After two weeks and what seems like an age since the start of 2017, we already have an indication of the way things are going. The Motion of No Confidence, unfortunately, was defeated but questions still remain about what happens next.
I am hopeful that the Committee’s plans for the next 6 months will become clearer at the January workshop even if the agreed 3 school model is being joined on the agenda by examples of the 2 and 4 school models!
Looking back at 2016, one trend which does worry me is that the debates appear to reflect what has been described as the new Post Truth era of politics.
Post–truth as an adjective which was chosen as the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2016. It is defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. Post-truth politics relies on the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored.
I have to say that, in the debates since I became a Deputy, I fear that objective facts are less influential as ‘in this era of post–truth politics, it’s easy to cherry-pick data and come to whatever conclusion you desire’.
It concerns me that the arguments based on evidence are not being given their due weight. Don’t misunderstand me, there are times when the evidence does not take into account the local circumstances and these occasions must be identified and dealt with in favour of the “Guernsey Way”. But when certain decisions are made when the evidence points to the contrary, it is worrying. In my experience, this form of decision making usually also means a delay in achieving a workable outcome.
In general, I use my skill and judgement to make a decision based on evidence. I said that this would be my approach when I stood for election and I will continue to do so. However, I had hoped that there would be more Deputies who did the same but, so far, I have been sadly disappointed.
Some may say that the way decisions have been made in Guernsey over the years has not changed and that Post Truth politics was created here. If that is the case, as Princess Leia might say, I just hope The Experts Strike Back.