Sunday, 31 July 2011

Politics Rock-N-Roll

Montfort Tadier
Rock and Roll singer
"The Times They Are A'Changing"

Deputy Buddy Holly, States of Jersey
Time for Change Group

Is it my imagination, or does Deputy Tadier look like Buddy Holly?


Andrew Green, madcap comic
who often brought the House down

Deputy Ken Campbell, MBE
Housing Minister

Is it my imagination, or does Deputy Andrew Green look like madcap actor Ken Campbell?

Last of the July Look A Likes

Actor Geoff Southern as "Ted",
the dour gardener in "The Fast Show"
who always has a hang-dog
air of gloom.

Deputy Paul Whitehouse,
the working class politician
in the States of Jersey

Is it my imagination or does Deputy Geoff Southern look like the character "Ted" in the Fast Show?

And another Jersey look a like

WW II flying ace John le Fondre
who suffered burnout from too
many flying missions
and lost his flight command
in Foyle's War

Deputy Julian Ovenden
Member of the States of Jersey
sacked by Treasury Minister Philip Ozouf

Is it my imagination or does sacked Deputy John Le Fondre look like actor Julian Ovenden, who was in Foyle's War as a flying ace and lost his command?

Chief Look a Like

Terry Le Sueur
veteran actor
usually plays the part
of a decrepit old man
or bumbling school teacher

Sentator Eric Chitty
Chief Minister, Jersey
elderly owlish politician

Is it my imagination, or does Senator Terry Le Sueur look like actor Eric Chitty?

States of Jersey - Another Look-A-Like

Senator Tom Adams OBE,
Former Chief Minister, Jersey

Actor Frank Walker
star of several
horror and mystery

Is it my imagination or does actor Tom Adams look like former Senator Frank Walker?

RIP: John Stott

Elaine Storkey
Theologian and president of Tearfund
"I think the biggest impact for me, was that once John understood the justice of an issue, once he understood the biblical nature of an issue, he was all for it. And the way he got involved with the whole gender issue, the way he saw the issue of justice for women, and how much of our patriarchal culture had been a barrier to women, both in terms of their own progression, but even more in terms of hearing the Gospel, acknowledging God as 'Father,' etc.- once he saw that, he just went for it. And so here you had a pillar of the church, coming from a very conservative stable, actually opening up the feminist doors wide so that a new generation of women could go through them

Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury
"Without ever compromising his firm evangelical faith, he showed himself willing to challenge some of the ways in which that faith had become conventional or inward-looking. It is not too much to say that he helped to change the face of evangelicalism internationally, arguing for the necessity of 'holistic' mission that applied the Gospel of Jesus to every area of life, including social and political questions. But he will be remembered most warmly as an expositor of scripture and a teacher of the faith, whose depth and simplicity brought doctrine alive in all sorts of new ways."
 A very good obituary of John Stott in Christianity Today (see below). Although my Christian tradition was quite different from John Stott's, I could see that he was prepared to engage with other Christian traditions and even other faiths, and not demonise them or say they were not "true Christians" - like some Christians I met at University.

In particular, I admired the way in which he broadened the hitherto more narrow conservative evangelical tradition to engage with social issues:

Stott was every inch an evangelical, but a reforming evangelical. He recognized that evangelicalism could and sometimes did sink down into mere piety, whereas the Bible spoke of a robust transformation of the world brought about by God's people engaged in mission. As a London pastor, Stott increasingly recognized the need for evangelicalism to reclaim its heritage of engagement with the social issues of the day. As he told an interviewer years later, "In the early 1960s, I began to travel in the Third World, and I saw poverty in Latin America, Africa and Asia as I had not seen it before. It became clear to me that it was utterly impossible to take that old view." The "old view" was that preaching was always a Christian's preeminent task, and that deeds of compassion were strictly secondary. As Stott probed the Scriptures, he came to believe that Jesus' Great Commission commanded Jesus' servants to carry on his entire mission, which included practical concern for life and health.

And of all the paragraphs in the obituary, this one anecdote is an wonderful acted parable, and one that I particularly like:

Latin American theologian Rene Padilla remembers vividly one of his early encounters with Stott. "On the previous night we had arrived in Bariloche, Argentina, in the middle of heavy rain. The street was muddy and, as a result, by the time we got to the room that had been assigned to us our shoes were covered with mud. In the morning, as I woke up, I heard the sound of a brush-John was busy, brushing my shoes. 'John!,' I exclaimed full of surprise, 'What are you doing?' 'My dear René,' he responded, 'Jesus taught us to wash each other's feet. You do not need me to wash your feet, but I can brush your shoes.'

The full obituary can be read at:

Saturday, 30 July 2011

The Emperor

A return to my sequence of Tarot card themed poems...

The Emperor

Solomon took upon this mantle in time past
The Emperor, over all while his rule last
Seated on the Tetragrammaton in throne
The seeing artefact in form of stone
The lord of thought perceiving wisdom
The power of his mind in freedom
Reflecting the Ancient of Days in might
With sceptre and globe within his sight
His domain realises all heaven and earth
In stewardship is bound his girth.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Deputies Elections - St Brelade No 2 1993

St Brelade's number 2 districts always garners more candidates that St Brelade No 1. Perhaps it is because with a single seat, as No 1 district, there is always going to be just one winner, whereas No 2 allows votes not only to choose their preferred candidate, but also to hand out a vote to a second choice, so there is much more to be gained - a vote for X is not necessarily a vote lost for Y.

Traffic seems to have been one of the large issues. The Bel Royal/St Aubin problem - the fact that there is a bottleneck road, with traffic coming / going down Beaumont Hill and coming / going along La Haule - still remains. I remember there was an idea of buying up land and making a gyratory system, perhaps like the one which works very successfully to reduce traffic at junctions around the bottom of Wellington Hill looping around Stopford Road. But nothing ever came of this, and traffic filters slowly and sluggishly in turn, as two streams merge into one heading into town, and are crossed over by traffic going up Beaumont.

Mr Bewers indeed took a very early retirement at 52. There is no indication in the literature what he did as a company director, and why he could retire so young. It is interesting how some of the same campaign strategies keep cropping up - "a new and refreshed style of political representation" is one such, and I also remember, among others, Deputy Guy de Faye doing so, promising his website would become an interactive forum, always updated. Alas, it never materialised! But Peter Bewer's call for "sporting and leisure facilities" would come to fruition - remember in 1993, there was no Quennevais swimming pool and sports centre, although there was a football pitch.

Deputy Graham Huelin, on the other hand, has a more conservative agenda, but one that still had a place for reform, and one that is personally to my liking - "to preserve all that is good in Jersey and improve all that is not." I am biased, of course, because I voted for him, mainly because he was approachable, listened about problems, and worked quietly away to resolve them, preferring to negotiate around obstacles that being confrontational, but doing so extremely well. He was a consensus builder, bringing people together to work through problems, and we could do with more of those in today's States. And with Deputy Huelin, this was not just an empty form of words - in contrast to the flannel which we find in some politicians today.

Incidentally, an anecdotal piece of information is that when he first joined the Civil Service, he took over my mother's post as she was just leaving to raise a family, and would in due course have a son! She taught him before she left - transition arrangements were common in the Civil Service back then.

Deputy Tom Jordan, on the other hand, presents much more a picture of entrenchment against the forces of modernity, as he will fight "preserve the Jersey way of life'. Although he says he can see the need for improvements, a lot of what he mentions is fighting developments, and stopping what he sees as "drastic change". The main thrust of his campaign is largely keeping the "status quo". And while stopping developments certainly earns merit with the electorate, in the long term, it is something negative, instead of bringing something new in as Deputy Mike Vibert did later with fighting against a golf course and replacing that plan with a country park that everyone could enjoy.

Gary Matthews has a very modern agenda - free prescriptions, better childcare, more open government - and represents, more that Peter Bewers ever could, " a new and refreshed style", although notably he doesn't use that phrase. Instead he plays on the need for the vitality of younger States members, and more representation of the ordinary people including the working class.

Graham Thorne's call for a "freedom of information law" shows how long this issue has been around - nearly 18 years. In his case it sprung, I think, from frustration that even as a Deputy he could not get information that he wanted to request from other States Departments. Of course, back in 1993, there was not even a voluntary code of sharing, no agenda's published, and secrecy was endemic.

Most of the issues he brings up are still around today - outside labour coming into the Island, especially during times of unemployment (which was also the case in 1993, where there was a "winter work scheme"), centralised welfare, and remarkably for 1993, the idea of whether the Bailiff should be an elected position.

In the election, Deputy Graham Huelin was re-elected, but Deputy Tom Jordan lost his seat to Gary Matthews. Clearly, after three years, the electorate wanted change from Mr Jordan, and obviously as Graham Thorne had lost his seat six years ago, he would have to be rather more impressive to win back support.

