Tuesday, 31 January 2017

The Turbulent Priest

Time is up for Gavin

Gavin Ashenden’s resignation as Queen’s Chaplain made a number of newspapers and local media as well. 

Some said “One of the Queen’s Chaplains”, but others were more ambiguous, saying “A Chaplain to the Queen”, “Former Chaplain to Her Majesty” and “a chaplain to the Queen”, all of which suggests  that rather than being one of many, he was “the chaplain” who presumably gave the Queen spiritual advice! The caption to a photo of the Queen had underneath it, in the Telegraph, "The Rev Gavin Ashenden was until this week a special chaplain to the Queen."

Only one report said he was "one of the 33 special chaplains", but didn't explain what they do! Queen's Chaplains are part of the College of Chaplains. This consists of those appointed chaplain to the monarch. They are honorary chaplains who do not fulfill any formal duties. They preach once a year in the Chapel Royal.

It is interesting how local BBC Radio Jersey, and many of the newspapers did not mention the "conversations instigated" by Buckingham Palace, but gave the impression that he had chosen to resign of his own accord. The Glasgow Herald commented that: Buckingham Palace confirmed Dr Gavin Ashenden has tendered his resignation “with immediate effect”.

Reading between the lines on his blog, , I suspect he was pushed! Some reports note "After a conversation instigated by officials at Buckingham Palace...." which says it all. The Palace had had enough of "The Queen's Chaplain..." headlines to last a lifetime, and the latest was the last straw!

The implication was always that he was in some way a spiritual adviser to the Queen, and lent a spurious legitimacy to his provocative outbursts.

It is a shame in a way that he should resign over the issue of reading the Koran in a Christian service. Unlike his remarks on Islam being a violent faith, this was purely and simply on whether a reading which apparently denies the divinity of Jesus should have been read in a Christian church. It was a decision which he rightly criticised as something done for the right reasons, but the wrong way.

I assume that the Glasgow Church is not going to follow this up with services in which extracts from "Jesus Christ Through Pagan Eyes" are read out, or extracts from the Book of Mormon, or Mary Baker Eddie's "Science and Christian Truth" on Christ, or extracts from the Jehovah Witness mistranslation of the start of John's Gospel? Or for that matter, an extract from the Egyptian Book of the Dead on the Resurrection of Horus?

That would seem to be in keeping with the precedent, and the arguments for it, which they set out, and it shows how ill-thought and misconceived the whole enterprise was.

Monday, 30 January 2017

The New Colossus

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

The title of the poem and the first two lines refer to the Colossus of Rhodes, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The poem talks about the millions of immigrants who came to the United States (many of them through Ellis Island at the port of New York).

The "air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame" refers to New York Harbour between New York City and Brooklyn, which were consolidated into one unit in 1898, 15 years after the poem was written.

There are several phrases associated with the Statue of Liberty, but the most recognizable is “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” This quote comes from Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, New Colossus, which she wrote for a fundraiser auction to raise money for the pedestal upon which the Statue of Liberty now sits. The poem did not receive much recognition and was quite forgotten after the auction.

In the early 1900s and after Lazarus’ death, one of her friends began a campaign to memorialize Lazarus and her New Colossus sonnet. The effort was a success, and a plaque with the poem’s text was mounted inside the pedestal of the statute.

Emma Lazarus (July 22, 1849 – November 19, 1887) was an American poet born in New York City.

Lazarus was born into a large Sephardic-Ashkenazi Jewish family, the fourth of seven children of Moses Lazarus and Esther Nathan, The Lazarus family was from Germany, and the Nathan family was originally from Portugal and resident in New York long before the American Revolution.

The Russian pogroms of 1881, which followed on the assassination of Czar Alexander II, brought terror-stricken survivors to America. Emma Lazarus's first response was to go to Ward's Island to see what she might do for the hapless men, women, and children who crowded its facilities. The "loyalty to race" was not so much a kinship with preceding generations, but a bond with those of her generation who needed her and her gifts.

One of the first successful Jewish American authors, Lazarus was part of the late nineteenth century New York literary elite and was recognized in her day as an important American poet. In her later years, she wrote bold, powerful poetry and essays protesting the rise of antisemitism and arguing for Russian immigrants' rights. She called on Jews to unite and create a homeland in Palestine before the title Zionist had even been coined.

Near the end of her life she became an advocate for disenfranchised immigrants, who were arriving by the thousands in the late 1800s.

She wrote The New Colossus at age 34. Less than five years later she was dead of cancer, never knowing the impact her poem had on the nation.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

A Short History of the Church of England - Part 1

"A Layman's History of the Church of England" by G.R. Balleine is history told as story, told a lot from the point of view of a small fictional parish in England. Not all the history stands up to scrutiny today - Balleine's view of druids and their practices is very problematic, as shown by Ronald Hutton in recent years. But it is a lively narrative which still is engaging with the reader.

Most of Balleine's books are either currently in print - as for example his History of Jersey - or online in the form of PDF versions. This book is not, so this is something different. As well as being a Jersey historian, Balleine was also a priest in the Church of England, and Ministre Deservant at St Brelade's Church for a time.


"CHURCH History is dry stuff. No one but a fossil could take any interest in Canons of Cloveshoo or Constitutions of Clarendon or even in the Advertisements of Elizabeth. I would as soon sit down to study a work on Conic Sections." So scoffed my friend the Churchwarden. Yet he is a man who is fond of reading and keenly interested in his Church.

And there are many who would agree with him. This book is written with the hope of helping some of them to see that they are suffering from a most extraordinary delusion. The religious development of a great nation, and that nation our own, must be a subject of absorbing interest, if we can approach it from the right point of view.

How shall we approach it? Some Church Histories have been written from the standpoint of an Archbishop's Commissary. They deal with Kings and Councils and Conferences, with the business of Bishops and Archdeacons. They move in an atmosphere immensely remote from anything that the average Churchman ever comes in touch with.

But the present book deals with the Church as it is seen by the man in the pew, not by the man in the mitre. It keeps a typical English parish in the centre of the stage. It tries to trace the religion and worship of an ordinary village congregation through the different centuries. It aims at showing how the things with which every Churchman is familiar, gradually grew to be what they are today.

It does not ignore what Bishops and Kings were doing at headquarters, but it studies these matters, not through the debates of the Council Chamber, but through the results which followed in the actual life of the parishes.

It is hardly necessary to add that Durford and its daughter parish Monksland are purely imaginary places, and so their vicars, squires, and villagers have never lived in the flesh ; but they are typical of men and women who were very much alive in hundreds of actual villages, and every event placed in Durford did literally happen somewhere exactly as related. Even the Churchwardens' Accounts are authentic, though borrowed from other parishes.

On the other hand every name and date connected with the world outside our two fictitious villages is sober, scientific history, into which no touch of fancy has been allowed to stray.

If this little book helps one reader to feel the fascination of the story of how God's labourers have toiled through some sixteen centuries to plough this stubborn English soil, so that the seeds of Truth may get a chance to grow ; if it moves one reader to bestir himself and put his hand to the plough, the writer will be satisfied.


WE are going to study together the story of the Church of England. To do so let us fix our eyes on the on the Kentish village of Durford. True, there is no such place on the map, in Kent or any other county ; but we will take a typical village, and call it by that name ; and as we watch the changes which come to one little church and parish, we shall gain some idea of what is happening through the country as a whole ; for, until the nineteenth century crowded us into cities, the great majority of Englishmen have always lived in villages.

On a dark spring afternoon, somewhere between the year 29 and the year 33, the Son of God died on the Cross for the sins of the whole world, but Durford, three thousand miles away, knew nothing of that. It was only a group of wattled huts, fenced in with an earthen wall, buried in the depths of a great forest.

