Monthly Archives: October 2008

THE CRUSHED.

CHILDREN IN JERSEY:

THE SUNDAY TIMES ARTICLE;

AND THE JERSEY OLIGARCHY

STILL STRIVING TO BURY THE TRUTH.

In my last posting I wrote about the self-inflicted damnation of the Jersey legislature – which was writ large in December 2007, when my Christmas speech was barracked, howled-down and stopped with the cutting of my microphone.

I was attempting, as Father of the House, to deliver the traditional Christmas speech.

But given all the atrocities against children which were coming to light, I broke with the custom of delivering the expected round of mutually self-glorifying banalities which pass as ‘the done thing’ on such occasions, and instead tried to deliver an honest, heart-felt speech in which I attempted to express recognition and empathy for the abuse survivors – and those who didn’t survive.

As explained in the last posting, we couldn’t be surprised if the Jersey oligarchy attempted some sudden change to custom & practice as this Christmas approached, in order to stop me from giving the speech as Father of the House.

And yes – as though the Jersey establishment had not intellectually and ethically shamed itself enough already – that’s just what they’re doing.

Senator Terry – Tel Boy – Le Main – used car salesman extraordinaire – has been secretly organising a claque of oligarchy Senators who wish to take it upon themselves to prevent me, as Father of the House, from delivering the Christmas speech.

They are doing this because they’re frightened I’ll speak the truth again.

Well – come what may – we will have Christmas speeches from members of the public in the Royal Square instead.

We will not be silenced.

But since posting Monday’s article, in which I quoted a brief extract from a major article on the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster from the Sunday Times Magazine, I’ve been asked by a lot of people if I would reproduce the article in full. It has been referred to previously – I seem to recall there maybe links to it from a reader’s comment some months ago – but I reproduce the entire article below.

It was written by David James Smith – one of a number of UK journalists who were able to come to Jersey and uncover and assemble more facts concerning atrocities against children in the space of a few weeks – than the entire panoply of Jersey media has done in six decades.

Here is the article.

Think of it – especially think of the victims who are written of in the article – when observing the spectacle of Jersey’s oligarchy trying to prevent the truth being spoken – again.

Stuart

From The Sunday Times
May 4, 2008


Within these walls: the Jersey childcare scandal

As police continue to search for bodies at Haut de la Garenne — the centre of the Jersey childcare scandal — Britain’s foremost crime writer, David James Smith, asks: how many victims, abusers and government officials kept quiet?

Kevin hid from the police the first time they came over to see him, in February. He was suffering from depression and decided he just couldn’t handle talking about it all. So, when the two officers flew in from Jersey and made their way to the hostel in Hackney where Kevin was staying, ready to take his statement, he had already left, and was hiding away at the home of a friend, waiting until the police had gone.

Kevin was living in a hostel because he had been having trouble with noisy neighbours in his old flat. When the police were called, Kevin felt they were laughing at him instead of arresting his neighbours, so he barricaded himself inside and smashed all the windows. The electricity was already cut off and Kevin relied on candles for light. He knocked over a candle and set fire to the curtains. But, like he said, that was an accident. He had been drinking, of course. All his life, starting from the age of 16, he has been drinking. Mostly lager and vodka.

Kevin was not used to giving witness statements to the police. More often he was the aggressor, the one being arrested. He did not have much faith in authority. The only time he had ever told anyone in authority what had happened to him – his probation officer back in Jersey in 1995 – nothing had been done, so far as he knew. He had never heard another word about it. Not from his probation officer, who was David Trott, nor anyone else.

Kevin had not personally kept count, but had recently been told he had 130 convictions, many of them the result of drinking and fighting, and had spent accumulated years of his life in prison, all on short sentences, never longer than nine months and mostly much shorter.

He was 57, and spoke quietly, uneasily, in clipped sentences. He had once been a shopkeeper in Jersey, and had worked as a decorator, but was now laid low with emphysema and would be lucky if he ever worked again.

Kevin had been married and had five children, and had done everything in his power not to pass his terrible legacy on to his children. The family was back in Jersey. Kevin did not like being in Jersey. He had told his wife, his ex-wife by now, his story, in the years after they were first married. He had later told his eldest daughter, and it had been she who called the police in January on Kevin’s behalf, not long after the public announcement of the historic-abuse inquiry.

Kevin had heard that announcement with a mixture of relief, fear and scepticism. When the police called to rearrange the interview, he determined to try harder. Just imagine if the man who had harmed him was still out there harming others? Here was a chance to make it all stop.

On March 1, the officers flew back to London. Again Kevin thought he could not go through with it, but this time he did not run away. He sat and talked for four hours while they took his statement. The police told him that the man’s name had been mentioned by quite a few others they had talked to. Kevin felt good when he had finished, like a weight had been lifted. But the feeling didn’t last long. The anxiety and depression soon returned.

Kevin was up all night before he came to talk to me, a few weeks later, but again he did not hide away, and even though it was difficult to look me in the eye, and even though he had blocked things out and tried so hard not to think about them for the past 40-odd years, he was a good and, I believe, honest witness to what had happened to him and his brother in the cellars and dormitories of Haut de la Garenne, all those years ago.

Kevin’s brother is no longer around to give his account. Michael O’Connell used a rope swing suspended from a tree on a country lane in the Jersey district of Lower Trinity to hang himself, a week after his 14th birthday, in October 1966. It was a few days before Kevin turned 16, the year he started drinking. He was Michael’s older brother and has lived on with the knowledge that he could not protect Michael. But now, at least, he can speak for him.

Kevin and Michael’s father had always been violent at home, but, for reasons that were never clear to his children, he reserved his greatest venom for Michael. He refused to allow the family to call Michael by his name. Instead he insisted they call him Herbert, and instructed them to treat “Herbert” as their slave. Their father had once broken Michael’s arm. I asked Kevin if he had any happy memories of his father at all, but Kevin couldn’t think of a single one. He could not recall any interest from social services, only occasional visits from the truant officer.

Kevin got into trouble with the police and, after being caught breaking into shops with a gang of other teenagers, he was sent to Haut de la Garenne by the court. His family life being awful, Kevin thought: “Great, get away from it for a bit.”

One of the worst things about Haut de la Garenne was that young criminals were thrown in with children who had done nothing wrong, and children of all ages, so the possibilities for bullying among the 60 or more residents was endless.

The earliest allegations the police received were predominantly concerned with incidents in the 1970s and ’80s, but as the inquiry developed, the 1960s began to feature more prominently, and that was when Kevin was sent there, around 1963 or 1964, he thinks, when he was 13 or 14. Michael was already at Haut de la Garenne when Kevin arrived. And Kevin’s time there would have coincided with visits from Edward Paisnel, a notorious paedophile known as the Beast of Jersey.

Kevin’s tormentor was a man he knows only by his surname. He has not been publicly identified before, and Kevin, a semiliterate child at the time, was not even sure how to spell the name of the man who had ruined his life. The Sunday Times knows his name, but for legal reasons we are withholding it from publication. He is known to the police, who are investigating allegations against him from a number of people who passed through the home. Kevin recalls that this man often wore a white jumper and used to carry a big, yellow torch.

The superintendent, Colin Tilbrook, and this particular member of staff made up Kevin’s reception committee at Haut de la Garenne, on the Friday he recalls arriving. They told him what a bad person he was. He was bad news and would need cleaning up. He was dragged down to the cellar, pulled along by his hair and ears, and punched and kicked. The route to the cellar, then, was out the main entrance at the front of the building, round the side, back in through the double doors – the area now covered for the forensic digging – and down the stairs to the vaults.

Kevin was put in the cellar straight ahead of him. There was a large bath in there. He was stripped naked and made to get into the bath, which was already filled with cold water. When the man with the torch left, locking the door behind him, Kevin was trapped in darkness for the whole weekend.

This became a pattern. The perpetual darkness was barely tolerable. The same man would return late on a Sunday and open the door, all normal, like nothing had happened. Come on, off you go. That really got to Kevin. It was just too surreal.

Alas, this was not the whole story. When Kevin was naked and bathed, the man would touch Kevin’s genitals while masturbating himself to a climax. When he had finished, he would kiss and be affectionate with Kevin, telling him what a good boy, a nice boy, he was. This, too, the contradictory behaviour, was difficult for Kevin to comprehend.

Kevin has no idea how long he was at Haut de la Garenne – he says that’s something he has blocked out – but in all the time he was at the home he never received any visitors. He used to leave the home to go to school during the week, but nobody ever asked him about his life, and he never spoke to anyone.

When he was not in the cellar, Kevin would sleep in a dormitory with maybe 10 or 12 other boys. Often the man would come in, with his torch, and walk along and pick a boy, seemingly at random, and begin touching the boy’s genitals under the blanket. Sometimes it might be Kevin, or he might watch as it happened to the boy in the bed next to him.

Kevin was never raped or orally abused, but he heard other boys describe having been sodomised by Tilbrook, and he himself had been caned and occasionally hit by him. Kevin says that he used to fantasise about killing the other man, his sexual tormentor, but of course could never do anything about it. The thing he felt more than anything was complete terror and helplessness.

Kevin thinks Michael was still in the home when he was released, though Michael ran away on several occasions and was also farmed out to foster carers. Michael was arrested with two other boys and accused of setting fire to a barn. It was while he was waiting for the case to come to court that Michael hanged himself, apparently fearing he would be returned to Haut de la Garenne.

The inquest report in the Jersey Evening Post from October 1966 makes pitiful reading, with Michael’s mother quoted as saying she knew her son was in safe hands with Mr Tilbrook at the home.

About six years later, after Kevin had left home, he was walking past his parents’ house, saw the police were there and went to see what was happening. There had been a drunken fight. The father had broken into the barricaded matrimonial bedroom and strung a rope to the light fitting. Here he had told his wife, go on, you bastard, and hang yourself, like your son. Kevin wanted the police to take his father away but they said it was only a domestic. The next morning his mother killed herself with an overdose.

It is impossible to say for sure why the abuses at Haut de la Garenne went on for so long without being uncovered and then continued to be concealed for two decades after the home was closed, in 1986. There is no evidence, at this stage, so far as I know, of a deliberate conspiracy to disguise the wholesale abuse of so many children. As Kevin said to me, he was told he was bad, he believed he was bad, he was told nobody would believe him, and he believed nobody would believe him, which, so far as Kevin is concerned, is exactly what did happen when he did eventually tell someone, in 1995.

Like Kevin, many people did speak out.

They told police, probation officers, other adult carers, and figures of authority, yet, somehow, nothing was done. The truth is, I suspect, that nobody cared very much about those children. They were the orphans and kiddy-villains of the great unwashed, and just didn’t matter.

Except, of course, that most were not orphans or villains – they were the offspring of parents with troubles of their own, too busy struggling to survive or drowning their sorrows to look after their children.

Kevin’s family, the O’Connells, were in fact a family of seven children, Irish of origin, who lived in a small house not far from St Helier. They were firmly trapped in a world of social deprivation that was significant in post-war Jersey and persists to this day, even though some of the old estates have been demolished.

Here was an unexpected, surprising aspect of Jersey life – a world of poverty the tourists never saw from the beaches or the shopping lanes of the capital, St Helier. Tourism has been in serious decline in Jersey for 15 years – long before it became publicly known as the island of child abuse – down from half a million visitors a year in 1992 to just over 300,000 in 2007.

As Stuart Syvret would be the first to tell you, most of the island’s ruling elite would not know much about that hidden world either. Many of them were in a different stratosphere, worth millions through business or inheritance or both.
Though Syvret had risen to become a minister in the Jersey government – called the States – he had never felt part of the ruling elite. Even before the furore, there was a long history of antagonism between Syvret and his fellow senators, especially the chief minister, Frank Walker.

Jersey had no political parties, or none of significance. People called it a one-party state, but, in a real sense, it was a no-party state, just a collection of individuals who sometimes seemed to govern, as Syvret would put it, as a secret cabal.

Syvret grew up on a St Helier estate, in the same social universe as many of the victims of Haut de la Garenne. And many of the problems those children faced were familiar to Syvret. He described his own father as a violent alcoholic who had broken Syvret’s jaw when he was six.

Despite the accusations that he was self-serving and publicity-seeking, Syvret had not gone on about his own background during his recent campaign to draw attention to the survivors of abuse and the failings that had led to their suffering. But, because Jersey is so small – a population of 87,186 at the last census in March 2001 – it did not take long, just a few degrees of separation, for me to connect him to the people he was now trying to support.

He had grown up first in “the grotty back streets of St Helier” and later in Clarence Court, a block of flats on the edge of the capital that he described as the dumping ground for the problem families of the island. His childhood had been poor, neglected and hard, and he had few formal qualifications, beyond his skills as a cabinet maker.

But he had been highly politically motivated from an early age, mainly on environmental issues and social concerns. He had entered the States as a deputy at 25, in 1990, at the same time as Frank Walker, who was then the 47-year-old head of the mini media empire that owned the island’s sole newspaper, the Jersey Evening Post. Walker will soon be 65 and is due to retire from public office at the end of this year. As he told me, somewhat ruefully, when we met recently, he never dreamt he would spend his last months in office facing the issues that now confront him.

Jersey has a lot of politicians for such a modest population. The States is home to 29 deputies, who are local representatives, 12 connétables, who are honorary officials, not unlike parish mayors, and 12 senators, the senior politicians who are elected by the whole population.

The head of the States is the bailiff, appointed by the Queen, currently Sir Philip Bailhache, whose brother, William, is attorney-general. The deputy bailiff is the former attorney-general Michael Birt. The bailiff is not only the head of the States, he is also the head of the judiciary, which creates a potential clash of interests that greatly troubles Syvret and others.

Jersey is nothing if not a creature of tradition, with its uniquely anomalous status, being answerable to the UK but largely independent of it in terms of law and government. Even now, there is no sex offenders’ register in Jersey and no equivalent to Ofsted, the body that routinely inspects schools and children’s care homes in the UK. Many of Jersey’s laws and practices go back 800 years to its alliance with Norman France. Petty offenders can still find themselves facing summary justice in front of the centenier at a parish-hall inquiry. Miscreants were still being flogged with birch stems until they bled into the 1950s – something mercifully absent so far from the allegations at Haut de la Garenne.

Syvret became a senator before Walker, but acceding to the highest levels of the Jersey government only increased his jaundiced view of the Jersey establishment, “the oligarchy”, as he refers to it, with its centuries-old interest in preserving the image of itself and its island. He expresses amazement that they have somehow managed to persuade the rest of the island that democratic party politics would be a bad thing. Meanwhile, says Syvret, the establishment heavyweights are meeting at parties or masonic events, where the real decisions are made, the rest of the politicians just following as lobby fodder.

The oligarchs, said Syvret, were totally unrepresentative of the people they claimed to represent – the ordinary people of Jersey. Walker takes issue with Syvret’s depiction of a ruling elite. He says the States’ members represent a variety of backgrounds and political opinions.

Syvret had been suspended from the States in the mid-1990s, after refusing to apologise for questioning another senator’s personal financial interest in a law he was voting for. In 2001 he called for Walker’s resignation after an extraordinary sequence of events in which Walker hired a private detective to find the source of malicious rumours that he was a wife-beater. Two politicians were made to publish an apology to Walker in the Jersey Evening Post, for having spread the false rumours. It was said the woman detective had pretended to be a tabloid journalist from London, seeking dirt on Walker, and the politicians had passed on the unfounded gossip.

Walker said at the time that he had acted to end five years of hell. Syvret said he should resign for using such underhand methods. Walker has been married three times. The unfounded domestic-violence rumours are still aired regularly, though when I heard them eventually it was not from Syvret, who was quick to say that episode had no relevance to the child-protection scandal.

Syvret is a fighter, gloriously outspoken, a gift to the media but also, so far as I could tell, possessed of integrity, staying true to his beliefs.

In 2007 he had been in charge of health and social services for seven years, first as president of the Health Committee and then, following some much overdue government modernisations, recast as the minister for the Department of Health and Social Services. He had, he said, been waging a continual war to improve the performance of children’s services and social services. He began trying to obtain a copy of the report that followed an independent inquiry into the recent conviction of a teacher at the island’s most prestigious boys’ school, the fee-paying Victoria College. In 1999, Andrew Jervis-Dykes had been given a four-year sentence for a series of indecent assaults on teenage pupils who he had plied with alcohol and sometimes shown soft porn before abusing them.

Allegations had first been made against Jervis-Dykes four years before he was eventually arrested. It was only after his arrest that the school suspended him. According to the report, the headteacher had told a senior school governor – later deputy bailiff of the island – Francis Hamon about the earliest allegations over a game of squash, and had been told to keep quiet about it. It was not clear when the rest of the school governors knew – these included the still-serving bailiff, Philip Bailhache.

After Jervis-Dykes’s arrest, a colleague, Piers Baker, who had also been on the trips, wrote a letter supporting Jervis-Dykes to the police and then refused to give the police a witness statement, allegedly with the backing of the headteacher. When called to the police station to watch a video, apparently showing Jervis-Dykes masturbating a sleeping boy in a ship’s bunk, Baker said he could not identify the boy.

Baker resurfaced as a civil servant in the States soon after, as a maritime official, where his role, among other things, gave him responsibility for child protection at sea.

Syvret complained, but to no avail. Baker still works there. The parents of one of the victims had approached Syvret, trying to obtain a copy of the Sharp report, which criticised Baker, among others, and highlighted the years of failure to act against Jervis-Dykes – years in which he was free to continue to abuse. Syvret could not get the report from official channels, even though he was a States minister. Neither the attorney-general nor the education minister would give it to him. He eventually obtained it from a mole and leaked a copy to the Jersey Evening Post that, he said, never bothered to publish it.

Early last year, he says, he began to be approached by whistle-blowers who were working in the childcare system and were alarmed at current or recent methods being used at homes. The most public example of this was Simon Bellwood, who recently settled his industrial-tribunal claim for unfair dismissal against the States, after he was sacked as a social worker from Greenfields home, where he had complained about a bizarre practice known as the “grand-prix” system of reward and punishment, which, he believed, was leading to excessive periods of solitary confinement for the residents.

Talking to people had a snowball effect of putting Syvret in contact with more whistle-blowers, both staff and victims. One teenager claimed to have been kept in isolation at Greenfields for two months, bringing him to the point of a breakdown. Then came the unhappy story of the Maguires, Jane and Alan, who had run a so-called group home for children in care and had been the subject of many allegations of physical abuse and, against Alan, at least two claims of sexual abuse too. Jane was the “house mother” and her husband, “Big Al”, was the “house father”. Before starting this work, in the autumn of 1979, Jane had worked briefly at Haut de la Garenne.

Despite admissions to the States’ authorities by the Maguires that they had washed children’s mouths out with soap and administered physical abuse, such as slaps, as physical punishment, they were allowed to leave the home and take up another post elsewhere in the care system. The president of the education committee, Iris Le Feuvre (later sacked by Syvret), wrote them a fulsome letter of thanks on their “retirement”, though actually they did not retire at all, but continued to work in social services.

The allegations that the then director of social services, Anton Skinner, had heard were in fact far more serious than their admissions, but he seemed to have accepted the Maguires’ denials.

I spoke to one of their victims, John Le Boutillier, who recalled how Skinner had made him and other accusers appear before the Maguires and say they had been lying.

In 1998, as I understand it, someone threw a note tied to a brick through the window of the Maguires’ Jersey home, making allegations against them. Arrogantly, or foolishly, they took the note to the police to complain, and an investigation began that led to them being charged with a series of assaults.
Some evidence was called at court, with staff, residents and even a neighbour prepared to give evidence of assaults, some of which were documented in the Maguires’ own home records.

