Thursday, 27 November 2014

Jersey and New Jersey - Part 2

For today, a follow up from “The Pilot” article yesterday, describing links between Jersey and New Jersey during 1963. I came across this quite by chance, and thought it would be interesting to show how the links were forged back in 1963.

I was extremely excited, as finding obscure historical gems is something I really like to do! I hope the reader enjoys seeing these photos and text too.


Trenton 1966

NEW YEAR'S EVE - Governor Richard J. Hughes officially opens the Tercentenary observance in a New Year's Eve Party at the State House. Left to right: Mrs. Hughes, Governor Hughes, Francis De Lisle Bois, Deputy Bailiff of Jersey, Arthur L. Thomas, President of the Delaware Tribal Council. In background is Paul L. Troast, Chairman of the Tercentenary Commission.

The Governor's New Year's Eve Party
On December 31, 1963, Governor and Mrs. Hughes held a Tercentenary New Year's Eve party in the State House to which the public was invited. In the rotunda was a birthday cake twenty-one feet high baked by the students of Frank Verheul at the Bergen County Vocational High School and contributed by the New Jersey Bakers Board of Trade.

The guests of honor were the deputy bailiff of the Isle of Jersey and representatives of the Delaware Indian Tribal Council from Oklahoma. The program featured Indian tribal dances, the Boy Scout Drum and Bugle Corps of Morristown, the Belvidere Coronet Band, and Princeton High School Choir. At the stroke of midnight the Governor formally opened the Tercentenary year. Then, to signify New Jersey's growing pride in its heritage, he symbolically threw the switch that turned on the Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City for the first time in thirty-one years. This first official act of the new year was an apt reminder that the preservation of the state's historic sites was one of the cardinal goals of the Tercentenary observance.

Visitors from the Isle of Jersey and a delegation of Delaware Indians help to inaugurate the Tercentenary. Center: Francis De Lisle Bois, Deputy Bailiff of Jersey. Right: Paul L. Troast, Chairman of the Tercentenary Commission.

On the Isle of Jersey - Paul L. Troast, Chairman of the Tercentenary Commission, presents a Tercentenary plaque to the Bailiff of Jersey, Robert H. Le Masurier. (Photo by Sennett & Spears, Jersey, C. I.)

Visit From the Isle of Jersey

In the course of the Tercentenary year a good many citizens of New Jersey learned something of the Channel Isle of Jersey, from which the state derived its name. This knowledge largely resulted from the visits of several representatives of old Jersey.

The preliminaries for these visits had been made by Professor Richard P. McCormick when he visited the Isle of Jersey in the summer of 1960. In December, 1963, the deputy bailiff of Jersey, Francis De Lisle Bois, O.B.E., came to participate in the New Year's Eve ceremony at the State House.

"PRECIOUS GALINTHIA" - Prize calf presented to New Jersey by the Isle of Jersey. Shown with Galinthia are Robert H. Le Masurier, Bailiff of Jersey (left), Governor Richard J. Hughes, Dennis W. Ryan, Constable of St. Helier, Phillip Alampi, Commissioner of Agriculture (second from right).

In January, 1964, Paul L. Troast, chairman of the Commission, and Mrs. Troast went to Jersey in order to deliver a personal invitation to officials there to visit New Jersey. In May the bailiff of Jersey, Robert H. Le Masurier, and the constable of St. Helier, Dennis W. Ryan, arrived, accompanied by Mrs. Le Masurier and Mr. and Mrs. Max G. Lucas. The bailiff presented to Governor Hughes a replica of the mace received by the Isle of Jersey from King Charles II in 1663 in appreciation for the refuge given him and his family during the English Civil War. It will occupy a permanent place in the new State Museum.

The bailiff and his party made a series of public appearances which included a Bergen County Tercentenary Luncheon in Rochelle Park, Whitehall Farm in Pittstown, Seabrook Farm, Morven, the Governor's mansion, Batsto State Park, a dinner in Salem County, and the races in Camden County.

In addition to the mace, the bailiff presented Governor Hughes with a Jersey calf named "Precious Galinthia," a gift of the Jersey Cattle Breeders Association. The Governor in turn presented the calf to Linda Lee Harrison of Stockton, at the World's Fair on New Jersey Day, June 24, 1964. Miss Harrison was chosen to receive the calf by the State Board of Agriculture because of her outstanding work as a 4-H Club cattle raiser.

