Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Sir John Peyton

Something historical today. Here is an extract from "Jersey in the 17th century" (1931),  by A.C. Saunders. There is a lot of social history in Saunders, which throws up some quirky details that are often overlooked in the history of Jersey. This follows on from his chapter on Walter Raleigh.

An interesting aside on Grosnez Castle, described as "a heap of rubbish and stones little of nothing worth" by the 17th century. Despite that, it was the locale for the Court of the Seigneur of St. Ouen. The Seigneurial Court was a local court, dispensing justice within the fief.

Examples of the jurisdiction of the Court are given in the article "The Customary Law in Relation to the Foreshore" (2010) by Richard Falle and John Kelleher:

1) Vraic, seaweed either cut from the rocks or thrown onto the shore by the tide, figured large in Island life from the earliest period. As a fertiliser on the fields and a fuel for the domestic fire, vraic was an important element in the rural economy. It is relevant to our argument because the regulation of the vraic harvest, quintessentially a foreshore activity, for centuries fell within the jurisdiction of the Seigneurial Court.

2) The Seigneur", De Grucy he tells us, "had the option at the beginning of each season either to fetch the conger from alongside the boat . or to claim essiages . from everyone who used a trot line". The Code Le Geyt suggests, not a trot line, but "Le gros fillet à fonds", a set net with its bottom grounding. In each case, the nature of the Seigneur's right is clear: it arises from the ownership of the foreshore. Essiage was evidently a form of payment for a license to fish on the seigneurial foreshore.

3) Salines, where salt could be taken from salt pans. The salines of Jersey are less well documented than those in Normandy. Their former existence is however, well evidenced in place names. On at least two points on the coast of Jersey we find bays called "La Saline". One of the most important salines was exploited on the semi-tidal marshes which once ran down to the sea from Samarès Manor. Hence the name "Samarès" which derives from "sals marais", a salt marsh. All the salines both in Jersey and in Normandy had a seigneurial origin.

4) Banon, before its administration, like that of vraic, was municipalised, consisted in the right of feudal tenants to graze their cattle at the appointed time on the stubble of the unenclosed land of the fief. The policing of banon was by the Seigneurial Court.

It will be seen from those examples, that Seigneurial Courts were important part of the local administration of the fief, especially in a society where the majority of the population lived and worked in the countryside, and natural resources such as salt, seaweed, and unenclosed land were vital.

Sir John Peyton
by A.C. Saunders
We can imagine Raleigh fretting at his imprisonment in the Tower, deserted by all those who were ready to flatter him in the past, yet unconvinced that his former friends were ready to defame him if by so doing they could curry favour with the new Monarch. One of his friends was Lord Cobham, and he was most anxious to get into communication with him so that his case might be brought under favourable notice, but Cobham had ceased to be a friend, and Sir John Peyton, the Lieutenant, was suspected of having been the means of allowing a communication being sent to Cobham from Sir Walter, with the result that Peyton was removed from his Lieutenancy and appointed to succeed his prisoner as Governor of Jersey.
Sir John had been a great courtier and soldier. He had belonged to the household of Sir Henry Sidney when Deputy for Ireland, and had served under Leicester in the Low Countries. He had been knighted for his services and appointed Colonel of the special forces raised for the defence of the Queen's person when England was threatened by the Spanish Armada. In 1597 Sir John was appointed Lieutenant of the Tower of London. He was now somewhat under a cloud and had become Governor of this Island in 1603.
Shortly after his appointment a letter was received by the King from Paris. It was sent by one Thomas Morgan, a King's Agent in France, and was dated 28th September, 1603.
In this letter, Morgan states he has information that negotiations were going on between some important persons in Jersey and a Marshal closely associated with the French Court, to sell the Island for a pension of 2,000 crowns, payment assured in France. Morgan further informs the King that they are " persons of some quality as they say, with the Governor, who I take to be Sir Walter Raleigh " ; but perhaps he was not " participant with them in their lewd attempt unless the Devil totally possessed him." He further suggests that the King should change all the principal persons in charge of the said Isle and " put some confident subjects in their places."
Raleigh was down, and although we hear nothing further of this accusation, it would not help the gallant Knight in his efforts to regain his freedom.
Jersey was at that time in a very unsettled state and certain charges were made to the Council against Eleazae Le Marchant, Helier le Fevre, Leonard Le Measurier and Nicholas Davye, who were accused of having exhibited untrue and unjust complaints against the Governor and Justices, and as the principal stirrers of mutiny in the Island.
The Bailiff and Justices denied the accusation and pointed out that if the complainants were allowed to go on inciting the populace they would ruin the country. As the Bailiff and Jurats say, " the consequences of their actions already appear dangerous, for the people are grown so contemptuous of Government that they can hardly be contained in obedience, and the reformation intended by the Governor and Justices was impeached."
Le Marchant and-his -friends were forbidden-by the Bailiff and Jurats to leave the Island, and in the report to the Privy Council, " it is hoped that exemplary justice may be done to them." Evidently other complaints had reached the Privy Council about the unsatisfactory state of the Island, for on the 24th April, 16o6, the States appointed Philip de Carteret, Seigneur of St. Ouen, and Thomas Olivier, Minister of St. Helier, to accelerate the coming to the Island of the Commissioners appointed by His Majesty for the reformation of the laws and policy.
The Royal Commissioners, Sir Robert Gardiner and James Hussey, Doctor of Civil Law, visited Jersey during the summer of 1607 and made a report on the various grievances of the Islanders. They first examined particulars of His Majesty's Revenue, and, having examined people from the various parishes, estimated it should produce £1,500 to £1,600 per annum. They described many of the appeals as frivolous, proceeding in many cases from family hatred, and liable to do great hindrance of justice among the poor. They tried to settle the disputes between the Governor and the Jurats, but could not do so as the Governor claimed the right to nominate the Bailiff against the provisions under the Great Seal of Henry VII. They stated that the Governor in collecting his fees has the possibility of having considerable friction with the people, and that, if he were unscrupulous, he might in order to increase his income reduce the garrison and sell the stores. They suggested that a Receiver should be appointed who should pay all salaries (including the Governor's).
Some of the questions raised before the Commissioners dealt with debts due, division of property, and personal quarrels, but some are of special interest to the students of Jersey history. The Procureur raised the question of Grosnez Castle, and disputed the right of the Seigneur of St. Ouen to hold his Court there, and stated that the Castle was in the King's fief of Letack; and- that as- a -Castle it belonged to the King.
De Carteret however was able to bring forward some very old men as witnesses, who stated that as long as they could remember the Court had always been held there, and that the Castle had to their memory always been but " a heap of rubbish and stones little of nothing worth."
The Commissioners therefore decided that they would not interfere with the Courts of the Seigneurie being held there and thus the matter ended.
Then Solomon Blondell brought forward his grievance. He had a daughter of marriageable age and the mother was very anxious to get her married, so she spread abroad the report that on her marriage she would be worth two hundred crowns. Peter Robin of St. Peter's heard the rumour and went to Madame Blondell to see whether it was correct. " Yes," said Madame, " but my husband knows nothing about it," and Peter, on this assurance, married the daughter and then demanded her dot.
Blondell said he knew nothing about it and refused to pay the money, so Peter went to Court and the Court condemned Solomon to pay the money. When the Commissioners came to Jersey, he brought the case before them and they decided that, as the contract was made by the wife without the consent of her husband, the judgment of the Court was null and void, and left the matter to be further discussed by the newlywed couple in the privacy of their home.
Then they had to settle the dispute between the Constable of St. Brelade, and the Rector touching the pasture in the Church-yard and the cutting down of trees - also concerning defamatory words spoken by the Rector and his wife, in and out of the pulpit.
The Commissioners decided that the pasture in the Church Yard belonged to the minister, but the " bodys of such trees, as are fit for timber which are to be employed to the use and reparations ---of-the -Chancell and Church -as -occasion- shall serve"
The defamatory words they wisely left for the decision of the Ecclesiastical Authorities, who were also to deal with the complaint that Rector David Bandinell had forbidden Thomas Bibes and his wife from communion.
The Commissioners had further trouble with the Rector of St. Brelade, for Leonard Goupill complained that Bandinell claimed of all the fish caught by him, and brought as witnesses some very old fishermen, who stated that although it was the custom to give the Rector some fish out of each catch, it varied more or less according to the will of the donor. The Rector and Goupill agreed to leave the matter in the hands of the Commissioners who decided " that considering the great charge, trouble and " danger the said Goupill and other fishermen do take their fish and considering also how needful it is on the other side that the said minister, whose living doth much depend upon Tythes of fish, should be in some reasonable and convenient manner provided for." Goupill and other fishermen should in future pay to the Rector one-fifteenth of their catches.
Then Lucas Gouppill of the same parish and probably a relative of Leonard, as sergent of Noirmont, claimed a hen and half a goose from Mathew Le Febure as due to him as Sergent as king's rent.
Unfortunately for Gouppill he could not specify the land upon which the rent was due, and so the wise Commissioners decided that the proper persons to deal with the matter were the Governor and Bailiff.
Most of the complaints were very frivolous, but they give an insight into the life in Jersey at that period, and we have a quarrel between John Dutot and his brother Nicholas, who, on the death of their Father, had divided his lands. On Nicholas' property there was a well which had supplied with water the lands before they were divided. Nicholas refused his brother to use the well, but the Commissioners refused to countenance so unbrotherly an action, and directed that John should have the use of the fountain on condition that he does not bring " other men's cattell than his owne to the said fountaine."
Then Janne de Rues of St. Saviours claimed a promise of marriage against Richard Renoult of Grouville. She brought an action in 1603, but the case was not yet settled and during that time Renoult had, by the Rector, been forbidden to attend the communion. He therefore points out to the Commissioners the hardship of his case, especially as the case had not yet been settled, and he had not been excommunicated, and they, taking a sensible view of the case directed that he should be admitted to communion.
Then they decided that the Seigneur of St. Ouen should continue to enjoy, as agreed by the Commissioners sent to Jersey in the eighth year of the reign of Henry VIII, the possession of the chattels of all felons and the gravage which cometh from the sea " within the lands of the Seigneurie until better title shall be showed by His Majestie."
The Commissioners spent nearly two months in Jersey. They must have gone back to England much enlightened with the manners and customs of this little Island.
About this time we hear of John Herault, Monsieur de St. Sauveur, a Jerseyman who took a very prominent place during the next 20 years in the affairs of the Island, and of whom we will hear a great deal later on.
The question of the state of defence was also considered, and it was suggested that no fewer than four thousand men would be required to put the Island in a proper state of defence. The memorial stated that the Islanders were not to be relied upon " seeing they make no profession of arms, though their hearts are well affected, neither can they be spared from labouring for their sustenance." They suggested that the necessary victualling should be provided from England, as, in the most plentiful year, the inhabitants can do little more than sustain themselves.
It was suggested that one hundred pieces of ordnance, none of them under a saker (a six-pounder 5 or 6 inches bore and 6ft. 11 inches. long) should be sent over.
Sir John Peyton pointed out in a memorandum that Mont Orgueil Castle is much decayed and the new castle called " Elizabeth " is unfinished. That there is a great lack of ordnance, powder and munitions, and, in the year 1611, he again makes a report on the defences. He states that each parish enrols all able men into a company under a Captain, but they have no knowledge of firearms, and only a few have exchanged walch-hooks for calivers and muskets.
He stated that in 1610 the total number of men bearing arms was 2,030, partly furnished with walch-hooks-a kind of forest bill and slings, and that some three hundred able-bodied men are seamen mostly from the Island. As to the Castles, he states that at Mont Orgueil the nether part called the Baseguard, is open and unwalled, and there is a great granary and also twenty houses for the use of the inhabitants in time of war, " but all decayed for want of reparation." As to Elizabeth Castle, he pointed out that it was but half finished, unflanked, with the well of fresh water and the storehouses outside the fortifications.
" The part which is built is so weakly timbered that every great storm shakes off the slates so that every year it becomes more uncovered. There is no powder room or granary yet built, and part of the foundations of other rooms now lie unfinished."
He pointed out that thirty-four soldiers garrisoned the two Castles in times of peace, and these were strengthened in times of danger by the support of Islanders, who had for their wages five shillings and fourpence a quarter, and freedom from all service outside the Island.
Such was the state of the defences of the Island in the year 1611, and we next come to the petitions of George Pawlet, Bailiff of the Island, asking His Majesty to direct Sir John -Peyton -to authorise him to -surrender his office as Bailiff to John Herault, of St. Saviour's. He pointed out that he was now an old man, eighty years of age, and that he had served the Island for fifty-six years, first as Lieutenant-Governor and subsequently as Bailiff, and that His Majesty had bestowed the reversion of his place on John Herault, but that the Governor refused to recognize the reversion as he claimed that with him alone rested the appointment of Bailiff.
But on April 30th, 1614, the King directed Sir John "We are well pleased that our old servant George Pawlet shall now retire to his private ease, to which purpose we have approved the resignation of his place of Bailiff to John Herault, to whom some time since, in recompense of his services, we gave the revision of that office, requiring you truely to take order that Herault may without difficulty or delay be established therein, and because you have displaced Pawlet from his Lieutenancy after fifty years' service, it is our pleasure that you allow him £20 a year for life."
And thus began the great battle between Sir John Peyton and Bailiff Herault.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Bus Strike: Health and Safety Issues Ignored?

