Thursday, 6 August 2009

Catching Up

So many subjects to write about . . . ., so why not write about them all? There's nothing quite like excess, after all.

Jersey - is two places. Firstly, it is a small island with beautiful scenery, an interesting history and population mix and a low crime rate. Secondly, it is an international finance centre. Which one is more powerful? It's the one with all the power (money). The first Jersey has become a peripheral community to the second.

Spending time at Fort Regent recently, everywhere I turned were the results of the precedence of Jersey no2. Where there had once been a swimming pool, playground, dodgems, etc, now there is nothing. Isn't that strange, bearing in mind that since the 1970s, income has grown and population has grown? But then what use is all that to the finance centre?

This drift away from residents' needs towards the servicing of international business goes unremarked in the local media. But to give credit where it's due: Christine Herbert stands alone at the JEP as an investigative journalist. Marrett-Crosby is diplomatic and respectful on the radio phone-in. Maybe loads of them are great, but with limited time to look and listen, that's all I've noticed. BBC Radio Jersey has one major purpose as far as I'm concerned and that is as a reminder to tune in to Radio 4 instead. I often start to listen to it and it doesn't tend to be long before I can stand it no more. Just off the top of my head an example of their irritatingly middle-classness I remember concerns a programme they were running aiming to help people manage their money. You know the sort of thing, where rich people advise poor people to spend less. Anyway, before the programme started, a couple of the presenters mentioned credit cards. They smugly discussed how they had no problems themselves with credit card debt because they did not believe in them. Well, we do not all have a trust fund to call upon. Credit cards, as awful as they are, provide loans to the ordinary person. Accordingly, I should mould myself on the Radio Jersey presenter, and when my baby was ill and needed an operation in London, I should have told my two year old that she could not come with me because "I do not believe in credit cards". Those were the only excess funds available in an emergency. As for the JEP, it often disgusts me. It appears to have a long running campaign against young people. I don't expect to see the word "thug" or similar there without "teenage" in front, even though many violent crimes are committed by people ten or twenty years older. They publish comment which alludes to young people being "animals". Secondly, many times they have articles about Ministers' plans, which are totally and absolutely positive. No critical comment whatsoever, just a big JEP photo and a lot of twaddle about how we'll all be much better off with these lovely new policies.

As a way to forget it all, I recommend watching back to back "Prison Break". Great fun.

Now, as to Stuart Syvret's predicament. I have read the States Members' code of conduct. I can't find it now. But I do remember that there is an over-riding principle, more important then politeness, etc, and that is a States Member can break the rules in the code of conduct if it is in the interests of the public. I think it is an actual requirement that a States Member must act in the best interest of the public. Would that not exonerate Stuart from the data protection charges, and also from the criticism/censure/whatever from the other States Members? I was going to write a lot about this politeness gumph, but to put it briefly, Jersey is about 400 years behind England. Politeness was the big topic in England then.

As to the need for change in Jersey's legal system, who doesn't want the legal aid system to change? Perhaps millionaire States Members who don't give a toss about whether it's fair and right to push the whole thing on to the legal profession, and whether justice is attainable by the ordinary person. Legal aid, in my experience, is a lottery. I once won the jackpot, being assigned Advocate Anthony Messervy, who was very professional, gave his time happily (about 3 or 4 meetings) and charged a reasonable amount. Another time I was assigned Bailhache Labesse. I never had a face-to-face meeting with anyone, never got to speak to an advocate, even on the phone, was made to feel like dirt in the reception - I was asked to sit in a special (not too noticeable) place as I was on legal aid and finally was advised to drop my case. For this I was charged several hundred pounds.

And finally, I heard some of the swearing-in (or whatever it's called) of the new Bailiff, Michael Birt. Something like that is a great milestone in a person's life and despite the criticisms regarding past decisions he has made, I wanted to feel good about it. After all, to reach that position must take a fair amount of intelligence, hard work, charm, etc, but when he spoke about how his father had always wanted him to become Bailiff, I got an uneasy feeling, that he is playing a role. He is now "Bailiff". He has got there. But what we need is someone ready to embrace a challenge, to face change and demand justice and what I think we may have got is someone who is playing a part.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

The March - Review

The march in support of survivors of abuse took place on the 25th of April. It was a lovely sunny day and well attended by Jersey standards - about 200 people. Once at the Royal Square, Mark Forskitt made a concise but thoughtful speech and people chatted and relaxed. There was a good and peaceful atmosphere.

I saw several States members there - Breckon, Syvret, Tadier, Lewis, T. Pitman. Where were the rest of them? If I could get there, why couldn't they? I caught up with the march and joined in at the Square. I had work to organise the night before, and was doing some work for my business that morning. Also I had a problem with one of my clients that morning - a small crisis. And I had things to do in town and was looking after my two year old and five year old. And yet I and my family got there. States members get £40,000 plus each year, a free laptop, expensive help ( at least for the council of mimisters) and have faith placed in them by the electorate, but they couldn't manage to take an hour out on a Saturday morning to show support for survivors of abuse, abuse that happened while under the care of the States of Jersey. I expect there are reasons why some of them couldn't attend. If that's the case, perhaps they could let us know, either here on this blog or on one of the other blogs. Terry Le Sueur, especially, should have been there. Whatever the political differences between him and campaigners for the survivors, such as Stuart, he should have been there to show compassion for them.

