Sunday, 31 May 2009

Day of the Dove

As it is, in the Christian calendar, the feast of Pentecost, some musings on the gender of "spirit" in the Old and New Testaments. The day of Pentecost was when the New Testament (Acts of the Apostles) tells the story of the spirit of god descending on the early Christians in Jerusalem. "Spirit" is invariably rendered male, but should this always be the case?

In the old English calendar, by the way, this day used to be called "Whitsunday", a condensation of "White Sunday" probably named because of the custom of the newly baptised to wear white robes on this feast day. Pentecost is a Greek term for the Jewish festival of "Shavuoth" which has been revived as the old English ecclesiastical calendar names decline from everyday use.

My Wiccan friends tell me that they consider the sun male, the moon female - in order words, a sun god, a moon goddess, which is certainly a picture from part of the pagan world, and which fits well with Wiccan Duothesim. The Romans had Apollo as a sun god, Diana as the Moon Goddess. Yet this was not universal. The ancient Celts, for instance, appear to have had the sun and moon as twin sisters, both female, but with the ability to take on male aspects.

Even the Hebrews, with a very patriarchal idea of God, nevertheless have female imagery creeping in; their god is described as a mother tenderly gathering her children. Other aspects of the feminine come with the period between Old and New Testaments, when Wisdom becomes almost an aspect of God, and yet wisdom is described in almost exclusively feminine imagery.

Interestingly, the Hebrew word for Spirit, or Breath, is "ruach", which is also feminine. In the first Genesis story, the spirit of God "broods over the waters", which fits in well with female imagery. Even in the New Testament, the Greek for Spirit is "pneuma", which has no gender, and it is only in translation to Latin "spiritus" that it is rendered male. In fact, our translations are very deceptive in this manner:

There are many places in the New Testament where the Holy Spirit is referred to as he, but in all instances except three the Greek word for he is not actually in the Greek. Commonly Greek leaves out the subject pronoun and, in these references to the Holy Spirit, implies by the verbal ending that the subject is he, she, or it. All of the translations that I have seen use he. She or it could have been used instead.(1)
So that when we look at  John 14: 17

"even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you."

There is no "him" in the Greek; it is an addition by the translator. In fact, "the pronouns are implied most of the time, but there's one pronoun in there where the gender is clear, which is the one translated "whom". In Greek, it's neuter."(2)

So in contrast to the excesses of masculine imagery used in Christian worship, here is an interesting hymn - used in worship today by Christians - which explores the idea of the spirit as conceived primarily in female imagery (3).

Enemy of Apathy

She sits like a bird, brooding on the waters,
Hovering on the chaos of the world's first day;
She sighs and she sings, mothering creation,
Waiting to give birth to all the Word will say.

She wings over earth, resting where she wishes,
Lighting close at hand or soaring through the skies;
She nests in the womb, welcoming each wonder,
Nourishing potential hidden to our eyes.

She dances in fire, startling her spectators,
Waking tongues of ecstasy where dumbness reigned;
She weans and inspires all whose hearts are open,
Nor can she be captured, silenced or restrained.

For she is the Spirit, one with God in essence,
Gifted by the Saviour in eternal love;
She is the key opening the scriptures,
Enemy of apathy and heavenly dove.


