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".

Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Borderlands of Sark

What is happening to Sark?

The BBC news report notes that

“All the hotels in Sark owned by the Barclay brothers will be closed in 2015. The four hotels, Dixcart Bay, Petit Champ, La Moinerie and Aval du Creux, are no longer accepting bookings. No-one from the management company, Sark Island Hotels, has yet commented on the closures.” (1)

It also notes that “Two of the four hotels, Aval de Creux and Petit Champ, did not open this summer.”.

Now that gives a slightly different complexion on the story from that reported elsewhere, as a number of reports give the impression that all the hotels have closed. In fact, two were already closed for this year, so it is just the remaining two which will be closed. Another report from the BBC gives this impression:

“The closure of most of the hotels in Sark could affect tourism in the rest of the Bailiwick, VisitGuernsey has warned. The closure of the four hotels run by Sark Island Hotels was revealed on Thursday” (2)

But it is not the closure of four hotels, it is two hotels last year – which does not seem to have caused much notice, and the closure of the other two this year, Elsewhere on Sark, of course, there are two more hotels, 10 guest houses, and 16 6 self-catering properties and two campsites. It is by no means devoid of beds for tourists. In fact 160 of the 500 beds for visitors will be lost.

So why is there so much notice this time, and not earlier when two of the hotels did not open in 2015? The answer has surely to be the press release in the Sark News by Kevin Delaney. The paper is the organ of news produced by Mr Delaney and very much reflecting the views of the Barclays brothers, although they rarely make pronouncements, and appear to prefer to let Mr Delaney, as their lackey, do so.

The Sark News reports as follows:

“The CEO of Sark Island Hotels, Kevin Delaney, has announced that he will not open any of the hotels in the group for the 2015 season. Whilst acknowledging that this was a difficult decision to take, Mr Delaney made it clear that he was not prepared to request further investment to develop these iconic Sark businesses. Furthermore, had the establishments opened next year he would have been left with no option but to resign his position as CEO of Sark Island Hotels.”(3)

And the key issue to which this all relates is not having a customs post:

“Mr Delaney pointed to the continual refusal of Michael Beaumont and the members of his one ruling party government to consent to a Customs post which would allow Sark direct access to the vast tourist markets of the West coast of France and beyond as the principal reasoning behind his entirely commercial decision.” (3)

Now this is a bone of contention which has been rumbling on for many years. In 2010, the Guernsey Press carried this story:

“Direct service to and from a Normandy port is being pursued by Sark Estate Management. Writing in the latest edition of his Sark Newsletter, SEM’s Kevin Delaney said that during 2011 the company will be working towards establishing a daily passenger route between the island and one of the small coastal ports of north-west France.” (4)

The obstacle was, of course, the lack of a customs post, which meant that anyone travelling to Sark had to first pass through the customs post of St Peter Port or that of St Helier (or even possibly that of Braye in Alderney)

In May 2011, this again was the subject of a news story:

“Officials in Sark are in talks with the Guernsey Border Agency about establishing a formal customs area for the island. Currently anyone entering or bringing goods from outside the British Isles to Sark must register with the agency. It currently has three offices - in St Peter Port and St Sampson in Guernsey and Braye Harbour in Alderney. “

“Conseillier Jan Guy said if they introduced a port of entry "the practicalities would be huge". She said: "In many ways we would have to replicate everything that is available at all the other ports of entry. "It's a very good thing for Sark to look into, but when you talk about practicalities you also have to consider the cost." (5)

But in a report issued in November 2012, the ideas were very much shelved. The Harbours and Pilotage Committee asked about approved ports into the Bailiwick of Guernsey, and Chief Officer Rob Prow of The Guernsey Border Agency responded.

He noted that in the first instance, Sark would need to introduce legislation

“Sark has no Import & Export legislation so it has no protection should goods (all manner of restrictions inc. firearms, explosives, offensive weapons, dual use goods, WMD, CITES, counterfeit goods, trade sanctions et al) be allowed to enter directly without first being cleared though an approved port.”

