Monday, 26 December 2016

2017 Retrospective: January Part 1

2017 Retrospective: January Part 1

The People’s Park

Hacker: Humphrey, do you see it as part of your job to help ministers make fools of themselves?
Sir Humphrey: Well, I never met one that needed any help. (Yes Minister)

People’s Park: Removal From List Of Sites Under Consideration For Future New Hospital: Proposition by Simon Crowcroft

THE STATES are asked to decide whether they are of opinion to request the Minister for Health and Social Services to remove People’s Park from the list of sites under consideration for a future new hospital.

In the end, the proposition never went to the States as at the 11th hour, Senator Andrew Green, having counted the votes against arriving in his email in-box, decided to withdraw the People’s Park from the list of options.

“We listened to the people” has to be one of the most feeble excuses ever heard in politics. It was clear that it was only the votes counting against them that led to the retraction: had they gone the other way, as happened with the Waterfront, the protests would have been ignored.

Second to that as a feeble excuse has to be "I haven't made up my mind yet", after the People's Park appeared as one of four options.It clearly emerged that it was really the preferred option, and later that one other site - the Waterfront - was secured against a loan by the States of Jersey Development Company for their buildings on the finance centre.

I almost expected to hear the Senator say: "I have a cunning plan.." when he announced the site most people had probably wanted in the first place, albeit with a few significant differences which the media mostly ignored, much to the chagrin of the good Senator..

The corroboration rule: how Sir Philip changed his mind

"Passage of time and separation from official records have perhaps clouded his memory” (Press Secretary Bill Pritchard, Yes Prime Minister)

What was the rule regarding corroboration? It meant the judge would give the jury suitable instructions along the following lines:

The standard direction on corroboration evidence in cases of sexual offences, with appropriate adaptations to suit the circumstances of each case, would be on the lines of: "Experience has shown that people who say that sexual offences have been committed against them sometimes, and for a variety of reasons, tell lies. Such false allegations are easy to make and frequently very difficult to challenge, even by an entirely innocent person. So it is dangerous to convict on the evidence of the complainant alone unless it is corroborated, that is independently confirmed, by other evidence . . ."

Sir Philip Balhache, giving evidence to the care enquiry, said:

“If there were evidence that a crime had been committed one would be straining to bring a prosecution. I don't believe the requirement was a barrier that prevented us from prosecuting more cases of child abuse.”

But looking back at the States Minutes....

“H.M. Attorney General [Philip Balhaiche] observed as a matter of principle that the issue of corroboration might be significant in the context of individual cases. In this context he highlighted the current requirement in Jersey Law for a judge to give a corroboration warning to juries in cases where the evidence relied upon that of an accomplice, in sexual cases, and in cases where the complainant was a child. “

"I am not sure that I can give Deputy Le Hérissier any specific information about the number of cases which have led to convictions in other jurisdictions as a result of the changes in the corroboration rules, but logic would suggest that the absence of the requirement for corroboration has made it easier to bring guilty men to justice and I cannot, I am afraid, say more than that."

Quality Advertisers!

“They can stop us calling it a sausage. It'll be called the emulsified high-fat offal tube!” (Yes Minister)

A JEP article on Sandpiper bringing “Burger King” to Jersey described it as a “quality franchise”. I wonder how much advertising revenue came indirectly from that promotion?

Sarah Muntel, a registered dietician, writing for “Obesity Action” noted this:

Burger King Whopper: 670 calories and 40 g of fat
Medium fries: 380 calories and 19 g of fat

“These foods are highly processed, full of fat, calories and sodium. You could easily take in 1,500 calories from just one meal alone. Keep in mind that a general caloric recommendation for Americans is 1,500-1,800 calories per-day and around 50-60 grams of total fat. Choosing a typical fast food meal every day can lead to increased calories which can lead to weight gain and can lead to other health conditions like heart disease.”

You can't get quality obesity like that elsewhere!

The New Rural Economy

James Hacker: All we get from the civil service is delaying tactics.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, I wouldn't call civil service delays "tactics", Minister. That would be to mistake lethargy for strategy. (Yes Minister)

I came across this:

Project: A draft Food Security Strategy for the States of Jersey
Client: Department of the Environment, States of Jersey

I have not been able to track down this document which sets out:

• To secure the availability of food
• To secure the affordability of food
• To secure the ability to produce food
• To secure against supply shocks.

As the client is “Department of the Environment”, I ask for sight of this document from the Department of the Environment, or details of when they plan to make it public? Or if it is not complete, the estimated time for its completion and submission to the States of Jersey?

A Freedom of Information request revealed this:

"A draft food security strategy is being prepared and will be integrated within the new Rural Economy Strategy (RES) due to be published in Autumn 2016."

I rather think Autumn 2016 has come and gone and still so sign! Or perhaps for the Department, it is rather like the Moody Blue's song "Forever Autumn"?

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