Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Andium: More Transparency on Income Flows

















Andium: More Transparency on Income Flows

A Freedom of Information request yielded this:

“Information on the annual value of Income Support is publically available as part of the Social Security Department’s Annual Report. Where information is provided on the expenditure of individual components (housing component) it is available as an estimate based on a percentage of the total expenditure of Income Support.”

It is almost impossible to find the figures for the income support rental component relating to Andium Homes in their reports.

But thanks to a recent question by Deputy Tadier, we have a figure for 2016.

Looking at Andium Homes, their 2016 report states that:

“We will generate rental income through the continued implementation of the rent policy adopted by the States of Jersey. The rent policy provides tenants with a 10% discount compared with the private market as well as full provision for assistance in the form of Income Support, dependent on individual circumstances. Rental income funds all of our expenditure including maintenance costs and the development of new homes (through repayment of loans). The rent policy is vital to our business model and therefore to the delivery of Decent Homes and the provision of more homes”

“In 2016, we outperformed our budget and delivered an operating surplus (before depreciation and impairments) and project similar surpluses for all future years included in the 2016-2020 Strategic Business Plan.”

“We are pleased to report an operating surplus before depreciation & impairment of £5,757k (2015: £2,795k) (compared to the budgeted surplus of £3,898k). This is after returning the agreed £27,728k (2015: £27,439k) to the Guarantor.”

“The Company has delivered the agreed return to the States of Jersey of £27,728k for the year. In accordance with the Transfer Agreement entered in to between Andium Homes and the States of Jersey, the Company will continue to deliver a quarterly return to the States of Jersey of £7,010k which will continue to be adjusted annually in October by Jersey RPI.”

Does that sound good? Andium Homes is returning to the States £27,728k for 2016.

But in answer to a question to the States, Deputy Susie Pinel noted that:

“I can report that the total amount of income support allocated to rental payments for Andium tenants in 2016 was £16.5 million across 2,884 tenants.”

She also goes on to say that:

“The total amount of income support allocated to rental payments for other trust tenants was £3.3 million across 590 tenants. The total amount of income support allocated to rental payments for private sector tenants was £9.5 million across 1,868 tenants.”

And notes that:

“The rent policy that Andium set was so that we can pay back the loan of £250 million that we needed to fund this work. Tenants pay rent at below market value of 90 per cent of the market rate and enjoy a secure tenancy and the extra support that Andium provides.”

I have no doubt that Andium is delivering homes, and is better placed to do so that the States Housing Committee. I do not want to see this change. But what I do want is better transparency concerning the flow of income into Andium from the States as well as the flow back.

Where we have Rental Income of £46,091k in the accounts, it should be noted that £16,500k of that is in fact being funded by the States that is 35%. That’s not an insignificant amount.

The net return to the States then is £11,228k. That’s still good, but it is not perhaps as glowingly high as pronounced in the accounts.

The States funding via income support rental component does not appear in the accounts, but in the interests of transparency, I think it should, rather than having to be teased out by means of questions by States members.

I would also like Social Security to make the replies to Deputy Tadier’s email form a distinct and easily locatable part of their annual report.

We do need more transparency on income flows.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Advocating The Jersey Way



Advocating The Jersey Way

In Connect magazine this month, local Advocate Olaf Blakeley focuses on a phrase which has gained notoriety in recent months, following the publication of the report of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry: "the Jersey Way..."

"Words and their interpretations differ from time to time and from person to person. A few years ago you could type ‘Olaf Jersey’ into Google and you’d find me; nowadays, when you type that, you get a list of pages showing children’s jumpers with a snowman on the front, who likes warm hugs.

"The problem with the negative interpretation of ‘The Jersey Way’ is that it is based on beliefs which cannot stand up to logical assessment. The words, negatively used, imply there is a corruption that exists between cliques and clans to keep things secret which should be public. Well, what things? And how? Secret meetings between those in power who huddle together and plot? Really?

And yet Ian Gorst, speaking about the behind the scenes machinations which led to Philip Ozouf being dismissed as Assistant Minister, commented on “skulduggery in dark corridors”. Indeed he mentions that there had been “Conversations had behind closed doors, along darkened corridors, shadowy figures with half-truths and innuendo with supposed facts.”