Saturday, 30 May 2009


"Steppenwolf" by Herman Hesse: A Review
Hesse's novel "Steppenwolf" is a clearly written but perplexing tale. What to make of it? Obviously, any criticism will be limited by one's own perception of the novel, and by how one has read and understood it. Nevertheless, I will try to present a view of "Steppenwolf" which, I hope, does some justice to the main strands of the book.
On the surface, the story is about a middle-aged misanthrope; it is a record, or memoir, of his drifting through life until he comes across a door marked "Magic Theatre - entrance not for everybody." He determines to investigate, and what follows is almost a parable of modern times, of the mediocrity of life in general, and the path to greatness which has to be sought.
In part, "Steppenwolf" is an acutely perceptive diagnosis of the dilemma of a creative person, one torn between two worlds, spirit and nature, reason and imagination, and man's outward appearance and the hidden person - the "wolf" that is within. In the book, Hesse dramatises a dualism between nature and spirit, a chasm to be crossed, where man is "the narrow and perilous bridge between nature and spirit." And in Hesse's world, spirit cannot perfect nature: spirit and nature are enemies, between whom there can be no compromise, unless it be the shallow life of the middle classes.
But Hesse will not allow this compromise to be seen as satisfactory; he speaks of it with loathing: "what I always hated and detested and cursed above all things was this contentment, this healthiness and comfort, this carefully preserved optimism of the middle classes, this fat and prosperous brood of mediocrity." He
sees them content with their comforts, but finds that it is "this contentment that I cannot endure."
The creative spirit is bound by its baser nature. That is the dilemma: what of the solution? The only escape for the creative spirit, Hesse sees, is to follow the wisdom of the East, in the ideals of the Buddha, and give up "the fiction of an ego." Only then can the spirit roam free, for "a man cannot live intensely except at cost of self." This is the truth, which only those who are enlightened can perceive; the remainder of humanity, as pictured by Hesse, is lost in mediocrity.
But this remainder is not apathetic; it takes active steps to silence those who have found truth: it "calls science to aid, establishes schizomania, and protects humanity from the necessity of hearing the cry of truth from the lips of these unfortunate people." And this majority also buries the past, so that all that has gone before is sterilised for mass consumption; the result being that "our whole civilisation was a cemetery where Jesus Christ and Socrates, Mozart and Haydn, Dante and Goethe, were but the indecipherable names on mouldering stones."
It is against this majority that Hesse makes his protagonist battle, seeking to find a past unity with enlightenment that is now lost; until it is found, the seeker remains a schizophrenia Steppenwolf, torn between the high realms of the spirit, and the mundanity of nature.
I sympathise with Hesse's portrayal of a creative individual, unsatisfied with the demands of the everyday, longing to rise above this on the wings of a soaring imagination. He also makes a good case when he shows, by a myriad strands, how the desire of masses for mediocrity seeks to stifle such an individual. It is also an extremely well-written book, in the tradition of realism in which we find Thomas Mann and Camus. Lastly, it is provocative, in a manner unlike many novels of today.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Jersey Workers: Unions and the struggle for the vote

Here is another extract from Norman Le Brocq's history of the working class in Jersey. As the reform of the voting districts is coming up (to ensure a more equitable vote per member ratio), it is interesting to look back at the early struggle to get votes for ordinary people in Jersey!

Part of it is about the formation of the Unions in Jersey. A lovely turn of phrase about the attempt to sabotage Unions in Jersey - "bourgeois guile and Hill Street cunning".  The Code of 1771 Law mentioned here, parts of which are still in effect today, was a tidying up operation on all kinds of haphazard statute law from the past. essentially made Trade Unions illegal. In fact, the legal status of Unions was not formalized until the The Employment Relations (Jersey) Law 2007!

It can be seen that the impetus behind the Unions was the need to bargain collectively for better wages, at a time when prices were shooting up, but wages were stagnant, despite a good post-war economy. But as well as improved pay, the other great issue of the day was expanding the franchise.

It is interesting that the Jersey unions made their appeal not just locally, but also to Lloyd-George. Evidently there must have been some feeling that this matter might require UK intervention, which as it happens was not the case. Yet the recent case of the Barclay brothers' fight to bring the restrictive franchise of Sark to the spotlight of the UK authorities, shows that if the Island authorities had not been wise enough to reform the franchise, they might have had pressure from Downing Street.

Another notable fact is the way men got the vote at 20, despite the age for military call-up (under conscription) being 17. The principle that it is fine to die for one's country but not to have a vote in the matter was not considered important. But the Representation of the People Act 1918 in the UK gave the vote to men at 21, and interesting Jersey's voting age was lower. With the reduction of the age recently to 16, Jersey is still leading the way in this respect, and this is in line with military service age which (with parental consent) is 16.

