Monday, 9 June 2008

The Pit of Foul Deceit

The school rhyme used by children goes

"Liar, liar, pants on fire
Hangin' on a telephone wire!"

It is a paraphrased version of the 1810 poem "The Liar" by William Blake

Deceiver, dissembler
Your trousers are alight
From what pole or gallows
Shall they dangle in the night?

In the United Kingdom Parliament, lying in the House is considered in many ways the worse crime, and if the liar can be proven to have deceived the House, then it is invariably a resignation matter.

In the United States, Hillary Clinton was caught out saying she had "misspoke" when she talked about she had to evade sniper fire when she was visiting Bosnia, and the television cameras showed the lie. No sniper fire, but only a little girl with a posie of flowers!

In Jersey, we too, have our own individual who "misspoke". Frank Walker, at the discussion on the Waterfront, categorically denied that the developers Harcourt had any legal problems pending in Las Vegas, and adopted the USA option of apologising, and carrying on in office. What we might call the Clinton Liar Damage Limitation Method!

Frank is carrying on in office despite deceiving the States. But one has to ask: what office? The Office of Chief Minister, a recent creation, has been brought into such disrepute by the Chief Minister himself deceiving the States, that he really should resign for the good of the States, and the good of the Office.

In the UK Parliament, that would be the honourable (and necessary) thing to do. In Jersey, however, he just gives an apology, says the result would have been the same anyway, and carries on as if nothing had happened! Has he no shame, no moral sense, so sense of honour whatsoever? It appears not.

The JEP noted that:

Chief Minister Frank Walker had to apologise for misleading the House yesterday after originally denying the existence of a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against developers Harcourt over Las Vegas's $800m Sullivan Square development. He said he had been misinformed, and that he had only been told about the lawsuit after the debate.

In that case, why did he (and Jim Perchard) deny it so vigorously during the debate? Only a fool would deny information that was being brought to light unless they had been briefed against it. Why did he apologise immediately after the debate? He certainly came up to speed fantastically quickly on the truth of the matter.

As William Blake put it so well, we might ask:

What infernal serpent
Has lent you his forked tongue?
From what pit of foul deceit
Are all these whoppers sprung?

The only silver lining is that he is leaving in October, probably to some well-paid sinecure either in the private sector or arranged by the States (like Pierre Horsfall, who ended up as Chairman of Jersey Finance).

Unfortunately Jim Perchard is around for another three years. Perhaps instead of lunatic schemes for a referendum as to whether we should move to European time (which still means the hour changing), we should have a referendum on whether Jim Perchard should resign from the States?

What red devil of mendacity
Grips your soul with such tenacity?
Will one you cruelly shower with lies
Put a pistol ball between your eyes?


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