But even if the legislative problems could be resolved, other issued remained, such as passport controls, and custom and immigration resources:

“The Bailiwick of Guernsey is part of the Common Travel Area. All passengers who arrive directly from outside of the CTA must be examined by an accredited Officer, passports electronically scrutinised and Home Office warning index checks initiated. The UK has the power to remove the Bailiwick from the CTA if the controls do not match those in place in the UK.”

“In a modern and sometimes dangerous world, trained and accredited Officers are required to discharge these statutory based regimes. Drug trafficking, financial crime and immigration legislation is extremely complex and criminals ever more sophisticated. In addition Human Rights based legislation provides a demanding framework of compliance”.

And he concludes by looking at the resources needed:

“For a port to become Customs approved there are requirements that would need to be resourced. Passenger examination requires passport control facilities, search benches, search equipment and private interview rooms, commensurate to the services envisaged. The Port would also require fully appointed, trained and accredited Officers to man those control points. By way of example Braye Harbour in Alderney is an approved Port and is so resourced. Such resources, facilities, Officer training and accreditation, come at a considerable cost and the GBA is not currently resourced to meet those costs and neither does Sark’s harbour have any customs or passport examination infrastructure.”

Braye Harbour in Alderney, of course, falls within the jurisdiction of Guernsey, and Alderney has representation in the Guernsey States of Deliberation. Sark being independent could not expect Guernsey to bear costs, and would have to incur those itself. This would almost certainly require full time paid officers and suitable training.

The present situation is that a Constable and Vingtenier (junior officer) are elected by Chief Pleas, and these are part-time voluntary roles. The volunteer officers are at times supported by full-time officers from Guernsey Police.

In July 2014, the issue came back again, as the BBC reported:

“Visitors to Sark may be able to travel directly to the Channel Island if the roles of police and immigration officers are combined. Currently, people have to go via another Channel Islands customs post - either Guernsey, Jersey or Alderney - to meet immigration and customs laws. The suggestion of a joint role has been made in a review of policing in Sark. The island currently has two voluntary part-time officers for the 600-strong population. Supt Nigel Taylor, from Guernsey Police, is assisting the Sark authorities with the review. He said: "There are opportunities for a dual-warranted individual... to carry out the functions of customs and policing providing the necessary training is in place. "[We're] exploring all the options to make sure it's cost effective policing in Sark, but it's also fit for a modern day society."

“The Guernsey Border Agency and the island's police force have been united under a head of law enforcement, but no plans to merge the two organisations have been released.” (6)

The review considered the following options:

1) Keep policing as now – to weigh up the pros & cons – hear comments from the Sark Constables, from the Guernsey Police and take questions from the floor.

2) Employ a retired Police Officer to be stationed permanently on Sark. The Island could advertise this position, but the questions arise of housing, pay and under whose responsibility such a position should operate. Specialist Units of the Guernsey Police may still have to be called in if a situation warrants it.

3) For the Guernsey Police to take overall responsibility for policing in Sark.

And the review noted that:

“If Options 2 or 3 are adopted there will be an additional cost element and that would lead to an increase in taxation. Weighing up the pros & cons of these options would lead to the question as to whether Sark needs that level of policing and whether it would be cost effective to change from the status-quo. It all hinges on the willingness of local people to come forward and be prepared to volunteer as Vingtenier and then Constable – a two year period of commitment of service to their Island.”

In this respect, it is worth considering this news story:

“Direct taxation on the island of Sark will rise by 11% in 2015 because about 10 islanders are predicted to leave in the next year. Sark's finance committee chairman Robert Cottle said the move was necessary to meet a 1.8% increase in the islands £1.3m budget. A 15% increase in alcohol and tobacco taxes was also passed at the meeting of Sark's government, the Chief Pleas. Direct tax is a levy on income on Sark, which is home to about 600 residents.”

Clearly the cost of running Sark’s infrastructure is easily affected by small changes in the population, because it has a relatively small total number of inhabitants. So a customs post, properly manned by trained and fully paid professional staff, of which two would seem to be a minimum, would impact upon the economy, and Sark’s levels of taxation.