Its tall, yellow-haired inhabitants, Maelgwn, Anllech, and their kin, worshipped a hundred obscure deities, gods of the streams and hills and forests, and the memory of the cruel rites with which they tried to woo them, still lingers in the local superstitions. Even in the present year of grace the boldest of the village hoydens will not dare to cross the stepping-stones on Midsummer Day, because the Dur is held on that day to be craving for a victim ; but she does not know that her fear dates back to those old heathen times, when the white-robed Druid came to the village every Midsummer Day, and drowned a maiden as a sacrifice to the Spirit of the Brook. For the Celtic race even in those days was passionately religious, and Maelgwn and Anllech saw gods lurking in the simplest things around them.

If a spring gushed up in the forest, if the waters of a stream began to fail, if a tree grew larger than its fellows, if a boar defied the huntsmen, assuredly a god was there, a god who was calling for sacrifice, and the best of all sacrifices was a man. Human victims dangled from the branches of every sacred tree. Human flesh was mingled with the corn before it was sown. And, if the lesser gods required this, how much more did the great ones, Belenos, the sun-god, Badbaatha, the war-goddess, who tore the bodies of the slain, or Andrasta, the goddess of victory, who was worshipped by the impaling of women.

Every prisoner taken in war was always offered in sacrifice. When this supply failed, victims were drawn from the aged and the children and the women. Sometimes in an hour of great emergency the chief himself was sacrificed.

At certain seasons there were horrible orgies of religious cannibalism, when the villagers feasted on the flesh of the victims they had slain. Such was the religion of Durford as our story opens, a religion of darkness, a religion of terror, a religion of blood.

Ten years later (A.D.43) an event occurred which hanged the whole current of our country's life. An army of 50,000 men came marching up the rough track which led from Durford to the sea.

[Julius Caesar's raid ninety years before had left no permanent results.]

The Romans had arrived to make Britain a province of their world-wide empire. They brought with them peace and justice and civilization. Human sacrifice was now forbidden. Roads were made, bridges built, law courts established. Merchants, soldiers, and civil officials moved ever backward and forward, keeping the village in constant touch with the world across the sea. Maelgwn and Anllech began to wear togas and to talk bad Latin.

But the Gospel did not yet reach our distant island. The old Paganism became less cruel, but it retained its power. Some of the people added to it the worship of the gods of Rome. Altars to Mars and Jupiter and Neptune began to make their appearance. But another hundred and fifty years had to pass away before we find any trace of Christianity in Britain.

How did the True Faith come to Durford? No one can say. Was it that some legionary, who had learned the Truth in Italy, married one of our village girls and settled in the place ? Was the builder of that Roman villa, whose tessellated floor can still be seen in the vicarage garden, a well-to-do Christian from Gaul, who had fled here to escape the persecution which was raging in Lyons and Vienne?

Was it that some merchant travelled south with dusky British pearls, and there found the Pearl of Great Price?

In these and a hundred other ways Christianity began to filter into the country. The seed took root and sprang up secretly, we know not how. All that we do know is that, by the beginning of the third century, Christians in distant lands - Tertullian in Africa, for example (A.D. 208), and Origen in Asia (A.D. 239)-write of the Church in Britain as already in existence.

Many a village like Durford by this time had its little wattled church, and though large numbers of the people still remained pagan, and built the altars which we dig up sometimes dedicated " To the Old Gods," the more intelligent and open-minded were rapidly being won to the Faith.

Saturday, 28 January 2017


Yesterday was holocaust memorial day, and this week's Saturday poem reflects on those terrible acts of genocide. I make no apology for the photo above. We must see and feel the horror if we are every to avoid a drift into those horrors again.

Those bodies on the cart, frail emaciated corpses, were once human beings, once sons and daughters, fellow human beings, and then they were sucked into a killing machine, dehumanised, degraded, tortured, and finally exterminated. But before that time, they had laughed, and played, and loved, had friends, some married, some with children of their own. They were people just like all of us. And then a dark empire arose, and their world came to an end.

The British burnt this typhus-ridden place to the ground soon after liberation. Today Belsen resembles a landscaped garden more than a gravesite. Lush acres are interrupted by occasional gravestones, including one for Anne and Margot Frank, and raised mounds of earth – mass graves with marker stones stating: ‘Here lie 2,500 dead.’ ‘Here lie 1,000 dead.’ ‘Here lie 800 dead…”

We must never forget.


The day of freedom, but who knew?
Humans turned to rag and bone:
Faces of survivors, so very few,
Emaciated, weak, lying prone.

Everywhere the smell of death,
Dead bodies, rotting in decay;
The dying taking final breath:
Road to death along this way

Bodies on road and rutted track,
Dying, every hour, every second;
Corpse mounds, the dead in stack:
Dark angel came and beckoned

And now we remember, time to say,
Never again, never again, we pray

Friday, 27 January 2017

St Ouen in 1953

Today is a brief extract from Stuart Petre Brodie "SPB" Mais's account of a trip to Jersey in 1953. Stuart Petre Brodie "SPB" Mais (1885–1975) was a prolific British author, journalist and broadcaster, and wrote many travel books. Here is a glimpse of Jersey, just post-war, as the tourism industry was starting to take off well, but before the rise of finance.

St. Ouen's Bay-North Marine Drive

From this rugged scene at Corbière, we descended to the pleasant bay of Petit Port, and then took the devious route round to the village and hotel of La Pulente.

Here we came on to the straight Five Mile Drive which skirts the shores of the broad St. Ouen's Bay which occupies the whole of the west coast of the island. This is a place of sand dunes covered with marram grass.

To our left was the broad stretch of sand where the motor speedway races are held and where the large breakers coming in from the Atlantic give one of the few opportunities for surf riding which our islands present.

On a collection of projecting rocks just at the low-tide mark is one of the numerous Martello Towers in which he island coast abounds. Built like those on our own Kentish Coast, as a protection against the French, they were apparently all occupied and made use of by the Germans luring their Occupation, who stationed thirty men in each tower throughout the island.

All the shacks which originally disfigured this part of the coast were destroyed by the Germans, and the loneliness is now relieved only by a new growth of cafes, bars and restaurants which blossom on the beaches of this island.

To our right on the landward side were stretches of flat fields interrupted only by the low-lying St. Ouen's Pond, which I am told is the largest stretch of fresh water in the island and which is a sanctuary for bird life.

A prominent feature of these fields were the large stacks of drying seaweed which from time immemorial has been highly prized in Jersey as a fertilizer and is responsible in very large measure for the amazing fertility of the soil.

Every storm washes up large quantities of this valuable stuff on the beaches, and the gathering of this is reputedly still in the right of the Seigneurs, as it has been from earliest times.

At the far end of the bay we climbed to L'Etaquerel where there starts the northern coast of the island with its savage rocky coast line and little bays. 

We then struck inland through narrow lanes and through green valleys reminiscent of our Devonshire combes and past granite farmhouses to join the newly constructed North Marine Drive, or Route du Nord. This was built during the war by the islanders in order to find work for the unemployed during the difficult time of the Occupation.

The States paid workers £2 10s a week, but even so it was difficult to compete with the Germans who paid all islanders who worked for them £7 a week-in addition to which the latter had full opportunity of purloining petrol and stores with clear consciences!

The view from the North Marine Drive across the steep and rugged rocky coast of St. John's Bay is a tremendous one. From a height of some 350 feet of sheer cliff one looks in one direction along at the seas breaking on the rocks below and in the other across the width of blue sea to the Paternoster Rocks and the island of Sark fourteen miles away.

We were back in St. Helier by six o'clock and wandered about looking for a suitable place to drink. We were lucky in finding an excellent bar at the Royal Yacht Hotel which was full of elderly couples from the North of England.

At 7.15 we were back at the hotel sitting down to a dinner of tomato soup, cod, roast beef and vanilla ice. After dinner I worked in a warm lounge full of rather noisy bridge players and elicited some information about the German Occupation.

My informant told me that the Germans behaved better than they expected. When they landed on 1st July, 1940, they immediately tried to convince the natives that their rule was to be that of a benevolent despotism. The despotism, however, was more obvious than the benevolence.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Post Truth Taxes and Alternative Charges

Post Truth Taxes and Alternative Charges

Long Term Care Charge – or Tax?