In July, 1964, the final visitor from Jersey arrived in New Jersey. Philip Malet de Carteret, descendant of one of the two colonial proprietors of New Jersey, was invited with Mrs. Carteret to participate in local Tercentenary activities in Elizabeth

BATSTO DEDICATION - Official guests from the Isle of Jersey at dedication of Batsto State Park in 1964. Left to right: Governor Richard J. Hughes, Dennis W. Ryan, Constable of St. Helier, Paul L. Troast, Chairman of the Tercentenary Commission. Robert H. Le Masurier, Bailiff of the Isle of Jersey. Robert A. Roe, Commissioner of Conservation and Economic Development.

Batsto State Park

On May 16, 1964, Batsto State Park was dedicated. This marked the culmination of many years of effort by the Department of Conservation and Economic Development and the people of Burlington and Atlantic counties to restore the eighteenth century iron and glass making village of Batsto, which played a prominent role in the Revolution.

Governor Hughes and Commissioner Robert A. Roe were joined by the chairman of the Commission, Paul L. Troast, and an official delegation from the Isle of Jersey, led by Bailiff Robert H. Le Masurier, who was accompanied by a group of British reporters. Members of the Jerseymen junior historians clubs also took part in the ceremonies.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Jersey and New Jersey - Part 1

I had no idea of the complex connections between Jersey and New Jersey, which are mentioned in this article, published in “The Pilot” in 1963.

Trinity Cathedral in Denton has a granite altar stone from Gorey Castle, while in Jersey, there is an acknowledgment of that gift, and a replica of the seal of New Jersey in the States Chamber and a flag of State and Diocese, which I hope is still in place.

It is a pity that today’s church in Jersey cannot rekindle the links of the past, but in the meantime, here is a fragment of Jersey history that you may not easily find elsewhere.

Incidentally, Francis de Lisle Bois was Deputy Bailiff from 1962-1968, but never became Bailiff.

The Diocese of New Jersey-A visit paid, A link strengthened Ancient And Modern 
From "The Pilot",  1963

The link between the ancient Deanery of Jersey and the modern Diocese of New Jersey, U.S.A., has been strengthened by the recent visit of our Deputy Bailiff, Mr. Francis De Lisle Bois.

During his brief stay in that1 American State, Mr. Bois displayed a keen interest in the Diocese and Cathedral Church of Trenton, with its altar of red granite stone from Mont Orgueil Castle. In the following article, exclusive to "The Pilot", Mr. Bois recounts his experiences.

The association between the Island of Jersey and the State of New Jersey in recent years has probably been closer in the ecclesiastical sphere than in any other. No less than three Bishops of the Diocese of New Jersey have visited the Island. The first visit was by Bishop Paul Matthews in1930.

Eighteen years later, in 1948, Bishop Wallace J.Gardner visited the Island in the company of the Very Reverend Frederic Magee Adams, Dean of Trinity Cathedral, Trenton, the Cathedral Church of the Diocese. More recently, we have had a visit from the present Bishop, the Right Reverend Alfred L. Banyard, D.D., S.T.D., and, in August of this year, we are to receive the Reverend Henrv A. Male on a visit of goodwill from the Diocese of New Jersey.

When I was in New Jersey for the opening of the Tercentenary Celebrations, I asked if arrangements could be made for me to visit Trinity Cathedral, particularly as I wished to see the Jersey altar in the Crypt of the Cathedral. The altar incorporates a red granite altar stone from Mont Orgueil Castle, the offer of the stone by the Island to the Diocese resulting from the visit of Bishop Gardner in 1949.

Visitors to the States' Chamber will see hanging on the wall an acknowledgment of the gift under the Seal of the Diocese. They will also see, at the members' entrance to the Chamber, a display consisting of a replica of the Seal of the State of New Jersey, which was presented to the Island by Governor Harry Moore, flanked by the Flag of the State and the Flag of the Diocese, both presented to the Island by Bishop Gardner to mark his visit. In due course, the Cathedral will have another piece of Jersey built into it, as it is intended, when the last two bays of the Church are erected, to include a stone from the Parish Church of Saint Helier amongst the stones of the floor.

