Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Minutes of Amos June meeting

Some searching comments on Income Support, followed by an interesting talk by Deputy Sean Power on Housing in Jersey. I remember Deputy Philip Rondel, when he was canvassing last year, pointing out that people are buying and selling on first time properties even before they move in.

I still think that a property capital gains tax on the French model - which diminishes the tax payable over a fixed period (perhaps in Jersey three years), would raise revenue and target property speculation, which either with first time buyers or elsewhere, distorts the market. Of course, a mention of capital gains tax always has people saying we don't want the UK capital gains tax, which is very insular, as there are many models for capital gains, and the French seems quite fair and just. It targets people who want to just make a quick buck out of buying and selling, rather than genuine owners.

Minutes of meeting on Wed. June 3rd at 5.15 at  St. Helier Methodist Centre.

Present: Adrian Walton, Adrian Pearce, Christine Le Marquand, Ed Le Quesne. Apology: Barbara Coram.

1.   The opening prayer was a challenging one by St. Augustine

2..  Comments on the Green Paper on Licensing Law review have been submitted before the June 1st deadline.  We generally welcome the reforms proposed.

3.   Eco-active guide 'Turning point' - Two more people took copies.

4.   Income Support scrutiny panel is finding the application process is not clear to users and there is a lack of personal support for vulnerable claimants.  Though HIE has ended there is not a clear process in place to ensure that people in need have access to free X-rays.  It is presumed that those with £250 of savings are earning interest at £1 per week!! Also savings have to be used up to meet special payments.  Some benefits such as family allowance should be available before 5 years of residence.  We would like people to be informed early of the change to their benefit when the transition period finally ends so they can be prepared for it. The report should be out this month.

5  The Employment Forum has circulated a paper looking at whether those in therapeutic work should be entitled to the minimum wage. Adrian Pearce has some experience in this field and will prepare a reply.

6. ELeQ spoke of the benefits of an account with Triodos Bank, which invests in ethical businesses and has continued to prosper over the past  year.  The Bank began in Holland and has a UK base in Bristol.  He has had an account for several years

7. There was a look at the range of articles in the recent Jersey Link.  On inspection it was not too biased towards the JEA, though those present had not had time to read it all.

8.  Date of next Amos meeting was set for Wed . July 1st at 5.15 back at Pastoral Centre.  

9.  At this point Deputy Sean Power, assistant Housing Minister, arrived on his bike after a long day in the States.  He said the the Residential Tenancy Law (RTL) report has been tabled and will be debated and hopefully approved next month.  It will ensure that there is a document setting out clearly the duties of landlord and tenant. To the comment that it was a lot of bureaucracy, he said that some landlords needed to raise their game.

The next step is a migration policy that will give every person in Jersey a card with their name, address and number.  This will clarify exactly who is working in Jersey. Then there will be a tenant deposit scheme, probably making use of the Community Bank.  Then there will be regulation and inspection of the unqualified sector  Long awaited but I believe firmly on track now.

Soon Professor Whitehead's review of social housing will be published.  She is likely to recommend that the Housing Dept is put alongside Housing Trusts, and private landlords under a Jersey Housing Authority.
Reducing the 12 year quallie period to 11 years recently meant that 157 extra people could buy though only about 50 could afford to buy.  The aim is to reduce the period to 10 years eventually

When rent rebate was introduced in 1992, it cost £1.7m, now it takes £23m p.a. a big part of the Housing budget and means there is a small sum left to maintain States housing. The main beneficiaries have been landlords who have raised their rents as the rebate has risen.   Money is being raised by selling properties.  The States have just decided to cut the number allowed in to 300 a year for the next 3 years then review again.  The number of J cat has been sharply reduced, companies are expected to find local candidates.  Also unlimited J cat have been stopped and are issued  for 3 year periods and will then be reviewed.

He gave us the surprising figure that 88% of States tenants have an income of less than £12k p.a.   He  also gave us a figure of 780 single Mums with one of more children requiring accommodation.  Added to this very high figure is fact that many of them don't have simple housekeeping and cooking skills.  He has been to Guernsey to see a hostel type scheme which brings young mums together to offer them support  and training in life skills.

Deputy Power is aware that some people are buying first time buyer properties and selling them for profit before they even move in!  He will be ensuring contracts specify no onward sale for a minimum of 5 years as used to be the case.

Mr. Eric Le Ruez is soon going to be appointed as chair of the rent tribunal in Jersey to give some independent view on a fair rent, which hasn't been in place recently.

Deputy Power has not enjoyed some of States business with the unstatemanlike behaviour, but is enjoying the Housing work and his work in St. Brelade and he set off by bicycle for home, tea and a meeting at Communicare in the evening.  

We are very grateful for his frank exchange of views and for the energy he is bringing to housing policy. 

The Meeting finished  6.30
Ed Le Quesne   4 /  6 /  09

Monday, 29 June 2009

If only we could see it!

Hansard on the 14th June 2009, had the following amusing exchange on the questions without notice.

Deputy J.M. Maçon of St. Saviour asked "Why, in the Council of Ministers' Part A minutes, dated 7th May 2009, did the Council of Ministers need to agree that Ministers should make every effort to be present in the States Chamber during meetings of the States?"

Senator T.A. Le Sueur (The Chief Minister):" Because I believe it is important that Ministers set a good example..."

On looking round the Chamber, Deputy J.M. Maçon then asked: "On a supplementary point, where are the Ministers today and what example are they setting for other Members?"  [Approbation]

Clearly there were no Ministers present, and they had all wondered off for a chat, coffee, smoke etc!

Senator T.A. Le Sueur, wrong-footed, tried to regain the high ground: "I said the business which we consider to be particularly relevant to their particular areas of expertise.  This question period is questions for me and it is important that I be here.  It is perhaps more important that they deal with other matters at this stage so that they can be here later on in other sessions."

But alas, at this point there were less than the required quorum of 24 elected members, as the rest had all left. So the the Deputy Bailiff had to stop the proceedings until one member returned. The various Ministers were still out of the Chamber, perhaps preferring the point scoring of Wimbledon to scoring points in the States: "Chief Minister, I am afraid I am going to have to interrupt you.  Apparently we are not quorate.  [Laughter]  We are just quorate now, yes.  Had you finished your answer, Chief Minister?"

Senator T.A. Le Sueur tried to get more high ground back with the well known technique of spreading the blame: "I think I finished, except maybe to point out it is not just Ministers who are not present at the time."

Then Deputy S. Pitman started to speak: "As Members are aware, I recently made a complaint about the Minister for Social Security not getting back to me with questions regarding ."

The Deputy Bailiff: "One moment, we are not . somebody has just left and so we are not quorate."

Deputy J.M. Maçon: "Where are the Ministers?"

If only one could see the empty spaces, like in the UK Televised Parliament! What a wonderful example all the Ministers made! Well done to Jeremy Maçon, for putting Terry Le Sueur on the spot in such an amusing way! Just to name and blame. These are the Ministers:

 Economic Development  - Alan John Henry Maclean
 Education, Sport and Culture - James Gordon Reed
 Home Affairs  - Bryan Ian Le Marquand
 Health and Social Services - Anne Enid Pryke
 Housing - Terence John Le Main
 Planning and Environment - Frederick Ellyer Cohen
 Social Security - Ian Joseph Gorst
 Transport and Technical Services - Michael Keith Jackson
 Treasury and Resources - Philip Francis Cyril Ozouf


Sunday, 28 June 2009

Weather or Not!

Friday - Fair or sunny periods, and scattered thundery showers. JEP, Wednesday 24 June, p28

Did anyone ever see these showers? Did they materialise?  I've been hearing recently of wonderful new weather computers, but however they assess the local weather, they usually get it wrong by day 3. I think Jersey probably gets it so wrong because our forecasters take their main weather intelligence from the UK, rather than France - Normandy and Brittany are far better guides for local weather.

The hot weather continues, but will it match 1976. The BBC weather site notes that:

The real heat set in on the 23rd June and for 14 consecutive days the temperature topped 32°C at a number of places in southern England. Many long-standing records were broken. At Hurn Airport in Dorset and Cheltenham (Gloucestershire) it exceeded 32°C for seven successive days. This is without parallel anywhere in the British Isles in modern times. Many long-standing records were broken. At Mayflower Park Southampton a reading of 35.6°C on the 28th June ranks as the UK's highest June temperature.(1)

Just as with cold, heat brings significant risks for health. A serious scientific study of deaths from 1976 showed that the number of deaths rose because of temperature and the kind of heat.

