Monday, 23 October 2017

Memories of Elections Past

Memories of Elections Past

States members tend to waffle on, but amidst all the dross is some genuine gold. In this case, a trip down memory lane with Russell Labey, during a debate on one of his propositions.

The proposition will soon be forgotten, but the historical ramble deserves to be preserved and hence is on this blog. Yes, it was a digression, but rather a good one, as he paints a vivid picture of elections in days long ago.

Our family were also supporters of Bernard Binnington. Born in 1930, Bernard's registration card shows that he was also present at the Chelsea Hotel during the Occupation.

I remember when he was standing as a mere Deputy in the 1970s. His election HQ was the Chelsea Hotel, owned by the three brothers Binnington, and now long demolished and replaced by Spectrum flats. The hotel was started by his grandmother and has been run by the family ever since. It is a hotel that opened at Easter, full, and closed in October, full, and then re-opened in January for the stamping of the car road tax documents.

Memories of Elections Past
By Russell Labey

I may have only been a politician for 3 years, but I have been involved in Jersey politics - and this is going to age me - for over 40 years, because my dad, Roy Labey, would invariably run the campaigns in Grouville for his chosen senatorial candidate and I, from a very early primary school age, would go and canvass with him.

I remember putting the leaflets through the doors; I can remember the colours of Bernard Binnington were yellow and green. I remember that because he supported him.

Then in my early teens I supported Corrie Stein when she stood for Deputy in Grouville. That was seismic. I remember I painted all her banners: “Vote Corrie Stein” and the colours there were pink and purple. I remember it as if it were yesterday.

That campaign was the first time I got my hands, or my seat, in the radio van and was able to use the megaphone going around the Parish encouraging people to vote. Members might be unsurprised to learn that I took that role like a duck to water. I have to say, I was quite good at it.

I was used by other people in subsequent campaigns around and about in the radio van with the megaphone, including the lovely late Anne Perchard in St. Martin, a very tight race. I remember going around the Montford Estate right up until polls were closing, trying to get people out to vote.

The next day I went to my school, Victoria College, and in my year, I suppose about 5 of us would have been up late that previous night in the whole year, 5 of us, most of us probably farmers’ sons.

I also remember vividly too the Channels T.V. (Television) debates, hustings debates, hosted originally by John Rothwell, before he became a Senator in this House, and then presided over by Alastair Layzell, both of whom were quite brilliant as inquisitors. They used to opt out of the network and have these debates among usually about 10 senatorial candidates and it could be make, or break.

People were broken in those, because they did not have answers to either Alastair Layzell or John Rothwell’s questions. I look back at all that and I ask myself: how have things got better now, where we are with the senatorial race, for example?

Of course things have, in some ways, the initiatives of the Greffe, the social media, et cetera. But in many ways they have not got better, they have got worse. We still have the Parish Hall hustings for the senatorial race and instead of the more manageable 10, maybe a dozen candidates, now you have got up to 28 and they are squeezed into those stages on the Parish Halls and they get to do 3 minutes, their first 3 minutes, many of them make the mistake and go through their past C.V. (curriculum vitae) for 3 minutes; big error, if I may give that tip to any prospective senatorial candidate: you want to give your vision for the future, no one is interested in your past.  Then they get to answer questions, if they are lucky, 3 questions per session, 2 minutes each.


If Russell had checked regarding the 1948 elections, he would have seen that although there are complaints such as his nowadays about the large number of candidates standing for election as Senator, in 1948, at the first Senatorial election, there were 18 candidates nominated for 12 seats.

It is also notable that even back in 1948, there were at least two candidates who were prepared to stand as Senator without having prior experience of being in the States.

What is interesting is that not all of the 18 candidates turned up to each parish meeting, which would be almost unthinkable nowadays. At St John's Parish, for example, only 10 candidates addressed the public, in St Clements, only 11, and St Saviour, only 10 again.

Maybe that is something we need to revisit.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Still Small Voice

The Still Small Voice

"Go out and stand before me on top of the mountain," the LORD said to him. Then the LORD passed by and sent a furious wind that split the hills and shattered the rocks---but the LORD was not in the wind. The wind stopped blowing, and then there was an earthquake---but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire---but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the soft whisper of a voice. When Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, "Elijah, what are you doing here?"

The story of Elijah at Hebron is a fascinating one. Elijah has just defeated the priests of Baal in a contest on Mount Carmel, where they work themselves into a frenzy but no fire comes. Elijah prays and a fire appears and consumes the sacrifice. But far from victory, he is hounded by the Queen, his arrest is ordered, and he takes refuge in a cave on Mount Horeb.

In Greek mythology, the god Aiolos was the king of the winds. He was appointed by Zeus to guard the storm winds which he kept locked away inside the floating island of Aeolia, releasing them at the request of the gods to wreak their havoc. Poseidon, as well as the god of the sea, was known for causing major catastrophic events, such as floods and  earthquakes, seen as signs of his wrath. Hephaestus was the god of fire and volcanoes.

The Greeks were not alone. Most of the ancient mythologies of gods and goddesses have similar analogues. The wrath of the gods and goddesses was to be avoided, and it was best not to anger them. Rituals and sacrifices could placate them.

By contrast, in this story, quite deliberately, God is not found in the violent savagery of nature, rending the land, but in the silence afterwards, the soft whisper of the voice. 

The story of Elijah is an attack on those who see the hand of deity, even the Jewish God, in the power of nature. That, the text indicates, is a form of idolatry, of giving over power to things which are outside out control; of trying to make sense of what may often seem random and senseless by putting it into a framework where we can control it by our understanding - by somehow placating the deity by prayers or fasts or sacrifices.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks comments on how the story negates the triumphalistic tone of the earlier part of the story:

“In effect, God was saying to Elijah: false prophets believe in power. At Mount Carmel you showed that I am a greater power. You defeated idolatry on its own terms. That may be fine for those tempted by idolatry, but that is not who I am. The supreme power cares for the powerless. The creator of life loves life. The voice that summoned the universe into being is still and small, hardly louder than a whisper. To hear God you have to listen.”

“God is not in the fire, or the whirlwind, or the earthquake. Zealotry wins the battle but not the war. It creates fear, not love. It risks desecrating the very cause it seeks to sanctify. Faith speaks in an altogether different voice, urging us, in Robert Kennedy’s fine phrase, to ‘tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world’.”

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Cider Days

Where would Autumn be without the cider making at Hamptonne...?

From October 2004, comes this poem, which was runner up in the poetry competition (adult class) held that year for poems about cider and apples.

Cider Days

Sing we a song of the harvest home
Of maidens fair, and lads who roam
Sing of dalliance, should they meet.
Quaff of our cider, the finest, sweet.

This is the time of our cider making
Cabbage loaf, Wonders, all for baking
Sing in the farmyard, take the apple
While lad and maiden in lusty grapple.