Jersey is on the brink of another bus drivers' strike. The union representing workers at LibertyBus say, as soon as they are legally able, they'll ballot for industrial action in a dispute over working conditions. Unite claim there's a culture of fear with some drivers forced to work excessively long shifts. The bus company deny it. Nick Corbel of the Unite union said: "As soon as we are able to ballot on industrial action we are going to do so. As I've said before we'd far rather resolve our differences the way we've always done so in this island, but they are not interested."

Passengers told us how it will affect them: "I can understand the chaos it can cause I don't really think a strike's in order." "We would be terribly affected because we've been taking the bus for the past two days and it's been brilliant."

The union representing bus drivers is upping the ante with a new list of grievances:

* It says there's not enough wiggle room in the timetable so the pressure to get passengers on and off the buses quickly is a health and safety risk.
* That what it calls big brother on-board video surveillance is fuelling fear.
* That some drivers are having to work excessive hours, sometimes more than 12 hours a day.(1)

In December 2012, when there was a one day bus strike, I pointed out problems with the reduction in a working week. While the number of hours in a week was being reduced, some of the shifts within that week were excessive. I have seen anecdotal evidence of people who have seen the same bus driver first thing in the morning, then working on a bus some eight hours later. This is what I noted then:

It should be pointed out that while the reduction in a working week was pushed by TTS on the grounds of excessive hours being unsafe, badly worked out rota conditions could also work out with drivers spending more time at the wheel without a long enough break, resulting in drivers becoming more tired and being a greater danger to other road users. For example (confirmed by a source) that it is possible that there could be a shift of 11 or 13 hours, with two 2 hour breaks in between, so that each part of the shift on the road is less than 13 hours, the weekly total falls within the limit, but again it is hardly conducive to safety. This should surely be investigated.

It also appears that the mechanics may also be alone in the workshop which is also in breach of Health and Safety best practice, as well as being on call (unpaid) for at least 12 hours on top of a 4 - 5 hour shift. Health and safety seems to have been an issue used where it can cut costs; it seems to have been overlooked when it suits saving money instead.

Another factor was the "wriggle room". The new bus timetables left very little time at each destination before the driver needed to set off again. This meant that, for example, a Corbiere bus which might have 10 minutes at Corbiere before setting off, now had that cut by at least half. This meant that in rush hour traffic, the chances were that there would be delays, because the amount of slack at the destination would have easily been lost. An examination of the Twitter feed on Liberty Bus shows that delays are consistently bad.

I shall be looking at extra matters later in another blog posting, but these ones above do not seem to have been addressed at all since December 2012.

In particular, they do not seem to have been addressed and remain important current grievances. Here they are currently stated in more detail:

. Excessive shift hours (in many cases in excess of 12 hours a day) with staff not knowing what their shifts will consist of except for their start time (these shifts can and do change up to 4 times a day without notice). This flies in the face of comments made by the Transport Minister (under consultation with the Health and Safety department) that state hours would be reduced (they have only reduced the paid time, the actual attendance hours have increased dramatically, with some weeks extending to over 60 hours in a 5 day period). Can Scrutiny examine the shifts and see if this is the case? After all, records of shifts should be kept. Equally, if CT Plus deny this is the case, will they make public their drivers shifts?

. Mechanics are working weekends from 8-12 in the workshop alone and then are on call until the last bus gets in at night without being paid (except if they are called out), If this is true, this would surely be in breach of Health and Safety best practice. It needs investigation.

. The passing over of existing experienced members of staff for full time employment to employ inexperienced full time staff at a lower wage.

It seems that buses are still running late (and apparent some times not at all) which may be due to poor management and operational procedures, and Scrutiny needs to examine the driver and shift timetables to find out exactly what is happening. If staff are having long hours behind the wheel, and the letter of the law is being kept, but in practice, is being circumvented, then we need to know.

I have been collecting quite a lot of anecdotal evidence of drivers who didn't know routes and had to backtrack or be corrected by passengers, which seems to bear out item 3 - CT Plus prioritising inexperienced new staff not sufficiently trained over existing staff. This should also be looked into.

TTS is in too cosy a relationship with CT Plus, and a degree of independence is needed, which has the authority to requisition records, and summon witnesses, hence I would suggest this is a task for the Environment Scrutiny Panel whose remit covers these matters.

The bus drivers do not want a strike, but their concerns need to be properly addressed, not dismissed out of hand. An independent assessment is badly needed. The other person who would be most suited to provide an independent assessment would be the new Auditor General. What is needed is an assessment the public can trust.

We need to get to the truth of the matter, and not have prevarication by the Minister for TTS - a real inquiry is needed, not an "internal" one of the kind those studiously promoted in "Yes Minister":

'So,' I went on, 'if this question comes up in the House, or if the papers start asking questions, I shall announce an inquiry.'
'Excellent idea,' he agreed. 'I shall be more than happy to conduct it.'
I took a deep breath. 'No Humphrey. Not an internal inquiry. A real inquiry.'
His eyes widened in horror. 'Minister! You can't be serious!'

'A real inquiry!' I repeated emphatically. (2)

Links(1) http://www.channelonline.tv/channelonline_jerseynews/displayarticle.asp?id=504971
(2) Yes Minister: The Diaries of the Right Honorable James Hacker, MP

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Suspicion and Trust

"The Constable was playing it safe by siding with the "A" camp, he knew it would be popular with the St Helier voters and would have been political suicide to have gone with either of the other options."

I read that quotation on a Facebook group. It is, of course, quite untrue. I know the Constable in question from years ago, and the kind of political ideals he had. In fact, I met him quite by chance on a Wednesday night, when he first told me that now the Referendum Law had been  passed by the States, he felt he could justifiably put aside the political neutrality he had to show as President of PPC, and declare his support for Option A. I was probably one of the first to know; he told me that he had just released the news on Twitter.

But there seems to be a tendency in local politics to ascribe dark and hidden motivations to people; there is a hermeneutic of suspicion which does not take politicians at face value.

Politicians, of course, have done much to deserve this. They dissemble, they spin, they don't give a straight answer. Just read Question Time in Jersey's Hansard. We can see the mirror held up to politics in "Yes, Minister". And yet even Jim Hacker has some ideals. Part of his motivation is of course popularity, gaining votes, or support for his party. But if you watch the series, you will see that he also manages on occasion to thwart the civil servants, and actually make some important changes.

Perhaps part of the problem is the high pedestal on which we place political office. We have in our mind an ideal politician, and no real human being is ever going to measure up to that. When they don't we hunt around for a hidden agenda, and try to make sense of their actions. Plain bumbling, mistakes made, and lack of competence rarely are rarely first on this agenda.

And it is here that the darker motives come in. Perhaps they are just out for cheap publicity, or perhaps they have skeletons in the closet, and are being manipulated by dark forces behind the scenes? Here is one submission to the Electoral Commission whose author certainly believes that dark forces, Masonic and Jewish, are the real powers in Jersey:

"Law is not served, justice cannot be done nor seen to be done, whilst democracy is identified as shot through with repeated rumour, suspicion and anecdotal evidence of private conflicts of interest - that often involve the swearing of private oaths to outside bodies of which the public can and will invariably remain totally ignorant."