Women got the vote when they were 30. This was very much in line with the UK Government, which had introduced votes for women after the war with the same age restriction. There were other restrictions for women, as well, as there were more property restrictions laid upon them - men serving in the militia were automatically eligible if over 20.

The First World War years showed very little Labour activity in Jersey. This was a period of industrial peace in so far as the island was concerned,
Economic misery undoubtedly increased, but was borne patiently as a temporary evil-as the result of the war, There being no workers' organisation during the years of war meant that the masters reigned supreme.
In 1917 the building and allied trades masters formed a federation to guard their interests. This federation called a meeting of the masters and men that June to discuss wages. The masters put forward a new wages table offering a handsome increase of an average of 25 per cent on all wages. The apprentices' rate advanced most, rising from 1/- per week to 1d. per hour, with yearly increases. The improver was scheduled to receive 3 ½ d. per hour, the mechanic 5 ½ d, the skilled mechanic 6 ½ d (minimum), the unskilled labourer 5d., and the semi-skilled labourer 5 ½ d. per hour. This " handsome increase," as the local papers termed it, met with opposition on the part of the men, who pointed out that a rise of 25 per cent in money wages meant little to them when the Ministry of Labour estimated that the cost of living had risen 98 per cent!
The lack of workers' organisations resulted in the protest of the building and allied trades workers being ignored and the federation plans being carried through. This backwardness in organising may seem surprising to the onlooker.
The grounds for it are fairly simple. It must be kept in mind that there was still no large-scale capitalist industry in the island. The largest concern was probably the Jersey Gas Light Company, employing just over 1,000 men. This meant a lack of concentration of workers; where they could discuss grievances and remedies. It is a well-known fact that the larger the concentrations of workers in a district or country the more militant becomes their outlook. Another point making for backwardness was the lack of a real, hereditary working class. In those times, -far more than today, the Jersey worker had a brother who kept a small shop or. an uncle who owned a farm or perhaps a cousin who was a master carpenter. When times were bad, Jack could go and work for his uncle! There was not the same feeling of being a class apart. The Jersey worker, even more than the English worker, had the mental outlook of the bourgeoisie. He was very far from being class-conscious.
1918! The war still dragged on; prices still rose; wages hardly increased. Even the Jersey worker was growing sceptical about this coming " land fit for heroes." On September 23, 1918, the Guernsey Branch Organiser of the Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Workers' Union arrived in Jersey and was present at a meeting of the local dockers to inaugurate a Jersey branch of the same union.
Ned Moignard was elected President and Jack Hardman, Secretary. One hundred and five men signed on.
This meeting, held at the Herald Mission Hall, Devonshire Lane, was the result of negotiations between Ned Moignard, Jack Hardman and Phil Mallet, Jersey dockers, and the D.W.R. & G.W.U. headquarters. The latter had promised to send an organiser; but he being taken ill, Fry, the Guernsey organiser, came in his place.
A meeting of workers was held on the next Thursday evening at the Mission Hall, Museum Street, which was later purchased by the Union and renamed Unity Hall. Moignard, in his speech from the chair, called for recruits from workers in other branches of industry than the docks. The dockers had already enrolled in large numbers and, speaking of them, Moignard said; " If a master discharges a man because he joins the Union, we will not handle his goods, either import or export."
The Museum Street hall was packed to overflowing and many more names were added to the membership lists
Meetings of this type continued to be held every Thursday evening at the Mission Hall. These meetings were very largely attended and the membership lists continued to grow rapidly.
At one of these Thursday meetings, Deputy Gray of St. Helier, a liberal politician and organiser of the Jersey Political Association, which had sprung tip a couple of months previously, pledged the support of this movement for the Union.