I was invited to attend matins on Sunday, January 5th, but I was unfortunately unable to accept this invitation as I had to leave for home on the preceding day. I was, instead, invited to visit the Cathedral on the Friday, when I was most kindly received by the Bishop, the Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Reverend Lloyd D. Chattin, and Canon Edwin W. Tucker of the Field Department, as well as by Mr. Arthur J. Holland, the Mayor of Trenton.

Trinity Cathedral is situated in West State Street, Trenton, a wide, winding, wooded avenue. Steps for the creation of a Cathedral parish and the ultimate construction of a Cathedral were first taken in 1930. The site chosen was that of All Saints Church, now a chapel of the Cathedral. This was the second church of that name, the original having been converted for use as a parish hall. This has now been reconverted into a Synod Hall and is used for diocesan, church school and parish activities.

The Cathedral Church and the Crypt are new, and the tower, in which hangs a carillon presented by Dean Adams, is that of All Saints Chapel.

All the buildings form a single unit and include a suite of offices. There are many things of interest to see, some fine stained glass windows, and, to my mind, the most attractive of all, a number of framed ikons forming the reredos of an altar.

The Bishop made me a most welcome gift a memento of my visit: a framed drawing in colour of the Seal of the Diocese. The Seal has a strong association with Jersey as the shield in its centre symbolizes the historical connexion, both ecclesiastical and secular, between the Island and New Jersey. The shield's dexter bears the three bend lets or (gold) on a field azure (blue) of the Deanery of Jersey and the sinister bears the Arms of the Island, with a variation of colours, the lions being sable (black) and the field argent (silver).

I had a very happy hour at the Cathedral and, while I was sorry to have been unable to attend a service there, I was glad to have had the opportunity of seeing the results of the efforts of members of a vigorous and living church.

My all too brief visit to the State of New Jersey has left me with many pleasant memories, and one outstanding memory is that of the cordial and friendly way in which I was received at Trinity Cathedral.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

In the Local News

The Duke’s Speech, or Legislation will be brought forward to....

I have come to the conclusion that what we don’t really have as such is the equivalent of the Queen’s speech – a clear indication of the legislative programme that the States will be planning for the next three and a half years. Cut out the aspirational statements from Ian Gorst’s speech to the new assembly, and substance is thin on the ground.

A statement such as this - “We must ensure that our legislation maintains our competitiveness; our approach to regulation must encourage and foster new enterprise while upholding fair competition and open markets.” – actually tells you nothing at all. It is like an astrological forecast, hedged round with so many qualifications that it could mean anything.

Now there is nothing wrong with aspirations, and Senator Gorst lays down some very good ones. But in the UK, in the Queen’s Speech, Parliament opens with the broad details of a legislative programme, not an aspirational one.

When one cuts out the aspirational sentences, or the heavily qualified ones, there are two items left which are solid nuggets:

“I will be proposing to establish a new monetary authority; and the monetary authority will be tasked with identifying and assessing the threats to financial stability in Jersey and with providing independent advice on actions to meet these threats.”

“Mental health has not received the attention it deserves, and I am supporting plans to update the Mental Health Law and to radically improve the support available for people with mental health issues.”

As it now stands, the best way to find out what is intended is to look at the sittings and debates that are forthcoming, and to ask questions about what legislation is currently at the law draftsman office.

But in future, as well as sounding out nominations once elected, I think space should be given somewhere in the States sittings for laying out the legislative programme for the States agreed between Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers. The Medium Term Plan is a fiscal measure, not a legislative one, and we need to know more, and earlier.

Open and wealthy economy.

I find it strange that a recent report praised Jersey as having a “mature political and institutional settings, transparent economic decision-making, and high fiscal flexibility” and said we had an “open and wealthy economy”.

Is this the same economy which has given rise to a 95 million pound deficit? Evidently it is as open as a sieve, with taxable income draining away. The recent scrutiny report criticised the budget for being a hotch-potch of ad hoc measures. In fact what we need is to have the two adjectives reversed, and “mature economic decision-making, transparent political and institutional settings”.

But now we are after the election, I’m sure the new Treasury Minister does not want to be reminded of the black hole in the States finances which he has just inherited. Expect a lot of fiscal and verbal flexibility from that direction!

Street Wise, not Street Works

Kevin Lewis promised if elected to bring in a Street Works Law by the end of the year. Will Eddie Noel manage to do this? Or will the Sir Humphreys in the Civil Service press the “reset button” and push it all back onto the drawing board yet again? Please, someone ask a question in the house.