"We need to keep the Constables of the Parish in politics and each Parish needs to have a right to only Deputies as Senators need to be scrapped as does the Dean who serves a woman as his master not our Lord and God our only true master and so the vows every Constable and Deputy takes need to be to not be a Mason serving a Private oath to the Church of England but to the Public duty to the people of Jersey as well as the Deputies who also need to attest they are not Masonic brothers or serving their Masonic private oaths interests but one true Master and the people of Jersey."

This strange submission (and I am quoting from the more coherent part of it) comes at the extreme end of the conspiracy theorists in Jersey politics; there is a spectrum, but common to them all is the idea that behind the scenes, there are puppet masters pulling strings.

I'm not saying that there never people behind the scenes who seem to have undue influence, and in recent Jersey politics, I'd cite the former Chief Executive of the States, Bill Ogley, who seemed to have a rather unhealthy influence over two Chief Ministers, both of whom were persuaded by him to sign a resignation clause which would leave him half a million pounds better off. But the days of his influence were numbered, and as Terry le Sueur's term of office came towards its end, Mr Ogley invoked the resignation clause and disappeared off into the sunset, £500,000 better off. Mr Ogley certainly seemed to be influential in advising Terry Le Sueur, but his sudden departure shows how limited his influence was over the entire States.

That is very different from positing some kind of secret society which doesn't die out, whose members are replenished over time, and who are always working behind the scenes, secretly pulling strings and making politicians do what they want (except of course for those politicians who are members of this exclusive club).

Of course, the wonderful thing about conspiracy theories is that they are endlessly plastic, capable of fitting almost any circumstances, and wholly beyond any kind of refutation. With regard to Mr Ogley, I am sure some people will argue that he was put in place by the puppet masters, and when he no longer served a useful purpose, he was discarded.

We are not too far here from that paradigm of 1960s paranoia, the TV series "The Prisoner", where the shadowy Number One remained behind the scenes, and only a succession of temporary Number Twos were the public face of authority, but were disposable by their masters.

Joshua Foster, writing in Psychology Today, suggests that conspiracy theories are coping mechanisms:

"conspiracy theories help us cope with distressing events and make sense out of them. Conspiracies assure us that bad things don't just happen randomly. Conspiracies tell us that someone out there is accountable, however unwittingly or secretly or incomprehensibly, so it's possible to stop these people and punish them and in due course let everyone else re-establish control over their own lives. Conspiracies also remind us that we shouldn't blame ourselves for our predicaments; it's not our fault, it's them! In these ways, believing in conspiracies serves many of the same self-protective functions as scapegoating."

Where these have a pernicious effect in politics is that they are like an acid, eating away at trust. On the one hand, you have some former politicians telling us we should "trust politicians we elected to get on with the job" regardless (which seems palpably naive), and on the other, conspiracy theories which tell us we should not trust any politicians - except when they are the ones telling us about the conspiracy theories.

And of course, once trust is lost, it is hard to regain. As Abraham Lincoln said: "If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

Trust takes years to build and seconds to shatter. But if we are ever to see better voter turnout in a referendum or an election, we need more trust. And politicians as well need to be more honest, less evasive, less concerned with political point scoring, and learn to trust the goodwill of the public more. Trust works both ways. Time to start building.

In Franco Zeffirelli's wonderful film about the life of St Francis of Assisi, "Brother Sun, Sister Moon", Francis decides to rebuild the ruined chapel of San Damiano. Soon his compatriots are helping him. Zefferelli punctuates the building with the song "If you want your dream to be", and of course, it is not just the church which is being rebuilt, but the community. The ruins are rebuilt stone by stone. There are no shortcuts.

If you want your dream to be,
Build it slow and surely.
Small beginnings greater ends.
Heartfelt work grows purely.

If you want to live life free,
Take your time go slowly.
Do few things but do them well.
Simple joys are holy.

Day by day, stone by stone,
Build your secret slowly.
Day by day, you'll grow, too,
You'll know heaven's glory.

Saturday, 27 April 2013


A "Doctor Who" poem tonight, very loosely inspired by tonight's episode..

The cloister bell is ringing loud
Seconds leaking with each chime
Ghosts of future, wrapped in shroud
Portents of doom, of end of time
The cloister bell is ringing loud
Running madly, echoes of feet
The fractures of a singing cloud
Crossing timelines in each beat
The cloister bell is ringing loud
Exploding atoms, frozen state
Doctor standing, still unbowed
In quantum chance of fickle fate
At the heart of Tardis, timelines tear
He heals the wounds, ends the fear

Friday, 26 April 2013

Jersey Electoral Reform Referendum 2013 Results at a Glance

Today's post is an "Infogram" very kindly provided by Thomas Hathaway, a young graduate who has put a number of election figures into an informative diagram. It's a skill that I don't have, so I am very appreciative of his excellent work.

If it appears too small, click on it to enlarge the image.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Referendum Results

Option B was the winner of the referendum on States reform after a second round of voting. A - 45% and B - 54.98% of the vote. There was a definite protest vote in St Brelade, with 31 spoilt papers, 1.34% of the vote, and the highest number of spoilt papers.

By way of comparison, the 1948 change was done after polls in the Parish Halls. The result there was noted as follows:

"Island vote on Reform proposals taken in the parish halls: 64% register for Reform, 36% against".

I should note I haven't been able to find turnout, which was probably higher.

But given that Option C only got 19%, and that means Reform proposals (A and B) got together around 81%, I would say that is a good mandate for change.

Will an overall turnout of 26% be enough to make a difference with regard to the States? That will be interesting to see.

Yet excluding St Helier, turnout rises to around 37%, which is certainly significant. I think St Helier has to be treated as a statistical "outlier", as turnout is disproportionately low there. It is a bit like looking at average wage, where an outlier skews the distribution significantly. I think there are good arguments for taking it out of the equation. And 37% turnout, while not brilliant, isn't far off Jeremy Macon's magic 40%. That's something which really must be made clear.

After all you are looking at wages, an outlier skews the distribution. Hence there are grumbles because one or two high wages can push the average way above what most people earn. The same principle applies here. St Helier skews voter turnout. It distorts the picture for the rest of the Island. And while it has the largest population, should we allow this distortion to effect how the other 11 Parishes stack up? Should 29% (St Helier's proportion of the Islandwide voters) dictate the interpretation of 71% (the other Parishes) with respect to turnout?

St Helier has a huge drag effect, with only 16.75% turnout, which is really terrible. For all the canvassing around St Helier, the A-Team must feel very disappointed. It could have made a huge difference, as could St Saviour, which also had a poor turnout of 22.1%, not as bad, but not good either. If those extra voters had turned out, even up to 25%, it might have made a significant difference.

My random survey in St Helier put Option A at the top, but I did  note "It should be borne in mind that the sample is mostly of people either working or living in St Helier, and that may have a partial bias. I haven't been to the more rural Parishes." That was evidently the case, as the low turnout showed.

Tristan Gray noted "All as expected votes wise so far. Country voted B, Town voted A."  Clearly the apathy of the town citizens, and their inability to come and vote was a major problem. As another A Team supporter said: "If 5% more of St Helier got off their arses and turned off Corrie for one minute - it could have been different.." And another person noted: "Spoke to a shopkeeper at lunchtime opposite the Town hall, He said it had been dead all morning, no-one would know there was anything happening today."

I'd say it was a mandate for democratic change, and with a bare 19% for Option C in the first round, the days of Parish Deputies and Senators are numbered. Option C never gained a majority in any Parish, and never even managed to come second.

47% of those voting for Option C went for a second option, of those, 92% of the second choices went to Option B. That pushed B further ahead, but it had already the highest position after round one, and ended at 54.9% to Option A at 45%. That does mean that Option A supporters should not feel cheated, as they might have if Option A had been at the front in the first round, and lost to the second. But that was not the case. Option B had a lead and just increased that lead. There was no "second bite of the cherry"; it would have won on the first round alone.

Mark Forskitt made a very good point: "Over half of those voting C first preference did not put a second preference. Either their principal objective was keep senators, or they were proxy for none of the above. A better thought out option set would have made that distinction possible."

He also made the point that it is "Essential to have AV/STV for all elections and reopen nominations/none of the above on all ballots."

I doubt if we will get "none of the above", but we do need AV (alternative vote) for Constables, STV (single transferable vote)for Deputies or we will not have a complete democratic reform, but only a half-way house. First past the post is a system that is past its sell by date. It might have been acceptable in the past, but not any more. The case of the UK shows this clearly, where a party like the Liberals can get around 30% of the vote, and translate that into between 15 to 30 seats, which is wholly disproportionate.  That was the second part of the Commission's recommendations, and let's hope they don't get dropped like parts of Clothier were. And this Referendum shows the public are perfectly capable of making ranked choices, and the Parishes of counting them.

Of course, there will be criticism that Constables elections will be largely uncontested, but the problem is simply solved: contest them. To complain on the wings about elections being uncontested, and not mounting a challenge is not an option.

This Referendum was a vote for Reform, but only the start. Without a reform of voting systems as well, it will not be satisfactory in representing the people standing for election.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Friendly Faces at Communicare

I took this around 5.30pm outside Communicare, just before going in to vote. Pictured are (left to right), Constable Steve Pallett, Reg Langlois, Deputy Sean Power, and Deputy Montfort Tadier.

Despite having been there for a considerable period, the sunshine no doubt had raised their spirits, and they were all in a friendly mood, no animosity between them.

There were three B supporters and one A, which led me to joke that it was rather like a game of scrabble!

The results for St Brelade were
956 A
957 B
377 C

and 31 spoilt papers

and on the second round (because this was an alternative vote election, with the lowest dropping out, and any second ranked choices redistributed)

978 A
1109 B

which meant that Option C 2nd choices were distributed:
22 A
158 B

The States of Jersey

Something historical today. Here is an extract from "Jersey in the 15th and 16th Centuries" (1931),  by A.C. Saunders.  It is the section on the States of Jersey and how the Constables (as elected members) provided the first real democratic accountability to Islanders. The Jurats were elected, but for life, and they really didn't owe any allegience to ordinary people.

As the Constables may or may not remain in the States, given the outcome of the Referendum, and how the States decide to act on that, it is perhaps worth looking at how they first got into the States.

