Wednesday, 31 May 2017

BASE Jumping: The Dangers

BASE Jumping

The JEP reported this story:

A ‘base jumper’ was filmed parachuting off the top of La Collette flats at Havre des Pas and landing in the car park below over the weekend.

But what is BASE?

BASE, for the uninitiated, is an acronym for building, antenna, span, and environment. In other words, the four elements from which a BASE parachuting jump may commence. The first two have an obvious meaning. Span and environment are bridges and, essentially, cliffs. However, there has been a tendency for BASE jumpers to also use tall buildings or sky scrapers.

While BASE jumping itself is often legal, the locations that are used for jumps are often restricted. Because of this, it is common to hear news of BASE jumpers being arrested and charged with trespassing, breaking and entering, or other similar charges

The website “The Legal Satyricon” notes that:

“One would imagine that such a risk-prone activity would spawn a fair amount of litigation. However, a review of the Lexis database reveals very few cases that have arisen out of BASE jumping activities. This article will analyze those cases and attempt to discover any common threads.”

He also highlights the extreme danger:

“In a conventional skydive, the jumper exits the aircraft while it is in flight, and while the pilot will (hopefully) cut the engine back a little bit.. Exiting the aircraft at 6,000 feet AGL gives the jumper approximately 36 seconds, at terminal velocity, before a fatal impact with the ground. 36 seconds may not sound like a lot of time, but when your life depends upon it, it is plenty. The average BASE jump is from about 1,000 feet. The BASE jumper has no margin for error.”

In 2012, a Channel 4 documentary (Cutting Edge: The Men Who Jump Off Buildings) showed Dan Witchalls and his pal Ian Richardson throwing themselves off high buildings.

Ian was shown crashing horribly, breaking three ribs and puncturing a lung less than a year after breaking his legs in another disaster.

According to statistics, BASE jumping appears to hold a five- to eightfold increased risk of injury or death compared with that of skydiving.

A study of BASE jumpers in 2012 reported that 72 percent of jumpers had witnessed death or serious injury of other participants in the sport, 43 percent (of) jumpers had suffered a significant BASE jump injury, and 76 percent had at least one 'near miss' incident (an incident which would most probably result in serious injury or fatality but was avoided).

The States of Jersey Police commented on the La Collette jumper:

"We have been made aware of a video circulating which appears to show somebody jumping from the top of a high rise building with a parachute (B.A.S.E. jumping). We do not know whether this is genuine or when this was taken and neither can we identify the individual concerned at this stage. "

"Together with our colleagues in the States of Jersey Fire and Rescue Service and Ambulance Service we would like to remind people of the real dangers of such activity for both the person jumping and anyone nearby."

One of the cases most likely to succeed was that of BASE Jumps as Reckless Endangerment, People v. Corliss

It is detailed by “The Legal Satyricon” as follows:

On April 27, 2006, professional BASE jumper, Jebb Corliss intended to jump from the Empire State Building. He was arrested before making the jump, and was indicted for Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree on or about October 5, 2007.

Under New York law, a Defendant may be found guilty of reckless endangerment if that person, under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another person. See PL § 120.25.

This standard is met if the defendant is both aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that his actions will cause grave harm , and he consciously disregards that risk in such a manner that such disregard is a “gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation” (PL § 15.05[3])”.

The court noted that actual harm to another is not required to sustain a charge of reckless endangerment. The court held that while Mr. Corliss’ conduct was “dangerous and ill conceived” (their words, not mine), it did not rise to the level of “depraved indifference” for others.

“…so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so devoid of regard of the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to render the actor as culpable as one whose conscious objective is to kill”

Accordingly, the court granted Corliss’ motion to dismiss the indictment!!

On this case, Tom Prestia comments that:

“While base jumping does fall under the category of an extreme sport and anyone who does engage in it has a set, the safety and the welfare of the public still needs to be the number one focus. In my opinion, the court in the Corliss case erred when it found that the conduct was not a depraved indifference to human life.”

“Anyone who has been to New York knows that there are always people scattered throughout the streets not matter what time of day it is. Jumping off of a building with people below you does display a depraved indifference to human life. It is very likely that the defendant could have landed on a pedestrian or a vehicle causing injury."

“I am all about extreme sports and support base jumping, but if you are going to engage in the sport be responsible about it and go find a desolate cliff where nobody is around and get your thrills that way, or obtain a permit and clear the area below. This behaviour needs to be deterred by some method and these people should get the harshest punishment possible.”

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

An Apology, Chief Minister?

Collective Responsibility: An Apology, Chief Minister?

"On 20th May 2014, the States adopted the States of Jersey (Amendment No.7) Law which included the introduction of the principle of collective responsibility to further enhance the effectiveness of the executive." (Strategic Plan Progress Update, Inspiring Confidence in Jersey's Future)

Mark Boleat, writing in 2014 said that:

The principal reason is that the Jersey electorate voted wisely and decisively. Ian Gorst now has a very strong position, which he must not hesitate to use. This is only partly because of the power that the Chief Minister now has to fire ministers, and the long overdue normal principle of collective responsibility being applied. 

Who was the Chief Minister who brought in this proposition, who said when passed that: "It was the right thing to do to bring it forward, have the debate and let the democratically elected members of this assembly make its choices."?

Why it was Ian Gorst, who now wants to scrap collective responsibility!! And who said in 2014 as he proposed it:

“The Assembly would be demonstrating that it expects individual ministers to adhere to the important principle of collective responsibility - representing and implementing agreed policy as set out in the Strategic Plan approved by the Assembly. This would result in a much more efficient and effective system of government for the Island.”

I have no objection to that, but I would like to hear five little words: “I apologise. I was wrong”.

It is often notable that those bringing a proposition which contradicts an earlier stance hope the public have short memories. 

So here are a few statements from 2014 on collective responsibility, and why it was supposedly needed. I wonder what arguments those flip-flop politicians who nailed their colours to Ian Gorts's ship will use to discredit their own arguments and come out against it. 

Will they admit they were wrong, and it didn't work out as it was supposed to? That would be an honourable thing to do, but honour is perhaps in as short supply as it was in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

Let's be fair here. I am willing to accept that collective responsibility was an attempt to improve the running of Government, but if it has failed, let the politicians who spoke in favour, or who brought the proposition, be honest in saying so. Let them admit they were mistaken, but acted in good faith.

I disagree with the idea, very much for the reasons given below by Senator Francis Le Gresley and Senator Ian Le Marquand, two very capable politicians who would have felt unable to take office under Collective Responsibility. They highlight the problems: that it stifles dissent, and that the best argument can never reach the States because it can be killed off by Collective Responsibility.

One of the most obvious defects was the proposition by Andrew Green to site the hospital on the Town Park. It was opposed by the Constable, and all the Deputies of St Helier... except Rod Bryans, who had to keep silent because of Collective Responsibility which trumped his representation of the St Helier electorate.

And Assistant Minister Tracy Valois was silenced as a member of the Treasury Minister's team, left out of the loop, and finally resigned so she could speak out. This is hardly harnessing talent!

And recently, with the Innovation Fund, we have seen that Collective Responsibility can simply mean that,  as Gary Burgess put it: "the tangled web of political responsibility in Jersey appears set up to ensure enough grey areas, meaning there's never really one person you can pin wrongdoing to."

From a more cynical perspective, Collective Responsibility was introduced in order to silence dissent within the Council of Ministers, not just the more obvious mavericks like Deputy Duhamel, but also moderating voices like Francis Le Gresley and Ian Le Marquand. Far from bringing about greater efficiency in decision making, it brought about a culture in which initiative was stifled, and where mistakes could continue because like lemmings, the Council was committed to one way.

