Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Age of Anger: A Review

"Oh, tell me who was it first announced, who was it first proclaimed, that man only does nasty things because he does not know his own interests; and that if he were enlightened, if his eyes were opened to his real normal interests, man would at once cease to do nasty things, would at once become good and noble because, being enlightened and understanding his real advantage, he would see his own advantage in the good and nothing else?" (Dostoevsky)

“Just as nations crown their despots in their periods of weakness, so human nature in its periods of weakness craves for despots, more than it ever craved for liberty” (G.K. Chesterton)

The book of the week last week on BBC Radio 4, “Age of Anger” by Pankaj Mishra is an interesting book. It is part history, party social commentary, looking mainly on the cultural changes of the last decade and the toxic politics that we have seen arise from that but at also at the deeper roots behind it.

It looks at the backlash against globalism, and the seductive narrative of progress. The myth of progress, what was termed the “Whig view” of history received its first major setback with the First World War, followed by a period of cautious optimism which received its second setback with the rise of the age of dictators – Spain’s General Franco, Lenin and then Stalin in Russia, Hitler in Germany and Mussolini it Italy. These were the strong leaders, who harnessed technological advances for weapons of terror and conquest.

But in the post-war generation, a sunny optimism began to reassert itself despite the setbacks, with the rapidly changing face of technology, and the advent of a more global economy. Here, an increasing technological obsolescence and throw-away mentality replaced make and mend but was in itself replaced with the vision of the next upgrade.

The momentum, it seemed, even despite the fall of the Twin Towers to Islamic extremism, the bombings in Madrid and London, and the economic shocks on 2008, seemed unstoppable. Despite increased regulation, bankers bounced back, and the bonus culture returned.

And he points how the Berlin wall signified the end of the cold war, and ostensibly an age of hope:

“In the hopeful years that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the universal triumph of liberal capitalism and democracy seemed assured; free markets and human rights would spread around the world and lift billions from poverty and oppression. In many ways, this dream has come true: we live in a vast, homogenous global market, which is more literate, interconnected and prosperous than at any other time in history.”

But as Pankaj Mishra, points out, these visions and the changes they wrought had a downside in a time of uncertainty, and feelings of impotence about politics and economics:

“People in the media, in politics, in business who had let themselves become intoxicated by these visions of universal progress. And I think what we forgot is that this experience of great economic disruptions - people being laid off, jobs disappearing - all this has led to a lot of uncertainty and, indeed, induced feelings of powerlessness amongst lots of people all around the world. “

“I think equality defines the modern world. You know, that is what we all set out to achieve a long time ago. So what we've seen in the last three decades is that, you know, a lot of old hierarchies have been dismantled. Anyone can make it. A slumdog can become a millionaire.”

“You know, that has been that sort of dominant ethic. That has been at least the propaganda that a lot of people have believed in. And when they find their way blocked, the frustration and the rage is infinitely greater than, say, the 1960s or '70s.”

As Isaiah Berlin prophetically noted in 1972:

“Nationalism does not necessarily and exclusively militate in favour of the ruling class. It animates revolts against it, too, for it expresses the inflamed desire of the insufficiently regarded to count for something among the cultures of the world. The brutal and destructive side of modern nationalism needs no stressing in a world torn by its excesses”

And this has led to what Pankaj Mishra calls “the age of anger”, where people are searching for causes, for someone or something to blame. It has no great dictators leading the scapegoating, but this is the time when the mediocre demagogue, voicing the zeitgeist, is most dangerous:

“I think there is a dangerous form of democracy where a people, a community are formed around the idea of exclusion. So I would argue against that kind of democracy or thinking that forming a sovereign people or taking back control by building high walls and by demonizing minorities or immigrants actually is democracy because what it is basically saying - that democracy is only reserved for these people who happen to have a particular skin colour or who happen to have a - or share a particular religion”

“Nationalism,” Mishra writes, “has again become a seductive but treacherous antidote to an experience of disorder and meaninglessness.”

And he sees this in the politics of today:

"Demagogues of all kinds, from Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan to India's Narendra Modi, France's Marine Le Pen and America's Donald Trump, have tapped into the simmering reservoirs of cynicism, boredom and discontent,"

He sees as a false and simplistic theory that which lays the blame for the turmoil of the modern world in a clash of civilisations, between Islam-inspired terrorism and modernity. Rather it is the backlash against modernity which has emerged, in religious forms with Islamic fanaticism in the Middle East, Hindu extremists in India, and Christian fundamentalists in America, but also with a secular form, in which nationalism becomes the new idol, and the remedy against the ills of modernity.