The total deaths by day in Birmingham were analysed in relation to several weather variables from 24 June to 8 July, 1976 when the mean daily dry-bulb temperature remained continuously above 22°C, and for the preceding and following cooler fortnights. The average number of daily deaths reported to the Registrar increased significantly by nearly 20 per cent during this hot fortnight and by over 30 per cent from 3 to 5 July. The excess deaths were mainly of elderly men and women with cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease. The daily mortality correlated best with the maximum daily drybulb temperature and then with the mean temperature compared with the five other weather variables tested. The mean wet-bulb temperature on days one and three before death was the only measure of humidity tested to correlate significantly with daily deaths.(2)

So take this news story seriously, and make sure you drink enough:

Britain is braced for a 'state of emergency' heatwave this week, with warnings of deaths, water shortages and travel misery. Hospitals have been put on high alert for extra admissions – including many more heart attack victims – as temperatures could hit 33˚C (91.4˚F). The elderly and very young have been warned by health officials to stay indoors between 11am and 3pm. (3)

(1) http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/features/understanding/1976_drought.shtml
(2) http://qjmed.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/49/1/1
(3) http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?Warning_as_Britain_is_put_on_33C_heatwave_alert&in_article_id=693470&in_page_id=34

Thursday, 25 June 2009

The Curious Incident of the Silent Blast

No doubt in the UK, MPs are still reeling from the disclosures of the expenses scandal, but it seems strange to me that - outside of the Island - there seems to be a complete lack of coverage of "Operation Blast".
Even in our sister Island of Guernsey, it has not surfaced at all. Mind you, over there they have other concerns, a spat between the Bailiff and the Chief Minister, the resignation of an entire committee etc.
I don't see major conspiracies behind this, but you might have thought a footnote - perhaps in Private Eye, would be likely. Possibly it is a wait and see policy, to see if it is just a storm in a tea cup. Or perhaps it is just too crowded out with other impressive news stories to rate much importance.
Even over here, there has managed to be misreporting. Bob Hill is quoted as saying it is a lot of fuss about nothing after he saw his files, but as he kept reiterating on "Talkback", he did not see his files. Rather he said that making a police check on politicians was not something to make a fuss about, but for the fact that this had been done without consent. If States members were told that if they stood, a check would be made, that would be fair and above board, but he felt the sneaky way in which this was done covertly raised important questions.
At the moment, it is a stand off between Frank Walker and Graham Power over whether or not Frank requested this be done in the first place, alongside another individual, who has been named on Stuart Syvret's blog, but whose name has not appeared elsewhere. I will not mention his name here. But if the individual concerned was also involved in requesting Operation Blast be set up, we may expect any handwritten notes to have been long consigned to the shredder!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Not so sweet

There was an interesting question asked in the UK Parliament in 1889 about the Sugar Convention, and whether or not it would apply to the Channel Islands.

Largely forgotten now, the Brussels Sugar Convention of 1898 (repeated in 1901 to 1902) was staged between representatives of the major powers to discuss the abolition of subsidies on the export of sugar. Agreement was finally reached in 1902 by which Great Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden undertook to suppress the direct and indirect bounties by which the production or export of sugar might benefit, and not to establish bounties of such a kind during the duration of the convention.

It was probably one of the first multilateral commodity trade negotiations, and set the basis for others to follow - these negotiations began a process of European harmonization of taxation criteria and regulations, which forced changes to national statutes, and in a way, foreshadowed the European Union.

The question asked was whether the law applied to the Channel Islands. The answer was that it would only apply if the Channel Islands were named. The flip side of this answer is that if the Channel Islands are named in a Treaty or Act of Parliament, then they are bound by it.

It is another example of the independence of the Channel Islands being very much a matter of convention, and convenience, rather than absolute.

HC Deb 06 May 1889 vol 335 c1230
MR. CAUSTON (Southwark, W.)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, under the Convention or the Bill before the House, Jersey or Guernsey would be bound to receive no sugar from France if that country came under prohibition by the decision of the International Commission, on account of having bounty-fed sugar?
Jersey and Guernsey are not effected by a Treaty or an Act of Parliament unless specially named therein.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The Small Universe

"Charity begins at home" is the impassioned slogan of today, with just that touch of special pleading that adds; "My 50 pence won't stop millions starving." How would you answer this remark? How could anyone answer such a remark!
Of course, these is the "reasonable" answer - the brick building idea; this suggests that If you take one brick and I take one brick and we all take one brick- well,  piled on top of one another,  in a very short apace of time, we would soon see before our very eyes a massive pyramid of a myriad bricks. And this is the essence of the argument that all the little pennies do add up to a large sum.
It is a good argument - yet, somehow, people fail to be impressed. Is it because we assume that people are too reasonable, and by that is meant easily conversant with abstract thought? For it would seem that our argument really is quite an abstract one - despite all the talk of a great mountain of money, there is no actual mound to be seen; unlike the imposing edifice of our pyramid of bricks, the money has to be imagined.
It is, therefore, quite definitely an acutely abstract abstraction - the more so since it is invisible even to our imaginations. We may pretend to know what a vast sum of money looks like, and we may picture many coins and plenty of pound notes all heaped in a vast pile; yet we have never actually seen such a pecuniary landscape, nor do we expect to ever come across one. Consequently, to ask people to give money on the basis of an argument concerning some abstract image which they do not believe has ever (or will ever) exist, is perhaps not a good approach.
Leaving aside the reasonable answer, it should be noticeable that the sort of person who makes remarks about charity (as above) is not prepared to be convinced by any argument; their pleading is simply an excuse not to give money, by use of a well-worn cliché and an argument that betrays their insensitivity to the issues which are involved. To be sure, they may be the best of people - "good, honest, decent, God-fearing citizens". And yet their vision is still too narrow, their universe too small. Mere humanitarianism will not overcome that poverty of imagination; and because of that no reply is adequate. What is needed is not an answer but an attitude, not to reach the pocket but to reach the person.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Blastgate on Monday

Blast: Too early for inquiry: After the revelation in Jersey about Operation Blast - a covert police operation to create files on all States members - one Deputy says he won't be backing calls for a Committee of Inquiry.
Deputy Sean Power says States members should wait until Home Affairs Minister Ian Le Marquand has made his own inquiries into who set up Operation Blast and why. Deputy Power says he's confident Senator Le Marquand will deal with the issue. He also says he has absolute confidence in acting police chief David Warcup and in Data Protection Commissioner Emma Martins.


I heard Emma Martins on the Radio, and vague would be too kind a word. Unlike the former UK Special Branch officer, or Adrian Lee, the BBC's expert professor from Portsmouth University (who is always very clear), she was a model of dither. She could at least have spelt out what was needed for the police to comply with Data Protection - written authorisation from a senior officer for this kind of thing, which was made clear by Adrian Lee.
This morning the BBC mentioned they were still asking David Warcup for a comment - and would keep asking - and he was still keeping quite on the matter. The only one I'd have confidence in is Ian Le Marquand, who after all, blew the gaff on the story.

But what Deputy Power may do is another matter. As he has consistently voted in the new States 100% of the time the same way as Chief Minister Terry Le Sueur, will he change his mind suddenly and remarkably if Terry decides in favour of a committee of inquiry?


Just Resting

"Just Resting" by Leo McKern: A Short Review
This is the autobiography of actor Leo McKern, best known for his wonderful portrayal of the character created by John Mortimer - Rumpole of the Old Bailey.
It is an honest and revealing book. One criticism might be than Leo McKern often undervalues himself. For instance, he claims that his prose is very poor, which I think is mistaken. But let the reader judge a typical example. Writing about his first visit to the ruins of post-war Germany, he says:
"I remember approaching a city by train on a banked viaduct, so that what remained could be seen on each side, stretching to the horizon: blunt-topped cones of rubble, the shell of an occasional building standing like the gutted monument to Armageddon; a somehow dreadful neatness of a chequer-board of cleared and empty streets, the debris simply shovelled back to where buildings had stood."

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Midsummer and Ritual

As Midsummer tends to be associated with solstice rituals, etc, when I was writing my "Midsummer Dreams", I was looking at providing something fictional that would reflect that, but also reflect Carl Sagan, in his wonderfully poetic but scientific appreciation of the Cosmos, in the television series of the same name. As he said:

We humans long to be connected with our origins so we create rituals. Science is another way to experience this longing. It also connects us with our origins, and it too has its rituals and its commandments. Its only sacred truth is that there are no sacred truths. All assumptions must be critically examined. Arguments from authority are worthless. Whatever is inconsistent with the facts -- no matter how fond of it we are -- must be discarded or revised. Science is not perfect. It is often misused. It is only a tool, but it is the best tool we have -- self-correcting, ever changing, applicable to everything. With this tool we vanquish the impossible; with the methods of science we have begun to explore the cosmos.(1)

With this in mind, I decided to look at a much more cosmic outlook. So much of mythology and ritual tends to be very dependent on local seasons. For instance, our longest day is today, but on the equator - although the time of sunrise and sunset alter - the length of daylight is always the same.

Now in fact the length of daylight has not always been the same because of the drag effect of the moon, and I remember doing calculations on this years ago in A-Level physics. This is the physics of daylight hours:

The fish of the Devonian Period experienced rather short days. We know that the Devonian year had 400 days, making each day only 22 hours long.(72 kb) This just goes to show that nothing is constant on Earth, not even the length of a day! Just as continents move and change direction, the speed at which our planet rotates also changes over time. How is this possible? It is really the fault of the Moon, our celestial companion. Since it formed 4.2 billion years ago (4.2 Ga), the Moon has driven the tides on our planet. The Moon's gravitational pull attracts great masses of water toward it while in orbit around us. As the Earth turns eastward, the tides move westward, and this phenomenon imperceptibly slows the rotation of our planet by 0.0016 seconds per century! (2)

What is extraordinary about this is that there is what we might term a "cross bearing", an independent means of verifying this, which shows that out physics tallies with the biological evidence:

One line of evidence comes from corals. Corals, both living and fossilized, are animals that live inside little cups of calcium carbonate (calcite; CaCo3) that they themselves secrete. The coral "skeleton" grows because the animals deposit calcite every day they are alive. The activity temporarily stops at night because the animals live symbiotically with single-celled algae that need light to function. The daily layers are visible under a microscope, making it possible to count days, somewhat like counting tree rings to determine the passage of years.  Species that live in temperate waters are subjected to seasonal variations in temperature, so winter growth is slower and the marks farther apart. Years are therefore easily distinguished among the series of growth lines. A modern coral would show us years consisting of 365 lines. Coral fossils living 400 million years ago (400 Ma) in the Early Devonian display years of 400 lines, and thus 400 days, proving that the Earth did indeed turn faster at that time.(3)

I wanted to write something for Midsummer that reflected this vast change in the day since ancient times, what the paleontologists term "deep time", and then, for completeness, I went back imaginatively to the start of the earth, close to its initial formation as a planet.