It is notable that while pressing for a customs post, neither the Barclay brothers nor Mr Delaney have made any offer to fund such a position. If it is so much to their economic advantage for their business in Sark to do so, why don’t they offer a contract to pay for the post for, say, the next ten years, subject to review after that time.

Instead, for the putative but unproven advantages to some tourism businesses – theirs – of a fully operational customs post, they would like the burden for that to fall upon everyone in Sark in terms of increases in taxation.

As with the elections a few years ago, when they closed businesses when their preferred slate of candidates failed to be elected, the modus operandi of failing to get their own way has repeated itself, To an outsider, like myself, it appears like a temper tantrum, a stamping of feet loudly, a throwing of toys out of the playpen because they have not got their own way on a customs post.

The problem, of course, is that because they own a considerable proportion of Sark, they can apply economic pressure where political pressure is not an available route. It appears to be an ill-judged attempt to bully the government of Sark into submission. It may certainly damage the Sark economy to some degree, though not perhaps as badly as might be feared. But it is about time they learned the lesson, so hard for millionaires, that money simply cannot buy everything. Not everything has a price.


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Restoration – Part 2 by A.C. Saunders

Here is an extract from "Jersey in the 17th century" (1931), by A.C. Saunders, the second part on the Restoration, when Charles II was returned to the throne. It notes the political destruction of records, which means that much of Jersey under the Commonwealth is seen only through later (and Royalist) eyes.

The narrative mentions "doleance". The Jersey Law Review has this to say on doleance, which is still a remedy in place today:

"The doléance has been most recently described as providing a remedy where the court has refused to hear an appeal, despite a right of appeal existing, or where an order or judgment contains a manifest judicial error and there is no right to appeal. In such circumstances, an aggrieved litigant may ask for the impugned decision to be reviewed by the superior court."

The Restoration – Part 2
By A.C. Saunders

On the 20th May 1663, the States considered a letter they had received from Charles II, relating to the Juratships vacant under the new order :-

"Wee have thought fit pticularly to recommend ye enjoyne it to ye care that when you come to fill up ye said places so vacant and all others as they shall hereafter become void you take order that such persons onely be chosen as are of knowne loyalty and good affection to Us and our Governmt & of orthodox principles in matters relating to the Church."

The Jersey people did not require anything in their endeavours to show their loyalty to the Throne, and those who had been in power during the rule of Cromwell, had great difficulty in avoiding trouble and obtaining justice.

We hear of trouble between Michael Lempriere, the former Bailiff, and John Bailhache, who took their dispute before the Court. The States condemned Lempriere to pay Bailhache the sum of 333 crowns and interest. Lempriere felt that he had been unjustly treated and appealed but the States refused to hear his appeal.

So by way of "Doleance",  Lempriere took his case to the Privy Council, and their Lordships having heard the explanations of the Bailiff, and Jurats, gave judgment that " considering the injurious and careless culumniacons of the said Lempriere against the proceedings of the Bayliffe and Jurats " they decided that they approved of the said sentence, and in addition they ordered Michael Lempriere to pay John Bailhache the sum of twenty pounds sterling for costs and unjust vexations. Later on the Bailiff and Jurats charged Lempriere the sum of forty pounds sterling for costs.

Lempriere was having a very had time after having been Bailiff for nearly ten years, and his enemies were only too eager to see his downfall. He evidently resented the judgment of the Privy Council, and, being a man without fear, had made no effort to suppress his indignation at what he considered the injustice done to him.

Evidently the States had reported his conduct to the Privy Council, for, on the i8th May 1664, at the Court of Whitehall an order was issued :

"It has been reported to the Council that incivilityes and affronts had been cast upon the Bayliff and Jurats by Michael Lempriere, that, during the sitting of the Court Lempriere breaks into high & unseemly passion speaking disdainfully & scornfully of and against the Lieutenant Bayliff and Justices there assembled, saying some or one had done Unjust false and horrible things & calling Mr. Elias Dumaresque Sr. Des Augres (one of the Justices present) foolish fellow scornfully repeating what he had said, as dispicable & ridiculous in a most unhansome uncivill and unbecoming manner."