Chesterton noted that: “It is because man has always had the instinct that to isolate a thing was to identify it. The flag only becomes a flag when it is unique; the nation only becomes a nation when it is surrounded”

This ties in with Isaiah Berlin who commented on the origins of nationalism:

“Nationalism, unlike tribal feeling or xenophobia, to which it is related, but with which it is not identical, seems scarcely to have existed in ancient or classical times. There were other foci of collective loyalty. It seems to emerge at the end of the Middle Ages in the West, particularly in France, in the form of the defence of customs and privileges of localities, regions, corporations, and, of course, states, and then of the nation itself, against the encroachment of some external power, Roman law or Papal authority, or against related forms of universalism, Natural law and other claims of supranational authority”

It is defined against what it is not, a revote against the status quo in which, as Berlin notes, “protest against this takes the form sometimes of a nostalgic longing for earlier times, when men were virtuous or happy or free, or dreams of a golden age in the future.”

And this leads to the need to define the other, the outsider, the stranger. As Zack Hunt comments:

“When patriotism becomes an idol, the poor can become our enemies, the alien among us can become someone to be feared and the outcast can become someone we actively seek to marginalize. When patriotism becomes an idol, the ‘other’ whom we despise is the least of these.”

Pankaj Mishra gives no solutions to the emerging patterns of this age of anger, but only a cold and sober warning:

“The unprecedented political, economic and social disorder that accompanied the rise of the industrial capitalist economy in nineteenth century Europe, and led to world wars, totalitarian regimes and genocide in the first half of the twentieth century, is now infecting much vaster regions and bigger populations. Societies organized for the interplay of individual self-interest can collapse into manic tribalism, if not nihilistic violence.”

“Future historians may well see such uncoordinated mayhem as commencing the third — and the longest and strangest - of all world wars - one that approximates, in its ubiquity, a global civil war.”

Monday, 20 February 2017

The Lyndon Farnham Portfolio of Political Expressions

Vote for me: The Estate Agent Pose

Practising the secret "Council of Ministers" handshake

Waiting for that boat to come in

5 hours later... still waiting for that boat to come in!!

Remembering when he was a humble backbencher

Modelling for Rodin's "The Poseur"

Why do people think I sit on the fence?

In front of the latest failure from the States Innovation Fund, plagued by mistakes.

Trying to look like a heavyweight politician

Eventually your boat may come in.... or not!

At the launch of the Rural Economy Strategy. Don't mention Food Security!

Still trying to climb the greasy ladder...!

And I though I'd end on a nice note for Lyndham...

My politics are about hope, health, vigour, vitality and opportunity for all

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Some Church Customs Explained: The Lectern

From "The Pilot", 1968 comes this:

Some Church Customs Explained
By S.G. Thicknesse

Why is the Lectern an Eagle?

The lectern is an eagle (or sometimes a pelican) because the Christian Church, generally speaking, is no longer afraid of symbolism.

The eagle of the lectern, although it may well include memories of other even more ancient signs, is primarily the eagle which for centuries has connoted St. John the Evangelist.

Even in the early centuries, Christian symbols were in use, despite Tertullian's uncompromising opinion that, ' the law of God, in order to eradicate the material of idolatry, proclaims, “Thou shalt not make any idol adding also, “nor the likeness of anything “over the whole world hath it forbidden such arts to the servants of God.'

Christians from the beginning had made the sign of the cross, first in the air, and then on to walls and tombs and manuscripts. In time of persecution they had scored the catacombs in Rome with the secret symbol of the fish, an acrostic on the name of Jesus. Very early, too, they had taken and used symbolism from the Old and New Testaments to connote the writers of the four gospels.

In the earliest of the illustrations known, in the Lateran Church at Rome, in Milan, and in the church which Paulinus built at Nola, the four rivers of paradise of the Book of Genesis are used to denote St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John.

By t-he sixth century other symbols had tended to become even more favoured. The four beasts of the Revelation, and their prototypes from the vision of Ezekiel, had long been believed to be symbolic of the four Evangelists, and St. Jerome in the fourth century explained the special suitability of each.

St. Matthew, he said was denoted by the third beast which had the face of a man, because he began his gospel with the Lord's human genealogy. St. Mark was denoted by the first beast, which was like a lion, because he testified to the Lord's royal dignity, and at the end of his gospel to the terrible condemnation of unbelievers. St. Luke was denoted by the second beast which was like a calf or an ox, because he dwelt on priest-hood and the sacrifice of Christ.

The fourth beast, St. Jerome said, which was like a flying eagle, denoted St. John, because it was he who contemplated the Lord's divine nature. The idea of the eagle-or, more properly, the griffon, a form of vulture-was very deep and old in many parts of the ancient world. It appeared, for example, with the viper uraeus, as the usual ornament of a divine or royal head-dress in Egypt, and later on the standards of the Roman legions.