In December 2013, the States debated the Long Term Care Charge, and part of the debate centred on whether it should be considered a tax, essentially sneakily pushing the base rate of income tax up from 20% to 21%, or a “charge”. The line taken by the Treasury Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, the Social Security Minister Francis Les Gresley, and the Chief Minister Ian Gorst, as well as other supporters, was that it was a “charge” or “contribution”, and did not therefore break the promise that “no new taxes would be introduced”.

Deputy John Young noted that its linkage of every contribution to the income tax system meant it would be seen as a tax – “it has all the ingredients of introducing a new tax, and for taxpayers and everybody in the Island it will be seen as a tax and has all the negative potential consequences of adverse economic effects which was mentioned by the Fiscal Policy Panel.”

He noted that: “Just one example, pensioners have no such allowances and will almost certainly pay the full rate so we have a system where the standard rate taxpayers will pay the full L.T.C. charge which is the 5 per cent on what they pay, which is effectively 1 per cent of their gross income which means they will be paying tax effectively at 21 per cent and, over the lifetime of this scheme, it will rise to around 24 per cent.”

Montfort Tadier was also not convinced: “I am going to argue that it is, essentially, a tax and other Members might do that again. It has already been mentioned already. “It may be clichéd but we are told that if something looks like a duck, walks like a duck, perhaps swims like a duck and maybe even goes: “Quack quack”, it probably is a duck. So when is a tax not a tax? I would suggest this certainly looks like a tax and it acts like a tax. Certainly for those who are earning under £152,000 a year, it is a tax. It is essentially a 1 per cent tax or thereabouts for them and their disposable income will go down by that amount.”

“If contributions are to be levied on earned and unearned income, will the Minister for Social Security confirm that the effect will be that the Island’s headline income tax rate will go up from 20 per cent to 21 per cent?”

And Senator Sarah Ferguson also agreed:

“Very quickly, we are continually told that this is a charge, not a tax, in which case it says, and as the Minister for Social Security has said, in the report that we are basing it on income tax liabilities. But if it is not a tax, why are we basing it on the liabilities and not the gross which is, I think, Deputy Young’s point? We do have to think carefully because we are adding another charge, it may not be allegedly a tax, on to the ordinary man in the street.”

Deputy Andrew Green argued against this notion: “Okay, this is slightly different, and we have picked up on the income tax to collect it, but it is not a tax”

But Deputy Geoff Southern was not convinced:

“Unlike previous speakers, I think the debate on tax or charge or insurance is completely relevant to this because we have a Minister for Treasury and Resources committed to saying, repeating, promising, and assuring us no new taxes. If we call this a tax he individually is in trouble. Is it tax or is it a charge?...By all means, support this plan if you like but do not go round saying: “No new taxes. We are keeping taxes down”, because call it a tax or a charge, it is going to go up. Why do we not admit it?”

“Liability for the LTC contribution will be calculated in the same way as income tax liability is calculated, based on taxable income, and taking into account income tax deductions, allowances and marginal relief.”

However, the Minister for Social Security, Francis Le Gresley, was bullish in saying that it was not a tax:

“The close link with income tax calculations allows the existing income tax collection system to be easily adapted to collect long-term care contributions alongside income tax liability. However, the long-term care contribution - and I stress “contribution” and not “tax” - is a contribution under the Social Security Law.”

And Deputy Eddie Noel, Assistant Minister at the Treasury, concurred:

“The scheme will be funded by a new charge rather than a tax. On balance it is more like a charge than a tax because the money raised will be going into a special ring-fenced fund. It cannot be used for anything else other than for long-term care. We do not hypothecate general taxation in this way.“

“It is like a charge because the contributions are going into a ring-fence fund designed to provide a specific range of benefits. It is a charge because the contributions are capped at the same level as the current Social Security contributions.”

The Jersey Finance Fiscal Strategy Group was not convinced. Their “main concern was that the new charge for long-term care would be perceived as a tax increase. It explained that the current 20% tax rate was Jersey’s ultimate selling point and even though contributions were to be collected by the tax department, any perception of an increase may detract investors and skilled professionals considering relocating to Jersey. “

And the Institute of Directors concurred that “that the proposed charge for long-term care will be perceived as a tax.”

But Francis Le Gresley stuck to his guns:

“Although collected through the same mechanism as Income Tax, the LTC contribution rate is not an increase in general taxation”

Proposed Health Charge or Tax?

When the proposed Health Care Charge was introduced – to run along the same lines as the LTC, the Minister Andrew Green was determined that it too was a charge, and not a tax. He even appeared on BBC Radio Jersey to say as much.

Geoff Southern asked:

“Will the Minister explain what link, if any, there will be between liability for the proposed ‘health charge’ and usage of the services it will fund and, if there is no discernible link, will he commit to referring henceforth to the ‘charge’ as a ‘tax’?

But Senator Green, who had checked with Senator Maclean and his officials at the Treasury, had this reply:

“This hypothecation of the monies raised through the health charge is one of the primary reasons why the Treasury has determined that the measure should be described as a charge.”

“From a Treasury perspective, ...fund, the health charge is more akin to those contributions rather than a tax measures”

“The Treasury’s decision is further supported by the existence of the cap on the income that is taken into account for the purposes of calculating an individual’s liability under the health charge.”

Scrutiny was not convinced:

“The Panel’s adviser explains that although the health charge is being described as a “charge” it is in effect a tax: “Given that there is no discernible linkage between usage and liability, the term “charge” is inaccurate as it is in effect a Tax (perhaps no different from the Long-Term Care Contribution). Essentially it appears to be a hypothecated tax yet the Health Account does not directly benefit from the resultant income e.g. appearing within the revenue account for Health. We are advised that the “charge” is routed through the Consolidation Fund with the Health Account getting the additionality through growth”

“The Panel also concurs with the adviser’s view that the health charge is in effect a tax. The Panel wishes that this MTFP would demonstrate a more honest and realistic approach to the necessity of public funding.”

Senator Green stuck to his guns. This was hypothecated – in layman’s terms – ring fenced, and it had a cap. It was exactly like the Long Term Care Charge. It was a Charge, not a Tax.

In the end, the proposition failed to be passed.

Post Truth Taxes and Alternative Charges

In order to calculate that the taxes needed for a bond to be raised for the new hospital were within limits, the Treasury did some neat juggling of figures. Andrew Maclean concluded that, if the Long Term Care Charge was included within general taxation, this should make the limit required by law.

This was queried by Deputy Tracy Valois, who argued that the Long Term Care Charge could not be added on, because it was a charge, and not a tax. That, after all, was what everyone in the Council of Ministers past and present had been saying all along.

However, advice was asked of the Solicitor General, who looked at general UK case law, and completely ignored the statements that had been made by all the politicians to this point. He concluded that “I view the long-term care contributions as a hypothecated tax” and noted that “a hypothecated tax is still a tax.” I’ve posted the complete statement below.

So now we have an “alternative fact”, that the charge which everyone in the government said was most definitely a charge and not a tax, is in fact not a charge after all, but a tax.

It says something for the short-term memory of this Council of Ministers that they can turn around 180 degrees when it suits them to do so, and not show the slightest shame or apologise for all those misleading statements.

The present government seems to lurch from one shambles to another, and presumably were they to bring back the “health charge”, it would really be a "health tax" according to the best legal advice. It is unlikely however that Senators Alan Maclean and Andrew Green will confess to misleading the States.

One thing is certain, any “charge” in future will face a very strong legal bar to be considered as a charge and not a tax,. For most tax payers, the rate of tax is now that which is the default if you have no ITIS rate given by the Taxes Office, i.e., 21%. For the benefit of the outside world, we may play at saying that it is still 20%, because that instils confidence. But at the heart of that statement lies a black deceit.