So who is correct? Olaf Blakely, who does not sit in the States, who is only an outside observer, or the Chief Minister, who can see all too well what has been happening? I would say that the weight of probability is that Olaf Blakely is presenting a far too rose tinted picture, which cannot stand up scrutiny.

"If people believe it’s the States - our politicians - who do this, where do they do it? It can’t be in the open debates where propositions are passed in front of the glare of the public. That’s not secret. If people believe it’s the judiciary how is that possible when court sittings are in public? I’ve tried and failed to have private court hearings, with judges rejecting my submissions for a private hearing on the basis that they must be open to the public.

But not all the decision making is in the public domain, in the States. It is disingenuous of the Advocate to suggest that everything that goes on is public. If he reads the Care Inquiry report, he will see many case where matters never get to the States or to the Courts.

He will see how Anton Skinner decided to conceal the abuse by the Maguires because he thought it would be easier to get them out from their post, and a letter thanking them, which he admitted was phoney, was concocted as part of that process.

And while it is open to scrutiny in part by the public, has he noticed the raft of Ministerial decisions which don’t all come before the States. Often the details are noted to be in a report, which is not available because of “commercial sensitivity” or one of the other excuses to keep information secret.

And just look at the delays which Scrutiny had in trying to prise information about the Finance Centre from the States of Jersey Development Fund.

To say nothing of the JEP leader which said:

“Rather than giving the most vulnerable young people the security and safety that each one of us would want for our own children, on countless occasions the people charged with their care ignored their concerns, their allegations of suffering, and the abuse went unchecked. The States was described as an 'ineffectual and neglectful substitute parent'.”

Not doing something, or trying to avoid doing something – as Terry Le Sueur did with the Care Inquiry itself when he was Chief Minister, may not be as visible, but it is still there. Look at the way in which we didn’t really need a Commissioner for children because we had the Williamson report, and everything was on track – and then read Chief Inspector Alison Fossey on how the Williamson report was defective in a number of ways.

"To be frank, I’m a little fed up with people moaning and asserting there is a ‘Jersey Way,’ applying a negative definition. It makes no sense. I would never try to deny that it’s possible that some people may have a little sway here and there where others may not: a parking ticket ‘overlooked’ or, more seriously, a planning application passed, which ought not to be. But to label this the ‘Jersey Way’ insinuates that if it exists, it only exists in Jersey. Get a grip. Do people honestly think the UK, France, Germany or Spain are all absent of such possible practices? It’s absurd.

Of course such practices do occur elsewhere, and they often get names associated with them. The government of John Major was associated with the word “sleaze” depicting low moral standards, and financial chicanery that was just short of illegal.

Now the practices which have gone on in Jersey – neglect, looking the other way etc – have been clustered into what Richard Dawkins would call a “meme”, a phrase into which all kinds of bad practice and malpractice and neglect

“The most recent criticism of the phrase has come from the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry. The Inquiry heard the term used frequently by those appearing before it and, oddly, seemed to latch onto it. I am very surprised. I’m very surprised that an intelligent chair of the Inquiry allowed a recommendation to be made that in order to dispel or remove the perception of the Jersey Way there should be a separation of powers between the political and the judicial sectors. There is already.”

Well, The Bailiff makes decisions about who may or may not be allowed to speak, or put questions in the States, or about the propriety of a member’s conduct. Such decisions may well be challenged in the Royal Court on grounds of illegality but, of course, the Bailiff cannot sit to hear and determine those challenges to his own actions.

Recently the Bailiff was sitting over a States sitting discussing the Bellozanne covenant, which had of course, been subject to a court case, which at the time was ongoing. He had presided over the Court, and was now presiding over the States. After challenged by Simon Crowcroft, he recused himself.

Can the learned Advocate please explain to me how this ties in with his assertion that there is a separation of powers between political and judicial sectors, because it seems to be that he is living on another Island?

"The politicians who make up the States Assembly are not our judges. True, some used to be lawyers but none of the politicians make judicial decisions. The only common parties are the Bailiff and/or the Deputy Bailiff. But, with the greatest respect to both of those office holders, they do nothing in the States. Of course, they have a role, but they don’t make decisions or even influence decisions. How on earth could an intelligent committee come to such a conclusion applying logic? Applying sensible reasoning, how on earth could the replacement of the Bailiff and Deputy Bailiff in the States suddenly signal the death of the Jersey Way (if ever it lived)?