In November 1998, the case was dropped. The Jersey Evening Post reported that the attorney-general had found that the evidence was insufficient to proceed. The attorney-general was Michael Birt – the current deputy bailiff. I wrote asking him why the case against the Maguires was dropped, and received a reply from a court official who said that the correct procedure had been followed and that Birt had consulted the police and others before making the decision.

These are old events, but try telling John Le Boutillier they no longer matter. He and his sister were brought up by the Maguires for the best years of their childhoods. As John put it, they turned him into a nervous wreck with a stutter, who did badly at school, got no exams and ended up with a no-hope job. His sister fared little better. Both have had problems with drugs and alcohol and John has spent time in prison.

John described Alan Maguire as a big, bullying ex-army sergeant, always being used as a threat by his wife – “you wait till Alan gets home”. He would stand in front of the children shouting at them and hitting them at the same time. He would hit them across the head. Both of them would use weapons, such as wooden spoons, to hit the children. John had his mouth washed out with soap. Alan’s pièce de resistance was to squeeze the sides of your head tightly in his hands and lift you off the ground.

John, who will be 37 this year, began a civil action against the Maguires and the education department. He dropped it because he was about to get married and didn’t want to ruin the marriage before it had started by incurring legal debts. The marriage fell apart anyway, but at least he had tried. He had told his ex-wife everything that had happened to him.

By now, Syvret had decided he was facing “some kind of catastrophic, systemic, cultural failing in the childcare apparatus of Jersey”. He had heard some allegations from former residents of Haut de la Garenne but, as he said to me, he was really more alarmed about the more recent problems elsewhere, and the clear resistance to dealing with them openly.

He first raised the matter in the States last summer, spontaneously, in response to a question about childcare. He believes the oligarchs began plotting his removal from that moment on, first trying to force him to resign and eventually voting to have him removed from office in August.

When I met Frank Walker and his chief executive, Bill Ogley, they claimed not to want to talk about Syvret. This wasn’t the time for petty politics, they said. But as I was leaving they handed me Walker’s 91-page dossier on the reasons for the dismissal of Syvret, documenting his alleged poor performance of office, his harassment of civil servants and fellow politicians, his disclosures of confidential documents, and his abusive behaviour towards other ministers.

Syvret is unrepentant. He has no doubt he was sacked for making a fuss. Driven by a kind of mania during this period, Syvret would stay up all night, collating information, writing e-mails and reports, trying to ensure some proper intervention and drastic improvement in childcare. He was meeting abuse survivors at all hours of the night “in rainy back alleys”.

Not long after his dismissal he had a call from police headquarters, inviting him to come down for a chat with the deputy chief officer, Lenny Harper. To his astonishment, Harper told Syvret the police were in the advanced stages of an inquiry into historic abuse at Haut de la Garenne and elsewhere. According to Syvret, he was told plainly that this was the first time anyone outside the force had been informed of the inquiry. The police had deliberately chosen not to notify other ministers.

Walker and Ogley told me when I met them that they had been notified much earlier in the year that the inquiry was underway. In any event, Syvret said, it was like a mountainous weight had been lifted. Finally, the truth would come out.

Lenny Harper, who is leading the historic-abuse inquiry as senior investigating officer, told me a number of older police officers in Jersey could recall how children were always running away from Haut de la Garenne and how they used to have to take them back. The officers were troubled now, at what further suffering they might have inflicted on those children. Harper had spent much of his first six years in Jersey addressing problems of corruption in the force, leading to some dismissals and convictions against a small group of rogue officers. One of those had phoned Stuart Syvret shortly after the historic-abuse inquiry went public, warning Syvret not to trust Harper and complaining bitterly that Harper had targeted the rogue officers’ malpractices, as if there was nothing wrong with them. It was ‘not the Jersey way’, the officer had complained to Syvret about Harper.

Syvret, who felt he could trust Harper, contacted him straight away. It turned out this was just one call in a wider campaign by ex-officers to discredit Harper, with complaints about him, and attempts to smear him among journalists and others. Harper would not be drawn on whether he thought the campaign was politically motivated. A later e-mail, sent by Ben Shenton, the very senator appointed to replace Syvret as health minister, had mocked Harper and been seen as an attempt to undermine the inquiry. Frank Walker told me Shenton had subsequently said the inquiry and officers had his full support.

The police had begun the inquiry in early 2007, following up on recent allegations of sexual assault involving the Jersey Sea Cadets. Some complainants had told the force they ought to be looking at Haut de la Garenne too. The police went public because they wanted to encourage others who might have suffered to come forward. It was clear from the way the inquiry had escalated that they had not anticipated just how many complaints there would be.

At the last count there were upwards of 160.

But of course it was the digging that had created the headlines and lurid speculation of mass graves in the cellars where the search teams were working. Harper said there were no specific cases of missing children, but there was one specific allegation – he would not give details – which, if true, could well have resulted in a death.

Then, too, there were the bones found by builders in 2003 when they were refurbishing the building for its relaunch as a youth hostel – it was reopened by a guest celebrity, the former Newsround presenter John Craven in 2004, and is now closed for the foreseeable future.

The bones had been examined by pathologists, dismissed as animal bones and destroyed. Harper, in his allusive way, seemed to question the validity of the assessment of the bones and seemed certain there had been human remains there.

This appeared to be confirmed by the discovery of a small fragment – about the size of a 50p piece, he said – of a child’s skull. From materials found around it, the police were confident it had been placed there during or after the 1920s. As we went to press, the police acknowledged subsequent discoveries of milk teeth and other bone fragments. Otherwise, the work was all about interviewing the witnesses and processing and cross-referencing their information on the database. Historic cases of sexual assault were notoriously hard to prosecute as there was invariably no forensic evidence and it often came down to one person’s word against another. What would win convictions here would be “similar fact” evidence – several victims describing the same kind of incident – which was why it was so important for the police to hear from everyone who was ready to come forward. That, of course, was what had encouraged Kevin O’Connell, in the end, to make his statement. An act, as I told him, that showed considerable courage.

The suicide of Michael O’Connell had first been drawn to the attention of Syvret by a friend of Michael’s. Syvret had discovered the dates of Michael’s death and his subsequent inquest, and attempted to introduce them in a Christmas speech to the States in 2007. He had been shouted down by Frank Walker and others because he had broken with convention by not making a routine speech but choosing instead to talk about victims of child abuse in Jersey care homes.

When he refused to sit down and tried to carry on – even as some members came up and practically screamed in his face – the bailiff, Philip Bailhache, switched off his microphone.

It seems only fair to point out that the Jersey politicians weren’t to know then what you have read here, about Michael’s tragic history of abuse. But, even so, it might seem like a somewhat unedifying spectacle – a group of grown men, or mostly men, shouting down a speech which was, in part at least, about a boy who hanged himself.

The police made their inquiry public at a press conference in November, on more or less the same day that a 47-year-old serial sex offender, Chris Curtin, was imprisoned for five years for historic offences of his own. Curtin had claimed in court – not for the first time – that he had been the victim of sustained abuse at an unnamed children’s home in his youth. This had little bearing on his sentence, and rightly so. The home was, of course, Haut de la Garenne.

Chris’s brother, Danny – who had not been in the home and has no convictions for sex offences against children (and whose wife wishes he had changed his surname years ago) – remembered Chris showing him photographs of young girls long before he was ever convicted. Danny thought nothing of it then. The police later told him that 20 women had come forward with memories of a man approaching them as children. Back then Chris used to work in Bambola, St Helier’s leading toy shop. When a mother claimed he had put his hand up her daughter’s skirt, Chris denied it and Danny thought there must be a mistake. Danny had no idea.

In the small world of the Jersey underclass, it is no surprise that the Curtins lived on the same estate, Clarence Court, as Syvret, and that Danny Curtin was best friends for a while with Kevin O’Connell. Danny remembered waiting to meet Kevin one day in 1966 and being told, he won’t be coming, his brother’s hanged himself.

Chris Curtin was caught stealing around the age of 12 and sent to Haut de la Garenne. His friends Colin and Big Steve used to go up there on their skateboards to visit him. Colin well-remembered Chris telling him that it wasn’t right, what was going on there. Chris took Colin to see the room in which he had been kept locked up. He showed Colin bruises on his wrist.

He was convicted of serious sexual offences against children in 1991 and in 1995. Chris died in La Moye prison, Jersey on December 29, 2007, about a month after being sentenced. “Well, he won’t be missed, will he?” said Big Steve, when Colin told him that their friend had died. Danny was notified as next of kin, but took no part in arranging a funeral. By the time Colin found out, the funeral had already taken place.

For many weeks afterwards, the exact circumstances of Chris’s death were not entirely clear. He had died of a heart attack, and so the Jersey deputy viscount, who is responsible for these things, initially opted not to hold an inquest, concluding that it was “natural causes”.

Surely, for public confidence, an inquest might have been a good idea?

I was told Chris had complained repeatedly to prison staff of chest pains on the night of his death. And didn’t get immediate medical help. Was that because he was a paedophile?

We may never have known for sure, if I hadn’t inquired. The deputy viscount, Peter de Gruchy, didn’t seem to want to know either, and never bothered to answer my e-mails, asking him to explain his decision. Old Jersey habits, it seems, die hard, even now, when transparency is so desperately needed. Imagine my surprise, about 15 weeks after Curtin’s death, when a Jersey contact called to tell me that an inquest on Christopher Curtin was about to be held. I was told in advance that Haut de la Garenne would not be mentioned at the inquest, and this proved to be the case. Because, after all, that is ‘the Jersey way’. The coroner also dismissed “rumours” that there had been a delay treating Curtin.

Now it was too late, Colin wished he had asked his friend more about the abuse he had suffered. He decided that he could at least tell the police what he knew.
The police confirmed that they had spoken to Chris before his death and Colin’s account supported what they had already been told. There was nearly a second death at the prison last month when Roger Holland attempted suicide the day after being jailed for two years for sexual offences against children. He had a history of such convictions, but this had not prevented him being elected an honorary police officer in Jersey during the 1990s.

Kevin O’Connell is still afraid of the dark. His flashbacks are worst at night and he often has hot and cold sweats and panic attacks. Lager and vodka are one remedy, of sorts. The memories, he said, have messed up his life.

I contacted his probation officer, David Trott, who still works at the Jersey probation service, to find out what action he had taken after being told by Kevin of his past as a victim of abuse, back in 1995. I did not hear back from Trott, but from the chief probation officer, offering a bland statement about a probation officer’s duty to pass on any information to the appropriate authorities. He would not comment on what had – or had not – happened in Kevin’s case.

I was beginning to understand by now what Syvret meant when he said that the phrase “not the Jersey way” haunted this entire episode. What was the Jersey way? To conceal and dissemble? Not any more. It would have to change.

Frank Walker acknowledged that these were dark days for Jersey and its reputation. He stood by his remark that Syvret was trying to shaft the island internationally, and said he wanted to get the truth out that Jersey was not an evil place and, for most people, bringing up a family in Jersey was a delight. He spoke of the “horrors of Haut de la Garenne and the isolated cases elsewhere”, but emphasised the recent interim judgment of an expert outsider, Andrew Williamson, who had been called in to examine the Jersey care-home system, and said that there were no children currently at risk in homes.

No doubt Walker wished the scandal would go away, but with the police considering up to 50 suspects in all, at least half of them from Haut de la Garenne, the prospect of arrests and trials seems certain to keep Jersey as the focus of negative attention, long after the planned end to the digging, around the end of this month.

Unlike Syvret, Walker had not personally known anyone who had been a resident or a victim at Haut de la Garenne, though he may unknowingly have met a few as he told me his only connection with the home was visits he used to make there at Christmas during the 1980s, when he went to distribute presents as a member of the Round Table.

Michael O’Connell was long dead by then, of course. I wondered at the life he might have led, even if he had lived. It probably would not have been so very different from Kevin’s. Forty years later, Kevin was still trapped in the dark cellars

(c) David James Smith, Sunday Times Magazine

CHRISTMAS SPEECH 2008:

LET ME KNOW YOUR IDEAS?

Democracy in Action:

Your Chance to Suggest Topics

For my Christmas Speech.

Regular readers of this blog will be very familiar with the disgusting spectacle of the States assembly & Phil Bailhache shouting-down and halting my Christmas speech at the end of 2007.

As readers and I have remarked frequently in recent months – wouldn’t it be fun to engage in some speculations and discussions as to what should be the subject, purpose and nature of my Christmas speech this coming December.

So – as promised – here is your opportunity to make suggestions as to what you think I should say this year.

But – for those not familiar with the history of the wretched saga – a brief recap.

At the conclusion of the last States assembly meeting before the Christmas break, it has long been custom and practice to conclude with speeches marking the end of the political year and the approach of Christmas.

There are usually five speeches, these being from the senior Senator, the senior Constable and the senior Deputy, the Dean and the Bailiff.

The senior Senator – which is me, believe it or not – is ‘Father of the House’, so is the first to speak.

Usually, these speeches are a round of smug, self-congratulatory, mutually-glorifying banalities – which are of little or no relevance to the community we represent.

But during the course of 2007, the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster erupted into public and political consciousness. For the first time ever – decades upon decades of the most appalling child abuses had finally been exposed.

The response of the Jersey oligarchy to these events was – and has continued to be – uniformly disgraceful.

Having spent much of 2007 networking amongst whistle-blowers, witnesses and survivors – people whose age ranged from 13 to 75 – I knew all too well that the States of Jersey had engaged in a shameful, disastrous and sustained failure to protect vulnerable children.

So – I decided back then that the community – and the survivors – needed to hear some kind of expression of empathy towards the victims – an acknowledgement of the decades-long failures of the island authorities which had allowed, permitted – and in many cases condoned – and carried out – these atrocities.

Such an open acknowledgment having never before been uttered by a politician in the Jersey parliament.

So – I took the trouble to write a speech, and when the moment arrived, attempted to deliver it.

I got about a quarter of the way through the speech when – in another brazen example of the culture of concealment at work – I was barracked and shouted-down by a number of States members, for example Peter Troy, Terry Le Main, Frank Walker & Mike Vibert.

The Bailiff, Sir Philip Bailhache – unlike any other speaker of a legislature in the respectable, democratic world – instead of telling these barbarians to sit down and shut up – agreed with them and joined in with the prevailing mob-rule.

He ordered me to stop the speech. Having taken the precaution of ensuring that what I had written was ‘in-order’ – and therefore knew the intervention of him and his oligarchy colleagues was simply an anti-democratic act of oppression – I declined.

So he cut my microphone and adjourned the meeting – allowing the assembled States members to rush off to their tax-payer funded Christmas lunch – from which I’d so rudely detained them.

I have previously blogged the speech in question, on the 14th April, 2008. It is archived under the title, “The Speech the Jersey Parliament Refused to Hear”,

The first – and so far only – occasion on which a Jersey politician stood to speak words of acknowledgment and empathy to abuse victims.

And the States assembly – in its majestic hauteur and hubris – disgraced itself by actually stopping the speech.

In a major article on the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster, in the Sunday Times magazine of the 4th May, 2008, the journalist, David James Smith wrote this concerning the halting of my speech:

“The suicide of Michael O’Connell had first been drawn to the attention of Syvret by a friend of Michael’s. Syvret had discovered the dates of Michael’s death and his subsequent inquest, and attempted to introduce them in a Christmas speech to the States in 2007. He had been shouted down by Frank Walker and others because he had broken with convention by not making a routine speech but choosing instead to talk about victims of child abuse in Jersey care homes.

“When he refused to sit down and tried to carry on – even as some members came up and practically screamed in his face – the bailiff, Philip Bailhache, switched off his microphone.

“It seems only fair to point out that the Jersey politicians weren’t to know then what you have read here, about Michael’s tragic history of abuse. But, even so, it might seem like a somewhat unedifying spectacle – a group of grown men, or mostly men, shouting down a speech which was, in part at least, about a boy who hanged himself.”

That is a very diplomatic description of how those events appeared to the real world – as opposed to the parallel-universe, “Groupthink” environment of Jersey.

You know, one of the reasons I feel so pessimistic about the future of this community is that – to this day – notwithstanding everything we have learnt about the concealed atrocities inflicted on vulnerable children in Jersey – still 90% of Jersey politicians and their oligarchy supporters see me as the villain of the hour –and their conduct to be perfectly respectable.

But – let us try and set aside such multi-faceted tragedy and sadness – and instead turn our attention towards Christmas 2008 – and my speech as Father of the House.

I could easily think of several apposite themes – and a few particular phrases – which might inform the speech.

But I thought I’d try and introduce a little democracy into the process – by inviting you, dear readers – to submit your suggestions.

What do you think I should be saying this year, as the assembly finishes business and looks to Christmas?

Though – do not be in the least surprised if, as I’ve remarked previously, the oligarchy – with indecent haste – try and rush through a change in the rules somehow, and scrap many, many decades of custom and practice – simply in order to stop me from speaking.

Yeah – I’m afraid they really are that dumb.

The words of Jesus Himself – such as “suffer the little children” – are obviously out of contention – as these were not allowed last-time; being deemed somehow “inappropriate” – even though we were approaching the celebration of Christ’s birth.

And Biblical quotes in general will be forbidden, as even the Dean, when e-mailed by me after the incident to ask what he thought of events – took a decidedly pro-oligarchy position.

Though having said that – I guess he may have changed his mind – given that he used the very same quotes that I had attempted to deliver, a few months later when the cause of the suffering and misery of children had become “fashionable”.

So – even though it’s a Christmas speech, Christian themes appear to be out-of-bounds – well, at least any Christian themes which are embarrassing or inconvenient to the oligarchy.

Though I’m quite sure that some Old Testament stuff about homosexual people being “wicked” and in need of being “cured” could be rustled-up by Ian Le Marquand. I’ve no doubt that that kind of thing would go down a storm with most States members if delivered by said ultra-conservative religious fundamentalist.

So – what are we left with?

Quite a lot actually

Being an anti-oligarchy States member, one has had to develop quite a good line in irony – so we could subtly – or not so subtly – take the mick.

Or – I could seriously address a subject which would appeal to the assembled herd – such as just how marvellous our ultra-low and regressive taxation system was – given that it gives such free-reign to the “wealth-creators” – whose efforts then allow a little “trickle-down” to the poor in Jersey and abroad.

Perhaps I could talk about the brilliant intellectual skills, leadership and vision of the retired Senator Frank Walker – and point to his many, many achievements – such as the vast, concrete excrescences which adorn St. Helier’s Waterfront; one of which was so fantastic an achievement it’s just won the “worst new building in Britain” award. Or maybe how – after decades of countless billions flowing through Jersey – we’ve accumulated a Strategic Reserve which is almost so large as to able to meet one year’s public expenditure.

Perhaps I could speak a little of all those members who are retiring?

Maybe pass a few words on the legacy of departing Bailiff, Phil Bailhache?

Perhaps I could confess the error of my ways? Hmm….Don’t think that’ll work either – as the Assembly made it clear they didn’t like ‘confessional’ material last time out.

Perhaps I could recite an appropriate poem? I like poetry – so that could be a runner.

Do send in your recommendations.

Or the lyrics from a song by Rage Against The Machine? A few appropriate titles spring to mind.

Or maybe you have in mind some other lyric? If so – please share your ideas.

But, instead of such frivolity – perhaps you think the occasion merits a serious and straight speech?

Well – if so, I really need your guidance because that’s what I tried last year – and it got shouted-down.

You see – only Phil Bailhache is allowed to make “political” speeches – like on Liberation Day – when the real world needs it explaining to them that the “real scandal” of the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster is “the bad publicity”.

But I can certainly think of several serious themes – which I’m actively considering.

Not least simply a straightforward, honest and unambiguous apology from the States of Jersey to all the victims.

