Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Andrew Lewis: A Spoiler Candidate?

Today I have a guest posting on Andrew Lewis standing in St Helier by Deputy Sam Mezec.

For Daniel Wimberley’s guest post, see here
http://tonymusings.blogspot.com/2014/08/today-i-have-guest-posting-on-former.html

And for my posting, see
http://tonymusings.blogspot.com/2014/08/why-andrew-lewis-wants-to-stand-in-st.html

I’m not wholly convinced by Sam’s argument, as I think a certain amount of political desire has to do simply with what C.S. Lewis called the desire to be part of “The Inner Ring”. Once inside, part of the decision makers, the loss of that is something which I think many politicians find very hard to give up. I suspect the coming election will see a number of former politicians who have failed to be re-elected also return to the fray. Having once been part of the States decision making process, they simply cannot bear to be outside of it. It can be far harder to walk away, as Deputy Wimberley did, than to stand again.

But let the reader decide...

Andrew Lewis: A Spoiler Candidate?
By Deputy Sam Mezec


I completely agree with the former Deputy Daniel Wimberley. He says he is astounded that Mr Lewis is putting himself up for election on this basis.

Here's my theory -

Ordinary Jersey voters in St Helier are primarily concerned about issues that directly affect them like cost of living, employment and improving the quality of life for town dwellers.

On all of those subjects Deputy Mike Higgins will have excellent policies and be able to articulate sensible and captivating ways to solving those issues.

The purpose of Andrew Lewis standing is to try and distract Deputy Higgins from making those arguments and instead focus his campaign on the suspension of Graham Power which, to most voters, is ancient history that they don't care about.

In short - it's an attempt to sabotage Deputy Higgins re-election campaign by dragging him away from a message that connects with voters.

Mike Higgins is one of the hardest working members of the States and a real thorn in the side of the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers clique (Ozouf, Bailhache, Gorst etc) hate St Helier because it is the place where people like Deputies Higgins and Southern get elected. That's why they support a continuation of gerrymandering in our electoral system.

If they can get rid of Higgins, it will be a godsend to them and make their jobs far easier to do without worrying about any meaningful scrutiny.

Throwing Lewis into St Helier 3/4 (he can't stand in St John because Tracey Vallois is going to win by a landslide, I predict) is a typical Establishment Party campaign tactic.

Mike Higgins is not a member of Reform Jersey, but we support all the hard work he does and virtually all of his policies. We are putting a candidate up in district 3/4 and hope that voters will use only two of their votes, one for Mike and the other for our candidate.

Jersey politics needs more people with integrity like Mike, and far fewer people like Lewis with a very questionable history serving the people of Jersey.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Election Information from Privileges and Procedures: A Clarification

Islanders that are interested in standing for this year's elections can now register their details online.

Candidates need to upload their name, contact details and a photograph to www.vote.je

The website will go live with all the candidates' information on the 1st September 2014. The website gives out information on voting and registering to vote in preparation for the October 2014 elections. It has been set up by the Government's Privileges and Procedures Committee. Chairman, Deputy Jeremy Macon said: "Vote.je is the place where everyone can go to find out about the candidates who are standing for election in their parish or district. "We are giving prospective candidates two weeks to upload their details to the site before publishing their photograph and contact details on 1st September. After the nomination meetings, candidates’ manifestos will also be published on vote.je."
(Channel Television)


I see the actual website vote.je says

"Use this option to upload your contact details, photo and manifesto. Your contact details and photo will be published on this website from Monday 1 September 2014. Manifestos will be published the day after the nomination meetings which take place on Tuesday 16 September 2014 for Senators and Wednesday 17 September 2014 for Deputies and Connétables. You can upload your manifesto at a later date if you wish using Option 2."

The way the Channel TV report (see below) reads suggests - ‘We are giving prospective candidates two weeks to upload their details to the site before publishing their photograph and contact details on 1st September’. It sounds like Privileges and Procedures are forcing potential candidates to make a declaration of standing before they have to or are required to. What is this all about?

In order to find out, I contacted the Chair of PPC, Deputy Jeremy Macon. He explained that the Channel Television report on their website was misleading.

The aim of PPC is to ensure vote.je is a major portal for information on candidates to help voters with their decisions, and also to ensure that a published booklet is delivered to all voters households before pre-polling takes place. That means that if people go to pre-poll their choice, they will have the basic manifesto information about the candidates either Islandwide – as with Senators – or locally – as with Constables and Deputies.