But what about reform of the Bailiff’s office to make it fit for purpose? The Advocate cannot see that there are problems with the position of the Bailiff as it stands and this needs changing if the role is to be kept.

"I honestly believe that those who believe that secret handshakes exist between those in power have never either properly thought about the issue, or stepped foot in either the States or our Island courts. I have. Both. I have been in numerous court hearings in which judges have declared at the onset possible conflicts between their roles and the subject matter to be adjudicated. I have been called into judges’ chambers where a judge has explained to me he/she cannot sit on the forthcoming matter because of a possible conflict. I have attended the Bailiff in his chambers on urgent legal matters which have either been audio recorded, or conducted in front of the Judicial Greffe, for record keeping purposes.”

This is a straw man argument. Olaf Blakely paints an idea of conspiracy with secret handshakes as if this is the way things are done. He knows that is hardly likely to be the case. He also concentrates on the Royal Court, where behind the scenes deals are far less likely to occur, and where the scope is proportionally more limited than the States Chamber.

But real life works much more like that described in C.S. Lewis essay “The Inner Ring”, when he look at War and Peace, and comments:

“In the passage I have just read from Tolstoy, the young second lieutenant Boris Dubretskoi discovers that there exist in the army two different systems or hierarchies. The one is printed in some little red book and anyone can easily read it up. It also remains constant. A general is always superior to a colonel, and a colonel to a captain. The other is not printed anywhere. Nor is it even a formally organised secret society with officers and rules which you would be told after you had been admitted. You are never formally and explicitly admitted by anyone. You discover gradually, in almost indefinable ways, that it exists and that you are outside it; and then later, perhaps, that you are inside it.”

And he describes how this semi-informal group works out in practice:

“There are no formal admissions or expulsions. People think they are in it after they have in fact been pushed out of it, or before they have been allowed in: this provides great amusement for those who are really inside. It has no fixed name. The only certain rule is that the insiders and outsiders call it by different names. From inside it may be designated, in simple cases, by mere enumeration: it may be called “You and Tony and me.”

"When it is very secure and comparatively stable in membership it calls itself “we.” When it has to be expanded to meet a particular emergency it calls itself “all the sensible people at this place.” From outside, if you have despaired of getting into it, you call it “That gang” or “they” or “So-and-so and his set” or “The Caucus” or “The Inner Ring.” If you are a candidate for admission you probably don’t call it anything. To discuss it with the other outsiders would make you feel outside yourself. And to mention talking to the man who is inside, and who may help you if this present conversation goes well, would be madness.”


This is far more what happens out of site than the Dan Brown fantasy of Olaf Blakely. There is no secret society of the Illuminati in the States. But it would be a fool indeed who assumed therefore that there would as a consequence be no inner rings.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

All Bishops and Curates?

Bishops and Curates














From "The Pilot", 1968, comes this, an interesting historical ramble.

Some Church Customs Explained
By S.G. Thicknesse


All Bishops and Curates?

THE prayer for the whole state of Christ's Church reduces to order the confusion of clerical titles. In England there are only, practically speaking, two orders, the episcopal and the priestly. Although it is easily arguable that the office of deacon is another, as it was before the Reformation, it is in fact only very rarely now a lifelong calling in the Anglican Church.

It has come to be generally regarded rather as the necessary preliminary step to the priestly order.

The other minor clerical orders, of subdeacon, reader, exorcist, and doorkeeper, disappeared much more completely from post-Reformation England.

Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple














Yet if the orders are but two, the administrative ranks are numerous. An English bishop (the Anglo-Saxon attempt at saying episcopus) can become, `by divine Providence,' his Grace, the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England, or his Grace, the Lord Archbishop of York, Primate of England.


Metropolitan










Elsewhere, as in the Greek Orthodox archbishopric of Jerusalem, the title is still Metropolitan, and in some sees with mighty histories in both Greek and Roman Churches, like Constantinople, the title is Patriarch.