Strict Jews had been constantly on the alert against the inroads of strange beasts into Israel, especially of the ox, the lion, the serpent, and the eagle, the darling idols of the teeming pagan world by which they were surrounded. Even the twelve oxen on the molten sea with which Solomon embellished the temple, and the lions round about his throne, were objects of fierce suspicion. Later, a band of zealots threw down the image of a golden eagle which Herod the Great, the half-Jewish half-Arab king, had erected over the great gate of the Temple.

But by the fifth and six centuries after Christ these ancient terrors had been nearly tamed, and Christians with impunity decorated their churches and the furniture in them with lions' heads and doves, with peacocks, fishes and eagles.

It was natural, therefore, when special "lecterns" came to be made to hold the sacred books, which often became too heavy merely to prop on the ambo (the original " pulpit of the reader ") that they should often be decorated with symbols. It was also especially suitable that they should be decorated with the symbols of the Evangelists.

Though lecterns of many patterns made early in England-like the fine wooden one (c. 1450) in Ramsey Church, Huntingdon, or the great brass pelican in Norwich Cathedral-from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, an eagle lectern of wood or brass became very popular in this country.

Like that which Suger, Abbot of St. Denis, made in the middle of the twelfth century, these eagles held the book on their outspread wings, as does a fine early sixteenth-century lectern in St. Stephen's, St. Albans.

It was probably because the eagle could be so well adapted to the purpose of a lectern that it was the symbol of any of the other three, which became so common.

Saturday, 18 February 2017


The recent spate of mists prompted this poem, which also references images from the Doctor Who serial "Full Circle".


The air is suddenly so chilled
A few wisps of mist appear
Until the very air is filled
It is again that time of year

Mistfall over hill and dale
Creeps along the river bank
Hiding track and every trail
Sight ahead just sees a blank

From the lakes, shadows rise
Comes the time of fear so harsh
All around, are haunting cries
Creatures rising from the marsh

Fear the mist, lest we lose our way
As now the terrors this way stray

Friday, 17 February 2017

Gorey 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.

MONDAY Gorey-La Hougue Bie Eastern Coastline – Part 1

The beds in this hotel are comfortable, there is central heating, and our bedroom faces east so that we get the early morning sun. Owing to the fact that the solitary elderly people who abound in great numbers have large portions of butter and fruit on their tables, I conclude that they are residents who live in Jersey hotels to escape the English income tax.

These elderly people at one end of the scale, and at the other end of the scale the young folk, honeymooning or in gay-time parties, form the large proportion of the guests.

These, together with a fair sprinkling of connoisseurs of drinks of all kinds. Indeed, out of the nature of things, these islands are something of a Mecca to bar-supporters. In our peregrination of the shops yesterday one found numerous shops that combined some other vocation with bright displays of variegated types of liquor that put our more sombre-looking English off-licences to shame. Gin 16s. 6d. per bottle, whisky 19s per bottle, Cointreau 25s., Martini 12s., Dubonnet 11s. 6d., were some of the prices I noticed while Players and other popular brands of cigarettes were 1s.6d. for twenty, with Balkan Sobranies likewise much cheaper.

I have found myself the subject of adverse criticism in some of my books in my eagerness to impart useful information of this character. However, on this occasion I would feel myself guilty of dereliction of duty towards numbers of my readers had I omitted this now. Bass and Worthington incidentally are 8d., and whisky or gin and vermouth 1s. 6d. -first-class hotel prices, at which the profit must be quite considerable. I was glad to find that 1s. and 1s. 3d. was the more usual run of prices for spirits in the average pub.

Licensing hours for sale of alcoholic drink, under the Licensing Jersey Law of 190o are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. in winter and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. in summer on weekdays, with later opening in the morning and a closing break between 1 p.m. and 3.30 P.M. on Sundays. Off-licence sales are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays.

The advantages of these liberal arrangements in adding to the enjoyment of the average temperate holiday-maker far outweighs any deleterious atmosphere that may be created by the small minority of all-day sozzlers. Indeed, exhilarated as I was during the succeeding days to find that I could, if I wished, obtain whatever I wished to drink at any hour at reasonable cost, I found our national English custom of afternoon abstinence still lay heavy on me. 

Inner compulsion, inbred through the years, saved me from the sacrilegious act of consuming with anything more innocuous than cups of tea during what for the majority of my active life I have been accustomed to regard as the forbidden hours. I did not take advantage of the liberty accorded to me as frequently as I had expected to. I was not to stay in the Channel Islands long enough to rid myself of this "tabu". 

Looking back over yesterday's impressions of our drive round the west part of the Island, I was most struck by the large proportion of Jersey cows grazing and the number of green fields. All these cows are tethered to stakes in the ground, so closely as only to give them room to lie down. There are very few glass-houses, not nearly as many as I was later to see in Guernsey, but there are plenty of indications of outdoor cultivation of potatoes and tomatoes. Quite large fields were devoted to these. 