It is, I think, an important consideration. Otherwise, people might pre-poll, and then when they get a leaflet, wish they had voted otherwise. Alternatively, they may defer pre-polling until such time as that information is forthcoming, which would defeat the object of pre-polling.

Because of tight production schedules, this means that candidates and manifestoes will need to be submitted within a 24 hour period after the nomination meetings. As there could be upwards of 100 people’s information involved – after all, this is a general election – this will make matters very tight indeed.

Hence the reason to permit candidates to put forward information in advance. At this stage, they may only have declared, and a complete manifesto is still in the process of being written, but this will enable the Greffier’s department (which is tasked with organising this by PPC) to start getting matters ready.

But for candidates who do not want to either publically declare candidature before (or close to) nomination nights, or who want to reserve the publication of their manifesto until after that date, there is – as Jeremy Macon told me – an alternative route to getting the information to the Greffe.

If you are intending to stand, you can email the Greffe with your name and contact details – email, phone- (so they can confirm you are who you say you are) but tell them this information is to be kept confidential until nomination night.

This will also enable them to supply you with information about the election booklet requirements etc, and any other details that will be useful for making best use of the vote.je website.

Likewise, it is possible to email the Greffier (or his Deputy) with a manifesto but to state that its publication is to be confidential and embargoed until after nomination night. After all, some candidates may not wish others to view their manifesto and steal their ideas prior to nomination!

As most candidates will probably have a manifesto in place before nomination night, this will ensure there is less to process in the 24 hour deadline after the nomination meeting – and the candidate can be sure their manifesto details do not get overlooked.

All this seems eminently sensible to me, but it is a shame the public report as presented by the media is misleading in not also adding the confidential route. Hopefully this (and I have the approval of Jeremy Macon to make this public), will set the record straight.

References
http://www.channelonline.tv/channelonline_jerseynews/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=512449



Monday, 18 August 2014

A Local Horror Story

I came across this story from a correspondent of mine, and have since heard of other incidents by the same youths on BBC Radio Jersey:

Welcome to Jersey! Welcome to drunken threatening behaviour.

I was in my car parked in Snow Hill car park at 6pm today. With my kids. Three drunken yobs surrounded the car, one of them jumped on the bonnet twice, despite me hitting the horn constantly.

My daughter (just about 9) was in hysterics. I was expecting the foot coming thought the front window and the car was unlocked. What can I can do in this situation to defend my kids and myself? They were having fun. I was not. Because I knew that the car was unlocked.

And the car is big and tall. Nissan pathfinder. It does take the effort to jump that high. And when you know that there is somebody inside, a female who cannot come outside and smash your face in.


I find this quite horrific. It is to be expected that Friday or Saturday nights that the level of rowdy behaviour increases, especially in St Helier. The Weighbridge and Snow Hill are, as far as I can remember, known trouble spots, best avoided. But at 6 pm on a Saturday evening, one does not expect this kind of behaviour to take place!

What advice would you give? Here are a few suggestions of mine.

First of all, if your car does have remote locking, the key switch will work from inside even when the key is in the ignition. So the car can be locked, which at least prevents someone just opening a door.

Second, make sure the police HQ number is programmed into your mobile. They may not be able to get there at once, but even the act of phoning may cause the troublemakers to run off.

f you have phoned, but can leave the area, do so, and tell the police where you are. Or if you have left without calling the police, phone them as soon as possible to report the incident. They may catch the troublemakers frightening other drivers, but at the very least, the incident will have been logged. They may also be able to take other witness statements, and built up profiles of the miscreants.

That is important – if a pattern emerges of trouble, then the police can target the area. If they receive a number of reports, they may be able to identify the culprits or see if there is any local CCTV which could capture them. But if they receive no information, they will have no pattern, and in fact may be unaware that this kind of problem is arising.

A similar incident happened in Hull earlier this month. Its shows how the police can take action, and while “words of advice” is the lowest level of intervention, if incidents are repeated, stronger action can be taken:

“A GANG of drunken teenagers ‘ambushed’ cars as they passed through East Riding villages, spitting at motorists and hurling beer cans. Some of the louts were spotted laying in the road to bring traffic to a standstill, before others threatened terrified drivers.”

