Arrogance and Stupidity: Phil, You’re Just Embarrassing Yourself.
Let us be clear about a fundamental issue.
And it really is so obvious that any thinking person would have to accept it.
In any established, western democracy the government would have fallen over such an inescapably disastrous and systemic failure to protect vulnerable children.
Decade after decade after decade of the most appaling abuse – 95% of which has gone unreported and unpunished.
As the facts show – in Jersey we are not facing mere failure – we must also confront the fact of the wilful concealment of abuse; a manifestation of the overriding imperative of the Jersey oligarchy to protect itself and its members from the taint of controversy.
And it is not just past administrations which are guilty of such derelictions of duty. As much as they are desperate to assert otherwise – the members of this, present, administration have also manifested the culture of concealment.
They did this in their oppressions of Simon Bellwood.
And they did it in their oppressions of me.
That much is plain to any impartial observer.
What, then, are we to make of the response of the Jersey establishment to the awful revelations? The appaling suffering of the victims?
Defenders of the Jersey oligarchy are insisting – even to this day – that what has occurred is not an implacable failure of checks and balances in the island.
Even now – they cannot – or will not – acknowledge the truth.
What Jersey now has to come to terms with is not “one or two maniacs within what is otherwise a respectable system of governance.”
On the contrary.
What we must acknowledge is that the abusers were able to have their crimes concealed and unpunished for many, many decades through the incompetence and the wilful collusion of the island’s public administration.
Even if we wanted to – could the community of this island seriously continue to place any faith in politicians and judges who still will not acknowledge this fact?
When even now – when the concealment of abuse is demonstrated – they will not accept the truth?
Although these days I try to avoid it whenever possible – occasionally I have to attend meetings of the States. I sit there and look around the chamber and observe the collection of passive non-entities, senior oligarchs and other assorted charlatans – and a shiver goes down my spine.
The community’s destiny is in the hands of this collection ignoramuses, deluded egotists and clowns.
People who – as recently as last December – preferred to attend Christmas lunch – rather than listen to an expression of compassion for the victims of abuse.
Even the Dean – head of the Anglican Church in Jersey – declined to support me when I was shouted-down, and my speech stopped; when I was recounting the words of Christ when he said “suffer the little children”.
The same man – the Reverend Bob Key – proceeding to use these same words of Christ -without apparent embarrassment – a couple of months later, after – belatedly – recognising the full horror of the offences being investigated by the police.
As I said – I physically tremble when sitting in the States chamber these days; the horror – the appaling decadence and stupidity of these people billows about the place like a malign sea.
Fortunately, I plan to give up politics – and perhaps take up a post in the Diplomatic service – where a natural career surely awaits me.
In its structure, habits, culture, and the “calibre” of its ‘leaders’, we see the awful culpability of the States of Jersey for the suffering of vulnerable children.
And in the reactions of the oligarchs we can see that fact simply reinforced – again and again.
The Jersey Evening Post of Saturday 15th March carried a substantial political interview with Sir Philip Bailhache, Bailiff of Jersey.
‘The Bailiff’ being the head of the island’s judiciary and the Speaker of its parliament.
For if you need yet further evidence of just how low-calibre, ignorant and utterly out of their depth are Jersey oligarchs – one need only read the interview.
Phil Bailhache was never terribly bright, to be honest. And that’s probably putting it politely.
For all of the expensive education, pomposity, megalomania and overweening arrogance of the Bailhache brothers – the ignorance and stupidity revealed in their actions almost beggars belief.
Phil, and his brother, Bill – Jersey’s Attorney General – are both implacable class-warriors; scions of the Jersey moneyed rentier elites. Profoundly politicised and possessed of an expectation of deference and a paternalistic philosophy that would not be out of place if transported back to Victorian times.
A detailed account of both their various multiple failures and inadequacies can wait until another occasions. Today, I would like to focus just upon the interview with Phil Bailhache. Let us take a look at the key assertions he makes – and then test them against events.
And this will not be a complex exposition, as the issues really are quite simple.
1: Bailhache claims that the authorities are doing all in their collective power to ensure the truth comes out and that wrongdoers are punished.
Could, by some chance, these be the same authorities who politically oppressed me for telling the truth – in an answer I gave in the island’s parliament?
The same authorities who, in the person of William Bailhache, obstructed my Committee’s access to important information back in 2003 when I was attempting to review child protection systems?
The same authorities who asserted I had to be sacked for publicly stating that the island’s child protection apparatus was seriously defective?
The same authorities who – to this day – still cling to the lie that to speak out against failing systems is to put vulnerable children at greater risk?
The same authorities – in the person of Bailhache himself – who, extraordinarily and unprecedentedly, prevented the printing of my ‘Official’ response to the dismissal debate?