This uneasy alliance - uneasy because the J.P.A., a milk and water reform movement, included many employers a hostile to Trade Unionism--continued for some time. Deputy Gray was elected Union representative in the States Assembly, which post he held for a couple of months. Then Gray found class conflicts sharpening, decided for the masters, and cut adrift from his connection with the Union.
November 11, 1918! Peace? Or a fight for better conditions? The Jersey worker did not let the relief of international peace interfere with the necessary fight on the home front. He was caught up in the revolutionary upsurge that swept over Europe. At last there was no fear of Jersey unionism petering out for want of support: 105 members in September, 1918 - 1,000 in November- 1,200 in December - 1,700 in January, 1919-2,200 in March - 3,000 in May - 4,000 at the end of a year's work.
The Evening Post. Jersey's leading and conservative daily paper, took umbrage at this rising tide, and in December suggested that the workers would have done "far better to have formed a purely local union, for they were now committed to the dangerous road of dependence on English organisers", and "by affiliating to an English union they stand committed to its rules and regulations, A local union could have framed its rules to fit local conditions; but, as things are, the Jersey worker will lose his independence totally"
What the Evening Post did not realise was that the worker earning 15/- per week had no independence to -lose and had everything to gain by uniting under-the banner of a strong English union.
The D.W.R. & G.W.U. got down to work immediately. Even before the cessation of international hostilities two victories were registered: during the first week of November there were two lightning strikes of dockers over the employment of non-union labour. In both cases the strikes were settled by the men in question joining the Union.
At this time real wages in most trades were extremely low, for money wages had advanced but little, while prices had shot up to almost double the pre-war level.
Some typical wage-rates were: 18/- per week for storemen, 7 ½ d. per hour for skilled carpenters, painters, plumbers, etc., 8/- to 12/- per week for shop assistants, 15/- per week for farm labourers. This, the Union was determined, had to alter !
The first serious clash came with the farmers. Prices of dairy products were rising rapidly - butter, normally averaging 2/6 per lb., rising to an average of 3/4 per lb. The Union decided for action. In January, 1919, a petition was sent in to the Defence of the Island Committee (the body then responsible for the control of foodstuffs) asking for action to be taken re controlling the prices of dairy produce. Until such time as an answer was forthcoming, no cattle were to he loaded for export. The States did nothing, and no cattle were in fact loaded until March 8, 1919, when agreement on all points was reached between the D.W.R. & G.W.U. and the newly-formed Farmers' Union.
The rapid growth of the Union in membership and power had begun to frighten the local bourgeoisie. This fear came to the surface in January, 1919.  Certain States members are reported to have said that they were out to smash the Union and this is in effect what was attempted by a Bill introduced in the States Assembly during that month. This Bill, the child of Deputy F. Bois' brain, begot by bourgeois guile and Hill Street cunning,  was introduced to legalise workers' unions in Jersey. Up till this time trade unions had been illegal under the Code of 1771 which ruled that: "Persons, whether workpeople or tradesmen  who conspire together with regard to their pay, hours of work, manner of doing it, or delivering it, will be punished with a fine not exceeding £20 to be applied as above, and in cases of a repetition (of the offence) by such punishment as may be deemed suitable.."
Article 1 of Deputy Bois' Bill allowed a Union to be formed and Article 3 allowed disputes, to be settled by negotiation between shop stewards and masters. But the sting was in the tail.
Article 5 reads as follows: "Any third party who shall interfere or shall attempt to interfere to prevent an agreement or aggravate a difficulty between masters and employees, as also any person who shall attempt to promote strikes or lock-outs in any industry, trade, or undertaking of any kind, or who shall attempt to bring about a crisis in regard to labour or employers, or who shall attempt by means of intimidation or otherwise, to compel another party against his will to join a union either of labour or of employers, shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable for each infraction to a fine not exceeding £100 or to a term of imprisonment with or without hard labour, not exceeding six months, or to both at the discretion of justice."
