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:
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”.
“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.