The Solicitor General’s Statement in Full

I have considered the matter overnight and I have reviewed the Public Finances Law and the Long-Term Care Law. I have also had regards to English case law concerning tax and contributions.

Those are obviously not Jersey cases but in my respectful view they would be highly persuasive to the Royal Court in considering this issue.

So in terms of how legally a tax is viewed and defined, in law there is a distinction between charges levied by a state which are contributions and those which are taxes.

So the classic example of a contribution is social security whereas the latter taxes comprise all compulsory charges and taxes. So the distinction between a tax and a contribution is a contribution is, essentially, one of personal entitlement arising by virtue of having made contributions and being calculated with respect to the amount of the contributions. So a classic example is National Insurance, or social security contributions which in English law are not taxes.

There is a case in England concerning Goldman Sachs where it was held that social security contributions are not taxes whereas a tax is one where a person is required by virtue of having done something or because the State’s permission is required to do something simply because the person exists.

A tax is, it might be said, to be something which the citizen does not really get any rights in return whereas a contribution is something where the payer accrues an entitlement. It does not need to be the case that a person who pays the contribution necessarily becomes entitled in due course. Other factors may affect that entitlement such as where the individual lives in the future but the causal link between the contribution and the entitlement must have some degree of reality.

So here indirect taxes such as the impôt, stamp duty, land transaction taxes are taxes for the purposes of Article 21 of the Public Finances Law. So in my submission, that is made clear by the definition of taxes and taxation in Article 1 of the law. So tax includes a duty and taxation shall be interpreted accordingly. That is the definition of taxation in the law.

Rates are also taxes because the legislation imposes an obligation to pay rates by virtue of land ownership or occupation.

However, social security contributions are not taxation. So they are not included for the purposes of Article 21. However, taxes that are levied for specific purposes are taxation notwithstanding there may be legal limits on their use. All tax is levied for a purpose or a range of purposes but a particular tax is legally directed towards a single public purpose, so-called hypothecated taxes, does not make it any less the use of State power to levy taxation.

The fact that it is a hypothecated tax still means it is taxation. So a person who makes no contributions will still be able to benefit from long-term care in this case, whereas a person who makes large contributions to long-term care will not receive any additional entitlement under the Long-Term Care Law to benefits.

In this case, the long-term care fund is not separate from the States. It is not a fund like P.E.C.R.S. (Public Employees Contributory Retirement Scheme) or the Teachers’ Superannuation Fund which are separate funds from the States.

The Long-Term Care Fund is a fund that is managed by the Minister for Treasury and Resources that is set aside to pay a particular purpose. So ultimately it is a means by which the States will be able to meet expenses currently met by tax going into the Consolidated Fund. If the States were to stop paying someone out of tax paid to the Consolidated Fund but it allocated tax into a tax into a ring-fenced fund, has the States lost income? No, it is still meeting public purposes through taxation.

I repeat, a hypothecated tax is still a tax and the expenditure it meets is still public expenditure. It changes nothing but appearances that the tax is being accumulated to meet future expenses, long-term care costs in this case.

So for the purposes of Article 21(3) in my opinion in legal terms I view the long-term care contributions as a hypothecated tax and I do see it as income of the States for the purposes of the limit that is in Article 21(3) of the Law. That is my advice.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Promises, Promises!

Promises, Promises!

Moving Rural Goal Posts

Ian Gorst said in 2014 as newly elected Chief Minister:

“Agriculture and Fisheries, of course, continue to be important to our Island community: our farmers are valued custodians of our countryside who help to sustain our environment and keep Jersey beautiful. Our fishermen maintain our essential connection with the sea, providing us with highly-prized and freshly-caught produce and are a growing export product. New strategies for the rural economy and sea fisheries will be important milestones in the evolution of these industries. “

I spotted a part of this, to do with Food Security, was being produced by Delta Innovation - Project: A draft Food Security Strategy for the States of Jersey.

This would deal with the following:

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

The Department of the Environment claimed exemption to my Freedom of Information request and said:

"Justification for exemption: 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 asked in December: “As we are now at the end of December 2016, I wonder if you could point me in the direction of the published document which I am having difficulty locating. “

And was told on the 18th January: “I can confirm that the public authority holds this information. However, due to the delay in publishing the new Rural Economy Strategy this information remains exempt under Article 35 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 and cannot be released.”

Now we are told, the arrival of that Rural Economy Strategy is imminent! Mark Forskitt, an islander who grows organic produce, said delays in publishing a clear plan for Jersey's countryside shows a lack of interest in farming. But Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham expressed surprise at the criticism, saying a new plan will be published tomorrow.

Lyndon Farnham is evidently living in a temporal bubble, where time moves at about a quarter the speed that if does for everyone else so that a delay of over two years is negligible! Will we see the new plan this morning, or will it be another political promise?

The One That Got Away

Going back to November 2014, when Deputy Luce said:

“Another subject that is not covered in the Chief Minister’s statement is that of cross-Channel Islands Co-operation and I just wondered when it comes to working together with our sister islands, whether the Chief Minister has any new Channel Islands initiatives that can be used for mutual benefit?”

Ian Gorst replied:

“If I am honest with the Deputy, one area where I would like to see us working together where we have not is in the area of fishing. It affects members of an important part of our economy and we have not seemed to be able to master that joint working. That is an area where I believe that certainly the Chief Ministers of both Islands are committed to delivering and I want to see that happen.”

Later, the newly elected Chief Minister Ian Gorst proposed Steve Luce as the Minister for Planning and the Environment.

When he spoke, this is what Steve Luce had to say on the topic of Jersey fishermen:

“My boating experience also allows me to know more than a little about fishing and my life boating over more than 20 years means that I know only too well what a difficult and uncompromised job our local fishermen have to do and what a tough environment they have to work in. I want to do everything that I can to support farming and fishing and I am grateful to the Chief Minister for specifically highlighting those 2 professions in his speech to us on Monday.”

And he went on to say:

“We must move forward on alternative energy and I will encourage the use of micro-renewables. In a similar vein, I will also promote both wind and tidal power. There are diversification opportunities here for the Jersey economy that we must not miss. I will continue to do my very best for farmers and fishermen. I will work with them but I will not seek to impose on them. Through the new Rural Economy Strategy, I also commit to using their budget to help them in the best way possible. “

In response, Carolyn Labey, Deputy of Grouville: said:

“Where will these industries feature on his agenda? Because, as he knows very well, they have come near the end of most people’s agendas in the past Assembly.”

And of course, fishing and solving problems with Guernsey is clearly “the one that got away”, because there has emerged no joint strategy. The commitment to delivery by Ian Gorst has not materialised, and Steve Luce has done very little to support Jersey fishermen in the latest dispute with Guernsey. As for the External Relations Minister, Sir Philip Bailhache, there is no indication that it has ever featured on his agenda.

In 2015, Deputy Labey called on External Relations Minister Sir Philip Bailhache and Environment Minister Steve Luce to meet London officials to stress the importance of drawing up a joint Channel Islands Fisheries Management Agreement. But when the JEP approached him, Environment Minister Steve Luce was unavailable for comment.

More recently Jersey fishermen had to face a £500 licence fee their Guernsey counterparts don't have to pay to fish in Bailiwick waters. While authorities in Guernsey recently introduced a £500 fee for licences , they subsidise local boats so that effectively it is free for Guernsey fishermen. Guernsey fishing officials say the charge is routine and non-political.

Jersey fishermen are unhappy at the move, but Deputy Steve Luce says that while the island could respond by reconsidering its own licensing fees, it is difficult to tell other jurisdictions what they can do.

So much for doing everything he can! At the very least, a similar move by Jersey against Guernsey fishermen might allow negotiations to take place, and could also be used to subsidise Jersey Fishermen in Guernsey waters.

As matters stand, the Deputy whom Ian Gorst praised for his expert knowledge and ability with respect to the fishing industry seems content to remain a passive observer.

