Do you remember when Gerald Ratner made a gaffe which wiped £500 million from the value of Ratners Jewellers in 1991. Attempting some ill-judged humour, he remarked that "We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, 'How can you sell this for such a low price?' I say, because it's total crap." And he went on to say that earrings sold were "cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn't last as long". That led to an end to Gerald Ratner's promising career.
It look as if Nick Le Cornu has now "done a Ratner" with his tweet. The tweet read:
"SHE is back and so conveniently in time. Faking it like all good girls do"
And the other tweet, which has not been as widely reported, said:
"Such faux indignation from the Right. I remain incredulous at such timely & miraculous reincarnations in front of an election
This certainly appeared to be a reference to Deputy Kristina Moore, who had just announced that she was standing again, and in fact he confirmed that in a Sunday interview to BBC Radio Jersey.
His defence has been mixed. On the Voice interview, he stated that it was intended as "irony", although I think he does not quite understand what irony is.
If I tweeted "I see from his Tweet that Nick Le Cornu is a meek, retiring politician" that would be irony, because it meant exactly the opposite. What he has said is better described as sarcasm.
He also stated that his tweet was "purely political" and not personal in any way, and he had family members who had died of cancer. Quite how "faking it as all good girls do" can be described as anything but personal is questionable, especially as on the BBC radio interview he said it was "about women faking orgasms, because women do".
At one point in the Voice interview, he stated that "It was not personal, because he said 'she' and did not mention her by name. Well, if I tweeted, "He was expelled from his party, and good riddance", it would be as obvious as his tweet who I was taking about. That's a very weasely defence.
On the BBC radio interview, he suggested that she was part of the political right, and was tweeting in support of Philip Ozouf because she was in the right wing camp, and possibly had been pressured to stand again. In fact, she tweeted three times:
At Chamber of Commerce lunch Senator Ozouf explaining his Budget for 2015: deficit is reducing & taxes won't be going up, that includes GST
£274m have been spent over past 3yrs to improve the island's infrastructure, that includes new hospital theatres and new schools
Excellent speech @philipozouf the right budget and long term plan for our future.
Of those, the first two are each just a précis of words spoken, and the note on taxes and GST will be of interest to everyone. Only the last could be considered a political statement, and only the last part of it, because it was an excellent speech – the Senator is a good orator. That doesn't mean I agree with everything in it, and I blogged and asked a question which received an evasive answer. Readers of Ministerial decisions will also be aware of the "magic" contingency fund from which the Treasury Minister seems to deal out varying appropriations, some of which do not go before the States.
But his tweet does not contain, embedded in it, any comment about her political support for Senator Ozouf, unless, in fact, he thought she was faking that, which he clearly was not.
In fact, Nick le Cornu failed to bring up, except in the interview, and badly, the issue of States members who are unable to sit in the house over an extensive period. The obvious thing is not be critical of the past, but to look to the future. The question he should have asked, which could be asked on any States member in similar circumstances:
Would Deputy Moore promise, if elected, that if she was unable to fulfil her duties and sit in the States for over twelve months (or some specified period), that she would resign and make way for a member who could?
But the wider issue should really be dealt with by the States of Jersey Law, as a States member might not even be in a position to make a decision, and could be in the States for three years, but incapacitated from sitting, unless the law is changed.
Six months applies for absence from the Island and which a member is automatically disqualified from the House, but perhaps the States themselves should be able and have to decide and vote on the case of long term illness every six months rather than fixing a definite outcome. That would allow each case to be considered on its merits.
On the expulsion from Reform, he claimed in the BBC Radio interview that it was run by around four people, that it was not democratic, and in fact was "Stalinist". If it was so bad, why on earth did he stay in and not leave to expose it?
The fact that he only seems to have discovered that Reform was "Stalinist" after he was expelled speaks for itself! When he was in Reform, there was no word of criticism from him about this, and yet, conveniently, just on being expelled, he discovers the whole truth! Was he only pretending that Reform was a democratic organisation when he was a member? Or to put it more bluntly: was he faking it?
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