of the built up area.

The Planning Office has failed to get to grips with these most important plans for decades and the next Island Plan is already overdue too. How much more planning incompetence can be heaped on the people of Jersey - but especially those living in the St Helier Ghetto?

Please make sure that no more work is done on the Island Plan until these mini-plans are produced, discussed and agreed.
New homes will have to go on country parishes land.

Anonymous said...

Senator alan toothpaste must be frothing at the mouth. Great result. It is so needed and the fact that the com did not win is very significant. Do I smell a little dissent - I hope so

Anonymous said...

Ho! Ho! Senator McLean, at your age I would have thought you knew all about pressing the right buttons!

Good result.

voiceforchildren said...

Simon.

Alan Maclean and the rest of the COM have been pressing the wrong button for years!!

Perhaps Connetable Mezbourian and yourself could start teaching the rest of the constables and COM which button to press?

I must confess to taking a bit of a shine to Le Marquand. I think it was Deputy Rondel who said "it was like stepping back in time when the Government did vote independently and not just follow the party line" So Hat off to him for "breaking rank"

The big question is "what Ministry has Tracy Vallois been promised"? She didn't take long to start towing the party line!

Nick Palmer said...

I hear the park has already been nicknamed the "Alan Maclean Serendipity Park".

It's a shame to see Deputy Vallois going native so fast - I was hoping her vote not to rescind the incinerator decision was an aberration but clearly she appears to have given up on long term strategic thinking and any intellectual analysis beyond the extremely short term, one dimensional stuff that too many of our civil servants peddle to the gullible. It looks like she has been sucked into the simplistic old trap of thinking she can "work behind the scenes". I reckon the 10 month old Deputy has been persuaded by the wormtongues that she'll get further, faster by "working within the system". This subtle corruption has swallowed up so many promising candidates along the way.

TonyTheProf said...

Yes while as he puts it (in Hansard) conservative with a small "c", Ian Le Marquand does seem refreshingly independent when he makes his mind up, and his arguments are often good (even if on occasion I disagree with them).

No joy on States Reform though. St Mary should perhaps look to twin with Newtown, on the Isle of Wight, which once had 14 houses and 23 voters!

Anonymous said...

I have it on good authority that a planning officer was listening to the debate last Friday and when the result was announced he told his colleagues (also civil servants), 'We've lost the vote'. And people still think the Jersey civil service isn't politicised!