From 2014, on Collective Responsibility

Chief Minister, Ian Gorst , proposing the change:

If I turn now to collective responsibility. The changes proposed: the draft law would, for the first time, introduce collective responsibility for the Council of Ministers. As a result Ministers would be held to account jointly for decisions made by the Council and for policies proposed by the Council.”

I want to go right back to Deputy Baudains opening remarks. He, I think, in those opening remarks acknowledged some of the problems with the current system. Perhaps it is just that we do not agree on what the solutions are. I think he acknowledged that.

But one of the things he said was that we needed to get around this silo mentality and that is why for me the collective responsibility around the Council of Ministers’ table is important. We absolutely do need to get round that silo mentality and we need to make sure that when we are having those difficult discussions, which we have, there is a mechanism in place whereby we are encouraged to reach agreement.

Other Ministers have said: “Well, a Chief Minister should be able to do it without making these statutory changes.” To some extent, I can accept that argument because I believe that this Council of Ministers on the whole, by and large, has made the current system work in the best way that we can. But I equally admit that it has taken us far too long to deal with some issues because of that process we have had to go through. That is why I support these changes because I have no doubt whatsoever they are going to create a system of government which is more effective, more efficient but for me the most important change that this will deliver is that it will make that system more accountable

Senator Francis Le Gresley, speaking against it:

It is about leadership, and the Chief Minister of our Island has to be the best leader that we could ever find out of the candidates who are elected into this Assembly, and leadership is about bringing people together, driving the agenda and achieving what the public have elected us to do, which is to run our Island in the most effective and efficient way. Leadership is so important, and leadership should not be directed by laws or by changes as proposed in this proposition. A true leader does not need all these additional powers. It is a weak leader, in my opinion, who needs these powers.

So we come to collective responsibility. Now, I know that I would never be able to serve if I had continued in a Council of Ministers with collective responsibility, because, as has been made quite clear, without party politics we are all independents. We all have our own strong views, we have put out our manifestos for the public during the elections and then we try, and what happens is when we come to a new Council of Ministers we all put our manifestos into a pot, if you like, and we try to come up with some policies that we can all sign up to.

But the point that I am trying to make is when it comes to sitting in this Assembly, even though the Council of Ministers may have decided on a particular way that we might accept a proposition, perhaps from a Back-Bencher, you have to listen to the arguments. What is the point of coming in here and just knowing that you are going to vote a particular way before you have even heard the arguments?

So you will end up with, to a certain extent, yes-men or yes-women, which is not the best way when you only have a small pool of people to choose from

Senator Ian le Marquand, speaking against it

Undoubtedly, however, the centralisation of power will produce an increased polarisation in this Assembly and Members need to be aware of that. Undoubtedly there will be a danger of a monochrome Council of Ministers because people of conscience who will find themselves constantly outvoted will not feel able to stay

Senator Philip Bailhache, speaking in favour

If we are going to have Ministerial government that is what Ministerial government means. The public expects and outsiders, outside the Island, expect that in electing a Chief Minister we are electing a political leader, someone who can give political leadership and who can be confident when he offers political leadership that at the very least his Ministers will support him.

The role of the Chief Minister is one of a powerless puppet. He has no authority over other Ministers. He can try to persuade but if Ministers do not share his political views - and because the Assembly elects Ministers and the Chief Minister does not choose them many of the Ministers might have different political views from his - it is almost impossible to persuade them.

Susie Pinel, speaking in favour:

If more power, and consequently direction, is imbued in the role of Chief Minister and if collective responsibility is adopted and it enables more effective decision-making, then it can only improve our current situation.

Paul Routier, speaking in favour

We need to have some sort of recognition that there needs to be a better way of doing things. We are failing at the present time to achieve some of our policies because we are not as joined-up as we should be. Those Members who were worried about collective responsibility, we need to think about the way decisions are finally made for our community.

Alan Maclean, speaking to Scrutiny:

 I do support the principle of collective responsibility. 

Monday, 29 May 2017

G.R. Balleine on May - Part 2

A piece from "The Pilot", 1958.

Balleine mentions the Robigalia, an ancient agricultural festival celebrated in honor of Robigo the goddess of blight, red rust, or mildew, when the crops were most vulnerable to disease (Pliny).. The sacrifice of dogs, repugnant though it seems to us, was a custom of Ancient Roman and Greek Paganism.

Ovid relates in a poem that he happened to meet the priest as he and his followers, all dressed in white, were on their way to the sacred grove to offer sacrifice, and who carried with him the entrails of both a dog and a sheep. 

As James Grout notes:

"When Ovid asked the priest why a dog had been sacrificed, he was told that it related to the rising of Sirius, the Dog Star, which coincided with the heat of summer, causing the crops to ripen prematurely. This association is probably incorrect (Sirius actually sets then) and it may be that neither Ovid nor the priest really knew the reason"

"A major Rogation day (from rogare, "to ask or beseech") was instituted by Pope Gregory I (died AD 604) to atone for a lack of sobriety and continence during Lent. Celebrated on April 25, the litany was intended to surplant the Robigalia."

Calendar Notes: May - Part 2
by G.R. Balleine

The following Sunday after Ascension Day used to be called Expectation Sunday (Dominica Exptectationis) because the Disciples were there waiting for the promised gift of the Spirit.

Then comes Whitsunday, White Sunday, the Festival of the Spirit of God, the Unseen Helper, who gives us power to lead clean white lives.

" Every virtue we possess, and every victory won, and every thought of holiness are his alone”. This was one of the three baptismal seasons of the Early Church, and got its name from the robes worn by the newly baptised.

Like all great Festivals it had special dainties: cheese cakes, baked custards, and gooseberry pudding. In the Middle Ages, when the Church tried to teach by kindergarten methods, the Descent of the Spirit was symbolized by releasing a live dove from the rood-loft or by lowering it gilt dove from the ceiling. Hence some surprising entries in old Churchwardens' Account; : -'' New wire for ye Holy Ghost”, “Regilding ye Holy Ghost”

The three days before Ascension Day are Rogation Days, and the Table of Feasts at the beginning of the Prayer Book names the previous Sunday Rogation Sunday. . Rogation means “Asking”'

Our lives depend on the harvest. If the world's harvests should fail, we should all starve. One great enemy of the harvest is red rust, a fungus which attacks growing corn. The farmer has always felt helpless against this tiny foe, and in his helplessness has turned to his gods for aid. The pagan Romans kept a Feast called Robigalia (' robigo ' means ' red rust '), when they marched through the newly sown fields, and sacrificed a red dog to the dog star.

After they became Christian, they did not drop this procession, though now they sang Litanies to Christ: “Give and preserve to our use the kindly fruits of the earth.' The custom survived the Reformation, and was recognized by our Prayer Book; but it gradually degenerated into it mere Beating of the Bounds, a walk, not to offer prayers to God, but to fix in people's minds the parish boundaries. When Ordnance maps were made, the custom died altogether.

But an Open .Air Service to pray for the crops seems worth reviving. Harvest Thanksgiving Services arc popular. Is it impossible to gather people in spring to pray, “Give us our daily bread?”

The three Ember Days: at the end of the month are Days of Prayer for those to be ordained on the following Sunday.

The remaining Black Letter Days can only be mentioned briefly.

Athanasius, Bishop of .Alexandria, was a great Theologian, champion of the doctrine of the Divinity of Christ against the heretic Arius.

Monnica (two “ns”) was the saintly mother of St. Augustine of Hippo, to whom he largely owed his conversion.

Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, was a man of many accomplishments, a skilled metal-worker, whose recreation was his forge, a musician, whose harp was his constant companion, a Reformer of monasteries, recalling the inmates to a stricter life and adviser of kings.

Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne was, another versatile Saint. Though one of the greatest scholars of his day and leader of the movement that made England for a little the centre of European learning, he would go out to win non-churchgoers, disguised as a wandering minstrel, and sing secular songs on a bridge till a crowd gathered, and then turn to sacred songs, and thus each the people truths they would not come to hear from the pulpit. .

Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, came to Kent as leader of a hand of missionary monks. He found England a heathen country, but, when he died, he left Christianity firmly established in Kent (one day he baptized 10,000 people), and it was steadily winning its, way in Essex and London.

The Venerable Bede led a scholar's uneventful life in North England, but his many books had a deep influence on English Christianity.

Two dates in this month's Calendar commemorate traditions.

The Invention of the Cross (“Invention” meant ` Finding') kept alive the story that the Empress Helena had discovered the true Cross on Calvary. The day proved useful as a second opportunity for proclaiming the Good Friday message, and it gave birth to famous hymns such as, “In the Lords atoning grief”, “The royal banners forward go”, “Sing my tongue, the glorious battle” ,' and, probably “O sacred I-lead sore wounded.”

The Latin abbreviations, St. John Elan. ant. port. lat. recall an old legend that St. John was thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil before the Latin Gate at Rome and came out unhurt.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

G.R. Balleine on May - Part 1

A piece from "The Pilot",  1958

Calendar Notes: May - Part 1
by G.R. Balleine

A strange tradition of ill-luck hangs around May.

One foolish proverb says: “Marry in May and you’ll rue the day”. But this dates hack to pagan beliefs from which we have long been liberated. , May is the month of marvels, for '' Lo, winter is past; flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come." It speaks of garlands, hawthorn, and may-poles, of laughter, love, and life. All Nature shouts aloud that better days are coming.

That is why Labour chose May Day as its Festival. It seems the symbol of all our aspirations for a jollier world, sunnier days, and a merrier life for all. May gets its name from Maia, the Roman goddess of growth.

What is more wonderful than growth"? Our prayer book bids us: '' Grow in grace and in the knowledge of Our Lord." That is the kind of growth that drives dull care away. True Christians must be growing Christians.

Our weather lore gives one warning about this month:-'` Cast not a clout, till May be out." 'The question has been raised whether this means the month or the may blossom, undoubtedly the month meant. In the North they say

Wind at North and wind at East
Is neither good for man nor beast
So never think to cast- it clout
Until the month of May be out.

The Somerset proverb runs: “If you would the doctor pay, leave your flannels off in May.

And one pessimist wrote :-
A wise than to his son did state,
` Keep on your winter things till May.'
A wiser man said to his son.
Keep on your winter things till .June,'
Then said the wisest man of all
` Best never leave them off' at all.'

The May warning has experience behind it, for a cold snap often comes this month. One proverb says:

Come it early, come it late
In May comes always the cow-quake (i.e. a cold drizzle)

And in Jersey we say “A la mie Mai queue d’hive” – at mid-May comes winter’s tail!

On May Day the month was welcomed in with rejoicings that were often indecorous; so the Puritans, when they came into power sternly repressed them.

One writer of the period said : " Every parish assembles, both men and women, and, dividing into companies, they get to the woods, where they spend the night. In the morning they return with branches to deck their assemblies. A great lord presides over their Sport, even Satan, Prince of Hell. The chiefest Jewel they bring is their May-pole. Twenty yoke of oxen, every ox having a nosegay tied on his horns, draw home this stinking idol, with two or three hundred men, women, and children following ; and being reared up, they banquet and feast, and leap and dance about it, as the heathen do at the dedication of their idols."

There was evidently a tussle on this point in Jersey, for in 1603 the Ministers appealed to the Royal Court " to find some way to abolish the superstitious ns ceremony which the people observe oh the first of' May to the great scandal of our Christian profession."

In the Church Calendar the 1st. May is the Feast of St Philip and St James ; but these two rather obscure Apostles, of whom little is recorded, failed to win enough devotion from the people to wean them from this roistering survival of pagan Nature Worship.

Two great Festivals come this month, Ascension Day and Whitsunday. Ascension Day is the Festival of Christ upon the Throne. "He ascended into heaven and sitteth on the Right Hand of God”

For forty days after Easter He appeared to His apostles. “speaking things concerning the Kingdom." 'Then on the fortieth He bade them farewell, and ' a cloud received him out of their sight."

They realized that He had passed to a wider life. The most impressive evidence for the Ascension is not its brief mention in Acts, but the quiet may it is taken for granted throughout the New Testament, e.g.. "A great High Priest who hath passed through the heavens” Christ is gone into heaven and is with the Right Hand of God.

This is the very core of Christianity, the belief that changed the face of Europe, the conviction that the Carpenter of Nazareth, who had been despised and rejected of men, holds today the highest place in the Universe: “All things are subject unto Him”

One strange superstition survives in Jersey. Because Christ passed through the clouds on Ascension Day, rainwater caught on that day is said to be good for sore eyes.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Innocent Lives

After the Manchester bombing....

Innocent Lives

It ended. What words can be said.
Ending of the music of the night
Explosion sounds: an act to blight
And so many dead, wounded bled

Young lives held by shortest thread
And evil scars do young lives blight
It ended. What words can be said.
Ending of the music of the night

The wounded, the place of dread
A slaughter of innocents, not fight
Gather darkness, comes the night
Weep, weep, so many tears shed
It ended. What words can be said.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Jersey In Colour - Part 4

Today is an extract from an early 1960s Jarrold Guide to Jersey, entitled "Jersey In Colour". How beautiful the Island looked in the 1960s!

Jersey In Colour - Part 4

From Gros Nez we look across the bay towards Plemont and some of the finest cliff scenery in the whole of Jersey. The coast is indented with tiny bays and creeks, many of which have charming little water-falls. About half-way between Gros Nez and Greve au Lancon is Cotte a la Chevre (the goat's cave), another cave- dwelling of the earliest inhabitants of Jersey.

Flint implements recovered here are even more primitive than those found in the similar cave in St. Brelade's Bay. A fascinating collection of archaeological finds from the many pre-historic monuments of the island, in addition to specimens of local fauna and flora, may be seen in the fine museum of the Societe Jersiaise, which has done splendid work in investigating the history of Jersey.

The word greve, which appears frequently in Channel Island place-names, means a sandy beach. GREVE DE LECQ on the northern coast is most aptly named, for the beach here is an excellent one. The mound on the nearer headland is known as the Castel de Lecq; it is a fine example of a prehistoric promontory fort commanding the seaway between Jersey and Guernsey. Through the headland runs a natural tunnel.

On the high ground south of Greve de Lecq we find the beautiful tree-lined Vinchelez Lane and not far away there is an interesting old sixteenth-century stone house. The headland in the distance is Sorel Point, the most northerly part of Jersey, from which there are magnificent views across to Sark and the French coast. Below Sorel is the curious "Lavoir des Dames", an almost rectangular rock-pool which forms a natural bathing-place.

The entrance gateway of GROSNEZ CASTLE is the only part of this interesting fourteenth-century ruin still standing on the edge of the cliff at the north-west corner of Jersey. Little is known of its history; it was certainly an important strongpoint during the Hundred Years War and was captured by Du Guesclin when the French attacked the island. It is also believed that it was defended by one of the De Carteret family against Parliamentary forces during the Civil War.

Its most frequent use was probably as a place of refuge for the islanders in the time of the raids by the French during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Certainly it cannot have been a permanent fortress, for there is no trace of any water supply. By the sixteenth century Gros Nez Castle was already a ruin.

