ROUND TWO – AND-A-HALF!

And a few Foul Blows.

Apologies for not producing the score-card for round 2 of the Senatorial hustings earlier; bit time consuming fighting an election campaign – so been very busy these last few days.

But – my – what an interesting few days it’s been – what, with some of the predicted fisty-cuffs breaking out amidst the battling candidates – and other political issues hitting the news in Jersey.

Of the former, we’ve had Saturday’s youth hustings at the Arts Centre – the half-round as it were – with some of the ‘needle’ between candidates spilling-out into cyber-space-hosted grudge-matches. (I’m having my go below.)

Of the latter, we have the terribly curious case of the Housing Minister – Terry – Tel Boy – Le Main – suddenly finding himself embroiled in a scandal, because a prosecuting lawyer revealed to the court that Le Main had attempted to intercede with the prosecuting authority – Jersey’s Attorney General – in an attempt to get charges against a friend of his dropped.

A particularly embarrassing intervention – as the charges were for breaking Housing regulations – the law Le Main’s department is responsible for administering.
And what is so terribly curious about this case is – why?

Why now? Why Le Main? Why all the fuss – at all – given such favouritism and intervention on behalf of one’s friends, family and “business associates” has long been a part of the accepted culture of “The Jersey Way”?

Why not – for example – a similar geyser of outrage – when I exposed the fact that Sarah Ferguson and Colin Egre had been entertained in a private, secret meeting with the then Attorney General, William – Barking Bill – Bailhache – during which they sought the holding-off of charges against a friend of theirs – tow-truck proprietor Mr. Boschat – who had already admitted in court bribing cops for call-out business?

In fact – even more curious – it was the same Attorney General involved.

Why – we have to ask – if such a political intervention into the prosecution process by Le Main is now deemed outrageous – why was it then – and does it remain – perfectly acceptable in the cases of Ferguson and Egre?

Indeed, we have to ask just why it is poor old Tel Boy who has been singled-out for such exposure – when Political abuse of the prosecution process in Jersey has been wide-spread for decades – both in respect of seeking to prevent justifiable prosecutions from taking place – or unjustifiable prosecutions – such as those against me – being carried out?

Well – it could be that the Jersey establishment have finally become just too embarrassed by Tel Boy’s conduct; but come along, guys – this is twenty five years too late. What gives?

It couldn’t be all the highly profitable land-re-zoning-for-housing – err – do-da – that’s about to undergo a distributive interface with the proverbial ventilation device – could it?

Or – frankly – any of dozens of other – um – embarrassments?

Well – perhaps we can look to Round Three of the election fight for a few questions – and answers? The venue is St. Saviour’s parish hall. The time-keeper’s bell will sound at 7.30. Who knows – it might be tonight – after the first couple of cagey opening rounds – that the fighters come out punching with bad intentions?

I said there had been a few issues in the news – so I suppose one has to make reference to BBC Jersey – in which case the dramatic scandal involving the Minister for Housing, no-less – writing in his official capacity to Jersey’s Attorney General – demanding that the Minister’s friend be let-off criminal charges of breaching housing regulations – only becomes ‘news’ 72 hours after the story has broken everywhere else.

Though, no doubt, BBC Jersey’s late decision to cover this story was driven by the BBC Jersey Charter and local broadcasting regulations – which stipulate that a misbalance must be maintained at all times in favour of anyone opposing Stuart Syvret – especially if an election is taking place. Thus Geoff Southern’s opportunistic bandwagoning of the Le Main situation suddenly rendered the matter “newsworthy” in BBC-world.

Still – I suppose one can’t blame Southern for such desperation; both the JDA and his election campaign are disintegrating about his ears – as angry former JDA supporters take to cyberspace in wholesale condemnation of him and Ted Vibert; both men having now clearly revealed themselves as self-interested egotists whose misjudgements have damaged the interests of ordinary people and, effectively, assisted Jersey’s establishment. Ted Vibert’s “contributions” in particular have been quite brilliant to observe for those who take sadistic pleasure in witnessing political self-destructions. He and Southern touting themselves as the One True Voice of progressive politics in Jersey – whilst having devoted 80% of their output to attacking – not the establishment candidates – but, instead, fellow progressives.

Ted Vibert’s fulminating diatribe of lies and aggression against a respected female representative of the abuse survivors being a particularly telling example of both the real political motivations of Southern and his JDA – and the generally toxic misjudgements of the JDA leadership.

Let’s face it – one does not require the political nous of Alistair Campbell to perhaps recognise – in Jersey – in 2010 – in an election – that is only occurring because a politician is so disgusted at the child abuse cover-ups, that he has triggered a by-election – that to focus your political attack on the said politician – by heaping derision and abuse upon a female survivor – just might not be entirely the most appropriate means of “getting your message across”.

