Sunday, 26 October 2008

Corroboration Rules - Wendy Kinnard's Resignation

I only have minutes to write this, but where is the information in our local media regarding the corroboration rules? Journalists are paid to research these matters but i can't find any proper explanation in the JEP, BBC radio Jersey, etc of the matter of Wendy Kinnards's resignation.

It took minutes on google to find out that what she resigned over is called the "corroboration rules". I can understand her resignation. She has long been involved in feminist issues and especially support for victims of rape and sexual assault.

The request from Home Affairs, supported by the Attorney General, was to take the matter forward immediately - to change the current situation in which a warning must be given to a jury over uncorroborated evidence from certain types of witnesses - children, sexual assault victims and other defendants. And the Council of Ministers said "No" or at least "Not yet" and are prevaricating, suggesting further research.

Jurisdictions around the world have updated their laws to get rid of this seemingly sexist and ageist requirement, but Jersey lags behind, and at this time particularly, as the process continues (slowly) to convict offenders of the shameful Haut de la Garenne situation, Jersey's Council of Ministers gets it wrong again.

For more information see

"Traditionally, the evidence of victims of sexual offences has been regarded as peculiarly susceptible to fantasy or fabrication, perhaps motivated by frustration, spite or remorse" (Quoted from above source) Charming.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Housing Crisis

The housing situation in Jersey is a disgrace. It has been going on for so long that it just seems like part of life, like people getting sick, rainy days or crab paste sandwiches. That the average Jersey person cannot buy a house or rent one without state support is not a normal part of life however, it has come about through States policies and the "free" market. It can be challenged.

In the 1999 elections I researched the matter of affordable housing. It was as simple as typing "affordable housing" into a search engine. This is the sort of thing that came up . I did more research on shared equity schemes and publicised them in my election campaign, through my leaflets and at the hustings. States members did not want to discuss this and I was told that the idea was a non-starter due to some sort of legal problem, but I kept going with the idea because anything that helps people get their own home is important.

I was not that pleased to see the "Fly" column in the JEP, last week refer to Freddie Cohen's new idea of shared equity housing schemes in his 2005 election manifesto. Well, I know that ideas do not belong to people and being noble means that I should really not be bothered. In fact, it was good that he developed the idea. On the other hand, at the very least, I'd like to make him parade up and down town with a loudhailer, shouting out "It was not my idea"

Seriously, there is so much money here that if the Jersey government wants people to own their homes, then they have the power to make it possible. Why don't they roll out shared equity to all sorts of properties for residents of this island?

And why not reintroduce price control on the sale of houses? It was done in a bad way in the past, arguably very unfairly, but why not a transparent scheme set at today's valuations, allowing a small percentage increase each year? Current home owners would not lose out.

Any election candidate who even suggests the possibility of house price control can expect to be demonised by the local media, so it's hardly a vote winner, but sitting States members could investigate the matter. Why don't they? Is it laziness or is there a desire to keep property prices high? Jersey's government has a large proportion of millionaire property owners and developers, and the type who agree with everything they say. Every community has problems with corruption and plain self interest.

When price control was used in the 1980s it was an unfair scheme and very unpopular. However, it meant that people could buy a house with a deposit of a a few thousand pounds, an amount which it was possible to save, even in those days, and the knock-on effect of price control on all house sales was that rents were much more reasonable too.


A good part of being human is the opportunity to indulge in sensual pleasures as a distraction to all the inequality in the world. When i was a teenager I used to think it was immoral to do so; even to eat out in a restaurant seemed wrong. Luckily for me as the years go by I am abandoning my (restaurant eating) principles. I enjoy cooking too and this is what we had to eat last night We added more pesto towards the end of cooking time and squeezed some limes diluted with water to drink.

Friday, 17 October 2008

More Election Stuff

I forgot to mention on the previous post: The Incredible Conservatism of Jersey

Consider for a moment the United States. Their candidates are trying to win over voters for the presidential elections. Obama is doing very well and I hope the US gets its first black President. Also, Sarah Palin is a very popular figure. Personally, I don't like her beliefs and her policies are pants. But can you imagine for one moment the Jersey electorate openly supporting a female candidate with young children? It is the kiss of death to mention the existence of a young family to Jersey voters if you're a female candidate. They condemn you for doing anything other than staying at home and looking after the kids, as if that was even an option. Jersey is demonstrably more conservative than republican America.

Now on to a list of our election candidates:

Ian Le Marquand
He looked good and spoke well. His promotional material - the colour leaflet in the JEP looked very good. I saw it being left out in different offices, homes, etc, and that was purely because of the presentation. He announced he was "centrist" Brilliant. This man really knows how to read the people. He is an establishment figure with high status. I expect he had a load of votes from the god squad too. He couldn't lose

Alan Breckon
Years of hard work paid off. This man got his votes from respect.

Alan Maclean
He looked good, wore the right suits, has a pretty wife, is rich and supported by the establishment. He can say one thing and do another and get away with it. He could be facing a hard time with the public next time round.

