Monthly Archives: February 2008

THE TRUTH.

Dear readers

Sorry, I just haven’t had time to write a detailed account of today’s forthcoming TV documentary.

In essence, the spin of the Jersey establishment has been to claim that there have been no cover-ups; the any serious incidents of abuse were a long time ago at a long since closed institution.

They also claim that I had provided them with “no evidence”.

Essentially – the line of the Jersey oligarchy is:

“Yes, abuse has happened here – as it does in every community, and we will bring the guilty to justice. But it is untrue to say that there are any fundamental structural failings in Jersey’s system of government and its public administration.

The case exposed in the BBC film tonight destroys that argument.

Systemic cover-ups – concealment – appaling abuse – torture – sexual assault.

All documented in evidence – and most powerfully – the direct testimony of the victims.

Watch the truth.

Tonight – BBC 1 southwest regions. 7.30. ‘Inside-out’.

Sunday – a further program: 12.30, southwest regions part of the ‘Politics Show’.

Please watch – we owe it to the victims.

Stuart Syvret

Thank you.

Sorry to let you down again, but no big post tonight; I’m just too knackered.

As its only 12.48 AM, I thought I would get an early night – maybe even a bath – frankly, I stink right now – just have been too busy these sad days.

I try to be pretty liberal with comments on my blog, so you will see a couple that are very critical of my position and actions – though anonymous. Perhaps written by Jersey establishment spin-doctors? I believe these comments to be very wrong and misguided, but I just don’t have time to respond in writing just yet. But I will do when time permits – though not, perhaps, for a week or so. Higher priorities, ya know.

To the absolutely colossal number of e-mails, phone calls and supportive comments we have received – just – well, thanks.

I say ‘we’ because I am merely the front man – delivering the integrity, decency and bravery of many other people. If it were not for many of these people – I would not have discovered many of the awful facts.

I will, though, do a post during this Friday – to inform you of the significance and meaning of the forthcoming regional BBC documentary.

Thanks

Stuart

News of Jersey: the Truth.

To my loyal readers.

I’m sorry – but I can’t write much now. I’m more exhausted than I have ever been, and inundated with e-mails, telephone calls and letters.

That’s not a complaint; just a request that you forgive me if I’m unable to get back to everyone. I’m trying to prioritise my responses – but it isn’t easy.

But I should look on the bright side – it’s only 1.20 AM – so I’m getting an early night.

In yesterday’s post, I said I wouldn’t be at the Church service for the victims because I was meeting with some abuse survivors.

I cannot speak for how they feel, but for myself, I always gain great strength and renewed energy from talking with them.

Those of you who are following events in Jersey will know that the Island’s establishment have repeatedly asserted that I never provided them with evidence for my concerns. (Note to Frank: child abuse issues = precautionary principle; i.e., first step is to believe the victims.)

But the Jersey establishment assertion is simply untrue.

As the victims I met with on Tuesday evening and during Wednesday will demonstrate – very soon.

They gave powerful testimony to a film crew who I have put them in touch with.

It was a tremendously difficult and upsetting thing for them to do – but immensely brave – and very necessary.

The survivors wanted me to be present, and as I watched and listened, I had to fight back tears.

Both of sadness and of rage.

What these victims suffered – the abuse – the betrayals – the cover-ups and the concealment – proves the Jersey establishment spin to be the disgusting and festering pack of lies it is.

You can see this for yourselves – soon.

I’m not certain how fast the film crew can turn around this documentary piece – but I fully expect it to be quick.

It will be crucial viewing.

Watch this space – I’ll keep you posted as to the broadcast date & time.

Stuart Syvret.

OF MILLSTONES AND SECRET REPORTS.

[First published on 27.02.2008 – during the height of the Jersey child-abuse cover-up scandal – this posting is a key insight into the sheer, brazen, magnitude of British Establishment ethical bankruptcy – dishonesty – corruption – and undisguised contempt towards the vulnerable.]

My apologies for not posting once every day or so.

Those of you who are familiar with the present dreadful child abuse issues emerging in Jersey will understand that mere blog posts have to come a distant second in time rationing.

I’m writing this at 2.30 AM – many more days and nights like this and I will look even more wrecked.

I hardly know what to say – it’s been such a desperate odyssey. Children raped, battered, abused – possibly murdered.

It would be hard enough to deal with in ordinary circumstances; but I say, frankly, from a personal perspective – these have been very difficult days – well, a difficult year, really.

The international media attention which has turned upon Jersey is a very demanding thing to deal with. I must have had 100 missed calls on my mobile today alone.

But – I’m not complaining. As painful, as ugly, as the issues are – it is through such independent scrutiny we will better protect the vulnerable.

In order to facilitate the expression of the truth, I held a kind of press conference this morning. I came out of the doors of the Jersey parliament building – expecting maybe five TV crews and about ten print journalists. I was taken aback at the sheer size of the media scrum. It was pretty daunting in many ways.

The twenty copies of the confidential report I had with me, were devoured within a minute by the assembled mass of journalists.

I feel I should touch briefly upon that report – not for its contents – at this stage – but because of how my publishing of it was received by the Jersey media – and what further dreadful illustration that response gives of how these awful things were able to happen to vulnerable children – for decades.

Those who have read my blog regularly will know that I hold the Jersey media in extremely low regard – a view now comprehensively justified by events.

We must ask – is there another jurisdiction in the democratic world which would have these terrible abuses of children taking place – for decade after decade – right under the noses of the local media – and there be no meaningful exposé?

In, at least, six decades?

I have said publicly that the Jersey media are actually a part of the problem – a component in the cover-ups and concealment.

Consider the Jersey Evening Post, for example. Today I explained to the national press how I had leaked a copy of the confidential Sharp report to the Jersey Evening Post in the year 2000. They were very keen to get hold of a copy at that time – so when I gave the editor, Chris Bright, the deputy editor Rob Shipley, and the reporter, Dian Simon a copy of the report – face-to-face – in the JEP offices – I expected them to run a series of detailed articles.

The report is so damning – so apocalyptically bad – that no respectable newspaper would get a document like this and not run it.

The JEP didn’t print a single sentence from the report.

They attempt to defend themselves from my criticisms in Tuesday’s edition of The Rag.

It is truly pathetic stuff. But setting aside that which is merely lame in their response – let us instead look at a simple lie told by Rob Shipley – and one, incidentally, echoed by BBC Jersey and Channel Television.

So shamed – so embarrassed – are the Jersey media, at what is clearly an almost unbelievable failure of journalistic ethics and integrity – that even now, they can’t face the truth.

Shipley – like BBC Jersey and Channel Television – have asserted that they didn’t bother running the report story, back in 2000 – because the report had been published already, by the time I gave them a copy.

This is an utter and really quite tragic lie. The report was never “published”; it was guarded like gold-dust by the powers-that-be in Jersey.

Not sure who to believe?

Take up this simple challenge: find ANY publication of the Sharp Report – or as much as one paragraph of it – anywhere – not only prior to the year 2000 – but at any time prior to 2007?