To the Archbishop of Canterbury, the bishops of twenty-eight dioceses are suffragan, that is assistant and subject in jurisdiction, as are thirteen to the Archbishop of York. Similarly, diocesan bishops have suffragan bishops, under their jurisdiction responsible for part of the see.
















It was when, in the great mediaeval dioceses of England (the Bishopric of Lincoln, for example, included the counties of Rutland, Northampton and Oxford), the bishop was so much away from his Cathedral city, that somebody in full priest's orders-the dean-became master in his place of the business of the Cathedral.

When divisions of big dioceses have taken place after 1882, and parish churches become cathedrals, the new dean has usually been called provost. This was because of the Crown's warning that all deans were appointed by the Crown, not by anybody else.

Because the title of dean belonged mediaevally to the chairman of other bodies besides cathedral chapters, it is still to be found elsewhere. 

In the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, for example, the dean is as a rule responsible for the discipline and morals of the undergraduate members of the college. In the supreme ecclesiastical court in England, the court of the Arches (the corrupted form of ecclesia Beatae Mariae de Arcubus, St. Mary-le-Bow, where the court was held), the president is called the dean. The Bishop of London is dean of the Chapels Royal. 

Although they are in the diocese of Winchester, the islands of Guernsey and Jersey each retains a dean of its own. 

Dean of Jersey












When parishes were grouped for administrative purposes, the chairman of each group was, and is, the rural dean. In the dioceses of Exeter and Leicester he has always been entitled the Dean of Christianity.

It was not only in the affairs of his cathedral that a mediaeval bishop, also lord of great temporal estates, had to delegate responsibility. He had to delegate it, besides, throughout his diocese. His subordinate officer, at first the bishop's deacon, in time gained a good deal of independence and called himself archdeacon. He held a jurisdiction second only to the bishop's, and became responsible for the administration of church revenues, for ecclesiastical and clerical discipline, and for the morals of the laity.

Although from the eighth century the archdeacon had usually been in priest's orders, it was not until 1662 that English law required him to be so, nor until a century ago that it stipulated that nobody should become an archdeacon who had not been at least six years in priest's orders.

Archdeacon












The ancient, powerful, and much disliked, Archdeacon's Court has scarcely functioned in England since the seventeenth century. But every archdeacon is still responsible for the state of parishes and the fabric of churches, making visitation and instituting churchwardens, though now usually in part not the whole of a diocese. 

Although in procession the archdeacon comes after the dean, he has long had an important place in many cathedral chapters and, in the diocese at large, an eminence so venerable as to be capable of rousing the envy of deans.

By Trollope's day he had long outlived an unpopularity which had forced that distinguished scholar, John of Salisbury (d. 1180), to exclaim `Is it possible for an archdeacon to be saved?'

Archdeacon (right) in The Barchester Chronicles


Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Seven Ages of Bruce











Sir Bruce Forsyth died last month. 

By way of a tribute to his career, and by way of a conceit based on William Shakespeare's "All the World's A Stage" in "As You Like It", here is my poem about his career which I'd forgotten about until this week.

The original speech it is based on is here:

The Seven Ages of Bruce

All the world's a stage,
And Sir Bruce Forsyth was one of many players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, infant Brucie,
Tapping his feet against the cot in rhythm
Then the “Mighty Atom” schoolboy, with his song
And dance, and accordion, creeping like snail
Slowly into show business. And then the troubadour
Summer seasons, pantomime, with a cheerful ballad
And as bright as Buttons. Then an airman,
Called up to National Service, flight of fancy
Entertaining the troops, sudden and quick in repartee
Seeking the bubble reputation
In the London Palladium. And then the compere,
In fair sleek suits, and didn’t he do well
With eyes twinkling, and sparkling wit
Full of wise saws and generation games;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and witty dancing show host,
With nimble feet, and lady assistant on side;
A sunset flowering, quickly dancing, a hit world wide
For his last years, and his welcoming voice,
Turning again in quick step, gives a show
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is fading into limelight, and mere oblivion,
Nice to have seen him, now sans everything.
Farewell, Brucie!

Friday, 15 September 2017

Jersey Our Island: One for the Road – Part 3


Published in 1950, this is an interesting snapshot of the Island and its customs as it was in the immediate post-war period, and not without humour. Most guide books of the time give the tourist information, or give the impressions of an outsider to the Island, but this is in "inside view", which is rarer. 