I was struck by the prosperous look and dignified appearance of many of the granite farm houses. In their straight sheer outlines they resemble their French opposite numbers more closely than they do the houses of the English countryside; though the small one-storey houses in the more exposed parts convey the atmosphere of the Atlantic coasts of our own larger island.

Here and there one sees the remains of the old cider presses with their large stone wheels and long crankshaft. Cider-making was once a considerable industry, but now the apple orchards have been cut down to make way for the fields of the more profitable potatoes and tomatoes. There are few flowers about in the country districts, other than the bushes of hydrangeas which border certain stretches of the road. 

The Jersey farmer has little time or space to waste on flowers on his valuable plots of land. A curiosity that can be seen to advantage later in the year, however, is the peculiar long-stalked Jersey cabbage, which grows to a height of as much as twelve feet in a long stalk with a sparse collection of leaves on the top. In some places these stalks are hardened, polished and used as walking-sticks.

At St. Peter's we saw an ancient windmill that had been converted into an hotel, but it has not been improved by the addition of a concrete bar.

The coast scenery is everywhere magnificent. There are glorious wide, long and sandy beaches that look hard and perfect for riding which I am told is very popular in the island, though I didn't see a single rider all day.

There are several points about the Royal Court House that I forgot to mention, notably a plaque to "Messire" Walter Ralegh who was Governor of Jersey from 1600 till 1603; also the fact that the Bailiff was dressed in scarlet robes and in front of him stands a singularly magnificent silver gilt Mace that was presented by Charles II in 1663 "as proof of his royal affection towards the island of Jersey, in which he had twice been received in safety when excluded from the remainder of his Dominions".

The flag over the Bailiff's chair is the Banner of Normandy. It is, of course, the basic fact in the history of the Channel Islands that they were first linked to England at the time of the Conquest as part of the Duchy of Normandy.

When Normandy was lost by King John in 1204, they still remained attached to us, but as a direct fief of the English Crown, never subject to the legislation of Parliament.

This was a gusty day and cold but luckily the sun shone for the greater part of it. We caught the 10.30 bus from Snow Hill for Gorey by the eastern coast road, return fare 1s. 3d. each. This journey took half an hour along the coast line first by La Greve d'Azette and Le Croc Point, past a large number of comfortable bungalows overlooking the sea. Then by the broad sandy St. Clement's Bay to La Rocque Point at the south-east corner. It was here that the French landed in their raid under De Rullecourt in 1781 about which I have already said something.

It was no doubt on account of this that there are Martello Towers both here and along the whole length of the sandy Grouville Bay which we then traversed. I was much diverted by the use to which some of these towers had been put. In one case it looked as if a house had been built round it. By the jetty at La Rocque Point I admired the square granite house with its own private tower.

A mile out at sea is the tower known as the Seymour Tower on the islet of L'Avarizon. The land along the road to the landward side was low-lying and mainly occupied by potato fields. So, passing the Royal Grouville golf links between ourselves and the sea, we came within sight of Gorey and its imposing Castle of Mont Orgueil.

This is the most majestic view of the whole island, the natural beauty being set off by the granite castle on the high rock, and below this by the wharf and jetty of the small harbour with its line of a dozen or more continental type houses in their various pastel shades of brown, yellow,. pink and cream. The numerous small boats suggested that this place is a well-frequented yachtsman's paradise. Gorey is a place of enchantment. It is a bright gem set off by excellent sands and a clear blue sea.

Now a delectable small seaside resort, Gorey has, in its time, been quite a place. It is only fifteen miles across to the Cherbourg Peninsula of Normandy, and the hook formed by the castle hill made it the obvious landing-place for boats coming from France.

This gave it importance from the earliest times. This importance was enhanced by its oyster fishing which prospered considerably between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Indeed it is said that at one time oysters were so plentiful in Jersey that they were served free with hotel meals. Many stories are told of the unruly behaviour of the visiting oyster fishermen.

However, by the latter half of the nineteen hundreds, the oyster fisheries had been ruined by over-dredging. For fifty years from 1873 Gorey was connected with St. Helier by the Jersey Eastern Railway, but this was killed by motor bus competition and closed in 1927.

We inspected Rowley's antique shop and then climbed the steep path up to Mont Orgueil Castle. To our dismay we found that it was only open from two o'clock till six and that admission cost a shilling. It stands 310 feet above the sea. 

It is believed to have been first built during the early thirteenth century when John lost Normandy and Jersey became a frontier post. In the fifteenth century it consisted of a Keep, a middle ward and an outer ward surrounded by towers and curtain walls, most of which still remain. At the entrance stands Harliston Tower, built in 1470 by Sir Richard Harliston, the Yorkist Governor of Jersey. 

There are four gateways before the middle ward is reached. The crypt of St. George's Chapel dates from the twelfth century, and in the Keep there is another twelfth-century crypt. The upper battery of the Keep is the Somerset Tower built by the Duke of Somerset between 1549 and 1584.