The farm horse turns the cider crusher
Apples crunched, no fair smell sweeter
Sing now of the old farm days of clover
While lad and maiden, now rollover.

More apples to fetch from orchard now
Heave carts and barrows past the cow
Pick the apples, some to eat and savour
This year, the maiden is now in labour.

With some for bake, and some for crumble
This is our Jersey apple, so very humble
But best of all, drink upon cider days
While nearby mother with baby plays.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Jersey Our Island: Methodists, Mermaids and Music – Part 3

Published in 1950, this is an interesting snapshot of the Island and its customs as it was in the immediate post-war period, and not without humour. Most guide books of the time give the tourist information, or give the impressions of an outsider to the Island, but this is in "inside view", which is rarer.

Jersey Our Island: Methodists, Mermaids and Music – Part 3
by Sidney Bisson

In 1787 John Wesley braved the Channel in `a small sloop' to encourage his followers in Guernsey and Jersey. Possibly out of respect for his grey hairs (he was eighty-four at the time) the opponents of Methodism held their hand at his meetings. He preached to large crowds without interruption, with Brackenbury acting as interpreter. What is even more surprising is that Dr. Coke, who also visited Jersey to further the Methodist cause, was invited by the Rector to preach in the Parish Church of St. Helier. And in 1791 Jersey sent a Methodist missionary to France.

Just when it seemed that the worst of the opposition had been overcome, a new reign of terror started. The Methodists had not objected to compulsory militia service, but now a system of weekly drills on Sundays was introduced, which they regarded as a profanation of the Sabbath. 

When they asked to be excused, the authorities replied that absentees would be fined or imprisoned. Dozens of Methodists refused to pay fines and were sent to gaol. But they could not be kept there indefinitely at the public expense, so the States passed a law inflicting the penalty of deportation on those who refused to do full military service and hurriedly sent it to George III for confirmation. Meanwhile the holding of Methodist services was prohibited and the English minister was expelled.

The progress of Methodism in Jersey might have been very different had it not been for a curious circumstance. In spite of their scruples, the Methodist community had responded to an appeal by Pitt and collected a sum of money towards the expenses of England's war with France. This the States had refused to accept, and it was now decided to use it to fight for freedom of worship. Legal advice was taken, and a deputation headed by Dr. Coke was received by the King in Council. George III not only refused to sanction the proposed new law but emphasised his displeasure by forwarding his veto to the Governor by the hand of Coke. After this, the persecutions gradually ceased. 

It seems odd to find the Methodists building the first of their many chapels in this remote corner of the island. St. Ouen's has a local reputation perhaps undeserved for being the most backward of the twelve parishes, and the old-fashioned St. Ouennais is always a figure of fun in the island's literature. But it was not the central body of Methodists that decided to build a chapel here. The land was presented by a supporter in the parish and the cost of the building defrayed by a district subscription. Within the next few years we find the same thing happening in many parts of the island, each district building its own chapel as funds permitted, usually on land donated by a member. It may have been just luck that the St. Ouennais acquired their plot before any of their fellow members. With the steady growth of Methodism the chapel soon had to be enlarged and later replaced by the present enormous stucco building. Granite would have blended better with the bleak surroundings.

A winding lane bounded by dry walls leads to the twin manor houses of Vinchelez. The dry wall is a particular feature of the Jersey roadside. It is usually backed and often overtopped by a great bank of earth. Monotony is avoided by varied treatment. Here the banks are carpeted with grass. A little further on, trees planted on them meet to form a leafy tunnel. Round the corner grass verges give the narrow lane an air of splendid dignity. Everywhere wild flowers and ferns abound in the crevices between the stones.

The fief of Vinchelez was originally one of the largest in the island. Its division led indirectly to a protracted quarrel between the Dumaresqs and the de Carterets, Seigneurs of St. Ouen, whose arms may be seen one above the other over the old arched gateway of Vinchelez de Bas. The Dumaresqs, who held this manor by direct inheritance, also laid claim to Vinchelez de Haut.

The de Carterets disputed this on the strength of a deed of gift executed by Katherine de Vinchelez in favour of her godson, Richard de Carteret. First the Dumaresqs, then Richard, obtained possession of Vinchelez de Haut. But even his marriage to one of the Dumaresq daughters did not effect a settlement, and the feud was kept up by their children. Eventually, a hundred years later, both sides agreed to arbitration. As a result the status quo was to be maintained. But not for long. The male line of the Dumaresqs becoming extinct, the property passed to a daughter. Mindful of grandfather Richard's example, one of the young de Carterets promptly married her, giving his family the final triumph of seeing the two fiefs re-united.

Both houses are delightfully situated in wooded hollows separated by the famous Vinchelez Lane. In the days of horse- drawn `excursion cars' (before holiday makers demanded bays!) this had the reputation of being Jersey's loveliest beauty spot. Another lane on the west side of Vinchelez de Bas leads to what the Ordnance Survey map calls a tumulus. All I found was a wilderness of gorse, but it was worth walking down the lane for the lovely unspoilt view that presented itself at the end. If you admire rugged cliff scenery the north coast of the island is always attractive from any point of view. To-day, from this spot, the attraction was overpowering.

It is not so much the combination of colours as the living texture beneath them that takes the breath away. The blue of the sea, calm yet incessantly restless; the cliffs, in contrast, brown and solid. Above them a shaggy green fleece of gorse and bracken, shot with threads of gold. It is a Fairyland beauty that makes me feel like an intruder. At any moment I expect to see a mermaid swim out of her cave and sit on a rock to comb her golden hair. That is all it needs to complete the picture. 

I turned my back at last and walked towards Grosnez, turning aside at Portinfer to peep at St. George's Church. It is obviously a modern building, and of such a frigid appearance that I was not tempted to go inside. Children going home from school chattered to one another in English, I noticed, unlike their parents working in the fields who still prefer to gossip in Jersey-French. I spoke to one of the little boys in our native language and was met with a blank stare. Not many of the new generation are bi-lingual like their fathers. Incidentally, apart from a couple of middle-aged women on bicycles, these were the only human beings I met in the course of my five-mile walk. And they say that Jersey is overcrowded in summer !

There are some very attractive farmhouses in this neighbour- hood, some of great age, judging by the thickness of their walls. Honeysuckle, hydrangeas, fuchsias, and rambler roses riot in their gardens. But here and there a farm has tried to modernise itself by putting on a face of stucco, and only succeeded in looking hideously out of place.

As I approached Grosnez the road seemed to be getting wilder. Gorse and bracken topped the dry walls instead of grass and trees. Then of a sudden came a field of oats surrounded by a straggly privet hedge growing behind a granite wall. The illusion of wildness was shattered. But only for a moment. Passing between two sturdy farmhouses, the last outposts of civilisation, I came on the open plateau of Les Landes, where not a tree or a wall stand to break the winds that blow in from the North Atlantic.