GREVE AU LANCON, also known as Plemont Bay, is renowned for its steep cliffs and numerous caves many of which are readily accessible at low water. The largest has the imposing Needle Rock at its entrance, while the Waterfall Cave is curtained by a stream of water falling from the cliff above.

Romantic stories are told of the uses to which these caves have been put: smugglers figure largely in these tales, and visitors are ever fascinated by them. Of recent years the approaches to the caves have been improved by the provision of foot bridges. On a fine day the view seaward from this part of the north coast includes Guernsey, Jethou, Herm and Sark, with Alderney in the distance, while to the east one may glimpse the French coast in the neighbourhood of Carteret. The notorious Paternoster rocks lie directly north of the coast.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Cracks in the Wall

According to the JEP:

“CRACKS are beginning to appear in the Council of Ministers as ‘differing opinions’ among the Island’s most senior politicians on the Jersey Innovation Fund and hospital funding threaten to undermine ministerial government.”

“Treasury Minister Alan Maclean admitted that one of the reasons he withdrew the debate on funding for the £466 million hospital was ‘differing opinions’ within both the Council of Ministers and the States Assembly.”

But this is not the first time dissent has occurred within Ministerial Government. In 2010, we had this report from the BBC:

Jersey's Housing Minister Senator Terry Le Main has resigned from his position. He faced a vote of confidence in the States after allegations he interfered in the prosecution of a property developer. He has denied the allegations. 

 The Senator was criticised in court for writing to the Attorney General to say a case against developer Frank Venton was unfair. Mr Venton has admitted breaching housing law. The Royal Court was told that Senator Le Main is friends with the property developer, which the Senator denied.

While Terry Le Main may not have mixed socially with Mr Venton, in his register of States Members interests, it had been noted that Mr Venton, as the Creative Director of Vision Advertising has been printing the Senator's election campaign material since 1978.

Chief Minister Terry le Sueur, who was loath to let Senator Le Main go, despite previous warnings about alleged breaches of the Data Protection Law as Housing President. But Terry Le Sueur was forced into a corner, and Senator Le Main, rather than be booted out of the Council of Ministers, took the face saving course of resigning.

Intimations were made by both Chief Minister that he could in due course return to the front benches, but he never did: once out, other Ministers were keen to ensure he did not return. It is always easier to keep someone from coming back than to get rid of them!

And there were certainly cracks under Chief Minister Ian Gorst’s first term of office. A frequent voice of dissent was Deputy Rob Duhamel, the Minister for Planning and Environment, and it got to the point when storming sessions made his losing his position much closer.

But Senators Ian Le Marquand and Francis Le Gresley both defended the right of dissent, and Ian Gorst was forced to back down, although Rob Duhamel was certain hauled over the coals by his fellow Ministers. This differs from the Le Main case in that the Chief Minister wanted to sack a Minister, rather than keep him on in the face of growing opposition.

After that, it was clear that a tightening of controls was in order, so duly Senator Ian Gorst managed to get both the power to sack Ministers, although crucially the States would be the final arbiter on Ministerial appointments, and Collective Reponsibility, a charter to stifle any of the dissent that plagued him with Deputy Duhamel.

But Collective Responsibility is a double-edged sword, and means that when Senator Ozouf resigned, his return, as that of Senator Le Main, was never going to be that easy. This also underlies the withdrawal of the hospital funding, a proposition amended so many times by Senator Maclean that it was resembling a patchwork quilt.

It means that the voices of dissent within the Council of Ministers have a greater power than individual Ministers, and it means that it has been harder for Senator Gorst to restore Senator Ozouf to the inner circle.

The recent report on the Innovation Fund appeared to enonerate Senator Ozouf, pointing out he did not have political responsibility for the fund, even if he may have believed he did and other Ministers believed he did. It is a question of formal control over what happened in practice, and perhaps concentrates too much on the pure question of the former, whereas the Auditor-General’s report looked at the latter, who actually made decisions and how decisions were made.

However, recent remarks by the former Chairman, Tim Herbert, to Scrutiny have suggested there was political pressure to sign off on some loans, and at the moment, it is unclear which of the three politicians involved was indicated by this remark. So a question mark remains on all three – Senator’s Maclean, Farnham and Ozouf. The Senator is not completely out of the woods yet.

The Council of Ministers is divided over his return, as Bailiwick Express observes:”some see him as an experienced, eloquent, knowledgable and active advocate of Jersey; others believe he intrudes into areas which aren't his responsibility, and is a divisive figure who sows discord.”

Early on, a falling out led to Deputy John Le Fondre as assistant Treasury minister being sacked by Senator Ozouf.

In 2012, the JEP noted that:

“A SERIOUS breakdown in the relationship between Treasury Minister Philip Ozouf and former chief executive Bill Ogley led to the civil servant leaving his job with a £546,337 pay-off, a new report by the States independent spending watchdog has revealed.”

Mr Ogley wrote: ‘Over the last two years a sustained period of interference and harassment by the Deputy Chief Minister and Treasury Minister has made it impossible to do my job to the best of my ability.’

In 2014, as Jersey Treasury Minister, Philip Ozouf described his relationship with the departing States Treasurer as "forthright" - but strongly denied she resigned because of it. Laura Rowley resigned just days before the 2015 Budget was announced, a Budget in which she appears to have forcefully resisted the Senator’s attempts to raise the Marginal Relief threshold.

In 2014, new Treasury Minister Senator Maclean was defending him over the Waterfront, saying that commitments given last year that the Waterfront office development would not go ahead until tenants had been found for 200,000 square feet of offices were a simple mistake. 

Earlier that year, Senator Philip Ozouf as Treasury Minister had restated a commitment that the tenant threshold would have to be reached before work could begin: “I am afraid that what was said unfortunately by Senator Ozouf last year was an error. It was a mistake.” But in a statement, Senator Ozouf stopped short of calling his answer a mistake.

All Jersey's ministers have been called to a special meeting today, at which it's believed they will discuss whether to reappoint Senator Philip Ozouf.

We live in interesting times.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The Slaughter of the Innocent

As we feel for the victims of yet another atrocity, more innocent youngsters killed, never having the chance to live a long life, as we do, here are a few quuotations, not just about Manchester, but about the slaughter of the innocent wherever it occurs.

You gave to this world wonderful children. They didn’t live long lives, but they lived meaningful lives. Their lives were distressingly small in quantity, but glowingly large in quality.

Martin Luther King

No matter what cause one defends, it will suffer permanent disgrace if one resorts to blind attacks on crowds of innocent people. 

Albert Camus

Must hearts forever suffer
from ignorance and greed?
Can bombs heal our souls
or set our spirits free?

― Aberjhani

How dare they? How dare they do this to little girls? She understood now why her parents go so angry when they saw the result of bombers in the white hot streets of the Middle East, why men and women wailed in anger as well as grief as they lifted the limp bodies of children from the rubble. How dare they?

― Stephen M. Irwin

In Aleppo where children’s cries
drown out the explosions of mortar bombs
until they lose their voice,
their families, and their limbs.
Yes, hell certainly does exist
right now, at this moment,
as I pen this poem. And all we’re doing
to extinguish this hellfire
is sighing, shrugging, liking, and sharing.
Tell me: what exactly does that make
us? Are we any better than the
gatekeepers of hell?

― Kamand Kojouri

The truth is that killing innocent people is always wrong - and no argument or excuse, no matter how deeply believed, can ever make it right. No religion on earth condones the killing of innocent people; no faith tradition tolerates the random killing of our brothers and sisters on this earth. 