Lempriere was making his fight against odds, but.he had no chance with his past record. Sir Philip de Carteret was Bailiff, and he remembered what had happened in 1643 when his namesake had died in Elizabeth Castle. Besides, a man who had been Bailiff of the Island under Cromwell, had no chance of favour from the Royalists whom he had persecuted in the past.

So the Lords of the Council directed that Lemprere should in the Court make the following apology

" I, Michael Lempri&.re do hereby testify and declare before you the Magestrates and Justices of the Isle that my behaviour towards you was uncivill and irreverent at such time as you were mett and assembled about a Commission sent to you from the Lords of the Council and the business of Mrs. Susan Dumaresq of the one part and myself and others on the other part and that I much misbehaved myself therein and was in too great a passion And I hereby begg Yr. pardon for the same."

It must have been a terrible time for the ex-Bailiff, a fighter, and one who had earned credit for his just actions when he was chief Justice of the Island. But the Privy Council had no mercy, and the States were directed that if Lempriere refused to make the apology, he was to be kept in prison until he died. In any case he was to pay costs of twenty pounds for the trouble he had given.

Thus passes one of the prominent figures of Jersey life in the seventeenth century. He was a man of good education, who had suffered from the injustice in the land which precluded he and others from taking active part in the affairs of the Island owing to the principal posts being in the hands of the followers of the De Carterets. Condemned to death and hung in effigy, he had managed to escape from the Island and, later on, when his party were in power, even his opponents admitted that his judgments were honest, but unfortunately all documents relating to that period were destroyed.

When in office he wished to exclude the Rectors from participating in the affairs of the States as he considered they talked too much and probably his actions in this respect were remembered in the days when he was deprived of his Bailiffship, and was held up to ridicule by those in power.

He died on February 1st, 1670, and we must recognise him as one of the principal. men of affairs in Jersey during the seventeenth century. We must remember that for a long period after the Restoration, any good work done by a Parliamentarian was belittled and ignored and held up to contempt and condemnation by those, in power, who revered the sacred name of the Martyr, King Charles I.

Thus all books and manuscripts of that time had no praise for any but those who belonged to the King's party and all records of the Parliamentarians were destroyed by order of the King.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Restoration – Part 1 by A.C. Saunders

I see that the last time I posted a transcription from A.C. Saunders was back in January this year. So I think that a return to Jersey history is long overdue. Because of the long shadow cast by G.R. Balleine’s History of Jersey, Saunders has been neglected, I think unfairly.

Here is an extract from "Jersey in the 17th century" (1931), by A.C. Saunders. And we have now come to the Restoration, when Charles II was returned to the throne.

The Restoration – Part 1
By A.C. Saunders

On the 29th May, 1660, Charles II landed at Dover, and in his train we find our old friend Sir George Carteret, and, among the deputation receiving him, were Hollis and Fairfax. All moderate people were anxious for peace, and were tired of the continual struggle for power between the many parties who wanted their own way in the government of the country. The good news soon reached Jersey, and Sir Philip de Carteret became Bailiff. The Earl of St. Albans was appointed Governor, and had as his Lieutenant Captain Thomas Jermyn.

We can well imagine the unsettled state of the inhabitants, who during the previous twenty years had been under Royalist, Parliamentarian, Royalist and again Parliamentarian rule, with estates confiscated or heavily fined, as the different parties came into office. We have heard of the acts of Sir George Carteret and his successors on the question of property.

Those who had owned property and been deprived of it, and those who had acquired such property without any permanent security of tenure, must have been of considerable interest to the lawyers who saw visions of much gain in settling the various disputes which must arise, now that the King had come into his own again.