Jersey Our Island: One for the Road – Part 3
By Sidney Bisson

All these relics of the feudal system are not mere pageantry. As the deeds of my house remind me, the lords of manors still have certain seigneurial rights. They may no longer hold their own courts and levy fines on their vassals. Nor can they now compel them to bring grain to be milled at the manorial mill.

But the Seigneur of St. Ouen still has the right to grant taverners' licences without reference to the Licensing Assembly. And whenever anyone dies without leaving a direct heir, the seigneur of the fief on which his property is situated enjoys the income from it for a year and a day.

In practice, this right is usually commuted. Instead of burdening himself with the management of an estate for a year, the seigneur allows the collateral heir to take immediate possession and accepts an agreed sum by way of compensation.

However it is worked, it is a curious survival from the days when a vassal held land from his lord in return for services rendered. If the vassal died without issue it was natural enough for the seigneur to step in until the rightful heir could be traced. Now he has the right to step in even if the heir is on the spot. Truly we have progressed much.

Recent legislation has given buyers of property the option of extinguishing this right on payment of compensation to the lord of the manor at the rate of three or four per cent of the purchase price, according to the nature of the property. But human nature being what it is, most purchasers who have no children prefer to leave their collateral heirs to fight it out with the seigneur rather than burden themselves with the additional payment.

Only when a company or other corporate body buys property is it compulsory to compound seigneurial rights. For as a company cannot die, the lord of the manor can have no expectation of enjoying its income in the absence of direct heirs.

In early mediaeval times, when the feudal lord was also entitled to a kind of death duty known as relief when anyone who held land from him died, the case was met by the corporate body, which was usually the Church, nominating one of its members as homme vivant, mourant, et confisquant. He was officially responsible to the lord of the manor for the payment of his dues, and when he died relief was payable by the body who had nominated him. They then, of course, had to look round for another healthy young man whom they could nominate.

Various attempts have been made to abolish seigneurial rights altogether, and in 1886 the States actually passed a Bill which would have brought this about. But Bills passed by the States must, like those passed by the English Parliament, receive the King's assent before they become law. In this case the Privy Council, which acts for the King in these matters, withheld its assent, apparently because the compensation suggested was thought to be inadequate.

The King, in fact, (or rather, in actual practice, the Treasury) has a special interest in the collection of feudal dues, for many of the fiefs into which the island is divided have in the course of time reverted by escheat or confiscation to their royal overlord. It is not surprising therefore that the Treasury will not accept complete extinction of seigneurial rights without a rate of compensation that it considers adequate.

The lords of manors, as such, exercise no legislative functions, though when a Seigneur of St. Ouen was elected jurat in 1915 he claimed (and was granted) precedence over the other eleven jurats by reason of his `lordship.' Together with the Bailiff, the jurats, who are elected for life, constitute the Royal Court, which deals with both civil and criminal cases.

When I first wrote this chapter they also sat in the States, which, in addition to them, consisted of the Rectors of the twelve parishes (appointed by the Crown), the twelve `Constables,' and seventeen Deputies elected by popular franchise.

The Lieutentant-Governor, who is the King's representative in the island, actually takes no part in the civil government. His right to veto legislation passed by the States does not appear to have been exercised since 1882, when he vetoed a measure for controlling the Public Markets and was publicly thanked by a meeting of the electors of St. Helier for having done so.

As soon as the islanders had begun to recover from the effects of the German occupation, there arose a vigorous demand for the democratisation of the States. Most people regarded the presence of the Rectors as an anachronism and wanted to see them replaced by elected Deputies. Some also wished to remove the jurats from the States, though others would have been content to limit their term of office. It was not long before I discovered that reform was the principal topic of conversation and that the end of my holiday might see a different kind of government in power. How the transformation took place I shall describe in a later chapter.

For the purposes of local government the island is divided into twelve parishes, and anyone who pays over a certain amount in rates can attend and vote at the Parish Assembly. It is surprising how few avail themselves of the privilege, considering that it is the Assembly that fixes the rates.