Paul Routier
Also supported by the establishment, he goes along with Frank Walker and his ilk. Look at his nominations - people who are working for the organisations he presides over. I think that's rather tacky. However, he got consistent support across the parishes, including the urban ones. It looks like it's impossible to get him out.

Philip Ozouf
He has a nice face and speaks confidently. Clearly voters do associate him now with GST, etc, as he has lost a lot of support since the last election.

Sarah Ferguson
She comes across as the voice of reason. She looks and sounds dependable. People want to trust her.

Geoff Southern
This man has worked so hard- not just for his district, nor the many propositions he has brought to the States, but also his efforts to bring party politics to Jersey. And he just keeps going. He is seen as a threat by the rich but well supported by the ordinary Jersey person, as can be seen by the variation in results between the rural and urban parishes.

Mike Higgins
He carries an air of efficiency and command due to his association with the Air Display, and has done nothing to dispel that.

Mike Vibert
Dropped by the establishment!

Montfort Tadier
No doubt he would have been elected in a smaller field of candidates. He is eloquent and publicises himself well.

Trevor Pitman
I saw Trevor walking from the car park towards the polling station at First Tower on Wednesday morning and he looked very smart. He has presented himself well and should do well in the urban parishes.

Peter Troy
Peter fell between two stools. He doesn't follow Frank Walker's lead enough to be one of the establishment's chosen, but his image of "rich man" will not win him any favours with the anti-establishment voter.

Cliff le Clercq
I don't know much about him and I think that was his problem generally - people just don't know him well enough.

Daniel Wimberley
He has long been politically active. I remember him at the first open committee meeting following Stuart Syvret's Freedom of Information victory. The only members of the public were me and Daniel. I was drawing them all. He is also a genuine environmentalist - he used to buy veg from me! He is intelligent, creative and committed. A good example of how suits are more important than principles to the Jersey electorate.

Jeremy Macon
Whether through ageism or genuine beliefs that he lacked experience - it was his age which counted against him.

Nick Le Cornu
Nick looks good and speaks well. And he is a lawyer. If he can lose the "radical" tag he could get in.

Chris Perkins, Mark Forskitt and Adrian Walsh
The reason I've put these three together is because they all offered the same problem for me - I could not find out enough about what they stood for. They need to develop their profiles., and get out and speak to people, get heard on the radio phone-in as Monty does, etc.

Nick Palmer
Nick has worked hard in the past for environmental issues and was quite well known. I think he needs to regain that support, perhaps from getting FoE going again.

Mick Pashley
Perhaps he should consider whether he wants to be elected or just have a platform for his views. In Jersey, supporting civil relationships, although admirable, is not going to be a vote winner.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Election Analysis 2008 Senatorials

Same old, same old.

The Establishment has won
Why? Some thoughts:
1/ Confusion:
It's not always easy to find out where to vote when you're in St Helier. Three people I knew wanted to vote but didn't know where to go. I checked the website, which did not list the road names for the different polling stations but provided a link to the CAB website with their own list. That did not have the names I was looking for either. So I phoned the Town Hall and the phone was cut off. Then I phoned again. Finally I got the required information for Ann Street, Columbus Street and Rue de Podetre. I'm interested in politics and I found that time consuming. How many people are deterred from voting by this nonsense of polling stations for different roads? (and not everyone knows their district).
2/ The core establishment vote:
Denzil Dudley, on Radio Jersey, had noticed almost matching votes across the parishes for 3 candidates - Alan MacClean, Philip Ozouf and Paul Routier. Well, I expect that's because there is a network of people across the Island who voted the "Establishment" vote. This is not some sort of strange conspiracy theory but a belief that groups in power organise their friends and associates to support them, and clearly these were the chosen candidates.
3/Too many candidates:
The anti-establishment vote was diluted due to the number of (good) candidates. One way to stop this happening again is for there to be no gap between senatorials and deputies' elections.
4/Lack of Appeal:
There are people who will stand for the States so they have a platform to air their views and expect the electorate to take them as they are. Well, good for them. But if someone does want to be elected they have to be appealing to the voter. The average voter is, in my experience, over 40 years old. I know - I have spent the whole day at polling stations. I also spent a lot of time talking to elderley voters at a previous election and most of them said they wanted to vote for "A young man", which meant a man up to about 50 years old. Also, a fair amount confused Stuart Syvret with Philip Ozouf, voting for Philip becuase they thought he had done what Stuart had done. Please note, I am not trying to make fun of older people, just stating what actually happened. It seems to be important to be a good speaker, look presentable (eg, no beards), wear a suit, etc. This may not be the most flattering view of the electorate, but it's not what you say that counts, but how you say it and what you look like at the time.
5/ Money:
Time and again it can be seen that those who can only afford to spend a small amount on their promotional material do not generally do well. It helps to be a millionaire.
6/ Money again:
Looking at succesful newcomers in the senatorials over the years - what do they have in common? Either they have great personal wealth and property or they protect it (eg, magistrate, investment manager) This is, after all, a finance centre, and there will be many powerful people who want to keep it just as it is.