Royalists who had been fined by the Parliamentarians, had many grievances, and hoped that their past services and losses would afford the King an opportunity to show his generosity. He did not fail, but he had little money, and most of what he had he wanted for his own use. There is no doubt that many royalists, in their loyalty to the throne, had sacrificed their all, to further the cause they had at heart. Rich men had had to spend long years in exile in the greatest poverty. These men welcomed the return of the King, and hoped that they would have their estates returned to them. They certainly deserved recognition for their past services.

It is however very interesting to read some of the claims put forward, and how the applicants wished to be recompensed for what they stated they had done. Many asked to have the sale of a baronetcy, so that, by the sale of the same to some rich person who wished a title, they could fill their pockets. Others asked for offices already filled, and on the 30th September 1662, an Order in Council was issued granting to Daniel O'Neil, the sum of five shillings on every French vessel arriving in Jersey.

Although a general pardon had been granted, some of those who had acted as agents for Cromwell must have felt very uneasy. The country was ablaze with enthusiasm for the King, and the Members of Parliament were ready to do anything which they thought would please him.

On the 2nd June 1660, Charles II was proclaimed King for the second time in Jersey by Edward Hamptonne, the Viscount, arnidst the acclamation of the people. All who could, attended the ceremony and there was a great crowd in the Royal Square, whilst cannons were fired and bells rung. What with the beating of drums and the sound of " musick," Jersey must have been a noisy place on that day.

Even in the parish of St. Martin, a stronghold of Parliamentarians, the tocsin was rung from 10 in the morning until 11 at night. People were glad to see the end of Parliament rule, when the people were oppressed by the soldiers and their churches desecrated. They remembered how Governor Gibbons had forced the inhabitants " with their cattel " to work at Elizabeth Castle, without pay, longer hours than under previous Governors. 

The people of St. Laurens had a special grievance against him for he made them work for two tides, with the result that on one dark night five people were drowned with some of their " cattel." No enquiry was made, but some of the " cattel " having escaped from drowning, they were seized by the soldiers at the castle, and slaughtered for their own use. Therefore as they welcomed the return of the King to his throne, we find that Michael Lempriere and his friends found it advisable to disappear for a time.

On the 30th October 1660, the States decided to send a Commission to London to lay before the Privy Council the condition of the Island, and authorised the Constables to levy in their parishes, certain sums to be paid to the Commissioners for their expenses. There is no doubt but that Charles fully recognised the services of his Jersey subjects. They had sheltered him during his days of adversity, and at the risk of their lives, proclaimed him King after the execution of his Father. Even those historians who are apt to criticise his actions severely, are always willing to agree that he was a good King to Jersey.

Now everyone was loyal in the Island and on the 16th April 1661, the oath of allegiance was administered to all Jurats, Constables, and officers of the state. At that sitting it was decided that the oath of allegiance should be administered to all men, over sixteen years of age in the several parishes, on the following 1st May. The undermentioned persons were ordered to see that it was done :

Sir Philip de Carteret for the parish of St. Ouen.
Francis de Carteret for the parish of St. Pierre.
Helier de Carteret for the parish of St Marie
Thomas Pipon for the parish of St Brelade
Philip de Carteret for the parish ofGrouville
Elie Dumaresq for the parish of St Clement
Le Greffier for the parish of St Martin
Carteret La Cloche for the parish of St Sauveur
Helier Hue for the parish of St Helier
Josue de Carteret for the parish of St Jean
Laurence Hamptonne for the parish of St Laurens
Jean Pipon for the parish of La Trinite

The oath was very clear and left no room for a man who later on might wish to get out of it, and it included the following paragraph :-

" Je declarey et reueleray toutes treshisons, conspirations et machinations contre Sa Majeste et heritiers qui perviendront a Enes oreilles et a ma connoissance, dauventage Je jure et promotez que Je detest et abjure cette doctrine damnable ]e qui permet aux subjets de deposer deprive ou occire leer Roy."