It would be quite possible for a score of irresponsible ratepayers to swamp an assembly and carry a proposal to halve the rates or even pay no rates at all. What usually happens is that the Constable tells the assembled ratepayers how much he needs to make ends meet and they meekly agree. If the Constable wants to be re-elected at the end of his term of office he will see to it that the rates stay reasonably low.

Not that he gets anything by being re-elected, except the honour and the glory. For like the members of the States, local government officers give their services free, for the good of the cause. Theirs is a complicated hierarchy, starting with the Constable, who administers the affairs of the parish and is the chief of its police. Going down the scale we have the Centeniers, who perform most of the police duties; the Vingteniers, who collect the rates; the Constable's Officers, who assist the Centeniers.

Then there are the Procureurs du Bien Public or Parish Trustees, the Roads Committee and the Road Inspectors, the School Council, the Appraisers (who have certain duties in connection with the partition of real property), and the Experts, who assess the rateable value of property. They are all elected by their fellow parishioners and hold office for varying terms. If we had to pay them all, the rates would go up a hundredfold.

Much of the sting is taken out of your rate assessment notice by its careful avoidance of any reference to pounds, shillings and pence. Later in the year I shall no doubt get one of those pleasant little forms, telling me that I have been rated at so many `quarters' as proprietor, so many as occupier of my house, a reminder that rates were once paid by measure in kind.

Before the introduction of income tax in 1928 rates on real property were payable by the owner, not the occupier. There was, however, an additional rate on personal property with an exemption limit of C12o. So if a millionaire came to live in Jersey to escape English income tax, he would find himself rated not only on the value of his house (if he had bought it) but also on some hypothetical amount representing the value of his personal possessions.

No returns being called for, the assessment for this mobiliary rate (as it was called) was usually generously low. If you found it too high (and as Rate Lists were published showing what everyone paid you could always compare your assessment with your neighbour's), you could get it reduced on providing proof that you were not so well off as the parish experts presumed.

The mobiliary rate was, in fact, a rudimentary form of income tax, although the amount of one's personal property is not always a reliable index to one's income. But in general the rich paid more than the poor and complaints were few. With the introduction of a form of income tax based on the English model, it was felt that mobiliary rate had become redundant and it was abolished.

To replace it, the occupier of a house was brought into line with the proprietor and rated according to its rental value. Fortified by this preliminary cocktail, you will, I hope, be in better shape for the journey that lies before us. Whilst I have been writing this, the glass has gone up, Elizabeth Castle has receded to its proper distance, and the Minquiers have faded out of sight. It looks like being fine tomorrow. If it is, I shall really be able to start my holiday.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

And so to bed

And so to bed... taken from my regular late night posts on Facebook.












And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Sara Baume:

The old summer's-end melancholy nips at my heels. There's no school to go back to; no detail of my life will change come the onset of September; yet still, I feel the old trepidation.










And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Edward Hirsch

Every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.









And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Karen Hesse:

And because the rain came
so patient and slow at first,
and built up strength as the earth
remembered how to yield,
instead of washing off,
the water slid in,
into the dying ground
and softened its stubborn pride,
and eased it back toward life.












And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Dorothy Day:

Maybe I was praying for him then, in my own way. Does God have a set way of prayer, a way that He expects each of us to follow? I doubt it. I believe some people-- lots of people-- pray through the witness of their lives, through the work they do, the friendships they have, the love they offer people and receive from people. Since when are words the only acceptable form of prayer?









And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Jean Vanier:

One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn't as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.















And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Charles Dickens:

So does a whole world, with all its greatnesses and littlenesses, lie in a twinkling star. And as mere human knowledge can split a ray of light and analyse the manner of its composition, so, sublimer intelligences may read in the feeble shining of this earth of ours, every thought and act, every vice and virtue, of every responsible creature on it.



















And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Tennyson:

The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.













And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time:

Suddenly there was a great burst of light through the Darkness.The light spread out and where it touched the Darkness the Darkness disappeared.The light spread until the patch of Dark Thing had vanished, and there was only a gentle shining, and through the shining came the stars, clear and pure. Then, slowly, the shining dwindled until it, too, was gone, and there was nothing but stars and starlight. No shadows. No fear. Only the stars and the clear darkness of space, quite different from the fearful darkness of the Thing.
“You see!” the Medium cried, smiling happily. “It can be overcome! It is being overcome all the tim


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Vote of Censure












The Bailiff: Minister, do not go down this road, please.