Sometimes, I think it is good to get a cosmic perspective, and I was listening to a poem only the other day which spoke of "a hundred thousand years" as if that was a vast period of time; in fact, it puts us back in the Paleolithic period, on the earth's history in time as one hour, barely the last minute. How provincial we are, and how localised in out perceptions.

I didn't look forward to the slowing down of the earth, because that has already been done, and far better than me, by H.G. Well's in his Time Machine. Wells was as aware of the slowing down of the earth by tidal drag, and the eventual extinction of all life, or certainly of human beings:

So I travelled, stopping ever and again, in great strides of a thousand years or more, drawn on by the mystery of the earth's fate, watching with a strange fascination the sun grow larger and duller in the westward sky, and the life of the old earth ebb away. At last, more than thirty million years hence, the huge red-hot dome of the sun had come to obscure nearly a tenth part of the darkling heavens. Then I stopped once more, for the crawling multitude of crabs had disappeared, and the red beach, save for its livid green liverworts and lichens, seemed lifeless. And now it was flecked with white. A bitter cold assailed me. Rare white flakes ever and again came eddying down. To the north-eastward, the glare of snow lay under the starlight of the sable sky and I could see an undulating crest of hillocks pinkish white. There were fringes of ice along the sea margin, with drifting masses further out; but the main expanse of that salt ocean, all bloody under the eternal sunset, was still unfrozen.

The darkness grew apace; a cold wind began to blow in freshening gusts from the east, and the showering white flakes in the air increased in number. From the edge of the sea came a ripple and whisper. Beyond these lifeless sounds the world was silent. Silent? It would be hard to convey the stillness of it. All the sounds of man, the bleating of sheep, the cries of birds, the hum of insects, the stir that makes the background of our lives--all that was over. As the darkness thickened, the eddying flakes grew more abundant, dancing before my eyes; and the cold of the air more intense. At last, one by one, swiftly, one after the other, the white peaks of the distant hills vanished into blackness. The breeze rose to a moaning wind. I saw the black central shadow of the eclipse sweeping towards me. In another moment the pale stars alone were visible. All else was rayless obscurity. The sky was absolutely black.(4)

(1) Cosmos, Who speaks for Earth, Carl Sagan
(2) http://www.sepaq.com/pq/mig/miguasha/mig-en/a_devonian_day.html
(3) http://www.sepaq.com/pq/mig/miguasha/mig-en/a_devonian_day.html
(4) http://www.gutenberg.org/files/35/35.txt

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Midsummer Dreaming

Midsummer Dreaming

The grass was cool beneath our feet, as we watched the sun setting on this, the longest day. It was a long day, and the sun still heated the air, warm breezes rippling across the distant sea. And we cast our minds back, far into the past.

It was a day for the sun god, for celebrating the god at the height of his powers before they began to wane. The tribe gathered, and faced the setting sun, the last before this mighty king began to sicken, and grow pale behind the coming autumn mists. But now was a day of rejoicing, of dance and song.

And finally, as we raised our hands in farewell to the sun, a rose hue coloured the land and sea, and a breeze sprung up, fresh and cool as heat departed. The wind blows forth. The wind blows wherever it wishes; we hear the sound it makes, but we do not know where it comes from or where it is going.

And we cast our minds back, far into the past, a day before even the gods, in the dawn of life on earth.

A long day, but then it was a shorter day, and we waded in the pools left behind by the Devonian tides, leaving footprints in the sand. It was the day before, long, long before, in the distant reaches of deep time. Four hundred dawns made one year, and this was the longest day.

Small creatures swam in warm currents, and no human would step here for millions of years. Here were no gods to worship, no stuff of myth, but through it all, the warm breeze swept across the shallow waters, stirring the waters. The wind blows forth. The wind blows wherever it wishes; we hear the sound it makes, but we do not know where it comes from or where it is going. And we cast our minds back, far into the past, a day before the gods, before even the dawn of life on earth, the day of the making.

A shorter day, and where is night and day in this incandescent rock, spinning in the vastness of space around the sun? We are here in spirit alone, for flesh and blood would not long survive the eruptions of molten rock, and the firestorms that rage across the land. Electric flashes make night as bright as day, and there is no place for us to grasp, to settle beneath our sight; instead, an ever changing vista, as the world changes in the twinkling of an eye. It is the time of making, and through it all, hot currents of air sweep around the earth. The wind blows forth. The wind blows wherever it wishes; we hear the sound it makes, but we do not know where it comes from or where it is going.

And we return to our midsummer, to an earth firm beneath our feet, a longest day, but not the longest, for that will come in the future, when the earth grows old, and we are ashes scattered in the wind. But we feel the warm breeze upon our face, and she touches us, as she has touched this earth since its conception, through deep time, and on into the present day, and onwards into the tale to be told of days to come. But our midsummer is done for now, and our tale told, until next year.

And still the wind blows forth. The wind blows wherever it wishes; we hear the sound it makes, but we do not know where it comes from or where it is going.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Another one on the nod?

"Even the worthy Homer sometimes nods." (Horace (65 BC-8 BC)

This is a proposition to elect Clive Jones, who is currently serving a term as a Commissioner, for appointment by the States of Jersey to be Chairman of the Jersey Financial Services Commission. The proposition gives a glowing report on his background.
Clive Stanley Jones: Age 62. Company director, Commissioner of the Jersey Financial Services Commission (since 23rd October 2007) and retired banker. Jones has a distinguished record including 38 years' experience of the type of financial services supervised by the Commission. From 1996 to 2007, Mr. Jones was employed by Citigroup as Country Officer for the Channel Islands and acted as Chairman and Managing Director of Citibank (Channel Islands) Limited, Citigroup's representative in Jersey, responsible for all interaction with regulators, politicians and competitors, either Chairman or Director of all Citibank companies in Jersey, and a Member of the Global Wealth Management European Business Risk Committee

However none of this covers the mention of his name with respect to the Brazil Scandal, reported in the Observer in 2001, when he refused to comment about the possibility of lax banking controls:
Brazil scandal hits Citibank (Sunday September 9, 2001, Observer)

Citibank faces fresh money-laundering controversy after up to $200 million, allegedly looted from Brazil in a major political scandal, turned up at the bank's Jersey branch. Brazilian prosecutors will apply to the Channel Island's attorney-general to freeze a Citibank bank account they suspect belongs to Paulo Maluf, former mayor of São Paulo and one of the country's best-known politicians. Brazil's parliament is investigating allegations that Maluf diverted money from public coffers into offshore accounts when in office during the Eighties. Maluf, also a former conservative presidential candidate, denies wrongdoing and is scheduled to give evidence to the parliamentary enquiry tomorrow. In Jersey, police and the island's financial regulator are questioning Citibank over the suspect account. According to Brazilian reports, the Jersey account is held by a Cayman Islands company which Maluf is alleged to own. The money was reportedly transferred to Jersey in 1997 from Citibank's Swiss branch. The US bank is understood to have become suspicious and alerted authorities in Jersey and Brazil. A spokesman said: 'We do not comment publicly on customer matters, including whether somebody is or ever was a customer.' Clive Jones, head of Citibank in the Channel Islands, refused to comment. There is no suggestion of dishonesty on the bank's part, but the affair is potentially embarrassing: Citibank was criticised by the US Senate in 1999 over lax private banking controls. Stolen money was funnelled through the bank by relatives of politicians suh as President Carlos Salinas of Mexico, and the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha. The episode could also prove awkward for Jersey, which has faced international criticism over its corporate secrecy laws. (2)

Can it be assumed that he would ensure that if any money came to Jersey from such practices in the past, as the Chairman of the Jersey Financial Services Commission, he would prevent them from taking place today and ensure a more rigorous regime of controls?

