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 http://www.rightmove.co.uk/
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?
Raise a Glass to Drink to Lost Heritage
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