The vote on whether to censure Deputy Andrew Lewis has been passed. Members voted 29 in favour, 16 against the motion. The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry found Deputy Lewis had lied to the inquiry and to the States over comments regarding the suspension of a Police Chief in 2008.

The vote of censure amounts to an official reprimand for breaching the States Members’ Code of Conduct.

The PPC proposal is worth reading because it lays out grounds for the proposal:

(a) the findings of the I.J.C.I. (reproduced below) that he lied in 2008 in the States Assembly. That lie, in itself, constituted a breach of the Code.

“10.40 We find that Andrew Lewis lied to the States Assembly about the Metropolitan Police Service report, stating that he had had sight of it when he had not. We can readily see why these acts have given rise to public suspicion that all or some of those involved were acting improperly and that they were motivated by a wish to discredit or close down investigations into child abuse.”;

(b) that irrespective of the findings of the I.J.C.I., he misled the Assembly in 2008 and did not seek to rectify the situation at the earliest opportunity. Moreover, his subsequent robust defence of his position and failure to acknowledge and apologise for having misled the Assembly, even during the PPC hearing, constituted a breach of the Code.

Listening to the debate, it is clear that while some members did agree with (b), they could not assent to (a) and did not wish to do so by a vote for the whole proposition, even if their words would have made it plain which part of the proposition they ruled out.

In the case of part (b), the comments on the proposition are significant:

The Committee does not consider that Deputy Lewis was entirely candid during the hearing. He maintained that he had “no idea that this perceived error was of any significance” whilst he was out of the States, until “several years later … probably around the Napier review, which is 2 years later”. He affirmed that the first time he was publicly able to correct the information, was after the 2014 election when standing for a Ministerial position and his Public Accounts Committee Chairman’s role, during which time he “robustly defended his intention not to mislead”. 

However, he made a statement which was reported by bloggers on social media, as well as in the Jersey Evening Post on 12th February 2010, which suggests he was aware in 2010 of a growing public perception of a conflict surrounding the accounts of those involved in Mr. Power’s suspension. Furthermore, the exchanges recorded in Hansard on 6th November 2014 clearly indicate that Deputy Lewis had been aware of the allegations during the previous 6 years.

Deputy Lewis has had ample opportunity to correct this misunderstanding since 2008, and the Committee does not accept that because he was no longer an elected member he was unable to do this. Anyone can make a statement to the media

Instead of resolving the matter in 2008, or apologising for not doing so subsequently, Deputy Lewis has chosen to robustly defend and justify his actions; question why the Law Officers did not step in to correct his mistake; provide e-mail exchanges to intimate he was not party to the machinations of civil servants behind the scenes; blame pressure of work and his lack of familiarity or experience in his role; question the motives, political or otherwise, of those who have sought to raise this issue over the intervening years; and, most recently, to claim that the way in which he was treated by the I.J.C.I. was ‘unjust’.

Indeed Deputy Lewis, even during the hearing, did not appear to the Committee to accept that he had made a mistake and continued to robustly defend his actions: “What I have done is use the wrong language to describe a report and some Members have clearly been misled by that.”.

At no point, until the release of a media statement after the hearing, did Deputy Lewis say unequivocally that he was sorry. This statement was not circulated to States Members.

When, in the hearing, it was highlighted that, during the in-Committee debate on 7th July 2017, he had said: “the Assembly deserves an apology from me”, he admitted he had forgotten he had said that, and then stated: “… well there’s an apology. I had not realised I’d said that ... I think that is almost an apology … I think that’s the sort of similes one would use if they were making an apology.” This is not acceptable and it is not honourable.

The Voting was as follows:

Members voted 29 in favour, 16 against the motion.

The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry found Deputy Lewis had lied to the inquiry and to the States over comments regarding the suspension of a Police Chief in 2008.