Here is a google translated page of another piece of information about Mr Jones that somehow did not make it into the States proposition, where it is revealed that prior to 1997, he was working in the Swiss banking system (excuse the clumsy translation):

Citibank: In last Wednesday revealed that an official document of Switzerland informed the Brazilian authorities that Maluf account maintained at Citibank that country from 1985 until 1997 when they moved the applications to the same bank in Jersey. Clive Jones, who currently chairs the Citibank in Jersey, he worked in Switzerland during the period in which the account-Maluf maintained on behalf of a parent in the country.  Jones worked in Switzerland from 1987 to 1993 and then was transferred to Jersey. The president of Citibank in Jersey is now responsible for the judicial authorities to provide the movement's financial account that has the Maluf beneficiaries and their families. (3)

Why so coy? After all Mr Jones record in Switzerland is mentioned (albeit briefly) on the Jersey Finance website, but only on a password protected page (google keeps a cache of pages, which is how I found it):

Clive's career in Citigroup has taken him from London to assignments in Seoul, Sydney, Melbourne, Athens and Zurich as well as Jersey, split almost equally between corporate and private banking. (4)

I'm not saying that he is probably not the right person for the post. He probably is. But there is a certain lack of transparency with the information furnished to States Members, and I have noticed in the past that these kind of appointments are usually carried by all members "on the nod" without, I fear, adequate scrutiny of the candidate in question. (4)

(1) http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/documents/propositions/47876-38879-1762009.pdf
(2) http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4252921,00.html
(3) http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/folha/brasil/ult96u23971.shtml
(4) http://www.jerseyfinance.je/_support/uploadedFiles/Collated%20Biographies%20-%20Dubai.doc

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Operation Blast

Under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI held millions of detailed files and illegal wiretaps that contained top-secret information on millions of Americans. These files and recordings contained damaging facts about sexual, political, and financial information of the country's most powerful and influential people. Hoover kept personal files on every politician who passed through Washington.(1)

Much of the news today will certainly focus on "Operation Blast". This is the statement by Ian Le Marquand in the States:

"It is my duty to inform this Assembly that on 2nd June 2009 I received a formal written report from the Acting Chief Officer of Police which confirmed to me the details of Operation Blast. I was first informed of the general details in relation to Operation Blast by a letter from the Solicitor General dated 30th April, 2009, and requested further information prior to making any decision in relation thereto. I am able to reveal the following information - 1) In February 2006 the States of Jersey Police set up files under the name of Operation Blast which contained sections on every elected member of the States of Jersey, that is on every Senator, Connétable and Deputy. These files do not appear to relate to any actual police investigation. 2) Each section on an individual member contained a photograph and other generally available information on the member. It also contained a full criminal record search on each member. Some of the sections contained other information on a member from a variety of different sources including local police intelligence and national police intelligence and sheets detailing the checks that had been carried out in respect of each individual. The existence and general contents of the files have been independently confirmed to me by the Solicitor General acting upon my request. 3) The files were kept securely within the Special Branch office. Between February 2006 and November 2008 the files were updated from time to time. The files were not retained under standard arrangements for the retention of intelligence data. Indeed, there are papers within the files which would suggest that efforts have been made to ensure that this information was maintained outside the normal protocols for the management of information. Various members of the Police Senior Management were aware of the existence of the files and directed certain information to be retained therein. The existence of the files was known only to a very small number of officers and does not appear to have been disseminated further. 4) I am not aware of the motivation for the setting up and retention of these files but am very seriously concerned about their existence. 5) No new sections were set up after the October/November 2008 elections and no information was added to the files after November 2008. Existing or former members of the States who are concerned by the contents of this statement may wish to contact the Acting Chief Officer of Police, Mr. David Warcup, who has agreed to meet individually with them, should they so wish, in order to discuss the contents of their section of the files."

Channel Television has reported on the story

Deputy Trevor Pitman has likened Jersey to Zimbabwe and Deputy Mike Higgins wants to know why, under the Freedom of Information Act, members cannot look at their files.

Senator Stuart Syvret has asked whether any former crown officers knew about 'Operation Blast'. Senator Syvret is also worried MI5 and Special Branch have been gathering information on his involvement with Greenpeace.

The full report on Channel can be found at:

There is also an excellent interview with Deputy Bob Hill of St Martin by the roving internet reporter Thomas Wellard at:

The JEP has a brief mention at:

and the BBC story can be found at:

It is not surprising that politicians have liked this to a "police state", but the files can be made accessible. There is a precedent here. The regimes of the former Soviet block had secret police files, and the parliaments of those countries voted to approve laws opening those files so that they could no longer remain secret (2). It is doubtful if at this stage this will prove necessary in Jersey, but it is remarkable that Jersey is at present, with non-disclosure of these secret files, less open that those countries! Here are some examples:

Slovakian Parliament Votes to Release Secret Police Files: The parliament on 19 August overrode President Rudolf Schuster's veto and approved a law on opening the files of the communist secret police, TASR and international agencies reported. The vote was 82 in favor and 10 against, with 20 deputies abstaining or failing to cast a vote. The law was first passed on 10 July. The legislation keeps classified only the files of foreign nationals, those whose disclosure could "pose a threat to human life and public interest," and the personal data of people persecuted by the former secret police. The law also sets up an Institute for National Memory, where citizens can read the files. The institute will also gather documents on the crimes of the communist period, as well as the period when Slovakia was a Nazi puppet state. (RFE/RL, 21 August 2002).

Czech Senate Approves Access to Police Files Law: Senate on 8 March approved a bill by a vote of 42 to 11, with nine abstentions, allowing access to previously classified communist secret police files, international agencies reported. The Chamber of Deputies approved the bill last month and the legislation will be enacted after its promulgation by President Vaclav Havel. Czech citizens have been able to access their own files since 1996, but not the files of other people. The new legislation excludes from access only files of foreign nationals and those containing information that could endanger national security or the lives of other people(RFE/RL, March 14, 2002).

Serbia Opens Secret Police Files: The State Security Department announced on June 18 that they were opening their files gathered under the Milosevic regime. Individuals are allowed to see their files but not copy or take home documents. Many files had been destroyed before the current government took control. (Associated Press, June 18, 2001).

Poland to Open Communist Secret Police Files: The Polish Parliament appointed Leon Kieres, a lawyer and independent senator, to head the National Memory Institute. The IPN will now take control of all archives of the communist-era security service and those of courts, prosecutors' offices, the former communist party and other institutions. "It will take several months before the opening of the first file," said Zak. Poles will be allowed to see their personal files compiled by the authorities before 1989 and learn if they suffered from discrimination and possibly who informed on them. (Reuters, June 8, 2000)

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Political Expediency of Knighthoods

Curiously, as the time grows close for Michael Birt to step into Sir Philip Bailhache's shoes and become Bailiff, Geoffrey Rowland, the Bailiff of Guernsey, has received a long overdue knighthood.

Geoffrey Rowland became Bailiff in 2005, and by 2007, disquiet was already been shown in our sister Island, as he still had not received a knighthood, which had, up to that point, been seen as a tradition for Bailiffs of both Islands.

SURPRISED islanders are dismayed at the omission of the Bailiff from the Queen's New Year Honours. Geoffrey Rowland had been widely expected to receive a knighthood and islanders were left wondering what lay behind the snub against the Bailiwick's first citizen. Every Bailiff since at least 1884 has received the honour in a tradition that is regarded as a reflection of the standing of the Bailiwick in the eyes of the UK Government. The recent precedent has been that the Bailiff has been knighted within three years of his appointment. Mr Rowland is entering his third year.(1)

By 2008, questions were being asked of Jack Straw why nothing had yet been done, but no replies were forthcoming in the public record, and this was still the situation in June of that year.

JACK STRAW will be asked to explain why Guernsey's Bailiff has not been knighted. Tory MP for Romford and vice chairman of the All-Party Channel Island Parliamentary Group Andrew Rosindell will table questions to the Justice Secretary's office this week.(2)

Three years after his installation as Guernsey's first citizen, Bailiff Geoffrey Rowland is still waiting for the knighthood that has generally accompanied the position.(3)

Some light was being cast on the reasons for the delay, as there was a denial that it was for political reasons, although strangely this denial did not explain why the precedent of knighting Bailiffs had ceased. It is hard to give credence to a blanket denial when no detailed explanation was forthcoming.

Bailiff Geoffrey Rowland (pictured) has been kept waiting longer for a knighthood than his recent predecessors and was considered to be in line for one this time... A UK Cabinet spokesman denied that Mr Rowland was being passed over for political reasons and said he could not comment on people who were not on the list. (4)

And finally, probably when the Islanders had given up on the idea, Geoffrey Rowland received a knighthood this June:

GUERNSEY'S Bailiff Geoffrey Rowland receives a knighthood in today's Queen's Birthday Honours... He said he was honoured and surprised to be recognised for his services to the Crown and community in Guernsey. He knew it would give his family cause for celebration and he hoped that others would welcome the news too (5).

Geoffrey Rowland, who became the island's bailiff in 2005, is being honoured for services to the Crown and the community of Guernsey. (6

So why was the Bailiff of Guernsey passed over for so long, and why was he finally knighted. As to the former question, I have no explanation, except to suspect - despite the denial - a degree of political motivation. With regard to his being knight now, at this late hour, I would pose the following question:

What would the average Guernseyman's reaction be if the next Bailiff of Jersey received a knighthood, and their own Bailiff had not done so for over four years?

In respect of this, I'd give good odds that Michael Birt will be knighted within a year of taking office.

