Actually – They Were That Stupid.
“I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.”
Read my ‘Disallowed’ Amendment – below.
As a number of my loyal readers have pointed out to me – I was inadvertently generous to my “esteemed” colleagues in the Jersey parliament when I said in my last post that they had contemplated a ‘censure motion’ against me, but didn’t proceed.
I have been reminded that such a censure motion was, in fact, debated and easily carried.
It had completely escaped my mind – which, I guess, just goes to show how much relevance the farce had to me.
I did coble together some amendments to the censure motion – but – in customary fashion, the ‘Bailiff’ ‘disallowed’ them.
Which is a grave pity. Read the suppressed amendments below this post, and you will see they would have made for a more sensible debate than average for the Jersey parliament.
As I said, Phil Bailhache blocked them. I can’t imagine why.
Perhaps he though I was extracting the urine? (Is that ‘polite’ enough, Pip?)
So, the debate proceeded without amendments.
Hell – even though I seconded the proposition – and spoke and voted in favour of it for the entertainment value – the incident had still faded away; crowded out by important issues – and real work.
In truth, most members of the Jersey parliament just have huge amounts of time on their hands. I mean, they must do? What other rational explanation could there be for debates which go on and on for days – with members frequently sounding-off at great and tedious length – and in 95% of such “contributions” stating nothing of originality or consequence?
I guess it’s ‘Groupthink’ on display; a narrow coterie of “important” figures, but, in the main, isolated from the people they’re supposed to be representing. Instead just contributing to a strange and hallucinatory club – a chapter of ‘in-groupers’ whose primary effect is simply the maintenance of a fictional void in which mutual deluding is the required currency of advancement.
The effect of this is a legislature in which most members are convinced – and convince each-other – in a manner akin to primate grooming – that they are ‘important’, ‘relevant’, and ‘terribly clever’.
Of course, the result of this is some kind of Becketian black farce – in which the boiling mass of egos, inadequacies, insecurities, stupidities and ignorances becomes, instead, – to its participants – some kind of Star Chamber – leading the ignorant masses of this community with the kind of profound wisdom and insight which can only be achieved by social-climbing your way out of the ‘parish roads committee’ up to the Olympian heights of the Jersey cocktail party circuit.
These days, I look around at the average States member – but in particular, the leading figures – and I see naked emperors.
Or scared, confused and frightened little men – as in the Wizard of Oz – thrashing desperately at the controls of delusion whilst hidden behind the curtain.
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised at this; the Jersey parliament largely consisting of people who think wondering around from one PowerPoint presentation to another equates to doing work.
So no surprise that they would happily spend time debating a censure motion against me – for the heinous crime of writing a satirical letter – rather than debate stuff like, say, our grave economic vulnerability; or the fact that substantial sections of Jersey society live in relative poverty – or introducing a sex offenders register.
It’s true that the ‘Privileges & Procedures Committee’ lost their nerve, so didn’t bring the censure motion themselves. Instead it was proposed by a Jersey establishment back-bencher, Deputy Gerard Baudains of St. Clement parish.
Deputy Baudains is an elected member who has, essentially, built his political career upon fighting against developments on the few remaining undeveloped pieces of land in his parish, St. Clement.
And well done, say I. An admirable objective – one that I have always supported.
It’s just a touch unfortunate that the instant he inherited some substantial property and open land – he suddenly discovered his inner property developer.
To his great annoyance his planning applications to build on the field have been turned down – for the time-being, at least.
Deputy Baudians’ capacity for consistent, rational thought is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that he made serious attempts to get the island’s water laws delayed and weakened. In his view, such legislation was completely unnecessary as – contrary to the conclusions of a long-term study by the British Geological Survey – Jersey had masses of ground-water. Deputy Baudians’ “dowsing rods” proved it.
Indeed, according to the mystical member, Jersey’s ground-waters were constantly replenished by “underground streams from the Pyrenees.” The fact that this mountain range is actually quite a long way from Jersey – not to mention being separated by a significant length of open sea is, apparently, irrelevant. We know this because the sprites and fairies which guide his crypto-pagan magic have enabled him to follow and chart these ‘streams’ – beneath the seabed – using his ‘dowsing skills’ – whilst on a boat – travelling across the sea from the French coast to Jersey.
So, notwithstanding his crypto-pagan attunement with the Earth – he wants to build on his field – but, so far – without success.
Well – never mind, Gerard. Whilst it’s still open, natural land, it may well serve as the ideal location for the sacrificing of Lenny Harper – just like the policeman in ‘The Wicker Man’.
A fascinating possibility suggested by one of my commenters.
I’m sure Gerard could find the most auspicious spot on his land using his ‘dowsing rods’.
If we started work now, I’m sure we’d have the wicker man ready for the summer solstice. I’m sure some livestock could be obtained from farmers in the local Lodge.
Though, this being Jersey, virgins might be harder to locate.
