An occasional column devoted to a study of the Opinion Management Industry.
‘The Law in its Majestic Equality’.
Today, my old friends at the Jersey Evening Post have delivered another brilliant piece. Not in the sense of it being a great news story – rather, in the sense that it provides such a fantastic example of the opinion management industry at work; such a nakedly unembarrassed display of the Jersey Oligarchy in action.
I was thinking of a subject for another ‘Anatomy of a Spin’ article – and low! – So it appeared – as the lead item on the front page of this Saturday’s Jersey Evening Post.
A little background information.
In addition to the full-time professional police force, Jersey has a system of traditional voluntary policing, called the Honorary Police. Each of the island’s 12 parishes has its own small police force.
To join one of these 12 police forces, you need to seek election to the post, and if successful, get sworn-in by the island’s Royal Court.
On the 18 December 2007, a gentleman was elected to the post of ‘Centenier’, a senior rank in Jersey’s Honorary Police, – yet he was only sworn-in to the office yesterday. And then – only after another, frankly embarrassing, display of the politicisation of the Court systems in Jersey.
The man in question, Mr Steve Pallett, was once ‘convicted’ of ‘stealing’ – but the money was probably lost through his management inexperience – the sum of £80.00 – when he was 17 – running a school tuck-shop –
30 years ago.
So here is a man who supposedly ‘committed’ a school-boy offence – 30 years ago – and who all now accept has led a blameless and industrious life ever since, including undertaking a range of community work.
Yet in his particular case, the island’s Solicitor General and the Court felt an overwhelming need to excavate this matter from his childhood – 30 years ago – and examine in public whether he should be sworn-in – because – obviously – this childhood misdemeanour clearly meant Mr Pallett may be a cross between Al Capone and Robert Maxwell.
But – you may ask – in all seriousness, why should the island’s judicial authorities behave in this manifestly excessive and unreasonable manner?
It’s a mystery – isn’t it?
Sadly – no.
I can answer the question for you very easily and simply.
Mr. Pallett is an anti-establishment political candidate – and – ‘call out MI5 and the SAS’ – a member of a political party at that – party politics being hated by the Jersey Oligarchy – unless, of course, it’s their own covert de facto Conservative party.
Suddenly all makes sense now – doesn’t it?
Whether they were going to succeed in preventing him from being sworn-in was an entirely secondary consideration – the objective of the exercise was to make certain that his school boy misdemeanour was trawled-up – from 30 years ago – and given maximum possible public exposure.
This to inflict as much damage as possible on his chances of getting elected to a political office in the future.
The house-journal of the island’s oligarchy – the Jersey Evening Post – duly played its expected and customary role – by plastering the story across a huge, front page, lead article – and with a big colour photograph of Mr. Pallett, for good measure – just to make sure everyone knows what this potential successor to the Kray twins looks like.
I have only ever met Mr. Pallett on, maybe, three occasions? Something like that. I don’t know him particularly. And neither am I a supporter of the political party of which he is a member, the Jersey Democratic Alliance, or JDA.
I carry no brief for him or the JDA. Indeed, should you care to examine the archives of the ‘Is This Jersey?’ web site – you will find various clashes between me and the JDA on record.
But so crass – so embarrassing – so comical, when you think about it – is the sight of the entrenched Jersey power clique wheeling into action to stomp upon another paranoiacly imagined “threat” to the “stability” of the island – that it just has to be remarked upon.
The people of this community need to become more and more aware of the nature of power in Jersey – and see these type of machinations for what they are.
The exercise carried out by the Jersey oligarchy against Mr. Pallett was straightforward ‘opinion management’. It was an ad homonym attack against a man – purely because the politics he represents are a challenge to the monopoly of power in Jersey.
To those who may have considered my criticisms of the Jersey Establishment to be too harsh, I say – just reflect on this episode.
For on display here we see an abusive alignment of the Court, the media and the political establishment – working together in a way that could have been taken straight from Stalinist Russia.
‘But surely’, you say, ‘the Courts are beyond reproach? Aren’t they just doing their right and proper job?’
‘After all – this man could be some kind of immense threat to society – like a hideous amalgam of the Godfather, Hannibal Lector and Tony Soprano?’
Well – yes – in a sane world, one might expect the Courts to be uniformly rigorous in scrutinising such matters and coming to objective decisions.
Now – let me ask you question.
Just how effective, objective, rigorous, impartial and measured has been, do you think, the out-put of the Jersey Court system?
Yeah – you’re learning fast.
You’re a great bunch of readers; the more attentive of you will have got the picture by now. You won’t even need these few examples to chew on.
This is the same Court system – the same process for swearing-in Honorary Police Officers – that swore-in a convicted paedophile – a disgusting little scum-bag by the name of Roger Holland – who then went onto commit further despicable crimes against children.
Now – what do you think is a more serious consideration – which do you consider to merit such ruthless scrutiny? A community minded man – who has led a blameless life for 30 years following a school boy misdemeanour? Or a clearly dangerous convicted paedophile like Holland?
Yes – got it in one.
And the Court, which sat on Friday to consider Mr Pallett’s swearing-in, was led by the deputy head of the island’s judiciary – Deputy Bailiff Michael Birt.
This being the self-same Michael Birt who – when Attorney General – failed to prosecute a number of people who should clearly have been in the dock – in some cases for committing abuse themselves – in other cases failing to protect children who were being abused – and, indeed, covering up such abuse.
So Mr. Birt presided over a Court on Friday – delivering stentorian condemnations of a school boy misdemeanour – of 30 years ago – whilst, with apparent lack of embarrassment, not recollecting the multifarious gross failings and derelictions of Jersey’s Courts on other occasions.
It, seemingly, not occurring to him and his fellow oligarchs that their singling out of Mr Pallett – for a school boy misdemeanour of 30 years ago – might just – oh, you know – look a bit fishy – in comparison to the swearing in of the convicted paedophile Roger Holland.
It really is true what they say, you know – these people really do think the average member of the public is bloody stupid.
As I said – I have only met Mr. Pallett on a few occasions, and could not claim to know him particularly. And, to repeat the point, I’m not a supporter of the political party of which he is a member.
But, frankly – if I lived in his parish and voted there – I would now vote for Mr. Pallett – if for no other reason than to give the Jersey oligarchy a well-deserved smack in the teeth.
Book of the Post:
The Politics of the Judiciary, by J.A.G. Griffith
Joke of the Post:
At the height of a political corruption trial, the prosecuting Advocate attacked a witness. “Isn’t it true,” he bellowed, “that you accepted five thousand pounds to compromise this case?”
The witness stared out the window as though he hadn’t heard the question.
“Isn’t it true that you accepted five thousand pounds to compromise this case?” the lawyer repeated.
The witness still didn’t respond.
Finally, the judge looked over and said, “Will the witness please answer the question.”
“Oh,” the startled witness said, “I thought he was talking to you.”