Let me save you the trouble. You will find no such publication – because none took place. All of Jersey’s media are thus evidenced – overt – liars.

It demonstrably was not published. When people like Shipley at the JEP and BBC Jersey and Channel Television casually assert ‘it was published’ – they are simply lying.

The document was Top Secret – because it annihilates the Jersey Establishment.

The JEP recognised this – and being the ‘house-journal’ of the Jersey oligarchy – they buried it.

They buried it to protect the Jersey establishment.

Rob Shipley is simply a liar when he claims it had been ‘published’; lying –  as an excuse for the disgusting collusion by the JEP in the cover-up when they failed to report any of the key facts from the leaked copy I gave them.

Let us look at some of the sophistry engaged in by the Jersey media.

They all claim that the ‘findings’ and key-issues had already been reported.

No – they had not.

The conviction of the perpetrator; the failure of the other individuals involved, who had had to resign, was already public knowledge – prior to The Sharp Report even being concluded. So when the Jersey media attempt to pretend that “there was nothing new – no revelations – in the report” they are simply lying.

What the Jersey Evening Post didn’t report was the clear and un-ambiguous disgusting failure of those involved – their failure to protect children.

If this was not the case – could someone please produce for me the JEP leader comment which said John Le Breton – the then Vice-Principal who, rightly, had to resign in disgrace – should not be elected as a Jurat (a lay-judge in the island’s court)?

The evidence of the Sharp report is plain – and unambiguous. It demonstrates – in all its hideousness – the culture of cover-up and concealment on the part of the Jersey establishment.

And the failure of the Jersey Evening Post to use the report serves as another clear illustration of the fact that the Jersey media is actually a major part of the problem – a component of the cover-ups.

Would a community with respectable media suffer at least six decades of concealed and foul abuse of children – with virtually all of it going unexposed and un-punished?

How come the national and international media are tackling this subject with professionalism – and the Jersey media are still – even now – lying about their culpability in the cover-ups?

The simple dishonesty exhibited by the Jersey media was echoed in comments made by Senator Mike Vibert. He asserted that ‘the report had not been published’ (somewhat contradicting the Jersey media angle that it had) ‘because it would have identified the victims’.

This is completely untrue.

None – not one – of the victims are identified in the report.

The plain fact is that the cause of effective child protection would have been massively advanced by the publication of the report. The Jersey authorities decided it would be Top Secret – and quite disgracefully the Jersey media went along with that approach – even when I furnished them with the document in the year 2000.

Considering another interesting feature of Tuesday; it was a scheduled meeting of the island’s parliament, during which Senator Frank Walker – Jersey’s Chief Minister – was asked some questions – for example, concerning his catastrophic performance on BBC News Night on Monday evening.

In one of his answers he re-asserted his, apparently, routine tactic in response to the real appaling truth of events. He re-stated that I was merely motivated by nothing else other than a wish to “shaft the island”.

What was remarkable about this answer was not that he said it, – even now – when it must be plain to even the most disinterested observers that we are dealing with an extensive tragedy.

What was starkly revealing was that when Senator Walker repeated this personal attack upon me – it was greeted with the foot-stamping applause which is customary in the Jersey parliament.

If anyone sought an answer as to how things can have gone so badly wrong in this island – how so many children can have been failed – they could begin their contemplation with this event.

What does it say about the Jersey parliament?

We are at a stage when – clearly – multiple despicable abuses, crimes and neglects have been perpetrated against children – over a period of decades.

Even to the extent that the Police Force are searching for the bodies of vanished children.

And the States of Jersey?

They applaud a political, personal attack upon a member whose ‘offence’ has been to fight strongly for the safety and rights of children.

Another despicable voyage to the lower-depths by the States of Jersey.

The irony is, many States members will have attended the special church service on Tuesday evening which was an inter-denominational gathering to offer prayers for the victims.

In the morning – applauding Political attacks on the only States member to have really fought to expose the crimes against children – and in the evening, shuffling along sanctimoniously to church, to pray for the victims.

Only the members of the States of Jersey could be so stupid and so hypocritical.

Sadly, a fact which goes someway to explaining the concealment of these tragedies for decades.

The service was lead by the Dean – Bob Key – the head of Jersey’s Anglican community. In a television interview he quoted the Bible thus:

“And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name received me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea”.

I spoke this passage in a speech to the Jersy parliamnet before Christmas. I was shouted down, barraked, ordered to stop – and eventulay had my microphone cut.

Amazing – isnt it?

I say these words in December, as an expression of empathy for the victims of child abuse – and to speak of such things brings down damnation upon me from the States of Jersey.

Now – a little over two months later – the Dean Bob Key – a manifestly inadequate and contemptible little man – oppressor of the vulnerable  – and worming friend of the abusers – quotes these same words – and suddenly they are the most aposite expresion of compasion for child abuse victims.

It’s just contemptable – isnt it?

Shortly after the time of my speech being stopped, in correspondence with me, the Dean Bob Key was extremly equivical in his comments; he clearly didn’t support what I had said – or even – or even especially – my right to say it.

Why the sudden change of heart, Bob?

I didn’t go to the church service – resigning myself to the inevitable PR assaults upon me by the Jersey establishment for my non-attendance – because I was doing something vastly more important; I was meeting with some victims; listening to them; offering them support.

Now – as these events unfold – their story will be heard – soon.

And what their sufferings say about the Jersey ‘system’ is more stark and truthful than a hundred church services.

Stuart Syvret

JERSEY AND INTERNATIONAL SCRUTINY.

Just a very brief note.

I write this at 1.40 AM.

Trying to answer an avalanche of e-mails and telephone messages. I apologise to those I haven’t yet got back to.

From early Monday morning until about 11.00PM Monday night, I have been engaged, pretty well continuously, by the national and international media. And I would like to thank them for the attention they are bringing to bear upon the tragic child abuse saga in Jersey.

Painful though it be – it is only by confronting such issues and speaking openly that the failings of society can be addressed and the vulnerable protected.

Some Jersey politicians and establishment individuals condemn and criticise the involvement of the “external” media. To them I say this: if the authorities of the island, if its local media – had done their jobs properly – had acted with integrity and professionalism – most of these tragedies may well have been averted.

I’m sorry I can’t write more now; I really need to try and get some sleep.

I will just say thank you to all those people who have expressed support for the cause.

The victims, the whistle-blowers, and I really appreciate it.

Stuart Syvret

SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN.

This is a brief post.

Those who follow events in Jersey will know by now that the child protection disaster has become even more appaling.

The States of Jersey Police Force have recovered what they believe to be the remains of a child, buried within the old Jersey children’s “home” – Haute de la Garrene.

The early indications, as expressed by the Police, are that they may find further remains.

The work of the Police – which I cannot praise highly enough – will run its course – and the truth ‘will-out’ this time – even in Jersey.

For the present, I am thinking of the victims – how lost, betrayed and abandoned they were in their hour of need; how failed by our society.