A rough path through the low gorse and heather leads to Grosnez Castle the castle without a history. It was almost certainly built in the early part of the fourteenth century, when Jersey was a tempting hunting ground for French marauders. Two hundred years later, on Leland's map of the Channel Islands, it is already marked as a ruin (castrum Grosnes dirutum).

Arguments have been advanced to show that it was demolished during Du Guesclin's raid on the island in 1373, yet there is a strong tradition that Philip de Carteret held out for a time in Grosnez when the French captured Jersey in 1461. Even the evidence of Leland's map is not conclusive, for Jersey's leading military historian (Major N. V. L. Rybot) recently had an en- largement made of the drawing of the castle on Popinjay's `Platte' of 1563, which clearly shows the towers to be still standing. Only a single pointed gateway of weatherworn granite stands today, overlooking what is left of the moat. Behind it can be traced the foundations of the original walls.

St. Maglorius (locally known as St. Mannelier) is traditionally supposed to have landed here in the sixth century and built a monastery. He could hardly have chosen a more difficult place, even for an unopposed landing. On three sides of the castle site the cliffs slope steeply down to the sea, two hundred feet below. The east side is a perpendicular mass of rock, like the wall of some mediaeval cathedral, complete with natural gargoyles over- hanging. And was it my imagination or was it really the sound of joyful music coming from within?

It could hardly be the cri de la mer, which the fishermen will tell you can be heard in these parts when a storm is brewing. For that must be a mournful sound. Imagine forty families ready to embark for a fresh life in a new land. They have been chosen by Helier de Carteret, Seigneur of St. Ouen, to go to Sark, which Queen Elizabeth has given him authority to colonise. For the older people sadness in breaking off old ties is mingled with hope of better days. For the children the sea journey is the first step in a glorious adventure. It is also, alas, the last. A sudden storm, and one of the ships, the one which carries most of the children, is blown on to the Pierres de Lecq, one of the three reefs which guard the northern approach to the island. All the children perished. It is their plaintive drowning cries that can be heard at the approach of stormy weather.

This wild remote spot is certainly one to stir the imagination, but I must admit I was considerably shaken when the sounds grew so loud that there was no possibility of a mistake. It was an organ. I was wondering whether the sun had been too much for me when the melody changed to one I knew. There is a holiday camp at Plemont, about a mile away. It must have been its loudspeakers and no ghostly agency that wafted the sounds of `I'll close my eyes and make believe it's you' over the still waters.

The chief attraction at Plemont unless you find a holiday camp an attraction lies in a series of lofty caves. The largest is said to be a hundred and fifty yards long and a hundred feet high, Dut I did not feel inclined to brave the loudspeakers merely to check the guide-book's measurements.

Of greater interest, though less accessible, is the Cotte a la Chevre, a cave on a narrow headland between Ple'mont and Grosnez. This cave is not, as might be expected, at sea level, but a quarter of the way up the cliff, indicating that the level of the land must have been at some time about sixty feet lower than at present. Here, thousands of years ago, a family of the stone age had its home and hunted mammoth and reindeer. The jawbone of a deer was found during excavations, as well as a considerable quantity of flint implements.

According to Godfrey a spring near here was the mediaeval forerunner of television. When the new moon fell on a Sunday you came to the spring at dusk and bathed your eyes with its waters. Such were its magical properties that it gave you the power to see through the thickest stone wall. But only for a limited period. When the moon started to wane the power left you, and you had to wait for another Sunday new moon before being able to satisfy your Nosy-Parkerish instincts.

I suspect the story is one of Godfrey's inventions. I should have suspected him of inventing the spring too, if it were not marked on the map. There even seems to be more than one spring, for the map maker has written Fontaines Martin in the plural. But a diligent search failed to find even one. Perhaps they bubble up unseen beneath the gorse, waiting to be re-discovered by some government `snooper' who fancies the island for a holiday.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

And so to bed...

And so to bed... another collection of quotations from late at night.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Clement Attlee:

I stand here with this experience of Government to reaffirm my faith in democratic Socialism. We will never sacrifice the liberties won by our forefathers. It is social democracy which can set us free from the tyranny of economic power and preserve us, too, from the dangers of the absolute power of the State.

No one realises more clearly than I do that we have a long way to go yet to reach the Britain of our dreams and the world of our desires, and we believe that we shall get from all the people of this land hard work and courage to take us through the years ahead. For that hard work men and women need the inspiration of a great ideal. We are not ashamed to proclaim ourselves a party of ideal­ists inspired by a living faith in freedom, democracy, and social justice.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Rabbi Jay Michaelson:

Sadness is not an expression of the heart to be discarded in favor of those which are better. To believe that everything happens as it must is not to be fatalistic and cowed; it is not to believe everything happens for the best; it is to understand that sadness is part of the unfolding of the God Process. Praise God with it.

Even that which is not, apparently, for our best may be turned to an instrument of praise. Not by denying its painfulness, but by deeply seeing this soul, in this body, at this moment, as manifesting the unfolding of the One. The pain is real, and it is God.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Sidney Carter:

Coming and going by the dance, I see
That what I am not is a part of me.
Dancing is all that I can ever trust,
The dance is all I am, the rest is dust.
I will believe my bones and live by what
Will go on dancing when my bones are not.

And so to bed.. quote for tonight is from Ovid:

Gods of the sea and sky – since what is left but prayer? –
don’t shatter the ribs of our storm-tossed ship.
Often when one god presses, another brings help.
Fierce Neptune often challenged the cunning Ulysses:
Minerva often saved him from her uncle.
And however different I am from them,
who denies a power to me, against the angry god?
and won’t let my prayers reach the gods.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Sydney Carter:

Loud are the bells of Norwich and the people come and go
Here by the Tower of Julian I tell them what I know.
Ring out! The bells of Norwich,
and let the winter come and go.
All shall be well again, I know.

Love, like the yellow daffodil, is coming through the snow.
Love, like the yellow daffodil, it touches all I know.

Ring out, the bells of Norwich,
and let the winter come and go!
All shall be well again, I know.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

A Century in Advertising - Part 5

A Century in Advertising - Part 5

My look at some of the advertisements and products of yesteryear. Some weird and whacky, some surprisingly still around today. Here are their stories.

1913- Wrigley's Gum

The William Wrigley Jr. Company, known as the Wrigley Company, is an American chewing gum company founded on April 1, 1891, by William Wrigley Jr..It is currently the largest manufacturer and marketer of chewing gum in the world.

In 1892, Wrigley Jr. began packaging chewing gum with each can of baking powder. The chewing gum eventually became more popular than the baking powder and Wrigley's reoriented the company to produce the gum.

The company currently sells its products in more than 180 countries and districts, maintains operations in over 50 countries, and has 21 production facilities in 14 countries including the United States, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, China, India, Japan, Kenya, Taiwan, and Australia.

1914 - Ambulance

Only a month before the First World War began, British Red Cross volunteers were in full training mode. Their first aid skills were improving by the day. They were learning all kinds of practical tasks that would come in handy, from fire safety at field hospitals to cooking for invalids. Whole communities joined in to help, both volunteering and fundraising – and even animals were made to do their bit.