A Humberside Police spokesman said: "We received a call at 9.37am on Friday, August 2, reporting a group of youths causing alarm and disruption to traffic and road users in the Preston area of East Yorkshire.

"A further call was received shortly afterwards, reporting similar behaviour from what appeared to be the same youths on the stretch of road approaching the Sandhill Nursery.

"Police were able to attend and speak to the youths on the basis of reports received, which warranted words of advice.

"Subsequent reports that were made following the original call, which details incidents of a more serious nature, including an allegation of indecent exposure, are now being followed up.

"Police would like to speak to those people who called in anonymously in order to further their enquiries.

"The identity of one of the group has been confirmed and police are additionally appealing for anyone who may be able to assist in identifying other members" 


References
http://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/Drunken-teens-ambush-passing-cars-villages/story-19613721-detail/story.html

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Pernicious Appeal of Religious Crusading

Islamic State militants could grow strong enough to target people on the streets of Britain unless action is taken, David Cameron has warned. The PM, writing in the Sunday Telegraph, said a "humanitarian response" to IS was not enough and a "firm security response" was needed. It comes as Church leaders expressed concern that the UK had no "coherent" approach to tackling Islamic extremism. (BBC News)

I think that for once David Cameron is right. The Islamic State is a brutal regime, which is not merely concerned with territorial disputes, like so many political conflicts, but whose aim is to impose a harsh and dictatorial religious state of affairs across the world.

Much as the crusaders in the Middle Ages were a bloodthirsty perversion of Christianity, the Islamic State is a barbaric perversion of Islam. The Christian soldiers established Christian settlements, the so-called "Crusader States" just as these Islamic soldiers have established their own Islamic state.

Jonathan Philips describes the history of the crusades:

“In November 1095 Pope Urban II called upon the knights of France to journey to the Holy Land and liberate the city of Jerusalem and the Christians of the east from Muslim power. In return they would be granted an unprecedented spiritual reward – the remission of all their sins – and thereby escape the torments of Hell, their likely destination after lives of violence and greed.”

“The response to Urban’s appeal was astounding; over 60,000 people set out to recover the Holy Land and secure this reward and, in some cases, take the chance to set up new territories. Almost four years later, in July 1099, the survivors conquered Jerusalem in an orgy of killing.While most of the knights returned home, the creation of the Crusader States formed a permanent Christian (or ‘Frankish’) presence in the Levant.”


Before Martin Luther, and the advent of Protestantism, it is hard to find any critique from within Christianity of the Crusaders. As Thomas Madden notes:

“For Martin Luther, who had already jettisoned the Christian doctrines of papal authority and indulgences, the Crusades were nothing more than a ploy by a power-hungry papacy. Indeed, he argued that to fight the Muslims was to fight Christ himself, for it was he who had sent the Turks to punish Christendom for its faithlessness. When Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his armies began to invade Austria, Luther changed his mind about the need to fight, but he stuck to his condemnation of the Crusades.”

Matters are, however, better within Islam today, as the Muslim Council of Britain has issued a strong condemnation of the Islamic State:

At an event in London called to promote peace between the world’s religions, the Muslim Council of Britain, the Shia al-Khoei Foundation and other Muslim organisations said that fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (Isis) were acting “contrary to the values” of their religion. They added that the extremists posed a threat to “Muslims of all demoninations and schools of thought” and expressed their outright opposition to the destruction and killing that the Islamist fighters were inflicting on the Iraqi and Syrian population.

They also appealed to all British Muslims to shun extremist ideology and to resist any attempt by extremists to lure young men and women from this country to join the fighting. The denunciation was delivered during a “Big Iftar” event celebrating Ramadan at the Imam Al Khoei Islamic centre in north London last night and followed a similar joint message at Westminster by Sunni and Shia groups.

Shuja Shafi, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “Violence has no place in religion, violence has no religion. It is prohibited for people to present themselves for destruction.”

The joint statement, which is also signed by the British Muslim Forum, the Mosque and Imam National Advisory Board and more than 50 imams nationwide, condemned “the barbaric violence and destruction perpertrated by Isis” and denounces the Sunni group’s threats to destroy Shia holy sites as “contrary to the values of Islam”.