There is no effective leadership for States members and many of them show little initiative themselves. And as usual, this sort of thing goes unremarked in all the traditional media.

Well done to people like Carrie, who manage to plan something and carry it out well and with dignity. A useful lesson for many of the States members, perhaps?

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Silent Peaceful March

Monday, 20 April 2009

Silent Peaceful March
On April the 25th 2009 at 12 noon there is to be a silent and peaceful march from Peoples Park to the Royal Square. The march will be in support and acknowledgement of victims of child abuse past and present across the world.On October the 21st 1996 up to 300,000 Belgian citizens took to the streets wearing white ribbons and arm bands as a symbol of hope which became known as “The White March”. It was not only a march for hope but also a silent peaceful protest against their governments handling of the of the Marc Dutroux case which bears many similarity’s, not only to the way our government has handled the child abuse scandal that has hit Jersey, but the way child abuse is handled by some governments across the world.We would like the Jersey White March to be non political or critical of our government or police investigation. We believe it will be an opportunity to show abuse survivors and the rest of the world that the good people of Jersey do not condone abuse of any human being - child or otherwise.Abuse survivors, across the globe, have had theirs and their family’s lives torn apart, wrecked, and destroyed, not only by the heinous abuse they have suffered at the hands of their abusers but the wall of silence that inevitably surrounds the taboo subject of paedophilia and child abuse.This March has the support of the Care Leavers Association (CLA) and the Jersey Care Leavers Association (JCLA) Please give this march and all abuse survivors your support and show the world the good people of Jersey DO care.We would ask if you are able to attend the march that you wear something white, a symbol of “hope”If you are a Blogger and support abuse victims around the world, please copy and paste this onto your Blog until the day of the march SATURDAY 25th OF APRIL 2009 12.p.m


Sunday, 8 February 2009

Mendacious States Employees

I haven't posted for weeks, for several reasons. Firstly, the flu and associated infections. Then a major accident and subsequent operations on a family member and while all this was going on I've also struggled with being drawn into a web of deceit, in which I am the fly. What I find especially crushing now in Jersey is that even with written proof that States employees are lying, they don't care, it makes no difference. And also that good people will go along with the lies.

In Jersey, it being such a small place, everything seems magnified. There is no easy escape. And issues in the media will involve people we know personally, possibly prompting a reactionary and paranoid response to general trends. However, the fact is that it is a small place and an individual can be hounded by a powerful group without the tempering effect of outside influences.

Sometimes it's not good to have time to think. Earlier this year, while unwell, stuck in front of the telly and pondering the large doctor's bill that was coming my way, I could not help but notice the elephant in the room. As I gazed upon programme after programme showing prospective buyers traipsing around houses for sale, the words clashed like cymbals in my brain " JUST WHAT AM I DOING HERE?" Why am I living in a place where the properties are out of reach, where I have to pay for things that are free elsewhere, a place that is becoming more and more noticeably corrupt? Now even parents of young children have to pay a big tax bill when they earn less than the average wage, and there is nothing like child benefit. And we're all taxed on our food. We have no choice of utilities' providers. It is impossible to train for most jobs and even when training seems to be available, it turns out to be just lip service.

I have lived outside of Jersey before and I know that all places have their problems, but it is getting harder to find a good reason to stay here. Yes, there is the beautiful coastline, cliff paths, etc. There are loads of lovely people, low crime and good schools, but financially it is becoming very difficult to live here. It seems unlikely that people like Terry Le Sueur and Philip Ozouf have any idea how many of Jersey's residents are struggling and how badly, judging by Philip's U turn on delaying 20 means 20. People are being forced into an impossible situation and the outcome will not be good.

For those thinking of escape: It's possible to buy a house along the South coast of England in a nice area and near jobs for under £200,000 - a 3 bedroom house with garden and the mortgage repayments would be less than the rent on a 2 bedroom house here. A good place to look is

As for Jersey, take a theoretical couple, a couple who plan and save, but start without a big cushion of inherited wealth. They would need to save £5000 per year for about 6-8 years, allowing for some inflation, to get their deposit on a flat. So that will take them into their mid thirties with a 1 bed flat, as long as they haven't been frivilous enough to enjoy things like travelling or, horror of horrors, committed the crime of having children! Then our careful couple might plan to have a family and look for a house - they will need £120,000 plus for a deposit, so lets say they've made a profit on their flat of £60,000, that means they will need to save another £60,000 or more. That could take them 10 to 20 years and if they have children they can forget about saving while the children are small. We've reached the point where without some sort of windfall, it has become impossible for the average person to buy a house. And while on this subject, I'd like to say how much I hate to hear that stupid statement "Oh, they expect too much" or " They all want a house with a garden straight away, blah, blah", usually said by someone who lives in a house with a garden. I'd like to say to everyone - Go ahead, expect to have something good, why not?

Unless, like Terry le Sueur, you would like to go back in time, to the days when families lived together in overcrowded accomodation. As he said, in support of increasing the population " In the past, three generations have lived in the same house. Now you can have one generation living in three houses" (JEP, 9/2/09) Perhaps the Council of Ministers will suggest other practices from the past - how about child labour?