Simmons and Co of 1, 3, 5, & 7 Tanner Street, London S.E.1 produced mostly prams, but also turned their hand to a hand-drawn ambulance for the Great War.

1915 - Travel Advert

This poster showing children at play in a spring landscape. This was a British propaganda advertisement showing how the war was beginning to impact on ordinary people's lives.

Before World War One people who could afford it enjoyed holidays, but during the war with every effort needed to win the war it became unpatriotic to take long holidays, though people still took day trips to the seaside or into the country if possible.

This poster from 1915 encouraged families to visit the countryside with the message: 'Why bother about the Germans invading the country? Invade it yourself by underground and motor-bus.'

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Abortion Law in Jersey: A Brief Historical Sketch

UK Statistics

Last night, BBC2 had a documentary debate on abortion, "Abortion the Trial" which still remains a controversial subject. I thought it might be helpful to piece together the changes in Jersey law regarding abortion, and set them out below.

I have no idea what happened before the abortion law was introduced in Jersey, but I suspect abortions took place off Island. The 1993 debate mentions that the law "clarify and amend the existing customary law on abortion" which suggests some kind of law was in place. A newpaper report of 1995 (The Independent) reports a Guernsey resident saying: "I had to go to Brighton for the abortion. There were three other girls from Jersey and Guernsey there at the same time.

Abortion Law in Jersey: A Brief Historical Sketch

In 1993, the President of the Public Health Committee said that:

“Members will recall that the Public Health Committee, in its Five Year Policy Report which was approved by this House on 25th August last year, stated that it intended to present to the States a discussion paper to open up public debate on the implications of introducing an abortion law in Jersey, having regard to the fact that over 300 Jersey residents obtained abortions in England each year.”

A report was presented later that year, and the first steps towards change in abortion law came in 1994, where the States voted by 36 to 14 for an Abortion Law Reform proposition. The Minutes say that:

THE STATES, adopting the proposition, as amended -

(1) agreed, in principle, to enact a Law on Abortion which would - (a) clarify and amend the existing customary law on abortion to permit the termination of pregnancy within statutorily defined circumstances by registered medical practitioners;

(b) legalise the termination of pregnancy without limit of time when two approved registered medical practitioners are of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the termination is immediately necessary to save the life, or to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health, of the pregnant woman;

(c) legalise the termination of pregnancy before the end of the 24th week of gestation when in the opinion of two approved registered medical practitioners there exists, at the time of diagnosis, a substantial risk that the foetus will suffer from a grave abnormality;

(d) legalise the termination of pregnancy before the end of the 10th week of gestation when, in the sole opinion of the pregnant woman, her condition causes her distress and she is ordinarily resident in the Island or has been continuously resident in the Island for a minimum period of three calendar months immediately preceding the date of termination of the pregnancy;

(e) make statutory provision for any person to refuse to participate in treatment authorised by either or both of sub-paragraphs (c) and (d) if that person has a conscientious objection thereto;

(f) make statutory provision for subordinate legislation to be enacted to provide for -

(i) control to be exercised over registered medical practitioners approved for the purpose of offering treatment for the termination of pregnancy;
(ii) the licensing of counsellors;
(iii) the licensing of premises wh ere treatment for the termination of pregnancy may be carried out;
(iv) control of any charges which may be authorised at or by public or licensed private establishments or approved registered medical practitioners for the provision of treatment for the termination of pregnancy;
(v) the formal notification of all pregnancy terminations without identification of the woman;

However, nothing seems to have happened until 1997, when the law was revised with the Termination of Pregnancy (Jersey) Law 1997:

This gave firm grounds for termination of a pregnancy:

1. Article 2(1) – being that the termination is immediately necessary to save the life of the women.

2. Article 2(2)(a) – being that the termination is necessary to save the life of the women or to prevent grave permanent injury to her physical or mental health.

3. Article 2(2)(c) – being that the woman’s condition causes her distress, that the woman fulfils the residency requirements in the 1997 Law, that the pregnancy has not exceeded its12th week and that the requirements for consultation in the 1997 Law have been complied with.

In that same year, Deputy Alastair John Layzell of St. Brelade asked the Connétable of St. Saviour, Jack Roche, President of the Health and Social Services Committee, citing an article in the Jersey Law Review, whether “there is effectively abortion on demand in Jersey?”

This elicited the following points in reply:

“Terminating a pregnancy is a medical procedure, and as such is subject to the same checks and controls as any other medical procedure.A doctor will only carry out a termination if, after full discussion and appropriate counselling, he considers it is in the best interests of his patient. The Law does not override the professional and ethical duties of the medical practitioner. No doctor is obliged by the Law or by my Committee to carry out a termination of pregnancy.”

“In 1995, 67 terminations of pregnancy were carried out in the General Hospital and in 1996, 90 terminations were carried out in the General Hospital.”

“If I may, sir, I would refer members to the opinion of the then Attorney General which I quoted at that time. In simple terms, an abortion was permissible if carried out in good faith to save the life of the mother or when the continuance of the pregnancy would make the woman a physical or mental wreck. I am advised the terminations that took place in 1995 and 1996 were carried out on those grounds.”

In June 2003 the Island's Ethics Committee considered a paper presented by consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Neil MacLachlan on the subject and agreed that the law as currently drawn was "ethically unacceptable".

In 2004, in answer to a question by Deputy David Crespel, the following information was given.

"Young women under the age of 16 are given termination related advice and treatment in accordance with the Termination of Pregnancy (Jersey) Law 1997."

"There are no age restrictions, if the girl is competent and able to understand the implications of the procedure – in other words, is ‘Gillick-competent’, as outlined above. No termination has been carried out in Jersey on young women under the age of 14 years since 1997 when the Termination of Pregnancy (Jersey) Law 1997 came into force."

"(c) Article 3 of the Termination of Pregnancy (Jersey) Law 1997 states that the medical practitioner must provide written information about the counselling services available. (This is not a pre-requisite in the UK.) All women attending for termination are offered the opportunity to see a counsellor at the outpatients clinic, and are offered counselling after the (termination) surgery if they so wish. For young women under the age of 16 counselling is mandatory."

"In Jersey terminations are only available, under normal conditions, until the 12th week of pregnancy."

"In extreme cases, when continuing with the pregnancy puts the mother’s life in danger or there’s serious foetal abnormality, islanders can have the procedure up until 24 weeks."