Some of the matters raised have come to pass, some are issues still with us today. Traffic and over-development crop up quite a lot, and Deputy Jordan's linking the two is still something which I feel doesn't get the importance that it should. An example would be Constable Peter Hanning's recent backing of a development in St Saviour which completely ignored the issue of the dense traffic and schools close by.

One matter that is slightly more common is Peter Bower's suggestion of giving "ordinary people a chance to air their views on important issues in the parish by calling public meetings". These tend to be issue specific - like the black headstone - but they do happen, and largely at the instigation of Parish Deputies rather than the Constable, who may feel that Parish Assemblies are sufficient. It is notable that these occasional meetings usually take place at Communicare, which is much more suited for access that the Parish Hall at St Aubin.

St Brelade Number 2

Peter Bewers
Occupation: Retired director
Age: 52

PETER Bewers wants to offer a new and refreshed style of political representation if he is elected tomorrow. He is hoping to provide a stronger voice in the States, and says that he would give ordinary people a chance to air their views on important issues in the parish by calling public meetings.

'I want to address all the traffic problems in the parish, including the Bel Royal/St Aubin problem,' he says. In addition, he will lobby for the extension of pavements from La Moye School to Mont es Croix.

A married man with three children, he was educated at Hautlieu School and has lived in Jersey for 45 years. He took early retirement in June.

Mr Bewers's policies include careful planning for the future of the Island's prosperity in financial affairs. He says he will also strive for a programme of street lighting for all the parish housing developments. Mr Bewers supports sensible, well-planned housing developments, providing the traffic problems can he overcome.

'I support efforts for lower air fares into the Island,' he says.

He adds that he also supports any improvement in the provision of sporting and leisure facilities for the parish.

Graham Huelin
Occupation: Retired civil servant
Age: 68

ST BRELADE Deputy Graham Huelin's ambition is to preserve all that is good in Jersey and improve all that is not.

A States Member since 1987, the former assistant Greffier and Bailiff's secretary believes that the Island's most important issues are unemployment and immigration.

He is also concerned about the Island's recovery from recession and giving support for the finance, tourism and agricultural industries.

'I believe in the need for stable and responsible government to promote confidence from the local electorate and - just as important - respect from the outside world,' he says.

'As a Deputy I believe that the most important thing is to listen to parishioners, care for their needs and help whenever possible.'

If re-elected for a third term in St Brelade, Deputy Huelin promises hard work, approachability, reliability, integrity and the acceptance of accountability for decisions taken on behalf of electors.

Currently president of the House Committee and a member of IDC and the Public Health and Industrial Relations Committees, as well as the Prison Board, the Deputy is also a member of the Bel Royal/Beaumont Study Group and is chairman of the St Brelade's Bay Improvement Group.

Tom Jordan
Occupation: Hotelier
Age: 44

DEPUTY Tom Jordan is running for re-election with the pledge to `preserve the Jersey way of life'.

Educated at De La Salle College, the Industrial Relations Committee president says that as a parish representative he intends to continue the good working relationship he has with other St Brelade representatives.

`Throughout my term as Deputy, I have consistently expressed concern on development plans, especially with regard to Lesquende, he says. `I have obtained an undertaking from Public Services that they will implement a traffic survey before further developments take place in the parish. I shall also request that preference be given to first-time buyers with St Brelade connections.'

Deputy Jordan is also the vice-president of the Sport, Leisure and Recreation and Overseas Aid Committees. He is a member of the Defence and Harbours and Airport Committees and is the chairman of the Firearms Council and pilotage sub-committee.

'I am a supporter of the honorary system and I see Jersey as a very special place to live. Although I feel that there are many areas for improvement. I would not like to see such drastic change that we lose the uniqueness of our Island life.' he says.

Gary Matthews
Occupation: Travel manager
Age: 35

GARY Matthews wants to see younger people in the States and says there is an imbalance in favour of wealthy and business candidates in the House.

He wants to see more working class representatives speaking on behalf of ordinary people, families, pensioners and the needy.

A family man with three children, Mr Matthews is a Warwick University politics graduate and was educated at Hautlieu School.

'I believe that the people of Jersey are generally disillusioned with the States,' he says. 'We need young, approachable Deputies of integrity who have the long-term vision needed to take the Island into the 21st century.'

Active in green politics for some years, he is also a member of the Jersey Rights Association.

Mr Matthews thinks that free prescriptions and health care for the elderly and young should be considered, and he wants to see an improved bus service and better childcare facilities.

'I support the calls for political reform, including more open government, freedom of information and an emphasis on long-term progressive policy formulation.' he said. 'I am also vary concerned about high unemployment figures locally and want urgent action for real jobs for locals as well as reforms in the welfare system.'

Graham Thorne
Occupation: Plumbing engineer
Age: 57

FORMER St Brelade Deputy Graham Thorne, who ran an unsuccessful senatorial campaign, would like to see more open government.

He thinks that Jersey residents should have more knowledge of States business and supports the idea of a Freedom of Information Act for Jersey.

Married with two children and two grandchildren, Mr Thorne runs a plumbing and heating business and has lived in St Brelade for 35 years. A Deputy from 1981 to 1987, he was on the Resources Recovery Board, now part of Public Services, as well as two other sub-committees. He did the initial 'spadework' in creating a football pitch at St Brelade. and also worked on providing pavements at Pont Marquet and main drains at Quennevais Gardens and St Sampson's Avenue.

Mr Thorne is concerned about labour being brought into the Island and the fact that Jersey labour is not employed in all jobs.

Large welfare payments placing a heavy burden on taxpayers also concerns Mr Thorne, who would like to see a central welfare fund.

He supports the calls for an elected Bailiff, but believes that the matter should be thoroughly investigated. He also thinks that politicians and civil servants need to he more accountable.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Three States Members have called for free publicity

THREE States Members have called for an official investigation into whether States police officers were paid by journalists for information during the Haut de la Garenne inquiry. Senator Ben Shenton, Deputy Sean Power and Senator Jim Perchard have written a joint letter to the Attorney General and the police chief calling for action in the wake of revelations and allegations about the News of the World.

It has been alleged that reporters from the Sunday tabloid not only routinely hacked the mobile answer phone messages of celebrities, politicians and the victims of crime and terrorism, but also paid corrupt police officers for information.

The three Island politicians say that they have been concerned since 2008 about the way the investigation was handled and have raised the matter in the States on several occasions. (JEP (1))

Deputy Sean Power, let us not forget came across a printed copy of a long e-mail from Senator Stuart Syvret to another States member. He glanced at it and must have been quite well aware that it was confidential, but it had obviously piqued his interest so much that he disregarded both the States members code of conduct and the Data Protection law. He scanned a copy by e-mail both to himself and to friend. At some point quite soon after this, he realised that he had perhaps acted unwisely and confessed all to the data protection registrar, who not surprisingly was not impressed.

Coincidentally, not long after that, the e-mail, purged of some named individuals, appeared on a blog site which was staunchly critical of Haut de La Garenne, and overstepped the boundaries of acceptable behaviour so much that it was closed down. He may not have directly been the cause of that leak, but once these matters get out by emails, they can easily go viral.

Despite attempts to keep Sean in the Council of Ministers, it appears the threat of a vote of no confidence by the deputy to whom the e-mail was addressed forced him into resigning as housing minister. He apologised to the States, but didn't apologise to the Deputy concerned for distributing her private property. The Data Protection registrar admonished him, but it didn't go further than that - the luck of the Irish held out.

So this is the record of one of the people asking for an investigation into possible leaks! And for someone who may be critical of Lenny Harper's hospitality budget, he might also care to explain his own expenditure of tax payers money of £1,038.53 for travel and entertainment? By way of comparison, the previous Housing Minister clocked up a mere £247.98.

Senator Ben Shenton, on the other hand, appeared to have his own unique way of following what a cynic might term best "News of the World" practice. Quite by accident, as he later said, he recorded a private conversation between himself and the planning Minister, Senator Freddie Cohen. He may well have mused over that when he was working, because it has been noted that he has an extremely poor record of attendance in the States, and, it appears, has adopted the schoolboy trick of being present for the register roll-call and then bunking off. If he is standing again, I hope he gives some assurances that he will improve his attendance, for which he gets over £40,000 a year.

He didn't tell the Planning Minister about this, and sat on the recording for about a year before deciding that he would make it public to a scrutiny panel hearing, which was the first that Senator Freddie Cohen knew about it, as he hadn't had the courtesy to mention this recording before then, or indeed seek his permission to present it to scrutiny. This was the subject of complaints to the Privileges and Procedures Committee. They admonished him for his actions, but it didn't go further than that. Nor did the Data Protection registrar do anything much. So this is the record of somebody asking for investigation into hacking of answerphone messages and underhand practices!

Senator Jim Perchard also has his own unique take on leaks. In a recorded conversation, David Rose, journalist at the Mail on Sunday, admitted that Senator Perchard leaked him a confidential police email that Senator Perchard had been privy too which related to the Haut de La Garenne investigation. As far as I am aware, he has not even been admonished in any way about that.