There is the sting. Although the Bill legalised the position of the Union in the abstract, it forbade its effective action. One can well imagine the result of the local shop stewards in any concern trying to reach a settlement in favour of the workers under those conditions. No attempt could be made to consult Union headquarters, for that would be introducing interference of a "third party," and no attempt to "promote a strike" would be allowed. Any militant shop steward would soon find himself victimised. That was Jersey in 1919.
However, Bois' Bill was dropped when it met with a storm of the of disapproval and the Union remained illegal under the terms 1771 Code of Laws.
Meanwhile the D.W.R. & G.W.U. Committee had taken up the old Franchise fight from where Le Noir had laid it down. In January, 1919, Moignard and Hardman went to English Headquarters for consultations re the policy to be adopted in the struggle for a wider franchise.
On February 1, Hardman made public the fact that a few days previously a resolution of the Union had been forwarded to Sir Alexander Wilson, Lieut.-Governor of the Island, Sir William Vernon, Bailiff, and Mr. Lloyd George, British Prime Minister, which read as follows:-
"The Jersey Branch of the Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Workers' Union of Great Britain and Ireland.
"To His Excellency Major-General Sir Alexander Wilson, K.C.B., and Sir William Vernon, and Members of the States of the Island of Jersey:
" Gentlemen, We, the members of the above Union, being representative of the working classes who have ever been loyal and law-abiding citizens of the Island of Jersey, hereby appeal to you as the Governing Body of our Island, for the extension of the franchise.
" That, taking into consideration the great sacrifices which the classes to whom we belong and represent have been called upon to make during the long period of the most terrible war ever known, and also the compulsory military service that has existed for over a century, which has been a great burden to the working classes.
"That, in recognition of the great sacrifices that have been made by our fellow islanders, we are at least entitled as our  brothers of the United Kingdom to a vote and a voice in the government of our Island; and we who produce the wealth of the place in which we dwell, consider that it is our right to determine when and how it shall he used for the benefit of each and all; and that suffrage should be granted at the age of twenty-one years, and also to women on, attaining the age of thirty years, the same as in Great Britain.
" I remain your obedient servant,
On behalf of the Union,
J. W. HARDMAN, Secretary."
During the same week the J:P.A. suggested a monster petition calling for manhood suffrage
The States met to discuss the franchise question on February 4. Bills were submitted by Deputies Gray and Cory and the Constable of St. Helier. These were lodged " au Greffe " to be printed for discussion on March 20. On that date, after some discussion, a committee was formed to examine the matter.
Nothing having been done by the date of the Union's Quarterly Meeting of March 29, a resolution was passed " that this Quarterly Meeting of the Jersey Branch of the Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Workers' Union protests against the apparent delay in the passing of the Franchise Bill and urges our accredited representatives to impress upon the States Assembly the desire of the, at present, disfranchised men and women to have the privilege of exercising the vote at the next General Election, 1919."  Finally, on Thursday, May 22, after much delay and opposition, the Franchise Act as it now stands was passed.  This Act gives "every male British subject of 20 and over, and every British female subject of 30 or over, who has no Guardian, Curator, or "Procureur General" the right to vote if either " their names are mentioned on the list of contributors to the Parish Rate " or " they occupy a house or part of a house, building or land, of an annual rental of at least £10," or " they (men) are on the active list of the Militia or any other organisation for the defence of the Island replacing the Militia " or " they (women) are the wives of men whose names are inscribed in the Electoral list. "
This gave the vote to the majority of the adult population of the Island, but left a minority of at least 20 per cent still voteless.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Free Speech and Aid