Charles had in 1661 pardoned all those who, formerly against him, were willing to take the oath of allegiance, and, in order to assist the authorities to settle the affairs of the Island as quickly as possible, he sent a regiment of soldiers, who landed in St. Ouen's Bay. These men mistaking their mission and thinking they had to deal with a conquered country, treated the Islanders very badly, and demanded of the best of everything from the owners of the houses they passed on the way to the quarters allotted to them in the Town.

Charles confirmed the charters, and privileges of the Island, and, as a proof of his gratitude to the people of Jersey, he presented to the States the mace now carried before the Bailiff when occasion requires. There is an inscription on the mace which recognises the loyalty of the inhabitants to the crown :-

" Charles the second, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, as a proof of his Royal affection towards the Isle of Jersey (in which he has been twice received in safety, when he was excluded from the remainder of his dominions) has willed that this royal mace should be consecrated to posterity ; and has ordered that hereinafter it shall be carried before the baillis, in perpetual remembrance of their fidelity not only to his august father Charles the first, but to his Majesty, during the fury of the Civil wars when the Island was maintained by the illustrious Philip and George de Carteret, Knights, Bailiffs and Governors of the Island."

Thus from 1663 until the present day, Jerseymen have had something to remind them that Charles took every opportunity to show his gratitude for the loyalty and protection which the Island gave him, at a time when he was hunted out of his native land by those who had put a price on his head.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Why was Korris Published?

I’ve been looking back at the actions of Bishop Tim Dakin, and trying to make sense of why he took particular actions. Motivation is, of course, difficult to establish, and even one’s own motivation is not always clear. What follows is therefore a rational reconstruction of events which he almost certainly had to react to, and possible motivations for his reactions.

The Korris report was commissioned in 2011 regarding the complaints by a young woman, HG, about the actions of a churchwarden, and the way the Dean had dealt with them, leading to the effective deportation of HG to the UK. That left her dumped in the UK and destitute.

The commissioning of the report seems to have been just after Tim Dakin took office as Bishop of Winchester. I suspect he inherited paperwork which included complaints from HG. The question was then what should he do about it.

Obviously, as a newly installed Bishop, he would have been very aware of accusations of cover ups of abuse within the church, as a review had just been released by Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss about the Diocese of Chichester, which borders Winchester.

The Bishop of Chichester had just admitted that there had been a cover-up, over a whole range of clergy and sexual abuse of children. The impression being given by the press, as a result, was that the Church of England was just as prone to keep its dirty washing hidden in an ecclesiastical laundry basket as the Roman Catholic Church.

So what Tim Dakin decided to do was something similar to the report for Chichester, and commission his own report. Hence the appointment of Jan Korris to investigate what had happened. A question that has never been adequately explained is why he decided to appoint a psychotherapist, rather than a judge who would be more used to handling evidence. That is a question which remains unanswered.

But Tim Dakin would have had to do something, or face criticism of cover ups. To some extent, he was driven by events.

Looking at the Chichester report, it has a similar structure to Korris. The main difference is that the Chichester report was about priests abusing a number of different boys, over a number of years, not a singular occurrence. Also Butler-Sloss is very clear about deficiencies in the material and evidence she had to work with.

Jan Korris was commissioned to write the report, but was limited in what she could find out. What is more, unlike Chichester, where the police had finally taken action prompting a review, the police had taken no action against the churchwarden. Those involved, such as Jane Fisher, would be giving their version of events – a good historian is aware of bias in how reports are made, but Korris does not seem to have considered that anyone like Jane Fisher would be putting themselves in the best possible light, and omitting anything that might not be so creditable in their interventions.

In historical research, and this is essentially a historical review, a good historian looks for inconsistencies in evidence, and differences between different people’s accounts, as well as multiple attestation where independent sources agree. Taking material or reports at face value is only an option when there are no other sources, or any other way of looking at the material.

This is a weakness of the Korris report – mainly in that she didn’t check what she had been told with HG, who was surely a primary witness, to get a different perspective. A further weakness is that she faced resistance in getting the Dean to participate in the review – which is noted in the report.