Especially when your own JDA candidate just so happens to be an – err – allegedly embarrassed ex-teacher – who won’t be able to get a job back in teaching – when he’s plain old Mr. Southern again after next year’s election – if the information recently coming into my knowledge is anything to go by.

Still – it is not only the survivors and I who have attracted the – perhaps literally – deranged flood of bile and lies from the Ted and Geoff Show. Not content with falsely accusing me of lying – and accusing the survivors of lying – they also accuse Mr. Le Cornu of lying, when he claims to have done a great deal of the important background legal work necessary to enable the redundant Woolworths’ workers to secure redundancy compensation.

He did.

As the evidence shows.

I confess I find the Southern/JDA/Vibert approach to this election somewhat curious; it seems to embody a phenomenon I’ve never witnessed before in electoral politics. A bizarre kind of amalgam of both negative and positive campaigning – in which they thrash around for any positive political issue, idea or campaign to have emerged during the last ten years – sing its praises – whilst inflating their association – however tenuous – with the said campaign – then, in the next breath heaping damning negativity and insults upon their opponents, several of who have done more work in the very campaigns that the JDA seek to lay claim to as their own.

In my case, for example, to hear him speak, you would think the Town Park was a Southern/JDA idea and project. Somehow – the fact that it was my idea – and lots of ordinary people, myself amongst them, spent several years in tireless grass-roots campaigning for the scheme and raising a 17,000 signature petition – before Southern became involved – has been airbrushed from “history” – as writ by the JDA.

Not sharing the “values” of the JDA approach – nor their extremely distant acquaintance with the truth – I’m more than happy to state that Southern and other JDA members have – in more recent times – contributed to the campaign for the park – as have a significant number of other people. In similar terms, the JDA members have, indeed, engaged in some important political campaigns.

But such good works have, I’m afraid, fallen from public view – washed away by the torrent of misjudged campaigning. Thinking about it – it isn’t only the curious blend of positive negativity – or negative positivity that is so contradictory in the JDA offerings. (Shall we call it ‘positnegivity’? I’m open to variations.) One sees a very similar and insoluble paradox in the characters of the two-headed mutation that is Ted Vibert and Geoff Southern. (I have some name suggestions for this phenomenon – shall we call it – ‘the Tedoff’? Or ‘the Viberern’? Or the ‘Tedberern’? I suppose it depends upon which half one considers the top, and which the bottom – and out of which end of this fantastical beast one thinks the most substantive noises emit?) Both men noted – especially recently for – bellowing at anyone unfortunate enough to be in the same room, that they – and their JDA – exemplify “teamwork” – and all the attributes so required – such as a calm and moderate disposition, a willingness to sit reflectively and willingly consider the views of others, an ability to accept that sometimes one’s own perspective may be inaccurate, an ability to keep in check what might otherwise be overbearing and tempestuous personal traits, so as not to intimidate the less strong-willed – and – an absence of egotism.

Now – correct me if I’m in error here – but neither man ever struck me as being particular exemplars of those characteristics?

In fact – I was reminded of Ted’s – err – personality traits when taking part in last Friday’s hustings at the Communicare centre in St. Brelade. That being the same venue where – some years earlier – I had taken part in a meeting organised by Mrs. Minihane for senior citizens to ask questions concerning housing, health and social care issues. Ted was in the audience and wanted to ask a question. Mrs Minihane declined his request, pointing out that this was a meeting for senior citizens to ask questions, not those involved in politics.

When the meeting ended – and whilst there were still a number of people milling around the hall – Mr. Vibert – face an alarming shade of beetroot – confronted poor Mrs Minihane, the organiser of Age Concern, and literally screamed in her face that she was – and this is an exact quote – “running a fascist organisation!”

I confess I’d never previously equated a concern with bus fares, prescription charges and continuing care fees with a desire to dress-up in black uniforms, bomb Guernica and assassinate Lorca. But, perhaps only “teamwork” – such as that exhibited by the Ted and Geoff Show – is capable of producing such an insight?

Yes – the by-election is becoming more entertaining already.

But what of the other candidates – are they stepping-up-to-the-plate – and giving their dues in gladiatorial battle?

Hmm…A bit disappointing so far – but tonight is only Round Three – so there’s still plenty of time for our Peramble around the Parishes – to turn into a Thriller in Manila.

There yet could be the right hooks of logic and the cracked ribs of ignorance – the uppercuts of truth and the broken jaws of falsehood. We warriors might yet spill the blood of policy in the arena of leadership.

OK – we might begin to be a little more forthright with our diagnosis’ of a failed administration and the policies we prescribe to fix it.

Hey, look, it’s a start.

Stuart.

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