Schools and Religion in Assembly

"Tobias Gosselin says his four-year-old daughter is being subjected to religious propaganda after a group called the Bible Society were invited into her school to hold assemblies on Christianity."

Parents have the right to ask for their children to be excused from school assembly on grounds that they do not agree with the religious element. Even when I was at school, the Jewish and Catholic students did so. So I really don't see why there is such a fuss.

In terms of the general content, what would alarm me would be that evolution would be denied, and creationist views proposed. If that was the case, even regardless of the right to take out a student, I would be extremely concerned. But no such accusation has been made, nor is there any indication that this is the case.

Most of the Old and New Testament is story - which may or may not be history - and sometimes more like a good yarn than fact. Moses is about to be the subject of a Ridley Scott blockbuster movie but I doubt whether any more than Cecile B De Mille, the religious element features highly. The story is a fabulous one, like European folk tales, or Greek myths. Stories like these form part of the English cultural heritage, and even Richard Dawkins acknowledges that.

Is it indoctrination for a religious element to be present in school assemblies? Going from the legacy of my own school days, I would say that generally it is a highly ineffectual one. As long as kindness, compassion, and not intolerance is the result, I have no problem with it.

But most parents can opt out and choose not to do so. Mr Gosselin would like to impose an "opt in" instead of an "opt out". I can't see why except that he would in fact like his own atheist views to be the default. Is that really fair either? It is substituting one kind of belief for another, and imposing it on children. I know that some of the more fervent atheists proclaim loudly that it is not a belief, but for those of us of a more agnostic frame of mind, it certainly seems to be, especially when expressed so forcefully.

Sex and Statistics

“More than 40 prostitutes – many of whom fly in from the UK to meet clients in hotels – have been working in Jersey during the past year, the JEP can reveal following a three-month investigation into the Island’s hidden sex trade.” (Jersey Evening Post)

The JEP loves to go for large showy headlines that give scary figures. But are the figures as scary as made out. While it says “more than 40”, it cannot mean many more, or it would put “more than 50”.

So let us look a a few facts.

40 in a population of around 100,000 even if transient, amounts to 0.04% of the population. That is a very small number.

In 2010, the number of prostitutes in the UK was estimated at 100,000, and the population at around 62.8 million, giving a percentage there of 0.16% of the population.

Were Jersey to have a comparative percentage, it would mean around 159 prostitutes in Jersey, which is considerably more than the headline JEP figure.

So whatever people think of the issues about whether it should be legal – and the JEP is conducting a self-selecting online poll – the fact is that the situation in the UK is that there are significantly more prostitutes as a percentage of population than Jersey.

The Legal Situation. 

In Procureur Général v Sangan, the accused was convicted of keeping a "maison de prostitution". 

It should also be noted that enforced prostitution is a crime under the Geneva Conventions Act (Jersey ) Order. Meanwhile, the Sexual Offences Act 2003, "criminalises the commercial sexual exploitation of children under eighteen for prostitution or the making of pornography and creates a range of gender neutral offences punishing those who exploit others by receiving money from prostitutes of either sex, those who manage or control the activities of prostitutes of either sex for money or reward and those who recruit men, women or children into prostitution whether or not for gain."

And there are also the procurement offences found in the Loi (1895) Modifiant le Droit Criminel and the offences of using a house for the purpose of prostitution, living on immoral earnings, soliciting for purposes of prostitution or controlling prostitutes with a view to gain, which latter offences are found in the Loi (1915) Modifiant le Droit Criminel.

Where the law has a gap is where prostitutes solicit without coercion (or evidence of coercion). However, they must have somewhere to ply their trade, and that might come under the offense of using a house for the purpose of prostitution.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Jersey Pottery - A great success story

I remember enjoying looking around Jersey potteries, and going for a sandwich with friends in the cafe they had - the Sail Loft - the restaurant was rather too expensive for me, and probably more the proper preserve of States members for dinners! My son also had an 11th birthday there, with the children all painting tiles which were glazed and taken to school in the week with a photo of each of them painting the tiles, as well as a birthday tea in the cafe.