Those who survived – and those who did not.

That the suffering and disregard of these little ones can have continued – largely undisclosed and unpunished – for decades – shows that something has gone very wrong with our society and our system of government. It is a disastrous failure to have in place effective checks and balances which has led to this catastrophe.

Can the polity of Jersey learn its lessons – and change?

I hope so.

But I fear not.

Even today – Jersey’s political leader, Senator Frank Walker – still fails to grasp the horrifying magnitude of what has taken place – and what it says about our government.

So divorced from any grasp of the truth – of reality – is this man, that he accuses me of making this disaster a ‘political’ issue.

This is the diametric opposite of the truth – as is shown by the evidence.

As the facts show – it was no decision, or wish of mine, to make this tragic and wretched episode a “political” matter.

That decision was his and that of his Council of Ministers. It was theirs alone – when they decided to have me sacked for whistle-blowing – and the heinous “offence” of “Undermining Staff Moral”.

That is what actually happened. It is well-evidenced.

Yet here is Jersey’s political leader still demonstrating a truly startling aversion to the facts – the truth.

When this is the culture of power in Jersey; when our “leaders” can so blithely turn away from the documented facts – can we really assume child protection to be safe and reliable today – in our island?

I don’t believe we can. For until the island’s establishment begin to understand the importance of the truth – of honesty – of the acknowledgment of things which have gone wrong – we are forced to assume that the culture of cover-up and concealment remains.

Stuart Syvret.

THE HORSFALL/WALKER YEARS:

Behind the Curtain of the Wizard of Oz.

The worst episode of government in the entire 800 year history of Jersey as an independent jurisdiction.

In these posts I’ve often written about the opinion management industry, and in particular its immense power in the island of Jersey.

You may ask, ‘What is the opinion management industry? How do I define it?’

The opinion management industry is a broad term which describes all of the media, advertising agencies, spin-doctors, politicians, PR agencies, corporations and so-on. Just imagine it as any person or entity who wants to, or actively does, attempt to massage, mould and lead public opinion.

This blog, for example, is my own, small and ineffectual attempt to influence people as a counter-weight to the vast tracts of bilge, irrelevancy and effluvia we are fed by the mainstream media.

As I’ve explained previously, the management of public opinion is even more important in democratic societies than dictatorships. For in democracies, you can only govern by consent – or, at least through passive resignation – on the part of the people.

In Jersey, the traditional ruling elite have recognised this for a very long time. In fact, until the arrival of a local BBC service in the Channel Island’s, the Jersey oligarchy actually owned all of the local media.

We can see the effects of this massive control by the opinion management industry manifested in many ways in the microcosm of Jersey. For example – and this is really quite extraordinary when you think about it; a truly remarkable achievement on the part of the Jersey oligarchy – a majority of Jersey people still regard – in the year 2008 – the concept of organised politics – of political parties – to be some kind of anarcho-commie threat to society.

The resultant “tradition” of independent candidates, of course, leaving the covert, de facto political party of the Jersey establishment unchallenged.

To those who live in a party-political environment, I can see that the arrangement may have some superficial appeal. But does the Jersey system lead to a parliament largely peopled by independently-minded, strong-willed individuals? An assembly which more accurately reflects a cross-section of society than would a legislature filed with party apparatchiks?

I’m sure I don’t really need to answer that question directly. You know – yes, you know – the answer right now.

I will though, illustrate the situation a little. The Jersey parliament, ‘the States’, consists of 53 elected members. Consider this: a significant majority of those members are property or cash millionaires; in many cases both. Many are multi-millionaires.

I’m not, incidentally, one of them – merely being some scum-bag uppity prole from the back-street slums of St. Helier – the kind of place you never saw on the TV series, ‘Bergerac’. And, having devoted my working time entirely to politics, I’m stony-broke. Consisting largely of multi-millionaires, the Jersey parliament has never bothered with such trifling matters as a rudimentary pension scheme for members; hell, not even lawful social security treatment. So my political life, from the age of 25 to 42, has delivered me no security at all.

You might snort, ‘But only a damn fool goes into politics and doesn’t find a means of minting it?’ Yeah – maybe. But I’ve never taken bribes or kick-backs; haven’t supported the passage of legislation being introduced at the sole request of my own firm (I don’t have one); never engineered development permissions for friends and family; never been offered the “company directorships” which used to be the cash-cow of Jersey politicians; and never used my political influence to obstruct investigations into illegal activities at a bank of which I happened to have been a non-executive director.

So it’s my own damn fault. If I had taken the establishment shilling, kept my mouth shut, toed the party-line, not rocked the boat, been obedient to the whims of the oligarchs – maybe, I too could have shared in some of the riches which wash around the higher levels of Jersey society.

But there are important up-sides to my situation. I remain uncorrupted, answerable to no-one but myself and able to do and say what I believe to be right.

And, of course, there is another tremendous advantage to my position. In the immortal words of Bob Dylan:

“when you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose.”

I can, therefore, treat the Jersey oligarchy with all of the cynicism, contempt, insolence and satire it so richly deserves. All these silly little men have no power over me; well, apart from assassination, obviously. And I’m fairly equanimous about that too; if I have to listen to many more speeches by Paul Routier or Mike Vibert – getting whacked with a few rounds from a Glock could begin to seem quite attractive.

But – in public perception – at least on the part of pro-establishment individuals – I remain some kind of toxic reprobate – and my political opponents are the shining beacons of “statesmanship”, Or, at least – that is the mythology.

And in that regard, the Jersey oligarchy – which includes the local media – have been startlingly successful in propagating and maintaining the mythology. I say startlingly successful, because so divorced from facts – from reality – are the accepted assumptions about the Jersey establishment; so wholly divorced from the evidence and consequences we see around us – that it could even be regarded as one of the most successful propaganda exercises in any post-World War II democracy.

Let’s just take a look at a few of those myths; and there are many more which I will, maybe, address in later posts.

1: “Jersey has customarily been well-governed; marvellously so; in a way that party-political jurisdictions can only dream of.”

2: “Jersey has been governed with tremendous economic competence and foresight. Public finances have been well-managed – as could only be achieved by politicians who are experienced businessmen.”

3: “Jersey has been immensely fortunate in always having amongst its politicians, the necessary high-calibre, business-minded ‘Elder Statesmen’ needed to lead the key government functions, such as managing public finances and producing effective taxation and economic policies. People who have used their tremendous wisdom and foresight to guide this community to a secure and happy future.”

4: “Anyone who challenges the above nostrums is a dangerous threat to society.”

So, as the “threat to society” de jour – accompany me as I rip back the curtain – like in the Wizard of Oz – to reveal hiding behind it the weak, frightened, bumbling and vacuous little men desperately trying to work the apparatus.

Step forward Pierre Horsfall and Frank Walker.

Pierre Horsfall used to be a Senator in the Jersey parliament. He played many key roles, and occupied several positions of power throughout the 1980s and 1990s. These included President of the old Finance & Economics Committee and the old Policy & Resources Committee.