Deep Sea Brexit

We haven’t even started on the impact that Brexit is likely to have on whatever remains of our fishing industry?

Selling fish to France could become 'uneconomical' after Brexit, according to a report by Guernsey's government. Channel Island fishermen will no longer have duty free access to the French market, after the UK voted to leave the European Union last week.

A report, published by the States of Guernsey said fish will be subject to higher tariffs and more onerous checks and controls - which could make exporting fish to France too expensive.

Meanwhile, Jersey's External Relations Minister, Sir Philip Bailhache has said that a Brexit will mean 'no substantial change' in the island, although he will probably revisit those hasty and ill-judged remarks.

Who do you believe? Guernsey or Jersey?

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Evasive Politician

The Evasive Politician

One of the Newsnight’s most famous interviews in 1997 saw the presenter Jeremy Paxman ask then-Home Secretary Michael Howard the same question twelve times. He was asking what had led to the head of the prison service, Derek Lewis. “Did you threaten to overrule him?” asked Paxman. And again. In the space of eight minutes (giving plenty of time for evasive waffle), Paxman asked the same question twelve times. He never got a yes or no answer.

Jeremy Paxman: Mr. Lewis says, "I, that is Mr. Lewis, told him what we had decided about Marriott, and why. He, that is you, exploded. Simply moving the governor was unpalatable; it sounded indecisive, it would be seen as a fudge. If I did not change my mind and suspend Marriott, he would have to consider overruling me". You can't both be right.
Michael Howard: Mr. Marriott was not suspended. I was entitled to express my views, I was entitled to be consulted.
Jeremy Paxman: Did you threaten to overrule him?
Michael Howard: I was not entitled to instruct Derek Lewis, and I did not instruct him...
[Did you threaten to overrule him?]
Michael Howard: ... and the truth. Look, the truth of the matter is Mr. Marriott was not suspended. I did not...
[Did you threaten to overrule him?]
Michael Howard: I did not overrule Derek Lewis.
Jeremy Paxman: Did you *threaten* to overrule him?
Michael Howard: I took advice on what I could and could not do, and I...
Jeremy Paxman: Did you threaten to overrule him, Mr. Howard?
Michael Howard: ...acted strictly within that advice. I did not overrule Derek Lewis.
Jeremy Paxman: Did you threaten to overrule him?
Michael Howard: Mr. Marriott was not suspended.
Jeremy Paxman: Did you threaten to overrule him?
Michael Howard: I have accounted for my decision to dismiss Derek Lewis...
Jeremy Paxman: Did you threaten to overrule him?
Michael Howard: ...in great detail before the House of Commons.
Jeremy Paxman: I note you're not answering the question, whether you threatened to overrule him.
Michael Howard: Well the, the important aspect of this, which it's very clear to bare in mind...
Jeremy Paxman: I'm sorry, I'm going to be frightfully rude. It's a quite straight yes or no question with a straight yes or no answer.
Michael Howard: Yes, you can put the question and I will give you an answer.
Jeremy Paxman: Did you threaten to overrule him?
Michael Howard: [pause] I discussed this matter with Derek Lewis. I gave him the benefit of my opinion. I gave him the benefit of my opinion in strong language, but I did not instruct him, because I was not entitled to instruct him. I was entitled to express my opinion, and that is what I did.
Jeremy Paxman: With respect, that is not answering the question of whether you threatened to overrule him.
Michael Howard: It's dealing with the relevant point, which is what I was entitled to do, and what I was not entitled to do. And I have dealt with this in detail before the House of Commons and before the Select Committee.
Jeremy Paxman: With respect, you haven't answered the question of whether you threatened to overrule him.
Michael Howard: Well, you see, the question is what was I entitled to do and what was I not entitled to do. I was not entitled to instruct him, and I did not do that.
Jeremy Paxman: Right. Uh, we'll leave... we'll leave that aspect there, and move onto this question of your bid for leadership of the party.

According to Emily Maitlis, the woman who eventually succeeded Paxman on Newsnight, the era of badgering your interviewees - exemplified by that bruising encounter - is well and truly over. She made that statement to the Daily Mail in May 2016.

It is perhaps ironic that Theresa May (the month’s namesake) showed the same evasiveness when asked a question by Andrew Marr:

AM: When you made that first speech in July in the House of Commons about our Trident nuclear defence, did you know that misfire had happened?
TM: Well, I have absolute faith in our Trident missiles. When I made that speech in the House of Commons, what we were talking about was whether or not we should renew our Trident missiles…
AM: Did you know that it had happened?
TM: I think we should defend our country. I think we should play our role within NATO and have an independent nuclear deterrent. Jeremy Corbyn thinks differently. Jeremy Corbyn thinks we shouldn’t defend our country.
AM: But this is a very serious incident. Did you know about it when you were talking in the House of Commons?
TM: And the issue that we were talking about in the House of Commons was a very serious issue… it was about whether or not we should renew Trident. Whether we should look to the future, that’s what the House of Commons voted on. I believe in defending our country, Jeremy Corbyn voted against it, he doesn’t want to defend our country with an independent nuclear deterrent…
AM: Prime Minister, did you know?
TM: …there are tests that take place all the time regularly for our nuclear deterrence. What we were talking about in that debate that took place…

And we had a similar example in Jersey, when Chief Minister Ian Gorst also dithered and prevaricated over the resignation of Senator Philip Ozouf.

It doesn't do politician's reputations any good when they are evasive. They may chalk up a minor success for evading the direct answer, but in the eyes of the general public, it makes them look shifty. 

They are what Peter Bull, in his paper "Techniques of political interview analysis" calls "intermediate responses", which fall somewhere between giving a reply and not giving a reply, and can be placed midway on a scale of evasiveness between direct answers and outright evasion."

Senator Gorst supplies us with a text-book case study of that.

As Bailiwick Express reported: “Under considerable pressure to clarify that Senator Ozouf was offering his resignation, and that he would accept it, Senator Gorst was strangely reticent to use the term "resign", preferring "step aside," and to say for definite he would acquiesce, once any letter from Senator Ozouf was received. Once again the Bailiff had to step in and force the Chief Minister to say finally, "yes," he WOULD accept Senator Ozouf's resignation, once received.”

Philip Ozouf’s actual statement avoided the word “resign”, and instead took refuge in euphemisms which were taken up by the Chief Minister. Senator Ozouf said: “I have no wish to be a distraction or media sideshow during this review period and so I shall be writing to the Chief Minister offering to step aside from my responsibilities as Assistant Chief Minister.”

Following pressure from St Helier Deputy Geoff Southern, Senator Ian Gorst said: “He has offered to step aside from his role as Assistant Chief Minister. That means he will no longer be Assistant Chief Minister.”

But Deputy Southern was not satisfied with Senator Gorst’s answer. It led to the Bailiff getting involved. He said: “Chief Minister, I think the Assembly is entitled to be quite clear about the position, as indeed are the public.

“As I understand your answer, Senator Ozouf has volunteered to step aside, he hasn’t yet done so, and so as at the moment, he remains in place as an Assistant Chief Minister.

“If he makes that offer to you, you will accept it. Is that the position?”

Senator Gorst replied: “Sir, he’s been quite clear that he will be doing that, and when he does, ‘yes’ is the answer.”

Why on earth couldn’t he bring himself to use the word “resigned” rather than “step aside”? Notably, referring to what he would do if any inquiry found hum culpable, Senator Gorst used the term "step down" and not "step aside"

When Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru was under investigation in Kenya, politicians from held two meetings in Nairobi to discuss whether or not they should ask him to ask her to step aside, which was then seen as a political euphemism for suspension, while the allegations were being investigated.

So is this a more of a suspension than a resignation? Senator Ozouf no longer sits on the Council of Ministers, but that’s not the same as using the word “resigned”.