*Senator Paul Francis Routier M.B.E. Pour
*Senator Ian Joseph Gorst Pour
Senator Sarah Craig Ferguson Pour

Connétable Alan Simon Crowcroft Pour
Connétable Leonard Norman Pour
Connétable Deidre Wendy Mezbourian Pour
Connétable Juliette Gallichan Pour
Connétable Michael John Paddock Pour
Connétable Stephen William Pallett Pour
Connétable Sadie Anthea Le Sueur-Rennard Pour
Connétable John Edward Le Maistre Pour

Deputy Judith Ann Martin Pour
Deputy Geoffrey Peter Southern Pour
Deputy Carolyn Fiona Labey Pour
Deputy Jacqueline Ann Hilton Pour
Deputy Kevin Charles Lewis Pour
Deputy Montfort Tadier Pour
Deputy Tracey Anne Vallois Pour
Deputy Michael Roderick Higgins Pour
Deputy Jeremy Martin Maçon Pour
*Deputy Stephen George Luce Pour
*Deputy Kristina Louise Moore Pour
Deputy Samuel Yves Mezec Pour
Deputy Louise Mary Catherine Doublet Pour
Deputy Russell Labey Pour
Deputy Scott Michael Wickenden Pour
Deputy Simon Muir Bree Pour
Deputy Murray Julian Norton Pour
Deputy Terence Alexander McDonald Pour

*Senator Alan John Henry Maclean Contre
*Senator Lyndon John Farnham Contre
Connétable John Martin Refault Contre
Connétable Michel Philip Sydney Le Troquer Contre
Connétable Christopher Hugh Taylor Contre
Connétable Philip Bond Le Sueur Contre

Deputy John Alexander Nicholas Le Fondré Contre
*Deputy Anne Enid Pryke Contre
*Deputy Edward James Noel Contre
*Deputy Susan Jane Pinel Contre
*Deputy Roderick Gordon Bryans Contre
Deputy Andrew David Lewis Contre
Deputy Richard John Renouf Contre
Deputy Robert David Johnson Contre
Deputy Graham John Truscott Contre
Deputy Peter Derek McLinton Contre
Deputy Richard John Rondel Not present for vote
Senator Philip Francis Cyril Ozouf Ill
Senator Sir Philip Martin Bailhache Ill
Senator Andrew Kenneth Francis Green M.B.E. Ill

Ian Gorst gave what I think was probably the best speech in the debate.

This debate highlighted a very divided Council of Ministers (marked *), where 4 voted pour and 6 voted against - it would have been 7 if Sir Philip Bailhache had been well.

On the other hand, most of the Constables who came in for criticism as a "block vote" voted "Pour".

In my Parish, I was pleased to see Steve Pallett, Montfort Tadier and Murray Norton vote "pour" but rather upset that Graham Truscott voted "contre".

On of the most distressing parts of Deputy Andrew Lewis defence, repeated on BBC Radio Jersey, and which he has made earlier, was that what he said made no material difference anyway. In other words, whether or not he lied was immaterial because there were no consequences to function of Operational Rectangle as a result. This is a comment which could have been culled from a utilitarian philosopher.

In classical utilitarianism, for example, adultery is not wrong if one's partner is not made to suffer by it. Deputy Lewis seems to be saying that because Operational Rectangle was not impeded by what he said, it didn't in fact matter whether he mislead the house, albeit unknowingly!

That is a very fast and loose attitude to truth, and that confirms to my mind, that the States were absolutely right to censure the Deputy.

Other background on the debate can be found here:
http://tonymusings.blogspot.com/2017/08/a-very-casual-approach.html
http://tonymusings.blogspot.com/2017/07/andrew-lewis-and-care-inquiry.html
http://tonymusings.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-secret-state.html
http://tonymusings.blogspot.com/2014/08/today-i-have-guest-posting-on-former.html

Postscript:

I notice that Bailiwick Express pointed out that Simon Bree had picked up on this utilitarian approach to truth:

Deputy Lewis also found himself under fire from more critical members of the PPC panel, including Deputy Simon Bree who refuted claims that the alleged lie was not material to any decision taken by the States: “Irrespective of whether you feel that the suspension of the Police Chief was good or not, I’m afraid that, in my book, the end never justifies the means. That excuse has been used by dictators, despots and tyrants throughout mankind’s history and, I’m afraid, I refuse to accept that as a legitimate political stance.”