Frank Walker is the present Chief Minister. From 1990 to the present day he too has been a central figure in the States of Jersey, having been, at various times, a member of, Vice-President of and President of, both the Finance & Economics and Policy & Resources Committees.

The virtually unchallenged mythology – the spin – the propaganda – is that these two “Elder Statesmen” – these two blazing stars in the firmament of Jersey politics – have been super-competent; wise and firm hands on the wheel of the ship of state during the last two decades.

The reality?

If anything, their uncertain grasp upon the tiller of the crumbling and leaking gaff-cutter of Jersey’s destiny has served only to drift us ever closer to the rocks – like a week-end Lombard yachtsman at the mercy of a 13 metre spring-tide.

Ah – where to start listing their deficiencies? There are just so many – of so many different kinds – that I could write a book about it. Actually, I am – but that’s for another day.

For today let’s just look at their performance on their own terms. Let us examine their “performance” in those areas of responsibility, those policy domains, which were their supposed strengths.

We in Jersey were – apparently – blessed to have two political leaders such as these men because of their great ability and skill in dealing with such important topics as taxation, public spending, economic policy, strategy and diplomacy.

And even today – 90% of Jersey politicians, journalists, pro-establishment individuals and businessmen still believe this manifest rubbish; – in the teeth of all the evidence.

These two particular ‘emperors’ are naked – the marvellous new clothes they wore – supposedly only visible to the “wise” – in fact just don’t exists. They stand, reputationaly, as naked as a tanked-up and bladdered bridegroom stripped and tied to a lamppost on his stag night.

So, we say these emperors have no clothes.

We pull back the curtain, as in the Wizard of Oz, and find lost and insecure individuals, thrashing around in a panic like a drunkard at the controls of a 747 after the flight-crew have all had heart attacks.

Let us look closely.

What do we see?

An economy crippled by a finance-industry equivalent of the hydrocarbon-driven “Dutch Disease”.

The resultant astronomical inflation of the cost-base in Jersey – rendering all other productive industries unable to compete for accommodation, resources and staff.

A cost-of-living that is higher than that in central London.

A de facto mono-economy – with at least 80% of Jersey’s GDP being dependant on, and arising from, the finance industry.

The immense strategic vulnerability of Jersey, given this dependency upon an inherently unstable ‘industry’.

An unbridgeable gap between the haves and have-nots.

An employment sector in which, if you work in the finance industry, law, the accommodation industry or the senior civil service – or you are merely one of the parasitical rentiers – you have done just splendidly financially.

And everyone else who doesn’t fit into these categories struggles desperately to provide for themselves and there families in an environment which has living costs higher than central London.

A bloated and burgeoning civil service – which is out of control, unaccountable and completely invulnerable.

A political leadership which has always been so weak and frightened that senior civil servants are never sacked – no matter how grave the gross incompetence’s committed.

A public sector annual spend now in excess of half-a-billion pounds.

A Social Security scheme which has built into it – as a structural feature – a mechanism to enable local businessmen, company owners and the rich to dodge their just obligations.

A resultant need to take over £50 million from tax payers each year to, in substantial measure, make up the resultant short-fall in the scheme’s income.

The ruinous plundering of the island’s very small environment by ‘development’.

A population which is already manifestly in excess of the actual economic carrying capacity of the island. A reality we are likely to run up against very soon.

The repeated failure to use fiscal mechanisms to dampen inflation by taking money out of the economy.

The operation of a taxation policy and structure which has actually been designed to enable the rich to pay zero tax – should they so choose. As many of them do.

The near-complete failure to plan properly for harder times. For example, the Jersey equivalent of a Sovereign Wealth Fund, our strategic reserve, presently stands at about half-a-billion pounds – virtually walking-around-money to some island residents – yet not so much as enough to even meet one year’s public sector expenditure.

Allowing the ‘gold-rush’ decades to pass – to very “Life Enriching” (that’s Jersey’s official slogan. Apposite, no?) effect for the elites of one or two generations – but leaving an exploited, ruined and asset-stripped environment behind that hasn’t even taken as much as a couple of billion towards the island’s communal security.

The total and disastrous failure to ever comprehend and tackle “economic leakage” from the island – resulting in it being little more than a piece of money-making apparatus for over-seas investors.

Utter incompetence in managing public sector capital projects. Anyone believe that blowing a total of £49 million of tax payers’ money equals financial competency? No – I didn’t think so.

The astounding failure – even to this day – for the States of Jersey to have in place an appropriate capital accounting system.

A public administration which refuse to subject itself – its own accounts – to modern, rigorous accounting methodologies.

A government who will do this – yet deny the real reason – which is that if certain, modern and rigorous accounting methods were used – Jersey would be shown to be insolvent. Far – I’m sure you will agree – from the mythology of financial brilliance which we are routinely spoon-fed by an unchallenging and passive media.

The catastrophic accruing over the decades of terrifying public sector pension scheme debts. I forget the precise figures – but going from memory the combined debt of the two major schemes was approaching half-a-billion pounds last time I checked.

The gross irresponsibility of keeping such debts “off-balance sheet” in order to maintain the fiction that the States of Jersey is a model of financial competence amongst administrations – and that we aren’t actually insolvent.

The accumulation of these debts, which are – let us be frank – never going to be cleared.

The “development” of a waterfront land reclamation and development zone – which is now covered in hideous, cheapskate carbuncles.

The self-same land reclamation sites being, essentially, giant toxic waste dumps, having been the receptacle for about half-a-million tonnes of toxic incinerator ash – replete with dioxins, furans, PCBs and poisonous heavy metals.

So – this is what we find when we rip back the curtain – when we recognise that the emperors are naked.

Essentially – we are confronted with a catastrophic – bloody – mess.

Some time ago I declared that I would not again be a candidate for the post of Chief Minister. The above list is one of the major reasons why.

What do you think I am – bloody stupid or something? OK, OK – I asked for that.

But not so stupid as to be taking the helm of the ship of state – just before it ploughs into the rocks; at a time when the architects of this destiny have all sailed off into the sunset on their gin palaces. Wreathed in glory and plaudits by Jersey’s ‘churnalists’.

In all seriousness – it’s a sad and grim prospect – one I am forced to observe, but helpless to control – like watching a train-wreck.

But still those responsible for the disaster remain on pedestals – lorded and promoted by the island’s opinion management industry. As I said earlier – it’s actually a truly remarkable ‘achievement’ in the black arts of propaganda.

That people so manifestly incompetent – should be largely regarded as exemplars of modern statesmanship and economics.

Pierre and Frank always put a great deal of effort into their image – their appearance – their plausibility. Both always acted the part of the “Elder Statesman” – really quite brilliantly. The cultivated gravitas, the bespoke suits, the statesman-like jetting around on politically “important” junkets.

Both men recognised that politics – first and foremost – was a confidence game. They had to tick all the boxes on the “Safe Pair of Hands – Elder Statesman” check-list.