Instead we have “step aside” – not “step down” (which is always used for resignation) – which suggests the image of Senator Ozouf waiting in the wings for an opportune moment to come back on stage.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Banging the Patriotism Drum

“I am a citizen of the world" (Diogenes)

“At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.” (Donald Trump)

I’ve never liked the word “patriotism” as it always seems to be so be inward looking. The root for the word “patriot” is the Latin “Pater”, and so it is connected with another more ominous word – “Fatherland”.

Ambrose Bierce liked it even less, and devoted to entries to the words in his “Devil’s Dictionary”:


One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.


Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.

Now that’s not to say that there shouldn’t be a pride in one’s country, but it can all to easily become a source of division, a tribal affair.

It is one thing to praise something that a country excels at, but another to say that it must be better than other countries. With the history that I was brought up with, of course, it was easy to see this writ large. The British Empire, the envy of the world,, putting British citizens and interests first, is a good example of both the best and the worst of patriotism.

The best, I suppose, because it many ways it was an Empire which brought technology and civilised codes of law to countries where matters could be more brutal. The worst, because it deprived countries for many years of their own self-determination. It was a paternalistic dictatorship.

There’s a lot of tribalism, of course, still around today, sometimes in relatively harmless channels. Sport is of course an obvious example of that attitude, where people root for “their country”, and “their countries team”.

Even there can be a downside, regarding how many medals Team GB brings back as more important that the skill and excellence of other winners.

Surely the Olympics is all about excellence above all, and that is what every team wants to achieve, not even so much against other teams, as to do the best that can be done, so that a world record breaker faces their own record?

This, as Robert Pirsig reminds us, was what the Greeks strived for.

"What moves the Greek warrior to deeds of heroism is not a sense of duty as we understand it—duty towards others: it is rather duty towards himself. He strives after that which we translate 'virtue' but is in Greek aretê, 'excellence' … we shall have much to say about aretê. It runs through Greek life."

And so there is a place indeed for “Make America Great Again”, but it must not be done by a narrow minded vision.

It is when we get to the notion which seems to surface of “Make America Great”... at the expense of the rest of the world, that I part company.

Is there any country anywhere in the world which deserves “total allegiance"?

Charles Dicken’s short masterpiece, “A Christmas Carol” is about business rather than patriotism, but the message is the same: our vision should be global, embracing all humanity

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

Isn’t there a higher loyalty, to the planet, and also to all the teeming millions who live and breath and suffer and die in poverty and misery thoughout the world?

Throughout history, rulers nations have sought to claim total allegiance to their nation, but there are values which transcend nationality.

It is not good enough to just say “we will look after our own”. That is too narrow a philosophy, too small a vision. Humanity can be better than that.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Simon Whom He Surnamed Peter - Part 34

My Sunday posting today will be the final transcript of the book "Simon Whom He Surnamed Peter" by the Jersey historian, the Reverend G.R. Bailleine (1873 – 1966).

Most of Balleine's books are either currently in print - as for example his History of Jersey - or online in the form of PDF versions. This book is not, so this is something different. As well as being a Jersey historian, Balleine was also a priest in the Church of England, and Ministre Deservant at St Brelade's Church for a time.


`This belief,' says Harnack, `became official between 189 and 217.' It is accepted by Eusebius, `and he,' writes Kirsopp Lake, was an historian of the first rank, and no writer on the chronology of Acts can pass him by. Jerome repeats this belief. The Liberian Catalogue specified 25 years, I month, 8 days, the Liber Pontificalis 2 5 years, 2 months, 3 days. As twenty-five was no sacred or mystical number, they must have believed this figure to be a fact.

They all knew that Peter was not in Rome for twenty-five years. But the word `bishop' in Peter's day had not its later meaning. It is the modern English form of the Greek word episcopos. (It became `ebiscopus', `biscopus', `biscop', then bishop.) It simply meant `overseer'. The Septuagint uses it for the foremen of the masons who restored the Temple (II Chron. xxxiv. 13). The Episcopus at Rome was the Overseer of the Public Victualling.
Paul, though constantly on the move, kept in touch with the Churches he founded (e.g. Corinth, Colossae, Philippi).

Peter may have done the same. If he spent seven years in Rome from 42 to 49, he may have continued to exercise some over-sight over the Church there, till his final visit before his death twenty-five years later. No city was easier to keep in touch with, for ships sailed to Italy from every port.



Few dates in the New Testament can be fixed with absolute precision. The writers took little interest in chronology, and group their stories by subject-matter rather than by time. Secular History, however, gives one or two pin-points:

High-priesthood of Caiaphas. 18-36 (Josephus).
Recall of Pilate. 36 (Josephus).
Reign of Claudius. 41-54 (Tacitus, Suetonius).
Reign of Agrippa in Jerusalem. 41-44 (Josephus).
Reign of Nero. Oct. 54-June 68 (Tacitus).
Burning of Rome. July 64 (Tacitus).
Mass Martyrdoms. 64 or 65 (Tacitus).
Destruction of Jerusalem. 70 (Josephus).

To these may probably be added the expulsion of the Jews from Rome in 49. The expulsion is reported by Suetonius, without a date; but Orosius in 417 put it in 49. This is late evidence, but it fits neatly with Acts, which brings Paul to Corinth in 50, where he lodges with Aquila, who had `lately come from Italy, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome'.

Some guidance may be gained from the Jewish Feasts: e.g. two and perhaps three Passovers are mentioned during the Ministry of Christ; the first Speaking with Tongues occurred at Pentecost; Peter was imprisoned by Herod during a Passover. Casual references, like Paul's in Galatians, also sometimes help: `After three years I went to Jerusalem'; `Fourteen years after I went again to Jerusalem'.

Many dates are open to dispute. Hence the frequent use of `probably' and `possibly' in this book. But the following table does not clash with any known facts, and seems a reasonable inference from the information we possess:

A.D. 28 (15th year of Tiberius. Luke). The Baptist's Mission begins.
29 Ministry of Jesus (See Note A).
30 Crucifixion. Pentecost.
34 Martyrdom of Stephen.
35 Conversion of Paul. Peter visits Samaria.
36 Peter visits South Palestine. Conversion of Cornelius.
37 Paul's first visit to Peter.
41 Agrippa becomes King in Jerusalem.
42 Arrest and escape of Peter.
44 Death of Agrippa.
45-49 Peter in Rome.
49 Claudius expels Jews from Rome. Peter returns to Jerusalem. The Apostolic Conference. Visit to Antioch.
50 Dispute with Paul.
50-56 Peter `Bishop' of Antioch.
56-65 Missionary Tours. Corinth, Asia Minor.
62 Murder of James, the Lord's Brother.
64 Fire of Rome.
64 or 65 Nero's Massacre of Christians. Peter's Return to Rome.
66 Peter's Martyrdom.
68 Marcus writes his Gospel.
75 Luke writes Acts.
210 Gaius mentions Peter's `trophy' on the Vatican.
333 (?) Constantine begins to build his Basilica on the Vatican.
1506 Pope Julius II begins to build the present Church.
1950 Gaius's trophy (?) discovered under the High Altar of St. Peter's.

Saturday, 21 January 2017


This is a strange poem, because it ran away with me while I was writing it back on Wednesday. The first part is about a battle, although there is an elemental or magical element to it. It looks back to the bronze age, perhaps, to an ancient epoch. And then the second part is a kind of mirror of that, reflecting and changing it, and I wanted something which would contrast, and that sort of wrote itself too. So lots of images bubbling up from the subconscious!

Having re-read it, I added two lines to each stanza, thinking of yesterdays events.