(1) http://www.thisisguernsey.com/2007/12/31/why-did-no-10-snub-bailiff/
(2) http://www.thisisguernsey.com/2008/01/11/bailiff-in-honours-question/
(3) http://www.thisisguernsey.com/2008/06/16/islanders-happy-at-three-mbes/
(4) http://www.thisisguernsey.com/2008/12/31/none-worthy-surprise-as-honours-miss-island/
(5) http://www.thisisguernsey.com/2009/06/13/knighthood-and-mbes-for-islanders/
(6) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/guernsey/8097702.stm

How to have your cake and get the taxpayers to fund it

The report is now out on the States Remuneration Pay Award. Bear in mind that the following statement was issued by the Chief Minister, Terry Le Sueur, when noting a pay freeze for civil servants:

I would like to inform the House of a decision by the Council of Ministers. At our last meeting we decided there should be a pay freeze for public sector staff in 2009/2010.  We took the decision with the States Employment Board in attendance. The States will now be asked to withdraw the 2% which had been set aside in department budgets to fund this year's pay awards..... Ministers also decided that they would recommend a pay freeze for States members (1)

The preamble to the report gives the basis for its recommendations:

The Privileges and Procedures Committee is pleased to present to the States Part 1 of he recommendations of the States Members' Remuneration Review Body (SMRRB). This report contains the Part 1 recommendations which relate entirely to the issue of the basic level of remuneration and expenses for States members for the period 2009 - 2011 although, as explained in the report, SMRRB has not yet finalised its recommendations for 2011 because of the current economic uncertainty.(2)

What are these recommendations? An increase of £1,000 in States members pay! This is where it gets interesting. By a magical sleight of hand, it is shown that this is really no increase at all! Here is the argument, which would be worthy of Sir Humphrey Appleby, in Yes Minister!

The Privileges and Procedures Committee itself fully accepts and endorses the recommendations of the SMRRB and urges all members to do likewise. The Committee would, in particular, ask members to note that the SMRRB has drawn attention to the fact that the public sector pay year runs from 1st June each year whereas the remuneration for States members runs from 1st January. Comparisons between levels of public sector pay and members' pay have usually been undertaken on the basis of comparing the increase in members' remuneration with the figure for the public sector from the previous June. The Privileges and Procedures Committee therefore considers that a fair comparison on this occasion is between public sector pay that increased by 3.2% for the pay year 2008-2009 and the £1,000 interim increase in members' remuneration for 2009 (that has now been recommended by SMRRB as the final increase) which represents a 2.3% increase. The proposed one year pay freeze for both the public sector and for States members therefore applies only to the next pay year for both groups.(3)

This is the argument from Yes Prime Minister, when Sir Humphrey is showing how a high percentage can be reduced to a "sensible increase", and takes different periods to calculate the pay awards. Note how similar it sounds to the report to the States on their members remuneration:

Don't calculate from last time. Calculate from 1973, the high point. And don't just take it to this year. Take it up
to two years' time, the end of the claim period. Correcting for inflation, that should do it. The percentage increases will sound all right now.(4)

Here is another quote from the report:

When compared against local indices the remuneration of States members appears to have lost ground over the last three years and, while the prevailing economic situation might well inhibit any significant recovery in this position, the Review Body considers it responsible to seek to limit further such deterioration as far as it is reasonably possible to do so.(5)

The report does not state what those "indices" are, which makes it difficult to see what has been going on. It does mention the discussion document, which in turn mentions the "average earnings index". The failure of Jersey to have any meaningful statistics on wages, relying on the arithmetic mean rather than the median wage (as is best practice in most countries), means that any reliance on averages in this context will probably be biased. It is well known that with wage distributions, averages (arithmetic means) are significantly higher than medians (the middle point), so that most people earn far less than the "average".

In fact, any consideration of anecdotal evidence alone, with pay freezes, reduced working weeks, or below cost of living increases, shows that the average is unable to account for the increasingly skewed distribution of the economic downturn, and this does not seem to factor into the board's deliberations.

In all private sectors, there is "lost ground" with respect to pay awards, and it is perhaps only with the public sector that States members may have "lost ground". A comparison with median pay increases in the private sector (who pay most of the taxes) would perhaps indicate that States members are not doing so very badly.

The starting principles in our terms of reference are therefore of importance, namely that "the level of remuneration available to elected members should be sufficient to ensure that no person should be precluded from serving as a member of the States by reason of insufficient income and that all elected members should be able to enjoy a reasonable standard of living, so that the broadest spectrum of persons are able to serve as members of the Assembly. (6)

That is an admirable policy, but with the increasing reach of "means testing" creeping into the States system for income support, pension bonuses, television licences, old age provisions, etc, it would not be inconsistent with a means tested States salary, to be supplemented up to a particular limit. It has always seemed invidious to me that those in the States who go on about the need for means testing, and the need to be careful with taxpayers money, do not seem able to apply the same noble principles where they are concerned, and their own interests are at stake. When means testing of States remuneration was abolished, this was noted:

The Committee has formed the view that suitable remuneration and expenses should also provide a means of compensation for elected members, to enable them to plan and save for their own futures, in a similar way that they advocate policies relating to prudent future financial planning for all citizens, for the benefit of the Island and its community.(7)

And yet the same principle is turned on its head when people who have saved all their lives are forced to sell their house (whether or not they have children) because they are not eligible for income support, or because that is the price to be paid for their keep in old age by the States; those who have not saved, are supported by the State. I know of one case where a wife was in serious danger of being turned out of her own house (which would be sold) because her husband needed residential care.  How does this tie in with the principle of "relating to prudent future financial planning for all citizens"? There is an inconsistency here which should certainly be rectified.

(1) http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/documents/statements/29003-7216-3042009.htm
(2) http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/documents/reports/3984-242-1262009.pdf
(3) http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/documents/reports/3984-242-1262009.pdf
(4) Yes Prime Minister, "A Real Partnership"
(5) http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/documents/reports/3984-242-1262009.pdf
(6) http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/documents/comm_reports/820-32390-.pdf
(7) http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/documents/propositions/30036-208-21102003.htm

Monday, 15 June 2009

Exporting Poverty: Jersey in 1884

Trawling through the UK Hansard, I came across an interesting entry back in 1884, where there is a mention of St Helier and Jersey.

Apparently Jersey was in the habit of sending away poor people to Ireland rather than dealing with poor people locally. This occurence (mentioned in Hansard) predates Irish independence, and was still when Ireland was part of Great Britain, with Member of Parliament. In 1884, William Gladstone was leading the liberal party as Prime Minister. "Trevelan", in the record, was Sir George Otto Trevelyan, 2nd Baronet, who was quite a radical politician, supporting women's suffrage, the reform of metropolitan local government, and a drastic reform or abolition of the House of Lords. At the time of the question, he was Chief Secretary for Ireland, which is why he was answering the question in point.

A question asked by Mr McCarthy about one case showed that this was in fact the case with one woman, and it was unclear how legal the Jersey authorities were in dumping their social problems elsewhere, as the law as it stood in Ireland, did not permit this. Mr O'Connor then asked whether this practice of exporting poverty had been going on for 40 years. There was no reply, which suggests that Mr Trevelyan has not been briefed as to whether this was the case, but it is unlike the question was asked unless the questioner was already aware of the answer

Lynsmore Workhouse was in County Waterford, Ireland, and was built for the relief of the distressed between 1839 and 1842. At one stage there were over 700 inmates there, despite the fact that it was built to accommodate only 500.


HC Deb 17 July 1884 vol 290 cc1413-4 1413

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If it is the fact that a woman named Hackett, a native of Tallow, county Waterford, which place she left, over thirty years ago, for England, and who resided in Jersey for the last twelve years, was recently obliged to go into the Hospital at St. Helier; if the General Hospital Committee of St. Helier ordered her removal to Ireland, and caused her to be transported to Lismore Workhouse; if the Irish Local Government Board hold that there is no provision in the Poor Removal Acts for the removal of a pauper from Jersey to Ireland; and, if the Local Government Board is correct in its opinion, has the Lismore Board of Guardians or Mrs. Hackett any means of obtaining redress for the action of the St. Helier Hospital Committee?

It is, I understand, a fact that a woman has recently been removed from Jersey to Lismore. The Local Government Board for Ireland are not aware of any enactment permitting such a removal; and they have suggested to the Lismore Board of Guardians that they should communicate with the Hospital Committee of St. Helier, and request them to state under what legal authority they acted on the occasion referred to.

asked if the right hon. Gentleman was aware that the Jersey Guardians had been in the habit of sending people to England and Ireland for the past 40 years?
[No reply.]


Sunday, 14 June 2009

The Open Church

"The Open Church" by Jurgen Moltmann: A Review
This is a book about Christian living which, as Moltmann rightly points out, necessities the "community of Christians; there is no such thing as a solitary Christian in the Church. "
One of the most interesting chapters takes the form of a meditation on the on the words of Paul in Romans: "Accept one another as Christ accepted us." What does this mean for us today in the context of Christian communities? Moltmann begins by observing that "it is relatively easy for us to accept each other when the others are just like us and want what we want." Because of this principle, stated by Aristotle in the well-known saying "Birds of a feather flock together," it is very easy for the Church to become essentially a religious clique, which excludes or `merely tolerates' some people-the outcasts of society.
When these need recognition, we tend to "react with defensiveness, increased self-confirmation, anxiety and disparagement." This a natural reaction, Moltmann says, because those who are unlike us makes us feel insecure. As an example, he mentions those who are physically or mentally handicapped. He confesses that "it is very difficult for us to see in the handicapped person a human being. We see only the deformity, and we are disturbed by it. For we would like to recognise only ourselves in the other." There is acceptance, but it is limited.
Moltmann suggests that part of the problem is that we are only applying the first part of Paul's words, and forgetting the most important part-to accept each other "as Christ has accepted us." If we accept this, what change should it make in our attitudes to others?
Moltmann argues that Christ accepts us despite our defects and failings: "With all of our rough edges and unagreeable dispositions, we are acknowledged by Christ, brought to the glory of God, and loved with passion. If this were not true, then who would we be? A leaf in the wind, a particle of dust on the street."
What sort of community does this give rise to? It gives rise to a more open community that is no longer simply thought of as "the sum of all those who are registered as members on the church rolls." Instead, the Christian community should be "a new kind of life together for human beings that affirms: That no one is alone with his or her problems; that no one has to conceal his or her disabilities; that there are not some who have the say and others who have no say; that neither the old nor the little ones are isolated; that one bears the other even when it is unpleasant and there is no agreement; that, finally, the one can also at times leave the other in peace when the other  needs it"
Can this kind of community come about, or is it just a pious pipe-dream? Moltmann sees it arising today in grass-roots groups. "In many churches today where there is much preaching but little community, there are arising groups which seek community even at the expense of privacy. One need only make a small effort to seek them out"
This is an excellent book which is rooted in practical application.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Reith Lectures 2009 - Required Thinking!