Both, being confidence men, achieved this sleight-of-hand extremely well.

But – tragically for this community – being “plausible” – being a good actor – was just never going to be enough. We needed substance behind the façade.

Instead, we are left contemplating two decades of ruinous political and economic mismanagement of this community’s destiny.

Two decades.

The Horsfall/Walker years.

Remember that – when times get hard.

Stuart Syvret.

Book of the Post:

Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington: Understanding Political Doublespeak Through Philosophy and Jokes, by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein

Joke of the Post.

An “Elder Statesman” Jersey politician comes home and discovers his house is on fire. He rips out his mobile phone and calls the Fire Brigade and shouts, “Hurry over here. My house is on fire!”

“OK,” replied the fireman, “how do we get there?”

“Say, don’t you still have those big red trucks?”

OF ABUSE SURVIVORS AND DOG LICENCES:

Time and priorities in The States of Jersey.

In response to my post, ‘Anatomy of a Spin – Temps Passé #1’, Tonyb posted a comment in which he said the Christmas speech I gave was ‘over-long’, too much ‘sack-cloth and ashes’ and that the speech suggested that all States members were responsible for all cases of abuse. He also asked if I thought that all examples juvenile criminality were linked to child abuse.

These are interesting and serious questions, so I thought I would do a brief post to try and answer them.

It is true that the Jersey Evening Post did print the speech – but this most certainly was not because of some community-spirited desire to ensure that this recognition of the victims was made known.

Given that the frankly deranged actions of States members and the Bailiff had led to such a huge controversy, the JEP, in truth, had little choice other than to print it for the sake of whatever tatty fragments of credibility remain attached to The Rag.

There was also the small matter of needing to appear to be balanced – having wanted to print the editorial comment – which had all the hallmarks of a John Averty special – given it was a few clowns short of a circus.

Over-long? No, I don’t believe so. Consider – how many hundreds – thousands? – Of hours has the States assembly spent on ‘government reform’ debates? Or States members’ car parking? Even dog licences have received more attention in the States assembly than have abuse survivors.

Too much ‘sack cloth and ashes’? Again, sorry – I don’t agree. Having met so many victims, people whose age-range covers 13 to 65, listened to them, having learnt not only of the abuse they suffered, but also the often dreadful, continuing consequences upon their lives, if anything, the speech could very easily have been far more intense.

Remember – this systemic culture of contempt, disregard for, and maltreatment towards vulnerable children has been a feature of public administration for at least six decades – and that’s at least. The speech I was attempting to give represented the very first time ever an elected member of the States had expressed recognition of what had taken place and to attempt to demonstrate some compassion towards the victims.

So, my speech was long and uncomfortable? Maybe so – but spending 40 years in and out of mental health institutions, and gripped by substance misuse, the years of self-harm, the stretches in prison – all of these things are unpleasant and difficult to endure – as many of the abuse survivors would attest.

But, by way of contrast – 15 minutes listening to a speech – this is just far too much to expect States members to endure.

Tonyb suggested that I gave the impression that all examples of juvenile crime were caused by abuse. He asked me if this is what I meant. No, it isn’t – and nor did my speech say that it was.

However – because of the failure of society to properly analyse the causes of dysfunction amongst children, none of us could, frankly, be certain of the percentages. I would, though, hazard a guess that a majority of children who commit crime are doing so because of the dysfunctions of modern society – the consequent dysfunctions manifested in families – and a consequent need to forge their own identities and lives in a response to the societal and familial vacuum around them.

We also need to be clear as to what constitutes ‘abuse’. Abuse takes many forms and across a wide spectrum of degree. At one end of the scale we have actions which many people would not consider abuse – yet are abusive and harmful to children. For example, neglect, emotional abuse, malnourishment – things as basic as parents never having real conversations with their children or speaking with them as though they were more important than watching the next episode of East Enders or getting to the golf club. At the other extreme, we have cases which attract national media coverage, such as Victoria Climbie tragedy. Locally – I would – without question – place the case of the child victim of 18 months of abuse for which two paedophiles were convicted in a very similar category. Here too, we have to consider what was a total and disastrous systemic failure by all relevant Jersey agencies to help this victim. Before and during the episode of abuse – opportunity after opportunity was missed; different agencies had chances to spot the dangers, to spot the symptoms of abuse, to rescue the child – all failed until the victim had undergone 18 months of abuse.

This brings me to the question of whether I consider the States to be to blame for many of these things? Yes – I certainly do. Not fully – no government can legislate against the existence of dangerous maniacs; nor mitigate entirely the societaly destructive nature of modern economies; nor really get to the very starting point of most dysfunction – the family unit.

But are the States to blame for those failings within their power to address?

Absolutely.

Consider – and this is merely one example: a majority of States members voted to have me dismissed. The central ground for this action against me was that I was supposedly “undermining staff morale” – by getting very angry at things like the 18 month failure to detect abuse I describe above – and demanding of very well-paid senior managers that they start doing their damn jobs properly.

As the evidence demonstrates, these self-same civil servants then set about engineering my dismissal – in order to protect themselves and hide their many gross failings.

If a majority of States members weren’t generally ambling around in a torpor – going from one PowerPoint presentation to another – and pretending that this equates to doing work – had they applied some rudimentary thought – had they done a little research – they would have sent a clear message to Frank & Co that, actually, the decades of failure, utter incompetence – and worse – on the part of Jersey’s child protection apparatus had to end; – “Damn “staff morale” – the service does not exist for the benefit of those who work in it – it exists for the clients. If these very expensive managers cannot rescue a child from 18 months of abuse; if they see nothing whatsoever problematic in using coercive and punitive solitary confinement against children for days, and even months at a stretch – this nearly two decades after the Pindown scandal in the UK – then it is they we are going to sack – not the Minister because he has “undermined their morale”.

As I said in an earlier post, the “mistake” – though obviously, it wasn’t – I made was to be on the “wrong” side. Mangers versus victims? The abused versus those whose idleness and incompetence had failed to rescue them from abuse? I sided with the victims. Listened to them – believed them. The senior civil servants had to get rid of me from that instant.

If the States were not culpable; if the States were to exhibit some leadership and understanding, they would have recognised the very clear and obvious fact that the engineering of my dismissal was yet another symptom – yet another example – of the services being out of control, unaccountable and invulnerable – the very culture which has led to decade after decade of abuse going largely unreported and unpunished.

It’s not as though most States members could even claim ignorance of these machinations. Notwithstanding Phil Bailhache’s unlawful obstruction of the formal printing of my Official Comments in response to the dismissal proposal, a photocopy of my response was distributed.

In this documentation – as one of the appendices – was the proof that the letter sent to Frank Walker demanding my dismissal, and signed by his friend Iris Le Feuvre – was, in fact, largely authored by the Directorate Manager of Social Services, Marnie Baudains – perhaps the most culpable of all senior officers for the many gross failings in child protection.

