Hello there, Apoligies for the terrible title for this blog, I must do better next time!
As I go back over my first 6/7 months as a new Deputy, there is much to reflect on, some good, some not so good, but the headline I would say is change is a foot & before you can run, you need to learn how to walk.
I knew, given my previous life growing up on the island doing jobs that put me in the eyes and ears of islanders, I had to take people on the journey with me as why I wanted to become a states member. Also given the very real disconnect and apathy currently towards their politicians locally & around the world. We must always push and ask for better from our leaders & this is a two way relationship and must go beyond parish boundaries.
From day one I jumped in with both feet, I have been learning, growing, challenging, probing, and working hard to learn, to fulfill my role plus my aims and goals. You have to listen, and communicate, share your thinking, be firm and stand by your well thought out and evidence based thoughts. Because if you are not authentic and move astray from who you are, people see through that and trust is harder to come by.
While I do not sit on the Government side of running the island with the council of ministers, that doesn't mean you can't play your part to influence and make an impact and improve policy and islanders life's.
That is why I am pleased to have achieved the start of this on Scrutiny. Myself and my new eager to work colleagues, hit the ground running on AND not just any old scrutiny work and reviews. But things important to islanders NOW and for me there can be nothing more important that Mental Health. It was refreshing to look back at my manifesto and see that issue and other things are front and centre in my work.
Our mental health review has been a huge commitment and work, but my goodness its needed because, frankly it is utterly shameful what we have allowed to happen to our fellow islanders. It's an echo with the issue with our health service and a further echo of what living in Jersey can be like. I won't go into detail as our report will be released at the end of January. But it will be blunt, raw and real. People are dying and that's on all of us.
Away from that huge piece of work I have been working hard on the past few months on my other scrutiny work including the future hospital and care of jersey children scrutiny. Again issues I talked about in my manifesto. While there has been a commitment and things slowly happening following the Care Enquiry, again I need more than words that don't connect with me let alone the young islanders/children suffering still.
The future hospital however is pure example of what I mentioned above in terms of aphty and distrust in the eyes of many. Its now become something so overblown, polarised and politicised that you can almost throw up your arms in despair to say to hell with it. But that can not be allowed to happen. The whole affair has been a real low point of local politics, it's taken too long, from an over ambitious (but needed) P82 Health Strategy.
I am sorry, but nobody involved before my time has come out looking good. I do feel sorry for staff and those who don't have any say over things, its so unfair to all of them. However coming in and trying to make sense of things, to try to move things on scrutinise and take a defibrillator to the shock that this mess is into life, you started to sense the start of another political stumble in an effort to stumble out of that mess. And for me it's simple, you can't fix a mistake by making another one.
We need to be better than that, we need to rise above it all, do the hard work of research, looking at facts, talking to people and listening. All of this above board, open, transparent when you can, respecting privacy and confidentiality when needed. Again I won't end this with a statement, this will come next month as we get to grips with this in the chamber. But we need a new hospital, we need a better accessible universal healthcare system, we need to do better. There are positive signs and I will contuine the fight for a health service for all.
I have posted my daily work streams on twitter and facebook so everyone can see and share what I am doing, there is a lot to do. I love my constituent & parish work. Helping people when they need support as well as helping with wider issues like speeding and our parish schools concerns has been so rewarding. I have also enjoyed being a member of the CPA alongside my other panel commitments, helping me become a better politician everyday.
Lastly my most humbling moment so far has been given the political responsibility for Liberation Day 75 in 2020. It is one of those moments in life when you really know where you are and what is being asked of you. It is thrilling, exciting, daunting but so important. We have 12+ months to work on giving the island the gift of an event that makes everyone feel valued and remember and pass that down for generations to come.
This can only be achieved by a team bringing together a wealth of talent, experience and islanders who passionately believe in this occasion, underpinned in a belief in community spirit. We will be listening and working together with those people and islanders so we can achieve what is possible. I can't wait to get going.
So in summary, I feel I have given it everything I have since raising my hand on the first of June 2018. I will continue doing exactly the same thing, asking questions, looking for positive solutions, working with everyone, pulling up Ministers and those with the power when they need it. Fulfilling my parish commitments as we continue to bring St Saviour more and more together. I will also continue to learn and not get carried away.
I do this because I am so lucky to have an amazing Partner in India, who is my rock. My two amazing children who are my life and my family and friends. I often say to people, I am still the same me. Daddy first, always there when anyone needs me, hardworking, but make the most out of life with good humour, hobbies, and my love of Spurs and the New York Jets (The latter really testing me this past season!)
I just wear a different jacket and sometimes a tie. I don't ever and will never take myself seriously, but my role in life as a daddy, provider, partner and now politician very seriously. I have no time for ego or acts of rudeness, snobbery and cruelty. We must be better. But equally must be the change we wish to seek for others.
I know it looks like things are politically moving slowly and still confusing at times, but behind the scenes slowly and surely, change is starting to breeze in like a jersey misty morning creeping across the bay. Hope is lifted.
May I wish you dear reader a Happy and Peaceful but productive New Year.