You know the kind of thing? An apology of the kind Frank Walker has been advised NOT to give – by Jersey’s Attorney General, Bill Bailhache.

You know – I just don’t know where Bill finds all the time needed to determine all prosecutions in the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster – whilst at the same time giving legal advice to the executive as to why they must avoid any expression of culpability in an attempt to minimise compensation claims. It must take a very special talent to wear both hats simultaneously.

Nevertheless – an apology to the victims remains my favoured option at the moment.

Now – in your suggestions, we need to observe a few rules. We don’t want to make it too easy for the Jersey Establishment Party to shut me up – by delivering a speech which is “out of order”.

So whatever I say has to comply with the rules, the standing orders, of the States – just as my previous speech did.

So – “imputing improper motives” to a fellow member is out of the frame – as are obscenities.

Curiously, there is a traditional range of words and phrases which are deemed “unparliamentary” – most of which have been proscribed by the House of Commons and adopted by other legislatures.

It’s quite weird really – but in a legislature – a chamber full of politicians, of all people – the word “liar” is strictly forbidden. As is the word “hypocrite”.

Bizarre, no?

Direct, personal abuse is also usually frowned upon – unless, of course, it’s being used by an oligarchy member against some rancid, uppity pleb like me – in which case it’s just fine.

The use of “big words” is also usually greeted with open hostility – which, being a dictionary nerd, I find a little disappointing. So anything with excoriating existential inchoate proschemata in it – is out – if you get my drift?

And we need to be careful, too, with quotations. You see – if one tries to be “too clever” Terry Le Main is allowed to shout “bloody know-all!” at you.

So that’s Goethe, Chomsky, Ghandi and Holub out of the running. Though one might get away with a little Shakespeare, though not sure about W.B. Yeats, given the presence of the Lieutenant Governor.

So, in general terms – we’re looking for a subject for the speech – and various points which might be included in it – which doesn’t break parliamentary rules by being abusive or telling the truth.

It should also – in order to “be relevant” – have something to say on the year gone by – what the States and its various titans have been doing – and look forward to the year ahead – whilst thinking of Christmas and what it is supposed to mean.

So come on, readers! Suggestions! Get your thinking-caps on!

But – as I said, we need a Plan B. The oligarchy will try and prevent me from making the speech.

They’ll embarrassingly rush through a decision which overturns decades of custom and practice so that it is not me who speaks.

Or – no matter how carefully crafted our collaborative missive – insisting on cutting me off again on some spurious ground – just like last year.

So here’s my Plan B.

I have a platform ladder which fits in the boot of a car. I’ll get a friend to take it to the Royal Square, outside the States building – and we can use it as a platform on which people can stand and deliver their various Christmas messages to the States.

We can even make the event a poetry slam.

And maybe a rap competition too.

But I don’t have a public address system – speakers, cables or microphones etc. Anyone out there who could help by supplying these?

So – no matter whether the oligarchy stop me from delivering a speech which the public have contributed to – whoever wants to join-in can meet-up in the Square where we can hear some pithy ‘Christmas speeches’ from the public.

In fact – the more I think of it – the more fun it sounds.

We’ll firm-up dates and times later.

Stuart.

PHIL BAILHACHE “RETIRES”,

KINNARD RESIGNS,

LUNDY NAMED.

A Very “Premature” Departure;

An Over-Due Departure;

And an Imminent Departure:

Three Events in the Jersey Child Protection War.

I must apologise for not posting for a while – I’ve been in the States assembly doing what 95% of your politicians are too spineless to do – namely standing up for what is right – by doing things like naming Mario Lundy during the session.

For which I was shouted down and stopped by the Deputy Bailiff, Michael Birt – and, in one of the funniest political exchanges of the year – I was called “a crook” – by Terry – Tel boy – Le Main.

A fate somewhat akin to being called a bit of a thug by Joe Stalin.

So – this week has delivered us an eventful few days.

Three key things have happened this week; these being:

The resignation as Home Affairs Minister of Senator Wendy Kinnard.

My open naming of Mario Lundy during question time.

And the announcement of the “early retirement” of the Bailiff, Sir Philip Bailhache.

I’ll try and deal with each of these three points, but so much churning intrigue, chaotic misjudgement and frank stupidity lays behind each of these related events that, somehow, I feel we’ll be hearing a lot more about these subjects.

So for this evening – we’ll just take a quick look at the key issues.

I guess the announcement by Phil Bailhache of his early retirement is the headline-grabber of the three – and it is certainly significant, for reasons I’ll explain later.

Wendy Kinnard’s resignation is an important subject – but probably the least of the three.

But, and again for reasons I’ll explain later – the naming of Mario Lundy is, in all practicality – the most significant – for all kinds of reasons.

Principally – just what the consequent reaction of most States members says about themselves; what it says about your government.

Firstly – I must say something about Phil Bailhache.

In my blog – whilst what I write is universally dismissed by our oligarchy – I do, in fact, strive to make it as confidently accurate as I can.

Sometimes I make powerful disclosures on this site – but I only do so when I’m confident – on an evidential basis – that what I’m writing is accurate.

For many months, people on other sites – and in many, many comments submitted to this blog – it has been asserted that Phil Bailhache was, at some point, a member of the Board of Governors of Haute de la Garenne.

I have not made such claims myself, and largely resisted letting such comments through, because I had no evidence that the claim was true. But, nevertheless – it was a claim of sufficient seriousness for me to make detailed enquiries to the relevant States departments. And not just in respect of Phil Bailhache – I was, indeed, still am, seeking a definitive list of all people who were members of the governing bodies of Haute de la Garenne, Les Chenes and similar institutions, from 1945, to the present day.

I found some States departments co-operative and helpful – but others to be deeply obstructive, which, of course, increases levels of suspicion. And after months of attempted research – I could still not obtain definitive answers.

So today, I e-mailed Phil Bailhache himself, and asked him directly whether he had ever been involved in the Board of Governors of Haute de la Garenne in any way?

He responded by saying that he had not.

I have no reason to doubt him – so, to the best of my knowledge, it’s time for that particular theory to be laid to rest.

However, the evidenced issues concerning Phil Bailhache’s position are more than bad enough – several times over.

I’ll deal with his “retirement” later.

Firstly – let’s have a brief look at the actions of Wendy Kinnard.

She has resigned as Home Affairs Minster – but, as I remarked to her in the States, at least 14 moths too late.

Her official reason for resignation was sound, a view I would have been in complete agreement with.

At present, judges in Jersey are still obliged – by which I mean they have no discretion in the matter – they have to do it – to give ‘guidance’ to a jury during the summoning-up that they need to be cautious about relying on witness evidence of similar kind, evidence from other offenders, or evidence from children.

Most western jurisdictions leave such matters to the judges’ discretion; they’ll sound such a note of caution – if they feel it to be necessary in a specific case.

Senator Kinnard wanted this obligation removed from judges in Jersey cases. Her colleagues on the Council of Ministers wished – typically – to prevaricate – and spend 12 moths or whatever, asking Jersey lawyers – of all people – to examine the matter.

Such delay, of course, having the effect that judges – should any of the cases actually get as far as summing-up and a jury retiring to reach a verdict – would still have the obligation upon them.

Which – of course – further serves the establishment objective of minimising the number of convictions; essentially, by requiring judges to smear victims and the reliability of their testimony.

For this reason Wendy Kinnard wanted speedy change. Big Frank and his buddies on the Council of Ministers refused – instead preferring prevarication. So Kinnard resigned.

And rightly so.

One day – I might discus all these issues with her – though I rarely speak to her; in fact, only on those occasions we’re in the States, as she happens to have the seat next to me.

But she well-knows my views – which are that she made a range of fundamental errors of judgment at the outset.

When the civil servants – and their poodles on the Council of Ministers – decided they had to get rid of me – she initially took sides with Walker & Co. – only much later deciding that she was “conflicted” – so couldn’t take part in the dismissal debate against me.

Her stance was wrong on at least two obvious grounds; firstly, though of less significance, we actually used to be friends. I know her and her family well; have even stayed as a guest at their home in Sark. So when I heard – with no prior warning – nothing so much as a text-message from her – that she was endorsing the moves to have me thrown out of the Council of Ministers – I was – how shall I put it (I’m trying to be “polite”, Pip Le Brocq) – somewhat less than pleased.

But of far greater significance is that Wendy imagines herself to be a centre-Left politician – from humble origins – and possessed, supposedly, of a good social conscience.

Which makes her decision to so disastrously ‘back the wrong horse’ in the Jersey Child Protection War all the more inexplicable, perhaps unforgivable? When I first began raising these issues in the political sphere – she – for all kinds of reasons – amongst all States members – should have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me.

Most importantly – she should have been on the right side – for the children.

Instead – one of the daggers in my back was hers.

Et tu Brute?

But – still, perhaps – even though the hour’s late – she can redeem herself?

If so – her resignation from the wretched shower who form this Council of Ministers is an important step on the right path.

My naming of Mario Lundy was – in many ways – the most significant of the three events.

Whilst I’ve named him – and others, such as his accomplice, Tom McKeon, on this blog – where it isn’t privileged, so if what I’ve said isn’t true they can sue me – no Jersey media would touch the subject. Even though I’d given the story to The Rag some weeks ago – and tipped them off about the Police disclosure notice having been issued.

The Rag’s response amounting to, “well, we asked Mike Vibert and Bill Ogley about the issue – but they refused to comment – so end of story.”

That’ll give you a flavour of just what passes for “journalism” in Jersey.

But on Tuesday of this week, I named Mario Lundy during question time in the States Assembly – asking why Jersey’s Chief Minister considered it acceptable or credible to retain in post, without suspension, a Chief Executive Officer of an Education Department – who the Police have formally declared to be under serious investigation for child abuse?

I’ve often written about the social-psychological phenomena known as “Groupthink” – whereby a group – an in-crowd, if you will – by exhibiting unquestioning and uncritical mutual support – leads itself into utterly perverse and obviously wrong positions of total folly.

We often see Groupthink in the States – and this episode was no different.

Members like Frank Walker, Terry Le Main and Mike Vibert – to much applause – were leaping up and down – saying how disgraceful and deplorable my “behaviour” was in naming a civil servant in this way. Because the poor dear wasn’t able to defend himself.

You know? – A bit like children getting thrown down the corridor at the old swimming-pool with sufficient violence to break their arm weren’t able to defend themselves; and just like 13 year-olds who weren’t able to defend themselves against getting punched in the head by grown men; just like little kids who would be lifted up by the head and smashed against doors weren’t able to defend themselves.

But – even though Lundy wasn’t there to defend himself – I named him on my blog weeks ago – so he’s more than able to defend himself by taking me to court – should he consider – for one instant – such a course of action to be a wise move.

The Groupthink reaction of the States assembly – and of Michael Birt, the Deputy Bailiff was another remarkable example of the phenomena.

Mike Vibert – thankfully – and wisely – deposed by the voting public – even exhibited the utter stupidity to stand up and say that my actions were deplorable because “the States has a duty of care to its employees”.

Cue more raucous applause from the assembled herd.

It apparently only occurring to abut 10 of the 50 members present that we have an even greater – a far, far greater – duty of care to children.

Vibert rounded of his display of frankly deranged cretinism by stating that he “didn’t like my conduct” – to which I replied – “and I don’t like child abusers.”

So – there you have that episode. I’m the villain of the hour – again – and most States members think that very senior civil servants who cost Jersey tax-payers in excess of £200,000 P/A – and who spent many years of their career beating vulnerable children to a pulp – are the poor, defenceless creatures around which they, as your elected representatives, should rally.

Don’t ever ask why Jersey has gone to the dogs.

It’ll be interesting to see what the Jersey media make of that episode. For contrary to assertions made by BBC Jersey – they, and all other media and members of the public, are at perfect legal liberty to report my words as spoken in the assembly. What is said in the legislature is covered by parliamentary privilege.

And the factual reporting of what was actually said is also legally immune – through what is known as ‘qualified privilege’.

So if the Jersey media don’t name Lundy now – it will be simply because they don’t want to – not because they can’t for “legal reasons”.

I consider the naming of Lundy episode – and the massed-reaction of your elected representatives – to be the most significant of the three events – because it shows just how dangerous, foolish and incompetent your government is.

The strange and defective actions of Phil Bailhache – whilst very significant – represent something altogether more curious. For he, his brother, and others like them are a tiny handful of individuals – wholly unaccountable to the people of Jersey – and representative of an obsolete, quasi-Victorian paternalism.

A bizarre sect – which was doomed by history in any event – quite without the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster.

But the irony is that the Bailhache brothers – and their supporters – have, at every turn, simply accelerated the inevitable destruction of the crypto-feudalist system they love so much.

They have been the engine of their own ruin.

The flaw of these elites – and the oligarchy which they lead – can be summarised in one word:

Hubris.

As I’ve already remarked – there will be a great deal more to be written and spoken of this subject – so I won’t cover all the issues now.

But I will deal with the real, underlying reasons for the departure of Phil.

He announced – out of the blue – first thing Wednesday morning that Her Majesty had “accepted” his notice of early retirement. He was due to go on for many more years yet – but announced he’d be leaving the post in June next year.

By way of background information, it’s important to understand that all of Jersey’s Crown Officers – are just that – Crown appointees; Crown agents.

So the Bailiff, Phil Bailhache, his brother, the Attorney General Bill Bailhache, the Deputy Bailiff Michel Birt and the Solicitor General are all appointed by the Crown – which in modern practice means they are appointed by Her Majesty’s Government, acting via the Privy Council.

It so happens that the present Government Cabinet Minister with responsibility for the Crown Officers – for the “good administration of justice in Jersey, and the other Crown Dependencies” – is Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary in the present labour government.

I wrote to Mr. Straw early this year. In fact – knowing that his various minions would simply fob-off the survivors & me – I took the trouble to write a 25 page report to Mr. Straw – so that every base, every issue was covered – thus depriving him and his advisers of any excuse for “not understanding” the situation.

We all knew that we would just get messed around by Whitehall – whilst a great deal of prevarication, of deliberate delay, took place.

And, consequently, we all knew that the only means of securing justice would be to action Mr. Straw in court in London in order to force intervention.

So under the banner of Families for Justice, John Hemming, MP and I have filed a legal action in London which seeks a Judicial Review of Jack Straw’s acts and omissions in his non-handling, or deficient handling, of the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster.

The central foundation-stone of our case being that – ultimately – Jack Straw, by virtue of the Office he holds – has both the responsibility – and the duty – to ensure the good administration of justice in the Crown Dependencies – and, moreover – ensure compliance by the Crown Dependencies with the European Convention on Human Rights.

At this point, it’s important to understand the manner in which power works at these levels – the various “diplomatic” niceties and protocols which are, invariably, observed – even if that means being “economical with the actuality”.

What I’m saying is – read between the lines; that which is stated as the “official” position – and that which is the actual truth – often being two very different things.

So, naturally enough, Families for Justice has received a great deal of legal dismissal from the UK government lawyers – who adopt the customary legal bluff in asserting, dismissively, that their clients position is beyond question, and the action against them baseless.

All this is to be expected.

But carefully researching a range of precedents – going back nearly two hundred years – and examining the Convention obligations imposed upon the UK by the European Convention on Human Rights – it is abundantly clear that the core of our case – the duty and power of the Crown to ensure the proper administration of justice in the Crown Dependencies – is simply unassailable.

Given that that is the case – ask yourself a simple question: would a Labour government – or any UK government come to that – want to be standing up in court in London attempting the impossible and futile task of trying to pretend that the Crown dependencies were no part of their responsibility?

Especially – when they’d only be doing so in an utterly perverse attempt to protect the Jersey oligarchy and its culture of concealment of many, many decades of child abuse?

So – let us not be naive – whilst the authorities in London will continue to attempt to dismiss our legal challenge – and deny the facts – what is actually taking place via the “appropriate channels” will be somewhat different.

And I can tell you what has taken place.

Because of the appalling significance of the issues – and the legal action against Jack Straw – the inevitable has occurred.

It has been made know to the relevant people that Jersey’s Bailiff, Sir Philip Bailhache, ‘no longer enjoys the confidence of London’.

Which is a terribly polite and British way of saying – “your finished”.

Of saying:

“We would all like a dignified and low-key exit for you – so we’re quiet content for you to name the date of your “retirement” – and we won’t say anything to contradict that appearance – but you must go.”

“And if you don’t go – well, that would all be really rather messy, wouldn’t it? Best avoided all-round, eh, old chap?”

That is why Phil Bailhache is going.

To avoid the fate of the man he usurped – the late, former Deputy Bailiff Vernon Tomes – who London sacked in 1992.

A well-documented episode – which rather inconveniently demonstrates that – contrary to all Jersey oligarchy assertions – London does, in fact, have the power to intervene in Jersey affairs – should it so wish.

The “official” reasons will always deny this – but the plain fact is that Phil had to go – because his multitudinous and gross errors of judgment over the years have rendered his position utterly untenable.

Such gross errors as not even attempting to have the paedophile Roger Holland removed from St. Helier’s honorary police.

That was all quite bad enough.

But those of us who understand these things, knew that we were, effectively, witnessing his professional suicide when he delivered that truly appalling, biased and deeply political speech on Liberation Day – in which he attacked the UK media, the Police investigation, and said that ‘the real scandal’ was the bad publicity.

Given he is Jersey’s chief judge – a greater act of folly would be difficult to have imagined.

He was – plainly – finished, right at that very instant.

So much so – that a heavy-weight UK government Minister knows he’ll lose the court action being brought against him on the grounds of his failure to ensure the proper administration of justice in Jersey.

And lose it he will.

Because if Jack Straw thinks we’ll be sated at the sight of Phil Bailhache’s head on a metaphorical spike – he is very much mistaken.

Our cause is simple, just and plain.

We want the good and proper administration of justice in Jersey.

That means a full separation of powers.

Full compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights.

And it means that none of the senior Jersey oligarchy figures, such as Phil’s brother, Bill, or Michael Birt – or Julian Clyde-Smith – or Mad Frankie Hamon – nor any of the rest of the incumbents – could remotely be regarded as acceptable individuals to replace Phil.

All are conflicted; all are tainted-goods.

So – no matter that Phil has had to fall on his sword – the legal action against Mr. Straw continues.

I was recently in London – where I had the honour of staying as a guest of the great children’s’ rights campaigner, Esther Rantzen, along with Michael Mansfield, the famous UK Barrister.

Following assistance and advice from Mr. Mansfield’s office, I am preparing a brief for a solicitor at Liberty, so that that organisation may take forward the case of Families for Justice, which seeks a judicial review of Mr. Straw’s acts and omissions.

And should it need to get so far that a Barrister is needed, hopefully, Mr. Mansfield will have time in his busy schedule to represent us, in the cause of the Jersey survivors, whistleblowers and campaigners – and their right to access the good administration of justice.

So – though it has taken monumental effort – like trying to finish-off a vampire and Frankenstein’s monster all rolled into one – finally the dreadful and thoroughly inadequate little man Phil Bailhache is going down the corridor towards the exit-sign marked “retirement”.

But he is just one individual – and it is the system which is broken. Merely seeing his departure will not solve all our ills.

So – the legal battle goes on.

It will go on until we have the objective administration of justice in Jersey – and the proper rule of law.

And to those who dismiss the validity of our legal claim – remember, the very foundation-stone of our case is that the Crown – in practice the UK government, presently in the person of Mr. Straw – does have the responsibility, and consequently the power to ensure that the Crown Dependencies observe the good administration of justice – and comply with the requirements of the ECHR.

We are immensely confident in that claim.

Not least – because Mr. Straw himself has conceded.