A revision to the law in 2005 brought by Minister of Health Stuart Syvret addressed some of these deficiencies. It noted that:

“The Committee deems it reasonable for a pregnant woman and her family to wish to avoid having a child with a serious handicap. In most other jurisdictions in the developed world, the termination of pregnancy for a serious handicap is lawful. In these other jurisdictions it is the pregnant woman with her family who – with guidance and counselling – has the right to choose whether to terminate the pregnancy or not. To use the legal test of ‘an exceedingly poor quality of life’ is deemed by the Committee to be impracticable and unworkable when one has to draw the line as to what is reasonable, what is ethical, and what is lawful. “

“However, it is important to state that in articulating these matters it does not follow that people with such disabilities should not be respected nor does it follow that people with these disabilities lead lives of diminished value or worth. Some women will be content to continue with their pregnancy notwithstanding an adverse diagnosis. That is their choice. It is contended here that it is that choice – the pregnant woman’s choice – which should determine what must happen if her foetus is diagnosed as having a serious handicap.”

The position at that point was to shunt part of the problem across to the UK and Senator Syvret's amendment changed that.

“Put plainly, women who are at high risk of or are diagnosed as carrying a foetus with a serious handicap have their pregnancies terminated in other jurisdictions if they are more than 12 weeks into their pregnancy. Those who have the personal means to pay privately can, and do, travel abroad."

"Faced with the prospect of a two-tier service – in other words, a service for those who can afford to pay for their own travel and treatment, and no service for those who cannot afford to pay – the Department of Health and Social Services makes funds available to those who lack their own means to be able to travel elsewhere. This simply cannot be the right way of managing the termination of pregnancy for the women of Jersey.”

Monday, 16 October 2017

Jersey Rally: Some Comments

Isn't this wonderful. The brochure for the rally manages to put a photo of Trethevy Quoit, a megalithic tomb that lies between St Cleer and Darite in Cornwall. I think it quite appalling that a guide to the rally should be so sloppy as to put a picture of a Cornish dolmen rather than a Jersey one.

Clearly Len Norman, Constable of St Clement, in whose Parish Mont Ube lies, did not actually get to read the final brochure before giving a glowing endorsement to the rally.

Meanwhile, the whole road network if it passes your house (or estate) means you cannot leave and go anywhere on the main road for 5 1/2 hours while it is on. Unless you have some country footpaths or alternative roads. This year anyone in the Maufant area may well have been caught.

If your business is based along the route, as a friend of mines is, you look to loose a whole day's earnings as a result, with no compensation from the Rally organisers.

A few of my correspondence have made these comments.

From St Ouen on these kinds of events:

"Our lane has been closed 3 times this year already. The smallholdings and stables here have fields and buildings dotted both sides of the roads . I've had numerous grumbles from them about unsettled animals from the noise. Some of the organisers also have a habit of assuming they can use private property for their purpose when the road is closed, which hasn't endeared them any."

In Grouville:

"When I lived in Grouville I couldn’t get home. I left work early but the road was already closed almost half an hour before the stated time"

And another correspondent:

"Few years back I couldn't get home until 11pm and when I arrived around 5.40pm from work I was told I cannot access my house. The man who was send to obtain signatures from residents said that the race will happen during the day and that there will not be any disruption before and after working hours. I felt like right fool being told on a day of the race that this is incorrect and it has been agreed with all residents. Yes, I gave them my signature on a basis of the lie."

One reply was that: "It's once a year, for a few hours"

But that's precisely what it is not. I would not consider being incarcerated in one's home or locked out for 5 to 5 1/2 hours just "a few hours" without giving serious damage to the English language, and the definition of "few".

I'm sure that most people would be ok with a few hours, but you are talking a whole morning, an afternoon from 12 to 5.30 pm, or an evening from 6 pm to 10.30 pm.

Meanwhile there has been only two crashes, which is a relief. Alastair Flack and Mick Starkey barrel-rolled twice when their V8 Triumph TR7 hit a bank at Rue de Pignon on Friday. Race organisers believe the car slid on chestnuts, and oil left from a previous crash at the same spot. Details of the first crash are, as yet, unknown.

The safety record is pretty good, but roads this time of year will be slippy from chestnuts and falling leaves. Fortunately the weather was dry.

Incidentally, here is what the real Mont Ube looks like:

Sunday, 15 October 2017

What is the Origin of Processions?

From "The Pilot", 1969, comes this, an interesting historical ramble.

Some Church Customs Explained
By S.G. Thicknesse

What is the Origin of Processions?

The fine Puritan, Baxter, both scorned processions and in a sense revealed their origin. During the Commonwealth he criticized the old `processions and perambulations,' and attacked the `profane, ungodly, presumptuous multitude' which loved them and went on them whenever it could.

Processions were formed, that is to say, as soon as primitive man had reached sufficient agreement with his neighbours to be prepared to go dancing out with them. The earliest communities of which there is any record danced home behind bridegroom and bride; they also danced behind a bier, battling with the evil spirits for the retention of the living, and for an easier passage for the dead.

In such formal civilizations as those of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, the pace of the processions may have decreased, but the magnificence and number of occasions had increased. Besides private observances, most great public occasions for rejoicing and lamentation were marked by processions.

Egyptians went out to greet the god Osiris or to enthrone or entomb the pharaoh; Greeks and Romans celebrated with processions the feasts of Diana and Ceres, the opening of the circus games, or a general's triumph. These peoples, too, followed some of the ways of their forefathers, and went out to sprinkle the fields with holy water for fertility, or encircled a town to fasten it against demons.

Hittites and Hebrews also knew ritual processions of this sort for calling down blessings and vanquishing enemies. It is possible that when the Israelites encircled the walls of Jericho they were conforming with ancient folk-magic as well as with the revelation of Joshua. When for century after century they celebrated the feast of Tabernacles with processions of palm-bearers round the altar, to mark Israel's deliverance and the yearly harvest, the Jews were combining in an act of religious thanksgiving both a national episode and an ancient nature feast.

It is not surprising that Christians, too, should have transformed into occasions of their own many of the ancient feasts. nor that they should have introduced into the liturgy the formal dignity of the procession. At least by the fourth century there seem to have been processions at Christian funerals; there were also the beginnings of litanies, special prayers of supplication, which tended to be used in procession on anciently venerated days. 

One such occasion was the feast of St. Mark, which fell near a primeval spring festival, and this was observed through- out the middle ages as a great day of procession. Other such days were kept at the time of the ancient harvest prayers, whose hallowed rites the Church transformed into Rogation processions, now again quite widely observed in England. With the procession of candles at the feast of the Purification, the great procession of palms of Palm Sunday, and the procession of Corpus Christi, these were the grand ceremonial occasions for processions in the mediaeval Church.

But the whole of the liturgy and the calendar of the Church became interwoven with minor processions. So in fact did courtly, social, and political life, as to some extent they are still. The Lord Mayor's show is the one survivor of many old Guild processions of the middle ages.

Thus the Church transformed the instinctive urge for ritual dancing into acts of worship. It did the same for many people's desire to go farther afield together: mediaeval pilgrimage (as also modern pilgrimage) is extended procession. All over England the shrines were visited: Chaucer's pilgrims rode to Canterbury, young Henry Tudor went barefoot to Walsingham. For those who must go still farther there was Jerusalem.

