ANATOMY OF A SPIN: #7

THE JERSEY MEDIA:

AN EXPERIMENT.

Compare & Contrast

The Treatment of Two Different Stories.

Hello my ever growing band of readers – even those who hate me.

Before we get onto the substance of tonight’s posting – a few words on this blog.

I think I’ve done pretty well on my New Year Resolutions so far; these were:

(a) try to be briefer;

(b) no more Mr. Nice Guy.

By my assessment, I think I’ve reduced the volume of what I churn out – so full marks there.

I’ve also begun to set aside my renowned tact and diplomatic inclinations and attempted to be a little more forthright.

OK – I know I still have work to do in this regard – so only 5 out of 10 for achievement in belligerence.

But look, it’s a start, OK?

So – as a reward for my efforts – I’d like to ask you a favour.

I began writing this blog – and engaging in various edifying direct discussions with you all – on the 22nd January, 2008 – so the first anniversary of our pixelated assignations rapidly approaches.

Just seven days until the first birthday of the one and only “Quite Vile Blog”!

When I first began this exercise – I figured that after, perhaps, 18 months or so, I might have garnered a readership of around 150.

But, to everyone’s astonishment, my fractious outpourings have proven to be sufficiently interesting – good – brave – vicious – honest – lying – vile – insane (delete as applicable) to attract – at time of writing – 99,662 unique site users.

Of course – I know that different conclusions can be drawn from such statistics – so at least I’m honest about the ‘reliability’ of my reader stats – unlike The Rag – who plainly become more desperate and fanciful by the day.

But, nevertheless, 99,662 unique IP addresses having accessed this site is still pretty good for the rambling, late night efforts of one man.

So – here’s the favour: it would be great to hit 100,000 unique site users by our first anniversary, on the 22nd Jan.

In an effort to reach that target I’d like you to spread word about this site – and encourage friends, family and colleagues to read it.

Our target is to gain another 338 readers by the 22nd.

If nothing else, it will encourage a little more fear and anger amongst the Jersey oligarchy.

Which has to be a good thing.

Right – on to the real substance of tonight’s posting.

This is an Anatomy of a Spin article, in which we are comparing the treatment by the Jersey media of two different stories.

The two issues are these:

The States of Jersey Police Force sending officers to Australia.

And,

The prospect of massed unemployment in these dramatically difficult economic times.

Jersey is a tiny island – about 45 square miles – so we face a range of inescapable physical constraints. We are also economically vulnerable – notwithstanding the apparent ‘wealth’ flowing around the island – which most ordinary residents don’t really share in.

The cost of living in Jersey is at least equal to – and probably greater – than that of central London.

The average cost of a basic, three-bedroom family home is now over £500,000.

That’s half a million quid – for a bog standard semi-detached home.

The island has no statutory redundancy provision – so workers who lose their jobs get nothing.

And Jersey has no unemployment benefit.

So life has been hard for ordinary people in Jersey – and it’s about to get an awful lot harder as the world’s economy crashes and jobs go down the tubes.

So – in an effort to protect the work-force of Jersey – I’m taking a proposition to the assembly which will ask that we examine the possible introduction of work permits – with the sole objective of protecting employment opportunities for those already resident in the island.

Not just “Jersey” people – but everyone who is already living and working here; we are fortunate to have a broad range of nationalities and ethnicities within our community.

But, if many hundreds – or even thousands – of island residents become unemployed – any decent government has to make some effort to protect what few job opportunities remain.

Huge numbers of Jersey residents are seriously worried about their jobs, homes, careers. The subject is of immense significance and public interest.

So I thought I’d conduct a little experiment – and e-mail a brief, simple press-release to all of what passes for the media in Jersey – and see just how many of these clowns could set aside their personal hatred of me – and instead report what is – by any objective reckoning – a subject of real importance to the community.

I’m a little disappointed – as I expected to achieve a 100% shut-out, but, to my surprise, Rankine Television called me and asked for an interview – which I gave them, in the interests of experimental integrity.

Naturally, I didn’t watch the programme – but members of the public have been calling me to express agreement with the proposal – so I guess CTV showed about 30 seconds of the interview.