Consider this exchange which took place before the House of Commons Justice Select Committee as recently as the 7th October, 2008:

“Q33 Chairman: I think what you are saying is that there is not a legal arrangement, other than the one you have just mentioned, but you are doing these things, with help from your department, out of the goodness of your heart, I suppose. You are dealing with the relationship. Am I right?

Mr Straw: You are very generous.

Q34 Chairman: I want to know whether I am right.

Mr Straw: I am doing them because I have a responsibility. On behalf of the Crown, I have residual responsibility for these Crown Dependencies because they are dependencies of the Crown, and leave aside defence for a moment, but I have got responsibility for these Crown Dependencies in respect of the international obligations which we owe on their behalf, including the European Convention of Human Rights; and that is quite significant. As I say, that was the trigger for turning back the draft law on Sark’s governance. I have also got a responsibility, though the boundaries have never been properly tested, in respect of the good governance of the Crown Dependencies, and if there was a bad government or governance in the dependencies, then I would have power to intervene. Happily, up to how, in my experience, there has not been, but it is quite important to identify with officials and collaboratively with the dependencies things that could go wrong – for example, where we were over financial accountability and regulation a dozen years ago – and to try and anticipate those and deal with them.”

The locus to intervene – the responsibility – and the consequent power of the authorities in London to ensure the good administration of justice in the Crown Dependencies is – rock-solidly – well-established by historic president and modern Convention rights and obligations.

And were that not sufficient – we have the concession from the relevant UK Minister himself that – yes – he has these responsibilities, powers and duties which he must exercise in the name of the Crown.

So I guess the question is this: given the plain inevitability of London intervention – even if it is with reluctance – even if it takes a long time – even if they have to be forced – for just how long will the Jersey oligarchy carry on attempting to defy reality?

The game is up.

They are defeated.

To use World War II as a metaphor – will they agree to unconditional surrender, now that that they are obviously defeated, as the Japanese were – or do they continue to defy reality – and therefore require nuking?

I think we can assess the answer to that question, simply by asking another:

‘How much wisdom has been displayed by the Jersey oligarchy hitherto?’

I can hear the engines of Enola Gay warming up.

Stuart.

JERSEY ELECTION SPECIAL, #7

THE GOVERNMENT YOU DESERVE.

Victory for the Oligarchy:

Jersey Establishment Party

Takes five of the Six Seats –

Predictably.

Well – that’s another self-inflicted utter catastrophe for Jersey.

As I remarked in an earlier posting, some people regard me as a miserable bastard, but I don’t bother arguing – I just look at them and think ‘I know the awful truth – which is beyond your understanding’.

And knowing the truth just doesn’t sit well with a sunny disposition.

Pessimism is always a better bet than optimism.

Though I hoped there might be some significant change – and worked positively to support the anti-oligarchy candidates – in my heart and my mind, I knew that things would go pretty much as they did last night.

What I hoped – and that which I feared – were two very different t things.

We just couldn’t be surprised. And I’ll give you a clear example of why I was deeply pessimistic – and found the results unremarkable.

In the build-up to these elections I kept thinking of the startling ability of Teflon Terry Le Main to carry-on appealing to voters.

We can take his electoral success as a reliable ‘gauge’ as to what appeals to the Jersey public; what ‘works’ for them; what ‘chimes’ with them.

He was re-elected as a Senator in 2005, playing – for all he was worth – the tired old ‘cheeky-chappy’, inarticulate, pseudo-working class hero, ‘lovable rogue’ act which has – bizarrely – appealed to voters, time and time again.

If you let your defences down, and admit a little optimism – you find yourself slack-jawed in amazement at the sheer irrationality of voters.

Let us consider Terry – Tel-Boy – Le Main.

This is a man who – as is well documented – spent a significant part of his early career conspiring to import stolen cars.

Was a dodgy used-car salesman.

Is an ignorant and inarticulate moron.

A man who – whilst in Office – was revealed to have been forging the signatures of little old ladies.

A man who, when President of the Housing Committee, was annoyed by a letter published in The Rag from a Housing tenant – so went and rummaged through her personal files – in straight defiance of all law – and then wrote about her rent-arrears in a letter subsequently published by the JEP.

A man who has turned his intrinsic stupidity to his advantage by playing the pseudo-working class hero.

A man who goes to the voting public as a ‘down-to-Earth ordinary bloke’ – and pretends to be on their side – whilst consistently voting with the oligarchy in support of policies which are a kick in the teeth to the working classes.

A half-wit – a crook – an ignorant moron – a liar and a spiv – and a class-traitor.

But – you know what?

Had he been a candidate in these elections – he’d of romped home.

People get the government they deserve.

So – no surprises, really, in yesterday’s results.

But let’s look on the bright side – Ozouf, Le Sueur, Le Marquand, MacLean et el, will be at the helm – just as the ship is ploughing into the ice-berg

Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.

They, and others like them, are, after all, the architects of this destiny; it is they who have charted the course. But sadly – it won’t be them who go down with the ship. These millionaires have more than ample financial ‘lifeboats’ awaiting them.

It will be the mugs who voted for them who really suffer.

In the infamous satirical open-letter I wrote back in February 07 – you remember the one? It was when Ozouf made his first attempt to manipulate others into throwing me out of the Council of Ministers – I wrote this:

“I used to lay awake at night thinking ‘things might get very hard for us in the next five to ten years’; that the tower blocks, the traffic jams and the concrete might simply be simulacrums of success; that we had absolutely no plan of any description to deal with issues such as peak oil and the resultant global economic and societal crisis. I used to fear that the architects of this destiny would – when the end of our hallucinated economy arrives – jet off to luxurious climes to their first, second, or fifth “holiday” home, having ‘cashed their chips’ and safely sent on their millions in advance – leaving a bitter, wrecked and betrayed community behind.”

Though written with irony – I knew it was true.

And so it is coming to pass – with the probable exception that ‘five to ten years’ will prove to have been decidedly optimistic.

I’ve given this post the title “The Government you Deserve”

Because there comes a time when the people of democratic societies – sooner or later – have to stop blaming politicians – and start blaming the people responsible for the politicians – namely, the electorate – in other words, themselves.

Let’s take a close look at each of the toxic-five who were favoured by the voting public.

Ian Le Marquand.

A man who is so brazen in spin, he claims his victory was an “anti-establishment” expression of will, and that he is centrist – and not a part of the establishment. In fact – goes as far as to assert that people who voted for him were “looking for change”.

Let’s test those assertions against the facts, shall we?

Hard Right-wing religious fundamentalist.

Belongs to some weird sectarian cult called ‘Alpha’.

Scion of the traditional oligarchy.

A direct emission of the Jersey oligarch production-line. Born into a moneyed family with “traditional” interests in Jersey politics.

Became even richer as a lawyer.

Became a member of Jersey’s deeply politicised judiciary.

Repeatedly stone-walled cases, such as that against Boschat.

Delivered a variety of utterly perverse judgments.

Was a pro-active and enthusiastic component of the institutional child abuse involved in the various solitary confinement regimes.

Actually operated the ‘Status 1’ & ‘Status 2’ categorisation of children in custody.

Consistently battled – rabidly – for the courts to be given more power to imprison children – notwithstanding the fact that Jersey has a substantially higher child custody rate than the UK – which itself has the worst record for jailing children in the established European democracies.

Simply got around the law by abusing the remand process as a de facto means of jailing children.

Wants to bring the States of Jersey Police Force back under direct, political control – a return to the bad old days.

Possesses presumptions to power which lead him to blithely assert he’ll walk straight into the post of Home Affairs Minister.

This notwithstanding the fact he is manifestly conflicted – on several grounds – from holding that Office. For example, a recent close colleague of his remains under criminal investigation – and the role of the magistrates court in the institutional abuses of vulnerable children is itself a part of the police investigation.

At a survivors meeting, shouts down and heckles – along with, ironically, Jimmy Perchard, the man with political responsibility for child protection – a national BBC journalist. And in doing so, exhibiting all of the traditional oligarchy fear and hostility to external scrutiny.

Were I ever to become religious – though I move further away from such a concept at every single encounter with such supposed ‘Christians’ – I would thank Christ that none of the deeply disturbing dinosaurs who appear as Mr. Le Marquand’s supporters in the photo on page 5 of The Rag would ever have voted for me.

Mr. Le Marquand – a vote for “change”?

You’re having a laugh, right, Ian?

You weren’t voted for on the grounds of “change”. You were elected because you tick all of the public’s boxes: you do it for them; you tickle their fancy; they want you: Right-wing, religious, ultra-conservative, paternalistic traditionalist from a Jersey oligarchy back-ground.

At least be honest about it.

Alan MacLean.

As has been well-documented on this blog site – and by many commenting members of the public – a shameless liar.

A man who pledged – during his last election – to support exempting medical costs and children’s clothing from the Goods & Services Tax – only to betray this promise to the predominantly poor, working class people of St. Helier #2 district.

Not only did he fail to support the exemption proposals – he actually made a rabid speech against exemptions a matter of months after getting elected.

And so contemptuous of the public is he – that he had the sheer gall to trot-out reference to this “pledge” again in these elections – confident that no one would notice – or if they did, not be especially bothered about being lied to.

Well, he had you lot correctly assessed in that regard, didn’t he?

A multi, multi-millionaire spoilt brat who inherited an utterly vast fortune, and like Ozouf, has never had to do a day’s real work in his life.

But a big-time property speculator and estate agent – is just what you needed, right?

Incidentally – isn’t it bad enough having to have politicians – without having to have a politician who is also an estate agent?

Perhaps if he were a lawyer and a journalist as well – so he had all four foul and disgusting bases covered – you’d have returned him with 40,000 votes?

Paul Routier.

A nice guy – but possessed of the IQ of a fence-post – and who – plainly and on the most cursory examination of his voting record – simply does what he’s told by people like Walker, Ozouf, Le Sueur, etc.

Shamelessly hypocritical. Repeatedly opposes exempting essentials from GST – on the supposed grounds that exemptions “wouldn’t be targeted” – and then, just as soon as his election approaches – gives a blanket exemption to prescription charges – so that multi-millionaires can now have free prescriptions.

Has been at the helm of Social-Security for some years – and has steadfastly maintained all of the pro-rich, pro-businessman loopholes, dodges and avoidance mechanisms that enable the better off to avoid paying their full dues.

The consequence of this being that around £60 million – yes – I’ll repeat that – around £60 million – a year has to come out of your taxes in order to “supplement” the scheme.

But, hey – I guess you like being taxed – and seeing £60 million of it blown, much of it to subsidise the rich?

I mean – what other possible reason could there be for him being returned to Office?

Philip Ozouf.

Another, spoilt-brat inheritance baby – worth millions in property and business interests – none of which he himself had to ever do a day’s real work for.

A triumph of style over substance. Appears plausible when speaking – but is, in fact, grossly economically incompetent.

For many years was a member of the old Finance & Economics Committee – which allowed absurd levels of economic leakage from the island, gross levels of inflation, and an increasingly vulnerable mono-economy to develop.

Casually gives huge grants of tax-payers money away – without following requisite procedure – so that a sleazy “glamour model” can be brought to the island to participate in the community’s main family event.

Was always rabid and implacable in driving forward the building of a variety of appalling and vast concrete excrescences on the Waterfront – when 90% of the public could just see the developments were going to be disastrous.

Not only supported – but actually gave planning permission to the monolithic, orange, nightmare that is the Waterfront hotel.

A building which has just won a “worst carbuncle in Britain” award.

Wants to keep the toxic ash dumping scandal covered-up.

Preferred to see the culture of concealment of child abuse continued – regarding it as nothing more than an opportunity to get rid of me from his fiefdom of the Council of Ministers.

Is rabidly pro-population growth – rather than exhibiting the leadership required to help the community face reality.

On page 8 of The Rag – there is a photo of Ozouf and his supporters – taken inside the palatial country house he inherited.

Take a close look at the photo. You can see several other Jersey Establishment Party members in the assembled adoring crowd. These being Terry Le Main, Freddy Cohen, Guy de Faye, as sitting politicians – plus a couple of former States member oligarchs in the shape of Lynden Farnham and Geoffrey Grime – tax-dodger guru to the island’s tax-exiles.

But – you obviously love the man, his record, his metier and his party political allies.

Everything about him, basically?

Sarah Ferguson.

I guess you must like being lied to? As I wrote in a speech to the Chamber of Commerce early last year, the public’s demand upon politicians is, “tell me lies – and if you don’t, I’ll take my political custom to someone who will tell me lies”.

“Mrs Efficiency” Ferguson – the person who will make the States more “accountable” – actually votes against every such proposition – if the question happens to be inconvenient for the oligarchy.

Voted against the establishment of a Committee of Enquiry into the toxic ash dumping scandal.

Voted for the child abuse concealing civil servants.

Voted repeatedly and determinedly in favour of taxing your food and heating bills.

Is supported by Frank Walker.

And – in many ways, most significantly – secured a private, secret meeting with William Bailhache, the Attorney General – in which she was able to readily get Bill to pull criminal changes against the brother of her constituent; the brother being one Roy Boschat – he of bribing bent coppers infamy – in order to graft business away from his competitors. With the combined obstructions of Bailhache and Le Marquand – Boschat getting away with everything. Plus a big, fat ‘costs’ payment from your taxes – in exchange for him making diversionary attacks on Lenny Harper, as a part of the oligarchy attempts to discredit the police investigation.

So – oh happy voters of Jersey – you have paid you money – and you have made you choice.

Of the 6 Senators you elected yesterday – 5 of them can be seen as representing the customary toxic amalgam on money, power, religious fundamentalism, dishonesty, incompetence, greed, hypocrisy and charlatanism.

More of the same.

It is the will of people – so – so be it.

But do not come knocking on the door of whatever anti-oligarchy States member might be left in a year or so – complaining about such inevitabilities as:

Dramatic economic melt-down.

Over-population.

Utterly destructive and abusive child ‘justice’ policies which have bred generations of criminals.

Appallingly regressive taxation which you can ill-afford.

Millionaires paying no tax.

Health-problems cause by toxic waste dumps.

Public finance collapse, accelerated by, amongst other things, economic leakage.

Environmental destruction.

Those lovely fields next to your house disappearing beneath a sea of concrete as the latest Dandara mega-project gets built next to you.

Senior civil servants who have exhibited a range of malfeasances – from giving promotions to people they’re having affairs with – to committing appalling acts of child abuse – to concealing that abuse – remaining in post on £180,000 salaries plus huge pension.

GST.

Taxes on food.

Taxes on your home-heating.

Did I mention over-population?

And an island so wrecked, expensive, and economically knackered that your children and grandchildren all emigrate.

So – Mr & Mrs Average Jersey Voter – these outcomes are what you have voted for. That is what you will get for your votes – so we have to assume the above policies and results are widely accepted – and regarded as just fine by the population of the island?

I have no doubt at all that most of the people who voted for the foetid five – did so on the grounds that they seemed like “nice people”; you’ve heard of their name; you belong to the same church, golf club, lodge, old-boys’ network, cult etc – and they generally seem like nice, traditional Jersey characters.

But as I have pointed out – there comes a time when communities have to stop blaming politicians – and face the fact that they’ve been the authors of their own misfortune.

Jersey is at the point.

People of Jersey – as you have sown – so you shall reap.

Goodbye.

Stuart.

The Man who laughs in the face of defamation actions.

REGIME-CHANGE AT ESC:

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining.

Some Questions For the Next ESC Minister.

Just a quick posting while I write-up my thoughts and observations on the catastrophic election results – which I’ll post later this evening.

But, in the mean time, every cloud has a silver lining; and in the case of the elections – the termination of Mike Vibert, presently Minister for Education, is the encouraging feature.

I’m sure readers will find the e-mail correspondence below this post fascinating – particularly the 10 questions which Bill Ogley will not answer.

The answer to each of the 10 questions, should, incidentally, be simply ‘yes’.

The e-mails are largely self-explanatory. I have arranged the exchange in chronological order so that it begins with my first e-mail of this particular thread, and concludes with my e-mail of today.

As readers will be aware – I have been striving for many months in an attempt to make Jersey’s civil service – finally – begin behaving in a proper and ethical manner insofar as the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster is concerned.

Bill Ogley is the Chief Executive to the States of Jersey; the top civil servant – who carries responsibility for the upholding of proper standards of discipline and accountability throughout our immensely expensive civil service.

And to those who criticise me for being too impolite – and not adopting a more co-operative approach to working with these clowns – I say, read and note the correspondence below.

It is but one, small example of the frankly corrupt degrees of intransigent self-interest which dominates “The System”.

Perhaps you’re happy – that vast fortunes taken from the pockets of tax-payers like you – flood into the bank accounts of employees who will dissemble in an attempt to protect colleagues?

Bill Ogley – close friends with Mario Lundy – and Mike Pollard – the lying Chief Officer at Health & Social Services – husband to Jane Pollard – Fixer-in-Chief in Bill Ogley’s Human Resources Department. The same Jane Pollard who participated in the unlawful sacking of Simon Bellwood – and the same Jane Pollard who excised crucial passages from the States of Jersey disciplinary rules – in order to substantially weaken them.

All civil servants who – contrary to oligarchy assertions that ‘everything in the garden is rosy these days’ – are – plainly and on the evidence – maintaining the culture of concealment which enabled the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster.

Of the 6 Senators you elected yesterday – 5 of them will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with expensive, unethical cover-up merchants like Ogley & the Pollards.

Still – you pays your money – and you takes your choice.

Look out for Election Special #7 later this evening.

Stuart.

—–Original Message—–
From: Stuart Syvret
Sent: 24 September 2008 13:27
To: Bill Ogley
Subject: Suspension of States Employees under Investigation for Child Abuse
Importance: High

Mr. Ogley

In a recent e-mail, you explained why you would not now discuss the cases of individual employees.

Very well – let us set aside specific questions concerning specific individuals and instead address some hypothetical policy questions.

You will, presumably, understand that these issues and questions are a mater of some significant public interest and importance. And all that is sought is a description of the policies of the States of Jersey as employers, and of your actions as head of the civil service in certain, hypothetical, situations.

I have been reading the States of Jersey’s “Human Resources Policy Manual” – which deals with such matters.

Firstly – it cannot be but noted that there are some remarkable differences between the document as posted on the States of Jersey intranet site today – and the document as previously drafted. Whilst it is certainly understandable that employment and management policies will evolve over time – the excising from the current document of the following section cannot be regarded as anything other than astonishing:

“Reasons For Suspension:

Suspension from duty, prior to a disciplinary interview/hearing is not a form of disciplinary action but a precautionary measure which may be appropriate in one or more of the following circumstances; (number 1 to 4)

1: When the action complained of requires the immediate removal of the employee from the workplace pending a decision concerning any disciplinary action to be taken;

2: When the behaviour of the employee requires investigation and is of such serious nature that it is unacceptable for the employee to remain at work;

3: When the behaviour of the employee is such that they are a danger to themselves or others;

4: When the Manager regards suspension as appropriate i.e. if gross negligence is alleged or when an employee has committed the most recent of a series of negligent acts for which a warning or warnings have been issued.”

This quote is taken from the earlier document “Civil Service Disciplinary Procedures: Appendix A.

But, for mystifying reasons – Jane Pollard, a senior States HR manager – and wife of Health & Social Services Chief Officer, Mike Pollard – has removed this passage from the said Appendix A in the present document. She is listed as the author in the current document’s electronic data.

I say mystifying – because the reasons for, and the use of, suspension are, to all practical degree, immutable – and are found in this, or very similar form, throughout HR management policies across both private and public sector employers.

So having established that such guidance on the use of suspension is ‘best-practice’ – and cannot have become ‘obsolete’ – will have to put it’s removal down to one of life’s little mysteries.