The same authorities – in the form of Bailhache and establishment politicians – who, last Christmas, prevented me from speaking of the suffering of the victims?
2: Bailhache describes the national and international media coverage of this disaster as “a barrage of abuse”.
On the contrary – the national and international media have played a vital and immensely important role in ripping the lid off these monstrous crimes.
Something which would never have happened had things been left to the Jersey media.
But – of greater, indeed, profound, significance – must be the fact that he and his Jersey oligarchy colleagues still – even now – see the “problem” as being “the bad publicity.”
It, apparently, still not occurring to these idiots that “the problem” is, in fact, many decades of the foul and concealed abuse, torture, battery and rape of children –not the consequent stories in the world’s press.
3: Bailhache asserts that the courts of Jersey are “well capable of dealing with any” of these cases which come before them.
Would this be the same administration of justice which has repeatedly failed to prosecute abusers – and those who concealed the abuse? On the grounds that prosecutions would “not be in the public interest”?
The same judicial apparatus – in the person of Bailhache himself – that sentenced a disgusting old paedophile who had attempted to rape three teenage girls – to “two years probation”?
The same judicial apparatus which has – amongst its members, as a ‘Jurat’, John Le Bretton – a man who pro-actively concealed child abuse when Vice-Principle of Victoria College?
The same court system which saw a judge sentence a 19 year-old – thoroughly messed-up – victim of institutionalised abuse at the hands of the States of Jersey – to 3 years in prison for dealing in ecstasy – but about two weeks later saw the same judge sentence a “prominent local business man” to 240 hours of community service – for conspiracy to import a substantial amount cocaine?
And – is this the same court system which swore into office an honorary policeman – even though the then Attorney General knew him to be a convicted paedophile? The then Attorney General? Step forward Phil Bailhache.
4: Bailhache claims that “allegations against the ‘establishment’ were easy to make and not easy to rebut because nobody knew exactly what ‘the establishment’ was.”
He and the other oligarchs who make such assertions must be amongst a tiny handful of people in Jersey who do not know who ‘the establishment’ are.
As 90% of people in Jersey would cheerfully confirm – the establishment are: people like him, his brother the AG, the Deputy Bailiff Michael Birt, the rest of the judiciary, about three quarters of the elected members in the island’s parliament –especially their leaders, such as Frank Walker, Philip Ozouf etc., – the ranks of senior civil servants, all of the news editors across the Jersey media, the business and rentier elites – and their power-organisations, such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Institute of Directors.
That is the establishment.
A cosy confluence of entrenched self-interest, mutual support, paternalistic tradition, ignorance, short-term avarice, social-climbing, stupidity and megalomania.
5: Bailhache re-asserts the Jersey establishment spin that ‘no children are at risk today because of any deficiency in the child protection system.’
In making this claim he relies upon some vacuous assertions from Andrew Williamson – the “independent expert” – chosen by the Jersey Council of Ministers – to undertake a review.
At the suggestion and request of many of the victims, I am preparing an open letter to Mr Williamson which will state that we have no confidence whatsoever in him; this following his pitiful performance at a pro-establishment PR stunt in the last couple of weeks.
During this episode, he falsely stated that he had had no complaints of solitary confinement; and he refused to agree with the obvious fact that the coercive and punitive use of solitary confinement for extended periods of time was harmful to children – and thus unlawful.
When the letter is completed, we will publish it on this blog.
But there are two key points which need to be made in respect of the establishment assertion that “everything in the garden is rosy – today”.
Their consistent and deliberate use of the present tense has been a calculated part of their spin since the beginning of this controversy. The alarm – the profound concerns many of us had – and the resultant controversy – originated some time ago – when the child protection apparatus was anything but safe and reliable.
When considering any assertions from the Jersey establishment – pay particular attention to their deliberate use of the present tense when speaking of child protection in the island. It is diversionary spin.
And, in any event, for reasons which will become clear in the fullness of time – we couldn’t even be confident about the safety of the child protection apparatus today.
Yes – we can say – so far as we are aware – no child is in imminent danger. If we were aware of such danger, the police would be alerted immediately.
But not being aware of a child being at immediate risk – is most certainly not the same thing as believing the child protection apparatus can be regarded as safe in general terms.
As part of the culture of concealment – Bill Ogley, States of Jersey Chief Executive, and Mike Pollard, Health & Social Services Chief Executive – have repeatedly attempted to extrapolate a general endorsement of the Jersey child failure apparatus from people not being aware of a child in immediate risk.
Sadly – just further evidence of the ethical bankruptcy of these people – and just how quickly they “go native” once recruited from the UK.
Phil finishes his interview by claiming that he recognises the suffering of the victims, and that “when this case is over, something ought to be done to bring closure” for them.
Unlike Phil – I actually regularly speak with a significant number of victims. And I can confidently tell him that his avowals of recognition and sympathy for them have been met with bitter laughter, tears and anger.