But the rest of the Jersey media didn’t disappoint. Not a single phone-call, e-mail or text-message from any of the others – combined.

Anyone would think I’ve done something to upset them.

So – at a time when workers have been thrown out of their jobs in large numbers – and many thousands of islanders worry about their employment prospects – and how they’ll feed their family and pay the mortgage – by and large, the Jersey media deems the protection of employment opportunities for people to be of slight consideration, compared with the imperative of shutting-out anti-oligarchy news and opinion.

But what of our comparison story?

Though from a few months back – the fact that two police officers had been sent first-class to Australia to investigate certain aspects of the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster – was deemed by the Jersey oligarchy media to be of absolutely immense importance.

Because it showed – you see – ‘just what a pointless waste of money the historic child abuse investigation was’ – allegedly.

And – unlike the prospect of hundreds – or thousands – of Jersey residents being unemployed – in an environment which has no unemployment benefit – the spin against the child abuse investigation suited Jersey’s oligarchy – totally.

Just as having to look after the interests of working people does not suit Jersey’s oligarchy – totally.

So – let us set aside the spin and lies – the attempts to make overblown political capital out of a minor issue – and take a look at the facts of the police journey to Australia – facts you won’t find in the Jersey media.

And note this from the outset – the facts I’m about to explain have been known to the establishment politicians for months – so the spinning and leaking by the Jersey establishment in connection with this issue has been utterly disgraceful.

Though we can’t really be surprised at such conduct anymore.

But – here is why the journey was undertaken – what it achieved – and what it may yet bring about – that being justice.

1: The trip was to see two victims and to take statements from them. One of those statements is of a victim in one of the cases before the court at present.

2: The two victims lived at opposite ends of Australia – which meant another long flight within Australia.

3: It is perfectly within States of Jersey policy NOT to travel standard class in trips as long as this.

4: However – being conscious of financial considerations – and in an attempt to save money, the officers took no days off during the fortnight, and started work soon after arriving. As soon as they finished taking the first statement, they left by air to take the second.

Each statement was lengthy and deeply emotional for the victim – and hence the officers.

And I can certainly vouch for that truth – having had many such discussions with survivors. It isn’t an experience one can easily describe.

In some cases the catharsis is overwhelming.

5: Once the officers had returned, the SIO received very emotional messages from the victims saying what a benefit talking to the officers had been.

6: The SIO, Mr. Harper, submitted a report on this trip to the Home Affairs Minister, Andrew Lewis and Chief Minister, Frank Walker when the Jersey media criticism began. Mr. Harper had a meeting with the Home Affairs Accounting Officer and the Head of Finance. They both agreed the trip was within the regulations.

So did the Home Affairs Minister.

Mr. Harper never received the courtesy of an acknowledgment from the Chief Minister – but we can only presume Big Frank was satisfied with it – given his lack of response.

7: It came as no great surprise to anyone involved in fighting for justice when this “story” was resurrected after the SIO’s retirement – but with all mention of his report – and the acceptance of it by the Accounting Officer, Minister, and Head Of Finance – curiously omitted.

8: It would, indeed, be interesting to compare this trip with other States trips – such as CPA functions to which States members are sent – at taxpayers’ expense – to see if any Jersey politicians, or senior civil servants worked two weeks solidly – without a day off – and went to such lengths to save money.

The two officers were exhausted on their return.

And during the last two years – I have learnt exactly just how exhausting such encounters are.

So – there you have it.

Two police officers – working solidly for two weeks – gaining significant and valuable evidence – and – providing for the survivors an opportunity to open up to people in authority – people who were taking them seriously – for what may have been the very first time in their lives.

In the eyes of the Jersey establishment media – an outrageous and profligate waste of time that deserves heavy critical reporting.

And – by way of contrast – trying to keep hundreds of resident workers of the bread-line and in employment is a piffling irrelevancy – meriting very little, or no, reportage.

Jersey establishment “values”.

Don’t you just love them?

But – to end on a lighter note – remember – our target of 100,000 unique site users by 22nd January.

Spread the word – infuriate the oligarchy.

Regards.

Stuart.

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