The Scrutiny Panel investigating the BDO Alto Financial report have noted another leak to the Mail on Sunday, but it is not clear who leaked this, although it has been suggested it was Mick Gradwell, who took over the investigation of historical child abuse enquiry (and who showed what a lack of police professionalism really looks like). What is certain is that it has verbatim quotations of paragraphs which match world for word with a conclusions section of the BDO Alto report, and which they say could not be the case because it wasn't complete. A friend of mine mischievously suggested that perhaps the conclusions were written first before the rest of the report! Of course, the action of Messrs Shenton Perchard and Power is a good way of distracting public gaze from Scrutiny enquiry into this issue.

However Senator Perchard has also had to resign as Health Minister for unbecoming behaviour. On two occasions, once overheard by a BBC reporter, and once in the States chamber, and overheard by other states members, he told Senator Stuart Syvret to slit his wrists and commit suicide using a form of language which certainly would not be termed Parliamentary although it might conceivably have fitted neatly into the mouth of that cranky old fictional bigot, Alf Garnet, from the TV series "Till Death Do Us Part". Obviously he is an ideal person to ask for an investigation into gutter journalism!

Of course, it is an election year this year, and the three politicians had their pictures nicely on the front page of the JEP. But are these really election issues, like GST, increases in means testing and user pays (otherwise known as Stealth taxes) and population control, States spending and a lack of control of Chief officers who seem to be able to set their own extremely generous redundancy packages? Shouldn't the spotlight be on States members own record of service, and how well they have aspired to high office?

Those are real issues, and the kind of grandstanding that is going on with these States members are distractions which garner a certain amount of free publicity but don't tell you anything about what those candidates stand for on the island and parish issues. The headline should read:

THREE States Members have called for a lot of free publicity in an Election year which will distract you from their own shortcomings.


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

New Directions for St Lawrence?

In ancient times, the people would come to a priest or a pious layman (who would then be ordained) and ask him to be their bishop. One can picture this, the priest, praying quietly in the church is interrupted as a group of people enter and one spokesman for the group says that he is the one they want to be their bishop.

Something like this occurs, for example, in the life of St Martin of Tours.

About the year 371, Lidorius, bishop of Tours, died, and the people demanded Martin in his place. Martin was so reluctant to accept the office that they resorted to stratagem and called him to the city to give his blessing to a sick person, then forcibly conveyed him to the church.

It seemed to be that kind of moment, when I read in the JEP on Friday night of James Le Feuvre standing for Constable in the Parish of St Lawrence. The report was that:

"A deputation of parishioners visited Mr le Feuvre last night to formally ask him to stand"

One can imagine the great man himself, reclining in an armchair, deep in thought, pondering (as he himself notes) whether he should stand - and suddenly there is a ring on the doorbell. The door is opened and the parishioners file in, and one spokesman for the group says that he's the one that they want to be their Constable. Humbled in the face of such a request, he agrees to do so.

This is rather like those TV shows where the interviewer knocks on the door, and when the door is opened, the person opening it feigns is complete and absolute ignorance of the interviewer for the TV cameras, and indeed a complete absense of the cameras.

In the words of Victor Meldrew," I don't believe it". So why does the JEP persist in promulgating this kind of farce? Because this appeared in the Evening Post on Friday, 22 July 2011, and yet I had heard on the grapevine two weeks earlier that Mr le Feuvre was retiring from his position as hospital director and was planning to stand for Constable. I'm pretty sure it was common knowledge. But perhaps the situation is even more farcical, and like the TV show, Mr Le Feuvre had arranged for the deputation to visit beforehand, so that it could be reported in this way in the paper.

That would make it rather like that scene in "The Two Fat Ladies", where they come to Jersey, trundle along on their motorbike and sidecar, stopping at a wall close to L'Etacq to pick up from a farm stall not just farm produce - but also a jug of fresh Jersey cream! Never in my life have I ever come across such a stall, and Mr Le Feuvre's deputation would appear to show the same kind of preplanning with his "deputation".

From the author of the Health Department's "New Directions" project, which I'm not entirely sure ever got off the ground, there is a distinct lack of direction in what he's told the JEP, and I can only hope that some clarity will emerge in the fight for St Lawrence. Do you remember "New Directions?". In 2006, it was still trying to get off the ground. The Amos group noted that:

'New directions' group on health care has still not met. James Le Feuvre says that progress is being made in informing 'internal stake-holders' before going public but Amos will be asked to take part in public consultations by the autumn. Some present commented on the luxury fittings at some wards and general lack of consultation of staff by management

It might be useful to know why he has retired from the hospital administration at 55. Was he offered part of the general redundancy package that has seen some of the middle management removed from the States? If so, for what reason was he offered it, and why did he decide to go? And how much did he get? Would a supplementation of a £40,000 States salary, for example, be helpful?

Anyhow, here is what he said to his little delegation last night:

" I want to work to strengthen and defend the parish system and to bring a fresh perspective to some of the long-term challenges that face both the parish and our island".

No mention here of what perspective he would bring, or indeed what long-term challenges he has in mind. "Fresh perspective" seems to be the political version of "new directions"! But there is a clue:

" This requires politicians who are constructive in their approach, will work with others to build consensus, and to demonstrate leadership in taking important decisions that will affect our future"

If I wanted to be unduly cynical, I'd translate this as -- I'll be happy to vote the way the council of ministers would like me to those, and please can I be an assistant minister. He goes on to say:

"I believe that there is a role for caring and effective Constables, who can bring their parishes together, at the heart of this agenda"

Which could translate as - unlike the sitting Constable, I'll vote the way the council of ministers wants me to vote.

We shall see.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Deputies Elections - St Brelade No 1 1993

In this posting, I'm looking particularly at St Brelade No 1, where there were two candidates for one positions. Except for one election recently, this end of the Parish tends to attract only a few candidates, and is often just a "two horse race".

I'm not wholly convinced the split of the Parish into two districts is viable, at least not in its present state, as most of the new housing estates seem to have been in the St Brelade No 2 area, and it could well be the case that St Brelade No 1 is over-represented, and the district boundaries need to be redrawn, or merged with St Brelade No 2. Where there are electoral districts within a Parish, and they've stayed the same over the years, there is certainly a need to look at this within any Committee looking at Electoral Reform.

The sitting Deputy Margaret Beadle was to be unseated by Alastair Layzell, who had become, of course, a very familiar figure on the screens of Channel Report for many years.

Mrs Beadle displays the customary list of States committees that she has served on, without, as in St Clement, stating what she did on any of them. I once looked up minutes of various meetings from a much later Deputy in St Brelade No 2 (when such minutes were available online for many committees) and it turned out he had been responsible on one committee for obtaining sandwiches and refreshments for the committee while they deliberated, and that was it!

It is interesting that she wanted a new swimming pool in the West, and now, of course, despite her losing the election, this has come about, and there is a pool and sport's centre at Les Quennevais.

However, Mr Layzell's proposal for residents having designated areas - which I suppose would have been similar to Simon Crowcroft's resident's parking scheme in St Helier - never came to fruition. He also failed in his attempt to stop the approval of the plans for the Portelet Hotel, but the collapse of the tourism market, and recessionary pressures meant that the Seymour Group dropped the plans themselves, despite getting them passed. One of histories little ironies!

Land reclamation was clearly a proposal even back in 1993, and has come back ever since, rather like a Yo-Yo, and rejected for pretty much the same reasons - the West of Albert Waterfront development gave a clear view of all the mistakes that had happened once the developers had come in. Of course, it has been argued that St Aubin can learn from those mistakes, but as the States themselves seem incapable of doing so, and approve ever more fantastical schemes - such as the sunken road - it is hardly likely to inspire any great confidence. The latest to try at St Aubin was former Deputy Guy de Faye, who seemed to think it could be valuable land-fill - and then reclaimed and built on. During the land-fill period, of course, it would have been extremely ugly, and there would be no certainty that would not be the case for a number of years. Moreover, the experience of the new Marina at the Harbour shows the failure of plans to model tidal currents well, which is yet another cause of concern in an area prone to flooding (and which would have underground parking with automatic sealed doors, on the de Faye fantasy).

Mr Layzell also tapped into the heritage and environmental concerns, and unlike Mrs Beadle, he had not just memberships of groups, worthy though they might be, but also experience as a campaigner to preserve St Aubin against despoiling by development; and he had also penned as co-author, a document outlining an environmental and architectural strategy for Jersey. Given such a formidable and eloquent opponent, it was perhaps not surprising that she lost the election.

Mr Layzell would, however, lose in a later election to newcomer Sarah Ferguson, perhaps largely because - as he himself observed - he had taken his eye rather too much off Parish matters as President of the Home Affairs committee.

St Brelade No 1

Margaret Beadle
Occupation: Deputy/housewife
Age: 53

DEPUTY Margaret Beadle has been a States Member for 12 years, and has been president of the Cottage Homes Committee since 1986. She sits on Public Health, Broadcasting, Gambling Control and the Occupation and Liberation Committees.