So I will always have good memories of the pottery, except for the time when I first had sushi there, and dipped it in a generous portion of wasabi sauce, thinking it was mild, and nearly blew my head off. My son Roy was most amused at my downing a glass of orange juice in 10 seconds flat as tears streamed down my cheeks!

It was always a wonderful place for tourists - something to see, something to buy as a souvenir, and somewhere for a "comfort break". This article comes from Jersey Topic in 1965, when the tourism side was really starting to take off.

Sadly, it is all gone now. The site is well into being developed for housing. And the pottery is now made in the UK and shipped to Jersey for the town pottery shops. Quite how they have the nerve to call it "Jersey Pottery" when it no longer has a Jersey connection with manufacture, I do not know. It seems rather like an infringement of trades description, although the company HQ is still in Jersey, even if the pottery is made elsewhere. But the restaurant side flourishes elsewhere in the Island, strangely with the Jersey Pottery name, a legacy lingering on of a lost manufacturing and artistic past.

Jersey Pottery - A great success story

It was in a bar in New York that I first realised how far Jersey reaches out to many parts of the world. The bar was one of those crazy Ye Olde Englishe Pubs with waiters dressed in ridiculous hunting outfits-and the ashtrays were from the Jersey Pottery.

Two days later at the World's Fair I stopped to have a drink in the real English pub on show there. I turned over an ashtray advertising Courage and Barclay's Beer to find they too bore the stamp: "Jersey Pottery, C.I." So popular were these with the Americans that the pub went through 500 in less than a month-and even the Chairman of Courage & Barclays had to send an S.O.S. to Gorey to have one made for him.

I asked the owner of the Jersey Pottery, Mr. Clive Jones, just how far abroad he sent pottery made in Gorey. "It goes all over the world" he said. "We have regular orders from places like Kuwait, the Philippines, Peru, and Canada-anywhere you can think of". That day he had received a letter from Tenerife addressed to Mr. Clive Gorey, Jersey!

The success story of the Jersey Pottery is a remarkable one and there are few people in the island who know the extent of the business or who have ever been into the Potteries. This is a pity because it really is an eye-opener.

The Pottery started in 1946 at a time when English decorated ware was not permitted to be produced for home consumption but solely for the export market. This policy did not apply to Jersey and the Pottery began to produce colourful decorated fancy ware such as cruets and vinegar and oil bottles boldly decorated in gold and enamel. These were snapped up by people in England seeking colour for their homes after the utility years of the war and just after.

By 1950 however this lucrative market had come to an end. Increasing tariffs abroad and the release in England of home produced fancy goods had a telling effect on the fortunes of the Pottery and by the end of 1954 production had been drastically reduced and the staff consisted of only eight.

But before the light went out completely Clive Jones, then a young stockbroker who had been in the island since 1935, bought the company lock, stock and barrel for £5,500. He and his wife then set about completely re-shaping the activities of the company. In a year they had wiped off the debts of four years and made a profit of £112.

They re-shaped their policy around the tourist. "We decided that half a million people annually visiting the island we had a captive and transient population with a desire to take home something produced on the island as a permanent reminder of their visit to Jersey" said Mr. Jones.

So they replanned the Pottery to bring visitors right into the works to watch craftsmanship pottery being made in all its stages of production-the clay being thrown, cast, fettled, decorated, glazed and finally fired in the kiln.

"We set out deliberately to make the visitors feet as if they were, in fact, part of the operation. The movement of traffic was so arranged that visitors finished their progress through the works in the showroom where the goods could be purchased" he said. "By making this direct approach it was possible to attain a lower cost level by the simple mathematics of eliminating costs of transportation, agents' fees and retailers' overheads".

New designs had then to be created and production was stepped up to meet the demand. Highly skilled craftsmen in design and mould-making were brought in from Stoke-on-Trent and a thrower was obtained from one of the Devon potteries. Up-to-date modern equipment was installed. And by 1959 the company was well on its feet again.

"It was then that we took stock and planned for future development" said Mr. Jones. "I had a vision of the Pottery being set in a garden with trees and hundreds of rose bushes and flowers, pools and playing fountains. I saw all this against the backdrop of undulating farmlands and Mont Orgueil Castle and knew it could become a wonderful attraction."