As I said – States members had this evidence in front of them – yet a substantial majority of them clearly concluded that the unprofessional gross misconduct involved on the part of a senior civil servant who, in order to protect their own position, set about political manoeuvrings to have their Minister sacked – was of trifling concern, compared to “undermining staff morale”.

Understand this: no other democratic, respectable legislature on the face of the planet would have taken this approach: – clear-cut evidence in black and white that a senior civil servant was a party to engineering the dismisal of a Minister in an attempt to hide their own deficiencies? “Well, we don’t care about that – what matters is that we mustn’t “undermine the managers’ morale”, the poor dears.”

So – a substantial majority of States members to blame for maintaining and continuing the culture failure towards vulnerable children?

Yes, clearly.

By acting as they did, the States of Jersey simple embarked upon another wretched episode in the culture of concealment.

Stuart Syvret.

Book of the Post:

My Story: “A Child Called It”, “The Lost Boy”, “A Man Named Dave”, by by Dave Pelzer.

Joke of the Post:

When is a Nurse perfectly competent to do Social Work? — When the Social Worker wants three weeks off.

PARALLEL UNIVERSES:

The States of Jersey – Groupthink versus Reality.

In ‘Anatomy of a Spin Temps Passé #1’, we took a look at some of the media reportage of the incident when the Jersey parliament stopped my Christmas speech because it was an expression of empathy and recognition to abuse survivors – and, of course, “we couldn’t have this kind of thing spoiling the Christmas lunch which members were about to go and indulge in – just so “inappropriate””.

In my last post I said I would try and explain the events of that day in more detail – so here goes – though it isn’t easy – so Kafkaesque has it all been.

During the last year I have had to continuously gauge my assessment of events by seeking the objective opinions of people from that place called Reality; independent experts in the field, often of national or international reputation – just to verify that ‘no – I wasn’t being unreasonable – or undergoing psychotic delusions – when I got angry at things like the systemic failure of the entire child “protection” apparatus of Jersey to save a child from eighteen months of abuse by two paedophiles. Or the systematic, well-documented illegal use of coercive and punitive solitary confinement against vulnerable children in care. Or the wilful and deliberate concealment from the police of systemic abuse taking place in a States of Jersey ‘group-home’.

No. I was right to be, shall we say, unhappy at these occurrences.

Yet – returning to the place called Unreality, here in Jersey – to this day, most States members, 90% of senior civil servants and virtually every single local journalist remain convinced that the Establishment spin is correct. That all this fuss just happened because I was being some kind of anarchic and thuggish extremist in expecting people being paid £100,000 of tax-payers money per annum, plus big fat pension, to run social services – to, like, you know – do their bloody jobs properly?

The fascinating thing about so much of what passes for politics in Jersey are these repeated displays of Groupthink. A self-supporting, smug, self-satisfied power claque of journalists, politicians and civil servants – convinced that the “consensus trance” which grips them represents an adequate apprehension of the real world.

Against this background, I’m at a loss to see how the Jersey oligarchy can ever be capable of taking the necessary step towards reality. Jersey is going to have to recognise at least six decades of largely concealed and unpunished child abuse. I cannot think anything other than that the Jersey oligarchy are intrinsically incapable of facing the truth and accepting culpability.

The suffering of so many children – suffering which has usually continued throughout their lives – virtually all of them betrayed and ignored by the island’s authorities. But yet – I can absolutely guarantee you that if you were to take a straw-pole amongst States members concerning the Christmas speech – about 85% of them would remain of the view that they and Phil Bailhache were right to cut my microphone and end the meeting.

The speech I was attempting to give was the first time ever a member of the States of Jersey had stood to acknowledge what had taken place, to publicly accept culpability on the part of the island’s authorities. It was the first time ever an elected member had attempted to express recognition of, and compassion towards, the many generations of abuse survivors.

Naturally, faced with this first ever acknowledgment of abuse victims by an elected member, the Jersey parliament disgraced itself.

As I remarked in an earlier post, my strongest memory of that day is standing at my desk as most members milled around, hurrying off to their Christmas Lunch – from which I had so rudely detained them – and looking around the States chamber and experiencing the sensation that I was swimming across a lake of vomit.

As I began to gather my papers – still trying to grasp – still trying to reconcile – the conduct of States members, with my recent memory of listening to two tearful victims of abuse recount their experiences, Deputy Peter Troy, one of the members who had barracked me and led the mob-rule which saw my microphone being cut, came around the chamber and confronted me where I stood at my desk.

At this instant I had an image in my mind’s eye of these two now adult victims – brother and sister, whose mother had died of cancer when they were little children – embracing tearfully at the memory of what they had suffered for all those years in a States of Jersey “group-home”.

I did seriously consider punching Deputy Troy – I clenched my fist and raised it a little – but I didn’t actually swing for him.

You see, my seat is in the back row, so with the wall right behind me, I couldn’t have got sufficient arc and power into a hook, and my desk stood between him and me, precluding effective uppercuts.

The thought did occur to me later that, as I was wearing contact lenses and not my glasses, I could of head-butted him – but, hey, you know how it is in the heat of debate – you only think of these things afterwards.

Instead I confined myself to a Churchillian gesture and some old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon.

Most members having rushed off to the opulence of the Old Library to enjoy their free – that is, tax-payer-funded – Christmas lunch – I stood in the tea-room, looking out of the window and through the trees in the Square, seeing ordinary, decent people going about their lives – and asking myself just how much more of this I could endure.

I went down the stairs and out into the Royal Square to speak to the assembled and waiting media. Already bored to the point of stupefaction at the predictability of the questions they were going to ask me, I decided enliven things a little by being honest – yeah, I know it’s letting the profession down, but sometimes you’ve just got to tell it how you feel it.

I did several interviews – waiting patiently throughout each of them to be asked a single, solitary question about the victims, about why the States of Jersey were still so determined to prevent recognition of them, and what signal did this send to other victims – that States members attached a higher priority to exchanging smug, self-congratulatory smirking banalities, and getting their free Christmas lunch – than they did to hearing an expression of recognition and empathy for the victims of abuse? Predictably, not one such question came from any of the Jersey media – 95% of “journalism” jobs in Jersey being nothing more than sinecures for those brats of the oligarchy too thick to hold down a job in the island’s global tax-dodging industry.

Instead I struggled to stay interested as I was barraged with the predictable questions about ‘why had I made such an inappropriate speech?’ ‘Wasn’t it upsetting for States members to be subjected to this at Christmas?’ ‘Did I consider my conduct to be acceptable?’, ‘Was it appropriate for the Father of the House to “behave” in this way?’ etc. ad nauseum.

Midst this scene from something like ‘Drop the Dead Donkey’, I was asked a question which suddenly attracted my interest. I was asked by a BBC Jersey TV journalist whether I “was surprised at the attitude and actions of States members in response to my speech?”

I was about to tell the truth – “yes – very surprised. How could one imagine people objecting to an expression of empathy for abuse survivors?”