Deputy Beadle believes that Jersey needs to maintain its unique constitution. She supports the honorary police, who she believes play a vital role in parish life. 'There should he support for the training of residentially qualified people to enable them to take on responsible positions in the Island.' she says. She also advocates the building of a new swimming pool for the west of the Island.

A supporter of the Battle of Flowers for many years. Deputy Beadle is a former president and the current vice-president of the Battle of Flowers Association.

She is also the president of the St Brelade senior citizens group. St Brelade's Battle of Flowers Committee. and the St Martin division of St John Ambulance.

She is the patron of St Brelade's social club and a supporter of the parish agricultural society. 'I do not believe in change for the sake of change. Electors have placed their trust in me and I ask them to support me again.'  she says.

Alastair Layzell
Occupation: TV broadcaster
Age: 35

ALASTAIR Layzell is challenging sitting Deputy Margaret Beadle in the district in which he lives and works.

The chairman of Save Jerseys Heritage, Mr Layzell has campaigned to preserve St Paul's School, Colomberie House, St James's Church and dilapidated 18th and 19th century cottages in Hue Street.

A former CTV journalist and political commentator, father-of-two Mr Layzell is a co-author of the long-term strategy for Jersey called 'Notre Ile' which he wrote with Senator Nigel Queree and Senator-elect Stuart Syvret.

He is against the proposed reclamation of land at St Aubin - 'the jewel in St Brelade's crown' - to build a car park. 'We have seen what land
reclamation looks like at West Park and we must not make the same mistake here. If elected, however, I shall be supporting the idea of designated parking spaces for the residents of St Aubin,' he said.

Mr Layzell, while not against proposals to upgrade the Portelet Hotel, believes that the plans were 'completely out of scale with the area'.

As one of the people who argued for a 30 mph speed limit on Route du Noirmont, Mr Layzell is to campaign for a footpath along the 'dangerous' road.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

The many ends of the World

One from the archive again. This time, a correspondence with a certain Mr F.B. Murfin in the pages of the Jersey Evening Post, during July 1978.

To put the letters in context, in the 1970s, and indeed the 1980s, there was a very great threat of nuclear war, that the cold war would become hot. As a consequence, there was a lot of support for CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament). And nuclear conflict was mentioned by Carl Sagan in Cosmos (1980), just two years after these letters were written, and again in 1983, when he wrote:

It is now almost 40 years since the invention of nuclear weapons. We have not yet experienced a global thermonuclear war -- although on more than one occasion we have come tremulously close. I do not think our luck can hold forever. Men and machines are fallible, as recent events remind us. Fools and madmen do exist, and sometimes rise to power. Concentrating always on the near future, we have ignored the long-term consequences of our actions. We have placed our civilization and our species in jeopardy. Fortunately, it is not yet too late. We can safeguard the planetary civilization and the human family if we so choose. There is no more important or more urgent issue.

Mr Murfin's own brand of Christianity clearly tapped into this existential unease, this almost ever present threat on the threshold of people's daily consciousness, and as I showed, he also used verses from the Bible to support the idea that a nuclear holocaust was part of God's design. The kind of attitude, of looking (or even taking part in promoting catastrophic events) is still rife in America, although now - since the destruction of the twin towers - reinterpreted to make Islamic terrorism the focus for an "end times" conflict. And the rise of right wing Christian fundamentalism is also beginning to manifest itself in violent acts, such as the killings in Norway.

When I wrote my letter, I was half-expecting a reply. My mention of evolution would have been like a red rag to a bull to Mr Murfin, as rather wickedly, I had suspected. I hoped, as indeed was the case, he would reply the way he would, mirroring the debate between Huxley and Bishop Wilberforce (as reported by Huxley, but in fact it never happened that way), and as I surmised, he fell into my trap.

What I didn't see until re-reading these letters today, and reading about the further letters which Senator Freddie Cohen has received through the post was the implicit anti-Semitism which emerges in Mr Murfin's send letter - "five million Jews were destroyed by the Hitler regime under the curse of the breaking of His law" - which I hadn't seen at the time, and is really quite appalling.

I do remember at school, and this would have been the 1970s, there were often jokes at the expense of the Jews, comments about their business practices, and a general undercurrent of anti-Semitism. I was extremely fortunate in that Alf Regal, who was the President of the Jersey Jewish Congregation, and his wife Fay, were friends with my parents, so we often were invited as a family on their boat (a converted Navy vessel) on weekend trips to St Malo in the summer months, and sometimes their son Stephen (now the current President) was also there. I grew up imbibing a degree of Jewish culture and customs, hating anti-Semitism, and loving the wisdom tradition, which I find today in the writings of Jonathan Sacks in England and in Jewish Renewal (such as Rachel Barenblatt and Rabbi Jeff Goldwasser) in America.

The other matter which I mention, which is still true of apocalyptic movements - and these are still very strong in America - is the idea that we should not act, because the events of destruction have been pre-ordained. This has also effected debate on climate change, where some of the apocalyptic fantasists (the same kind who believe in the "rapture") see climate change as part of the "end of the world" scenario, and not something that we can actively prevent. Paul Simoneau - who it should be stated does not agree with that idea, he is just observing it - says that a lot of people are thinking like that:

"Certainly it's hard to look at the past months and not feel like it's the beginning of the end times," says Paul Simoneau, the Director of Justice and Peace Office in the Diocese of Knoxville of the Catholic Church. He says the storms that have hit the South, along with the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the flooding along the Mississippi River, the wildfires currently raging through parts of the Southwest, the e coli breakout, and "the personal apocalypses of the very public figures of politicians in California and New York" cannot help but create an aura of uncertainty and dread as to what terrible thing is next.

And here now, from 1978, is a correspondence in the letters pages of the JEP about "the end of the world", which clearly didn't happen, as suggested, by 1985. In fact, 33 years have passed since Mr Murfin suggested the end of the world was due! And after this is the final letter, which was written by a close friend of mine, Matthew Shepard, with my wholehearted approval.

The Bible in proper context

WRITE concerning Mr. Murfin's letter (JEP, July 3) in order to inform your readers that his opinions are not indicative of all Christian persuasions about the Christian view of the current world situation.

Mr. Murfin supports his view of a coming world catastrophe by wrenching scriptural verses completely out of their biblical context and using them in a manner which would have astounded their writers. It is a well-known rule of proper interpretation that one looks at the text in context to see what it really says - as in the same way you read paragraphs in a book and not just isolated sentences.

You do not just pick and choose verses at random to support your own views as Mr. Murfin appears to do. Mr. Murfin thinks that the end of the world is coming. He clearly thinks he can even chart the progress of events up to it. But our Lord's teaching ends all hope of dating that return. As the late C. S. Lewis pointed out: "His (Jesus') teaching on the subject quite clearly consisted of three propositions: (1) That he will certainly return; (2) that we cannot possibly find out when; (3) and that therefore we must always be ready for him."

Of course scripture mentions wars and rumours of wars and all sorts of catastrophes. But these have always been with man, from the time when he evolved from the apes. They prove nothing.

Finally, I question Mr. Murfin's approach on moral grounds. He tells us to "Jump for joy" at all the nameless atrocities and barbaric destruction of modern atomic warfare. Is it not offensive to suggest that we should be rejoicing at the suffering of others? To suggest that all this is the plan intended by God would make God a cosmic sadist! Is it too much to ask Mr. Murfin to show a little less respect for inhumane grandiose schemes of the future and a little more respect for what Schweitzer called "reverence for life '?

Prophecy, belief and the Bible

From Mr. F. B. Murfin

The letter (JEP July 8) headed "The Bible in Proper Context" says that I am "wrenching Scriptural verses completely out of their Biblical context". He quotes C. S. Lewis to show that we cannot know the time of the return of Jesus. When Jesus ascended into Heaven; he told the people there: "It is not far you to know the times and the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power." However, John later received the Revelation from Jesus. Daniel was told that the words were sealed until the time of the end. It is through the Revelation that the words are unsealed, for Jesus "The lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed to pen the seals" (Rev. 5,5).

The reason why the time of the coming of Jesus is not looked for today was given in 1844 in a lecture by William Pymm when with 11 other clergymen he preached on the signs of the second coming of Jesus. He said: "At Jesus' first advent the visible church rejected Him in a body. 'He came to His own, and His own received him not'. And when He comes next unto His own, will He find the Church prepared for his appearing? 'When the Son of man commeth shall He find faith on the earth."

In the time of Jeremiah, people said to a stock or a stone, "Thou art my father" -- Mr. B says it to an ape! Those who follow Jesus call God their Father, but as the Apostle Paul says, "men have changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like four-footed beasts, and changed the truth of God into a lie" (Rom.1:23).