How much effect this will have on young British Muslims who are being seduced by the radical agenda is another matter. And it also seems to me that statements like these do not seem to be getting the prominence they deserve in the media. About 500 are estimated to have joined the conflict so far and posed in propaganda videos.

Much as the religious appeal of the Crusades – with the ideal of a “holy war” – called to so many people, the lure of a fanatical idealism may have more appeal to the idealism of the young that the condemnation of their elders. More initiatives – perhaps a “Young Muslims for Peace” – needs to be given so that the energy and idealism of the young can be more profitably channelled to make the world a better place, where poverty is addressed without recourse to the gun.

References
http://www.historytoday.com/jonathan-phillips/call-crusades
http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/tmadden_crusademyths_feb05.asp
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/british-islamic-leaders-condemn-isis-extremists-barbaric-violence-9599907.html
http://www.globalmbwatch.com/2014/08/12/muslim-council-britain-condemns-isis-calls-treatment-minorities-barbaric/

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Summer Waves

Katalin and I went down to see the spring tides recently, and this poem is about the sheer joy of watching a high tide in Jersey..

Summer Waves
Splash! Wave breaks over promenade
And we jump back, spray flying high
Before, sunshine, sipping lemonade
The tourists sat, the seagulls fly

Briny days of love, holding hands
Watching a ship sail across the bay
As the waves pound on the sands
We relish on our lips the salty spray

Rising and falling, the sea of love
Where strong undercurrents go
Oceans vast, vistas undreamed of
Up and down, wave forms flow

Summer nights, there is high tide
Such joy, such a wild ride

Friday, 15 August 2014

I'm Driving Backwards for Christmas

There's a Spike Milligan song from the "Goon Show", which is called "I'm walking backwards for Christmas". I thought of this with the new proposals for the Winter bus time table which has the bus go anti-clockwise rather than clockwise around Corbiere.

A bus stop is a sign to the public that a bus is along that route. So if the proposals go ahead, new signage will need to be painted on the road, and the old signage will have to be removed. Any vertical poles (although there are few on this part of the route) will also need to be changed. If the experiment is not a success, the whole process will need to be reversed. And the stop number system will have to be adjusted on the computer systems.

This reminds me of when Liberty Bus arrived and apparently because of the transport Minister's desire for changes, a number 15 went all the way through the Tunnell to part of the East. As the 15 to the airport was often a double-decker, it involved changes for passengers at Liberation station. It also meant more delays for the number 15.

Is this new change electioneering by the Transport Minister? I am sure that would be "officially denied"!

The better solution would be to have "through tickets" for destinations rather than routes. Hence one ticket could have taken you in to town from the West, and on another bus to the East, with appropriate fares. This would improve matters with St Brelade / St Peters, so that residents could visit the St Peter's Garden Centre and the Bowling / Rugby on one ticket, with one fare. UK bus companies have had "through tickets" based on destination rather than route for some time.

Here is a Parishioner's response (which has come my way, and is not mine) on the proposed routes:

Ref. Winter timetable changes. Invitation to comment
As a resident of St. Brelade, I comment only of those routes affecting the Parish

12, 12A, 12X (and 15)

1. I hope it has not escaped the attention of LibertyBus that there are NO bus stops on the anti-clockwise route around Corbiere? Further, if this matter has been considered, I am surprised that there has not been any consultation with the residents prior to your announcement to ascertain their views more directly. I am sure many may prefer that routing, however…

2. With the routes apparently terminating at Corbiere, will this mean that passengers destined for stops between Corbiere and La Rue des Camps have an enforced delay in their journey in addition to an extended journey? How might this also affect fare structures? Could I suggest that it may be better that the route was ascribed as La Moye via Corbiere thus treating the Corbiere stop as a waypoint not a termination point or specific destination.

3. In relation to (2) it is also noted that the X12 travels out from St. Helier in the mornings empty – ‘not in service’. Likewise the return evening service travels back to town empty. This is surely a total waste of resource? Similarly, at other times the 12 often terminates at Corbiere and runs back to St. Helier displaying ‘not in service’. Perhaps if that is to continue the reasoning might be explained?

4. While accepting the X12 is primarily a commuter service into St. Helier, it is useful in linking the La Moye and Quennevais areas with the airport and facilities/businesses along the Airport Road and Avenue de la Reine. A similar service outside of normal commuter hours would we useful addition to the services offered. As a La Moye resident, there is no convenient service to the airport without changing buses and a walk between stops nor links to the other widely patronised facilities in St. Peter.

