Friday, 2 May 2014

Out and About the Jersey Blogs

Bob Hill has a new posting on the dual role of the Bailiff  
He makes a good point here:
"I listened to parts of the debate and it became evident that sentiment over logic became the order of the day. I heard one Connétable state that if it's not broke why fix it and parishioners were asking why the Bailiff was being kicked out of the States. The comment was certainly an own goal because one the reasons why Connetables claim their role in the States is so important is because they are the direct Parish link to the States. If that is so, how many Connetables arranged Parish meetings to discuss the proposition or other propositions for the matter? I stand to be corrected but I doubt whether any parish meetings were held to discuss the matter."
Part of Sir Philip Bailhache's argument for a Referendum was that the people should be consulted. It is amazing that this comes retrospectively, and that no Parish meetings have been called - either by Constables or by Deputies or Senators, for that matter, to discuss the dual role. Senator Bailhache, while winning his amendment for a referendum, has not, as far as I know, actively taken steps himself to address the public in a meeting.
In fact, the main activity has been online, where the excellent website has provided arguments both for and against the role of the Bailiff in the States and as head of the Judiciary. Senator Bailhache's aim was evidently a "spoiler" as his lack of organising public meetings to gauge support demonstrates.
It is also notable that while the remit of the Electoral Commission chaired by the Senator was in fact all members of the States, they chose to focus on elected members, and failed to ask for submissions regarding the Bailiff or the Dean. In so doing, they narrowed their focus contrary to their remit, and avoided tackling that within the public forum.
My own position, which I have made very clear, is that I have no objection to the Bailiff as Speaker, as long as the pernicious power to block propositions from even being placed before the Assembly is removed. As submissions to Carswell demonstrated, there have been a number of occasions where the a past Bailiff has exercised that undemocratic prerogative. It is high time a proposition removed it, and indeed James Rondel, who argues in favour of retaining the Bailiff, also agrees that it must be rescinded. But no politicians of left or right have tackled that!
L'Office Du Jerriais has a brief blog about business cards.  
Apparently, the new Chief Minister of Guernsey has his business cards in the three languages - English, French, and Guernsey French. Something for Senator Gorst to ponder! Although what it does not address is when you use the Guernsey-French cards!
The Jersey Way has a few more sound clips from States sittings:  
Sam Mezec, Simon Crowcroft and Nick Le Cornu's questions, and questions without notice to Philip Bailhache and Ian Gorst are here. Topics are UK same sex marriages and their validity in Jersey, skateboarding facilities at the Town park, Radon testing, and the basis for charges for patients at Accident and Emergency.
This has always been to me an excellent site. Rather than listening to whole debates, this is sharply focused on particular questions, and also allows something that Hansard does not do - the tone of the questions and answers. The written text is useful, but it does not convey the more subtle verbal overtones of speech.
Jersey Exposed looks at Social Security secrets.  
"A recent public Social Security Appeal hearing was adjourned to allow  the Social Security Department time to produce a copy of the 150 pages of hidden rules and guidelines which Determining Officers use for applications for Income Support and other benefits. "
"Previous attempts to disclose these rules have failed as the Social Security Officers claim that only they can understand them. They did offer to produce 3 pages they considered relevant to the case under consideration. However, the claimant argued that the complete 150 pages should be made available and the Tribunal agreed with the claimant."
I don't see any reason for disbelieving this story, and I find it rather appalling that there are internal "hidden rules and guidelines" which are not known to the general public. They should be on the Social Security website, and I hope that, one way or another, they find their way to the public domain.
I notice that the Irish Independent, back in 2007, noted that their new "Freedom of Information Law" meant that:
"Public bodies will have to publish all their hidden rules and guidelines, and these can't be used against you if they haven't been published"
Jersey does not yet have a freedom of information law. While tidying up of ancient laws is given priority - the law on treason being a case in point - the freedom of information law is given a lower priority. Around since 2011 in Jersey in draft forms, Jersey's Freedom of Information law should be in force by 2015 after politicians formally agree to the new law. The last set of amendments said "It is anticipated that the Law will come into force on 1st January 2015. " I'd be extremely surprised if that was the case.
Voice for Children has a posting which is a link to a September 2009 interview by Trevor Pitman.  
Voice for Jersey has a posting which is a link to a blog posting about the how impartial BBC radio Jersey is; the linked post dates from February 2012.  

Tom Gruchy (alias Mike Dun) has a posting on housing conditions:
"As can be seen the latest flat is just simply not suitable for a person with her severe disabilities and as we have already told  Minister  Deputy Green many times before ( and he has personal knowledge of disability in his own family) - standard issue flats are just simply not suitable for this tenant or others with similar needs."
There are four short videos which make it very plain that the accommodation being offered to a disabled lady is simply not suitable. Doesn't anyone at Housing actually meet the people, and check these matters out? Something which I hope Deputy Green, the Housing Minister, will answer.
"With Andium under the Chair of a UK resident receiving £40,000 for  his 30 hours annual attention to the problems of Sandra and thousands of others with real housing needs and the Health service already reeling from shortages and inadequacies and a similar planned "user pays" policy - the future looks ever more grim for those with specific needs and limited resources of their own...."
This is a good blog raising present and future concerns about social housing in Jersey.
Rico Sorda's blog is about the Committee of Inquiry into Historical Child Abuse in Jersey.
"As you are all well aware the Committee of Enquiry into decades long child abuse in Jersey is starting to get going.  There has been a lot of dialogue with the Lawyers representing the enquiry panel. I must say they have been very good in getting back to us regarding the issues we have had with the protocols. There will be more on this in a later date. I really do hope that as many people as possible will come forward to give their accounts to the enquiry panel."
Roger Jones has a blog about local books:
One new book looks very interesting.
Roger says that "It is a joint effort by myself and Susan Ilie of Guernsey Ancestry. It is a book based on an item she bought via eBay - the diary of one Andrew Mitchell, a 20 year old Londoner who visited the CIs in 1866. We researched some of the background to things he wrote about and selected a number of contemporary engravings by way of illustration. I designed the book in a small, landscape format, roughly the same size as the original notebook. I think it has turned out rather well."

1 comment:

James said...

Part of Sir Philip Bailhache's argument for a Referendum was that the people should be consulted. It is amazing that this comes retrospectively, and that no Parish meetings have been called - either by Constables or by Deputies or Senators, for that matter, to discuss the dual role.

Not at all. If you enforce separation of powers such that the Bailiff is removed, the Constables (who currently have a triple role) would necessarily be next in line for the boot...