Feisal Abdul Rauf

There's one thing we must all be clear about: terrorism is not the pursuit of legitimate goals by some sort of illegitimate means. Whatever the murderers may be trying to achieve, creating a better world certainly isn't one of their goals. Instead they are out to murder innocent people. 

Salman Rushdie

Let all the green leaves be mine
as long as the trees define
shades created by their limbs
for the soil made with victims
of atrocity's vileness
to redeem the fragileness

― Munia Khan

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Immigration Issues

Bailiwick Express reported that:

A popular local pizza chain has had to close its St Helier outlet, citing Population Office "constraints" as the cause. Pizza Quarter, which opened in Bel Royal in 2009 and has since expanded to Grève d’Azette and Gorey, says it was forced to close its St Helier branch last week. The management have since hit out at the migration regulation department, stating that their clampdown has unfairly disadvantaged the business, despite its continual efforts to improve the Island.Deputy Jackie Hilton, speaking on Channel TV News, suggested that there must be something wrong if they could not find local workers.

It might be the case that the wages were better suited to an immigrant workforce, and were quite low. Terry on Facebook wondered if this was the case – “Something else behind the closure and just blaming an easy target. Pay a living wage and get good staff.”

It would be useful to know what wages were on offer from Pizza Quarter. I’d gladly run their advert on my blog for locals for free.

Former Constable Graeme Butcher on Facebook tells a different story:

“I know a local lad that applied for a job with that company and was willing to do all sorts of hours the owner promised to get in touch as soon as Gorey opened .. this lad kept in touch but he had employed non local, there is not a desire from many of these companies to employ local, but there are also many locals that just want to sit on their arse and take welfare,these need the Preferbial arse kicking”

Highlands College runs catering courses, and I wonder if the “Jersey Progression Diploma in Culinary Arts and Restaurant Service” provides students with sufficient skills to prepare Pizzas. Has the owner of Pizza Quarter liaised with Highlands to see if there are students looking for opportunities there?

Of course a lot of companies want ready-skilled staff, which is why the new levy proposed by Paul Routier will allow the States to put money into training and retraining, to avoid the need to buy in staff from outside the Island.

Companies will be charged £50 per year for every registered permission they hold – excluding peak season staff. Ministers are hoping to raise £600,000 a year, with half to be reinvested in skills training for islanders so that they can fill vacant job roles. As Paul Routier said:

“These fees will get businesses to really think do they actually need to have registered people when there are already people in the island who might be able to do the job for them.

“We’re going to put more money into training people up.

“Hopefully businesses will recognise the efforts we are putting in to ensure that the workforce do have the right skills for their business.”

Many Island businesses have not been very good at training staff when there is a quick and cheaper alternative – get the staff ready trained from abroad. That is certainly something which Mr Butcher is quite correct about. Changing that mindset is a difficult one, but if we are not to be stuck with exponential growth, they are a necessity.

The Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, sticks to the tired mantra that we need to grow the population to take care of the ageing population, which even the JEP sees is actually a discredited Ponzi argument.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Some Comic Cuts

Some Comic Cuts

That's Life

A sequence of mistakes in the small adverts of a newspaper, as recounted by Cyril Fletcher on “That’s Life”:

Monday: "The Rev. A.J. Agland has one color TV set for sale. Telephone 626-1313 after 7 p.m. and ask for Mrs. Jordan who lives with him, cheap."

Tuesday: "We regret any embarrassment caused to Rev. Agland by a typographical error in yesterday's paper. The ad should have read: 'The Rev. A.J. Agland has one color TV set for sale, cheap...Telephone 626-1313 and ask for Mrs. Jordan, who lives with him after 7 p.m.'"

Wednesday: "The Rev. A.J. Agland informs us that he has received several annoying telephone calls because of an incorrect ad in yesterday's paper. It should have read: 'The Rev. A.J. Agland has one color TV set for sale, cheap. Telephone 626-1313 after 7 p.m. and ask for Mrs. Jordan who loves with him.'"

Thursday: "Please take notice that I, the Rev. A.J. Agland, have no color TV set for sale; I have smashed it. Don't call 626-1313 anymore. I have not been carrying on with Mrs. Jordan. She was, until yesterday, my housekeeper.'"

Friday: "Wanted: a housekeeper. Usual housekeeping duties. Good pay. Love in, Rev. A.J. Agland. Telephone 626- 1313.'"

From “Beyond the Fringe”

Peter Cook: We are using the technology known as the "Identikit." Are you familiar with it?

Alan Bennett: Isn't that where you piece together the face of the criminal?

Peter Cook: Not entirely, no. We're only able to piece together the appearance of the face of the criminal. We can't quite piece together the actual face of the criminal, unfortunately. Once you've located the face of the criminal, the rest of him isn't hard to find.

From “Yes Minister”

Sir Humphrey: Minister, I have something to say to you which you may not like to hear.

Jim Hacker: Why should today be any different?

Sir Humphrey: Minister, the traditional allocation of executive responsibilities has always been so determined as to liberate the ministerial incumbent from the administrative minutiae by devolving the managerial functions to those whose experience and qualifications have better formed them for the performance of such humble offices, thereby releasing their political overlords for the more onerous duties and profound deliberations which are the inevitable concomitant of their exalted position.

Jim Hacker: I wonder what made you think I didn't want to hear that?

Not Only... But Also
With Peter Cook and Dudley Moore

Pete: Well, see, if there’s a fatality, if the bus is involved in a fatal accident of any kind, it’s the people up the front who get killed first, and the people up the back who get killed last.

Dud:  Well, you get killed all the same though, don’t you?

Pete: Yeah, well you get killed about two seconds later, you see, and in those last two seconds of your life you might suddenly start to believe in God, or you’d be able to make out your will or something like that.

The Two Ronnies

“West Mersea police announced tonight that they wish to interview a man wearing high heels and frilly knickers, but the Chief Constable said they must wear their normal uniforms.” “After a series of crimes in the Glasgow area, Chief Inspector McTavish has announced that he’s looking for a man with one eye. If he doesn’t find him, he’s going to use both eyes.” “

We’ve just heard that in the English Channel, a ship carrying red paint has collided with a ship carrying purple paint. It is believed that both crews have been marooned.” “

A cement mixer has collided with a prison van on the Kingston bypass, motorists are told to be on the lookout for 16 hardened criminals.”

Grove Books Jokes: Four Worms and a Lesson
A minister decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Sunday sermon:

Four worms were placed into four separate jars.

The first worm was put into a container of alcohol.
The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke.
The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup.
The fourth worm was put into a container of good clean soil.

At the conclusion of the sermon, the Minister reported the following results:

The first worm in alcohol—Dead.
The second worm in cigarette smoke—Dead
Third worm in chocolate syrup—Dead
Fourth worm in good clean soil—Alive.

So the Minister asked the congregation, ‘What can you learn from this demonstration?’

Maxine was setting in the back, quickly raised her hand and said,

‘As long as you drink, smoke and eat chocolate, you won't have worms!’

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Deaf Awareness Week: A Fair Hearing for St Augustine

A Fair Hearing for St Augustine

Augustine and the Deaf: The Myth

Look up any timeline for the deaf, and St Augustine of Hippo often gets a bad press. Here’s one example:

St. Augustine (354-430 A.D.) taught that the deaf are excluded from salvation on the grounds that they cannot hear the Word of God, citing St. Paul: "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). St. Augustine also taught that handicapped children were the results of the "sins" of their parents.