But then a greater truth struck me – of course I wasn’t surprised. Being shocked at this reaction by States members was like being surprised to discover that lawyers charge too much and string out cases to maximise fees.

So, I answered. I forget the precise words, but it was something like this:

“Am I surprised at States members’ reactions? No, not really – after all, we all know the States is largely a collection of gangsters and halfwits. So, surprised? No.”

BBC Jersey – rabidly shielding their friend Jimmy Savile as we were to later discover – figuring to do maximum possible reputational damage to me – used this clip – not once, but twice; in both of their evening TV news slots – as I knew they would, of course.

But, sadly in many ways, my understanding of public discourse, of issues that are of relevance to the average member of the public, my estimation of their values and of what concerns them, far exceeds that of the average Jersey journalist.

After all – this is the same BBC Jersey who pro-actively put as much focused and deliberate effort as they possibly could into minimising public knowledge of the broadcast of a documentary film – made by the BBC UK – which dealt with institutionalised child abuse as carried out by the States of Jersey.

So, attempting to get home to do some useful work – staggering dazedly under the burden of knowing that most of these clowns actually believed me to be the guilty party for the speech controversy – I eventually settled down that evening with a bottle wine and some Tom Waits CDs. Such is my work-load, at the best of times, I’m just not physically able to sit at my desk taking every phone-call that comes in. That evening it was as much as I could do to try and rebuild my faith in people.

But – by the end of the evening – I felt a lot better. People often telephone me and leave messages on the answerphone. I attempt to get back to them as priorities permit. That evening – such was the public response – I had to clear my answer phone memory three times.

Person after person from across the social and political spectrums called and left messages of support and appreciation.

Of the approximately 60 messages, only one was critical – an old-sounding man who clearly didn’t believe all this “unfortunate business” should be raked-up from the past. Just like the Police officers I have spoken with – alarm bells go off in my head when I hear people saying that we shouldn’t be looking into the historic abuse cases. Remarks like ‘It was all such a long time ago’, and ‘is there really any point in going into it now?’ and ‘there’ll be little chance of successful prosecutions’. In fact – now I come to think of it – remarks pretty much like those made to camera by the same BBC Jersey TV journalist when reporting the Police announcement of their investigations into the historic abuse.

Many of the comments were very funny. One gentleman said he had been sat down in front of the telly, feeling bored and depressed at how the island was being governed when my interview was broadcast. When it got to my remarks about the States being largely a collection of gangsters and halfwits he leapt up from his chair, cheering. He said his wife, who was in the other room, thought he’d gone mad.

Another said it had made his year – the funniest thing he’d heard for as long as he could remember.

One woman said she has spent an hour phoning around her friends and telling those who hadn’t seen it, to watch the later broadcast.

One man said he hadn’t been so pleased by anything he’d seen on telly since his football team, Manchester United, beat Bayern Munich in injury time in the European Cup final in 1999.

It’s fascinating that the public generally are so much more attuned to reality, so much more ‘switched-on’ and possess a greater sense for what is right or wrong than the average politician.

It is often ironically remarked by islanders that the island’s parliament building “is that place down by the Royal Square, surrounded by common sense”. We could now add, ‘surrounded by common decency’ as well.

Stuart Syvret.

Book of the Post:

Syndromes of Corruption: Wealth, Power, and Democracy, by Michael Johnston.

Joke of the Post:

A docker walks into a restaurant where Jersey politicians are having one of their annual expensive meals. He’s a big, rugged, menacing looking man. He walks up to the bar in the centre of the restaurant, orders a pint of Carlsberg Special Brew and a double-whisky chaser. He knocks both drinks back in seconds then he turns to face the restaurant and bellows ‘all you politicians on that side of the restaurant are a collection of damn fools.’

A sudden silence descends.

After a few seconds have passed, he shouts “Anyone care to disagree with that?”

The silence lengthens.

He has another pint of larger and double-whisky chaser, which again he drinks in seconds. He turns back to the restaurant and shouts “And all you politicians on the other side of the restaurant are all scum!”

Once again, the room is silent.

He looks around belligerently and roars, “Any of you got a problem with that?” A lone politician gets up from his table and starts to walk towards the docker.

“Alright”, says the docker, “you want to settle this outside?”

“Oh no”, says the politician, “I’m just on the wrong side of the restaurant.”

ANATOMY OF A SPIN – TEMP PASSÉ: # 1

Like Trying to swim in a Lake of Vomit.

I have only begun blogging recently – generally dealing with contemporary issues. But, as there is such a wealth of past material out there – incidents, events, controversies and disputes in the microcosm of Jersey politics – I thought it would be a pity to let it go unexplored.

Therefore I have decided to produce an occasional column, titled ‘Anatomy of a Spin – Temps Passé’.

In these posts we will take a look back at the deceits, the manipulations, the omissions, the political bias and the spins of days gone by. And, having been a member of the island’s parliament for 17 years, I have a lot of personal experiences to call on – before even venturing into the well-archived, near-fascistic, long 20th century history of the Jersey Evening Post.

So, just to limber up, I thought we would begin by examining a recent spin. This subject remains topical – because it relates to the unfolding child abuse scandal in Jersey, presently the subject of a major police investigation.

Before examining the spin in question, some background information.

Regular readers of this blog will have gathered that I used to be the island of Jersey’s Health & Social Services Minister – until the Jersey Oligarchy sacked me last September.

The reason?

I can’t go into the details at present – the issues in question being subject to extensive Police investigations and, hopefully, a variety of prosecutions. But be assured – I will write – in extensive detail – about these matters when the legal considerations permit.

But briefly, in a nutshell the reason for my dismisal was this; I was being supplied with information from a number of whistle-blowers which suggested that abusive and unlawful practices were being engaged in against vulnerable children in care.

I took these concerns seriously.

Having spoken to a number of people, having taken expert advice from United Kingdom professionals – and having considered various examples of documentary evidence – I decided that these concerns were well-founded.

The “mistake” I made was this: as H & SS Minister, I found myself on the “wrong” side in a war between two opposed groups of people – two cohorts of individuals with diametrically opposed interests. I know things aren’t supposed to be like this – but they were – and they are.

On the one side I was becoming more and more aware of serious failings in Jersey’s child protection apparatus and speaking to an ever-growing network of victims. Decent front-line staff were secretly contacting me with their often serious worries concerning service deficiencies and cover-ups.

But on the other side I had a large organisation – the senior management of which had a clear and pressing interest in maintaining the fiction that everything in the garden was rosy, that they weren’t incompetent, dishonest and responsible for systemic failures to detect and prevent the abuse of children, and the concealment of abuse.

Two distinct groupings of people – with hugely conflicting personal interests.

But my “mistake” was to be on the “wrong” side – to support the victims; to believe them; to be on their side.

The near-unconcealed naked panic this caused amongst the senior management in H & SS – and their colleagues in other States of Jersey departments – the barely contained anger and fear – had to be experienced to be fully understood.

