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.