Like Ezekiel, "we sigh and cry for the abominations which are committed around us, but we recognize that God has the right to judge sinners". God says through Isaiah, "I make peace and create evil: I, the Lord, do all these things". As His Son said when some men died by the atrocities of Pilate and others by the fall of a tower, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish", This is "Christian persuasion" to turn men from sin. Paul says "Knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men".

As Mr. B says, there have often been earthquakes, famines and pestilences - these are the judgments of God.

In the eighteenth century, Bishop Newton worked out the dates from Daniel, showing that Israel would repossess the Temple area in 1967. This was accomplished by the Six-Day war, and most thinking people will acknowledge that complete and world-wide deterioration in morals began that year, and is still continuing.

This week the book "'The Third World War" was reviewed on BBC2. This is an assessment by military men that, in the words of the commentator, "'the Apocalyptic events of Armageddon" will take place with the use of the atomic bomb in 1985. Revelation 16, 15 shows that Jesus will return unexpectedly to the unbelieving an unprepared at the time of Armageddon. Zechariah, (14,12) in the context of the return of Jesus to the Mount of Olives, says of those who fight against the Lord. "Their eyes shall consume away in their sockets". This was read three weeks ago for the first time by a man working on an atomic device, He remarked immediately: "This is what happens with radiation from atomic bombs"

God uses His judgments in the way prophesied. Those who rejected Jesus in His ministry had their cities destroyed by the Romans; five million Jews were destroyed by the Hitler regime under the curse of the breaking of His law (Lev. 26); and our permissive generation will also be destroyed.

We do not rejoice in seeing suffering, but as Jesus told us to, "we lift our heads, knowing that when all these things come to pass, our redemption draweth nigh".

End of the world?

IT is clear from Mr. Murfin's latest letter (JEP, July 13) that he still persists in reading his own ideas into scriptural verses. He quotes the prophet Zechariah - "Their eyes shall consume away in their sockets" - as a reference to the effect of atomic radiation. This sounds very convincing but I have an old book which uses the same verse to speak of the effect of poison gas on the eyes in World War I - and uses this to show the end of the world was due around then. It must have also sounded convincing in its heyday, but I fear that it has made the end of the world a little overdue!

When you look at the entire verse, it reads: "The Lord will bring a terrible disease on all the nations that make war on Jerusalem. Their flesh will rot away while they are still alive; their eyes and their tongues will rot away" - which makes it abundantly clear that the plague is brought about by God, not man! This is conveniently forgotten by Mr. Murfin.

It should be made clear, however, that our civilization is in danger of destruction, but this means working actively to prevent catastrophe, not idly sitting around waiting for God to pop up out of the box and help us out of our predicament, as Mr. Murfin implies. That will only paralyze the will to survive.

Lastly, contrary to Mr. Murfin's allegations, I do not worship an ape! I merely hold to the respectable scientific theory that man developed from an ape-like creature - as has been vindicated by the discoveries of Richard Leakey. I find it more credible than a naive belief in a literal Adam, as so many fringe sects nowadays appear to do.

As a word to end all words on the end of the world before the topic begins to bore the JEP's readership, may I quote to Mr. Murfin the maxim of Alexander Pope: "blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall not be disappointed."


From Mr. Matthew Shepard.

I NOTICED in recent correspondence in the letters columns of your paper (JEP, July 19), a letter which finished by warning the "world's end" debaters that such an argument as they were having should be discontinued "before the topic begins to bore the JEP's readership".

Sir, with respect, it has already done so.
c/o Asioli Hotel,
Roseville Street,
St. Helier.
July 20, 1978.

Letters, JEP 1978

Saturday, 23 July 2011


A return to my sequence of Tarot card themed poems...


Isis, Earth Mother of Aegyptus
Inherent rendering of fruitfulness
An empress crowned with twelve stars
A Zodiac of Avatars
Here seated on her stately throne
Perelandra rising all alone
To show the enthroned mastery
Of earth's desire, simplicity,
That ever holds the world aloft
Above her garments, rich and soft
Imperious, she shows this face
Splendour ruling as her place.

Friday, 22 July 2011

A Source Critical Approach of the BDO submission

The transcript from the Scutiny hearing notes:

Managing Director, BDO Alto Limited:
Yes, just to clarify, and it is in our written submission, the material that was leaked to the newspaper was not a BDO work product. I cannot comment on what was leaked to the media. As again we say in our written submission, we provide you with copies of the correspondence with Home Affairs on 5th October 2009. This matter was clearly brought to our attention. We were concerned that anything that was related to our review was finding its way into the national media. As I say, it was not a BDO report. There was not an interim report at that point in time. What appears to have been leaked were, again, some of the early drafts of some of [Police Consultant]'s work. He might want to say something about that.

and later on this is stated about Mick Gradwell leaking information to the press:

Deputy T.M. Pitman:
Just for the record, you are saying he said he did not actually show documents to a journalist. He verbally, because you said he had not shown. That is what you have just said.

Police Consultant:
I cannot remember at this distance to say his exact words. What he says is content. Whether he handed documents or whether he had no idea, I am not sure.

Now the Mail article which had leaked information had quoted sentences that were, word for word, the same as those in the BDO final report. The journalist must have had a very good memory, or recorded text from the leak, because as the Daily Mail has the same sentences as BDO final report - - and the conclusion, not any preliminary material.

The Mail on Sunday has several quotes from the report, and this is the one concluding the section on dog handling:

The auditors' interim report concludes: 'It was an expensive mistake to bring in Mr Grime. It would have been far preferable and much cheaper to have tried to obtain appropriately trained dogs and handlers from UK police forces.'

If you read the conclusions of the segment on Mr Grime in the final BDO report, it matches the two sentences word for word. It says:

'It was an expensive mistake to bring in Mr Grime. It would have been far preferable and much cheaper to have tried to obtain appropriately trained dogs and handlers from UK police forces.'

It is not a paraphrase. From a point of view of historical source criticism, I would say it is impossible for that to not have been in existence when the leak occurs, which means that

(1) either the police consultant's early drafts must have reach the stage of conclusions, and that was assimilated without change into the final BDO report, which seems extraordinary

(2) or that BDO had an interim draft in existence already.

It's not even like the Synoptic gospels, where one source (Mark) gets changed slightly in later gospels. This is 100% match.

Quite frankly, I cannot see any other conclusions possible. It is a pity no one read out the sentences, and asked BDO how this ended up in the final report without change, as it is a conclusion, and hence depends, obviously, on the analysis of expenses done by the auditors which support that conclusion, unless all of that was in the police consultants early draft! In which case, exactly work what did BDO do (and were paid for) on that section? Or did he provide the conclusion, and they did the analysis afterwards?

It does not seem to agree well with the BDO interview (transcript segments above). The Mail calls it "the auditor's interim report", and on the basis of the match, I think "there was not an interim report at that time" seems contradictory. I leave the reader to make their own minds up on the truth of the matter, given the evidence of the sources matching between the leaked sentences and the final BDO report.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Jersey Kitchen - Part 2

In an earlier post, I recalled the "Jersey Kitchen" mentioned in the Guide book of 1932, and how I still remembered it in the 1970s. With the construction of the new Museum, it was sadly lost, and this is the second part of a guide book, written by Ralph Mollett for the Museum, in 1957, which describes its features, and gives the Jerriais name for each.

Jersey Wonders are still baked on a regular basis, and can be found, hot and ready to eat, at the Cider Festival at Hamptonne Farm Museum in October, and at the two Steam Fayres at the Steam Museum, one around Liberation Day, and the other around September. Both events are well worth a visit

There is not only cider from Jersey orchard apples (quite different from English varieties) at Hamptonne, but also you can see the crushing process at work, and the horse tugging the large granite wheel around the cider crusher; there is traditional music, and Morris dancing, bags of hot fresh chestnuts for sale, and a real ale tent, as well as walks through the water meadow, and the sensory garden.

At the Steam Fayres, there are two steam trains running, one large engine with restored Victorian carriages, and a smaller one around the inner track, as well as lots of vintage cars to see, steam engines at work, music, and land rover trials around an extremely bumpy pitted track. In the Autumn, there has sometimes also been a threshing machine in operation.

Not surprisingly, as someone who likes puns, my book which dips into the history and legends of the Channel Island is also called "Jersey Wonders"!

It is a tradition to serve Conger soup as part of the Lent Lunch on Good Friday at St Brelade's Parish Hall, along with cheese and bread and a cup of tea. I always try to get there, because it is a delicious soup, and a once a year opportunity - not being much of a cook myself!

After the Jersey Kitchen, part 2, I give two recipes for Conger Soup (from the Channel Islands Forum), if you want to try your hand. One is an 1870 recipe, and the other is a simpler recipe from 1939. There is also a recipe from the BBC site for baking Jersey Wonders.

Regarding gathering seaweed for manure (wraic), I still remember the lorries coming down the far end of St Brelade's Bay to gather up the seaweed, but if they come now, there must be far fewer of them, for I have not seen them now for many years.