The battle fought, the hands raised high
And victory in the making did they spy
Cloaked in an ancient garb, lent this day
End the conflict, let justice have its sway
And the armies of your people win the fight
In blood, the victory, darkness over light
And as weariness creeps over, standing still
Remain vigilant, hands high, and act of will
Until you can stand no more, then take rest
But to not as yet the cloak of power divest
A stone to sit upon, sacred power of earth
Steady the hands, hold firm, a rebirth
Of the spirit, of courage, bravery, might
Until at last the sunset comes in sight
Take off the cloak, return by the sunset
A pledge to be given, repayment of debt
Victory won, the people great once more
Defeat of that fell enemy at the door
As night falls, wash yourself, return to camp
And take the holy oil, and light the lamp

Healing in sunset, a final night draws near
And they come, those gripped by fear
And they come, the sick, trembling, in pain
And they come, for healing once again
This battle will not be fought by sword
And they come, and cry out, my Lord
And he stood before them, very still
This last night, this final act of will
And healing of his power, now divest
Until he is wearied and takes his rest
A stone to sit upon, sacred power of earth
Within a garden, sunset comes in sight
Of the spirit, of courage, bravery, might
Are needed for this final battle field
But he will take the cup and not yield
In blood, the victory, darkness over light
Drink the cup, prepare to end the fight
Victory nearly won, forever more
Defeat of that fell enemy at the door
As night falls the soldiers come with lamp
And will take him to their prison camp

Friday, 20 January 2017

St Brelade in 1953

Today is a brief extract from Stuart Petre Brodie "SPB" Mais's account of a trip to Jersey in 1953. Stuart Petre Brodie "SPB" Mais (1885–1975) was a prolific British author, journalist and broadcaster, and wrote many travel books. Here is a glimpse of Jersey, just post-war, as the tourism industry was starting to take off well, but before the rise of finance.

When Mais visited St Brelade, he was able to see the German war graves at St Brelade. They remained there until 1961.

In 1961, the bodies were exhumed and reburied in France. Lord Coutanche, Bailiff of Jersey, wrote to the German War Graves Commission, on 14th July 1961, as follows:

“PERMISSION is hereby granted to the German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegs-graberfitrsorge'), of Kassel, Germany.--

“TO EXHUME two hundred and twenty-one (221) bodies which are now buried in the Church Yard of the Parish of St Brelade in the Island of Jersey, and particulars whereof are set out in the Schedule hereto. “AND TO REMOVE them out of the Island for re-burial in a Military Cemetery in France.”

More on the history of the graves can be read at extracts from The Pilot at the links below:

Part 1: http://tonymusings.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-german-cemetery-at-st-brelades.html
Part 2: http://tonymusings.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-german-cemetery-at-st-brelades_9.html
Part 3: http://tonymusings.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-german-cemetery-at-st-brelades_15.html

I should point out that GR Balleine points out that the date of consecration mentioned below by Mais is a incorrect.

"We must first dismiss from our minds the assertion, made in all the guide-books, that the church was consecrated in 1111, and is therefore the oldest in the island. The only authority for this is a list that falsely claimed to be copied from the Bishop of Rouen in 314.....Whether St Brelade's is really our oldest church no one can say. It is first mentioned in a charter of William the Conqueror, which is older than 1066, for he calls himself 'Duke of the Normans', not 'King of England'."

St. Brelade's Bay-Corbière Point
by SPB Mais


We are given pats of butter at breakfast. This presumably is our ration. The rules prevailing are those of many English hotels. Gongs ring to announce luncheon at one o'clock and dinner at seven o'clock and most guests seem to take their places as if they were on parade. Breakfast is from 8.15 till 9.30 and there is no service of any kind before 7.30, which makes it difficult for me to do my writing during my usual early morning hours, while if I write at night I am distracted by the bridge players.

We went to church and arrived at eleven o'clock to find the Choral Eucharist just finishing. Matins was sung at 11.30. It was a somewhat spiritless service attended only by a handful of elderly regulars. I was glad to get into the open air.

After lunch a taxi-driver called Stone came for us at two o'clock and drove us first past Lady Trent's house and the Coronation Park bordering St. Aubin's Bay. We then drove on through the town of St. Aubin to the high flat plateau of Noirmont and inspected the derelict fortifications of the German Occupation and listened to the bass bell of the black and white Noirmont Tower and the higher bell of Pignonet beacon.

After this we descended into the lovely St. Brelade's Bay at Ouaisne. We were so charmed with this broad stretch of sand that we decided to walk across the mile or more stretch of bay and ask Stone to meet us on the other side. As I gazed at the lovely scene it seemed to me that Jersey has everything you can dream of for a holiday; it is everything you wish yourself.

The pine trees and the red rocks and the red-streaked sand and the white villas with their tiled roofs reminded me of the Riviera: it was certainly cleaner than any Riviera beach that I have seen. The same continental gaiety was, however, there. St. Brelade's Bay has even livened up its Martello Towers by painting one of them half-white and the other half-red. Here is a suggestion for my friends of the Cinque Ports.

Elevated in spirit by the scene and in body by the fresh air, we came to the other side, admiring on the way the two large white hotels. One of these is, I am told, decorated with the paintings of a former German occupier-turned-prisoner, and his pictures include a number of striking Bavarian Alp scenes.

Just above the stretch of beach beyond the modern hotels the beautiful old granite Church of St. Brelade which boasts itself to be the oldest of the twelve parish churches of the island, the alleged date of its consecration being A.D.1111.

This church is by far the most picturesque and interesting in the whole of Jersey. It has a saddle-back tower and Celtic turret. Its chancel, an old Monastic chapel, and nave date from the twelfth century. Its roof was raised in the fourteenth century.

More interesting still is the sixth-century granite Fishermen's Chapel which stands in the churchyard. This is the oldest place of worship in the island.

It is a tiny building, measuring only 43 feet long by 18 feet wide. The walls are 9 feet high and 3 feet thick. There are five little windows and the roof is made of small stones.

On the inner side are traces of old frescoes, the best preserved of these, which represents the Annunciation, stands over, the Altar. This was accidentally discovered as the result of rain leaking through and saturating the plaster. The work dates from 1320 to 1330. 1 saw that the church had a list of rectors from 1206 and that the monuments were mainly to the Pipon family.

But the outstanding feature of the church and chapel is their position. They stand at the end of the bay on a slope directly above the sands commanding a delightful view across the whole beach. A view over the churchyard shows; ancient and modern in happy combination.

Adjacent to the churchyard is an extension filled with some two hundred white wooden crosses. These we found, to be the graves of German soldiers, members of the Occupation Forces who died during the last war. It seems that the Germans, finding in 1942 the graves of six Germany military prisoners of the First World War in this part of the churchyard, commandeered the remainder of the space as a military cemetery.

The six original graves were conspicuous as having the customary marble headstones. More conspicuous still was the large wooden replica of the Iron Cross under one of the tall trees. This bore the name of O'Feldw Josef Kunkel.

From here we strolled along the lane on the other side of which was a beautifully kept lawn with an old stone cider press neatly displayed in the centre of it, and beyond that a building which seemed to be the new parish hall.

We passed by the lych-gate, given by the first Lady Trent in memory of her husband, who was, of course, originally Jesse Boot, founder of the great business. This was hung with a fisherman's lantern, and on either side were commemoration plates to Lord Trent in English and French respectively.

A well-contented looking padre was explaining the sight to two lady visitors. Two or three sleek brand-new cars came-by: I reflected that many of Christ's lambs in this parish must have golden fleeces.

We joined our chauffeur again and drove over the hill to the lovely little bay of Beau Port, standing below grass slopes on rocks. This was given to the States by the present Lord Trent in 1949.

We drove back through St. Brelade's and then into and along the Route Orange past the famous La Moye golf links.

Then on along the ridge of the point to view the Corbière Lighthouse poised out on the rocks at the south-west corner of the island. On our left we had passed the ruins of Corbière village on which the Germans had done their usual thorough job during the Occupation. 

On the rocks of the point opposite the lighthouse is a highly Teutonic looking cylindrical German concrete occupation post, sliced into on the seaward side by the formation of a number of breast-high galleries, and now used as a direction-finding station in conjunction with the lighthouse.

Thursday, 19 January 2017


Not being 100% well, I was looking for quotes to end the day about coughing, and I found a perfect one in a stanza in a poem by Shel Silverstein. I’ve never come across his writing before but this poem reminds me very much of Hillaire Belloc’s Cautionary Rhymes for Children.