The castle was besieged in 1373 by Bertrand du Guesclin, Constable of France, but though he captured the outer defences and the castle's water supply he never succeeded in capturing the Keep. In 1460 Margaret of Anjou granted it to France and through the connivance of the Governor it was seized by them and held for six years. It was retaken by Admiral Sir Richard Harliston with the aid of Philip de Carteret, the Seigneur of St. Ouen, after a siege of five and a half months.

In the Civil War it was held for the King by Sir Philip de Carteret's wife, while Sir Philip defended Elizabeth Castle. It was captured in 1651 by Admiral Blake.

William Prynne, the Puritan lawyer, was imprisoned in the castle from 1637 to 1640. The instructions for his treatment as a State Prisoner were rigorous to a degree, but he became a friend of Sir Philip de Carteret who treated him as a guest. After this Cromwell frequently used the Castle as a State prison.

It was the residence of the Governors of the island for about four hundred years.

We walked round the outside of the battlements and saw clearly in front of us the sandy beaches of Normandy and Brittany. 

We then returned to Gorey Harbour and found the Fisherman's Bar of the Dolphin Hotel, an attractive rough granite, small, cosy room decorated with a ship's bell, a ships wheel, and prints of old clipper ships. 

An old man with a white beard wearing a yellow stock asked Jill whether she was wearing the Macmillan tartan and the barman told Imogen that she was wearing the Mackenzie. We all became very Scots and friendly and only just caught our return bus at twelve o'clock. I spent most of the journey back looking for the return tickets without avail and Jill lost one of her black kid gloves.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Standing Orders

THE STATES are asked to decide whether they are of opinion:

(a) that the requirement that Senators and Deputies must be British citizens should be removed;

(b) that candidates for election as Senators or Deputies must have been ordinarily resident in Jersey for at least 5 years in total and for a period of 6 months up to and including the day of the election; and

(c) to request the Privileges and Procedures Committee to bring forward the necessary legislative changes so that the new arrangements take effect in time for the elections due in 2018.

The groundwork for this proposition came in the CPA Benchmarking Survey that was undertaken by a Sub-Committee of the Privileges and Procedures Committee earlier this year, which consisted of Deputy S.M. Bree of St. Clement, Deputy J.M. Maçon of St. Saviour, former Senator Z.A. Cameron, and Montfort Tadier, which suggested that:

“Candidates currently have to be British citizens. Members considered that 5 years’ residency should be sufficient and that the requirement for British Citizenship precluded valuable members of the Portuguese and Polish communities, as well as other nationalities, from entering political life. If Jersey had its own unique nationality, then it would seem sensible to maintain this requirement.”

Jersey politicians have voted against allowing non-British citizens from standing for election in the island. Deputy Montfort Tadier called for a change to the current rules, which stop islanders without a British passport from being part of the States Assembly. His proposition did not get the backing from the majority of politicians though, with only eight members agreeing to the idea.

31 voted against it, while two others abstained from voting.

Interestingly, given his “preamble” about the subcommittee, neither Simon Bree nor Jeremy Macon voted for the proposition.

While he cites other areas where rights have been extended – jury service, the police, voting rights, the elephant in the room was always this:

““In most other jurisdictions there is a nationality requirement for candidates for national parliaments, for example in the United Kingdom and in France.”

In fact, he cannot cite a single case of a country where candidates for election to a parliament or similar body do not have to be citizens of that country – you have to be an Australian citizen to stand in Australia, a German citizen to stand in Germany etc.

There is not a country in the world so far as I know that subscribes to the idea that a foreign national can stand for election to their parliament or national assembly. It is not enough just to be resident, but to have a commitment which comes through naturalisation.

The UK has some peculiarities of its own:

People wishing to stand as an MP must be over 18 years of age, be a British citizen or citizen of a Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland"

Lots of legacy stuff - Commonwealth dates from Empire, Republic of Ireland > is a legacy of Ireland being part of Great Britain before splitting off, and also to keep Northern Ireland in the loop.

County council elections in the UK meanwhile have an even wider brief where you must:

"be a British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of any member state of the European Union" (which of course includes Eire)

There is, however, a caveat on Commonwealth citizens, as the full criteria reads:

“ … a citizen of a commonwealth country who does not require leave to enter or remain in the UK, or has indefinite leave to remain in the UK.”

However, non-British passport holders are likely to have restrictions applied to their stay even if their home country is a member of the commonwealth, and this would in most cases preclude them from being eligible to stand.

For example, New Zealanders most definitely need to apply for a visa for the UK if they intend to stay for more than 3 months or intend to seek work. The same is true vice versa - you need a visa for entry into New Zealand on much the same basis. Hence they would not be able to stand without taking British citizenship.