Notice how the Jurats were supposed to seek advice from the Constables when they were not part of the States, but often ignored that advice. It might be worth considering that arguments have been made that in an assembly without Constables, the Constables could advise the Deputies on Parish Matters. Whether that would be heeded is for the future to see, but a lesson of the past is that an advisory role is a very weak one.

There's a bit more on the history and role of the Constables in my short 3 minute You Tube presentation at:


and there's also the note in Saunders that "any member absent from a meeting of the States after being duly summoned shall be fined". Perhaps that should be brought back, and used to deal with members absenting themselves for extended coffee breaks, or being late coming back to the Chamber after lunch!

On the Constables, it is also worth noting that in 1891, Philippe Baudains, Constable of St Helier, succeeded in replacing the old open voting at elections with the ballot box and secret voting, bringing much better democracy to the Island. It was a Constable, and not a Deputy who did this.

The States of Jersey
by A.C. Saunders
Prior to the year 1591 the Island was governed by the Governor and Jurats, who, from time to time, especially when money had to be raised, called in the assistance of the several Constables to gather in the various supplies which had to be obtained from the people, Some-times the advice of the clergy was asked for, as they were considered better educated and of greater wisdom than ordinary people, but after the report of the Royal Commission of the 30th April, 1591, it was decided that all power should be placed in the hands of the States, consisting of ,Jurats, Constables and Rectors, and that the majority of the three bodies should decide what laws were required, and thus was established the States of Jersey.
The Governor retained the right to negative any proposal which he considered adverse to the interests of the Crown and no levy or tax was to be imposed without the approval of the Lords of the Privy Council.
Evidently at this time the Lords were not satisfied with the condition of affairs in the Island, and on the 10th May 1590, a letter was sent by the Council to Philip de Carteret, Seigneur de St. Ouen, Amys de Carteret, Giles Lempriere and other principal inhabitants, accusing them of neglecting the interests of the Island.
"As the two little Islands under which ships doe usually harbour and resorte are decayed in their platforms and at present unfurnished of ordinance and unfortified, notwithstanding the place is of great danger and most subject to any attempt to be made by the enemy, wherein we do not a little marvel of your negligence and want of that due care of your safeteys and Her Majesty's service as becometh (being a matter to be done at the common charge of the Island) so doe we in Her Majesty's name directly charge and require you to see the said Island forth refortified and the platformes perfectly planted with ordinance and sufficiently guarded as the Captain shall think fitt and as hath been in the best manner usually observed and kept heretofore."
The Council decided that, as Jersey was so near the coast of France and liable to be raided at any time, it behoved the inhabitants to make such preparations to protect their own interests and " that some collection be made in goode and indifferent sorte on the inhabitants of that Isle to be employed that waye " and Good Queen Bess threatened with due penalties those of the inhabitants who failed to do their duty in that respect.
But the inhabitants continued in their old ways and ignored the direction of the Privy Council to such an extent that when they were assessed for £400 towards the expenses of the forts and fortifications the Council had to take notice of their remissness, and an Order dated 17th April, 1597, directed Sir Anthony Paulet to send up the names of those persons who refused to pay.
"For these respects we do now more earnestly will and require you that ye shall make present payment of the same before mentioned unto Sir Anthony Paulet, Knight, to Her Majesty's use, and in case you shall make default we have given directions unto him to deliver into the hands of one of the messengers of Her Majesty's Chamber those who have been the cause of differment of payment that they may answer the dealing in that sort before us. And likewise when we are given to understand that there is a pier begun by voluntary contribution of some of the well affected inhabitants of the Isle which remaineth unfinished, for that many refuse to pay those small sums they them-selves promised. We think it very expedient that those parties should be called before you and some fit course be taken with them for so necessary work (so many ways beneficial to the inhabitants) should not be neglected, And that you should deal also with the rest of the inhabitants of that Isle to be content to contribute to perfect this necessary as Her Majesty hopeth to finish the work on hand already begun. And if you shall find any backwardness herein or in any other public service, or in any person, we have given special charge to your Governor to certify us of the names of any of those persons and the course they take."
Then we have a sidelight on the condition of those unfortunate sailors and others who had the misfortune to be taken prisoners of war, for when one John Guillaume was directed to pay the ransoms of some Jerseymen who were then serving in the galleys off the coast of Brittany, he, having difficulty in recovering the money as advanced from the Bailiff and Jurats, applied to    the Council for redress and on the 9th October, 1597, a sharp letter was sent from London in which Their Lordships ordered the Bailiff to " take speedy order for his satisfaction in regard it was for the general service of the Island and entered into the Government's request which if to their knowledge he hath so done they expect that you yeild him satisfaction according to equity."
Jerseymen were always careful of their money, and probably the unpopularity of Sir Anthony had something to do with the unsatisfactory state of affairs, for about this time the Jersey people appear to be always under the censure of the Council, and on the 11th July, 1597, we have a historical reference to the Causeway between the Island and the Castle on the Islet now called Elizabeth Castle.
The Council on that date reminded the States that two years previously they had recommended that the Causeway should be made as beneficial to the Islanders, as the Castle was being fortified at great expense to Her Majesty.
"Whereof we have just cause to mislike and find fault with you and therefore we doe once more again require you to have more care in that behalfe and better consideration of our saide letters, and especially to cause such moneys has hath been collected for that purpose to be employed in the making of the saide Causeway and let order it may be speedily finished, serving to be in necessary use and purpose, wherein if you should be found remiss or negligent we have required the Governor to certify as in whom the default shall be."
Thus the States were established in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The powers of the Jurats were curtailed and Constables and Rectors now became members of the Legislative Assembly. The Governor still retained his power to negative any measure he thought necessary.
Before 1591 the Jurats did as they liked and formed a small body mostly interested in safeguarding what they considered as their rights. They were appointed to look after the interests of the people as a whole, and in the reign of Henry VII it was found necessary to warn them of an Act passed " Whereas if any of the Jurats be hereafter found in fault and reprimanded for not exercising well and faithfully his office that he shall be expelled and put out of office and never be admitted therein, but be always taken and reputed as a person perjured and infamous."
Before 1591, Constables might be invited by the Jurats to give advice, but only advice which might or might not be acted upon, and sometimes to show their impartiality the Jurats called upon some person considered wise on the subject under discussion, but the Jurats were very careful in their selection, and the Jurats themselves were limited to the members of a very few leading families who were interested in retaining all powers within the little circle.
Sometimes they called upon the clergy " whose apparent sanctity of manners and superior knowledge and wisdom were in those days of ignorance held in the utmost veneration, but they were merely called upon to give advice and it rested in the breasts of the Jurats to call them or not as they pleased." The Constables and Rectors had no power to request a meeting of the States but must attend when called upon.
After 1591 attempts were made to ignore the Order of Council and do without Constables and Rectors but opinion was widening and young Jerseymen were returning home from time to time with new ideas as to how they should be governed and when the matter was reported to the Council it was decided that no ordinance should be proposed unless approved after the due consideration of the whole of the States.
Then we have an interesting sidelight in an Act of the States of the 15th November, 1596, dealing with those members who failed to attend to their duties, and it was decided that any member absent from a meeting of the States after being duly summoned shall be fined one Angelot for the benefit of the State, and that, in order to complete the number of members, Constables shall bring some discreet person in the place of foreign ministers of parishes.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

My Random Sample on the Referendum: Some Results

I've been out and about taking a random sample. Most of the sampling was in St Helier, along the High Street, Royal Square, and West Centre, but I also did some around Quennevais Parade. Unlike the online polls which are on blogs, campaign sites, and media pages, this was a random survey and not a self-selecting one. Online polls get people to come and vote; they reflect only those who choose to do so, which may not reflect the population as a whole. A random sample aims to ask people at random, and eliminate self-selection bias. I deliberately avoided any meetings or rallies as that would bias the result.

Some of the interesting results from my survey:

82% of the people I spoke to have heard of the Referendum. However, only 27% actually received or read a leaflet. This tallies with what Ben Shenton mentioned about his meeting of businessmen who had no idea about any Referendum. It suggests that the increased  impact of the Referendum on the public consciousness is coming most from supporters of the Options and the media.

At the time of sampling, only 31% knew the date of the Referendum, although they knew it was in April.

At the 10% confidence level, liking the options correlates most strongly with Option A At the 5% level, there is no correlation between liking an option and any choice. This means that there is a weak link between liking the options and choosing Option A.

There is no correlation between people who want Constables and people who want Senators. Some want both, some are undecided about Constables but want Senators, some just want Constables and not Senators. This suggests a split between Option B and Option C.

My poll gave 55% of those polled saying they would vote, and 24% undecided. The rest would not be voting. Of course saying you will vote and turning out are two different things. An opinion poll problem is that people are not always honest; they don't like to say they won't be voting. My gut feeling is that only around 15-20% will vote.

69% of those I asked said they had voted in the last election, suggesting some dissatisfied voters who will not be turning out deliberately. When asked if they had ever voted, the number rose to 76%.

89% said they were registered to vote, which again highlights a disparity between being able to vote and turning out to vote. The registration form comes as an official document, and speaking to people who have never voted, I gleaned the information that they will fill in any official form which says complete and return, but that's as far as it goes. They have no interest in politics, but they'll fill in forms!

Only 13% said they liked the options, but there were some "not sures". The fact, however that the options have not got much support, even among people who are going to vote, suggests people are prepared to vote for the "least bad option" because that is all that is on the table. There is no correlation between that and any actual option, suggesting that people in all three camps do not like the options much at all. Just imagine if "None of the Above" had been on the form, and got 55% of the vote!

Results on options, taking uncertain into account, are as follows:

Option A - between 16% and 44%
Option B - between 9% and 36%
Option C - between 11% and 38%
Abstain deliberately - between 13% and 22%

The certain figure is the lower bound, the upper figure is if all the wavering people on an option decide to go with it. Those wavering may, of course, decide on the day not to vote at all, or may cast a first and second choice. As it stands, it looks unlikely that any Option will get more than 50% of the vote, but Option A will do best. Some put undecided against several options.

It should be borne in mind that the sample is mostly of people either working or living in St Helier, and that may have a partial bias, although the presents of commuters should suggest some rural input. But I haven't been to the more rural Parishes. However, as it stands it looks as if it is A versus C with the 2nd choice of B being significant, and perhaps swinging in favour of C if B voters mostly have C as a second option.