A dried codfish ("mouothue") hangs from the ceiling, reminding us of the days when Jersey took a very active part in the Newfoundland Cod Fisheries ; large quantities of dried cod were brought to the Island for home consumption and for export to Mediterranean Countries.

In the wall there is a so-called " bénitier " ("bénêtchi") ; this one was found in an old house now demolished. A number of them are still to be found in old houses of the early seventeenth century ; the use of these ornamental recesses is doubtful.

The lanthorns ("les lanternes à corne") are genuine old specimens fitted with horn windows instead of glass.

The crockery and pewter-ware are from old Jersey Kitchens (la vaisselle et l'êtain).

The wool-winder (dêvidouaithe) and the spinning wheel (rouet) were in constant use all over the Island, when the inhabitants were employed in knitting stockings and jerseys, the latter taking their name from the Island. Large quantities of these were exported during the 17th and 18th centuries. The box-like settee (veille or filyie) formed a seat for the knitters ; and during the long evenings with an oil lamp overhead the matrons gathered together, and knitted, and many old tales about witchcraft and fairies were no doubt told in the ancient Jersey language.

The Jersey method of knitting (ouvrer) is different from either the English or French way.

Ploughing (à la grand' tchéthue), (the big plough) was held in Jersey in January and February. The farmers would combine and plough their lands with ploughs cutting deep furrows, using teams of at least 6 to 8 horses. During the morning a lunch was provided in the field, generally consisting of large dough cakes (gâche dé pâte, à corînthe) and a generous allowance of cider or coffee. At midday the farmer on whose land the team was working gave all his helpers a good meal, and the evening was spent in festivities.

The vraic (sea weed) harvest was a day's outing. Vraic is a splendid manure, and was also used for fuel when dried. The party went with their horses and carts (hèrnais) which were without springs, and drove to the beaches down the stone slipways specially made for the purpose.After gathering the vraic they returned home with carts heavily loaded, the party returning on foot after a strenuous day's work. Special buns were made and eaten on the beaches called galettes à vrai. These vraic buns containeda plentiful supply of raisins.

At Easter-tide cakes boiled in lard called des mèrvelles (anglicised to "Jersey Wonders ) were made, also a sort of biscuit called " simnel " (simné). On Good Friday a dish of flour and eggs boiled in milk called fliottes was eaten.

Bourdelots, apples covered in dough and pâte à soiyi, a kind of apple layer-cake, were largely baked In the ovens during the Autumn and the Winter.

Conger Soup (la Soupe d'andgulle) is still a local dish; the head and tail of the conger are boiled, then milk, butter, vegetables and herbs are added to make the Soupe, with petals of marigolds floating on the surface.

At spring tides the Ormer is caught and is a good food when properly cooked.

Gâche à crétons was a "cake" made with the residue from melted pig's fat (crétons), known as cracklings or graves, and apples, mixed in dough.


1870 D'la Soupe D'angulle
Jersey Conger Soupe

Recipe: CalculatorJersey.


1 and 1/2lb Conger,
3 Pt's water,
1 heart of cabbage chopped,
2 leeks,
petals of a marigold or two,
1 quart of milk,
1 oz of jersey butter,


Fresh Conger boil in 3pts of water approx one and half hours strain and keep the liquid, remove fish from the bone.
Return to the pot with the chopped cabbage and leeks, bring to the boil over slow heat.
Add parsley seasoning to taste add quart of milk and 1oz of jersey Butter.
To serve sprinkle with marigold petals.
Finally serve with fresh Jersey cabbage loaf and churned Jersey butter.

1939 D'la Soupe De Congre.
During The Occupation Of Jersey By The Germans.

Recipe: CalculatorJersey.

1 lb of conger,( on the head )
1 lb tomatoes, ( skinned )
1 onion,( chopped )
8 oz peas,
1 small cabbage, ( chopped )
2 Pt's of milk,
salt and fresh milled pepper,
1 bouquet garni,
marigold petals,
1 oz of jersey butter,


Wash the conger head well in plenty of water.
Place in a pan cover with cold water and boil for one and a half hours.( A pressure cooker is useful for this.)
Drain and reserve the liquid.
Take fish of the bone and add with the prepared vegetables the herbs also the fish to one and a half pints of the fish stock season to taste and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Take out the bouquet garni, then ladle 3 large cupfuls of fish into a sieve or liquidizer.
Reduce this amount to a puree then return to the pan.
This thickens the soup and there is no need to add flour.
Add milk, butter, and bring to the boil very slow and simmer.
Serve very hot.
Serves four people.
Serve with the Marigold petals on the top.
Best with Jersey cabbage loaf and fresh churned Jersey Butter.

Jersey Wonders
This recipe makes around 40 wonders

1 ½ Ib self-raising flour
4 oz butter
8 oz caster sugar
6 eggs


Sieve flour and sugar and rub in butter, chopped into small pieces. Add whisked eggs to make a light dough.

With floured hands make the dough into golf ball sized shapes. Place these on a lightly floured tray and cover with a damp cloth for two hours.

Then roll out each of the balls into oblongs two inches x four inches.

With a sharp knife slit the centre of each oblong and twist the top end (of the oblong) through the slit.

Drop four to six Wonders at a time into a large pan of hot oil, cook for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Drain on kitchen paper.


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Deputies Elections - St Clement 1993

VOTERS in seven of the Island's 12 parishes go to the polls tomorrow to elect 23 Deputies to sit in the States for the next three years. A total of 51 candidates are fighting for the vacant seats. and the first results are expected to he announced within an hour of the polls closing.

In St Helier there are contests in all three districts, with five candidates chasing three seats in No I, seven after a similar number in No 2, and nine contesting the four vacant seats in No 3. The polling stations are at the Town Hall (No 1 district), St Mark's Church Hall, David Place (No 2 District) and either Rouge Bouillon School or First Tower. depending on people's addresses, for No 3 district.

There is a similar picture in St Saviour, with all three districts being contested. Six candidates have been proposed for the two vacancies in No 1, three for the one vacancy in No 2, and three for the one vacancy in No 3. The respective polling stations are at Georgetown (Royal Crescent Methodist Church Hall), the Parish Hall and Eden Methodist Church Hall.

Voting in a Deputies election is quite rare in St Clement, but tomorrow the electors there can exercise their right, for there are three candidates for the two vacant seats. Voting is at the Parish Hall. In Grouville there are four candidates for the one vacancy, with voting at the Parish Hall: and at St Martin, where the voting is at the Public Hall, there are two candidates for the one vacancy.

In this posting, I'm looking particularly at St Clement's where there were three candidates for two positions. Later I'll look at other Parishes. In St Clements, needless to say, the two older (and sitting) candidates were the ones who retained their seats.

It's interesting to see that rates reform and the centralisation of the system to income support was on the agenda even back then, for all three candidates. I suspect though that this was not because Parish welfare could be extremely difficult to obtain, depending upon the fickleness of parish board considering cases rather than any particular rules. It's clear that at least part of the reason is the high cost to the Parish, a kind of postcode lottery in which more populous Parishes had more cases of welfare. Len Norman for instance wants to shift the welfare burden off the Parish and so that it is more centrally distributed across all the other parishes. But all the candidates agree that welfare should be centralised.

This makes it even more amazing that it is only recently, under a Deputy of St Clements, Ian Gorst, that such a change has actually taken place. Why, one may ask did it take so long? Who didn't want what seems to have been an obvious move? I think a lot of that has to do with Parish control over their own rates, something Malcolm McEwen mentions, but is probably at the forefront of other States members. The current system of having an Island rate, but retaining a Parish rate, means the Parishes have not surrendered control of their finances, and the working out of proportions involved undoubtedly involved a lot of wrangling.

The one candidate who did not get elected, Malcolm McEwen, seems to be addressing present day concerns such as immigration, freedom of information, and open government. Some headway has been made on these matters but it has been painfully slow and it is clear that these did not feature very highly on the list of priorities of the two candidates who were elected.

Did the drugs menace turn out to be a significant threat as Len Norman suggested? I don't think so, and I think this is a little bit of an "idée fixe" of his.

The style of presentation of the candidates is interesting, with sitting States members listing a number of States posts without actually saying that much, if at all, about what they did as member of this that or the other committee. The memberships are displayed rather like display of a peacock, and don't actually tell us if they were effective members or not, apart from the main committees which they were President or Vice-President. Indeed, there is a singular lack of policy in connection with these memberships. They might as well be claiming membership of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, for all the good it does. I suspect they hope to bask in reflected glory - if the Committees on which they were members did some good, some of the credit should rub off on them.

It is interesting that Harry Baudains is calling for yet another committee! The way in which committees and subcommittees sprouted like the heads of the hydra do give some indication of why the whole structure became so unwieldy that it would need substantial reform.

It may also be significant that for Malcolm McEwen's failure that he did not live in the Parish, although he grew up in the Parish. It was and still is quite common for Town Deputies, in particular, to come from rural districts, but rather rarer for a candidate to come (and be elected) from outside the country Parishes.