For the English pilgrim who could not hope to don the `sign of the crossed palms' to show that he was Jerusalem-bound, nor the `keys of St. Peter' for Rome, there was the Englishman's dear shrine of St. James of Compostella (Santiago), on the north-west coast of Spain.

It was the `cockle shell', the sign of St. James, that Sir Walter Raleigh remembered when he wrote in the Tower:

Give me my scallopshell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My scrip of joy, immortal diet,
My bottle of salvation,
My gown of glory, hope's true gage;
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.

Saturday, 14 October 2017



When we met, there was damp light rain,
And now lost in the mist, in the pain,
That damp light rain foreshadows tears,
In the darkness of ending, my fears;
The coming of shadows in the light:
Dusk shatters illusions, brings blight,
And severed dreams, lost souls:
No written word, no sacred scrolls,
Give words enough to comfort me,
Either for the now, or for eternity;
Grief is another country, far away,
Under the cold stars, close of day;
This twilight existence, remember how
We had so much joy. The past is now.
Memories, so many, of the first meeting
At St Ouen, hesitant, afraid of greeting;
And later, as we came to know more,
The opening of the lover’s door;
Wicked wit, sharp mind, fun, fun, fun,
Drowsy afternoons resting in the sun;
To boldly go where no one has gone:
All things pass away, depend on
Change and decay, but even later,
As you sickened, loved you greater,
Bore hurt to see your pain, so tired:
Love sees past infirmity the desired;
But I grieved to see you so struggle,
Life a balancing act, an act to juggle,
Between the possible and the ideal;
Dreams taken, death comes to steal,
And the moment is snatched away,
In an instant; the sunset touch, dismay
And shock, and then flow fast tears,
For all those lost and vanished years;
Only memory remains, joyful, bright,
In which I can see you again in sight;
Time will steal that, as is its way:
So I light a candle, come to pray,
Empty ancient chapel in the dark,
On Pelnish lore, I now embark;
Embraced by night, flickering flame,
And peace at last, the Spirit came;
Now remains the cold, cold tomb,
Hope of rebirth as from the womb;
Ahead the wave of the future breaks
On strange shores, perhaps awakes;
But for now, sorrow is the mindful way:
Before the candle’s flame, I stay;
Remember you as once so near
Remember you, once more, my dear
And nothing is ever the same again:
I weep, I mourn, I cry. Amen.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Jersey Our Island: Methodists, Mermaids and Music – Part 2

Published in 1950, this is an interesting snapshot of the Island and its customs as it was in the immediate post-war period, and not without humour. Most guide books of the time give the tourist information, or give the impressions of an outsider to the Island, but this is in "inside view", which is rarer.

Jersey Our Island: Methodists, Mermaids and Music – Part 2
By Sidney Bisson

What interests us more nowadays is that there seems to be no provision for disinheriting an unfaithful wife unless the marriage has actually been dissolved, which is rare in Jersey seeing that divorce does not exist

Godfrey tells a story of a retired English manufacturer who acquired a considerable amount of property in the island and finally settled down here to enjoy the autumn of his life free from the worries of the Income Tax Commissioners. His young and attractive wife, finding Jersey dull after London, thereupon beguiled herself with a young and handsome dancing partner. Apart from acquiring a new secretary, the old man took no counter measures. There was no divorce law in Jersey, and anyway he had never seen much of his wife in England and had left her precious little in his will. So why worry?

Until one day a well meaning English resident who had dropped in for a drink asked him if he'd thought of making a new will.

He hadn't. Why should he?

`Well, for one thing,' his friend pointed out, `a will disposing of real property in Jersey must be witnessed by a barrister or a solicitor or a member of the States. Then according to their confounded laws you can't just leave everything to whom you like.'

`Oh, can't I? We'll soon see about that.'

And the old man rang for his car and drove straight to a local solicitor.

'A divorce bill is now in course of preparation.'

He told Godfrey after the interview that he couldn't have been more flabbergasted if the solicitor had told him he was going to have a baby. Not only was his English will quite useless, but when he started giving directions for a new one he found that the law compelled him to leave half his personal property to his unfaithful wife. (If he had had children, she and they would each have had a third, leaving him free to dispose of the other third as he wished.) As if that were not enough, she would also automatically enjoy the income from a third of his real property during her lifetime, whether she married again or not.

Try as he would, there was no way out. If he stayed in Jersey his remaining years would be embittered by the thought of his wife and her dancing partner battening on the proceeds of his life's work after his death. If he went back to England he could perhaps get a divorce and leave his money to whom he liked. But there was that dratted income tax .. .

Godfrey got so tired of hearing his moans about Jersey legislation that he was eventually tempted to tell him to go to Hell. `But as I had no idea of the arrangements they have down there for disposing of property,' he told me, `I thought I'd better not recommend it. Eventually I think the old boy went to Spain.'

At St. Mary's the remaining passengers got out, and I continued my journey alone, promising myself to come back and look at the old church another day. A little further on is St. Peter's mill with its weighbridge, long unused, one of the few stone windmills that still stand. A few cider orchards with cows peacefully chewing the cud under the gnarled apple trees form the end picture for another closed chapter in the island's industry.

A hundred and fifty years ago cider was the staple drink of the Jerseyman, and every farm of importance had its own big granite cider press. An earlier edict of the States had forbidden the planting of orchards for fear that not enough wheat would be grown to supply the needs of the population. Now it was found more profitable to import wheat and export cider.

For a time Jersey was said to produce more cider per acre than any apple- growing district in England or France. But tastes change. The growing popularity of beer hit the cider industry badly. Worn out orchards were no longer replaced. For a time the export of apples continued, but that too gradually declined as more land was taken over for the profitable early potato.

I am grieved at the passing of the old Jersey `sweet' apple. I have never met it outside the island, and have often wondered why it isn't grown in England. To my mind, there is nothing quite like it for eating raw. I'd give a pound of Cox's for an old-fashioned sweet apple any day. And for baked apple dump- lings it is indispensable.

In the early days of my exile, when I innocently thought that sweet apples were as widely known as sour, I went into a green- grocer s shop in Leeds and asked for some.

`Aye,' said the shopkeeper. `There's some luvly Blenheims. Or would you rather these Cox's Orange e' I raised an eyebrow. Was he deaf, or did he think I was an innocent who didn't know one kind of apple from another? `But,' I protested, `I asked for sweet apples. Those are sour.'

I shall never forget the look on the poor man's face when I said that. In twenty years of greengrocering, as he told me later, he'd never heard anyone describe a Cox or a Blenheim as sour. He would probably have called the nearest policeman if I had not hurriedly explained that in Jersey all apples of the type normally eaten in England are known as sour apples, and that another quite distinct type is grown there which is called sweet. But he had never heard of them. Neither has anyone else in England, apparently.