And some others:

  • St. Augustine remarked that deaf people were a representation of God’s anger towards the sins of their parents. 
  • St. Augustine interpreted the birth of handicapped children as proof of man's natural depravity, a sign that children were punished for their father's sin
  • St. Augustine tells early Christians that deaf children are a sign of God’s anger at the sins of their parents

These are the most common statements you will find on the subject of St Augustine and deafness, the ones which come up in article after article, which appear on web pages as soon as you goggle “Augustine” and “deafness”. And they are all quite wrong. So why did they get it so wrong? And what did Augustine really say?

What Augustine observed and wrote

Christian Laes in “Silent Witnesses: Deaf-Mutes in Graeco-Roman Antiquity” notes that:

“St Augustine believed that faith comes by hearing and that deafness is a hindrance to faith. However, he believed that Deaf people can learn and thus are able to receive faith and salvation. Augustine refers to bodily movements, signs, and gestures, and believed that these modes were capable of transmitting thought and belief. He implies that it is equal to spoken language.”
“In his De Magistro Augustine suggests that deaf-mute people were a relatively commonplace constituency, that the deaf were not entirely isolated from the broader hearing society (since there was communication between both groups by means of gesture), and that deaf-mutes also communicated quite sophisticatedly with each other.”

In translation, Augustine says:

“Have you never noticed that people almost talk to the deaf with gesture? Did you never see how by their gestures deaf people ask, answer, teach, or show everything they want or at least most of it? In these situations, not only visible things are expressed without words, but also sounds and tastes and other similar things. Also actors in the theatres are able to explain and display whole stories without using words.”

Christian Laes comments:

“We know that the ancients sometimes recurred to quite elaborate sign language for other occasions: finger counting and rhetoric performance, as well as the so-called "mute" trade with people who spoke an utterly foreign language. Further, Augustine at least theoretically takes into consideration that two deaf-mute people might marry each other. Even if their children were not deaf, they still would learn to express themselves with gesture, particularly if the couple were isolated”

And most notably, Augustine mentions a very well-known handsome and elegant young man in Milan who was both deaf and mute. Here is a translation:

Augustine: But surely, did you not see at Milan a young man of excellent physique and refined manners, yet so mute and deaf that he understood others only by means of signs and that only in the same way could he express what he wished? This man is very well known. I also knew a farmer and his wife who could speak, yet they had four sons and daughters, or perhaps more (I do not recall exactly how many), who were deaf and dumb: dumb, because they couldn’t speak; deaf, because they could take in signs only through their eyes.

Scott G. Bruce in “Silence and Sign Language in Medieval Monasticism” notes a recent study of Augustine - L. A. King, Surditas: "The Understanding of the Deaf and Deafness in Writings of Augustine, Jerome, and Bede."  Bruce comments:

“Contrary to received opinion, the grim social fate of pre-modern deaf children was not mirrored by the teaching of the Church on the issue of their salvation. Over the past hundred years, historians of deaf education have drawn repeatedly, but selectively from the letters of the apostle Paul and the writings of Augustine of Hippo to construct and perpetuate the argument that ancient and medieval Christian thinkers adhered literally to the notion that Faith comes by hearing (Rom. 10:I7) and therefore denied the hope of salvation for deaf people.”

“This presumption has been shown to be completely false. In a brilliant piece of revisionist history, Leslie A. King has argued that uncritical reverence for nineteenth century scholars of deaf education has allowed their erroneous presumptions about medieval attitudes toward the deaf to circulate unquestioned and unexamined down to the present day.”

“Her careful analysis of the Latin terminology for deafness employed by Augustine and other patristic authors and their respective opinions about the deaf and their hope of salvation has led her to conclude that ‘the tradition that Augustine condemned to hell on account of Romans 10:17 is utterly unfounded - is completely at odds with - ideas - attitudes he displays at length and in detail in De Quantitate Animae and De Magistro.’”

Augustine's Theology and Deafness

So let us look at Augustine’s words about deafness which have been mistranslated and misunderstood. These come from his third book “Contra Julianum”, where he writes

“Since you also deny that an infant is subject to original sin, you must answer why such great innocence is sometimes born blind; sometimes, deaf. “

“Deafness is a hindrance to faith itself, as the Apostle says: 'Faith is from hearing.' 'Indeed, if nothing deserving punishment passes from parents to infants, who could bear to see the image of God, which is, you say, adorned with the gift of innocence, sometimes born feeble-minded, since this touches the soul itself? “

“Or is each of you feeble-minded, so that none thinks feeble-mindedness an evil, although as Scripture says: 'The mourning for the dead is seven days, but for a feeble- minded man and ungodly man all the days of their life.'”

“Does anyone not know that those whom people call 'morons' are so dull by nature that some have almost as little wit as cattle? Yet you do not wish to say that from the beginning, when the human race deserted God, it contracts the offense of its condemned origin, which fully deserves to suffer all these punishments it endures except where the inscrutable wisdom of the Creator spares it, mysteriously, according to His plan.”

“There is no basis for your judgment that there cannot be offense in infants, because there can be no offense without will, which they do not possess.' This assertion may be correctly made about a personal sin, but not about the contagion by way of origin of the first sin. If there were no such sin, then infants, bound by no evil, would suffer nothing evil in body or in soul under the great power of the just God. “

“Yet, this evil itself took its rise from the evil will of the first man; so that there is no other origin of sin but an evil will.”

Now let us see what Augustine is saying. First of all, he is saying that being dead is “a hindrance to faith” because it makes education and understanding more difficult. That’s not the same as saying it is impossible, and that while this is expressed negatively, as we have seen, he was very observant, and could see that by gestures – not necessarily signing, but more what might be called “acting out” or “miming”, deaf people could communicate successful. It was just harder for them to do so.

Secondly, he is most certainly not saying that “deaf children are a sign of God’s anger at the sins of their parents”. Rather he is understanding deaf children as a kind of scarred and damaged image of God, and he sees the image of God is damaged in everyone; this is just one manifestation of it.

So the locus is not the sins of the parents, but the damaged state of the parents, what he terms “contagion by way of origin of the first sin”, or what might also be called “original sin”. It is clear from his writing that this “contagion” he sees almost what we would now call genetic – inherent defects in nature passed down from one generation to another.

It is this “original sin”, this defect in human nature, which he sees as that “deserving punishment passed from parents to infants” It is no action on behalf of the parents, but simply a kind of moral and physical genetic flaw, which sometimes manifests itself in children born deaf.

He also is to some extent a realist: while he believes that healing can take place, he has seen innumerable cases when it is not:

“Moreover, our Lord's words about the man born blind that this did not happen because of his own sin or the sin of his parents, but that the works of God were to be made manifest in him cannot be applied to the innumerable infants born with such great variety of faults in soul and body. For, indeed, there are many who are never healed at all, but die with those same faults, at another age, or even in infancy; and some infants already reborn retain the faults with which they were born, while other evils of the same kind may also be added.”

In Augustine’s view this “fallen state” or “original sin” is a defect which we carry in our very being, so that it is impossible for anyone to live a sinless life. He is looking for an explanation of handicapping conditions, and he doesn’t see that all the children born disabled can be said to have been done so to show the works of God to be made manifest.  God can heal, but Augustine doesn’t see it as something we can take for granted.

To some observers, that a disabled person does not receive a miraculous healing is a sign that the person lacks religious faith. For Augustine, this is not the case: it is that the disability is part of the flawed biology of human beings. In many ways, no body functions well, for they are all corrupt.

How are they born in this way? Because of flaws in our biology. Why one person and not another? Augustine sees this as  an “insoluble problem.”  There are no simple answers, and he is honest enough to say so.

He does think of this “moral defect” in our being as being something that was a matter of biological transmission, so that children inherit it because their parents also inherited it. It was not because of any actions, and those statements which link Augustine to saying deafness in a child was a result of parent’s wrongdoing are mistaking “original sin” for “sins”. It is a state of being which we all share.