These are available as a downloadable podcast from Radio 4, the link can be found at:


A text version is available at:
but it is worth listening to, because the human voice can convey emphasis in a way that a transcript just cannot.

The first lecture of 2009 by Michael Sandel discusses markets and morals. At little over 30 minutes, it should be required reading for all local politicians. This is the introduction:

One of the most pervasive tendencies of our time is the expansion of markets and market-oriented reasoning into spheres of life once governed by non-market values. Think of for-profit prisons, schools, and hospitals; the outsourcing of war to private military contractors; the growing use of private security guards rather than public police officers; the global trade in kidneys and other body parts for transplantation; the use of tradable pollution permits to lower the cost of complying with environmental regulations; proposals to use tradable permits in the allocation of refugees.

How should we think about the use of markets in cases such as these? Suppose markets can produce greater efficiency in the allocation of these goods; are they nonetheless objectionable? If so, on what grounds? Are there some things that money can't buy - or shouldn't?

Lecture 1 offers a moral framework for thinking about these questions. And it suggests that a more vigorous and searching public debate about the moral limits of markets is an essential aspect of 'the new citizenship'.

Lecture 2 is on Morality in politics and is next week. From the summary, it looks extremely interesting.

What is the role, if any, for moral argument in politics? Some say none. In pluralist societies, people disagree on morality and religion, so politics and law should, ideally at least, be neutral with respect to those controversies.

According to this view, citizens should set aside their particular moral and religious identities when they engage in public discourse, and offer reasons that everyone can accept.

In Lecture 2, Sandel makes the case for a more expansive public discourse, hospitable to moral and even religious argument. The attempt to keep morality and religions out of politics arises from a legitimate fear - the worry that religious fundamentalists, for example, will impose intolerant and coercive laws and practices. But Sandel argues that it's not always possible to decide public questions while being neutral on moral questions; and even where it's possible, it may not be desirable.

Consider, for example, some of the hotly contested social and cultural issues of contemporary politics: the debates over abortion rights, stem cell research, and same-sex marriage. Some argue that we should resolve these debates, not by delving into the moral and religious disagreements that underlie them, but rather on the basis of neutral principles of freedom of choice and non-discrimination. But Sandel tries to show why these issues can't be resolved on neutral grounds. We can't avoid delving into the underlying controversies.

What, then, would a more morally engaged public discourse look like? It would not only address familiar disputes about sexual practices and reproductive choices. It would also take up a broader range of social and economic questions. A public debate about the moral limits of markets (as discussed in Lecture 1) would be one example. A renewed debate about the moral and civic implications of inequality, and about the mutual obligations of citizens, would be another.

In short, a more robust, morally engaged public discourse - reaching economic as well as social and cultural issues - is an important element of a new citizenship.

And lastly, a few quotation from the lectures themselves which caught my attention in particular:

We need a public debate about what it means to keep markets in their place. And to have this debate, we have to think through the moral limits of markets. We need to recognise that there are some things that money can't buy and other things that money can buy but shouldn't. Looking back over three decades of market triumphalism, the most fateful change was not an increase in the incidence of greed. It was the expansion of markets and of market values into spheres of life traditionally governed by non-market norms. 

Markets are not mere mechanisms. They embody certain norms. They presuppose, and also promote, certain ways of valuing the goods being exchanged. Economists often assume that markets are inert, that they do not touch or taint the goods they regulate. But this is a mistake. Markets leave their mark. Often market incentives erode or crowd out non-market incentives.

And this on climate change and carbon offsets:

In deciding how best to get global action on climate change, we have to cultivate a new environmental ethic, a new set of attitudes toward the planet we share. We're unlikely to foster the global cooperation we need if some countries are able to buy their way out of meaningful reductions in their own energy use.

My general point is this. Some of the good things in life are corrupted or degraded if turned into commodities, so to decide when to use markets, it's not enough to think about efficiency; we have also to decide how to value the goods in question. Health, education, national defence, criminal justice, environmental protection and so on - these are moral and political questions, not merely economic ones. To decide them democratically, we have to debate case by case the moral meaning of these goods in the proper way of valuing. This is the debate we didn't have during the age of market triumphalism. As a result, without quite realising it, without ever deciding to do so, we drifted from having a market economy to being a market society. The hope for moral and civic renewal depends on having that debate now. It is not a debate that is likely to produce quick or easy agreement. To argue about the right way of valuing goods is to bring moral and even spiritual questions into public discourse.

The public life of democratic societies is not going all that well and there is a tremendous frustration - a frustration with politics and with politicians - and the debates we have in public life are really not about the things that matter most.

I've left out the examples in which he argues his case, I think most cogently, and I would advise anyone interested to read that transcript. I note that in Jersey, with the credit crunch, there is a lot of talk about "efficiency", which makes these even more pertinent. I end with an optimistic note he makes, and a very striking image, about ethics, which is very Aristotelian:

Altruism, civic spirit, benevolence, fellow feeling - there is not a fixed supply of these sentiments. To the contrary. I think those moral sentiments are less like scarce resources that are drawn down with use than like muscles that are increased and strengthened with exercise. And that's a fundamental difference, I think, between the way I view the moral psychology of markets and the way most defenders of economic reasoning do.

Arguments for Democracy

"Arguments for Democracy" by Tony Benn: A Review
This is an interesting and controversial book. Be warned: readers may be surprised how often they are in agreement with Mr Benn's arguments, despite the fact that they would wish not to be. But the discerning reader will judge the book on its merits, and not be swayed by media presentation of Tony Benn as "extreme left-wing".
An interesting section of the book deals with the danger to democracy posed by what Tony Benn considers to be an often blinkered and biased press. His presentation of the case is well argued, and substantiated by clear evidence.
Tony Benn argues that the owners of papers often "use their papers to campaign single-mindedly in defense of their commercial interests and the political policies which will protect them." Lest this seem far-fetched, he quotes Lord Beaverbrook (past owner of the Daily and Sunday Express) who said quite openly: "I run the paper purely for the purpose of making political propaganda, and with no other motive." Moreover, this bias in the press is not simply party-political. As an example, Mr Benn points out that, during the Common Market Referendum in 1975, "every daily and Sunday newspaper came out in favour of Britain's membership, and denounced all those who warned that Britain's interests would be gravely damaged if we remained within the EEC." This example supports Mr Bonn's contention that the papers often do not inform the public, but rather support and promote just one particular point of view. He concludes by warning that "if a variety of perspectives are not provided, the public information function becomes debased into a mere propaganda machine."
We should take note of Mr Benn's point and remember that there is invariably more than one side to an argument, so that we should look for another point of view to see that it has been fairly reported. As a local example, it might be questioned whether we have heard, in the press, both sides of the case for flooding Queen's Valley. And when a local paper campaigned for seat-belts, did they report fairly on problems and dangers of wearing seat-belts? Whatever side one takes in such issues, it would be useful if the press could present each case with sober clarity, rather than resorting to a simplistic reduction of important matters to support editorial policy. An apt illustration of this would be the use (by a local Jersey paper) of metaphors taken from the boxing ring. Words were used  such as "fight", "battle", "round", "gloves off", "points", "majority decision", "victory", "attack". This sort of reporting obscures facts, centres on personalities, and polarises the issues; it suggests to the public that there are only two opposing sides, and denies the possibility of any centre ground.
Contrary to popular opinion, Mr Benn does not wish to "nationalise" newspapers or curtail their freedom; he simply wants to see news reporting (as opposed to editorial leaders) to be quite separate from editorial comment. Above all, he would like newspapers to "help a nation understand fairly and clearly the political alternatives that people are trying to put before them."
In other chapters, Mr Benn considers the power of the prime minister, the role of the civil service, trade unions, the EEC and the effect on society of science and technology. It is a challenging book, and an opportunity to listen to Mr Benn speaking for himself, even if you disagree with him.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Child Abuse: Can we Learn the Lessons?

I have been reading the Attorney-General's statement about the decisions not to prosecute in relation to Haut de la Garenne. He writes that:

A decision not to prosecute is capable of being perceived as denying the complainant the right to be heard. Indeed, this can lead to a pressure to allow the complainant to have his or her day in Court.

Reading the comments in the JEP, especially by those who have been abused, I think that it is not particularly to have "a day in Court" that is the strongest feeling, although that sentiment is expressed; it is the way in which the Island seems to want to "move on" and forget about the whole matter, even to "write it off" as unfortunate incidents in the past. It is this kind of silence which Daniel O'Leary, writing in The Tablet last week about the Irish child abuse scandal, noted:
Most commentators pointed to that deliberate silence as the most serious failure of both Church and State. This was the kind of silence that has outraged the victims of abuse. It is the unspoken collusion with darkness, they believed. It is institutional power at its worst - the prolonged, corrosive cover-up to save its own face at any cost.

