Practical politics is a funny thing. For example, you are allowed to lie, and often with impunity, but you are not allowed to suggest that same person may have lied, or else you face being shot down by the Chair, with the full weight of Standing Orders behind him. This is to make sure that we all behave like civilised gentlemen - even the ladies.
However, this blog is not about lying, per se, rather about election promises and the consequences for society when those promises are not kept or worse - broken. In researching for this post I came across several relevant quotes that I loved. I think my favourite was:
I will robustly oppose any attempt to increase GST above 3%.' This can still be seen on his website under the large heading TAX & SPENDING. The wording could not be less equivocal. If I vote to re-elect Senator Ozouf, not only will he not support any increase, but he will oppose it robustly.
This commitment to keeping GST at three percent was reinforced once again on 11th December 2008 in response to a question from Deputy Debbie de Sousa, when the Senator was seeking to be elected as Treasury Minister (by the States Assembly): -
Deputy D.J. De Sousa of St. Helier:
What guarantees can the Senator give that if the economy really does slow down, as expected, that he will not raise the rate of G.S.T.?
Senator P.F.C. Ozouf:
I can give the Assembly a categoric assurance that I will not bring proposals to increase G.S.T. We have created the Stabilisation Fund and this Assembly has agreed to put some £120 million to £140 million. That is the Fund that will enable us to take the economy through difficult times and I will have no hesitation in preparing scenarios for a downturn to keep Jersey people in jobs and our economy thriving. Unlike most other jurisdictions, we have the wherewithal to do that.
So, one can quite understand how those who elected him, both as Treasury Minister and into the States, might be angry, disappointed and quite frankly disillusioned to see that far from robustly opposing any proposal to increase the rate of GST, he is actually the very one proposing it!
Of course, the Treasury Minister has reasoned that his comments were 'made in good faith' and that the economic outlook has now changed, but it must be remembered that when he gave his promise to the States Assembly, this was already 2 months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and at any rate, the question was already conditional on the fact that the economy really would slow down.
It is not the place of this blog to speculate whether the comments of the Senator were made in good faith or not, however