Some may say that I am being too harsh when I describe Phil Bailhache as a half-wit.
But the facts speak for themselves.
If this man possessed any particular intelligence and wisdom, would he be giving a political interview to The Rag – and by doing so confirming every objection to his position – and display a startling lack of embarrassment concerning his own role in the culture of cover-up and concealment?
Let us explain the situation simply – so even they can have no excuse for failing to understand.
The concern shared by very many of the victims, whistle-blowers, witnesses and I is that the Jersey judicial apparatus is politicised, conflicted and incapable of constituting an “impartial tribunal”.
Judicial proceedings must be – and must be seen to be – completely objective.
Any individual who, or entity that, has a clear interest in a case – or who has expressed prejudice prior to proceedings – cannot remotely be regarded as meeting the test of the appearance of objectivity.
Phil Bailhache – head of the island’s judiciary – and brother of the Attorney General – has compromised himself – and thus his judiciary – by giving a highly partisan Political interview to the island’s only newspaper.
On that ground alone he cannot remotely expect to meet the appearance of objectivity test.
Therefore Jersey’s judiciary are profoundly conflicted. They have chosen to render themselves incompetent to deal with any of these cases by engaging in the politics of this crisis.
The fact that Phil Bailhache gave a Political interview demonstrates the politicisation of the Jersey judicial apparatus.
And if that fact was not stark enough – consider his own role in this wretched episode.
And just what it says about his claims to oppose the cover-ups.
Let us finish by reminding ourselves what that role was; of events in the States chamber in December last year.
As ‘Father of the House’ it falls to me to give a Christmas address to the assembly at the end of the proceedings.
I wrote a speech that drew upon the sufferings; damage; disregard experienced and shattered lives of many of the victims as told to me when meeting with them. In recounting their experiences, I became the first States member ever to publicly acknowledge the crimes against these people and to express some empathy with them.
I got about a quarter of the way through the speech until I was interrupted, barracked and silenced by establishment politicians in a disgusting display of near-fascistic intolerance and political self-interest.
It was – without question – the most despicable episode in the entire history of the island’s parliament.
And Phil Bailhache – against every principle of democracy and of parliamentary procedure – joined in with these thugs and halfwits by ordering me to stop my speech and then cutting my microphone.
The first time ever that a States member acknowledges the wrongs done to the victims by the States of Jersey – and in another display of the culture of concealment – the speech is unlawfully and undemocratically stopped. Halted in an attempt to protect the establishment’s “image”.
And this contemptible exhibition – this attempt to conceal the truth – was led by the man who appears in Saturday’s JEP asserting that the phrase ‘culture of concealment’ is “scurrilous” and without basis.
Frankly – if he didn’t so richly deserve the misfortunes of which he has been the author – one would almost feel embarrassed for him.
States members who are still in office; people who are expected to deal adequately with the political issues arising from the child abuse disaster – politicians who are now falling over themselves to proclaim their sympathies with the victims – despite having oppressed criticisms of the system a mere seven months ago – would now have us believe they can be taken seriously as leaders of this community.
So – I come back to the question – “what signs are there of contrition?” What indications can we glean that, at least some of these members can now see the fact that they were wrong? Do they exhibit any signs of learning the necessary lessons?
To this very day not – one – single – solitary – States member who opposed me and thus sided with the abusers and concealment of abuse – has apologised to the victims; admitted they were wrong in dismissing my concerns; wrong to shout-down my Christmas speech – and wrong to support defective senior civil servants instead of abuse victims.
No acknowledgement of error – no apology to the victims or to me.
And in this fact – as starkly emphasised by Phil Bailhache’s interview – we can see the utter inadequacy of the Jersey polity.
The fact that it is congenitally incapable of recognising errors, of admitting mistakes and of embracing the necessary changes.
Phil Bailhache likes to imagine himself to be the civic leader of Jersey; some kind of towering figurehead – an embodiment of wisdom – wisely leading this community whilst the poor, benighted proles clutch at the passing hem of his robes of office.
Yet he continues to exhibit – and personally manifest – the very ignorance, lack of wisdom, deficiencies, arrogance and stupidity which has led this community to what is its gravest ever peacetime crises.
If this were not the case – rather than re-asserting the now literally incredible establishment spin and misinformation – he would instead be publicly apologising to the victims and to me for his crypto-fascistic silencing of my Christmas speech.
And he would be recognising that the centuries of accepted jurisprudence concerning the good administration of justice – had finally caught up with the dubious chicanery of Jersey’s “judicial” system – as implacably and as unstoppably as an avalanche.
This time – there is going to be justice. This time – the Jersey establishment have lost.
They are a defeated force.
They cannot see that yet – but any thinking person with the faintest grasp of the principals of natural justice most certainly will.