And, of course, she only glances at the fact that the Churchwarden evidently had problems (spoken to about being too tactile, chaperoned as a policy by the church, known to the Dean) without investigating further. Of course on that score, the members of the congregation at the Church may well have closed ranks against participating. But what she should have done was include anything like that in her report – that complaints had been made against the churchwarden, but that she had been unable to speak to the people concerned.

Once the report was complete, then Tim Dakin had to decide what action to take. Again events in Chichester put pressure on him to make this public in some fashion. Not to do so would have looked bad – he had commissioned a report about a complaint and then buried it. How would that look? Not at all good, if it leaked out that had happened. So he evidently decided to have it redacted (poorly) and published.

These decisions, while safeguarding is evidently part of them, appear to me to be primarily taken with reputational considerations more than pastoral ones. That can be seen in deciding to publish without consultation with HG, and the effect on HG that publication would have.

From a pastoral point of view, I think that HG should have seen the report before publication, and she should have decided how the diocese might make amends for their treatment of her. Those decisions could have been properly minuted but done privately.

Likewise, any safeguarding deficiencies could have been addressed without the need to go public and intrude on HG’s private life. The release of personal, sensitive data about HG should at the very least been subject to review on Data Protection matters. There is no evidence that this was done – no statement has been released about what the Data Protection officer for the Diocese would have said if consulted.

Instead, with Chichester hanging over him, Tim Dakin appears to have decided to protect his reputation by going public. That’s not to say that there were not pastoral considerations, but they seem to have taken second place to concerns about cover ups.

Now as the report criticised the Dean for not fully co-operating, that meant he might have to take action against the Dean. Again, the question which may have arisen could be termed a reputational one – not to take action smacked of an “old clergy boys” network, and favouritism. Hence the ill-judged suspension of the Dean, and the whole can of worms that opened.

Now this is a rational reconstruction of events and suggested motivations, and may not be correct. But the fact that – unlike any previous Bishop of Winchester – he has a professional PR firm – Luther Pendragon – to address anything to do with press releases suggests that here is a Bishop who is very concerned with how he is seen to act, and very controlling of his public image. Can you imagine Pope Francis communicating by a PR firm?

Protecting the reputation of the church is not wholly wrong. Where abuses have taken place, arguments can be made for transparency to retain the trust of the general public. Decades of cover ups have eroded trust in the Roman Catholic Church, for example. Reputation is partly trust, partly image, and partly pastoral in these cases.

However, there seems to have been little consideration applied in this case in particular about where pastoral considerations conflict with reputational considerations. To release information into the public domain when that release would actually hurt the victim is something which was not been addressed with HG, and such considerations seem alien to the mindset that we see here.

We can see that mindset in a press release from November 2013, where Tim Dakin states: “In all of this, the victim at the heart of the original complaint should not be forgotten. As a Church, we are called to reach out to the least, the last and the lost, even though at times they may reject the help we offer.”

The continual attempts to impose “help” on HG, even when rejected, even when she has made it clear that what she wants is to be left alone by the Diocese, seems to be purveying a message very much like “Nanny knows best”. It is well-meaning, but patronising. There seems to be a need to be seen to be doing something, which seems to me to be at odds with the pastoral consideration which should reflect that HG will probably find some help elsewhere, and perhaps it is time to back off and let her rebuilt her life without interference.

That requires a degree of humility because there is certainly a danger in thinking you know best, especially it seems when the clergy are involved. Doing nothing and letting HG live her life as best she can may seem like a bad choice. But so might be continually raising the spectre of trying to interfere in her life, a kind of well-meaning stalking, and a kind of harassment. Sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones. But you still have to choose.

And in these choices, I think to let alone - to leave be - would be the better one for Tim Dakin and the Winchester staff under his direction. Continually trying to do something reminds me especially in this context of a saying by C.S. Lewis:

“She's the sort of woman who lives for others—you can always tell the others by their hunted expression.”

Does Tim Dakin really want HG to feel hunted? That is the pastoral consideration which should be addressed now. Time for the Diocese to back off.