Although not forming part of the revised schedules, the following matters I also bring to your attention:

1. The timings of the 12, 12A and 15 often mean that two or more of these routes run almost in convoy into St. Aubin especially on return journeys to St. Helier. That in turn leaves wide gaps between bus services. As you are do doubt aware, that can be the source of frustration to many passengers, especially those travelling into St. Helier, on a Friday and Saturday night when the village is at its most popular. As a result large numbers of over-exuberant people build up at the St. Aubin N stop in particular regularly resulting in some rowdyism. That often spills onto the buses themselves as I am sure your drivers will confirm.

2. There also occurs a secondary problem insofar that when routes do converge on what is often an extended stop at St. Aubin N, the space available with a single lay-by is insufficient to accommodate two buses. That can lead to traffic congestion and heightens frustrations.

Therefore time-re-scheduling on routes 12, 12A and 15 would, I feel, be beneficial; or alternatively on these busier occasions (or in addition to) a relief service be applied during the hours 10pm – 12.30 am on Fridays and Saturdays such that the frequency is every 15 minutes. At present gaps can be up to twice that, sometimes longer.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Andrew Lewis and the Erosion of Trust

Today I have a guest posting on former Deputy Andrew Lewis concerning the suspension of the Chief of Police, Graham Power. The reasons for his doing so were mentioned in an "in camera" (secret) States debate, the transcript of which later leaked to the public domain, which is mentioned by former Deputy Daniel Wimberly. 

It is worth noting that in the normal course of events, it is impossible to tell whether States members make misleading remarks in these debates, of which Jersey had many during the tenures of Frank Walker and Terry Le Sueur as Chief Ministers. A notable one which still remains secret is the one in which Pierre Horsfall and his position on the Waterfront Enterprise Board was debated, and Mr Horsfall was upset at the lack of transparency involved.

Guernsey has relatively few; in larger Parliaments, of course, it is pretty well impossible for them to occur. There have been few during the tenure of Ian Gorst. Because of their secretive nature, when decisions are made out of the public eye, I think they are an abuse of the Parliamentary process, and are very much to the detriment of democratic accountability. They will remain a blight on local democracy, until they are severely restricted in use.

Guest Posting from Daniel Wimberley

I would advise people to think twice before voting for Andrew Lewis, on the basis of his track record as Minister for Home Affairs for the few brief months during which he suspended Graham Power.

Firstly, Napier found that “the basis on which he (Graham Power) was suspended on 12 November 2008 was in my view inadequate” (Napier report, paragraph 107). And the rest of that paragraph sets out the detail of how utterly inadequate the whole process was.

The Napier report shows that the main decision which Lewis took as Minister was just plain wrong.

Secondly I invite readers to read the following quotes from Lewis, said in the States on 2nd December 2008, when answering two separate questions following his making a statement to the States on suspending Graham Power

"As far as the accusation you raise about the Metropolitan Police, when I saw the preliminary report I was astounded. So much so that my actions, I believe, are fully justified. If the preliminary report is that damning, Lord knows what the main report will reveal. So my successor will have an interesting time. The report that I was shown gave me no doubt at all." (my emphasis)

And

“I have read an alarming report from the Metropolitan Police which led me to this decision in the first place.”  (my emphasis)

And then to compare the above, with what Napier says about this same report, namely the “interim report” from the Metropolitan Police:

"As previously has been noted, neither Mr Lewis nor Mr Ogley saw the Interim Report. Neither did they seek to see it. The reason given was the nature of the information that was contained therein. It was, said Mr Ogley, a police document and it was inappropriate that he (or anyone else) should have access to it. Mr Ogley says that he was told both by the Attorney General and Mr Warcup that he should not look at the interim report and neither he nor Mr Lewis did so."

Napier report paragraph 101

It appears from the Napier report, carefully compiled some months after the States in camera questions, by a leading QC engaged by the States, that it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Andrew Lewis lied to the States.

I invite readers to draw their own conclusions from the above and to think very carefully before voting for Andrew Lewis. In fact I am very surprised that he dares to consider putting his name forward for election to the States.

Maybe there is an innocent explanation for what I have written above – if so, I would like to hear it. I am quite happy to send the original texts in full to anyone asking for them.