One we might say is the genetic potential for actions which are morally defective, from which can come the defective acts themselves.

But what then of sex? Although that is the means by which the flawed image is transmitted, which is in line with his genetic view of "original sin", Augustine is very determined not to take the view that sex is in any way evil or that the body is bad:

“I have never censured the union of the two sexes if it is lawfully within the boundaries of marriage. There could be no generation of human beings without such union, even if no sin had preceded it. As to the second proposition you add as mine, that children are born of the union of bodies: this I do say indeed, but the conclusion you wish to draw as mine is not mine."

"I do not say that children, coming from an evil action, are evil, since I do not say that the activity in which married persons engage for the purpose of begetting children is evil. As a matter of fact, I assert that it is good, because it makes good use of the evil of lust, and through this good use, human beings, a good work of God, are generated.”

And elsewhere he says: “actual bodies are certainly not to be treated with contempt, since we wear them in a much closer and more intimate way than any clothing.”

Two Views of Human Nature

While we may certainly see the story of the “fall of Adam” as mythological, I have only ever come across two distinct explanations for the way in which human beings seem inherently incapable of living perfect lives we seem to have a propensity for both good and evil, some kind of flaw in our genetic makeup. Something seems to have gone wrong right at the beginning when human beings evolved into intelligent moral beings.

One is that which was popularised in the notion of the tabula rasa, the blank slate of the philosopher Locke, the innocent savage of Rousseau, in which the moral defects are spread by a kind of cultural contamination, what Dawkins would call a meme. But we know the tabula rasa is false: there is no blank slate. Steven Pinker firmly demolished that.

The other is that how we behave, and how badly we can behave, is part of our genetic heritage, perhaps also linked with the peculiar self-awareness we seem to possess, that we alone seem capable of moral reasoning, and communicating the reasoning. It is spread by a kind of genetic contagion. And bodies themselves are also never perfect: and this lack of perfection is also transmitted genetically. 

We should not of course that the ability for cultural contamination to take place, can itself be seen as an innate flaw in human nature, so this theory encompasses the other as a special case. It is very much a Darwinian kind of explanation: our DNA is defective.

This is the side on which Augustine came down on, but he also was aware in his writings that despite the obstacles which our flawed nature can throw up, such as deafness, that human beings can and do overcome and compensate for those obstacles. It may be hard for the deaf-mute to understand: it is not impossible. It may "hinder faith"; it does not prevent it.

And in conclusion..

A few past historians misunderstood Augustine, and attributed to him positions on disability which he never held, and unfortunately these are widely copied without reverting to source material. But modern historians have looked more closely at what he said, and concluded that the older views were simply reading into the his writings what was not there.

Augustine’s affirmation that life is always worth living despite the many and varied sufferings which beset humankind. The body is good, not evil, indeed  he also says “a woman’s sex is not a defect, it is natural.” 

Augustine also has a very positive perspective on disability:  ‘What does it matter, as he grows up, whether he speaks or makes gestures, since both these pertain to the soul?’

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Deaf Awareness Week: Children of Silence

For deaf awareness week 2017, this poem:

Children of Silence

In the beginning was the silence
Before the word was spoken
And the shattering of worlds
And the vessels of light broken

A silence over the great deep
She is only begotten daughter
Now awakening from her sleep
There are ripples on dark water

Noise erupts, big bang explodes
Cosmic symphony, searing light
Stars linked one by one as nodes
Silence: dark matter alone in night

The children of noise are seen and heard
The children of silence have signed word

Friday, 19 May 2017

Deaf Awareness Week: Being Deaf in Jersey, 1861

For Deaf Awareness Week, as it is Friday when I usually do history blogs, I thought it might be interesting to look back to the past, and I’ve chosen the 1861 census. But this is not just about Jersey in 1861, it is also about deaf people, in particular those described as deaf-mute, unable to hear or speak.

That year the population of Jersey was 55,613, which was down from 57,620 at the previous Census if 1851. The decline was attributed not to any decline in the advantages of Jersey but the reduction in the disadvantages in the UK,  due to an increase in public revenue, and the benefits of free trade, enabled the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer to remove heavy fiscal duties. Hence there was less incentive for inward migration, and some families may have returned to their UK roots.

The census enumerators did their task well, but mistakes could creep in. This was because it was clear that in a few cases, those unable to speak were not unable to hear – as is indeed the case with some autistics, and also some mentally handicapped people may have also been were erroneously returned as deaf-mutes. On the other side, some younger children unable to hear or speak were probably not counted, as parents, not unnaturally, and much as happens today, clung onto the hope that perhaps their children would begin to speak.

According to the Census returns for the UK, the number of.the deaf-and-dumb (including under that term all who were described as dumb) in England and Wales, was 12,236—of whom 6,841 were males and 5,395 females—being in the ratio of 1 in 1,640 of the general population. In 1851 the number returned was 10,314 (5,640 males and 4,674 females), and the ratio to the population was 1 in 1,738.

This was a numerical increase on 19 percent, while the population only showed a 12 percent increase. The reasons are not apparent. The 1851 figures might have been understated, or there could have been a significant rise in the infirmity of deaf-dumbness.

We do know that epidemics raged around the UK during the 1850s and 1860s, and this could have caused an increased in “acquired mutism”. When this occurred early before children have learned to speak, it could destroy or reduce hearing, and dumbness would be the consequence.

Key diseases of the time were scarlatina [scarlet fever], typhus, small-pox, measles, and these were undoubtedly the most common causes of acquired deafness; indeed scarlatina caused more children to become deaf-and-dumb than from any other malady.

Coming to Jersey, population 55,613, the census tells us that there were 23,012 inhabited houses in the islands, and 6.23 persons to a house. Of course, as we can see from the great town houses, or the large country dwellings, this could be a result of having live-in servants.

The census also tells us that there is a great excess of women in the islands; thus, to 100 men of the age of 20-40, there were 133 women, and at the higher ages the disproportion subsists. And of 1,000 women of the age of 25-30, there are 503 wives, 471 spinsters, and 26 widows.

The population of those described as “Deaf and Dumb” was relatively small, with 31 individuals in Jersey compared to 72 blind people.

Of these deaf and dumb, 14 were male and 17 female. They are also categorised by age:

Under 5 – 1 boy
5+ years – 2 boys 1 girl
10+-years 1 boy
15+years 3 boys 2 girls
20+ years 2 men 2 women
25 + years 1 man 2 women
30 + years none
35 + years 4 women
40 + years 1 man
45 + years 2 women
50 + years 1 man 2 women
55 + years 1 man
60 +years - none
65 + years 1 woman

If they were in institutions, these would probably have been the General Hospital at St Helier or that at St Brelade. Hospitals at the time also took in orphans and functioned in part like a poor house or workhouse. As the Public Records Office noted, in 1861 this was:

“partly a general Hospital for the sick, partly a workhouse and school for pauper children, partly a kind of prison for the dissolute and refractory of all classes and lastly the only receptacle for pauper lunatics, and without any resident medical man.”

We don’t have a breakdown showing occupations, if any, for Jersey alone, but tables do exist giving details occupations for the whole of Jersey (31), Guernsey (17) and the Isle of Man (39)

Occupations of the deaf-and-dumb males over these regions include 1 commercial clerk, 1 sail maker 1 house proprietor, 1 tailors. 4 shoemakers, 1 grocer, 3 labourers, 1 gentleman (!), but 11 had no stated occupation and probably were unable to work. There were 20 children of whom 3 were described as scholars suggesting they accessed some kind of education.