Andy Thewlis, both in the JEP and on the St John's Church website, comments that:

"I write to inform you that I have resigned, with immediate effect, as Chair of Christian Aid in Jersey... The ongoing relationship of Christian Aid UK with the Tax Justice Network and Attack Jersey is, I believe, seriously misguided. ....Personally, I can no longer represent Christian Aid whose position seems irreconcilable when on the one hand they are inaccurately critical of Jersey on Tax issues, but on the other hand keen to continue to receive financial support from the States of Jersey Overseas Aid Committee and residents of this Island."(1)

This strikes me as extremely shortsighted. Writing in "The Tablet", last week, David Blair, Diplomatic Editor of the Daily Telegraph, noted that in developing countries where they work, "in return for being allowed to help, aid agencies have to keep quiet about suffering".

He notes the case of Sri Lanka as typical: "An array of international aid agencies work in Sri Lanka's war zone. While the journalists have been kept out, some aid workers have been allowed in and the International Committee of the Red Cross is permitted to evacuate the worst casualties from the 'safe area'. But a hard bargain has been struck. In return for being allowed to help the wounded and deliver essential relief, the aid agencies are expected to keep quiet about the suffering they witness. They are wary of going on the record about anything beyond the most basic information about the scale of the calamity. Tellingly, the doctor who provided the estimate of 430 dead in 48 hours has not been named. If this person's identity were to be revealed, he or she would probably be deported on the next plane, along with the organisation they represent. The suffering of the innocent would only increase."(2)

Now I know that Christian Aid is not speaking out about this kind of casualty in Jersey. Nevertheless, they believe, whether mistakenly or not, that the culture of concealment in global tax matters, and in tax havens in particular, adds to the misery and poverty of developing countries. Should they not speak out, in conscience, in an Island which prides itself on free speech, on this matter? Should they not be allowed to debate the issue? To say that they will not be allowed to criticise Jersey or they can expect their local funding to be cut off is surely to apply the same kind of standards as in Sri Lanka - as long as you don't "rock the boat", you are welcome here.

I have myself criticised the methodology of their "Death and taxes" (3) over their statistics, but I do not doubt that there are problems over taxation, but not just with so-called tax havens. The recent OECD lists regarding TIEAs is a start, because it did on the whole treat all countries fairly, including those who have managed to slip the net, such as Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria, which seems to be blind spot for critics of tax havens (4). While TIEAs may not, as yet, have teeth, they show the principle of getting legislation passed in different countries that everyone must sign up to, not just places designed as "tax havens". That - rather than the TIEAs - was the important result for the OECD (5)

Nevertheless, what matters at the end of the day, is not a non-violent protest by an aid organisation, but what that organisation does. I would happily support an organisation called "Atheist Aid" which was critical of religion in Jersey if it helped. I would support "Druid Aid" if it existed and had robed druids coming round collecting.

The bottom line has to be - will this agency help reduce the suffering of people in developing countries, and will the money go to that cause. If it does, and if it can reduce the mortality, prevent needless suffering, provide much needed education and help, then it can say what it likes.

(2) The Tablet,  16 May 2009

Tuesday, 26 May 2009


'Markings' by Dag Hammarskjold: A Review
This book consists of the notebook of personal thoughts of Dag Hammarskjold, the Secretary-General of the United Nations who died tragically in an air crash. Yet these writings contain no reference to his life in politics, even though written at the time he was Secretary-General. Instead, they detail his experiences- the personal doubts and torments that assailed him and which he felt obliged to conceal from the world. "What makes loneliness share an anguish", he writes, "is not that I have no one to share my burden, but this: I have only my own burden to share"
Hammarskjold was a Lutheran, and his writings are impregnated with his strong, intense, Christian belief. It is this belief which time after time, restores him from despair to hope. After times of great doubt, he turns to the scriptures, and in particular, the psalms, and finds succour there. "If I take the wings of the morning and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there also shall thy hand lead me."
There is a severe contrast between Hammarskjold's own words, with their note of self- doubt, and his writing down of those verses from the psalms which speak confidently of God's graciousness. Yet there is a connection. Many of the psalmists begin by cursing a cruel and wicked world for injustice; they rage against evil. Hammarskjold knows that evils as pride and greed cannot be as simply externalised as that; they are part of one. So he considers, instead, the futility and falsity of the human condition. But, like the psalmist, he reflects from this to the hope that comes from God. In this way, he is a psalmist for today.