All we need now is a suitable Jersey oligarch to fulfil the role of Lord Summerisle?
Any nominations gratefully received.
I must check with Lenny that he knows the words to The Lord is My Shepard.
My Disallowed Amendment.
SENATOR S. SYVRET: EXPRESSION OF DISAPPROVAL FOR CONDUCT: AMENDMENT
In paragraph (a) after ‘and’ insert the following sub-paragraphs –
(i) any States member who exhibits dissent by writing satire, mocking establishment institutions or upsetting the rich and powerful shall be required to read the entire works of Chairman Mao and General Franco;
(ii) that Senator Syvret be required to stand in the corner against the wall for an hour whilst the assembly chants ‘this is what happens to naughty boys’;
(iii) that Senator Syvret be required to write an essay of not less than 3000 words on the subject “The uses and limitations of parody and satire as components of political discourse” and to lead an ‘in-committee’ discussion on the subject.
(iv) that for his disrespectful attitude towards Deputy Baudains’ mystical powers, Senator Syvret be required to undertake a course of study on Wiccan water divining techniques with a module on the ontological reality of pixies at the bottom of the garden rather than as semiotic signifier.
In paragraph (b) after the word ‘committee’ insert the following sub-paragraphs –
(i) and that Senator Syvret be required to polish the desk in the Privileges & Procedures Committee room at the conclusion of this meeting;
(ii) and that Senator Syvret be required to stand in the Royal Square for half-an-hour during the lunchtime adjournment of the next States meeting wearing around his neck a placard with the words “I dissed a few of the rich and powerful, so this is the kind of punishment uppity proles can expect” written upon it.
Senator Stuart Syvret
Deputy Baudains’ proposition is timely and raises a number of important issues. However, as drafted it just doesn’t go far enough. Jersey and its political environment has so far stood firm against Enlightenment contamination. For over 200 hundred years – after the age of the rationalists; of Voltaire and Tom Paine – our island has been a steadfast bastion against the subversions of such dangerous extremists. Only here has the culture of deference and due respect to our natural leaders and social superiors been defended and maintained. This rightful according of respect is vital to the natural order of things. Should we let slip our vigilance, uppity proles might rise and subvert our paradise.
Where will it all end if people like me are not taught the necessity of restraining our belligerent and subversive urges? It is simply crucial for society that the institutions of authority and the individuals within them are never questioned. What will the world come to if we get into the habit of mocking the apparatus of power instead of tugging our forelocks?
To be honest, such is my wish to do my very best in the interests of the community, I did seriously consider including in the amendments a resolution that I be taken to Mont Orgueil Castle – as in the Good Old Days – where my ears would be cut off and I would have the letters S and L, for seditious libeller, branded on my cheeks. Such correction would be a welcome return to an historic age of higher standards. However, since our craven capitulation to the political-correctness-gone-mad of the European Convention on Human Rights, I know this would not be accepted.
I really just don’t know what came over me. In the cold light of day I can see just how extreme and simply intolerable my actions have been. Let me confess them here:
• writing a satirical letter which lampooned our respected establishment. (I nearly said oligarchy there, but I’m ‘endeavouring’ to not upset people, really)
• Expecting PPC, in the resultant ‘disciplinary’ investigation, to afford me treatment compatible with the principles of natural justice.
• Expecting a fair hearing.
• Demanding to know, precisely, what it was that was being enquired into.
• Getting stroppy when told that the three passages of my satirical letter originally cited by PPC were not now going to be the focus of investigation.
• Mocking members for their opposition to the excessive use of free speech.
• Getting cross when expecting the disciplinary hearing to be held in public but discovering from a journalist that morning that it was to be held in secret.
• Accusing PPC of breaking standing orders itself by acting on anonymous complaints.
• Reconsidering Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ as social reality when PPC refused to tell me who the anonymous complainants are.
I mean, what can the world be coming to when people like me demand to know who is complaining about them? I know that standing orders expressly forbids PPC from acting on anonymous complaints, but I have only myself to blame for naively thinking such safeguards applied to uppity proles as well as the Great and the Good.
The States Assembly has to exhibit determination and show that it simply will not tolerate members engaging in disrespectful political satire, demanding free speech, expecting a fair hearing in disciplinary processes, seeking the protections of the European Convention on Human Rights and expecting to know the identity of anonymous complainants against them.
If we don’t nip-in-the-bud such delusionary and subversive behaviour immediately our 200 plus years of steadfast resistance to so-called “Enlightenment values” will be put in jeopardy.
We cannot afford to take that risk.
Senator Stuart Syvret
Finance & Manpower Statement.
I am unsure what the Wiccan course would cost, but I’m given to understand that there are communes in Wales that offer such training.
I can’t imagine that the neck placard would cost much; a couple of bits of hardboard, paint, a bit of string and half-an-hour’s sign writing should do it. Though I do think the paint will need to be waterproof in case it rains.
Senator Stuart Syvret.