Occupations of the deaf-and-dumb females include 1 teacher, 2 domestic servants, 2 cooks, 1 housemaid, 3 seamstresses, 1 gentlewoman (married to the gentleman?), but 18 not taking part in any kind of employment. There were 10 children, but no scholars.

Geoff Wright’s De La Mare family tree has an entry for Jane Mary De Gruchy was born in 1843 in St Helier. The 1851 census shows her living at 29 Columberie St Helier Jersey, Age 7. The census shows "Both" in Blind/Deaf dumb column. But aged 17, in 1861, her occupation is listed as dressmaker.

The general tables for the UK and Channel Islands overall show that, as the report put it, “it is satisfactory to observe that the heavy calamity under which they labour does not disqualify a large proportion.. following a great variety of those pursuits which sweeten the life of man by increasing his usefulness.”

But institutions for the for the education of the deaf-and-dumb were only just increasing. They depended for their support on voluntary contributions, donations, legacies, and annual payments made on behalf of the pupils. In 1861, there were 11 specialist schools in England containing together about 1,000 pupils; 5 in-Scotland with about 240 inmates, and 7 in Ireland with about 400 inmates, making in all 23 institutions with about 1,640 pupils in Great Britain and Ireland.

It is unlikely that there was any schooling in Jersey where children could access education; it was thinly spread in Great Britain. A survey concluded that “Deaf-and-dumb children cannot be grouped with other children in ordinary schools with a reasonable prospect of making much educational progress”

Specialist local help only came late in the 20th century when Ann Bailhache (later to become a Senator in the States) helped found the Jersey Deaf Children's Society with her sister in law (a health visitor) who volunteered Ann as a secretary.

The parents and children used to come to her house and somebody gave them therapy. When they started deaf children had to go to England to get help in a school - but now there are good facilities in schools.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Deaf Awareness Week: Mainly Anecdotal

Here are a few anecdotal pieces I have found which are experiences of those who are deaf, either from birth, or later in life, and their parents.

They offer a brief window into another world, a glimpse of what it is like to have difficulty hearing, or not hear at all, to lose one’s hearing and the connections with the outside world, and the difficulty that parents can face.

Jack Spear, Ph.D., author of "Neither-Nor: A Young Australian's Experience with Deafness," is a member of AG Bell and has a hearing loss. Professionally, Dr. Spear is a psychologist and consultant to the Wisconsin Disability Determination Bureau.

The loss of hearing can also mean the loss of the easy and casual learning, information gathering and social contact afforded by the gleeful exclamation of the childhood peer on the playground, the sarcastic undertone of the classroom bully or the quickly whispered enticement of the potential sweetheart. Rarely is a single such experience critical in the development of an individual's identity; rather, it is the sum of hundreds of such experiences over many years that are formative. Many of these experiences are considered mundane and taken for granted by hearing individuals, but every deaf individual has frequently said "Aha!" when the common, but ambiguous, situation suddenly becomes clear.

Nicole Iwawaki, author of "Tips for Parents," and her husband, John, are parents to Judah and Cordelia. They live in the San Francisco bay area with their cat, Jose, and often a small flock of hens. Iwawaki's current position is head dishwasher, chauffeur, home school educator, event planner and ring master. Readers can follow her blog at

Part of raising a child with hearing loss is teaching her to self-advocate. Teaching her to say "What did you say?" or "Can you speak louder?" or "I am deaf and I need to see your lips when you speak to me." Self-advocacy prepares Cordelia for the future, for when she enters her teen years and beyond, and for the day when we are no longer there to answer queries about her deafness.

Alana Nichols was born and raised in Taipei, ^ Taiwan. Profoundly deaf in both ears due to a common cavity B malformation, she underwent experimental surgery and received auditory-verbal therapy while growing up. After their experiences with Alana, her parents started the Children's Hearing Foundation in Taiwan, which has since expanded its resources to China and Japan, helping thousands of children with hearing loss. Her mother, Joanna Nichols, was the 2010 recipient of AG Bell's prestigious Volta Award.

If there is one value my parents spent the most effort ingraining in me, it would be learning to advocate for myself. For as long as I can remember, my parents made me responsible for informing teachers, classmates, friends and even strangers about my deafness and taking the necessary actions to compensate for any information I may miss as a result. Naturally this became an incredibly valuable tool in school where I learned to sit in the front, ask the teacher to face the class when teaching, and ask when I did not understand information

Ultimately, I believe many of the life values that being deaf has taught me are critical for people from all walks of life including people with typical hearing. How you view yourself is going to have a big impact on how others view you. The same goes for how you view your hearing loss. I have learned that how others respond to my deafness is often reflected in the example I set through my attitudes and actions. If I view deafness as a difficult obstacle that holds me back, I find that others will also see it as a hindrance.

Carrie Spangler, Educational audiologist with hearing loss speaks about her career, advocacy efforts and life with hearing loss

I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions growing up in a mainstream setting with hearing loss, especially in middle and high school. As with any teenager, I just wanted to fit in and be part of a group. I was already one of the tallest girls in my class, had braces, a horrible perm for my hair.. .add to that the hearing aids and talking funny. I certainly felt like an outsider and had some really "down" moments during this time of my life. As professionals, we talk a lot about the grief cycle that parents go through when they find out that their child has a hearing loss. I found that I went through many components of this grief cycle as a teenager trying to accept my hearing loss as a part of who I was. I was mad at God for making me different and went through some periods of depression.

Hearing aids are my connection to the world, to people and to my family-this inspires me to advocate for the hearing and listening needs of others, especially children who may not have the ability or knowledge to advocate for themselves.

I continuously educate my own children about what it is like to have a hearing loss and what they need to do in order to effectively communicate with mom. I also know that as a parent, I need to be sure that I can meet their needs and communicate effectively

Vivie Moraiti was born in Greece and profoundly deaf, used hearing aids most of her life, and now has unilateral cochlear implant. She was mainstreamed throughout her education, is a breast cancer survivor, and is fluent in Greek and English. In her spare time, she mentors cochlear implant recipients from around the world, plays with her camera and spends most of her summer vacations on a boat.

"I'll tell you later." "It's not important."
"Oh, never mind."

These are phrases that I have often heard, ever since I was little. Now, I hear them less often because when I don't understand something, I simply laugh without knowing why they're laughing or I make a sad face because everyone else does it. I always say that I can't act or lie to save my life, and yet I do it anyway. Since I received my cochlear implant, I still have these "bluffing" moments, but not as often as before. About 90 percent of the time, though, when I ask friends what's happening in a conversation, I'll get the answer: "I'll tell you later." And when, later, I remind them, they'll almost always answer that they "forgot" what it was about. Some, more honest people say it was really NOT that important.

Well, it WAS important to me, even briefly so. If I'm asking, it means that it matters to me, and that I want to understand and participate. The problem is that nobody will cooperate. And then they wonder why I avoid large gatherings, coffee dates and bars, and prefer to have oneon-one meetings or gatherings at home with a relaxed feeling and few people.

At large gatherings, banquets, weddings and baptisms, I simply do not try to follow along. I prefer to kill time with dancing or people-watching. And generally try to leave when it's not rude to do so. I could make a fuss over "I'll tell you later," but I now realize that if the other person does NOT want to include you, it's not worth spending time with him/her.

Dear readers, if you have someone to whom you tell this phrase often, especially if she is deaf or hard of hearing, stop and think for one minute how she will feel when you tell her. Think about how it will sadden her, especially if it's the umpteenth time she has heard it. Turn around and spend five minutes to include and explain. Show her the way and you will make her hour, day, even week. If you absolutely have to tell her this phrase.. ..KEEP your word and tell her! Even if it seems unimportant to you.