Wonders will never cease. A written reply from Phil Bailhache. Ok, his reply is wrong and insupportable in many ways – but, hey, it’s a start.

Now, if this progress continues, maybe – eventually – I will be able to extract from him a written explanation of his “reasons” for not permitting me to table a question to the Chairman of the Constables’ Committee concerning disbursement of parish funds to each Constable.

But don’t hold your breath.

Anyway, as something to be going on with – below is his reply to my e-mail – and immediately below is my response to it.

Stuart Syvret.

From: Stuart Syvret
Sent: 18 March 2008 19:11
To: Bailiff of Jersey
Cc: Lieutenant Governor
Subject: RE: Your Abuse of Power.


Thank you for your reply. It is, as you intimate, a rare thing for me to ever obtain any response from you; even entirely mundane questions concerning your ‘rulings’ – when disallowing propositions and parliamentary questions from me – are, apparently, too complex and demanding an exercise for you – because I have the temerity to respond and question your frequently irrational decisions. And, of course, responding would be such a monstrous burden – beyond the call of duty – given you are only paid about £250,000 per annum.

So then, turning to your novel response – and, you know, you really should begin to actually think about things – and consider the facts carefully – before rashly committing yourself to unsustainable positions.

When entering or leaving the building, I nearly always use the States members’ entrance which faces the statue. There is absolutely no sign whatsoever prohibiting photography outside of these doors; nor is there any such sign on, or around, the next, internal doors; nor is there any such sign on the door of the members’ room at the bottom of the stairs; nor is there any such sign within the members’ room itself. All omissions which – no doubt – will now be speedily rectified.

There is a written notice – a scarcely noticeable sheet of paper within the glass-fronted notice cabinet – mounted outside of the public entrance to the States building. Amongst the text which covers the page, there is, indeed, one sentence which warns members of the public that photography from the public gallery of the chamber itself and the proceedings is not permitted.

Therefore, whilst one could very easily be forgiven for not noticing this tiny, single notice – I was, in fact, aware of the prohibition of photography within the chamber itself unless “permission” had been obtained.

That is why – as you note – I informed another French TV crew that if they wished to film the chamber, they would, indeed, need to obtain permission.

But that – however – is the chamber itself. As already explained – there are, in fact, no signs indicating that a member may not be photographed or interviewed away from the chamber, in one of the suit of rooms available for elected members.

Your ex cathedra pronouncement was doubly surprising as I, and other members, have occasionally given interviews in these rooms – for some years now. Personally, I may have given 20 interviews in the room in question during the last month alone?

Indeed, I have facilitated interviews with victims – several of which were filmed in the room.

None of these interviews within the building ever attracted any indication of prohibition – that is, until yesterday morning, when the usher – under your instructions – required the journalist and I to conduct our interview standing outside on the pavement.

As I said – really rather splendid from a PR perspective.

But – sadly – and in all seriousness – the year is 2008 – not 1878. It really is time you began to come to terms with the fact that elected members are not some accretion of presumptuous courtiers – attendant in the building at your grace and favour as though you were some Tudor monarch.

You and other Jersey oligarchs will find my communications to exhibit a significant degree of contempt; of ‘insolence’, of ‘insubordination’. Indeed – I confess that that is so.

But how could it be otherwise when I – and thus the people I represent – have endured years of contemptuous treatment at the hands of you and other members of Jersey’s ancient regime?

The age of automatic and unquestioning deference to our “social superiors” was over – a very long time ago.

The people of Jersey own that building; it is their parliament. And, for good or ill, it is the domain of their elected representatives – until such time as the people of Jersey decide otherwise via the ballot-box.

So next time you order your troops to have me thrown out of the Jersey parliament building – just remember – I, at least, have a democratic mandate to be using the rooms. A mandate, I think you will find, that you do not possess.

Stuart Syvret.

From: Bailiff of Jersey
Sent: 18 March 2008 12:27
To: Stuart Syvret
Cc: Lieutenant Governor
Subject: RE: Your Abuse of Power.