However – in the reasonable assumption that your department still uses such common guidance – notwithstanding its omission from the document on the intranet – I’d like to ask you – as the head of Jersey’s civil service – a few hypothetical questions.

Before asking those questions – I’ll quote some passages from the present document in order to set the context:

Human Resources Policy Manual; Section C: Conditions of Employment.

“Section C4
This policy applies to all Civil Servants

Civil Service Disciplinary Policy and Procedure

The intention of this Policy is to correct inappropriate behaviour rather than punish individuals. However there is a firm statement that breaches of the disciplinary rules will result in formal action being taken. The policy emphasises the need to ensure that a full and proper investigation takes place into allegations of misconduct prior to a decision being taken to progress the matter formally under the Procedure. Suspension from work is required in certain circumstances and must always be for the shortest possible period of time. The formal disciplinary sanctions available are: a Formal Verbal Warning; a First Written Warning; a Final Written Warning, (with or without additional penalties) and Dismissal, with or without notice.”

Moving on through the document, it says this:

2. GROSS MISCONDUCT

2.1 Gross Misconduct is generally seen as misconduct that, if established, justifies the Management in concluding that the employee’s actions have destroyed the employment contract between Manager and employee and made any further working relationship impossible. (Emphasis added.)

3. SERIOUS MISCONDUCT

3.1 If it is established that an employee wilfully disregards a contractual obligation or fails to observe an expressed or implied contractual requirement or a reasonable instruction or rule, an act of serious misconduct occurs. (Emphasis added.)

3.2 Repeated serious misconduct would render the employee in question liable to a charge of gross misconduct.

Appendix B of the document says this:

“DISCIPLINARY RULES

3. SERIOUS AND MINOR MISCONDUCT

3.1 Acting in a discreditable or disorderly manner or in any manner, whether on or off duty, likely to bring discredit on the reputation of the Public Service. Behaviour of a very serious nature may also be deemed to be gross misconduct. (Emphasis added.)

The document goes on:

4. GROSS MISCONDUCT

4.1 Gross Misconduct describes exceptionally serious offences, examples of which are given below, and where the States consider that the breach may warrant summary dismissal even though the offence may be a first breach of discipline and an earlier warning has not been given. (Emphasis added.)

It goes on to list certain offences, of which I quote a few:

4.3 Assault

4.5.1 Any verbal or physical assault or deliberate provocation to another employee or member of the public arising out of employment with the States of Jersey. Offensive language or unacceptable behaviour towards colleagues or members of the public. Assault may also be a form of Harassment or Bullying. (Emphasis added.)

4.4 Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination

4.6.1 Any form of harassment, bullying or discrimination, including sexual offences, verbal abuse or intimidation aimed at a member of staff, customer or member of the public. (Emphasis added.)

4.5 Negligence

4.5.1 Any action, omission or failure to act which threatens the health and safety of a member of staff, customer or member of the public. (Emphasis added.)

The document also contains the following – greatly weakened, but still relevant – description of the use of suspension:

4.1.2 Suspension may be appropriate when:

4.1.3 The employee is accused of gross misconduct;

4.1.4 It is necessary to suspend the employee in order to carry out a full and thorough investigation;

4.1.5 A potential risk exists to other employees, customers or the public.

Having established the above-cited employment and disciplinary policies of the States of Jersey – I would now like to ask you the following – hypothetical – questions:

1: Would you, hypothetically, consider the inflicting of repeated, savage, violent assaults upon vulnerable children in care – over an extended period of some years – by a States employee to amount to Gross Misconduct?

2: Would you, hypothetically, consider the routine abuse – through violent batterings – of children by a States employee to have “destroyed the employment contract between manager and employee”?

3: Would you consider that a States employee, whose job involved the “care” of vulnerable children, to have “broken a contractual obligation”, or “failed to observe an express or implied contractual obligation” – if the person concerned had – hypothetically – been routinely punching, kicking and otherwise battering children in his “care”?

4: Would you consider that a hypothetical States employee who not only violently assaulted children in his “care” over a period of years, but had also witnessed, tolerated and encouraged similar conduct by colleagues – to have acted in a “discreditable manner”, whilst “on duty” and exhibited conduct likely to bring “discredit on the reputation of the public service”?

5: Would you consider, hypothetically, that “exceptionally serious offences” – which qualify as “Gross Misconduct” – to include “verbal and physical assaults” and “unacceptable behaviour towards members of the public” – in this case vulnerable children?

6: Would you, hypothetically, consider the routine action of grabbing children by the throat, lifting them from the floor and holding them against a wall whilst the hypothetical employee screams foul and obnoxious abuse at them to amount to a form of “harassment and bullying” and “verbal abuse or intimidation”?

7: Would you consider such, hypothetical, violent child abuse – and the toleration of similar conduct by colleagues – to exhibit “negligence” given that such action would “threaten the health and safety of a customer or member of the public”?

8: If you were – hypothetically – aware of a States of Jersey employee facing a variety of well-evidenced accusations against him – of the kind described in questions 1 to 7 – and you – hypothetically – knew that the Police Force regarded these allegations as serious and robust – to the extent they were seriously investigating the matter – would you suspend the employee in question?

9: Indeed – if the case against the States employee was so serious that the Police Force were to issue to you a disclosure notice that the hypothetical employee in question was a prime suspect and under active investigation – would you suspend the employee?

10: If – hypothetically – an employee facing the serious and evidenced allegations as described in questions 1 to 7 – were to still be in a job in which there existed the opportunity to be in unsupervised contact with children – you would, presumably, suspend them immediately?

I, my constituents – and I’m quite certain the vast majority of decent people – would, without hesitation, say that the answer to all of the 10 questions above was simply “Yes.”

What are your answers?

The public who pay your wages would certainly expect your answers to be “yes”.

And given the generally accepted view of “suspension”, as quoted towards the beginning of this document, suspension would certainly be immediate under such circumstances?

Let me remind you that:

“Suspension from duty, prior to a disciplinary interview/hearing is not a form of disciplinary action but a precautionary measure”.

And suspension may be invoked – for example:

“When the behaviour of the employee requires investigation and is of such serious nature that it is unacceptable for the employee to remain at work”.

Presumably, a hypothetical States of Jersey employee – who faced a variety of allegations of sustained, violent child abuse – of sufficient seriousness for the Police Force to have issued a Disclosure Notice to the States of Jersey – that it would be regarded as “unacceptable” for the hypothetical employee in question “to remain at work”?

I do not expect your answer to take long to deliver. After all – the 10 questions I ask on behalf of my constituents only require you to write the word “yes” 10 times.

I look forward to receiving your answers.

Thanks you for your assistance.

Senator Stuart Syvret
States of Jersey.
From: Stuart Syvret
Sent: 24 September 2008 19:54
To: Bill Ogley
Subject: RE:

Bill

Well – what’s it to be?

Are you going to answer the legitimate questions of an elected member – questions which merely require the undemanding answer “yes”, to be given 10 times?

Or do I have to go to the national media to explain just how I can’t get answers to such rudimentary questions concerning child protection and the States of Jersey – even given all that has occurred?

Should I not have your substantive response by midday tomorrow – I will be forced to presume you wish to continue to be a part of the culture of concealment of child abuse.

Senator Stuart Syvret
States of Jersey
____________________________________________

From: Stuart Syvret
Sent: 25 September 2008 11:32
From: Bill Ogley
Sent: 25 September 2008 09:59
To: Stuart Syvret
Subject: Suspension of States Employees under Investigation for Child Abuse

Senator,
It would be inappropriate for a civil servant to engage in speculative and tendentious correspondence with any politician and I decline to do so.
Bill Ogley

To: Bill Ogley
Subject: RE: Staff Accused of Child Abuse
Importance: High

Mr. Ogley

The assertion you make in this brief e-mail is manifestly absurd.

It is entirely appropriate that you – the immensely expensive head of Jersey’s civil service – employed by the island’s tax-payers – should answer perfectly reasonable questions to an elected representative of those who pay your wages.

Jersey is embroiled in a child abuse scandal of international proportions.

Yet you seriously imagine that it is “inappropriate” to answer hypothetical questions concerning the employment policies of the States and of your management practices – in connection with a subject as important as child abuse?

You are plainly – along with a number of your senior colleagues – living in some kind of dream-world.

Let me explain something which has obviously eluded you.

An elected representative of the public asks you reasonable, topical and highly relevant hypothetical questions concerning the States of Jersey’s approach to dealing with staff accused of child abuse.

Now, pay attention – you have no choice other than to answer.

The luxury of deciding which questions you will or won’t answer is not a benefit of your position.

Answering these questions is your job.

Answer my questions – or resign. You must do one or the other.

Senator Stuart Syvret

[No reply received to the above e-mail of the 25th September]

______________________________________________

From: Stuart Syvret
Sent: 16 October 2008 15:22
To: Bill Ogley
Subject: Suspension of States Employees under Investigation for Child Abuse
Importance: High

Mr. Ogley

Now that there is going to be regime change at the Education Department – I’d be grateful if you would now answer all of the questions in my e-mail of the 24th September.

And – to be perfectly specific – confirm to me that ALL and ANY States of Jersey employees who are known to be under Police investigation for any offence related to child abuse will now be suspended forthwith?

Should this not occur – then during the election of a new ESC Minister – these issues will have to be dealt with in the chamber in the form of questions to the candidates.

I look forward to detailed answers.

Senator Stuart Syvret
States of Jersey

JERSEY ELECTION SPECIAL, #6

ADVICE;

FARCE;

TRAGEDY.

Your Opportunity – and Duty – to Help Put Things Right.

Well – tomorrow (or perhaps today if you’re reading this on Wednesday) is the big day – so make sure you get out and vote – and persuade a load of other people to do the same.

My next posting will be on Thursday – when we will examine the aftermath of the election – and reflect on the outcome – either as freshly optimistic as bailed-out bankers – or as despairing as a cold, hungry pensioners, paying tax on our food & heating.

So just to recap, a few, quick words of advice.

Go and vote.

Encourage others to vote.

Use all 6 of your votes.

Even if you don’t like any of the 21 candidates.

Vote for the 6 who are least bad.

Because if you don’t – the ones you hate the most will get in.

For my reasons, see the previous posting, but briefly, here are my favoured 6 – and below them are the toxic 6 – which I strongly recommend people to avoid.

This is how I will be voting.

1: Mark Forskett

2: Chris Perkins.

3: Alan Breckon.

4: Daniel Wimberley.

5: Nick Palmer.

6: Montfort Tadier.

My 6 X’s are going next to those names.

However – I’d rather do 5 years in jail than vote for the following candidates, who I’ve arranged in descending order from Paul Routier – who’s a nice guy – but, ultimately a hopeless and ineffectual establishment poodle – right the way down to Mike Vibert – who of all 21 candidates is by far the worst.

The toxic 6:

Paul Routier

Alan MacLean.

Sarah Ferguson.

Philip Ozouf.

Ian Le Marquand.

Mike Vibert.

As I said, if you want a detailed explanation for my reasoning, check-out the last posting.

As I was writing this post, somebody showed me a copy of The Rag they’d nicked from work – he like me, never actual buying the wretched thing anymore.

As expected – The Rag’s pitch, the angle it adopts, is pretty much as one would predict – with the possible exception of an unusually tame editorial comment.

They’re obviously beginning to get frightened by cyber-space.

However – there are several hysterically funny items in The Rag today – admittedly, most of them unintentionally so – which makes them even funnier.

Amongst the intentionally funny material are several letters as printed on page 6. Michael de Petrovsky’s letter raised a laugh.

As did this letter from Ernie Mallett, printed under the title, ‘Send in the Clowns’.

“In Guy de Faye’s comment regarding election banners being a distraction, he says that he ‘sees elections as a little bit of fun’. Is that why we have so many clowns in the States?”

Well – the only two “talents” anyone has been able to identify in respect of Deputy de Faye are his pretensions to being a stand-up comic – and a truly quite awesome capacity for booze.

So whilst only metaphorically a clown – his natural metier would, indeed, appear to be as a third-rate pub ‘entertainer’- in a sleazy back-street gin-joint.

Hell – hopefully that’s what he’ll be doing in a few weeks time. We should get him a little placard made, written upon which would be: “will recount “amusing” anecdotes for drinks”.

Obviously – another deeply entertaining feature of today’s Rag are the election adds of the oligarchy candidates.

I explained in Election Special #3, just how funny politics can be, and sure enough, reading Alan MacLean’s add on page 7 had me roaring with laughter.

Meaningless, vacuous bullet-points – which bear about as much resemblance to reality as a Lehman Brothers profit-forecast.

“Population – must be controlled to keep Jersey special and protect our natural environment.”

Coming from ‘go-for-growth’ millionaire property speculator MacLean – that assertion is almost as ridiculous as his “Honesty and Integrity” slogan – given just how much commitment he exhibited to his manifesto promises of three years ago.

But he then has the sheer gall to go on and make a pitch for the senior citizens’ vote – saying that ‘senior citizens should have their interests looked after’.

Err – would that be by doing stuff like getting elected on a promise to oppose GST on medical costs – and then speaking and voting against your own ‘policy’ – just as soon as you’re elected?

Is that what qualifies as “looking after the interest of senior citizens” in MacLean-speak?

One of my readers makes the same observation in respect of his reliability, and cites the detail for us:

“His 2005 manifesto says quite clearly on the subject of GST:

“Medicines and medical services should be exempt as well as children’s clothing.”

On 25th October 2006 a proposal was brought to exempt or zero rate medical services and products (P86/2006).

MacLean voted against the proposal.

On 10th September 2008 a proposal was bought (P103/2008) to exempt or zero rate school uniforms (most often worn by children as clothing).

MacLean voted against the proposal.

On his current 2008 manifesto he clearly states:

“In 2005 I supported exempting Medicines and Medical Services and Children’s Clothing.”

The voting record, which can be found on the states website, shows this to be unambiguously dishonest.”

Though I think the reader makes a slight mistake in this last sentence. For it isn’t dishonest of MacLean to state that “in 2005 he supported exempting medicines and medical services and children’s clothing.”

He certainly did “support” such policies – which were written clearly in his 2005 election manifesto – supported them just until he got elected, in fact.

The shameless, brazen dishonesty is in the fact that he pretended to support such policies to the voters of St. Helier #2 district – and then repeatedly voted against them once elected.

And though he can speak proper – like what I can’t – and sounds plausible – you really have to wonder at just how much actual stupidity lays beneath the cut-glass accent and the immensely expensive education.

I mean – having been exposed already as a politician who blithely casts aside your election pledges just as soon as you’ve mugged enough people into voting for you, like some kind of East Village grifter, you’d think anyone with a brain would learn the lesson.

But no – not Posh Al, he, like an idiot, draws attention to his 2005 confidence-trick – by referring to the same “promise” this time around.

I guess that’s what comes of being thick enough to use Glenn Rankine as your spin-doctor.

Still – I’ll say this for him, he’s nothing if not an optimist. He concludes by “hoping that you can trust me with one of your six votes.”

No, Alan – we can’t.

You have proven yourself to be utterly untrustworthy.

Do you really think the public are a load of fools?

But for a whole new level of particularly grim black-humour we turn to page 35 – wearing suitable protective gloves, obviously – and we come to Mike Vibert’s add.

He says, “Experience, integrity and a record of achievement, a safe pair of hands in uncertain times.”

Hmmm……Would that be the “integrity” required to lie to the public and the States in a particularly cretinous attempt to hide the fact that we were operating a solitary confinement regime against children in-care which was “illegal and abusive”?

Perhaps attempting to cover-up the fact that children in custody were being transported to court in the same van as adult prisoners, represents an “achievement”?

Maybe it takes “experience” to keep your Chief Officer at work and not suspend him – even though you’ve received a Police disclosure notice that he’s under investigation for child abuse?

Would it be the case that the island’s vulnerable children can feel secure under the “protection” of such a “safe pair of hands” as those of Mr. Vibert?

It’s kind of funny – but in Vibert’s case – only in the most Becketian of ways.

This next piece has to be a strong contender for the funniest thing I’ve read all this election.

Towards the bottom of page 9, The Rag has printed the following disclaimer – following a clearly very angry objection from one of their advertisers:

“We have been asked to point out that the juxtaposition on page 9 of Saturday’s JEP of advertisements for a presentation by organic grower Alan Schofiled – and for the philipozouf.je website did not imply that the former advertiser is a political supporter of Senator Ozouf.”

You see – Pip Ozouf has become so toxic people demand corrections if their ads have been placed on the same page as his.

And quite right too.

Having your good name and you business associated with Philip Ozouf would be about as wise as trying to sell Jack Daniels whiskey in Mecca – during the Hajj – whilst wearing a George Bush mask.

Sensible chap, Mr. Schofield. I’ll have to go and purchase some of his, no-doubt, excellent produce, and would encourage others to do likewise.

But – as enjoyable as our unintentional comedians are – there are very – very – serious issues to which we must have regard. But before we get to them, let us remember the other elections which are taking place tomorrow.

In my last posting, I said I’d offer a few words on the 4 elections which are taking place for Connétables.

In St. Clement, there are three candidates, Gerard Baudains, Len Norman and Edgar Wallis.

I know nothing about Mr. Wallis – other than what I’ve read of his election campaign. Might be a great candidate – might not be. I’m in no real position to judge.

I think it fair to say that I’ve had my differences with both Gerard and Len over the years.

But if I were voting in St. Clement, I think I’d go for Gerard Baudains. He is contrarian, stubborn, independently-minded – and generally a pain in the backside in the Assembly. He isn’t afraid to speak his mind – even though what emerges is sometimes horrifying. It was he who brought the censure motion against me – for writing a satirical open-letter. But – one has to be prepared to let such things become water under the bridge.

In St. Lawrence – I know very little about Mr. Tindall, so couldn’t offer any strong views on him as a candidate.

Of the two, I feel Deidre Mezbourian, as a serving Deputy, is best-placed to become Connétable.

In St. Mary – I have no hesitation in recommending Mr. Renouf. I don’t know the first thing about him. But I do know about Juliette Gallichan – and just how rabidly ambitious she is – and how she cast aside all pretence at being “independent” the very instant she got elected – in order to crawl to people like Frank Walker, Phil Ozouf etc.

I wouldn’t mind – if she had a genuine political commitment to the ‘Greed & Concrete’ brigade which forms our oligarchy. But in her case – you just know that if the States were dominated by Lefties – she’d be there – if that’s were the power lay.

In St. Peters, if I were a voter there, I would feel compelled to vote for John Refault. Again – I don’t know anything about him. But in the case of Deputy Egre we know that he – along with Sarah Ferguson – interceded with the Attorney General in order to prevent their constituent facing proper criminal justice.

I’m sorry – but we either have the impartial and objective rule of law – or we don’t.

So – those observations out of the way – we must deal with Mr. Vibert.

Senator Vibert was one-third of the States entity known as the Corporate Parent. He held this post as Minister for Education. The other two-thirds of the Corporate Parent were the Home Affairs Minister, Wendy Kinnard – and me, as Health & Social Services Minister.

I won’t rehearse all the history of events now – as they are well-documented already. But for those who may not be familiar with the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster, briefly, this is what happened.

During the early part of 2007, whistle-blowers began to approach me expressing concerns about less than adequate performance in the child “protection” systems of Jersey. Initially – these concerns were not too serious. But as I investigated – and spoke to more and more people – I had to recognise, by around May, that Jersey had a catastrophic breakdown of its child “protection” systems on its hands.

Whilst my investigations were continuing, in July, I was asked a question concerning Social Services during question time in the island’s parliament. To which I gave an honest answer, by saying words to the effect that ‘if I’m being asked do I have any confidence in the island’s child “protection” systems, frankly, I have to say no. And I’m going to commission an independent enquiry.”