And even though Adolph Hitler came from Austria, he was awarded German citizenship, a requirement before he could stand for election. It was Feb. 25, 1932 and Hitler had just been naturalized after being appointed as a civil servant in the then-free state of Braunschweig -- a crucial step for the continuation of his political career. This was a precondition for holding political office in the Weimar Republic.

Even dictators need to abide by rules of citizenship before they can run for election!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Food Security – A Strategy in Waiting

Supermarket shelves left bare after ferries delayed

"Its dependence upon the outer worlds for food and, indeed, for all necessities of life, made Trantor increasingly vulnerable." (Isaac Asimov, Foundation)

Food Security – A Strategy in Waiting

The subject of food security, along with water and energy security are rising as priorities for governments globally and particularly in locations geographically isolated or reliant on complex transport links. The Government of Jersey has started exploring the issues around food security for Jersey and perhaps unsurprisingly the majority of fresh fruit and vegetables purchased on the Island are imported.

Food security remains high on the agenda, as food production is now seen as strategically important given the rising world population and food price volatility. A draft Food Security Strategy was prepared for consideration by the Council of Ministers which sets out four main objectives:

1. Securing the availability of food
2. Securing the affordability of food
3. Securing the ability to produce food
4. Securing against supply shocks

Where is it?

Delta Innovation have this in their website:


We worked with the States of Jersey to develop a draft Food Security Strategy, which set out four objectives for food security on Jersey;

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

When I asked via a freedom of information request for the work done by Delta Innovation, the reply was

“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."”

Well here is the Rural Economy Strategy, finally, and I have yet to see the draft food security strategy.

Instead, interesting though it is, we do have responses to a survey. But of that holy grail, outlined above, no sign at all. I am extremely disappointed at the failure of the two Ministers to ensure that it was present especially given the reason for not giving the information was that it would be “integrated” with the RES.

Now I have to ask yet an another request for sight of that Food Strategy Draft.

Meanwhile, here are some of the responses to their survey, which make interesting reading.

Reponses to Survey on Food Security

The Department of the Environment included a section of questions in the 2014 Jersey Annual Social Survey (JASS) to inform the development of a Food Security Strategy for Jersey.

Although a small proportion (3%) of people were unsure how long it would be before their household ran out of food at home, a third of people (32%) judged that their household would run out of food in ‘a few days’, and a slightly higher proportion felt they would last ‘about a week’. A fifth (18%) thought they would have enough food to last around two or three weeks, whilst less than one in twenty (3%) had enough food to last a month or more, and a similarly small proportion had enough for ‘a day or less’.

The majority of people (85%) thought that the main supermarkets in Jersey would be able to keep their shelves stocked for about a week or less, if they suddenly didn’t receive any deliveries from outside of Jersey. An additional 8% felt supermarkets would be able to keep their shelves stocked for ‘around two or three weeks’ under those circumstances.

In terms of where people felt the responsibility for making sure food is affordable should lie, there were higher proportions agreeing at some level that it is up to the Government to make sure food is affordable (90%), compared to those who agreed at some level that it was up to the supermarkets to make sure food is affordable (77%).

However, in terms of where residents felt the responsibility should lie for making sure food is available for Islanders day to day, a higher proportion felt that this was up to the supermarkets in Jersey (91%) compared to those who agreed it was up to the Government (73%). 

Although in an emergency situation, for example, if supplies were unable to get to Jersey, more people agreed that it would be up to the government to make sure there was enough food available for Islanders to buy. Three-fifths (59%) of residents thought that the Government of Jersey should have a stockpile of non-perishable foods for Islanders to buy in an emergency situation. 

When asked how long they felt this supply should last for, a range of opinions were given from one in ten (9%) saying up to a few days, a third (33%) suggesting ‘about a week’, and around a quarter suggesting ‘around two or three weeks’ (25%) or ‘a month or more’ (27%).

Few people (5%) felt that all the food needed to feed Jersey residents should be grown in Jersey rather than imported, although half (50%) thought that ‘most’ of the food needed should be grown in Jersey, with some imports for variety. Two-fifths (39%) thought that ‘some’ of the food should be grown in the Island, with most being imported. Less than 1% felt that ‘none’ of the food needed should be grown in Jersey.

A quarter of households (27%) in Jersey reported growing some of their own vegetables and about a fifth (18%) grew some fruit. One in eight (13%) fished (including for shellfish) for their own consumption. Much smaller proportions of households (around one in a hundred) kept animals for eggs, meat or milk.

The majority of the public felt that that the Government of Jersey should have a stockpile of non-perishable foods for Islanders to buy in an emergency situation (2014 JASS). Agricultural land for local production should be given the highest level of protection and the implementation of the Food Security Strategy would help in securing the availability and ability to produce food locally to secure against supply shocks and help protect local farming. 

Should local production fall away, this will result in Jersey becoming almost totally reliant on imported food and potentially vulnerable to supply shocks.