Between 36% and 53% wanted to keep the Constables (again there was an element of uncertainly). This will be a mix of Option B and Option C voters, and suggests that Option C voters are not unanimous about keeping the Constables. Note that this was asked (and made clear) as if it was a separate Yes / No question. No Option A supporters wanted the Constables to remain.

Between 38% and 56% wanted to keep the Senators. This is surprising, given that Option C has an upper bound of around 38%, but the question asked if people had a choice apart from those give, a plain Yes / No, would they want the Senators, and there was a degree of support across the options. This reflects the very low value given to the choice of options, and some Option A supporters would still would have liked to keep an Islandwide mandate if it had been on the table. This was reflected in a number of verbal "asides".

Some of the "asides" were interesting. My favourite was an old chap who said "I don't vote; it only encourages them". There were a number of people unhappy with the options and were instead calling for an all Islandwide mandate (even though it has been ruled out by the Commission) - all Deputies as Senators. These are voters who don't attend hustings, which after all, is the majority! There was also a considerable degree of cynicism expressed about whether the States would take any notice of the results.

Quite a few people said they just "didn't do politics", and how one reverses this disengagement is something to explore in the future; my own fancy is that better psychological means of engagement will be needed. We have to engage with people and appeal to their emotions, captivate them, not just bombard them with facts and hope that will bring them out to vote.

A wider appeal is what I've tried (albeit poorly) to do with my presentation "The Constables of Jersey" on YouTube. It's not by any means perfect (I wanted music as well; I don't like my own voice, and wanted two voices speaking alternatively), but I think it is a step in the right direction in engagement (even if you disagree with its intent). In case you missed it, it is here:


and it is short, around 3 minutes to get a message over.

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Constables of Jersey

Today' blog posting links to a You Tube video, which is also available at:


It is a presentation giving background history of the Constables of Jersey, and their role in the States of Jersey, past and present.

While the Referendum Campaign Groups have focused on the role of the Constables with regard to the Options A, B, or C, I wanted to make a short presentation which looks at their history as well as their role in the States and Parishes.

It is I hope both accessible and interesting for people who don't take much of an interest in local politics, and even for informing tourists and recent immigrants a little bit about our Parish system.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Unseen Goodness

James McInty, Jeaneatte Mauer, John Mann - all these people have one thing in common with Margaret Thatcher - they all died around 8 April 2013. In fact, millions of people across the world probably died on that day of natural causes.
As insiders, our culture is opaque, and we never think it strange that the death of one individual should be given such prominence, while the deaths of many others goes unnoticed, with barely the briefest of mentions. It is part of our culture to celebrate the passing of notable people, and we think nothing of it.
It is certainly an old custom. The Pharaoh's of Egypt build great pyramids, funeral monuments to leave their obituary in stone. The Roman Emperors were celebrated by statues, and were elevated to the rank of gods. Across recorded time, we see the funerary displays, and the marking of the death of those in power, or who had been in power.
I'm not saying there is always something wrong in that, but like the passing of a Great Ruler, there can be an element that is unhealthy. We don't elevate them to the rank of gods anymore, but they do seem to be elevated to a kind of sainthood. We eulogies them, and neglect their faults. The portrait is an incomplete one, like Oliver Cromwell with the warts judiciously photoshopped out.
And in looking at the lives of the "great and the good", there is also a danger that we might privilege some kinds of virtue or claims to fame above others.
Deputy Rob Bryans was recently using cards which could be passed from person to person, thanking individuals for small acts of kindness. Those are often neglected in the focus on "great people", but that small acts of kindness, of courtesy, of care, of compassion are what makes the glue which binds society together. There is such a thing as society, contrary to Mrs Thatcher's dictate. It is the many small acts of kindness which make it so.
There is a passage in C.S. Lewis book "The Great Divorce" where the narrator sees a great procession in place he find himself, a vision of heaven:
First came bright Spirits, not the Spirits of men, who danced and scattered flowers-soundlessly falling, lightly drifting flowers, though by the standards of the ghost-world each petal would have weighed a hundred-weight and their fall would have been like the crashing of boulders. Then, on the left and right, at each side of the forest avenue, came youthful shapes, boys upon one hand, and girls upon the other. If I could remember their singing and write down the notes, no man who read that score would ever grow sick or old. Between them went musicians: and after these a lady in whose honour all this was being done.
And he notices the "the unbearable beauty of her face"
Surely this must be someone famous? But he is corrected by his guide, who tells him that earthly fame is not the:
"Is it? ... is it?" I whispered to my guide.
"Not at all," said he. "It's someone ye'll never have heard of. Her name on earth was Sarah Smith and she lived at Golders Green."
"She seems to be ... well, a person of particular importance?"
"Aye. She is one of the great ones. Ye have heard that fame in this country and fame on Earth are two quite different things."
Politicians make their mark, and they can shape ordinary lives, so they often receive prominent coverage on their deaths. But ordinary people, the millions who also died on 8 April, have also shaped ordinary lives into which they came into contact with, but quietly, silently, with acts of unseen goodness.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Solar Winds

A poem about distance, patience, and keeping in touch...

Solar Winds
April sun is gleaming on the river
On Tower Bridge, I see you stand
My heart beats message to deliver
I would reach out and clasp your hand
I am sailing sunlit seas upon my yacht
And up the Thames, to where you are
For my mind can go where I can not
And love makes distances less far
A golden sunset, and night will fall
My heat beats fast, as if with fear
Evening comes, and dark draws near
I await your voice, your tender call
Sunrise, sunset, and  another day
Solar winds bring you to me in May

Friday, 19 April 2013

Voting Rules and Collective Responsibilty

Dr  Jonathan Renouf pointed me to some useful background comparison stuff on the the Isle of Man government code of conduct

He comments that:
"It deals more with what is forbidden than what is allowed (ie ministers must respect collective responsibility). They draw a very clear line around the Council of Ministers, which only includes Ministers, not their assistants. In fact, they don't call their assistant ministers "assistants", they are called departmental members, but they are to all intents and purposes what we would call AM's. They are excluded from collective responsibility with the exception that they must support their own minister."
He also points out that in the current set-up, Ministers themselves have on occasion voted against the Council of Ministers. That's certainly true, and Senator Ian Le Marquand did vote against the Council of Ministers on a rise in GST to 5%, honouring his manifesto commitment.
But Senator Sarah Ferguson thinks this is uncommon behaviour. The normative behaviour is for the Council of Ministers and Assistant Ministers to vote more or less in unison. She asks: "And do you really think that most Ministers will not select Assistant Ministers who do not agree with them? Or that Assistant Ministers who want promotion will not vote with their Ministers? Look at the voting records."
Again, a case in point is Deputy John Le Fondre, who did not agree with his Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, and was removed, and another States Member appointed in his place. The Minister, after all, does have the power to "hire and fire" their subordinates.
My concern is that if there is a move to Collective Responsibility, which is certainly the way the Chief Minister wants to go, that the same safeguards that are in the Isle of Man would not be in place in Jersey. The Troy Rule, after all, was brought in by a backbencher, not by the chief architect of the Clothier reforms, Pierre Horsfall, who somehow overlooked that (along with much else of Clothier)!
The other factor which alters the dynamic is pay. If Ministers are paid more than ordinary backbenchers, or even Assistant Ministers, then there is an increased incentive for not voting against the Council of Ministers if you want promotion.
Those, as Dr Renouf points out, are hypothetical musings, and I agree that we should not pre-empt matters, but it is interesting that while Clothier managed to include what became the Troy rule in his recommendations, that there is no real consideration of this in the Electoral Commission's recommendations.
Instead this is what they have to say on the matter, after discussing the Troy rule:
None of this, however, falls within the terms of reference of the Commission. It would be for the States to consider in due course, if our recommendations were accepted, whether the "Troy" rule should be adapted or abolished having regard to the smaller number of members of the States Assembly. If the "Troy" rule were retained, it would be necessary to reduce the number of Ministers and Assistant Ministers to 18 so that the differential with the 24 non-executive members could be maintained.
We record that we have seen the draft interim proposals of the sub-committee appointed by the PPC to consider the machinery of government. There is nothing in those draft proposals that has caused us to revise our interim recommendation as to the number of members of the States Assembly.
In other words, unlike Clothier they do not consider it part of their remit to comment on the future of the Troy rule, and what the States should do. Clothier was forceful, but the Commission essentially passes the buck to the sub-committee considering the machinery of government. Those draft proposals are not, as far as I am aware, in the public domain, so we are in fact having to decide on the basis of  incomplete information. It would be helpful if Dr Renouf perhaps have some indication of what the sub-committee's drafts look like.
The review of the machinery of government went to public consultation, and I made a submission, as did Mark Boleat. Our submissions both agreed on the key question which relates to the Troy rule:
He wrote:
Should the Executive continue to be forced to seek consensus by being outnumbered in the States?
Yes; this is a normal part of the democratic process, but it does require collective responsibility to operate, otherwise there is a danger of paralysis.
And I wrote:
 Should the Executive continue to be forced to seek consensus by being outnumbered in the States?
This is a good safeguard against the abuse of power, and in fact, I'm not sure of any occasion where the Executive has brought a proposition which has fallen through being outnumbered. On several occasions, however, Terry Le Sueur's Council of Ministers took a swift recess to discuss and change their opinions on propositions to avoid being outnumbered, which was no bad thing.
While there are no political parties, there are political alignments (clearly visible in voting patterns), and these usually work in favour of the executive anyway. Reducing the need for consensus would therefore not be a wise move.
The Review of the Machinery of Government is one of those shadowy consultations, which is not nearly as high profile as the Electoral Commission, and has been going alongside another consultation on the Jersey Election Laws (which may look at election deposits). But as can be seen, it clearly dovetails with the work of the Electoral Commission,  and the terms of reference should have looked at this in more detail, because it is significant with respect to this question.
The unwillingness of the Commission to share the information about that question asked in the Machinery of Government Review means that we have to speculate about how a smaller States might work. They may have seen the draft report, but for the rest of us mortals, it is a matter of speculations in the dark.  "We've seen the draft,. " with the implication "and you can trust us" is simply not good enough. It's a lazy way opting out.
So in answer to the question asked:  "why let the evidence get in the way, when there's a pre-formed opinion waiting to be deployed"?, we have to speculate because only the Commission is privy to information which would help us see how the Machinery of Government may alter. There is a lack of evidence, which perhaps Dr Renouf could rectify? I don't take quite the cynical line of Sarah Ferguson, although one should consider worst-case scenarios, but I would welcome more information so that I could make a better informed decision.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

1932 Guide Book to the Channel Islands: St Helier to Mont Orgueil by the Coast

A few more extracts from the 1932 Guide Book to the Channel Islands.