He notes that:

These are very hard, even terrifying, words, and a first instinct is to react defensively... But that is not the way to go just now.

One of the lessons learned in Ireland, and which Daniel O'Leary notes is from a comment by Einstein that "the mindset that causes its own inner collapse can never carry the seeds of its own renewal":

The necessary paradigm shift we long for cannot happen only from within any more. A new source, maybe from a place as yet unknown to us, must be found for another start, a new healing, a new hope. Otherwise, in systemic thinking, left to itself, the organisation will clone itself back into business as usual.

I think that steps are being taken with the Williamson report to address this issue, as in particular, with the policy on whistle blowing, which was seen by the Wales Child Abuse enquiry as essential - not just that it was available, but that employees had a duty to blow the whistle when they saw abuse, and failure to do so was in some degree, a measure of complicity. It is not a question of witch hunts, but of a "change of mindset".

Moreover, a serious concern must surely be that the employee responsible for thinking out and implementing the "Grand Prix" system is still employed by the States of Jersey for working with children. Now it is entirely possible that he admits that system was flawed, and has had a complete change of perspective, but there is no public record of that.  One of the figures involved in oversight of child care has been reported in the Guardian as saying that "My father always used a belt on me. It did me the world of good." It is this mindset which may still lurks beneath the surface, which must be addressed, or the same problems, as Einstein warned, will return again.

The Kathy Bull report - still not in the public domain, which is also an indicator that we have a long, long way to go - condemned the Grand Prix system. I think that for those children who suffered under the Grand Prix system, and those who suffered at Haut de La Garenne and elsewhere, there is a duty to seek some kind of closure, and there are avenues available apart from the legal ones, which no one seems to want to explore, such as the Truth and Reconciliation model from South Africa.

In their book "Public inquiries into residential abuse of children" by Brian Corby, Alan Doig, Vicky Roberts - which should be in the States library - the authors note that "there is reason to believe that having the opportunity to give their evidence may have cathartic effects for some".  When looking for a model, they were impressed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in that - although the subject was apartheid rather than child abuse - the underlying principle was that "it was trying to find a way forward without ignoring the past", and it was "concerned to compensate the victims both spiritually and financially".

Desmond Tutu said "Ultimately we must concentrate on forgiveness and reconciliation because if we concentrate on retribution, I am fearful that the spiral of violence, resentment and payback will never end." And the Commission noted that: "the road to reconciliation requires more than forgiveness and respectful remembrance .. reconciliation requires not only individual justice, but also social justice". This is one path to closure. Again to quote Tutu: "Having looked the beast of the past in the eye, having asked and received forgiveness and having made amends, let's shut the door on the past - not in order to forget it but in order not to allow it to imprison us".  This statement draws attention to why Tutu thinks forgiveness and reconciliation are so important, that is to free us from history, and this is one approach which could be applied in Jersey.

The book also notes that in the Canadian case of abuse, in most of the states, "victims of abuse had been given apologies by the state, another concept that had might be considered in Britain". They comment that "we are convinced that a broader-based acknowledgement of victims' needs that is not reliant on the courts or a series of full blown public enquiries should be considered in response to the large number of allegations of residential abuse that are still emerging"

This is why the statement by the Attorney-General's statement, has caused so much dismay, because it is sending out the message that the matter is closed. This again is a fear that is taken up by Daniel O'Leary:

That is why many fear that religious and state leaders are now pushing too fast for closure without learning any vital lessons. What alarms them now is that in the wake of the recent report, church leaders are already looking anxiously for a premature closure. The experience of an abuse, they say, that has turned you into a depressive, unemotional father, a hopeless alcoholic, a suicidal introvert, just cannot be set aside like that. Regaining a lost trust takes ages. Too many take the pain to the grave.

He says that politicians "should resist attempts at quick closure to the shocking revelations of criminal mental, physical and sexual abuse perpetrated on the country's most vulnerable children. Rather, they should spend a lot of time of their knees." This is why he argues against closure that is premature: "There is a necessary waiting time - to feel the shame of the abused, to hear in our soul the abandoned lament of theirs, to stay in that place of utter confusion and desolation - and even then, we will never even remotely glimpse the awful anguish they will carry to the grave. "

There is still much that remains to be done in Jersey so that that voice is heard, and not forgotten, not silenced, so that Jersey can come to terms with this part of its past. As John Donne remarked, "No man is an island", and this child abuse diminishes all of us. But O'Leary ends on a hopeful note:

Nothing is ever completely hopeless. If we doubt that then indeed all is lost. Sooner or later, grace will always find a way to enter in. And in that, at least, we can trust.

Useful resources:

Public inquiries into residential abuse of children By Brian Corby, Alan Doig, Vicky Roberts
Edition: illustrated Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2001
ISBN 1853028959, 9781853028953

The Tablet

Monday, 8 June 2009

Guernsey Scrapbook

Fun and games in Guernsey when Lyndon Trott, the Chief Minister, decided to personally intervene in the fireman's dispute which had already caused a day's chaos by closure of the Airport. This was an extraordinary intervention, over the heads of the Public Sector Remuneration Committee, and the outcome was announced by Deputy Trott to the media first, and the States second. There is a degree of polarization here: the Guernsey Press in its leader column criticised the PSRC for just dragging its heels, and hoping that they would solve the fireman's dispute by attrition. The public in general, and the business community, are pleased by the decisive action taken. The States, however, are not:

GUERNSEY'S States descended into chaos yesterday as deputies learned that a group of ministers had brokered a deal with airport firefighters behind the back of the Public Sector Remuneration Committee. All members of the pay negotiating body said they would resign. Emotions ran high as Chief Minister Lyndon Trott told the Assembly that the Emergency Powers Authority had backed a move that saw the Public Services Department come to an agreement with the fire service that would ensure cover at the airport for the next 12 months. It is understood that each firefighter will receive £4,000. Deputies yelled 'disgrace' as Deputy Trott confirmed the PSRC had been removed as negotiator for future discussions with the airport fire service. States members also reacted with anger when they learnt that the media was told of the new agreement before they were. (1)

This also led to a criticism of the Bailiff by Deputy Trott for "presiding badly", in not allowing him the opportunity to respond to criticism. It is unusual for a Bailiff to be in the position like that of the Speaker of the House of Commons, of having to actually, in one form or another, give the message "order, order", but that is very much what happened over in Guernsey.

The atmosphere in the Chamber turned ugly when Deputy Trott attempted to  respond to criticism from Deputy Mary Lowe - who after the meeting led calls for a vote of no confidence in him - but was silenced by Bailiff Geoffrey Rowland. As Deputy Trott continued to try to speak, the Bailiff again interrupted him, stating that he was the one presiding over the meeting. A clearly agitated Deputy Trott slumped back in his chair uttering: 'Yes - presiding badly.' Mr. Rowland responded sharply: 'Chief Minister, I am not presiding badly. I am struggling to deal with a difficult situation. Now will you please be quiet.'(2)

The Guernsey Evening Star, reporting on the States, judged the controversy was largely blown up by the egos of the Deputies, and certainly viewing it from another Island, that seems to be very much the case. I remember when there was a crippling bus strike that threatened to escalate out of hand in Jersey, and the Public Services Committee of the day and the Unions were at loggerheads. In the absence of any charismatic leader - either Reg Jeune or Pierre Horsfall was President of Policy and Resources - it was the former Senator Dick Shenton who stepped in and brokered a deal. Here is the Guernsey Star comment on the Deputies in Guernsey:

WATCHING the States Assembly descend into chaos last night was the most vivid demonstration of the twisted values of deputies supposedly voted into office to help run the island. Instead of applauding last minute moves that opened the island's lifeline airport and prevented economic and reputational ruin, members complained that they had not been told of the developments. The final irony was the chairman of the States negotiating body protesting about interference by ministers 'in the delicate negotiations regarding the airport firefighters'. What was lost on the Public Sector Remuneration Committee and its  supporters - but not islanders - is that its 'delicate negotiations' have  taken two and a half years to achieve nothing other than to provoke the firefighters to walk out. The Guernsey Press had it confirmed by two shop stewards yesterday that, bar  for the last-minute, temporary settlement agreed with Public Services as  their employer, the airport would still be closed. 'There was no going back,'  one said. Yet for the members who attacked Chief Minister Lyndon Trott in the Chamber  last night, nothing was more important than their being sidelined in the affair. Islanders, especially those caught up in the airport dispute, will struggle to comprehend the logic of deputies' outrage. At a time when action was needed to get the planes flying, members are calling foul because someone had the audacity to take a decision. Business leaders, particularly in the financial services sector, were aghast that an industrial relations problem was allowed to escalate into a strike. It led one to question the value of being in Guernsey. That members of government are so unfocused on real priorities will appall them. Using the island's emergency powers to resolve the dispute was wholly appropriate because of the need to protect the island's economic interests... In other words, the economic survival of Guernsey is less important than the ego of deputies. Government last night hit rock bottom (3)

Moving to the recycling schemes, Guernsey may call a halt to recycling. Despite all the "green commitments" by Jersey politicians in their manifestos or on the hustings trail, I have yet to notice any proposition even calling for an Island Wide kerbside collection - even in principle - over here.