And we can see this in the photo at the top of this blog!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Last Word: Jayalalitha Jayaram

I always enjoy “Last Word”, the Radio 4 obituary programme, finding out more about people I have heard of, but also being amazed by the stories of people I have never heard of, who have led amazing lives.

Alongside such notables as John Glenn, astronaut, and Peter Vaughan, actor, was Jayalalitha Jayaram who died recently, aged 68.

She was an Indian actor turned politician who served five terms as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, for over fourteen years between 1991 and 2016.

Her biographer, the novelist Vaasanthi Sundaram, told the Guardian that Jayalalithaa was “the most colourful, dynamic and determined woman politician that one has ever seen.

“She relentlessly challenged the male-dominated, sexist politics of Tamil Nadu that worked relentlessly to block her every step of the way,” she said.

The Guardian noted that:

“As the state’s first female opposition leader, she was once physically attacked in the chamber by MPs from a rival party, emerging with torn clothing and a promise never to return “until conditions are created under which a woman may attend the assembly safely”.”

“In office, she pioneered alternative energy and water harvesting schemes and reduced the rate of female infanticide by creating centres where parents could anonymously hand over baby girls. “

“She championed the cause of the rural and urban poor by introducing subsidised food canteens, providing free laptops to thousands of school pupils and students and launching other populist schemes like giving away food mixers and grinders to families.”

But she was also something of an autocrat, who dominated her party. Her policies were always carefully branded to bolster the cult of personality that formed around her.

As the BBC news reported:

“Many publicly funded projects in Tamil Nadu were named after her, including a subsidy scheme, under which canteens served food at low prices. They were dubbed Amma Canteens - Amma in Tamil is Mother, an honorific euphemism by which Jayalalitha was often addressed by her followers in the state. These were followed by Amma Bottled Water, Amma Salt, Amma Pharmacies and subsidised Amma Cement.”

She served 30 days in jail for corruption charges in 1996, and was debarred from the 2001 elections, but swept back to victory. In 2003, when her conviction was overturned, she successfully contested a vacant assembly seat and was once more chief minister of Tamil Nadu.

Indian politics is notoriously corrupt, and her critics painted her a deeply corrupt figure who manipulated the system and saw herself as above the law.

Certainly, she was not the saint she wished to be painted as, but on the other hand, most corrupt leaders hoard power and riches, and do nothing for the poor, and while it may have suited her to be popular, she really improved the lives of many.

As Al Jazeera commented:

“Gifts are commonly used by Indian political parties to court voters, but her handouts were criticised by some as wasteful pandering and unfair bribery. But Jayalalithaa defended the giveaways as welfare measures aimed at helping the poor.”

This can be seen in the reaction to her death from cardiac arrest. As news of her death spread, thousands of people thronged the road long past midnight to watch as a motorcade escorted the ambulance carrying her body from the hospital to her home.

Jayalalithaa's body, in a coffin draped with the national flag, was taken on Tuesday morning to a public hall in Chennai to allow people to pay their respects.

Sugathakumari, poet and activist, said of her:

"Sayalalithaa was a very powerful person; we haven't seen such a powerful woman in the recent times. She did a lot towards the betterment of poor and the girl children. Tamil Nadu was a place where new-born girls were killed. She was successful in bringing a change, with the society now being proud to have a girl child. For the poor, she provided food, shelter and a helping hand in conducting the weddings in their families. Her policies to promote girls' education made her a darling of the masses. She was very sensitive to women's issues and she stood for her people, which was her strength and her personality. I respect her for her progressive policies to safeguard girls and poor people."

Monday, 13 February 2017

Strange Associations

The Dean of Jersey is set to retire on 28th February 2017. I have only one book on my bookshelf with the word "Dean" in the title, and that is "The Dean's Death", an original Columbo novel based on the TV character, and by word association, I always visualise that book cover whenever the word "Dean" comes up. Goodness knows what a Freudian analyst would make of that!

The Dean in the book, however, has the title of an academic post in an American University and not a religious one like Jersey's Dean. Just like the TV show, he is one of those irritating characters who is rather two-faced and winds up lots of people who therefore have a motive to kill him, and it is for Columbo to find out who did it, and expose the truth, while the reader knows from the start.

The Dean is off to work for the Bishop of Bath and Wells - our Dean, not the one who is murdered in the Columbo book. And here I have another association, which is apparently widespread. The title "The Bishop of Bath and Wells" rang a bell with me, and I remembered why.

The Bishop is a debt collector from the Bank of the Black Monks of St. Herod, and particularly enjoys causing pain and injury (even mortal injury) to those customers who cannot repay their debts. He claims to be a "colossal pervert", and enjoys the company of prostitutes such as Mollie. He is angry when customers are able to pay up, and also drowns babies in the christening font and then eats them later in the vestibule.

That, of course, is the character from Blackadder II, not real life!