It makes me pine for the railway, which is mentioned time and again. And the bathing cabins at Gorey!

There is an inaccuracy in the text. Grouville Church (St Martin of Grouville) is much older than 1322 as stated in the Guide Book. It was already a Parish Church before the Battle of Hastings, for it was one of the eight Jersey Churches which Duke William robbed of half their tithes to endow the Abbey of Montvilliers, and this is documented. The first Rector of Grouville listed in the records is much later, now thought to be around 1342, and this may have confused the compiler.

It's also worth noting that Rocqueberg, or the Witch's Rock appears in at least two different folk-tales about witches, and there is supposed to be the cloven hoof imprint of the devil on the rock. These stories however do not go back to the time of the witch trials, and are later fictions.

Mont Ube Dolmen, which is the dolmen here referred to as Samares Dolmen, was once used as a pig sty. Like all the dolmens, it would have had capstones, but those were broken up by blasting for cheap building material.

1932 Guide Book to the Channel Islands: St Helier to Mont Orgueil by the Coast
The four coasts of this almost rectangular island present a choice variety of scenery, and the interior is characterized by numerous valleys of great loveliness. In order systematically to describe the whole, we begin with sections of the coast, and subsequently refer in detail to the valleys and other inland scenery.
By referring to the index, a description of all the places visited by the motor-coaches will easily be found. For the order in which the coast sections and valleys are described, see the Contents page.
As a coast walk or cycle ride this route offers many attractions. The road closely follows the sea, it is practically level, the Castle is an object of special interest, and the train, which keeps the road close company all the way, can be utilized if desired. Finally, the return journey can be made by a much shorter route inland. Details of the railway will be found on p. 29.
Leaving the promenade around the South Fort, we proceed along the road fronting Havre des Pas, or we can walk over the sands should the tide be out.
After passing the skeleton iron lighthouse, we reach the end of the sandy beach, and arrive at a few fishermen's cottages, with a road leading inland through the village of Samares to the station (half a mile from the coast), close to which are two points of interest, referred to below in paragraphs (a.) and (b).
Before turning inland, note the large, red, gabled house on the beach, with round tower. In the grounds (approached from the road and not from the beach) is a huge mass of granite about 40 feet high called the Witches' Rock, from the tradition that on it the Jersey witches held their Sabbath and their dances at the time of full moon. What is more noteworthy here is the beach, for the rock pools exhibit marvellously coloured anemones of large size, a dark mauve creature being a general favourite on account of its long tentacles, size and colour, and because it is easily found.
If the coast-line be taken, an inn (Le Hocq Hotel) is reached in about three-quarters of a mile, close to Le Hocq station.  A short distance beyond is Pontac.
Proceeding half a mile inland to Samares station we can visit-
(a) Samares Dolmen.-Route: Cross railway close to station; cross main road and keep straight on until a path is reached leading up some steps on the right of the road. This path leads to the Dolmen, composed of two rows of upright stones. Though not the best on the Island, it is worth a visit.
(b) Samares Manor-House.-On the main road to St. Helier, a little to the west of Samares station. Fine view of old manor-house from the road. The round ivy-covered tower in the grounds is all that remains of the early eleventh-century mansion.
Instead of returning directly to the sea, we can walk along the main road eastward, and in three-quarters of a mile reach St. Clement's Church. Features of interest within are the font and the frescoes on the walls of the north and south transepts and nave. They were discovered in 1879 under the plaster. The picture in the nave represents St. Michael and the Dragon, and is by far the best preserved.
From the church take the road due south for a short half-mile to Pontac. We now face charming St. Clement's Bay, the eastern point of which is called La Platte Rocque. Here Rullecour and his men landed on January 5, 1781, and afterwards a few English and French met in a desperate fight.
The French had been left behind by Rullecour, probably to guard the transport vessels whilst their leader and the main body went forward to St. Helier, where they were defeated and made prisoners (see p. 39). Platte Rocque has a small harbour.
Continuing by the coast road and now turning northward, we pass tower after tower built for the protection of the islands during the Napoleonic scare. The scenery is pretty, for Grouville Bay is of fine proportions, and Mont Orgueil forms the extremity.
Grouville (Hotel: Grouville Hall) is happily placed, with Golf Links on the Common (see p. 30).
Three-quarters of a mile inland lies Grouville Church, dating from 1322. In its God's acre is the grave of seven privates of the 83rd Regiment, "who gloriously fell in the midst of their victorious companions at La Platte Rocque on the 6th of January, 1781."
Grouville Common merges into Gorey Common, and we reach Gorey Village, close to the sea, and with several popular tea and luncheon rooms. Gorey has a delightful stretch of sands. There are several cabins for bathers.
At Gorey Pier are two hotels and a small harbour, behind and above which rises the mass of grass-streaked granite on which is built the Castle. A short, steep pathway leads up to it, commencing by the weighbridge. From Gorey Pier, a motor-launch runs at advertised times during summer to Carteret (p. 183). 


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Who supports the Troy Rule?

I have not heard Ben Shenton speak on Option B, and he gave an interesting perspective last Friday at Communicare on how he sees Government in Jersey, quite apart from the Options themselves. While Deputy Sean Power was defending the role and responsibilities of the Constables in the States, and thereby making a case against Option A, Ben Shenton took on the task of opposing Option C.

What is remarkable is that his argument could still be made from either a supporter of Option A or Option B. It was not, in fact dependent on retaining the Constables. That is because he was opposing the Troy Rule which gives the number of States members by which those outside the  Executive (Council of Ministers, Assistant Ministers) should outnumber those within the Executive.

The Troy rule, proposed by Deputy Peter Troy, just gave weight and formality to principles that had already been present in the Clothier report, but which had been overlooked when Senator Pierre Horsfall was bringing in the other changes from Committees to Ministerial Government and cherry picking like mad. 

Clothier concludes that: "There must be a majority of Members of the States not in executive office to provide scrutiny of those who are, by means of 3 or 4 Scrutiny Committees."

The amendment brought in by Peter Troy adapted the Clothier recommendation for a 'minority' executive by specifying that this minority should always be smaller than the size of the executive by a factor of at least 10% of the total membership of the Assembly. That rule is now embodied in article 25(3) of the States of Jersey Law 2005 as follows - "The number of Assistant Ministers appointed shall not cause the aggregate of the Chief Minister, Ministers and Assistant Ministers to exceed 22 individuals." [The number is due to reduce to 21 in 2014 as a result of the States of Jersey (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Jersey) Law 2011.]

And again, elsewhere in Clothier, it is noted that "These considerations all point to an Assembly in which a clear majority of members are not holders of executive office but are numerous enough to constitute a number of bodies sufficiently detached from the business of government to provide an independent scrutiny."

As Senator Sarah Ferguson remarked on the Friday meeting, this was a major check against the Council of Ministers pushing through measures without consensus, and she quoted Clothier here:

"The existence of party however is not necessary to the concept of audit or scrutiny. What is absolutely necessary is that there should exist in any assembly a sufficient number of members not actually in executive office and therefore free to observe with a critical eye those who are. Moreover those uncommitted members should have the ability, the facilities and the resources to study some particular aspect of government, to research it and so be able to audit effectively the conduct of government by those in charge and to participate in the formulation of policy. This is what is meant by the commonly used, but ill-defined expression "checks and balances". It is clear enough what is meant - the prevention of the uncontrolled exercise of power by a few powerful people."

Ben Shenton, however, has a very different idea of how Government should work. He argued that Jersey must be one of the few jurisdictions where the executive is actually in a minority. He said that we elected the States, the States elected a Chief Minister, a Council of Ministers was elected, and we should trust them to get on with the job of governing.

But that's actually not looking at the fine details of how many jurisdictions operate. In many jurisdictions, proportional representation in some form is the norm, rather than the "first past the post" method used in the UK. An executive body is formed, but is is often a coalition between different factions, and dependent on their support, so it has to be much broader based if it is to survive; there is an inbuilt element of consensus.

That's not the case, of course, in the UK, where the government is only really accountable to the country at election time, and has with the structure of whips and parties can command a majority without the need for a coalition, until recently (and not counting the Lib-Lab pact of the late 1970s).

Moreover, Jersey does not have parties,  so you can't apply that model here; the only way to ensure consensus government is to have the Jersey equivalent of a coalition, which is the Troy rule.

Ben Shenton's idea of government, that you elect people and trust them to govern for 4 years with no way of being effectively accountable to the rest of the States is totally at odds with anything I would wish for. It is fact a far more radical change than removing the Constables from the States; it shifts the whole balance of power, and removes the checks and balances that Clothier was so keen upon.

Ben's argument that Assistant Ministers do not have to vote the same way as the Council of Ministers (also in the Commission's Final Report)also begs the question of whether that will be the case if the Council of Ministers changes from its present form as a consensus body chaired by the Chief Minister to more of a cohesive Cabinet. That may well change the dynamic and make more incentive for towing the Council of Ministers stance, as might differential pay for Ministers, with prospects of promotion dangling before Assistant Ministers. Who will rock the boat then, when there is more inducement to be loyal?

Clothier in fact, was rather critical of the UK style of government, and thought Jersey could do better:

"In the party system familiar in Westminster the accepted duty of those not in power is to constitute a formal opposition to the government in being. This tends to become a ritual duty to oppose everything that is done, which therefore does little to change the course of government action in any constructive way. But a formal opposition is by no means the only, nor necessarily the most effective, way of providing that scrutiny of government which constitutes a check on the abuse of power."