Senator –

Usually I do not, as you know, reply to abusive emails. I am making an exception to deal with the point raised in your first sentence. It is unfortunate that your interview was interrupted but the ushers were doing no more than enforce a standard prohibition against photography in the States Building without prior authorisation. There is a sign prominently displayed at the entrance to the building which states “No photography permitted in this building without prior permission”. You must have been aware of that prohibition because you procured the necessary authority for a French TV crew to film inside the States Chamber.

Philip Bailhache

10 thoughts on “SOME MORE LIGHT RELIEF.

  1. Steve

    Yes,yes,yes Stuart.Please keep this up for the sake of the real people of this little rock.At last we have a literate voice,one that is brave and can put into words all that we have felt for years!
    I,as a Jerseyman,feel utterly ashamed and embarressed by our ‘leaders’.Those of whom have ignored us and paid lipservice to our wants and needs down the years.
    Keep it up my freind and don’t let the b******s grind you down.

  2. Anonymous

    Absolutely priceless!! and amazing you got any kind of reply from him.

    Do we as the electorate not deserve an answer to your questions, as you rightly said it is our building and what gives him the right to go throwing his weight around in it against one of our democratically voted representitives?

  3. futuatcher

    What a stupid man to have as a Bailiff. Why didn’t he banish you to the pavement in bad weather?

    But seriously, thank you for all the hard work and long hours you’re putting in. I think it’s helping people to think a bit about our state of affairs, especially as the old boys keep shooting themselves in the foot.

  4. Deputy Dawg

    Well said Stuart.

    Bailiff needs to be out, plenty about that on the website and from replies to the posts, its the majority and not the minority that want to see his power removed from those that are elected to voice our concerns.

    If they had to vote for a Bailiff, I am afraid our current one would be looking for a new job.

  5. Benjamin Langlois

    I am amazed at the childishness of the email response from Mr. Bailhache; I would have thought an individual using the States of Jersey’s internal email system would be required to act in a professional manner at all times? Well, I guess it’s not that surprising really is it.

    Also, has anyone else noticed the Establishment’s labeling of anything resembling the truth as ‘abusive’?!

  6. Dan

    Just goes to show how small minded the “Tudor monarch” is.

    It’s like a mini-episode of the Brittas Empire.

  7. Anonymous

    Stunning, absolutely stunningly petty.. the sooner those dinosaurs are publically shown up the better. And one has to wonder why French TV are taking more interest than any British channel?
    Keep up the good fight!

    (Anon as usual, half wondering if some shadowy branch of the Old Boys Network are monitoring all local internet traffic, tracking things by IP address and keeping files on anyone daring to comment! That’s how much I distrust our wonderful government, and I’m no conspiracy nut.. I do believe in the moon landing, etc!!)

  8. donchais

    The arrogance is just appalling! Your continued hard work is to be commended.

    I read in the BBC that an “independent”, local advisory group has just visited Haut de la Garenne and have the ability to challenge the how the police carry out their inquiries.

    My first thought was egad, who chose the group?

    Can you shed any light on this?


    Trials and Tribulations

  9. Anonymous

    Stuart, you are doing a stunning job. A breath of fresh air within the stagnant states! Please keep going and expose the ‘old boys club’ for what it really is. It’s time for change.
    I also share concerns about the ‘independant’ advisory group. Why do we need these people poking their noses in. Let the police get on with their jobs.

  10. Anonymous

    I really think the Bailiff had better instruct some of our civil servants via the council of ministers to sort out this dangerous loophole, fancy allowing a politician to be interviewed in the States Buildings. Naturally the Communications Spin Doctors, were more aware than you Stuart and clearly that is why Frank and Bill were sent out to St Martins Parish Hall to address the media.
    No doubt huge signs stating NO PRESS beyond this point will be erected in The Royal Square without delay! Let me finish by asking readers to consider if the Bailiff would have complained if the media were here pursuing a good news story with such gusto – no of course he would not – someone should tell him that the intenet means that we are now part of a globalised society – like it or not – we are in the communication age and are no longer an insular society………….


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