Within two hours of me giving this answer – as I discovered only much later – my own senior civil servants had set about engineering my dismissal. They did this in the belief that if they got rid of me as Minister – they could carry on with the culture of concealment.

What I didn’t know and they didn’t know and the other Ministers didn’t know – was that the States of Jersey Police Force were conducting a covert investigation into historic child abuse.

The senior civil service and the rest of the oligarchy still thought, at that stage, that simply getting rid of me would enable them to carry on concealing their gross incompetence.

Two Ministers were particularly rabid in their determination to get rid of me – on the supposed grounds that by criticising the service publicly I was “undermining staff moral”.

The two Ministers in question being Philip Ozouf and Mike Vibert.

In the case of Phil Ozouf – it was simple political opportunism; he wanted me politically eliminated from his little fiefdom of the Council of Ministers – he being the “power behind the throne”. Indeed – this was his second attempt that year to engineer my removal. Earlier he had manipulated other Ministers into a state of near-crises – because I had written a satirical open letter. His plan to get rid of me didn’t quite come off on that first occasion – but it was only a matter of time.

But of Ozouf we can say he had no political responsibility for child protection issues. It was merely cynical political opportunism on his part.

But Mike Vibert? – That’s another matter entirely.

As one third of the corporate parent – and Minister for Education, no less – he had an unambiguous duty and responsibility to put the interests of children first.

He didn’t.

Instead he chose to side with his senior civil servants – who were desperately trying to keep a lid on the child abuse issues.

This is beyond forgivable.

But what makes things even worse – is that we cannot put his actions down to mere ignorance and stupidity.

The evidenced facts – even back in August & September of 2007 – before we knew of the Police investigation – were sufficiently well-documented to show the truth and accuracy of what I was saying.

The plain fact is that through a combination of fear of his civil servants – and his own wish to adopt the ‘anything-for-a-quite-life’ approach – he simply lied, concealed and dissembled in respect of child protection failures.

Can such behaviour be regarded as remotely acceptable from any politician – let alone a Minister for Education?

One of the issues of concern I had raised was the institutional abuses of vulnerable children in Greenfields. These practices – which were drawn to my attention by Simon Bellwood, the whistle-blower – involved the manifestly illegal use of long periods of punitive and coercive solitary confinement against children.

In an e-mail of September 5th, 2007, which was sent to all States members and the Jersey media, Senator Vibert made the following, utterly untrue, assertions.

“From: Mike Vibert
Sent: 05 September 2007 15:50
To: All States Members (including ex officio members)
Subject: ESC Minister Statement re Greenfields

Dear States Member,

Please find attached the accompanying statement and supporting papers that I am reluctantly issuing in what I believe to be the public interest.
I do not intend this in any way to pre-empt any findings from whatever enquiries are established into the area of child protection in Jersey but feel it is necessary to re-assure the public about the current and immediate past operation of the Greenfields centre in the light of recent media reports and e-mail assertions.
I apologise for the length and number of the attachments but wish to give as much factual information as possible.
I am providing this information to States members first but will be subsequently releasing this information to the local media who have been reporting the issue.

Yours sincerely

Mike Vibert”

In the statement he refers to, a brief part of which I quote, he told the following lies:

Statement by Minister for Education, Sport and Culture

5th September 2007

1. It is with regret that I make this statement but I cannot leave unchallenged the comments which the Minister for Health and Social Services continues to make about child custody and the Greenfields Centre.

First, let me assure you that, based on a review of policy and procedures conducted by an experienced member of the Child Protection Team, a former Independent Reviewing Officer for Northumberland County Council, I have no cause to believe that children and young people at the Greenfields Centre are at risk. This review stated that ‘there is no evidence that the safeguarding of young people and staff in this centre are compromised in any way. There appears to be an excellent level of care with extensive policies and procedures underpinning the high standards set.’ Nevertheless, the Council of Ministers has agreed that the independent enquiry set up and to be carried out by Andrew Williamson, should include a review of arrangements at the centre.”

But this statement by Vibert was written and issued after he – along with other Ministers – had been supplied with a copy of an initial legal opinion by Chris Callander of the Howard League for Penal Reform.

In commenting on the so-called “Grand Prix” system, Mr. Callander concluded with this:

“Conclusions

This is, by virtue of time, a brief analysis based predominantly on an examination the regime document alone. However I am concerned by the punitive nature of this regime and would highlight areas of further investigation.

A regime like this is unlikely to be lawful in England and Wales;
local authority secure children’s home use rewards and sanctions schemes but this scheme would be incompatible with the Children’s Homes regulations;
The use of isolation described in “the Pits”, in almost all circumstances, might give rise to a claim for damages on the European Convention for Human Rights (articles 8 and 3), see BP-v-SSHD. The deprivation of light, air, exercise, association, writing and reading materials must in the context of children secured pending trial or for their own welfare constitute degrading and inhumane treatment. I would certainly advise any child who had been subject to such a regime (especially for any prolonged period) to seek advice on pursuing a claim for damages;

The regime is inconsistent with the Children Act 1989 and its associated regulations and guidance and is against the spirit of most legislation, policy and guidance on how to respond to children with challenging and difficult behaviour;
And the regime must affront international treaties (such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Beijing rules) which are read into the ECHR, especially article 8.

On the evidence before me, the Grand Prix system raises serious concerns about the treatment of children and is not a system that would be acceptable or lawful in England and Wales. Consideration of the continued use of the system should be only be undertaken following a detailed review of the conditions and infrastructure around its implementation. Without understanding the “checks and balances” in place to monitor and scrutinise such a punitive system it is doubtful that it would be in compliance with international obligations under human rights legislation.

Chris Callender
Assistant Director
23rd August 2007

So, notwithstanding the fact he was in possession of an initial legal opinion from one of Britain’s foremost child protection lawyers, which had been prepared at my request – Vibert still went ahead and issued his untrue statement.

Ignorance and stupidity alone cannot account for this conduct – such a brazen attempt to cover-up the truth. Instead – we cannot ascribe Mr. Vibert’s conduct to anything other than the telling of straightforward lies.

Lies concerning the welfare of vulnerable children.

Your present Education Minister – who is seeking re-election – pro-actively carried on engaging in the very culture of concealment which has enabled the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster to occur.

And fast-forward to October 2008, following a detailed investigation of the entire realm of child custody practices in Jersey, undertaken at my invitation, the Howard League for Penal Reform are about to release their report.

We know that the Howard League report reaches the conclusion that practices such as “Grand Prix” were “illegal and abusive”.

But that much was plain to me the instant the issue was first drawn to my attention by Simon Bellwood in the early part of 2007.

Thanks to Simon’s bravery – and my readiness to consider the evidence – Jersey was in a position to recognise for itself, last year, that gross errors that had been made in child custody practices.

Instead – because of the utterly ethically bankrupt incompetence and concealing by politicians like Mike Vibert – we had to have the truth thrust upon us.

Prior to this episode, I’d had no particular major disagreements with Vibert, so what I have written above is not based on anything so trivial as personal antagonism.

I must say plainly to the people of Jersey – that if this man is re-elected in any capacity – it will be a stain on Jersey’s political reputation.

More so than any other candidate running in these elections – Mike Vibert deserves – and must feel – the full weight and judgment of the people of Jersey.

If we cannot hold to account people who have failed us so badly as Mike Vibert – then, frankly, nothing will avail.

Now is the time to exercise your power.

Use your vote.

Well – that’s about it for tonight.

I’ll next post on Thursday – when we’ll be able to gauge the outcome of the elections.

Let us hope it’s good news.

Stuart.

The man who laughs in the face of defamation actions.

JERSEY ELECTION SPECIAL, #5

THE GOOD, THE PROMISING

AND THE APPALLING:

A Candidates League-Table.

How I Will Vote;

My Recommendations

And Assessments.

Well – it’s a day and a half to go until the election begins. And as promised, in this post I’ll be ranking the candidates in descending order – from the good – to the truly appalling – and be offering a few brief observations on each.

[Post-script: Went to St. Helier Hustings – couldnt get in the building, as so many people were there. Though as we chatted outside we could hear a good deal of angry booing. Sounded good. :-)]

I’m going to the St. Helier hustings this evening – so you’ll have to forgive me if I rush through my comments on some of the candidates. Those who are a known quantity – or who come into the ‘promising’ category – will only get a passing reference.

Instead my comments will focus on those who I will be voting for – my recommendation, as it were.

And – those I wouldn’t vote for even if it was under pain of torture.

And in case you’re wondering – I’ll try and say a little on the Constables’ elections in tomorrow’s posting. But for now, we’ll just focus on the Senatorials.

Before I begin – a reminder of my general recommendations.

The field of candidates is unusually strong – I could easily vote for 10 of them – perhaps more.

In an Assembly of 53 members – we are electing only 6 during Wednesday’s Senatorial election.

Do not – therefore – swallow the establishment spin and propaganda that it would somehow be risky or dangerous to vote for a raft of new candidates. Even if all 6 of the candidates to succeed were non-establishment candidates – still, the great majority of the Assembly would remain unchanged.

So, far from being dangerous or a gamble, such an outcome would have an immensely positive effect on the public good.

It would be exactly the rude-awakening – the slap across the face – that the Jersey oligarchy needs.

The establishment States members always display a degree of haughtiness and arrogance – ignoring both public concerns – and frequently their own manifesto pledges – because of the sense of invulnerability they feel.

They are complacent because it is so rare for sitting members to be slung-out.

For the good of Jersey – we must deliver a real shock to the establishment.

Of the existing States members contesting this election – only two merit a vote, Deputies Breckon and Southern.

Use all 6 of your votes.

Too many clever attempts at tactical voting – such as using just three of your votes – leaves the way open for the establishment candidates to get in.

This time – we need a massed-vote for non-establishment candidates.

Actually make a real effort to encourage friends and family to vote.

Do not think ‘why bother? – We can’t change anything.’

Yes we can – especially this time. But people must turn-out to vote.

Low turn-outs are what the establishment likes. The lower the turn-out – the more likely the result of the election will be business-as-usual for the oligarchy.

Finally – remember – even if you despise all 21 candidates – you should still go out and vote.

Vote for those you consider to be the least-bad.

Because if you don’t vote – those you hate the most will get in.

RANKING THE CANDIDATES.

Best First – Last Worse.

As I’ve said previously – I consider the non-establishment candidates to constitute a particular strong field these elections. I’ve found it difficult to whittle my choice down to 6. But – one has to make that choice – no matter how difficult.

So here are the 6 candidates I’ll be voting for.

1: Mark Forskitt.

Mark’s name will be the first I put my cross against. Those of us who love Jersey and do not share the crazed materialism of our ruling oligarchy are sick and tired of seeing our beautiful island wrecked. We need to stop being conned by the usual fake environmental claims which the establishment trots-out at each election – only for them to carry on with environmental destruction. Mark is a genuine champion for the environment.

He also recognises the difficulties faced by the less-well off people in our society. He, like the other non-establishment candidates can see just how crackers it is for a government to be taxing food and domestic energy costs – right at a time of immense financial difficulty for people.

Unlike any of the Jersey Establishment Party candidates – Mark recognises the huge challenges we face because of world peak oil production – and the imminent decline of that resource – upon which modern society is so dependant. We need politicians who understand and face this reality.

It is certainly the case that all of the above comments could be applied to the other strongly environmental candidates – so forgive me if I don’t repeat all of the above observations – just take it as read that the others show the same degrees of awareness.

So why place Mark as my number 1 choice?

Mark has valuable experience of being a Lib-Dem Councillor in the UK; he understands real-world politics – unlike most present States members.

But more importantly than all of the above – Mark had the experience of living in-care as a child. He is a founding member of the Jersey Care Leavers Association.

At this moment in our history – Jersey needs – and I use the word deliberately – needs – to elect a person with some direct understanding of the lives led by vulnerable children. Firstly – today’s children in care need a States member who can empathise with them, and secondly – Jersey as a community needs to show to the world that we are not an evil place; that the malfeasances of our establishment over the decades do NOT reflect our values as a community.

Electing Mark will be a powerful means of doing just that.

2: Chris Perkins.

Chris, too, is a highly intelligent and well-informed person. He is articulate, tough, and determined. He has a powerful record of campaigning for real environmental protection for our island – as opposed to the fake kind we hear once every three years from the oligarchy.

Understanding the real-world difficulties of raising a family in such an immensely expensive environment, he has a far more realistic grasp of day-to-day struggles than the average States member.

Chris has also long-recognised the mathematical absurdity of endless population growth as a means of growing the economy. In essence – for all their pretensions to “realistic” policies – the Jersey Establishment Party has but one idea in its collective head, namely, ‘growth is the solution to all our problems.’ With some basic demographic information – and some simple maths – Chris has shown the oligarchy’s ‘one big idea’ to be a dream-world fantasy.

We need politicians who will face hard realities; something the Jersey Establishment Party has shown itself to be simply incapable of doing.

3: Alan Breckon.

Believe it or not – there are actually about 10 good States members amongst the current assembly. And Alan is most certainly one of them.

A working man from humble origins, he has, throughout his time as a States member, shown himself to be steadfast and consistent in his work for ordinary people.

He regularly champions the cases of individual members of the public in their battles with officialdom.

He has reliably fought for the interests of the poorer people in Jersey. And he has been a fine Chairman of the Jersey Consumer Council – in which job he has shown himself to be deeply irritating to the powers-that-be – which has to be a good recommendation in itself.

4: Daniel Wimberley.

Daniel has a proven track-record of selfless and committed work for social justice and environmental issues. Very intelligent – a person who makes sure to be well-informed before coming to conclusions.

As remarked in my previous blog post – Daniel absolutely nailed the attempts of the Jersey Establishment Party to spin and con the public with the so-called “Imagine Jersey” event. In a devastating and concise (I must ask him for lessons) letter, he exposed the exercise for the attempted example of “opinion-management” that it was.

Not one of the very expensive spin-doctors or civil servants would answer Daniel’s critique when I sent it to them. They knew they’d been exposed.

Daniel – as is true of all the candidates I’m voting for – will perform as advertised. Just how many more times do we allow ourselves to be conned at election time with the same old lies from the Jersey establishment? They treat the public with utter contempt – completely disregarding their election promises once in.

Daniel will be true to his word.

5: Nick Palmer.

Once again – a highly intelligent and very well-researched individual. If Nick needs to learn about a subject – he will do the necessary work required to make sure he’s properly informed.

In the early 1990’s Nick fought a lonely battle against what is today known as the Transport & Technical Services department. Long before it became fashionable, Nick was battling against the filth spewing out of the waste incinerator.

And believe me – it was not a battle for the fainthearted – given the attitude of the management of the Public Services department, as it was then known.

Nick is brave, determined and resourceful.

6: Montfort Tadier.

Montfort is a principled, well-educated young man who is not afraid to stand up for what is right – even if it means being abused by the Jersey oligarchy for his efforts.

It is also of fundamental importance that we have a few younger people in the States.

Intelligent and articulate – he believes strongly in social justice issues. He sees that we are a very wealthy society – yet we are a divided society – with the gap between the haves and the have-nots getting wider all the time.

Taxing food? Taxing your household heating bills? In an environment where people are already subjected to a cost of living as high as that in central London? Montfort can see such polices for the madness they are.

Unlike the average States member – he actually understands the struggles faced by real people leading real lives.

He is courageous and determined; not afraid to stand-up for what is right – even though he has been subjected to the predictable barrage of pro-establishment bias and lies from the local media, such as The Jersey Evening Post.

This is what happens to anyone who the oligarchy perceives as a threat. I know – I’ve suffered it myself for 18 years. Comical levels of pro-oligarchy bias from CTV and from BBC Jersey – and, of course, the predictable unvarnished lies from The Rag.

The JEP could not, for example, even bring itself to print accurately and honestly the campaign précis of people like Montfort, and, indeed, some of the other anti-establishment candidates – instead preferring to make a load of “mistakes” in a comically obvious attempt to sabotage their campaign.

But be it lies in The Rag, fake, manufactured letters written by Phil Ozouf’s spin-doctor or startling degrees of bias from the local broadcast media – Montfort has bravely resisted all such oligarchy intimidation – in order to stand up for the interest of ordinary people.

The above 6 candidates are those who will be getting my vote.

But it hasn’t been an easy choice.

There are a number of strong non-establishment candidates on the ticket – many of whom would be getting my vote, were it not for the fact that the Jersey Establishment Party is being challenged by so many good candidates.

Ranking this next category of candidates has been difficult, and I couldn’t say I’ve necessarily placed them in the same order in which I’d vote – assuming my 6 preferred candidates weren’t on the ballot paper. But, I’ve made a quick attempt at ranking them anyway.

Make of it what you will.

7: Geoff Southern.

Geoff has certain strengths – strengths which also happen to be in short supply in the assembly. Namely ability to research matters on a detailed basis – and produce cogent, well-reasoned propositions, amendments, questions and arguments.

He also has a strong social conscience – having constantly and reliably fought for the interests of pensioners and the less-well off in our society. He is politically reliable – what you see is what you get. He will stick to his election pledges.

He is also regarded as a deep irritant to the powers-that-be in the States – who do not like having to deal with his well-researched arguments.

8: Jeremy Macon.

Young-blood – which the States certainly needs. A well-educated young man who takes a genuine interest in his community.

On the election campaign trail, he has already shown himself to be unafraid of standing up to the thugs and bully-boys of the establishment.

Some may feel 21 is just a little too young for a Senatorial post – but I certainly hope he does well enough to not be discouraged. I’d most certainly like to see him as a Deputy.

9: Trevor Pitman.

Would work hard, display a good social conscience – and – crucially – be politically reliable.

What you see is what you get. Should Trevor get in, in this election, or as a Deputy – you could be quite certain that when he next stood for election he will have stuck to his election promises.

I think it is an important quality in any candidate. I may not agree with the views of X or Y politician – but just let them be honest – that’s all I ask.

But, sadly – as we all know – it’s not something we can expect of the Jersey Establishment Party.

10: Adrian Walsh.

I know that some people will regard this as a strange recommendation from me. But look at it this way. If – as may be inevitable – the voting public decide they want a few centre-Right people in the States – who would you prefer – Adrian – or Philip Ozouf? Or Alan MacLean?

See – it isn’t a difficult choice.

11: Cliff Le Clercq.

As I said in yesterday’s posting – were it not for the fact we’ve a very strong field of candidates, I’d be voting for Cliff.

But this time around, I think it would be good to see him challenging as Deputy – maybe in St. Ouens?

12: Nick Le Cornu.

As is well-documented – I don’t see eye-to-eye with Mr. Le Cornu. But in politics you have to be able to set aside personal issues and make rational judgments instead.

I would say of Nick that if elected – again, in complete contrast with the oligarchy candidates – he will be politically reliable. He has a social conscience and would battle hard for the interests of ordinary people.

13: Mike Higgins.

I’ve been told-off by a few commenters that I was unfair to Mike in the previous posting – where I predicted – given his background – he would naturally be an establishment supporter if elected.

OK – maybe I was too hasty in reaching that judgment. For example, I said he had been a member of the Financial Services Commission – when, in fact, he had simply been an employee of said body.

Should he get in – I look forward to being proven wrong in my assessment.

14: Michael Pashley.

I’m starting to struggle now. As I said in yesterday’s posting – what do we know about Michael? What are his policies? What are his political views?

He did say at one of the broadcast hustings that he wouldn’t run as Deputy if unsuccessful. I think that’s a wise move, as I feel he needs to establish himself a little more clearly in the public sphere before people vote for him.

He could be a perfectly decent candidate. But we just can’t tell at present.