Instead, he advocated effective scrutiny: "In any reconstruction of the central component of Jersey's machinery of government the provision of effective scrutiny seems to us essential." But part of the way that had to be effective, and could not be dismissed out of hand, because the executive could just push matters along regardless, was for what we now call the Troy rule to be in place:

"These considerations all point to an Assembly in which a clear majority of members are not holders of executive office but are numerous enough to constitute a number of bodies sufficiently detached from the business of government to provide an independent scrutiny"

The main thrust of the argument by Senator Ferguson on Friday for Option C was against the massive reduction in numbers to 42, in which she thought that with at least one more Ministerial positions (Minister for Justice), the Troy rule could not easily hold, and hence the checks and balances would be gone.

That is something that Option A need to examine in detail, because the thrust of their argument has been on voter parity in the super constituencies, and certainly on Friday night, they did not address the Troy rule, and how it could work in terms of numbers in a much smaller assembly. Rather than just focusing on voter parity across districts, this is as important.

Would Option A provide a more democratic form of government in Jersey if it gave rise to an Executive that could rule regardless of opposition? As Sarah Ferguson noted: "If there are 2 more ministers agreed - which is by no means certain - that means 27 in the executive and 15 in the non executive. What price dictatorship then?" (She doesn't mince her words!). Option A needs to get its act together on this. If there is to be a reduction to 42, and more Ministers, how can the safeguard of the Troy rule be applied?

It is also worth Option B supporters reconsidering whether they should be as dismissive of the Troy rule as Ben Shenton was on Friday night. He is, according to the press, the chief spokesman in support of Option B. The lack of concern for a system whereby trust is invested in the execute is something that certainly concerns me very considerably. It might be how a business is run, but that messy element of consensus in the States because of the Troy rule is something very important; it prevents "the uncontrolled exercise of power by a few powerful people.". If you are voting for Option B, do you really want to be supporting a case which tears up the Troy rule? Should other voices on this subject be heard within Option B, if they don't all agree with Ben Shenton?

Now I'm not advocating Option C here, but I am saying that there are matters apart from the Constables which seem to be largely overlooked, and the reduction to 42 and how well the Troy rule can work with that needs more far consideration than it is getting.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Language and Logic

I've been getting a little peeved by the endless Tweets of this kind:

Even Senator Sir Philip Bailhache acknowledges Option B is less democratic. Why does @philipozouf patronise public by saying the opposite?

That's because there is an inference being made there which is false. Sir Philip has in fact said nothing of the sort, which is hardly surprising. It would be very strange if he had said "I think Option B is less democratic". What he has said is to do with voter equity, and a statement which reflects his position on this (from Hansard) would be:

"The Deputy's approach seems to be that there is no voter equity in reform option B and, therefore, reform option B should go.  But as the commission has made it clear in its report, the question of voter equity is not the only consideration.  Option A offers the public voter equity, whereas option B offers something quite different.  It offers voter equity in terms of the 30 Deputies, but it also offers a continuation of the direct constitutional link between the States and the Parishes, which many people believe to be of fundamental importance."

Now you might define democracy in terms of voter equity, but it is clear from this that is not the only consideration that Sir Philip has. To say he wants a States that is less democratic is to make that equation, but to say that he says Option B is less democratic is to make an inference about his beliefs which is clearly untrue.

To be precise, a correct position would be to say: "Even Senator Sir Philip Bailhache acknowledges Option B is less democratic by my understanding of democracy". Now that might be a common understanding of democracy, but that is far from saying it is a universal understanding of democracy. There's a lot of sloppy logic around here, which irks the mathematician in me.

While the argument for Option A is about voter equity and the fairness of a system which only has voter equity, it is surely not fair to misrepresent Sir Philip by selectively quoting what he has said, and missing the thrust of his argument, which balances voter equity against the direct constitutional link. Option A may be about fairness; some of the arguments like this are not.

Karl Popper, for example, defines the term "democracy" this way:

You can choose whatever name you like for the two types of government. I personally call the type of government which can be removed without violence "democracy", and the other "tyranny".

Under Sir Philip's consideration, all positions in the States which carry voting power are elected by the people, and can be contested. He balances two methods of representation, much as the United States does with their two houses (and is a democracy). But they can all be voted out.

Popper's definition also rules out the People's Democratic Republic of Congo, or the People's Democratic Republic of North Korea as not being democracies but dictatorships:

Sir Humphrey Appleby: East Yemen, isn't that a democracy?
Sir Richard Wharton: Its full name is the Peoples' Democratic Republic of East Yemen.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Ah I see, so it's a communist dictatorship.

And incidentally, it also rules out the House of Lords, something for the UK to chew over when considering if Option B is undemocratic, not that they are likely to, according to Dr Renouf, an Option A speaker last Friday.

George Orwell in "Politics and the English Language" notes that: "In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning."

Which is why you get some people saying "It certainly is democracy to be able to chose any one the three options but a little strange to celebrate that principle by choosing something undemocratic." A classic example of how vague the term is. The fact is that the term has become very vague, just as Orwell noted.

But that still doesn't stop Sam Mezec from doing counts of how many times the word "democracy" is used by people in meetings supporting Option B and Option C, as if that shows some hidden dark unconscious avoidance of the term. Or Christine Vibert in her summation for Option A on Friday saying that her opponents had not used the term 'democracy' - they had, she just hadn't listened.

Yet if they had not used the term "democracy", it may just mean that the term has become, as Orwell notes, so sloppy in its meaning that people try to avoid using it, in much the same way that Charles Darwin didn't use the term "evolution" in his ground breaking book "Origin of Species". At the time, and even now, the word "evolution" carried baggage about progress and directionality, which Darwin wished to avoid. Does anyone believe that the Darwin's Theory of Evolution was thereby deficient because he didn't use the word "evolution"?

And it will do no good, as some people have said, going to the dictionary or the etymology, to see what "democracy" means. All that etymology does is to trace the origins of the word, not how its meaning mutates over time. "Persona" as used in the Classical period, was the Latin for "mask". By the 4th century, it meant "person". The same is true of words in English.

What the dictionary does is to look at the roots of the word, and some current meanings; it gives two snapshots. One of the origins of the word, and one on what the word means in contemporary usage. And of course that can be country specific. A Democrat in the USA is rather different from someone described as a democrat in England. Here are four different examples of the word, with meanings that it has had or has today.

1836: T. P. Thompson Exercises (1842) IV. 191   Democracy means the community's governing through its representatives for its own benefit.

1794:  S. Williams Nat. & Civil Hist. Vermont 342   In the ancient democracies the public business was transacted in the assemblies of the people.

1652   J. Smith Select Disc. (1821) ix. xi. 410   In wicked men there is a democracy of wild lusts and passions.

1891   Lowell's Poems, Biglow P., Note 301   One of the leaders of the Northern Democracy during the war, and the presidential nominee against Lincoln in 1864.

Words do not have "essential" meanings, and a good modern linguistic understanding of how a dictionary works is as follows (from S.I. Hayakawa, Language in Thought and Action):

The writing of a dictionary . . . is not a task of setting up authoritative statements about the 'true meanings' of words, but a task of recording, to the best of one's ability, what various words have meant to authors in the distant or immediate past. The writer of a dictionary is a historian, not a lawgiver. If, for example, we had been writing a dictionary in 1890, or even as late as 1919, we could have said that the word 'broadcast' means 'to scatter' (seed, for example), but we could not have decreed that from 1921 on, the most common meaning of the word should become 'to disseminate audible messages, etc., by radio transmission.' To regard the dictionary as an 'authority,' therefore, is to credit the dictionary writer with gifts of prophecy which neither he nor anyone else possesses. In choosing our words when we speak or write, we can be guided by the historical record afforded us by the dictionary, but we cannot be bound by it. Looking under a 'hood,' we should ordinarily have found, five hundred years ago, a monk; today, we find a motorcar engine."

So when words change meanings, or get sloppy in meaning - and democratic is becoming almost synonymous with "good" as Orwell noted, perhaps it would be good to drop it, and speak with greater clarity because we are forced to think about matters, not just tack together adjectives and phrases without thinking about that.

To quote Orwell again: "As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse."


Monday, 15 April 2013

Sir Walter Raleigh in Jersey

Something historical today. Here is an extract from "Jersey in the 17th century" (1931),  by A.C. Saunders. There is a lot of social history in Saunders, which throws up some quirky details that are often overlooked in the history of Jersey, and this is the case here, even with such an obviously political figure as Sir Walter Raleigh.

Saunders doesn't know if Raleigh actually brought potatoes into the Island, but what he definitely did bring was tobacco. It was evidently much more profitable for farmers than food, so much so that it was banned, and crops were ordered to be destroyed. When Saunders was writing, there was little knowledge about the malign effects of tobacco on the human body, and he actually recommends the reintroduction of farming the plant as a means of improving farming in the Island in the 1930s.

There is also an interesting legal question which came up. Did a Bailiff automatically lose his office on the death of the Governor, who had appointed him on behalf of the Crown, and need re-appointment? It was decided that the Bailiff once elected to the position, remained in office until, for some reason or other, he was deprived of his office.

Raleigh seems to have been very much a "hands on" Governor, improving the militia and the Island's defenses, fostering trade and encouraging the trade in Newfoundland, attending sittings of the courts. This was a sea-change from previous Governors who had regard Jersey as a sinecure, from which they could largely line their own pockets.