St Clement

Harry Baudains
Occupation: Retired farmer
Age: 60

DEPUTY Harry Baudains has been a St Clement representative for the last seven years and has served on IDC [the old planning department] during all of that time, the last six years as vice-president.

He has been a member of the Education Committee for four years. He also served on the Tree Council for six years and has an interest in environmental mutters,

The Deputy, who was born in the parish and has lived there ever since, says he has worked for some time in trying to prove how unfair the present system of raising welfare is. He is glad that Policy and Resources now agree that there is an injustice.

The IDC vice-president, who is married with two grown-up children, says that although the committee's decisions do not always receive universal acclaim, he believes that the latest housing projects and traditional buildings are generally admired.

Deputy Baudains, a former Treasurer of the Jersey Farmers Union, also wants to see more help for light industry.

'I argued during the Strategic Policy debate in favour of a committee for light industry, as I feel that this is essential if we are to regain full employment. I would like the opportunity to pursue this matter." he said.

Malcolm McEwen
Occupation: Fitter / Fabricator
Age: 27

MALCOLM McEwen has stood for public office once before when he was unsuccessful in a by-election in St Saviour No 1 last year.

Mr McEwen, a member of the executive committee of Concern grew up and was educated in St Clement, although he now lives in St Saviour.

Earlier this year he decided to move from his fathers engineering business to become a self-employed tradesman so that he could stand for election, He says he stands for wider and fairer representation of the electorate. "The majority of people are not represented, especially the younger generations," he says. He believes that be welfare system should be centrally funded and says that the parish must not lose its right to set its own rates.

Mr McEwen is a supporter of freedom of information and open government. and he believes that the public should have access to States committee meetings.

He wants to see the powers of the honorary police enhanced so that they can deal with petty crime and public order offences.

He also feels that housing policy has not improved for the better and says that the Island needs properly to address the immigration question if it is to go forward.

Len Norman
Occupation: Company director
Age: 46

DEPUTY Len Norman has been a Deputy for St Clement since May 1983, when he was successful in a by-election following the death of Deputy Dick O'Connor.

He is currently president of Housing and has overseen one of the most prolific States sector building programmes ever seen.

The Deputy is also the vice-President of Harbours and Airport and Postal. He is a director of the Jersey New Waterworks Company and a member of the Waterfront Enterprise Board.

Deputy Norman says that the most important issue facing the electorate of St Clement is the ever-increasing rates burden caused almost exclusively by the level of welfare paid by the parish.

"At last there is an Island wide recognition that while those in need of help should continue to receive that help, the burden on our parish is unfair.' he said. He has also been pleased to announce recently that due to the success of the Housing Committee's policies there should he no need to rezone open land for housing.

The Deputy believes that the biggest threat to the next generation is drugs. He says that he will urge that the police and Customs be resourced not only to contain the menace, but to defeat it.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Dandelions

Rummaging through the archive at the weekend, I came across what is probably my oldest piece of writing (that I still possess). This was written in my first year at secondary school, aged about 11 or 12, and was selected along with 5 other pieces of descriptive writing from other classmates, to form part of a typed selection by our English teacher to present to parents as illustrative of the best of the classes work. Most of the other pieces were poetry, but I had decided upon prose.

At the parents evening, these sheets were handed out, and my parents were somewhat mortified to learn how the state of their garden - and the weeds in it - were being presented to other parents, especially when the English teacher decided to read mine out loud. Fortunately, I wasn't there to witness this, but I was told about it afterwards!

I don't remember much about writing it, except that it took a good deal of time to construct. I always found writing assignments very difficult at school, especially to produce something of any length. My real joy was the sciences, although I also enjoyed history, but English was always a hard slog. I was lucky to have private tuition with Alice Omissi, a brilliant English teacher, who taught me how to construct arguments along the lines of Francis Bacon's essays, but that was a different kind of writing - what Karen Armstrong calls "logos" rather than "mythos". I really only began to find writing much easier after I had broken from any writing for around four years from 17 to 20, and then returned to find it much easier to let the words flow, and the images come.

The Dandelions

As I walked to the bottom of our garden I saw, under the pussy-willow tree , a clump of dandelions slightly swaying in the cool, gentle breeze. I stooped to pick one. After I had picked it, accidently blew its seeds off; so, after watching them slowly but gently drift away, I plucked another one that was still in flower. It was a bright shiny golden colour and rather similar to a sunflower although much smaller. As I watched it, it tossed and turned violently in the now increasing wind, reminding me of a horse.

Looking around, I noticed that although the dandelions are common garden weeds, they seem to grow better in our garden than normal flowers do for some peculiar reason.

After I had obtained a trowel, I began to dig a dandelion out of the soil. Unfortunately there were many roots from other weeds tangled with it, so it was quite a period of time before it was finally freed.

Suddenly the sun appeared and I noticed how how magnificent it really was, with its bright orange-yellow colour gleaming in the sun's rays. A few minutes later, I managed to find a suitable container to put the dandelion in, As soon as the dandelion was inside the container, I walked slowly back to the house.


Monday, 18 July 2011

The Legacy of Thomas Malthus

I was recently reading Concern's statement in 1984 which noted that:

Every new resident has to be supplied with housing, water, hospital facilities and all the other amenities and service required by civilised society.
Earlier today, I was listening to a Radio 4 "In Our Time" discussion on Malthusianism, and the two are linked.

Malthus and the Finite World
In the eighteenth century, as expanding agriculture and industry resulted in a rapid increase in the European population, a number of writers began to consider the implications of this rise in numbers. Some argued it was a positive development, since a larger population meant more workers and thus more wealth. Others maintained that it placed an intolerable strain on natural resources.
In 1798 a young Anglican priest, the Reverend Thomas Malthus, published An Essay on the Principle of Population. Malthus argued that the population was increasing exponentially, and that food production could not keep pace; eventually a crisis would ensue.
Around the time that Malthus was writing, the Agricultural revolution was beginning to make changes increasing food production, and the Industrial revolution would increase general prosperity - the foundations were being laid for an economics of growth in which one could use economic growth to escape from problems, and feed a much greater population off the land.

The result was that his ideas about the collapse of society seemed to be proven untrue, but in fact all that happened is that the problem has simply been delayed, as Western civilisation has managed to "grow" its way out of the consequences of a finite world, but only at the expense of draining natural and non-renewable resources.

But now, the strain on natural resources, in increased fuel costs, and higher costs for food production, are beginning to hit the Western world. While the timing of peak oil may be debatable, no one can doubt that the oil will run out. Malthus' ideas are ripe for resurrection, with his warnings of a collapse of a society which has reach the end of its resources. And our Island, which is so dependent upon imports, is probably harder hit than England.
Malthus and the Theology of Survival

A second part of Malthus thinking also tends to come into play in a society in recession, facing rising costs and taxes, and this is the treatment of the poor. In boom years, there is plenty of extra to distribute, but in more recessionary times, the State looks at reducing this burden, by such means as "user pays", or reducing allowances. This is the darker legacy of Thomas Malthus; the legitimisation of reducing the burden of Welfare costs.

The strain on society can be also seen with the rise of unemployment, and the increasing burden which this calls upon the working population to supply through taxation. Malthus was of the opinion that if you supported the poor, they would breed, and cause more demands on society (under England's poor law) while giving nothing back. He wrote:
"A man who is born into a world already possessed, if he cannot get subsistence from his parents on whom he has a just demand, and if the society do not want his labour, has no claim of right to the smallest portion of food, and, in fact, has no business to be where he is. At nature's mighty feast there is no vacant cover for him."
There is an increasingly loud grumble about the high cost of income support which reflects these kind of sentiments very closely. Income support, we are told, has risen in costs more than it should. There is a call for any suspected (not proven) benefit cheats to be reported. And the support limits are in fact often very low, because of the determination that people who can support themselves should. The results can be seen in the letter by Sonia Nightingale in the JEP:
Where is the fairness of it all? I am a 74 year old Jersey born single pensioner struggling to exist. I have worked all my life, but because my two small pensions (one of which isn't index-linked, so is rapidly decreasing in value) just take me into the income tax bracket, I get no financial help whatsoever. The small amount I was allowed in rent rebate has now also been stopped.
It will be remembered that Malthus was a clergyman, and it may be wondered how such a contrary position on social concern - miles away from the strong Christian and Judaic tradition for social justice - could be squared. Indeed William Cobbett, who called him "Parson Malthus", attacked Malthus' lack of compassion for the poor in his book, writing: "Your book could have sprung from no mind not capable of dictating acts of greater cruelty than any recorded in the history of the massacre of St. Bartholomew". How did Malthus come to views which, on the face of it, seem wholly opposed to Christian notions of charity and compassion? 
Unlike the social tradition of Wilberforce, the Evangelical position of Malthus turned against helping others. He suggested that help in the form of poor relief would only encourage the poor to breed, and not to be productive, and for Malthus this was "vice", aiding a degeneration to the level of animals. As he wrote:

The savage would slumber for ever under his tree unless he were roused from his torpor by the cravings of hunger or the pinchings of cold.... If those stimulants to exertion, which arise from the wants of the body, were removed from the mass of mankind, we have much more reason to think that they would be sunk to the level of brutes, from a deficiency of excitements, than that they would be raised to the rank of philosophers by the possession of leisure.