Sheldon Allan "Shel" Silverstein (930 –1999) was an American poet, singer-songwriter, cartoonist, screenwriter, and author of children's books. He styled himself as Uncle Shelby in some works. Translated into more than 30 languages, his books have sold over 20 million copies. He was the recipient of two Grammy Awards, as well as a Golden Globe and Academy Award nominee.

Here is a wonderfully funny poem, and so reminiscent of childhood. My mother was very strict that if you were not well enough for school, you were not well enough to go out at weekends either, so we never tried it  on like Peggy Ann! We also followed that policy with our own children, and I think it is a good one.


“I cannot go to school today"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.

My mouth is wet, my throat is dry.
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox.

And there's one more - that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut, my eyes are blue,
It might be the instamatic flu.

I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke.
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in.

My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My toes are cold, my toes are numb,
I have a sliver in my thumb.

My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.

My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There's a hole inside my ear.

I have a hangnail, and my heart is ...
What? What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is .............. Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!”

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

An Eye on Local Politics

Retconning the Past

Reconsider, v. To seek a justification for a decision already made. (Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary)

In his defence of the shambles of the Innovation Fund, Senator Ozouf says he is "disgusted and dismayed" that he was "given the responsibility" but not "all the information that was required".

But when the Logfiller managed to grab a loan which disappeared, he was much more bullish about his knowledge. In a JEP report of June 16, 2016, he said: “What I can say is that I am totally satisfied, and have been throughout the procedures. The ongoing review process of what’s happening with the company has continued and that continues to this day. Let’s be clear, there are going to be some businesses that are not going to succeed.”

Now he has said in his resignation speech and to BBC Radio Jersey, he was fully accountable for the period he was responsible for the Fund, which was from January 2016 - the Fund was actually set up several years before that. But here in June 2016, he said he was "totally satisfied" with it!

Now if the States Auditor General could look into matters to get relevant information, why didn’t he? Or to put it another way, if he said he was given responsibility, but not all the information, why didn’t he make plain his lack of knowledge rather than just saying he was “totally satisfied”?

Enough attention had been focused on Logfiller to make it apparent that something had gone wrong, so why not come out at that point and say it needed detailed investigation? It was well known that Mike King had a hand in the fiasco that was Canbedone Films, so shouldn’t that have raised warning flags?

He was saying that it wasn’t until 2016 that he got the control he needed, but this story broke after that date!

How it Works: The Board of the Jersey Innovation Fund

Quorum, n. A sufficient number of members of a deliberative body to have their own way and their own way of having it. (Ambrose Wilson, The Devil’s Dictionary)

It is instructive to see how the board said it was operating, from a JEP report made on February 2015 said:

“The board who would oversee the fund had to be seen to be robust, with a balance of non-executive private- and public-sector board members, with the ultimate decisions made by a States minister.”

The Chairman went on to explain how the team on the board looked at proposals:

“I review every application in quite some detail and categorise them, and then the board also sees every application. If an application looks promising, one of the non-executive directors will kick the tyres in terms of cash flow, costs, budgets and so forth, and that director will then act as a champion for that applicant.”

“Quite often there will then be a formal presentation to the board, and if the green light is still flashing, an economic impact assessment is carried out by the Economics Unit”

“‘I do think that having the States working with the private sector is a good notion, using the expertise – especially from the finance sector – to ensure an informed decision. We hope the States are encouraged that a number of pairs of eyes are looking at this”

The board apart from the Chairman whose job was to sift but not produce a detailed financial review (which task he delegated to one of the non-executive directors), included “experienced businessmen and private-sector members Tim Ringsdore, Aaron Chatterley, Peter Shirreffs and Dave Allen - the non-executive directors - and from the public sector States economist Dougie Peedle, Economic Development chief officer Mike King and an officer from the Treasury.”

Certainly as remarked above, “a number of pairs of eyes”. So who had their eyes shut? When they "kicked the tyres", did they spot some were flat? And why was it not “robust”? And what was Dougie Peedle doing?

Clearly not all the blame can be laid at either Philip Ozouf or Mike King’s door, as there was “expertise – especially from the finance sector – to ensure an informed decision” made  in terms of cash flow, costs, budgets".

Or in this case, some rather ill-informed decisions!

Domestic Waste Charge: Broken Promises?

Politics, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles (Ambrose Wilson, “The Devil’s Dictionary”)

The Jersey Evening Post reported that:

“Last year the introduction by 2018 of new levies for commercial waste disposal was approved by the States as part of the Medium Term Financial Plan Addition, with £11 million of revenue targeted. Infrastructure Minister Eddie Noel, who is due to bring proposals to the States to finalise the details of the charges this year, said that unless such charges were introduced, the Island would fall further behind.”

And it goes on to say that:

“He would also not rule out the future introduction of a domestic waste charge.”

This goes completely against the rationale in the Medium Term Financial Plan and Eddie Noel’s arguments there:

“Introducing ‘user-pays’ funding in Jersey would not only encourage increased recycling rates and more efficient use of services but would also by charging commercial organisations it addresses the unfairness of the current funding regime. Currently businesses do not pay for these services and households bear the burden of paying for services through taxation”

This is making it clear that a waste charge levied on ordinary taxpayers would mean them paying twice, as they already pay taxes for the support of services provided by the States, including waste disposal. But most trading businesses now pay 0% corporation tax, so this is tipping the balance just a little the other way with a charge on commercial waste.

The plan went on to say:

“Charging for commercial solid waste transfers the direct cost from the taxpayer to business, many of whom do not pay income tax, and will also enable alternative business opportunities for recycling which are currently suppressed due to DfI’s free disposal option.”

While not explicit as a promise, it is very clear that the whole premise behind not having a domestic waste charge was that domestic users already pay tax.

The wording makes it clear that – contrary to Eddie Noel’s recent pronouncements – he was ruling out a domestic waste charge.

If not, the whole argument in the Medium Term Plan looks just like something opportunist to use at the time, and not genuine at all. Raising domestic waste – and hence taxpayers paying twice - goes against the heart of the case for business paying for waste disposal. Are we to understand that the whole argument was just an exercise in short term hypocrisy?

Rome was Not Built in a Day

“So much of government is collective decisions. All of us together, best minds in the country, hammering it out. Government is a complex business. So many people have to have their say. These things take time. Rome wasn't built in a day” (Jim Hacker, Yes Minister)

Hearing Senator Routier on limiting population growth was like hearing Jim Hacker returned from the grave. Here’s an extract from “Yes Minister”

Dr Cartright: I'm proposing that all council officials responsible for a new project list their criteria for failure before getting the go-ahead.

Jim Hacker: - What do you mean?

Dr Cartright: - It's a basic scientific approach. You must establish a method of measuring the success or failure of an experiment. When it's completed, you know if it's succeeded or failed.

On BBC Radio Jersey, he was busy extolling the virtues of the new system to contain population, but refused to be drawn on any numbers. As a result, there is, as Dr Cartright in “Yes Minister” makes clear, no method for measuring the success – or failure – of the policy.

Instead, we were told that it would take a lot of time for the effects of the policy to really kick in, and a cynic might think that was until after the next election in 2018. Or "Rome was not built in a day".

Paul Routier is responsible for the slap-dash way in which the previous policy was allowed to lapse with nothing other than laissez-faire to put in its place until now, which looks like too little, too late.

At least he has stopped bleating the mantra that we need to grow the population to pay for services for the ageing demographic, as a growing population will itself grow old, need even more growth. 

It hasn’t stopped the Chamber of Commerce, who still seem wedded to this Ponzi scheme idea, even though it makes no sense at all in the long term. It is about time we realised we cannot sacrifice long term targets for short term gains, and that the Island has only limited physical resources and infrastructure.

But as it stands, the new policy, like the old, is like the emperor's new clothes, with Senator Routier cast as the Emperor.