Friday, 27 December 2013

Looking back on 2013: February blog postings

Alongside the refusal of Ms Leah Goodman to have a visa to come to Jersey, the JEP juxtaposed a story on illegal immigrants, which did rather labour the editorial stance of people coming to Jersey without proper permits. She eventually managed to get a visa after much lobbying by Jersey and UK politicians:
"Like Ms Goodman on Twitter, I too was rather taken aback at the JEP's decision to run a story on illegal immigrants alongside her own case, which she rather delightfully says is a "nice use of 'editorial adjacency'". Of course newspapers do run stories with a similar theme together; that can be seen from a perusal of any papers from the Mail to The Telegraph, so it is not uncommon practice, but it does rather stand out like a sore thumb in this instance"  
As the forthcoming Referendum started to move into gear, and there was a lot of talk about politicians needing to address global issues, I wondered if there could not be a swing too far, and looked at politicians who had reached lofty heights and disdained local constituents:
"It is true that we do need politicians who can address Island concerns, and not merely Parish ones, but it is also important that they can address Parish ones. Time and time again, I have seen politicians aspire to be elevated to the ranks of the Senators above those of the Deputy or Constable, and once they are in, their attitudes can change remarkably. Their domain is now the Island, they are not to be concerned with pettifogging local matters, for those should in the first instance be addressed by the Parish Deputy and the Parish Constable. I have even personal experience of being told precisely this by a Senator who was had just been elected!"
A judgment regarding police officers and legal advice in the Curtis-Warren bugging case was leaked online, and I sounded a note of caution about taking Curtis Warren's side without looking at the evidence of what kind of person he was:
"Let us not forget that the evidence obtained was not ruled out on the appeal case brought by Curtis Warren, and for good reason. He would like to use any legal technicality that is available to him to evade his prison sentence, and this is not an innocent man trying to get out of jail. As the taped evidence, and other corroborating evidence showed, this man is a hardened criminal who thinks nothing of bringing in drugs of any kind to make money. He doesn't care about how many lives he ruins. He has shown in all this not one shred of contrition."
Deputy Duhamel had a bright idea of a new eco-friendly way of disposing of dead bodies - freeze dry then shake to pieces. It could have been a good investment for Charlie Hungerford, and a curious plot for Bergerac, but it was real:
"Unfortunately, no figures are available that I've been able to find on the costs of the proposed freeze dry alternative. How much electricity is used freezing yourself and the nitrogen? How much electricity is used when gently bombarding the corpse with sound waves? How does the carbon footprint compare with traditional methods? Their website states only that "Producing liquid nitrogen is still relatively costly. This, however, is offset by other factors when liquid nitrogen is used to replace environmentally hazardous alternatives, such as fossil fuels."  That doesn't really answer the questions."
I looked at how the Jimmy Saville case had raised into high profile how good "evidential tests" can be as they were questioned in the UK. Could there also be a case for re-assessing historical abuse cases?
"There is, of course, another factor which needs to be considered, and that is benefit of hindsight. The Jimmy Saville scandal in the UK has exposed cases where the CPS was over cautious in its application of the evidential test. In the UK, the Crown Prosecution Service published a review of a decision in 2009 not to charge Jimmy Savile with sexual offences in relation to four complaints made to police in Surrey and Sussex. It said further action might have been possible had "police and prosecutors taken a different approach", and the current director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer apologised on behalf of the CPS saying that the report represented a "watershed moment"."
Stephen Lucas, local historian, former history teacher, and raconteur died:
"The Devenport Years" is a fine epitaph to his career as a history teacher. There had been an earlier book - Derek Cottrill's "Victoria College: 1852-1972", but it is a very dry book, whereas Stephen Lucas, while detailing the period 1967-1991, and the changes taking place, is also full of lively anecdotes which bring the history and the personalities to life. The other book is one to read and file away for reference, but Stephen Lucas is one to enjoy. And that I think is a fitting legacy to remember him by.
Potholes in the news again. But does TTS have exacting enough standards for utility company repairs? Better ones are "on the way" and "in the pipeline", we are told. And told. And told.
"Apparently, the roads are inspected by TTS, but given the bumpy nature of the repairs, and the patchwork quality, I wonder just what standards apply. If a trench has been dug up, and a patch is put back, it only takes some contraction and expansion before it is starting to have cracks where it meets the main road surface; patches are often uneven as well, you can easily feel them as you drive over them."
Does Jersey need a Party system? And what would be the unexpected and bad side effects which that could bring? The subject of my blog in February:
"In fact, Jersey, because of the small size of the States, no post-war Party system along the same lines as the UK has managed to be successful, but there have been successful independent members who have brought significant change to the Island. They are the kind of people whom a Party system would squeeze out, because that demands an ideological commitment rather than independent thinking. It is a delusion to think otherwise. As Belloc notes, "the price which has to be paid for admission is, of course, a complete surrender of independence, and absolute submission to the will of the body as a whole.""
Simon Crowcroft declares for Option A - and places a blog posting which is also a direct and invisible feed to the Parish website. Does this give Parish approval, or appear to do so?
"I wouldn't agree with Constable Dan Murphy who Tweeted "Surely in order to preserve his integrity Crowcroft must resign as a constable now". After all, Constable Len Norman is on record - a video still exists online - in 2012 of saying the Constables should not sit in the States. That's personal opinion. It's on a private blog. It is not part of an official Parish website of St Clement. But the St Helier site has a tab marked "Blog", that fits seamlessly into the website; it's part of the website, not a private and separate blog."

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