I was toast, politically, the instant it became clear that I sided with the victims and whistle-blowers – and not the management.

I wasn’t being “A Team Player”, you see?

So – people like Jersey’s Chief Minister, Senator Frank Walker, and Senators Wendy Kinnard and Mike Vibert decided that by digging into the child abuse cases to try and get at the truth, I was – and, really, I’m not making this up – “undermining staff morale” – and therefore had to be sacked.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Child abuse – in the strange parallel universe occupied by these members of the Jersey oligarchy – being of far lower concern than the heinous offence of “undermining staff morale” by attempting to hold them to account for their failures to protect vulnerable children.

So that was me – given the bullet – for trying to do my job.

Now, let’s turn to the ‘spin temp passé’ under consideration.

This seems strange, even to me, but as the longest continuously serving Senator in the Jersey parliament, I am deemed “Father of the House”. And as such, it falls to me to lead the end-of-year speeches at the conclusion of the last States meeting before Christmas.

Having spent much of the past year learning of vast swathes of child abuse – decade after decade of it; having met with, and listened to, many of the victims – I thought the Christmas speech would be an apposite opportunity to express some recognition of, and compassion towards, the victims of abuse.

Big mistake.

I will recount the detail of this episode in a later post, for now it’s sufficient to know that I was barracked, shouted-down and unlawfully prevented from giving my speech by the Jersey Oligarchy.

As the meeting was curtailed, I stood looking around the States chamber as members rushed off for their lunch, and the abiding memory for me was experiencing a sensation akin to trying to swim across a lake of vomit and putrefaction.

Speaking of which – back to the Jersey Evening Post!

Now, some of you will be convinced I exaggerate in my criticisms of the Jersey Evening Post – that I am, somehow, being unfair to The Rag. But in yet another convincing demonstration that the JEP is out-of-step with pretty much every other newspaper in the democratic world, it printed one of its splendidly entertaining fruit-loop editorial comments.

I won’t dwell on that comment yet – I will, for your delectation and entertainment, re-produce it in full on this blog later in the week. And then produce a rational deconstruction of it. For the time being, it may be sufficient for you to gauge just how comically barking mad it was, to know that I had very middle class ladies telephoning me, saying how disgusting the comment was and that they had never voted for me before, but would now do so because of this display.

But for today, I want to focus on a weekly column which was published on Saturday 15th December. The piece was written by Anna Plunkett-Cole and it focused on the issue of my speech.

I know Anna socially, she’s moderately intelligent, if somewhat lightweight when it comes to intellectual substance. She also makes the common mistake of assuming a little natural intelligence can, somehow, be an adequate substitute for research, facts and thought.

I did, at the time, briefly, contemplate writing a letter to The Rag, but, frankly, had far higher priorities. I did, though, make a mental note to reply at some point because during those passages of time during which I am recovering – and I do not use the phrase lightly – from hearing the latest of the many victims recount the wretched horrors of various betrayals at the hands of people and of the States of Jersey – I reflect upon how it can be possible that year-in and year-out – decade after decade after decade – the vulnerable and messed-up children of Jersey could have been failed, neglected, savagely beaten, sexually assaulted, raped, and, through the coercive use of long-term solitary confinement, tortured to the point of mental breakdown by the States of Jersey – even into the 21st century?

Anna Plunkett-Cole’s article was a neat summed and concentrated example of the very cause and syndrome which has prevented, for decades, the recognition and rescue of young children who were being sexually abused, beaten to the point of suicide, tortured, made to drink Dettol and be emotionally & psychologically crushed – and why the vast majority of them have never received recognition, justice, empathy and care.

I guess I would, at this point, usually describe the piece as ethically and intellectually bankrupt. However, I know how Anna detests clichés – and like Frank Walker – doesn’t like my “big words” either.

So – let’s try and put it in plain English.

The article was simply thick.

It displayed a degree of ignorance that was truly startling even for the standards of the JEP. Even taking into account only that very small amount of information which is presently in the public domain – it must be obvious – surely – to even the most obtuse observer – that the Jersey Establishment has used the apparatus of power to protect its image first and foremost – and in doing so has concealed decades of the most appalling and disgusting abuse & neglect of vulnerable children?

The moral vacuity of the article is such that it could have been written by an Establishment spin-doctor. Consider: for here is Jersey – at the end of 2007 – with quite clearly dozens & dozens of victims of child abuse – possibly even hundreds; a child abuse scandal of such a scale that even senior police officers have described it as un-precedented for such a small geographic area – and what does The Rag write about? The rapes, the batterings, the tortures – the decades of establishment cover-ups? How it could all have happened? The shock that a civilized society could behave in this way? Even something as rudimentary as a legilsature breaking its own rules to prevent the truth being spoken?

No. In Jersey Evening Post world, that stuff just doesn’t command the column inches. Of far greater importance is a comprehensive and sustained diversionary assault upon that Syvret bastard.

You should know that there is a trivial sub-text to Anna’s criticisms of me but nothing that could even approach justifying or excusing such an embarrassingly ignorant, amoral, ethically bankrupt, shallow, stupid and absurd screed of diversionary pro-establishment spin.

Column after column after column of invented concepts of my motivations, my apparent appalling cruelty to those poor poor senior civil servants; upsetting my unfortunate political colleagues by referring to the unacknowledged sufferings of the victims of at least six decades of concealed child abuse. I mean, it just isn’t acceptable, is it? Spoiling States members’ hackneyed versions of Christmas, when all they want to do is spend the next two weeks Christmas shopping before pottering back to their holly-bestrung country mansions. They certainly couldn’t be expected to endure some reprobate like me trying to express some empathy and acknowledgment to people who have had their lives ruined by abuse.

That’s right; in Anna-world – it was all some pre-conceived and planed plot of mine for political martyrdom. All those victims? All those whistle-blowers? All those cover-ups? All that hard, documented evidence?

All, we are supposed to assume, just manufactured out of thin-air by me in a dastardly scheme to induce Frank Walker into committing political suicide and taking his cohort of political allies down with him.

Lest you think I exaggerate in my interpretations of the piece, be your own judge, get hold of a copy of the JEP of the 15th December, and read it for yourself.

There is one simple test by which you can gauge the veracity of my assessment of the article. Its size is roughly four columns, across half-a-page. A lot of text.

Question: how much of the article addresses the victims? Their suffering? The magnitude of the offences against them?

A little over halfway down the third column, speaking of my disgust at the abuse she writes: “because what he is speaking about is horrific and terrifying for the victims.”

That’s it.

In an entire article about what a bastard that Stuart Syvret is – for being so rude and insolent as to speak of the sufferings of abuse victims – just before States members’ Christmas lunch – Anna Plunkett-Cole writes 13 words concerning the victims.

I really hope you’re proud of yourself, Anna.

Book of the Post:

The Trial, by Franz Kafka.

Joke of the Post:

Governments lie and newspapers lie – but in a democracy they are different lies. Except in Jersey, where they are the same lies.