THE POWERLESS CHALLENGE POWER
The Weak and Vulnerable
Strike Back at the Heart of Darkness.
“It’s more than rain that falls on our parade today
It’s more than thunder, it’s more than thunder
And it’s more than a bad dream now that I’m sober
Nothing but woe-begotten grey skies now.”
‘More Than Rain’
Those typically bleak-to-the-point-of-being-funny words from a song by my favourite musician, Tom Waits, pulsed through my mind in the brief moments of silence in between our shouted protests – which – oh so “rudely” – crashed into one of the Jersey oligarchy’s great plastic pageants this morning.
With all the “politeness” of a savage beating from Al McGuire –
With all the “appropriateness” of a bottle of Dettol poured down a child’s throat by Jane McGuire –
With all the “discretion” of a right-hook to the head of a 14 year-old, administered by Tom McKeon –
With all the “confiscating” of innocence – as inflicted on vulnerable children by the States of Jersey for decades –
With all the “respectability” of a broken arm inflicted by Mario Lundy –
With all the “responsibility” of Francis Hamon, telling a headmaster – ‘whilst they play a game of squash’ – to ignore complaints of child abuse –
With all the “compassion” of Jurat John Le Breton – trying to intimidate child victims of abuse into withdrawing their complaints – by humiliating them in front of their parents –
With all the “decency” of the Dean, openly forbidding his clergy to offer support to abuse victims – and protecting an abusing church warden couple –
With all the “kindness” of a traditional Catholic battering from Mrs. Bonner –
With all the “consideration” of a deliberately detached glucose drip – with a bung inserted in the end –
The survivors struck-back.
Today Michael Birt – former Jersey Attorney General – was sworn-in as the replacement ‘Bailiff’ – the hopelessly conflicted post of head of judiciary, and speaker of the island’s parliament.
“Politeness – uber alles” – may as well be the motto of the Jersey oligarchy.
To quote John Bale, “Though it be a foul lie; set it a good face.”
No matter what wretched atrocities are committed – and tolerated – and pro-actively hidden – by Jersey’s “Great And Good” – it simply isn’t “The Jersey Way” to speak the truth about them.
So – no matter the betrayed children – the destroyed lives – the suicides – the human wreckage – the perversions of justice – the massed-ranks of Jersey’s “polite” gradually accreted upon the States building this morning – to engage in a orgiastic ceremony of Groupthink – by which they attempted to deflect reality by wearing fancy-dress – and parading to impress the peasants and the plebs.
About 15 of us gathered in the Royal Square to begin some small protest against both Birt as an individual, and against the stagnant and defective “justice” apparatus in Jersey. And as the “polite” gradually arrived the smugness was palpable. Many of the lawyers in particular openly laughed at the survivors as they filtered into the building.
But we proles well and truly rained on their parade.
Our protest was so strong – heartfelt – and loud – that it was audible throughout the building during their delusory exercise in self-congratulation.
But such vulgarity hasn’t – hitherto – happened in Jersey during these “great” events. The expected procedure is for the adoring masses to turn-out and tug their forelocks in deference to their social “superiors”.
The culture-shock was palpable.
Eventually – realising we weren’t going to go away – the assembled “dignitaries” – amongst their number, lawyers, politicians, judiciary, jurats, estate agents and journalists – blinking and wide-eyed with shock – exited the building in preparation for their parade to the Town Church – where they’d hear a sermon – to the effect of how wonderful they all were – and what a load of scummy rabble we were – from Bob Key.
And as this toxic amalgam spewed forth like some vast, advancing slime-mould I was struck by the sense we were witnessing a step-change – a tipping-point – in Jersey political culture.
I looked across the assembled faces and just couldn’t help noticing that so much of the hauteur, the contempt, the confidence, the sense of invulnerability as displayed as they entered the building – had drained away.
Though a number of them tried to put on a brave face – rictus grins – and embarrassed attempts to applaud Birt and his entourage – one got the strong impression that even these entrenched oligarchs may have finally – in the year 2009 – caught their first glimpses of advancing reality.
Our chanting, whistles, drumming on the bins – was more than thunder.
It was something more than rain which fell on their parade.
Though they’ll have been toasting one another with Champaign and wine all day – in an effort to blot-out our vulgar intrusion into their fantasies – it will be more than a bad dream when they’re sober.
Today – after more than eight hundred years of unopposed and abused power – the culture of deference was finally put to the sword.
As far as Jersey’s oligarchy are concerned – it is, metaphorically, “nothing but woe-begotten grey skies now.”
For the rest of us – it’s a bright new dawn.
Today – people who have been powerless, ignored, abused, regarded as irrelevant and betrayed by the States of Jersey – struck at the heart of the posturing plastic fakery of the island’s power-apparatus.
And did so with all the subtlety of a Lenny Harper memo – or the tact and diplomacy of a Stuart Syvret e-mail.
As a formerly powerless abuse survivor remarked to me at the end of the protest –
“God – that was good.”