And now they are difficult to get even in Jersey. In fact all the old local varieties are dying out. People nowadays will plant James Grieve, Charles Ross, and Newton Wonder. Never Gros Freschien, Romeril, Douce Dame, Nier Binet, Gros Tetard, Mauger, Pepin Billot . . . What a lovely symphony of names !

Now the bus has reached the cluster of houses called Leoville which is its terminus. There are a number of these villes in Jersey- Ville Emphrie, Ville a 1'Eveque, Ville au Neveu none of them large enough to be rated even as a village. They are not remains of mediaeval towns, as a bright historian once suggested; only a reminder that the word ville meant a country house long before it was applied to towns.

Just beyond the hamlet stands a Methodist Chapel which is remarkable for its size rather than architectural beauty. It can seat eight hundred people ! Behind it a little granite building stands as a monument to the zeal and enthusiasm of the early Methodists in Jersey. It was the first chapel they erected, the forerunner of some thirty more, which between them can comfortably seat a third of the island's population.

The history of Methodism in Jersey makes grim reading. Started about 1770 by Pierre Le Sueur, a young islander who had been converted in Newfoundland, the movement had by 1774 gathered about a dozen supporters.

When one thinks of the underground movements that honeycombed the countries of Western Europe during the German occupation, it seems surprising that such a small body of people could not meet for worship without having the windows of their houses broken and mud thrown at them as they walked in the streets. But they were too proud of their faith to keep it to themselves. Fired by a higher example, they preferred to preach it abroad.

When Wesley heard of their struggles he ordained Robert Carr Brackenbury and sent him as the first Nonconformist minister to the island. Brackenbury seems to have been a real live wire. Though his French was far from fluent, he preached in that language as well as in English, translated Methodist literature, and organised services in different parts of the island. Most of these were held in barns or private houses, but in 1784 an attempt was made to start a regular Methodist chapel on the outskirts of the town. Le Sueur bought the old disused Chapel of Notre Dame des Pas, and here Brackenbury, his servant, and several local preachers tried for a while to conduct their services on Sunday afternoons.

The results were more like rowdy election meetings than religious services. The local hooligans found Methodist-baiting a pleasant Sunday pastime. Throwing stones through the chapel windows was more exciting than tossing pebbles into the sea. They fired shot guns and beat drums to drown the voice of the preacher. Sometimes they dragged him bodily from the chapel and threatened to throw him into the sea.

It is not surprising that the experiment was a failure. But Brackenbury continued his efforts in other parts of the island, and in six years the membership of the Methodist Society had grown to two hundred and fifty. Persecutions continued. Wherever Methodists preached, windows were broken and roofs torn down. Worshippers were pelted with filth and rotten eggs whilst the police looked on complacently. Once when Adam Clarke was preaching an intruder tried to shoot him with a pistol, which fortunately failed to go off. A few weeks later he was almost beaten to death.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

And so to bed

And so to bed.... my regular weekly compilation of quotes with which I end the day on Facebook, but here with pictures of the authors.


And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Jaime Allison Parker:

October air, complete with dancing leaves and sighing winds greeted him as he stepped from the bus onto the dusty highway. Coolness embraced. The scent of burning wood hung crisp in the air from somewhere far in the distance. His backpack dropped in a flutter of dust. He surveyed dying cornfields from the gas station bus stop. Seeing this place, for the first time in over twenty years, brought back a flood of memories, long buried and forgotten.

And so bed... quote for tonight is from Thomas Wolfe:

The ripe, the golden month has come again.... Frost sharps the middle music of the seasons, and all things living on the earth turn home again... the fields are cut, the granaries are full, the bins are loaded to the brim with fatness, and from the cider-press the rich brown oozings of the York Imperials run. The bee bores to the belly of the grape, the fly gets old and fat and blue, he buzzes loud, crawls slow, creeps heavily to death on sill and ceiling, the sun goes down in blood and pollen across the bronzed and mown fields of the old October.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Rupert Brooke:

Ah God! to see the branches stir
Across the moon at Grantchester!
To smell the thrilling-sweet and rotten
Unforgettable, unforgotten
River-smell, and hear the breeze
Sobbing in the little trees.
And after, ere the night is born,
Do hares come out about the corn?
Oh, is the water sweet and cool,
Gentle and brown, above the pool?
And laughs the immortal river still
Under the mill, under the mill?
Say, is there Beauty yet to find?
And Certainty? and Quiet kind?
Deep meadows yet, for to forget
The lies, and truths, and pain?… oh! yet
Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Robert M. Pirsig:

Like those in the valley behind us, most people stand in sight of the spiritual mountains all their lives and never enter them, being content to listen to others who have been there and thus avoid the hardships.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Neal Shusterman:

And you know the darkness beyond despair, just as intimately as you know the soaring heights. Because in this and all universes, there is balance. You can't have the one without facing the other. And sometimes you think you can take it because the joy is worth the despair, and sometimes you know you can't take it and how did you ever think you could? And there is the dance; strength and weakness, confidence and desolation.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Ursula Le Guin:

We, insofar as we have power over the world and over one another, we must learn to do what the leaf and the whale and the wind do of their own nature. We must learn to keep the balance. Having intelligence, we must not act in ignorance. Having choice, we must not act without responsibility.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

A Century in Advertising - Part 4

A Century in Advertising - Part 4

My look at some of the advertisements and products of yesteryear. Some weird and whacky, some surprisingly still around today. Here are their stories.

1910 - Tomato Ketchup

First introduced in 1876, Heinz Tomato Ketchup remains the best selling brand of ketchup. From 1906 it was produced without preservatives.

In 1907, Heinz started producing 13 million bottles of ketchup per year, exporting ketchup all over the world, including India, Australia, South America, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The "57" mark arises from an advertising statement that Heinz made "57 Varieties" of products. When Henry J. Heinz introduced the "57 Varieties" slogan, however, the company already made at least 60 products. The number is simply the combination of numbers Heinz and his wife considered "lucky".

1911- Refrigerators

Most iceboxes looked like plain wooden cabinets in the early 1900s. Without electric refrigeration, they were fitted inside with a space for ice, which had to be topped up regularly to keep food cool and fresh.

The White Frost Refrigerator was the only cylinder-shaped icebox. A block of ice sat in a compartment under the lid and chilled air was vented into the food storage space below. The makers said their distinctive model was:
  • More hygienic – easy-clean curved enamelled steel, food always in perfect condition
  • More scientific – better design, better insulated, economical with ice, revolving shelves
  • Desirable yet affordable – stylish, special, above-average price payable in instalments
Of course the advertisers wanted to appeal to women, but they also needed to persuade men. An ad in Popular Mechanics showed “Bob” and his wife in icebox-inspired closeness.

Revolving refrigerators definitely need to make a comeback.

1912 -Titanic

This was the advertising placard for the Titanic.

There are many Titanic stories, but here is one recent one.

In 2015, a silver-and-bronze plaque from the iconic sunken ship was identified in the Spanish city of Granada after more than a century adrift.