So – those are the candidates – in the very approximate order in which I’d vote for them – were it not for my 6 favoured candidates being so good.

Those who I know about – either through their record – or detailed manifestos – I could be reasonably confident about. But some of them are unknown quantities – so I’m taking a risk in not placing those in the category below.

But surely anyone who hasn’t disgraced themselves deserves to avoid being tainted by association with the next category?

I would sooner face a firing-squad than vote for ANY of the following candidates.

15: Peter Troy.

Nice guy – but a total dope.

If ever there was an example of what a load of cobblers membership of MENSA is – it’s Peter.

In any event – do we really need yet another millionaire property developer in the States? No. We need to clear some space for someone fresh – who understands reality as lived by most people.

16: Paul Routier.

Like Peter – another nice guy, but what has he actually done in all his years in the States?

I’m afraid I find Paul altogether too weak for my liking. He is, essentially, one of those members who will simply be told what to do be people like Terry le Sueur, Philip Ozouf, Alan MacLean – etc.

Very much time for some change in his case.

17: Alan MacLean.

Representative of all that is wrong with the thinking of the traditional establishment heavy-weights. A vast amount of hubris and presumption to power.

A rabidly Right-wing market-fundamentalist who personifies the whole ‘greed-is-good’ mentality which has got Jersey into such a mess.

A vote for MacLean is a vote for yet more of the same – yet more of what you’re already sick of from the States.

There is also the important issue of his total failure to honour his election promises to the voters of St. Helier number 2 district. He pledged – in his written manifesto – that he would support the exempting of medical costs and children’s clothes from GST.

But not only did he fail to support those policies – he actually made a rabid speech against them mere months after getting elected.

His posters actually carry the slogan “Honesty & Integrity”.

Alan – you’re having a laugh, right?

But perhaps you like being taken for a mug? In which case you might vote for him.

But ask yourself – given all that has gone so badly wrong for ordinary people in Jersey – do we really need yet another multi-millionaire, estate-agent and property speculator in the States? A man born with a silver-spoon in his mouth – and who owns a “country estate” in England?

Somehow – I just can’t see this man having even the faintest notion of what reality is like for most of us.

18: Sarah Ferguson.

Busy selling herself on an entirely false election-pitch.

Campaigns as “Mrs Efficiency – the person who’s going to bring accountability to the States.”

Voted AGAINST holding a Committee of Enquiry into the toxic ash dumping disaster.

And voted ON THE SIDE of those senior civil servants who were attempting to cover-up the fact they had been running an “illegal and abusive” solitary confinement regime against children in care.

These are – categorically – NOT the actions of a person who is serious about sorting out inefficiency and unaccountability in the upper-reaches of our immensely expensive and bloated civil service.

These would be grounds enough to most definitely NOT vote for her.

However – following the revelation on my blog that she – along with another States member – interceded with the Attorney General in an attempt to prevent the relative of one of her constituents from facing criminal justice – we have to go further.

We have to ask – “is this person even faintly fit to hold any public Office?”

Personally – I don’t think so.

19: Philip Ozouf.

Well – what to say? A text-book example of exactly the type of States member we’ve had all too much of over the decades.

Arrogant, bullying, scheming, Machiavellian; a person who is the arch-manipulator of others. Attempts to keep himself out of trouble – whilst steering others into doing his dirty work for him.

Possessed of an entirely obsolete and redundant world-view – it may as well be 1983 as far as his politics are concerned.

Intrinsically juvenile. And like his running-mate, Alan MacLean – yet another multi-millionaire, spoilt-brat trustafarian who has inherited a king’s ransom in property and businesses – without having to do a day’s real work in his life.

He’s got to go.

20: Ian Le Marquand.

Whilst Ian Le Marquand would always be well-down my rankings – as Jersey needs change – not merely more of the same from yet another production-line Jersey oligarch who espouses essentially the same policies as people like Frank Walker, Philip Ozouf & Terry Le Sueur.

However – he would be far higher up my list of rejects – (that is, into the less bad region) – were it not for one thing, namely his profoundly alarming, openly-espoused wish to bring the Police Force under direct political control.

Just at a moment in our history when the Police Force – like every other Police Force the length of the country – has been able to be free of political interference – and has – finally – exposed decades upon decades of the most appaling child abuse.

And if that weren’t bad enough – we’d have to note the sheer, arrogant presumption of his position in blithely stating he ‘will become Home Affairs Minister when he’s elected.’

I’m sorry – but anyone displaying such hubris in taking the public for granted badly needs bringing down a few pegs.

It is also deeply concerning that he even thinks it would be appropriate for him to have anything to do with Home Affairs – whilst his recent close-colleague is under investigation for potential offences. (Not related to child protection – but still serious issues.)

21: Mike Vibert.

This comment will be brief.

I’m going to be dedicating a significant part of tomorrow’s post to Mr. Vibert.

I’ll just say this.

Of every singly candidate amongst the 21 – this man – more than any other – must be utterly rejected by the voting public.

His incompetent, ignorant – and frankly utterly dishonest – response to the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster is a stain on our Assembly.

This man must go.

So – this last category represents those I consider to be so utterly toxic – and thoroughly bad for Jersey – that none of them merit voting for; on the contrary – I strongly recommend that none of them receive votes from decent people.

Hope you’ve found this interesting and helpful.

Right – I’m off to the St. Helier hustings. Should be fun.

Check out my election eve post tomorrow.

Stuart.

The man who laughs in the face of defamation actions.

JERSEY ELECTION SPECIAL, #4

WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN?

‘Meet the New Boss – Same as the Old Boss.’

The New Candidates:

A Look at Reality.

One of the fundamental failings of Jersey’s political culture is that we repeatedly allow ourselves to be conned by candidates. But even on those rare occasions we get sufficiently cross to actually kick out a few of the clowns – all to often we are hoodwinked into voting for new candidates – who end up being nothing more than carbon-copies of those we’ve just got rid of.

As The Who song has it: “Meet the news boss, same as the old boss.”

But too often we do allow ourselves to get fooled again.

A good example being Alan MacLean. He of GST exemptions infamy.

But he isn’t the only one. And it’s genuinely difficult to convey to the public just how utterly unreliable some candidates are. Even though I’ve been in politics a long time – I still get fooled by certain new candidates.

Two examples leap to mind. Ben Shenton – who made all the right noises – until he became Health & Social Services Minister – and “went-native” in about a week.

To this day he is happily tolerating expensive civil servants in his department – who are proven, evidenced liars who have concealed child abuse.

Another is Juliette Gallichan. Thinking that anything had to be better than Geoffrey Grime, I actually supported her in a Senatorial by-election, in the hope that if she didn’t win, she’d at least be well-placed to oust Grime – a man whose sole talent is helping 1(1)K tax-exiles to dodge even more tax.

Yet the very instant she was elected, her rabid ambition became comically obvious – ingratiating herself with the establishment and doing all she could to crawl to people like Philip Ozouf and Frank Walker. Her pretension to being ‘independently-minded’ vanished in a storm of social-climbing.

But her husband is a Freemason, so I blame myself – I should have known what to expect.

So – who do I think we run the serious risk of being fooled by this time around?

Firstly, it’s important to note – in fairness – that not all newcomers prove to be utterly unreliable.

Whilst we may vote for new candidate X or Y – in the hope they’ll be different, sometimes the fault lays with us in not making a sufficiently realistic assessment – even though the evidence is there to be seen.

Take for example, Mike Higgins. A decent enough man, I’m sure. He makes some of the right noises in his election material – and I’ve no grounds for doubting what he says.

But just how realistic would be an expectation that this man would really be on the side of ordinary people? Just look at his background.

Worked in aerospace, organises the Jersey Air Display, taught banking, was a member of the Jersey Financial Services Commission, has worked at “the highest levels” with “local business leaders, civil servants and politicians, overseas governments” –and “high-ranking military officers”.

Somehow – I just get the feeling that a person with this background is – inevitably -on the side of the establishment. But, in fairness – the warning signs are there in his election statements.

We have no excuses for not recognising that Mike – like several of the other newcomers – simply represents more of the same old establishment attitudes and policies.

And what we need in these elections is some change.

A newcomer who we can rely on to represent genuine change is Chris Perkins. A man who has been totally consistent over the years in his efforts to prevent the complete, environmental destruction of Jersey.

Intelligent, well-researched – and committed to controlling population growth. Should Chris be elected – I’m very confident that he would be in that category of member from who you know exactly what you’re going to get in exchange for your vote.

Mick Pashley? Again – I’m sure he’s a nice enough person, but how do we really get a handle on what he stands for – on how he would actually perform as a States member?

His on-line manifesto is thin – to say the least. As is his entry in the ‘Candidate Profiles’ as published by The Rag – in which he only used half the available space. Sorry – but we simply just don’t know enough about his political policies to risk a vote on him.

Though listening to the radio hustings, he did state unambiguously that if unsuccessful, he wouldn’t run as a Deputy. I’ve no strong views about such things – but he has at least made his position clear.

But there are some newcomers who we do know a good deal about – too much for comfort, in fact.

Of all the newcomers – the main oligarchy hope is Ian Le Marquand – a text-book example off of the production-line of Jersey establishment scions.

We can all be categorically certain of what we’ll get from Mr. Le Marquand – more of the same from the Jersey establishment.

GST? Population growth? Development? Business as usual for the oligarchy?

More of the same, basically?

Yes – that much is starkly plane from his background and manifesto.

He is one of those establishment candidates who see their election as a done-deal; simply the natural order of things that they should get elected. All of the text-book arrogance and haughtiness – and sheer presumption – is visible in spades.

I would have opposed Ian on those grounds – simply that he’s just yet another Jersey establishment apparatchik with decidedly Right-wing political views.

However – something occurred to grab my attention and make me profoundly alarmed at the prospect of him as a States member.

Anyone – including a substantial number of the victims – who knows the detail of the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster, will know that, in large measure, the Police were a part of the problem in decades gone by. Not only was a degree of corruption present in the force, it was also prevented from doing its proper duty by too close a level of direct political control.

Fortunately – those days are over – which is one of the reasons that we see decade after decade of appalling child abuses only now being exposed.

We have an operationally independent Police Force – which is just as it should be.

After all – every other Police Force the length of the nation operates independently of direct, political control.

But when Ian declared himself to be a candidate in these elections, he said this:

“The issue about oversight of the police is based on a growing concern over a lengthy period of time that the police were increasingly operating as if they were a politically independent organisation. That predates the Haute de la Garenne investigation by about two years. It is a long-standing concern that they are operating without effective political oversight.”

This statement made me profoundly alarmed.

In democratic societies – police forces ARE “politically independent organisations.”

What Ian seeks is a deeply worrying return to the bad old days of political pressure on the Police.

Some readers may recollect we had an exchange of letters printed by The Rag. I wrote expressing concerns at his assertions, and he replied. I replied in turn – but – no surprises – The Rag wouldn’t print my second letter.

So I reproduce it below this post – so that readers may get a handle on the nature of the issues.

But even more concerning in many ways – is the fact that Ian blithely declares himself to be a candidate for the post of Home Affairs Minster.

There is the small matter of getting elected first. And then we must ask, would it really be in the public interest to place the Police under the yoke of a barrack-room lawyer – who will clearly have an uncontrollable urge to tell them what to do all the time?

But what adds yet another layer of truly startling presumption to his comments is his total inability to see that he is completely conflicted from having any involvement whatsoever with Home Affairs – for as long as present investigations continue.

The plain fact is that all of public administration in Jersey – including the courts – has been engaging in simply criminal mistreatment – unlawful and abusive practices – against vulnerable children.

Of the magistrates, Ian was always the most rabid in insisting that children be imprisoned – even to the extent of the unlawful use of solitary confinement against the kids.

He was a component of the apparatus which was acting in completely ultra vires ways.

But yet he somehow believes he can just march into a seat in the States – and march into the Home Affairs Ministry – as though none of these conflicts existed.

It’s a truly remarkable display of the customary hubris of the Jersey establishment.

Even worse – when you consider that one of Ian’s close colleagues – another magistrate – is presently suspended whilst under police investigation for potential offences. (Not related to child protection, I must point out).

How can a man who’s recent, close colleague is under police investigation – think for one instant it would be appropriate for them to take over political responsibility for the Police Force?

As I’ve remarked on so many occasions before – you just couldn’t make it up.

But even were it not for the above facts, we would still have to face the fact that the States assembly needs yet another hard Right-wing religious fundamentalist – about as much as I need to go on an assertiveness course.

No – as important as it is to teach the establishment a lesson by voting out their favoured sitting members – it is as every bit as important to teach the same lesson by making it plain that the sheer presumptuousness of establishment candidates will not be tolerated either.

I like Cliff Le Clercq. He is a decent enough candidate. More so, in fact, in that he has been – behind the scenes – extremely helpful to a number of the survivors of the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster. Not that he has advertised this fact.

But as I’ve said previously, this is an unusually strong slate of candidates – so with great reluctance, I think this time out I’d prefer to see Cliff having a crack at a Deputy seat.

Don’t get me wrong – if the field was as feeble as it often is – he’d be getting my vote for sure. But this time there is stiff competition amongst the anti-establishment candidates.

Who shall we take a look at next?

How about Nick Le Cornu?

Followers of Jersey cyber-space will be all-too familiar with the – err – personal differences between me and Nick – so sorry to disappoint some those looking for some fireworks against him – but all that stuff has been rehearsed elsewhere already.

I think now is the time to offer political assessments.

Nick is most certainly an anti-establishment candidate. But I don’t think for one instant he has the faintest environmental considerations. On the contrary – as far as housing is concerned – he’d let the flood-gates open and just build everywhere to meet whatever level of demand occurred.

I also have to say I detect an element of the “hidden reality” about him, of the kind we get from the Jersey establishment. They pretend to be “centrist” – whilst in fact being rabid, devil-take-the-hindmost market fundamentalists. And with Nick I’m not entirely persuaded that he isn’t pretending to be centrist – whilst actually being a closet-Leninist.

I mentioned earlier just how funny much of the election material has been.

For example, Nick Le Cornu asserts that he is a – “patriot”.

My – how I laughed at that.

We all know that, to quote Samuel Johnson – “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

But there are many other apposite observations on “patriotism”. For example, Mark Twain wrote, “The nation is divided, half patriots and half traitors – and no man can tell which from which.”

Or how about this: “The heights of popularity and patriotism are still the beaten road to power and tyranny; flattery to treachery; standing armies to arbitrary government; and the glory of God to the temporal interest of the clergy” – as observed by David Hume.

Perhaps more eloquently, Goethe wrote – “Patriotism ruins history.”

I point these things out because whilst one expects the “patriotism” card to be played by the establishment candidates – it’s more than a little surprising to see an anti-establishment candidate using the same gambit.

I know Trevor Pitman from Grand Vaux Youth Club, and as a JDA candidate – we could be confident – whether we agreed with their views or not – they are at least going to be reliable in attempting to adhere to their election promises. There’ll be no need to say, “won’t get fooled again” if the JDA candidates succeed.

What you see is what you get. If you like it – then vote for them in confidence that they ‘do what it says on the tin’ – which is vastly more than can be said for the many slippery oligarchy candidates.

Montfort Tadier I think is a very impressive candidate. Young, energetic, sincere and intelligent. I’ve no doubt at all that he would make a good – reliable – States member if elected.

Adrian Walsh I also regard as an extremely credible candidate. I think it fair enough to describe Adrian’s views as being on the centre-Right – a conservative if you will.

Therefore I expect I’d have policy differences with him if he were a States member. But I have no problem with that. I realise it takes a cross-section of views to make the legislature function well.

What distinguishes Adrian from the Right-wing we’re used to seeing in the Jersey oligarchy is that he is far more modern – and vastly more open and reliable in his policies.

Daniel Wimberley – an intelligent and compassionate candidate. A man with a well-documented record of voluntary campaigning on issues of social justice and environmental protection.

Those of you who are familiar with Jersey politics will recollect that a few years ago, the oligarchy engaged in a text-book example of “manufacturing consent” – with the so-called “Imagine Jersey” spin and manipulation event.

Daniel participated in that exercise – and wrote a succinct and devastating critique of it. He absolutely nailed all of the opinion-management techniques at work. I was so impressed I copied and sent his letter to several of the very senior civil servants and spin-doctors involved in the exercise – asking them to answer his criticisms.

All of them simply refused to do so. Because there was no answer they could credibly offer.

Daniel had them sussed – right from the get-go.

As with other anti-establishment candidates – you could vote for Daniel in absolute confidence that he would perform as advertised – unlike the traditional Jersey oligarchy candidates.

Jeremy Macon also looks like being a reliable and very vote-worthy candidate. Let’s face it – anyone who has infuriated Philip Ozouf, Alan MacLean – and their spin-doctor, Glenn Rankine – so much, has got to be doing something right.

Again, his problem is that he is up against a pretty strong field of anti-establishment candidates. And at the tender age of 21, you have to ask is he ready for a Senatorial seat? Should he be unsuccessful in these elections, I certainly hope he runs – and is successful – as a Deputy. We do need a few younger people in the States.

Hell, it’d be worth having him as a States member merely for the entertainment value of seeing his mum stand-up to the bulling thuggery of Rankine, Ozouf, and MacLean etc.

Nick Palmer will – as I’ve said elsewhere – be getting one of my 6 votes. Back in the early 1990’s – when, for my sins, I was a member of the then Public Services Committee, I worked closely with Nick in campaigning against all the pollution and filth from the incinerator.

He is very intelligent, extremely well-informed – and strongly independently-minded.

Just how many more times do we get mugged into voting for false-environmentalists? Nick – like several of the other candidates – will be a genuine and reliable force in protecting our environment.

Unlike those oligarchy candidates – who spout a little greenwash at election time – and then carry on with the destruction as soon as they’re elected.

Then we come to Mark Forskitt.

If we had a form of proportional representation in our voting system – whereby we wrote numbers of preference against our candidates, rather than puting a cross – Mark would be getting my number ‘1’ in these elections.

He is absolutely the very kind of candidate Jersey now NEEDS to be elected. He too is committed to protecting the environment; he too is intellectual, well-informed and capable of seeing that the future just cannot sustain our present mode of living.

He understands peak-oil – and just what an immense problem it’s going to be. He empathises with the poor, doesn’t believe we should be taxing food – and he quotes Ghandi. What else do you need?

One thing, actually.

Jersey society has a lot of truth-facing to do. We, as a community need to face up to the fact – for it is a fact – that collectively we have failed perhaps hundreds of vulnerable children – often in the most dreadful of ways.

If we are a decent community – we must confront that fact.

Mark experienced being in care as a child. He is one of the founding-members of the Jersey Care Leavers Association. What better means could we have of showing the world that decent Jersey people care – that we want to elect a person who can empathise with children who have been through the system?

As I said – Mark is my very first choice as candidate in these elections.

Let us hope he succeeds – the age of the greed-and-concrete Jersey Establishment Party are now over. As a community we need to turn to different leaders.

So that’s a not-so-brief tour of the newcomers who are candidates in this election.

Personally – I still haven’t yet quite decided on the full 6 votes – which everyone must use this time. But I promise I’ll make my mind up for tomorrow night’s posting, when I’ll be listing the 21 candidates in order of preference – or anti-preference – as the case may be.

And on Tuesday – the day before the election – I’ll be setting aside the polite and diplomatic approach I’ve adopted so far – and be offering a few pithy observations on the election.

Watch this space.

Stuart.

The man who laughs in the face of defamation actions.

MY LETTER TO THE RAG IN RESPONSE
TO IAN LE MARQUAND,

WHICH THEY REFUSED TO PRINT.