Malthus sees this as part of the pattern of the world as ordained by God:

The supreme Being has ordained that the earth shall not produce food in great quantities till much preparatory labour and ingenuity has been exercised upon its surface

And of course, he could find support for this in the Old Testament:

"You will have to work hard all your life to make it produce enough food for you. It will produce weeds and thorns, and you will have to eat wild plants. You will have to work hard and sweat to make the soil produce anything, until you go back to the soil from which you were formed. You were made from soil, and you will become soil again." (Genesis 3:17-19)

Against this Malthus put "virtue", which was self-reliance, a lack of dependency on the State for hand-outs:

political economists like Malthus resisted this trend, however, believing that aid to the poor only encouraged the very sins that had made them poor in the first place-laziness, vices like gambling and drink, and sex-having more kids than they could support. They also felt that mandatory taxes and a state-sponsored distribution system undermined the moral character and opportunities of the rich. They insisted that the spiritual needs of the giver-that is, themselves-were at least as important as those of the receivers-the poor. Each act of charity, to be a genuine act of conscience, had to be voluntary, spontaneous and discriminating. (2)

"We cannot, in the nature of things, " Malthus wrote, "assist the poor, in any way, without enabling them to rear up to manhood a greater number of their children."

A direct line can be drawn between these theological ideas of Malthus and the kind of Conservatism espoused by Margaret Thatcher and Norman Tebbit. And there is some truth in it: some people can "milk the system", and become lazy, and fall into a culture of dependency - there is always that possibility inherent in any welfare system or redistributive taxation, so there is an insidious attraction to that kind of argument, especially when it can be given some kind of religious justification.

The same might be seen in part in "The Big Society" where the State is to withdraw, and charities are to fill the gap, so that people can become pro-active in helping others. But as Aneurin Bevan saw with the Health Service, this may not be enough:

Private charity and endowment, although inescapably essential at one time, cannot meet the cost of all this. If the job is to be done, the state must accept financial responsibility.

and he added:

No society can legitimately call itself civilized if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means.

And Charles Dicken's directly challenged the philosophy of Malthus that the poor must be self-reliant or perish: Scrooge says: "the out-of-work and the indigent sick are merely the idle and useless; they had better die and decrease the surplus population."
The story of "A Christmas Carol" is a plea for compassion against numbers, and to show, imaginatively, the consequences of the kind of practice which Malthus was advocating to reduce the population. When the siren calls come against mitigating the effects of poverty, drawing on the same kind of argument which Thomas Malthus made, we should reflect that while there may be some people who abuse a welfare system, it does not mean the system should be dispensed with or made harsher for all the many honest folk who need it, but rather that means should exist for addressing those exceptional cases. Because some abuse the system, it is wrong that everyone else needing it should suffer.

And against Thomas Malthus, comes Dicken's call for compassion to not merely calculate the effect of welfare for poor people in monetary terms, but also to consider them as fellow human beings:

 'But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,' faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

'Business!' cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. 'Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!'

 'At this time of the rolling year,' the spectre said, 'I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode? Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me?'

(1) JEP Letters Page, 2011

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Goodbye green and pleasant Island?

Trawling through past JEP stories, actually looking for an obituary (which I found) for Constance Brown, I came across a full page advertisement on Friday 30th July, 1984.

It is a call from "Concern" for people to join and support their aim to look at alternatives to solving social problems in ways other than growth. The need for a population cap has been voted on and lost in the States this week, but will they face the consequences of their vote. For as Concern noted in 1984:

Every new resident has to be supplied with housing, water, hospital facilities and all the other amenities and service required by civilised society.

You would think that "joined up thinking" (which we hear so much about in the States) meant considering that! We are always being told that services - such as health, social security, education etc must be linked in economic terms with taxes - if you increase costs, you increase taxes needed - but this linkage is broken when immigration is considered. Now I'm not saying that immigration is a wholly bad thing - more than half of my friends came and settled in Jersey - but we must be aware of the consequences to infrastructure.

I pointed this out in a letter published in the JEP in 2001 when Mr David Boleat was suggesting a population of 120,000 would be quite possible, and even desirable.

The recent comments by David Boleat on population controls focus on the issue of numbers to the exclusion of other considerations. While it is entirely possible in terms of land area (with re-zoning) for an increase in population, any large increase will impact significantly on the Island's infrastructure.

In particular, an increase in population will lead to an increase in demands upon services such as waste disposal, sewage treatment, electricity consumption and water consumption. There must be physical limits to growth set by the capacity of these services, and this does not seem to have emerged in Mr Boleat's one-dimensional analysis.

Then there are the increased demands of education, health services, traffic and parking. Clearly the Island can invest heavily to bring these in line with the increases in population of up to 120,000 envisaged by Mr Boleat, but with the Financial Services attempting to make cut-backs in the economy, anti-inflationary measures and budgetary restraint of States spending, it is uncertain where funding would be found.

Perhaps the next time Mr Boleat wishes to pontificate from afar on the impossibility of population growth, he could address these related problems as well.

Incidentally, the permanent population of Jersey as at the March 2001 census was 87,186.

So here, back in 1984, is a very prophetic voice:

Goodbye green and pleasant Island?
Dear Jersey resident,
Are you worried about the extent of the environmental destruction which Jersey has suffered during the past few years? Then I must offer you one more unpalatable fact: the destruction will continue and probably accelerate, unless a determined effort is made to change some current policies.
What can you do? You can help us to persuade our administrators to change direction.
We invite your support a campaign which will include the November elections, and which will attempt to convince those who make decisions which have a fundamental effect on the quality of our lives that are large and growing number of islanders have come to the conclusion that enough is enough!
We have enough people, there are enough cars, there is enough noise, we have enough multi-stories, there are enough reservoirs, we have lost enough good land development and are more than enough consequential social problems.
CONCERN has no ambitions whatsoever to become a political party, but it has every intention to give full support to those politicians who unwaveringly believe that Jersey's remaining peace, beauty and uniqueness of character is sacrosanct. We invite you to participate in the kind of influence which is apparently now only enjoyed by the disciples of growth. Can there be a more worthy cause and to attempt to preserve quality of life which would like our children and their children to enjoy?
If you share our concern, please do not delay action. Please respond today. Together we can keep Jersey green and pleasant.
Cyd Le Bail
Chairman, CONCERN
Saving the countryside
Concern's survey showed that in the years 1965 to 1980 about 1,500 vergées of open land had been sacrificed building development. In the 50 years to 1980, nearly a fifth of our farmland has been lost. Development is rapidly destroying the character Jersey's countryside. Have the right to destroy the island's only natural sources in this way? Have not had children the right to enjoy the heritage be held in custody for them?
Stemming the tide of traffic.
In 1961, the States instructed the Defence Committee to find ways of restricting the number of cars on the islands roads to about 20,000. Between 1961 and 1984, miles of roads were widened, a tunnel was constructed and four multi-storey car parks were erected. There are now 38,000 private cars on our roads. The Public Works committee estimate that by 1992, if the population has reached 80,000, there will be a further 6,700 cars in the islands, bring the total private cars are known to around 45,000. Do we really want 1,000 cars every square mile of the Island's surface? Do we have the will to accept the some restraint?
Keeping down pollution
The Island's water supply is already contained levels of nitrates at or above accepted EEC limits. Noise from motorcycles, aircraft, and transistor radios on the beaches has already reached levels fell to be intolerable by many islanders. Nuclear installations on the adjacent French coast have the potential to destroy the Island's tourism, fishing and agricultural industries, or worse. Little or nothing is being done about such problems at present. Do we wish that something be done about such threats and nuisances?
Rescuing our most beautiful valley.?
An extra reservoir is needed only if the population of the Island rises above 80,000. The Jersey New Waterworks Company has told us: "The course of action to be followed will depend upon confidence in the ability of the States to hold the population down to approximately 80,000. If this were the case the requirements could be met by metering and a constant small improvements brought online every year."(Report on Water Demands and Resources, 1981) As it is stated policy that the population should not rise above 80,000 wide, do we need a new reservoir?
Halting population growth
Present State's policy is to allow the population of the island to rise by up to 1,000 new residents every four years.
Every new resident has to be supplied with housing, water, hospital facilities and all the other amenities and service required by civilised society.
How can we hope to protect our countryside if we have to house so many new residents?
How can we adequately house our existing residence in the face of such pressure?
How can we hope to stem the rising tide of traffic when the number of people likely to use cars is allowed to increase?
Can any of our major problems be solved if we continue to add them so rapidly?
JEP, 1984