Saturday, 28 February 2009

Alice in Wonderland

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

Deputy Tracey Vallois asked a question of our Chief Minister, Terry le Sueur, ahead of the strategic policy debate. This was to define "sustainability" so that all Members knew his understanding of the term ahead of important debates.

The JEP (25th Feb 2009) quoted him as saying (and this needs preserving for posterity just to show the colossal ignorance/blind-eye-turning we have in our senior politicians).
"Sustainability is a difficult thing to define," said the Chief Minister. "There are various definitions and interpretations. As far as I am concerned, sustainability refers to the ability of the Island to continue in a financial manner for a long time into the future, recognising circumstances and environments." He added that one should look at the Island's policies as a whole, rather than deciding on the sustainability of any particular one.

And he suggested that Islanders should ask whether policies delivered for Jersey and whether they would continue to do so.

It was often easier, he said, to think in terms of what was not sustainable and used the example of people who argued that a certain population level was not sustainable.

Sustainability as a concept is rooted in the realisation that there are too many people having too much of an impact on the Planet. The unavoidable logical consequence of not changing this is an inevitable deterioration in the Planet's ability to support us. Unless we adopt sustainable methods of living, then plainly our future will be - well, dear reader, you do the math.

Once the non-sustainable nature of humanity's current civilisation is recognised by someone, it is highly irresponsible for them to continue advocating business-as-usual but unfortunately this is our Chief Minister's basic position. When he talks about "sustainability" he clearly means "how do we sustain business-as-usual?"

I think we can now openly describe him as highly irresponsible because we sent him a copy of the New Scientist (16 October 2008 ) special feature "How the economy is killing the Earth" which lays out in stark detail the future. Here is part of it

In fact we sent all of the States Members a copy and assuming a) they read it and b) they understood it, we should have been able to look forward to them all making highly responsible environmental and economic decisions from then onwards. Fat chance! They completely failed to take into account the climate changing carbon footprint of continuing with an incinerator policy, so nobody should hold their breath, while waiting for sustainable decision making, anytime soon. Indeed, Constable Mike Jackson who is the Minister for Transport and Technical Services (the Department who planned and ordered the incinerator) said of Deputy Daniel Wimberley (who brought forward the proposition to cancel the incinerator)

"He seems to think we should all revert to living in caves and wearing animal skins. With all due respect, the Deputy has gone stark, raving bonkers"

BTW, Deputy Wimberley at no point said anything like that! - it is just the sort of appalling misrepresentation we have to suffer over here from too many of those who mysteriously (to many) get voted into office, of which Senator Terry le Main is probably the main example (his speech in this debate was a classic...). We even had a bona fide global warming denier nailing her colours to the mast in the debate!

To any readers outside the Island - take pity on us because unfortunately cretinous beliefs and comments are commonly expressed over here by the-powers-that-be. What is particularly galling is that these people are so arrogant that they actually think they're being smart or knowledgeable! You simply couldn't make it up!

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