Monday, 25 May 2009

New dictionary definitions

I came across these the other day, which, as it's a bank holiday, I'm using as a quick "filler". How many of these fit the bill? I particularly like that for a politician - Politician : One who shakes your hand before elections and your confidence after - of which there are a number of cases locally!

New Dictionary definitions of the following words:

Compromise : The art of dividing a cake in such a way that everybody believes he got the biggest piece.
Office : A place where you can relax after your strenuous home life.
Etc. : A sign to make others believe that you know more than you actually do.
Committee : Individuals who can do nothing individually and sit to decide that nothing can be done together.
Experience : The name men give to their mistakes.
Philosopher : A fool who torments himself during life, to be spoken of when dead.
Father : A banker provided by nature.
Criminal : A guy no different from the rest....except that he got caught.
Boss : Someone who is early when you are late and late when you are early.
Politician : One who shakes your hand before elections and your confidence after.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

The Next Life

The Next Life

The wind is blowing strongly by the stones
And I am here, the guardian of these bones
Not by learning, nor by skill, another way
Tide upon the sand, waves against the bay
And here I am, I am who I am, not more
No magic, no circle, no opening the door
The moon across the graves, shadows fall
But no rites needed, nothing to enthrall
These are not needed, and no secrets here
Paths of renunciation, of removing fear
Of giving up the spells, self now dying
Truth sets free, takes away all the lying
No hidden path, only windswept sands
Blown lightly on the shore, and strands
Of seaweed, cast up with the rising tide
And only daylight, sun, no place to hide
The next life, time to let go, time to be
Finding the rhythms of the eternal sea.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Chips with Everything?

Rod was on BBC Radio Jersey today, saying how Geoff Southern and Shona Pitman should resign, so he could have a chance to get elected. The Attorney-General, very sensibly, noticed that if you discounted the votes concerned, they would still have romped home. Rod was saying on Radio Jersey in measured tones that "some people may say I have a chip on my shoulder",
which he fervently denied. What he didn't use were some of the phrases on his blog. These are some of the gems found

"Such acts are usually only found in a Banana Republic."
"Their deliberate skullduggery is more akin to Robert Mugabe and his cohorts."
"The Electorate was duped by a couple of people lacking honesty and ethics. These are the acts of desperate people."
"Political skullduggery of the highest order"

A chip on his shoulder? More like an entire sack full of spuds!

Superconstituency proposal
Privileges and Procedures have come up with a "superconstituency" proposal, which I think is a good idea, and involves removing the Senators, but not the Constables.
I think, however, that there is an imbalance in their groupings. This is because they look at residents per deputy in the new units, whereas I would contend that for parity to exist, they should be looking at residents per member in the States, especially as they will be retaining the Constables of each Parish.










St Helier 1














St Helier 2





















St Clement














St Saviour







St Martin





















St John







St Mary







St Ouen







St Lawrence














St Brelade







St Peter







































































As can be seen from my table, there is a great deal more imbalance in representation when we include the Constables, and when we average the residents per deputy / residents per member of states, it becomes even clearer. The last figure, the Standard Deviation (Std), is a commonplace statistical measure of the spread of a distribution, showing how widely a range varies. If you think of a bell curve, for example, it can be very narrow, with little spread from the average, or very long, with a good deal of spread. Looking at these figures, once we introduce the Constables into the equation, we can see that the spread  increases. If the figures followed a normal distribution, one would expect about 95% of the vote differential to be within 2 standard deviations, i.e. 137x2=274, or 331*2=662.
I would therefore argue that the Deputies allocation within the superconstituencies be altered to reduce this disparity, especially for that involving Trinity, St Mary etc while agreeing with the idea and the boundaries given in principle, which is an excellent one.