The company acquired four acres of farm land from the Crown on lease to extend and modernise their buildings and provide adequate parking space for the busloads of tourists who were visiting the Pottery. This vision is now a reality for rose bushes have been growing for five years and the Pottery has become a major attraction for tourists. Last year over a quarter of a million visitors saw the craftsmen at work on all stages of production in comfortable, airy surroundings. And it has established itself as one of the major industries of the island, maintaining a staff of approximately 50 all the year round.

Production has increased from the use of 30 tons of raw material in 1959 to 100 tons last year of two different types of prepared clays and this material is used in the sixty designs of utility and fancy lines at the moment being produced in all shapes and sizes from ashtrays to posy bowls, large vases and coffee sets.

The products of the Pottery have, over a short span of time, developed a style and technique that has about it a feeling of `difference'. The chief designer, described by Mr. Jones as "a brilliant young man with two travelling scholarships and a Diploma of Distinction to his credit" works with a team of twelve decorators including Continental artists. Once the designer has produced his designs they go before the board of the Jersey Potteries which consists of Mr. and Mrs. Jones and their daughter, 28-year-old Carol and 25-year-old son Colin, who is Works Manager. "This is when the battles begin" said Mr. Jones with a smile. "We have a good struggle lasting about four days before deciding on designs.

Once the designs have been agreed the decorators interpret the basic designs in their own individual style, which ensures that each piece is individual in character". This individual licence in design, together with an all round high standard of craftsmanship has created a world-wide demand of Jersey Pottery.

Every year a little more development is initiated. 1964 saw the building of an annexe to the showroom to house two new sections for making basketwork and Bondaglass jewellery. Visitors can now also watch the thrower and mould maker at work. And only recently they opened a new modern showroom on the corner of Bond Street and Mulcaster Street.

What of the future? Has the Jersey Pottery reached its peak of development? "I like to think it has" said Mr. Jones. "I don't want it to get any bigger but would prefer to improve what we have here. But I say this every year. It's so difficult to stay static".

Somehow I have a feeling that this winter the concrete mixer and carpenter's hammer has been heard in the background as this remarkable industry takes a deep breath before plunging into another busy season. If you're in Gorey-go and see for yourself. It's an eye-opener.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Parable of the Good Pagan

A old parable with a modern twist....

The Parable of the Good Pagan
Desiring to justify herself, a priest's wife asked the Lord, "Who is my neighbour?"
The Lord answered:
A certain man was going down from Winchester to Canterbury. While he was still in Winchester, he fell among muggers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side, because the man was lying in another Diocese, and he said to himself, "I have no oversight there, and I must obey my Bishop, and not interfere in another Bishop's domain. If he would only crawl to my side of the path, I could help him. But I will pray for his soul". And he went on his way, assured that he was a righteous man who never did any hurt to others.
In the same way a politician also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side, saying "This is not my jurisdiction. My district ends on this side of the road. The other side is for another politician to look after. I must keep faith with my own constituents, and respect the boundaries of my neighbour. But I will inform the authorities, when I come to a village." And he went on his way, feeling satisfied that he had done his duty.
But a certain Pagan Druid, as he was travelling to Stonehenge, came upon where he lay. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil, and giving him mead to sip. He brought him to an inn, and took care of him until he was well.
And the Lord said: Who showed the greater pastoral care?
She said, "He who showed mercy on him."
Then the Lord said to her, "Go and do likewise

Saturday, 22 November 2014

A Grey Day in November

Today's poem is a villanelle, a poetic form particularly suited to evocations of mood.

A Grey Day in November

Damp, drizzle, of so wet, wet November rain
And I am wondering what to do today
As water trickles slowly down the window pane

Driving, misty windscreen, car in the slow lane
A long road, much traffic, town full of delay
Damp, drizzle, of so wet, wet November rain

At the sea front, car parked, sea a muddy stain
Blue overlaid with grey, looking across the bay
As water trickles slowly down the window pane

Waking in the damp leaves, mud is such a bane
Leaves rain showers, and the sky is grey
Damp, drizzle, of so wet, wet November rain

The goddess of the waters comes into her reign
And the cat slumbers by fire, dreaming of its prey
As water trickles slowly down the window pane

I like to be inside, warmth, such wetness to disdain
When the weather is so overcast across the bay
Damp, drizzle, of so wet, wet November rain
As water trickles slowly down the window pane

Friday, 21 November 2014

The Political Outsider - J.J. Le Marquand

Here’s an article from “Jersey Topic” on JJ Le Marquand, who was the “maverick politician” of his day. Clearly not left-leaning – he opposed the introduction of compulsory social security – he is perhaps best described as an independent Jersey libertarianism. Certainly his experiences during the Occupation taught him to value freedom, and the restrictions of post-war planning on the farming community irked him.