AN ISLAND-WIDE kerbside collection scheme for household recyclables is to be put on the back burner for now. However, a vote later today will decide whether the door to the initiative is closed for ever. Two attempts were made yesterday to get the Public Services Department to  undertake some sort of action in its introduction, but both failed. Deputy David De Lisle's amendment, which wanted the department to implement arrangements for a scheme as soon as possible for dry recyclables, was defeated by 26 votes to 21. On the back of that defeat, deputy Public Services minister Scott Ogier, who had seconded Deputy De Lisle's amendment, placed a last-minute amendment backed by Deputy Barry Brehaut. However, his amendment, which would have directed the department to consult the douzaines about implementing a scheme before reporting back to the Assembly with its proposals, was also voted down. Now all that is left is to see whether Public Services is successful with its own recommendation, which is to stop pursuing household kerbside recycling collections in any form in favour of spending money on updating its present bring bank system and other measures such as additional promotion and education.

Education measures might need to go a long way, because there is still a degree of fly-tipping going on:

THE National Trust of Guernsey's head of estate management has branded fly-tipping on the Ron Short Walk as totally irresponsible. A settee is the latest in a line of items to have been dumped at the Talbot Valley site, which is enjoyed by many walkers. 'This is an ongoing problem and two weeks ago we had to have a load of  rubbish bags removed from there,' said Martin Ozanne. 'It's totally irresponsible as you can take something like a settee to the  recycling site and leave it there for nothing.' (5)

And another blow to recycling is the loss of a green waste recycling scheme. But it does raise the question: could garden centres (which after all have to deal with their own green waste) be persuaded in Jersey to taken on green waste recycling for domestic users, especially if they do not use the public green waste dumps but have their own, as this would spread the load? Perhaps a subsidy from the States might be just as cost effective as its own schemes, and would provide better geographical spread?

MARTEL'S Garden World is closing its doors for the last time this summer after more than 40 years in business. A spokesman for Martel's said it was regrettable and unfortunate that it had to close but it was due to many factors, including increasing costs and the inability to develop the site due to Environment Department regulations. 'With the closure of the garden centre this will also mean the end of the  green waste recycling.' There will be a closing down sale, starting on Saturday, to sell off the stock.(6)

And finally, raw sewage is being sent out to sea, with only a small outfall pipe, as part of a planned upgrade. In this respect Guernsey has fallen far behind Jersey, however bad we may be with our sewage overspills, none are quite as bad as this:

RAW sewage is being discharged from the short outfall pipe, just yards from the shoreline, at Belle Greve Bay. And it will remain that way for the rest of the week, according to the project manager at Belle Greve pumping station. John Marley said the sewage had been discharged from the pipe near the Red Lion from 9 am yesterday, because of construction work currently being undertaken at the pumping station. 'We're planning to be back online by Saturday and we've made a good start on it,' said Mr. Marley. As part of the nearly 40-year-old main pumping station's refurbishment the main pipe had been switched off to allow engineers to fit a surge compression tower, which will extend the life of the pipe.. ..'It's all part of the main pumping station upgrade,' he said.(7)

(1) http://www.thisisguernsey.com/2009/05/28/states-pay-body-quits-as-ministers-take-over/
(2) http://www.thisisguernsey.com/2009/05/28/deputies-lose-focus-in-the-crisis/
(3) http://www.thisisguernsey.com/2009/05/28/deputies-lose-focus-in-the-crisis/
(4) http://www.thisisguernsey.com/2009/05/28/states-rejects-collection-of-recyclables/
(5) http://www.thisisguernsey.com/2009/05/26/fly-tippers-blight-ron-short-walk/
(6) http://www.thisisguernsey.com/2009/05/27/martels-garden-world-to-close/
(7) http://www.thisisguernsey.com/2009/06/02/raw-sewage-into-belle-greve-is-part-of-plan/

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Electoral Reform - my JEP Letter (from 2004)

Letter to the Jersey Evening Post: 01.06.2004

Dear Sir,

The recent proposals to widen the electoral districts and removal Senators from the States have, I believe, considerably more merit than they have been given.

Retaining the position of Deputy while doing away with that of Senator means that number of members over which an individual voter can decide will be reduced at a stroke. Smaller Parishes like St Mary will be heavily over represented in comparison with larger ones, despite the latter having several Deputies, because of the imbalance in population

What is this means is that smaller Parishes are drifting towards what was termed "rotten borough" status, in which their representation is out of all proportion to their size. The average number of people represented by one Deputy (based on the 2001 census) should be 3,006. St Mary has a population of 1,591, which means that St Mary's electorate have nearly twice the representation that electoral parity requires. Parishes like St Brelade, St Clement and Grouville, which have seen an increase in housing over the past decade, are rapidly losing representation.

The proposal for larger districts and fewer seats means that this kind of disparity is reduced. Moreover, the size of the proposed districts ensures that those elected have a sufficiently large mandate within the Island, which is important if accountability is to be maintained at the ballot box. It also removes the abuse whereby those who have failed re-election as Senators gain re-election as Deputies and continue with Presidencies of Committees for which they clearly have no Island mandate.

There is clearly a loosening of the ties of Parish, but this is still retained by the existence of the Connetables in the States. In any case, the old idea that often surfaces that the Connetable or Deputy "know their own Parishioners" may be tenable in St Mary; it cannot be tenable in larger Parishes with populations of 10,000 or above.

The United Kingdom has long perceived the need for boundary changes in Electoral districts as the geography of population distributions changed. Now that Guernsey have grasped this nettle, is it not overdue for Jersey to do likewise?

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Hidden Agendas

Here is a spotlight on all the concealed items, which are the "B" agenda's on the Council of Ministers meetings, so that they are not held in public, and no minutes are made public. I've also added a few comments here and there!

Meeting to be held at 9.30 a.m. on Thursday 7th May 2009

The part 'b' agenda includes the following items of business –

States of Jersey Development Company
This is the extension of the Waterfront Enterprise Board to the whole Island, and involves not just one, but - if it goes ahead - myriads of masterplans all over the place! See my last blog entry on this.

Haut de la Garenne – Building Status Update
Why this needs to be hidden, I do not know. Are there developments afoot (or sale to a developer) that needs to be kept under wraps? Perhaps Don Filleul was right we he suggested this might be on the cards: "An external consultant recently recommended that there should be a super hotel at Gorey."(6)

Will they come in, and what form will they take? Perhaps the sewage charge proposed by Philip Ozouf in a recent JEP - "this is not a stealth tax", as he said, is on the agenda here. Perhaps he should apply the "duck test": If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. Yes, it will be a stealth tax, ostensibly targeted at those not on main drains to be earmarked into sewage and mains drain connection improvements. I remember Terry Le Sueur emailing me a few years ago to say that "ring fenced" taxes, those earmarked for a particular area, were generally out of bounds. I wonder if Philip has changed Terry's mind on that one. And if we can do it for environmental taxes, why not also for road taxes?

Strategic Plan Update
This is the fiasco currently meandering like a drunken glacier through States sittings. When I tuned in today to the live coverage, I could hear the Constable of St Lawrence explaining that the Council of Ministers objected to Mike Higgins amendment of part of the wording in an early section about "diversifying the economy" on the grounds that it was mentioned later on in the document, and that would be duplication of wording. This was the issue at hand in a debate that lasted at least an hour, and was adjourned to be continued tomorrow. If the Council of Ministers can't live with the same issue coming up twice in a document, and political debate has sunk to that level, they should be sectioned by a psychiatrist. I have never heard such idiocy in my life.

Depositor Compensation Scheme
Still under wraps after Guernsey managed to whizz one through, they probably don't want to expose any flaws to Mike Higgins (who already worked on a draft) before they have to. Or perhaps they are re-using his old papers, but have to reword them enough to make it look like they have done some work on the matter.

Meeting to be held at 9.30 a.m. on Thursday 23rd April 2009

Concessionary Bus Travel
This is the stinker of Mike Jackson to take women from 60-64 out of the free bus concession, and stop pensioners using it at peak time. My mother only does that rarely, when she has an early morning out patients appointment at the hospital, and she returns out of peak time. So she may well take her car (the cost from St Brelade for a bus fare is not exactly cheap, compared with the cost of a scratchcard). At least means testing has not come up yet, although - as this is a hidden session - it might!

Civil Partnerships
Why this should be controversial, I have no idea. It seems that it resolves a problem whereby a same sex union that is legal in the UK is suddenly void in Jersey. Perhaps they fear that - as with the lowering of the age of consent for homosexuals to that of heterosexuals - some States members like Len Norman (former Education Minister) may say words like "I am content with a difference in age limits for conventional sex between male and female and buggery between 2 males, simply because I know and it is a proven fact, that there are big differences between men and women and boys and girls."(1) or James Reed (now Education Minister) commenting that ""Are we really expected to legitimise what is regarded by many as a totally unnatural and unacceptable act?" (2).

Pay Awards
Well this was the "big freeze" in States employees pay. And note the online statement by the Chief Minister said they would be recommending a pay freeze for States members as well - "Ministers also decided that they would recommend a pay freeze for States members.."(3) Which, as it happens, is an amendment proposed by the Constable of St Peter (4), so it is on the agenda, but is being opposed by Privileges and Procedures on the grounds that his proposal does not follow the proper procedure for States members pay awards (5). So this time it is PPC that is moving towards the twilight zone of sanity.