Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Double, double, toil and trouble

“A rift between the Channel Islands and the Diocese of Winchester could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds more than what was initially reported, it has been revealed. The islands split with the diocese over the handling of an abuse complaint.  The Church of England previously said it had spent £190,000 on the rift. But, a leading lay member of the Church in Jersey has suggested it has cost £645,000, which has been disputed by The Diocese of Winchester.” (BBC News)

Is this a self-appointed “leading” lay member of the Church in Jersey? I was under the impression that the New Testament was all about humility, and didn’t Jesus have some rather strong put downs for those who sought status and power among his own disciples.

In fact, this “leading lay member” is so reticent that they don’t even give their name, while at the same time making all kinds of allegations about cost. It is all rather cowardly. Anyway, anyone following the story can probably guess who this individual is likely to be.

Of course what we can see happening is more stirring the pot. Rather than looking for better relations with England, this seems designed to make matters worse. Blessed are the troublemakers... – I think not. I think I’d sooner bless the cheesemakers.

In fact this whole business of making mischief seems less akin to something Christians do, and more like something from the witches of Macbeth, who appropriately mention a “crapaud” (perhaps a prophetic saying about a "leading" lay member of the Church in Jersey):

In the poison'd entrails throw.—
Toad, that under cold stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one;
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot!

The Dog Days of Summer

 “Park wardens and government workers are being given powers to police dog-fouling in Jersey. Transport and Technical Services staff (TTS) and park wardens will check dog owners are clearing up after their pets in the island's parks and beaches.  No-one has been prosecuted under the scheme so far. TTS Minister, Deputy Kevin Lewis, said it was very difficult to monitor the problem, but extending powers was the best hope. The wardens have been given legal authority to approach and take the details of people in parks who do not clear up after their dogs. Tony Andrews, Director of St Helier Parks and Gardens, said this could then lead to owners being prosecuted. He said: "If there is a genuine mistake and the owner wasn't sure the dog had done that then it will be words of advice. "The wardens have the power to take that person to a parish hall inquiry and if they are not happy they can go to court. The regulations are strong, they are there, it is just a case of getting it policed. (BBC News)

“It is just a case of getting it policed” is probably the most significant statement there! Dog owners in sight of other people will usually clear up dog mess, and it is those out of sight who usually let matters slip by. They think – “no one has seen me, I’ll just leave this”. It is a very selfish attitude, but one that is very hard to police.  And how many wardens are there, and how many places where dog owners can go that are out of sight?

I suppose perhaps the main town parks could be addressed, but how what counts as a success? How much does it cost for a park warden to patrol and ensure that no fouling has taken place? It also mentions powers given to TTS Staff. Are these people going to carry some form of identification?

And suppose the warden confronts an individual? Will they get a genuine name? There is no legal requirement for anyone to carry ID. A person might just have a dog, some car keys, and a bag for dog mess – or not, if they are caught.

In short, this is about as effective as a litter law. I walk around a number of country walks, including St Brelade’s Bay, where there are bins in plenty, and there is still litter left around. At Les Creux, I saw a litter bin with rubbish scattered around its base – and it was not full. Empty tins, crisp packets, cigarette butts – dumped by lazy people.

Unless there are people apprehended, fines, and good publicity on that, enough to put the fear of god into people, they won’t break the habit of a lifetime. Even then, they’ll probably just be more circumspect about dog mess or litter, but at least it may deter some people. But I can’t see cases getting to Court.

“It is just a case of getting it policed” is a masterly piece of understatement!

1 comment:

TonyTheProf said...

If "Unknown" decides to become "Known", I'll publish their comment.

Otherwise it remains unpublished.