John James Le Marquand (1915-1975), universally known as 'JJ', was a prominent politician in Jersey in the 1950s and '60s. Coming from a St Ouen farming family, he taught himself law and became an Advocate of the Royal Court and then entered the States as a Senator, developing a reputation as a campaigner and champion of the ordinary Jerseyman.

He was a Deputy for St Ouen and then a Senator between 1948 and 1960, and a Senator between 1966 and 1975, the six year gap accounted for by his decision to change career from that of farmer to lawyer. This interview dates from 1965, while he was still studying for the law.

The carrying of a coffin into the Royal Square, mentioned below, was an act of protest in opposition to opposition to Insular Insurance, which is what Social Security contributions used to be termed. The Jersey Law review also mentions another amusing case:

“There is room for one anecdote about J.J.; in one case; after submitting to the Magistrate that "all the authorities were with [his] client”, the Magistrate is reported to have asked him to which authorities he referred. "They're too numerous to mention" replied J.J.”

And Mike Bisson from the Jersey Evening Post has this anecdote on Jerripedia:

"I recall an early Court case when he was defending a motorist who was accused of careless driving, for being responsible for a head-on collision at Hautes Croix. His client had been found to be driving on the wrong side of the road. This presented 'JJ' with what he thought was the perfect defence, because the parish boundary between St John and Trinity ran down the centre of the road at this point. "If my client was on the wrong side of the road, he was driving in St John, and the case has been improperly brought by the Centenier of Trinity, who has no jurisdiction," he argued to Magistrate Mr Michael Newell, who was not interested in this legal technicality and found the motorist guilty.

And I have an anecdote as well. My father once met him in the Royal Square on his way to the States building. There was a debate on some issue, and JJ said that he would be speaking against the proposition. “Actually, I tend to agree with it,” he told my father, “But I have to oppose it. It’s what people expect of me.”

Jersey Topic Article on J.J. Le Marquand, 1965

J. J. Le Marquand would not win any popularity polls amongst members of the States of Jersey. But outside of the House he commands great respect, He was perhaps the greatest political agitator of his day and many of his crusades are now part of our political history.

Two spring immediately to mind-his bitter opposition of the introduction of compulsory contributory pensions in 1950 when his supporters carried a coffin through the streets of St. Helier and his fight against National Service when he petitioned the Queen.

He believes passionately in the freedom of the individual and it was to gain this freedom that he first entered the States in 1948. Typically he was not asked by anyone to stand-he decided it was time he did. He won enormous support in his later Senatorial campaign when he was elected for nine years-but before he had completed this term he decided, at the age of 45, to become a lawyer. He passed his final examinations and was called to the English Bar last February. He was to be called to the Jersey Bar in late February but because of a legal technicality he now has to pass the examination in Jersey Law, which he intends to do.

J.J. Le Marquand on Jersey Politics in 1965

I first started to hate controls during the German Occupation of the Island. I learnt to put up with them because in the background was the firm and unshakeable belief that the end of the war would bring us back to the freedom which we lost and which I was sure the allies were trying so hard to restore.

With the Liberation of the island came a partial restoration to freedom - partial because one knew that some controls were necessary for a certain time whilst the island re-adjusted itself.

As time passed I, in common with many of my fellow islanders, realised that the tendency of the now so-called reformed States--the majority of whose members had stood on a progressive platform-was to encroach even further upon the liberty of the individual. It soon became obvious to me that the very freedom for which so many had died in the arena of war was now to be whittled away by power-crazy local politicians. It was my strong revulsion as a Jerseyman to the fact that the ordinary people of Jersey were being pushed about and virtually led by the nose that prompted me to stand as a Deputy for my native parish, St. Ouen.

If things were bad then, they are desperate now. Freedom of the individual is no longer apparent in this island of ours. The degree of control now administered by the Island Development and the Housing Committees, for instance, makes me very angry, particularly when I think of the wide discretionary powers granted to these Committees with no right of appeal. Jerseymen, brought up in a way of life that is basic and humble, at least felt masters of their own homes and free to do what they pleased with their own property, I can never see them continuing to abide by a policy that demands them to become completely subservient to the State and to have to beg permission for this, that and the other.

