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:
Ian Le Marquand.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
The man who laughs in the face of defamation actions.