Curiously, Saunders doesn't mention the renaming of the castle on the islet in St Aubin's bay by Sir Walter Raleigh as Elizabeth Castle (or to be more exact ""Fort Isabella Bellissima", Elizabeth the Most Beautiful) after Elizabeth I of England. Balleine notes that  "This pretentious Latin name never came into general use; but an Act of the States in 1603 calls it le chateau Elizabeth. It was not yet, however, the size that it is today. Ivy only fortified the high rock on the south-west corner of the islet, leaving all the rest to the abbey ruins and the rabbits.."

by A.C. Saunders
At the dawn of the 17th century Elizabeth still reigned over England, but she was no longer the great Queen who, notwithstanding her little meannesses and vanities, had upheld the honour of the English name throughout the world. A sick woman, soon to die, she had lost interest in things around her. Her old ministers had one by one passed away, and she, had difficulty in getting accustomed to those who now filled the administrative posts around the throne.
Essex was dead, Leicester was dead, and Raleigh, somewhat out of favour, had been appointed to the Governorship of Jersey, and in 1600 had found refuge in the Island from the many who had always resented his good fortune, and the haughtiness of his methods.
He remained in the Island, subject to periodical visits to the mainland, until near the end of 1602, shortly before the death of the Queen, and his departure was a great loss to Jersey. -During--his Governorship he had fostered trade and introduced a registry for title deeds. He took great interest in the affairs of the Island, and, when possible, attended the sittings of the Courts, and listened to the debates of the local orators anxious to win the favour of their distinguished Governor.
It is said that Sir Walter usually smoked his pipe during these sittings, and possibly he had great difficulty in following the speakers, who would use the French or Jersey-French language in explaining their different points of argument. He was a shrewd and capable observer, and there he sat, dressed in the height of fashion, a man of action, endeavouring to find the best solution for the benefit of his little kingdom.
Raleigh had the reputation of having introduced the value of the potato to his fellow countrymen and possibly to Jersey. He certainly brought tobacco into use in the Island, but the people did not take kindly to the new custom. Several years afterwards the Royal Court, by their Order of the 5th February, 1624, forbade the sale of tobacco as injurious to the morals of the people.
Tobacco was evidently grown in the Island, for on 15th September, i6z8, Attorney-General Heath writes to the Council, that there is a great quantity of tobacco planted in Jersey and Guernsey contrary to various Proclamations and having " this further inconvenience of taking away the bread from the inhabitants of this Island if the ground fit for Corn be thus employed," and he recommended John Blanch as a proper person to see the tobacco destroyed.
But Jerseymen still carried on, and on the 1st March, 1631, a Proclamation was issued by the Council forbidding the planting of tobacco-" all plants to be destroyed and none must presume to plant hereafter, and no tobacco is to be brought from these parts into any Port save London."
If tobacco could be grown in the Island in those days, then it is a question whether, at the present time when potatoes and tomatoes are sent to an overfed market, the re-introduction of tobacco-growing might not improve the condition of the farmers.
Raleigh's presence was required in the Mother Country, for times were full of anxiety and he had great estates and held important appointments.
Students of history have to recognise the greatness of men by the way in which their names dominate the times in which they lived. We hear of Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, and many others, and although much might be written against them, they remain great historical figures who have made their mark in the world. Thus it was with Raleigh, who, among the many great men of the period, is the best known "great man " during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
He succeeded Sir Anthony Pawlet as Governor of Jersey, and the Bailiff was George Pawlet, who had held office since 1583. When he arrived in Jersey, he found that the Islanders were very much oppressed and the poor people could obtain little or no justice. They were very poor and ill-educated, and had no idea how to develop their resources.
Raleigh was known as the " great man of action of his time," and there are few men in the world who have been to the forefront of so many activities. Soldier, sailor, author, poet and adventurer, he was always ready to leave the gaieties of Court life for the hardships of a voyage of discovery, and well might the Americans erect a tablet in Westminster Abbey acknowledging him as the " Founder of the British Empire in America." He always had some great scheme on foot and was ready to take advantage of any means to further the great work of his life,. We can well realise the sacrifice of his best coat to enable his Queen to cross a muddy path, and, later on, the loss of his Queen's favour, to marry the beautiful Bessie Throckmorton.
He joined with his half-brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, when the latter claimed Newfoundland in the name of the Queen, and, later on, after Gilbert's death, he obtained from the Queen the grant of a large plantation in the neighbourhood of St. John's, Newfoundland.
When he came to Jersey he found that some four hundred of the inhabitants followed the profession of the sea, and so he did his best to encourage the Islanders to participate in the Newfoundland fish trade on a sound commercial basis, and thus a Jersey colony settled on his land at a place on the East coast called Ferryland. One would like to know something of those early settlers, but we have to be satisfied with the knowledge, that it is to Raleigh we owe the magnificent trade which our forefathers developed with the New Land.
We must not imagine that Jerseymen did not know of the New Land before the Governorship of Raleigh, for we hear of codfish being used in the Island as far back as the reign of Henry VIII., when there was great scarcity of food, and there is even a suggestion that Cabot was himself a Channel Islander, or that his forebears came from there.
On the 7th January, 1600, a great honour was conferred on a Jerseyman, Amice de Carteret, a Jurat of the Royal Court, who was selected as Bailiff of the neighbouring Island of Guernsey on account of the good opinion " conceaved of his meetness for his sufficiencie and integrete to exercise the said place."
The British Government allowed the Island 165 chaldrons of " Sea Coales," without payment of duty and the Governor had authority to appoint certain persons to bring the coal from London and Neath. The vessels in those days were very small, but on the 30th April, 1600, the Good Shippe " Frances " of Jersey sailed from Swansea with 1 5 wagons of coal consigned to Nicholas le Basse, and on the 17th June in the same year The " Grace of God " of Jersey sailed from the same port with 12 wagons of coal for Andrew Bissard, and the " Le Flower de Luce " of Jersey, 20 tons, Captain Besheruse, with 4 wagons of coal.
Jersey was always in fear of invasions, and on the 25th March, 1602, the States received information from Sir Walter Raleigh that the Spaniards proposed to seize the Island, and that an expedition of 6,000 troops was in readiness to start from the Low Countries for that purpose.
Sir Walter warned them to make every preparation to repel the invaders, and it was decided that the Lieutenant-Governor should have charge of the defence of St. Helier, and St. Laurens ; Mons. de Rossel of St. Sauveur and St. Martin ; Mons. de Sausmares, of St. Clement, and Grouville ; Mons. Dilamen of La Trinite, and St. Jean ; Le Sr. Jean de Carteret of St. Ouen, and St. Marie, and Sr. Helier de Carteret of St. Pierre, and St. Brelade. Later, on the   7th August, Sir Walter was informed that fifteen Spanish Galleys were making for the Island, and he petitioned the Queen to send her navy for a short time to protect the inhabitants. Evidently the expedition did not reach Jersey, and, after a time, the inhabitants settled down to their ordinary routine.
The people were always quarrelling among themselves and there was a great feud between Sr. Jean de Carteret, and Bailiff George Pawlet. The former suggested that the Bailiff ceased to be Bailiff on the death of Governor Sir Anthony Pawlet. The matter was referred to the Governor, who decided that a Bailiff, once properly elected, remained Bailiff until, for some reason or other, he was deprived of his office. This decision did not satisfy the de Carteret, who openly insulted the Bailiff in Court by stating that he was not a fit person to try any civil or other case.
The Court upheld the Bailiff and de Carteret was condemned to be sent as a prisoner to Mont Orgueil Castle. He promised to proceed to the Castle quietly if he were allowed to do so without guard, and the Court granted his request, but instead of going to Gorey he escaped, and the Court ordered the Master Porter of the Castle to seize him. Later on Sir Walter saw de Carteret, and tried to make him see the irregularity of his conduct, by pointing out that by insulting the Bailiff he was insulting the Queen, whose representative the Bailiff was. He so impressed the prisoner that he confessed that he had failed in respect to the Bailiff and, after some hesitation, the Bailiff accepted the apology and the matter ended. In the Court, de Carteret had said that " he wished to be judged in any case by a plus home de bien than the present Bailiff."
Raleigh returned to England towards the end of 1602 and his time was fully occupied in fighting for his own possessions. The country was in a very unsettled state, and when Queen Elizabeth died on the 24th March, 1603, the throne passed to the Scotch King James, who had no liking for such a man as Raleigh.
A man who would allow his mother to be executed, without making any definite effort to save her for fear of losing his chance of the English throne was not likely to appreciate a great man like Raleigh (whom he feared), who could hardly conceal the contempt he felt for the narrow minded and timorous monarch.
Even Jersey realised that the change might result in danger to the Island, and that the opportunity would be taken by French or Spaniards to seize the Channel Islands, and so every effort was made to keep her defences in good state. Rumours reached the inhabitants that Sir Walter was ill and had been wounded. In the diary kept by the Secretary of the Lord Salisbury of that day it is stated that between the 27th and 29th July, 1603, Sir Walter " attempted to stab himself to the harte with a knife but missing his harte and wounded himself greatly."
Owing to the anxious times, it was decided to see that the old Castle was in good condition and well found in all respects. The Castle was in charge of Honeste Gent Hiersome Ferrat,- who had been sworn in on the 27th September 1600, as Master Porter to carry out the laws, liberties and privileges of the Island.
The Bailiff and Jurats proceeded to the Castle during the month of April, 1603, on their tour of inspection, but evidently the Master Porter had heard many rumours about the unsettled state of affairs and was uncertain what to do, and, when the inspectors arrived at the Castle, he refused to allow them to inspect the fortification, and see that they were in proper order. He evidently considered that an inspection could only be made by a Governor, or his Lieutenant, and that the Bailiff's power was restricted to civil cases.
Possibly he may have been afraid that the many irregularities at the Castle might be brought to light if he allowed the inspectors to carry on. However, they had their way, and having entered the Castle, found it in a very bad state, with guns dismounted and the fortress guarded by but a few men who were incapable of carrying and using arms, so the Bailiff and Jurats decided that the Castle should be put in charge of the Sr. de Rossell, who was empowered to put it in as proper a state of defence as possible.
Raleigh was soon deprived of his Governorship, despoiled of his possessions, and, having been charged with high treason, sent to the Tower of London as a prisoner in charge of Sir John Peyton, its Lieutenant.
Sir Walter may be considered one of the best Governors of the Island. When he arrived in Jersey, he found the inhabitants in a terrible position-little better than slaves-ground down by previous Governors, who were only too anxious to ignore justice, and make the most out of the people they were sent to govern. The States simply played into the hands of the Governors, and ignored their responsibilities. There was no justice in the Island. The             money which should have been used for the defence of the. Island, went elsewhere, and the trained bands were without arms and ammunition. Sir Walter changed all this, frequently called the States together and saw that the trained bands were properly drilled.
At first there was much opposition, but gradually the States, and the people, began to see that their new Governor was desirous for their welfare. When the bands were properly drilled, he is reported to have told them that, supported by the trained bands of Jersey, he was ready to face the best troops of Europe.
He saw that the fortifications of the Island were put into a proper state of defence, and realized that Elizabeth Castle, properly guarded, was a wonderful asset to the Islanders as a fortress of that date, and almost impregnable. It was a great misfortune to the Islanders that his rule was so short, otherwise they would have reaped much benefit and made much progress under the guidance of so able a Governor.