8th August 2008

Letters to the Editor
Jersey Evening Post

It’s both reassuring – and tediously predictable – to see a would-be politician attempting to re-invent history as Mr. Le Marquand does in his letter of the 7th August.

Reassuring – in that the original, dangerous assertions made by Mr. Le Marquand have now been largely abandoned by him – and sadly predictable to observe the “flexibility” required to elide, re-cast and spin issues, which is so common in the sphere of public administration.

Let us look at the facts.

These are the original words as used by Mr. Le Marquand:

“The issue about oversight of the police is based on a growing concern over a lengthy period of time that the police were increasingly operating as if they were a politically independent organisation. That predates the Haute de la Garenne investigation by about two years. It is a long-standing concern that they are operating without effective political oversight.”

Those are the actual words of Mr. Le Marquand – an unambiguous objection to the Police “operating as if they were a politically independent organisation.”

Now – having perhaps recognised that he’d blundered by showing his hand – Mr. Le Marquand now writes – in an attempt to re-invent the past – that:

“I am not and have never been talking about political control of the Police. I am talking about political oversight of the police. There is a very clear difference between operational matters and policy matters.”

When Mr. Le Marquand writes “I have never been talking about political control of the Police” – it cannot but make a stark contrast with his previous position, in which he did, expressly, object to the ‘Police operating as if they were politically independent’.

Mr Le Marquand accuses me of “misrepresenting his position”. No – I did not. As can be clearly seen in the contrast between his comments of the 23rd July – and his comments in his letter of the 7th August.

The only misrepresentation on display is that by Mr. Le Marquand – who would now have the public forget his original, disturbingly authoritarian, comments.
In my letter of the 23rd, I wrote:

“Every police force the length of the nation operates on a politically independent basis. The government sets the laws and sets the policies. The Police then undertake their duties within that framework – operationally independent of political control.”

Mr. Le Marquand even, quite shamelessly, claims that he is “pleased to see that Senator Syvret agrees with me on these issues” when referring to the above-quote taken from my letter of the 23rd.

No, it is Mr. Le Marquand who is now, apparently, agreeing with me – by way of contrast to his original disturbing assertions.

It is certainly true that I spoke with Mr. Le Marquand on Saturday 26th July and discussed these issues. The supposed “explanation” he offered on that occasion was every bit as unconvincing and slippery as that in his letter of the 7th August.

But – reading Mr. Le Marquand’s letter closely, it is still, in fact, far from clear just where he would strike the boundary between the necessary independence of the Police and political direction.

It is, for example – very, very – notable that he says it would be “quite wrong for any politician to seek to interfere in any way with the way in which police officers deal with individual cases. The prevention, detection and investigation of individual crimes are all matters for the police and for the police alone.”

That word, “individual” – used twice – leaps from the page.

Are we to take it from this that Mr. Le Marquand – whilst not wanting to interfere with “individual” cases and “individual” crimes – would regard it as quite legitimate – at a policy level – to interfere politically with the Police and direct them as to which categories of investigation they should concentrate on? Of which areas of criminal activity the Police must focus on? Or particular types of crimes? Or which particular broad investigations that the Police should, or should not, undertake? For example, the historic child abuse investigation?

Might such an investigation not be viewed as “inconvenient” or “politically” undesirable by some hypothetical politicians? Ministers, perhaps, who had the power to tell the Police – “Don’t investigate that episode of criminal activity – use your resources instead on catching more speeding motorists and TV licence dodgers”?

As I said originally – the Police must be democratically accountable; and the appropriate and correct means of such accountability is via the laws and policies set by a government. The Police must work within that broad framework.

But once that framework is established – it is crucial that the Police are not subjected to political interferences which could see them being ‘directed’ to ignore a serious area of criminal activity – and instead focus on another, which happened to be more “convenient” for the politicians of the day.

I would like to be able to say I’m glad Mr. Le Marquand has changed his mind – and now agrees with me.

But I cannot do so – because his actual views remain elusive and ambiguous.

Will he state plainly whether he agrees that the Police must work to the laws and policies as agreed by the States assembly – but that that is as far as the political sphere can go into the realms of policing?

Does he accept that the Police, once they have been given the laws and policies of the government, must be free to make their own strategic decisions as to how, and which crimes they fight?

Will Mr. Le Marquand state plainly that he does not support a policy which could see the Police being told what particular categories of investigation they could, or could not undertake?

He really should remove any ambiguity from his position – because my understanding is that the Police found his original comments every bit as disturbing as I did.

Yours sincerely,

Senator Stuart Syvret

JERSEY ELECTION SPECIAL, #3

A FEW EXAMPLES OF MENDACITY.

Your Choice:

Do You Want To Be Governed

By Fakes?

I said in my last Election Special, we’d begin the process of whittling down the 21 candidates to eventually arrive at those who may merit voting for.

So, to begin that process, I thought we’d take a close look at some of the black arts of propaganda and spin – and consider what some of the sitting members assert – compared with the brutal truth of their political voting record. An exercise from which one may draw the obvious conclusions.

Since this election campaign got underway, I’ve been making something of a study of the manifestos, advertisements, web-sites and slogans of the 21 candidates.

Who said politics wasn’t fun?

Some people perceive me as a miserable bastard, to which I say, ‘look, if you had to do what I have to do – you’d feel a little glum from time to time’.

But existential bleakness can be funny. In many ways, Samuel Becket was a comedian. Humour can be found in the most unlikely of grim circumstances – even Jersey elections.

And so it has been whilst examining the assertions of most of the sitting States members – in contrast with the facts.

It’s been as funny as reading Private Eye, listening to Chris Rock and trying to follow George Bush’s syntax all rolled-up into one.

Some of the claims made by the establishment candidates are so nakedly brazen in their defiance of the truth, one can only stare in wonder and shake your head in disbelief at the sheer nerve and shamelessness of many of the lies.

I’ve been in politics for 18 years – a profession noted for the ability of its practitioners to assert that black is white – but even if I wanted to lie in politics – I simply wouldn’t have the utter brass-neck some of these people display.

I mean, to take just one example, if I had a track-record of rabid, pro-active destruction of the environment – as has Philip Ozouf – I simply wouldn’t have the gall to assert, as he does, “I have put environmental concerns at the heart of corporate plans”.

No you haven’t, Philip. You’ve crushed environmental concerns under the heel of your rabid, market-fundamentalism – throughout your career. A little bit of Greenwash in the form of an “EcoActive” scheme is about as convincing as a North-Korean media report.

I’ve actually had tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks at many of the fantastical claims made by the oligarchy candidates.

Check out this gem from Philip’s web site:

“GREEN FIELDS – I do not wish to see any further development in green field sites for the foreseeable future. Studies are now showing that there are plenty of opportunities to increase housing supply through regenerating St. Helier.”

You can tell Philip has – just as has his running-mate, Alan MacLean – made a study of infamous propaganda techniques. Note the carefully crafted “get out of jail free” clauses in the above quote. Any “FURTHER” development of green field sites.

So that’s no “further” development – on top of the vast quantity of environmentally destructive countryside development you have supported so far.

Then we come to the wonderful phrase “for the foreseeable future”. What is the “foreseeable” future? Would that be until your pall Freddy comes to the States next with another vast chunk of wholly inappropriate re-zonings for development?

But of course – the truly comical phrase of Philip’s is “I do not “WISH” to see any further developments”.

So that’s OK, then – Philip doesn’t WISH to see any further developments – but when the proposals are brought forward, with heavy-heart and reluctant hand he’ll support further developments – even though he doesn’t WISH to.

Interpreting political statements is often akin to translating from one language to another. Which is what we’ve done with Philip Ozouf’s environmental claim.

What does it actually mean? At first glance, it presses all the right buttons – green fields – to be protected from development.

But in truth – all that we are being presented with is a text-book example of the political emergency exit. Lots of nice, clear avenues of escape – just as soon as the candidate feels like it. For in truth, what is being said is this:

“I need a bit of Green tokenism in my manifesto – but I don’t want to draw attention to my PAST record of environmental destruction – and nor do I want to be bound by a manifesto pledge when I carry on supporting even more developments. So let’s phrase something with a few weasel-words – which can be ducked out of should I ever be questioned about it.”

See – easy, isn’t it? Translating political double-speak into English?

Philip’s protégé, Alan MacLean adopts the self-same tactic in his propaganda. For example, just check-out his ads which are running in The Rag. There are eight bullet-points in his advertisement – one of which says this:

“Countryside and Heritage Protection”.

Again – that’s the “Green” button pressed. But what – prey – does the phrase actually mean?

It means nothing.

What we learn from this little bit of analysis is simple, and can be summarised thus:

“Always judge politicians by what they DO – NOT what they say.”

So let us compare and contrasts the environmental weasel-words of Philip Ozouf & Alan MacLean – with the inconvenient truth of their voting record, by way of two simple examples.

On the 2nd April, the States rejected a proposition that was attempting to halt the piece-meal development of the countryside, and instead sought that the review of the Island Plan be completed before any major re-zoning decisions. An environmentally sound proposition.

Now – dear readers – can we guess which way Alan & Philip voted on this occasion?

It isn’t difficult is it?

Both men were implacable in their opposition to the proposal.

Following the defeat of this proposition, the States, on the 16th July, voted on a proposition of Freddy – Mr Environment – Cohen – to re-zone huge chunks of the supposedly protected countryside in an entirely disjointed, nonsensical fashion – rather than wait until the Island Plan review is complete so that we have a cohesive, overall policy for development decisions.

Which way do we think out two “environmental champions” voted?

Yep – got it in one.

Both men supported this latest round of environmental destruction.

Yet here they are – at election time – quite brazenly seeking to cloak themselves in a bit of Green spin.

As I said, the sheer nerve of some of the spin and propaganda is truly breath-taking.

Let’s take a look at another example of just how – err – “reliable” Alan MacLean is.

When I was running for election in 2005, I pledged that I would continue to fight for essentials to be exempted from the Goods & Services Tax. And you know what – Alan MacLean, whilst not going as far as me, made a similar election pledge to the voting public of St. Helier number 2 district.

This is what he said – in writing – in his manifesto:

“GST – We must ensure the less well of are protected. They are the most affected from this new tax and we must ensure that the proposed low-income support scheme provides the desired protection. Medicines and medical services should be exempt as well as children’s clothing. We must ensure that the 3% rate is maintained as a maximum.”

OK – again, as an assertion, it presses all the right buttons. Protect less well-off, effective Income Support scheme, maintain a 3% rate – but also exempt medicines and medical services, and children’s clothing from the tax.

In due course, I carried out my election pledge – and fought a major battle in the assembly in an attempt to get some key items, such as food, domestic energy, education costs – and medical supplies and services – and children’s clothes – exempted from the tax.

You know what’s coming – don’t you?

How did Alan – vote-for-me-for-GST-exemptions – MacLean vote in that debate?

Not only did he flatly vote against every one of the proposed exemptions – he actually made a rabid speech in opposition to them.

So get this straight – here’s a man who made an unambiguous – written – pledge to his voters – the predominantly poor, working class district of St. Helier number 2 -that he would support the exemption of medical costs and children’s clothing from GST.

Yet, a matter of only months later – not only did he fail to keep his word – he actually made a lengthy speech in complete opposition to that which he had pledged to do.

Are you a mug?

Do you want to be represented by people who have such contempt for members of the public, that they’d so brazenly dissemble in their election promises – knowing full-well that if elected, they’ll just do what ever the hell they feel like?

Personally – even if I was in complete disagreement with the views of a candidate – I could at least respect them if they were honest about their political policies.

What I can’t respect – are charlatans.

But why do we carry on doing this? Getting hoodwinked at every single election?

By happy coincidence, this week’s New Scientist magazine has an article, on page 9, titled, “Our psychology helps politicians bend the truth.”

In essence, what is explained is that psychologically, we tend to arrange the world into categories – which saves ‘thinking-time’ – and we then go on to make all kinds of assumptions and extrapolations – based on the ingrained categories we have fixed in our minds.

Therefore, if politician X has, over a period of time, cultivated an “image” of themselves and what they stand for – a lot of people just won’t really absorb the fact that politician X, generally actually votes for the opposite of what we assume them to stand for.

To take a pertinent example – Sarah Ferguson has gone into this election touting herself as “Mrs Efficiency” – a politician who will hold the public sector to “account” – and bring some robust “common sense” to the task. As she has been Chair of the Public Accounts Committee – a body which is supposed to be a financial watch-dog, safeguarding us against poor performance and ensuring the public sector faces “accountability” – many of us will assume that image to be true.

But – what is the reality?

Two, highly relevant, examples spring to mind.

On the 9th September, I took a proposition to the assembly which sought to establish a Committee of Enquiry into the utterly irresponsible – and illegal – dumping of 100’000’s of tonnes of toxic incinerator ash into the land reclamation sites.

St. Helier’s Waterfront being, essentially, a giant toxic waste dump. A state of affairs which was repeatedly covered-up and denied by the relevant States departments in an example of the worst kind of civil service inefficiency and unaccountability.

Although difficult to conceive of a worse example of gross incompetence, irresponsibility and poor performance by the civil service – Sarah Ferguson voted against even enquiring into the disaster.

How does that reality square with her professed and supposed political determination to demand value for money and effectiveness from the public sector?

Consider the second example; on September the 11th of 2007, Sarah voted in favour of a proposition to have me dismissed as Minister for Health & Social Services – even though it was plain on the available evidence that the move to have me dismissed had been engineered by a number of manifestly incompetent, dishonest and dangerous – and very expensive – senior civil servants.

The prime motivation of whom was to get rid of me in order that they be able to hide the fact that so incompetent, lazy and unethical had they been – they’d been running for years a child custody system which was illegal and abusive. A fact which had been explained to me by the whistle-blower, Simon Bellwood – who I believed – instead of believing my plainly lying civil servants.

Fast-foreword to 11th October 2008. In an illustration of just how right me and Bellwood were – and how disastrously wrong the civil servants – and those like Sarah Ferguson, who passively supported them were – today, even The Rag says this:

“Grand Prix system was abusive and illegal”. It goes on to say, “Locking children up in solitary confinement…..was abusive and illegal a damning report will reveal.”

Decades of toxic ash dumping – decades of criminal, institutional child abuse. Both examples of the grossest malfeasance by the incompetent, bloated, over-paid and under worked upper-ranks of Jersey’s senior civil service.

But both perfectly OK as far as Sarah – “accountability” – Ferguson is concerned.

I’ve focused on Philip Ozouf, Alan MacLean and Sarah Ferguson in these comments, but the same observations could be made of nearly all the sitting States members who are contesting this election.

My recommendation to voters is that amongst the current States members contesting this Senatorial election there are only two who merit voting for. They being Alan Breckon & Geoff Southern.

You may not agree with their views – you may not like them. But they carry the immensely important distinction of being reliable and honest. With these two, politically – what you see is what you get.

Personally, I will, most certainly, be voting for Alan Breckon. And I’ll have to think closely as to whether Geoff Southern gets a vote. I don’t, frankly, get on with him at a personal level, but a part of being a responsible politician is setting aside personal considerations in order to do what you consider to be for the best.

For similar reason’s I’d like to place Nick Le Cornu at the very bottom of the list –but in reality – Mike Vibert must be in last place.

But as I said in my last posting, this is a strong field – I could easily vote for 10of the candidates. But I have to whittle down my choice to the 6 votes I’ll cast.

I have thought hard about how to present my recommendations. In the end I’ve decided on a simple approach. I will rank the 21 in order of preference.

Perhaps with a few, very short observations on each candidate.

And I’ll do that in Monday’s posting.

But in the interim, tomorrow evening we’ll be taking a close look at a few of the new candidates – and considering what they have to offer.

Or not.

As the case is with some of them.

Watch this space.

Stuart.

The man who laughs in the face of defamation actions.

JERSEY ELECTION SPECIAL, #2

Tactical Voting

When you’re Spoilt for Choice?

Teaching the Oligarchy a Lesson.

Well – here’s the second Jersey Election Special. And as I remarked, I’m going to do a post each day in the build-up to the 15th October.

I promised a while ago that I’d offer a guide to tactical voting – and make my recommendations as to which candidates to vote for.

I also said I’d perhaps be placing a greater emphasis on what candidates I recommend you don’t vote for.

People often suggest that there ought to be a negative vote – whereby you could put your X to cancel out a vote for the candidate you most despise. Whilst I can see the attractions – I’m not sure about the practicalities; just imagine – tallying-up all those tens of thousands of votes against certain establishment people? The counters would be there for days.

But – I’m not sure such a mechanism is actually necessary. And this is why you must drag yourself out to vote – even if you’re an anarchist – even if you wish all politicians to the furthest pit of hell.

In these Senatorial elections, we have 21 candidates contesting for 6 seats. Now let us imagine you have taken sufficient interest to read a little of what each candidates says of themselves – and you think every, single, solitary one of them to be utter clowns.

Now cast your mind across the ranks of the 21 and think of those individuals from amongst their number who you detest with the greatest passionate intensity. Then imagine them being elected.

For that is what will happen if you do not vote.

In our speculation, we’re imaging the entire slate to be a wretched, sorry shower of buffoons and imbeciles; people with the IQ of George Bush and the ethics of a Wall Street short-seller.

But – no matter that it causes you physical pain and palpable revulsion – you must cast your weary eyes down the ballot paper – and vote for those you hate the least.

Because if you don’t do this – those you hate the most may get in instead.

Think of it this way. Voting for the least-bad amongst our hypothetical toxic 21 may well seem a deeply unpleasant prospect – a bit like having to get a gangrenous toe amputated. But if you don’t go through with the unpleasantness – the result will be the rot steadily climbing up your leg.

It’s a question of the lesser of two evils.

So having established why you must vote for the least-bad candidates amongst our fictional slate, let’s turn our attention to the 21 we have before us in reality.

When voting in the Jersey Senatorial elections, you have UP TO 6 votes. A maximum of 6 – but you don’t have to use all 6. Perhaps there are 3 candidates who you quite like. In which case, you might usually cast only three of your 6 votes.

In some circumstances, there are attractions in voting tactically in this manner. For example, if you cast your 3 preferred votes – and then go on and cast your remaining votes for candidates to which you are semi-indifferent – it’s entirely feasible that the candidate you voted for, but only as a 6th choice, could go on to prevent the candidate who is your 1st choice from getting elected.

So sometimes such tactical voting makes sense. But these are interesting times.

So those three votes you, perhaps, wouldn’t normally use? Instead, regard them as 3 ‘negative’ votes – of the kind people often wish they had.

The down-side of only using a few of your 6 votes is that you leave the way open for those candidates who you hate the most, to maybe wriggle into 5th or 6th place.

So my first recommendation for these elections is use all 6 of your votes.

Even if you struggle to identify 6 candidates you like, regard a vote for them as, in effect, a negative vote you can cast against the candidates who you most want to fail.

But – on this occasion, when considering the 21 candidates we have contesting this election – I actually regard it as an unusually strong field. I could quite easily vote for 10 of the 21 candidates. But – we must whittle our choice down to 6.

And we’ll start work on that task with tomorrow’s post.

I’ll finish with my second recommendation for voters.

The States of Jersey needs to be taught a lesson. The fact that sitting members are so rarely thrown out encourages the sense of invulnerability that enables the States to so arrogantly trample over the wishes of the community.

None of the 3 sitting Senators should be returned. All have badly failed the people of the island in one way or another. And it also happens to be the case that the 3 in question are exactly those kinds of members who feel so invulnerable, they only take notice of public opinion during the 5 moths before an election.

Let us get them out – and teach the States that no longer will the community passively accept being treated with contempt by a complacent and haughty establishment.

I hope you found these recommendations helpful.

See you tomorrow.

Stuart.

The man who laughs in the face of defamation actions.