The plaque, which measured in at 11 by 14.5 inches and weighs 4lbs,was inscribed with the grand ship's name, directly below the moniker 'Queen of the Ocean'. It also carried the date of the Titanic's doomed departure from Southampton to New York: April 10, 1912.

Its discovery can be traced back 12 years, when a British man in need of cash sold it to an art dealer in Barcelona, according to the Spanish Titanic Foundation, which now possesses the plaque.

It's thought that the commemorative plaque was handed to Lord William James Pirrie, chairman of the shipbuilder which built Titanic, by the head of the Royal Mail Steamship Union the day before the ship's departure.

Lord Pirrie had held it in his office, but nothing is known about where the plaque was between then - in 1912 - and its redisovery in 2003.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Guernsey Watch

Guernsey Watch

Rubbish News

“TURNING an agricultural field in St Peter’s into a ‘graveyard’ for cars, tyres and broken pots resulted in a £3,000 fine for defendant Matthew Le Page. The 52-year-old, of La Balise, Rue de la Viltole, Torteval, had initially denied two charges of ignoring compliance notices, that were issued by the planners to clear the site. But at the 11th hour of the trial in the Magistrate’s Court, after all the evidence for both sides had been heard, he changed his plea to guilty on both counts.”

I have seen the photos of this, and it doesn’t seem very bad at all... compared with what we used to have at La Moye. When Cyril Syvret ran La Moye Garage, by the side of the garage, where there is now a space for cars for sale was a heap of cars which certainly would never have been sold.

Questions were raised in the Jersey Evening Post, and in the States about the eyesore, heap upon heap of broken cars, often with no tyres, broken windows, rusting bodywork, but as there was no health hazard, it seemed to be the general view that Mr Syvret had a right to dump what he wanted on his land, even if it was aesthetically unpleasing.

The same principle applied to Bob Bisson, the eccentric Bible quoting man who painted his house with Biblical verses, not in any tidy fashion, but just scrawled all over in rather messy handwriting.

Would Jersey authorities be as forgiving today, or would they police these sites more strongly? It would be interesting to know.

The Guernsey Way

“Two Guernsey midwives have been struck off the nursing register following the death of two babies. Lisa Granville and Tuija Roussel had previously been found guilty of failures relating to the deaths at the island's Princess Elizabeth Hospital. A third midwife, Antonia Manousaki, was suspended for a year by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Staff administered drugs "without prescriptions" or without speaking to consultants, a panel heard.”

Dubbed by the media, “the Guernsey way”, this case was investigated thoroughly by the NMC, which found that there were serious failings in the care given to the babies.

One hopes that enough safeguards are put in place to prevent these events happening in the future.

The Guernsey Press reports that:

“Their long battle for truth and justice has clearly added to the pain of their loss and they feel not only that they were not helped by island institutions but that they were actively resisted. It is an all too common tale. Ordinary people asking difficult questions find their path blocked by a system that closes ranks and fails either to take them seriously or be open with the facts. In this instance it took the courage of a whistleblower to shine light into areas that those in authority sought to keep in the dark.”

In Jersey, it should be noted that The Minister of the Health and Social Services Department was ordered to comply with a summons for disclosure of key documents top the Jersey Care Inquiry. His lawyers, presumably on his instruction, had resisted this. Fortunately the Jersey Care Inquiry had legal teeth, and was able to press for the documents.

But how much time and cost was wasted because their path was also blocked by the system that refused to be open with facts, even given the considerable steps taken by the Inquiry for necessary redaction. No apology was as far as I am aware, ever given for this.

Lessons still need to be learnt.


Monday, 9 October 2017

Gay Marriage and Cakes: Why Sarah Ferguson is wrong

Gay Marriage and Cakes: Why Sarah Ferguson is wrong

“Local companies should be protected when the marriage law is changed to avoid something similar to the ‘gay cake’ trial happening in Jersey, a politician has said. Senator Sarah Ferguson said although she does not oppose the same-sex legislation, she wants islanders to be able to refuse wedding business without fear of recrimination. In 2016, the Christian owners of a Northern Ireland bakery lost their appeal against a ruling that their refusal to make a ‘gay cake’ was discriminatory. Appeal court judges said that, under law, the bakers were not allowed to provide a service only to people who agreed with their religious beliefs.”

If Sarah had done her homework, she would have seen that the case in Northern Ireland was to do with the provision of services, which came under the purview of the discrimination law, and was only incidentally to do with gay marriage.

As there is already a discrimination law in Jersey relating to discrimination on the grounds of protected sexual characteristics, the same case, if it arose in Jersey, would also be subject to a Court ruling along the same lines as that in Northern Ireland.

It does not need a Gay Marriage law, and would have nothing to do with such a law. The law simply sets out the legal requirements and obligations of the couple marrying; it has nothing to do with catering at the wedding.

In the case in question, a gay rights activist had wanted the baker to make a cake that included a slogan that said "support gay marriage" along with a picture of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street, and the logo of the Queerspace organisation.

The cake was being commissioned for a civic event in Bangor, County Down, to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. It was not being commission for a wedding.

The Court’s judgement in the case in Northern Ireland makes it very clear that it was a discriminatory act involving “direct discrimination” regarding the provision of services.

It ruled:

“The benefit from the message or slogan on the cake could only accrue to gay or bisexual people. The appellants would not have objected to a cake carrying the message “Support Heterosexual Marriage” or indeed “Support Marriage”. We accept that it was the use of the word “Gay” in the context of the message which prevented the order from being fulfilled. The reason that the order was cancelled was that the appellants would not provide a cake with a message supporting a right to marry for those of a particular sexual orientation. This was a case of association with the gay and bisexual community and the protected personal characteristic was the sexual orientation of that community. Accordingly this was direct discrimination.”

And this applies just as much in Jersey today – without having a Gay Marriage law:

“The legislation prohibits the provision of discriminatory services on the ground of sexual orientation. The appellants are caught by the legislation because they are providing such discriminatory services. Anyone who applies a religious aspect or a political aspect to the provision of services may be caught by equality legislation, not because that person seeks to distinguish on a basis that is prohibited between those who will receive their service and those who will not. “

Sarah Ferguson said: “I think it's unfair that one person's opinion should be forced on another person, that the same-sex couple should force their opinion on the cake maker [and] cause them to lose their livelihood all through a difference of opinion.”

But there is a solution. As the summary of the judgement pointed out:

“The answer is not to have the legislation changed and thereby remove the equality protection concerned. The answer is for the supplier of services to cease distinguishing, on prohibited grounds, between those who may or may not receive the service. Thus the supplier may provide the particular service to all or to none but not to a selection of customers based on prohibited grounds." 

"In the present case the appellants might elect not to provide a service that involves any religious or political message. What they may not do is provide a service that only reflects their own political or religious message in relation to sexual orientation.”

Let us hope the good Senator does a little more homework on the background to the case and the reasons for the judgement before making statements that do not stand up.