Even worse, this permission is sought from Committees very largely influenced and more often than not in the power of civil servants suffering from an exaggerated sense of power whose sole aim seems to be the creation of an all-embracing Establishment in the island.

The argument about land and property that is constantly advanced is that the sale of it must be strictly controlled in the interest of the public and the natural beauty of the island. This is all very well. But the property owner's position in Jersey is becoming one where he is expected to hold and maintain the responsibility of ownership, yet is deprived of the rights of such ownership. Surely if the State debars owners of their rights-in the so-called interest of the public - then equity demands that the State should take over the responsibility of such ownership.

At this very time there are countless numbers of Jersey originaires who find themselves with a considerable indebtedness attached to their land - often through no fault of their own but through a succession of disastrous years of farming. They find that they could more than clear this indebtedness by disposing of some of their land for building. The State forbids it - yet offers no compensation. I believe this to be utterly totalitarian in outlook.

There are many people who regard me as a trouble maker and a rebel. It is true that I was more often than not swimming against the tide when I was in the States-until I went out on parish meetings to discuss a particular subject with the ordinary electorate to find out that my views were their views.

This is hardly surprising for my background is their background. I was born of Jersey farming stock of many generations with a fair proportion of sea-faring ancestry on my mother's side. Being brought up in the country meant that all the influences surrounding me were traditionally Jersey and contributed greatly to my development as a person of simple but independent thinking. The way of life that I enjoyed was one based on hard realities with little or no time for artificialities. Our code-and indeed the code of all Jerseymen of this background - was to expect something out of life as a return for what one put into it.

Perhaps the biggest shock of my life was when I first experienced the heavy formal atmosphere of the States Chamber. I was soon to learn that to disagree with the majority was to invite sharp recrimination.

I was glad to have played an important part in breaking down a procedure that gave the public little or no chance of knowing just what was being foisted upon them until it was too late. I refer, of course, to the practice that was prevalent in those days of breaking the constitutional procedure as laid down by Her Majesty in Council for observance by the States when passing legislation. This procedure lays down quite clearly that all legislation must be presented, debated and then lodged for fourteen days to allow members to meet their constituents and find out their views. What was happening was that the subject was presented, then lodged without debate for fourteen days, then debated and voted upon immediately.

I violently opposed this and made it my business to have all important legislation lodged after debate and then called public meetings to ascertain the views of the electorate. It was at these meetings that I realised that my voice-which was alone in the States - was not unorthodox and that of a trouble-making individual but was shared by countless islanders. This was not surprising for their background as the same as mine, and those views were strongly re-inforced by those English people who had come to Jersey, tired out with strict controls and high taxation of a then Socialist England. I am sorry to see this practice has reverted back to what it was.

I have always had a strong interest in the law and about seven years ago decided to study and qualify. This I have done, thanks to the help and encouragement of two States members and indeed the former Bailiff, Lord Coutanche. It was they who made my acceptance by the Middle Temple possible without the normal educational qualifications for entry.

These have been difficult years, particularly in the initial stages when I found I had lost the technique for absorbing information. But fortunately my studies are now behind me and I look forward to taking my place in the legal profession in Jersey feeling that I do so with a profound knowledge of human nature and long experience of dealing practically with day to day problems.

What the future holds for me I do not :now. I have had many setbacks and disappointments, perhaps the greatest one being in February when, on a legal point, my application for admittance to the Jersey bar was turned down. But I am utterly determined to take my place here as a practising advocate and all I can do is pray that I will be given the strength, the health, the courage and the ability to fight for justice for all sections of the community.

Politically my future is less certain. I feel that in fairness to my family f must establish myself here in practice. Secondly my return to the States depends on the Island electorate. If the people of Jersey are satisfied with present-day trends of high unnecessary expenditure and strict controls over their way of life they have my sympathy - for well they need it. But if, as I believe, they are determined to see Jersey return to some vestige of its former way of life I will be only too happy to put every effort into realising this.

For conversations with many people recently have convinced me that the majority of islanders are highly dissatisfied with present trends. Their views were summed up by a good friend recently who declared: "Never in the history of Jersey, have so many people been pushed around by so few".