Played by Ronald Lacey (a veteran of Porridge and Raiders of the Lost Ark) the grotesque baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells seen in the episode "Money" was not a genuine historical figure.

That said, the depiction became so recognisable than in 2001 the incoming Bishop of Bath & Wells - the Right Reverent Peter Price - related to the House of Lords that upon his arrival there the Bishop of Southwark had spotted his five-week-old granddaughter and remarked "The Bishop has brought his own lunch!"

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Church News: January 1978

From the pages of "The Pilot", 1978 comes this snippet of news from St Aubin on the Hill and St Clement. Terry Hampton chose Eye Camps as a particularly good overseas charity to support because for a modest sum, sight problems could be restored.

Eye camps are still going strong today. 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide, 90% of which live in developing countries. But 80% of all visual impairment can be avoided or cured.

Both "Pilot" pages give a snapshot of life in those churches in the late 1970s. It was a time when the old certainties were being challenged, although in the case of the TV series BC The Archaeology of the Bible Lands, this was simply presenting information known to scholars for decades to the general public who were (and probably still are) unaware of those. A group of Cambridge scholars of diverse backgrounds had also published "The Myth of God Incarnate" in which they challenged more traditional conceptions of incarnation (and the weakness in some of those).


MONDAY BLUES. Even Ministers get that jaded, weary feeling we all know so well. Some deal with it by having their day off then; in the Group ministry we have a staff meeting. Whether that adds to the gloom or lightens it is sometimes a moot point! (If Gerald Stoddern [Methodist Minister, Bulwarks Church] is in good form then it certainly lightens the day.)

A few weeks ago I was surveying the piles of paper on my desk, and decided to phone one of our folk who had promised a gift for our congregational Eye Camp. The "blues" were miraculously banished when I heard that the cheque wasn't just to top-up what we needed, but a gift of one complete new Camp! So in 1977 we have provided three Eye Camps, which means that over 100 people will have sight restored and over 1,000 will get treatment to prevent them going blind. Isn't that fabulous?

In April we hope to welcome back Chris Friend, of the Royal Commonwealth society for the Blind. I have already had several cheques from other churches for another Deanery Project, and I hope that we shall get the approval of all the other clergy for this in the New Year.

CHURCH COUNCIL NEWS. At our December meeting we decided to respond to the Bishop of Winchester's Ordination Fund Appeal by sending a cheque for £100. Most of us have very little idea of how men are trained for the Ministry, and we look forward to Tony Hart, who is studying at Llandaff, coming to tell us about it all. New subjects are being added, plus the need to master the latest theological research material. (No doubt the recent "Myth" book, as well as the Magnusson archaeology programmes, made many a lively Common Room debate.) During the coming year we are committed to pay the school fees and expenses of James Quobela in Lesotho. There is a letter from James, and his school report, on display at the back of the church.

JOINT ADVENT EVENING SERVICE. We did enjoy welcoming members of the Bay and the Bulwarks to this service, and special thanks to the Bay choir for adding to the richness of the singing. Something which many people commented on was the high quality of the readings. So thanks to all who helped, and a special thanks to James our organist, who linked up everything musically with organ, piano and guitar.

I was able to use some of my Palestine archaeology slides dealing with the life of John the Baptist. We shall be using our big screen more during the winter months. One other point I must mention was that as people went out they said how welcome they had felt, and what a warm, lovely service it had been.

DATES. Sunday, January 8, at 3pm is the Epiphany Carol Service at St Bernadette's Church. The Sunday School based in the Communicare Centre will be leading parts of the service. The Area Anniversary Service is on Sunday, 22, at the Parish Church at 11 am. This means there will not be a Family Service that morning, and I do ask that we all come and worship at the Bay with our families. We will try to keep the service shorter than in previous years!

ST AUBIN'S DAY. Just to remind you again that our family adults' party is on Saturday, February 25, and our Patronal Day thanksgiving services are on Sunday, February 26. Do come, and invite a friend to come with you.

NEW YEAR. It really is difficult to think about 1978 while involved in the Christmas build-up. But in the new year we must make time to plan ahead, and more people will be needed to take on new responsibilities. Our Steward-ship pledges have come in, many of them very generous ones. We have a detailed list of Time and Talents, but still gaps and spaces. I hope and pray that we shall see a real deepening of our spiritual life together, and a widening of our love and concern, both locally and overseas. Would you use this prayer during 1978? It is part of the Lee Abbey Friend's prayer, and is relevant for every Christian.

"O God our Father, Keep us faithful in all we have promised; Keep us honest in our thinking; Keep us regular in our praying; Keep us diligent in studying your Word and in joining in your worship; Keep us brave and sensitive in sharing with others what we know to be true, through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Our love and our prayers for you all as we enter a year of challenge and opportunity for God.




My dear People.

THANK YOU! Yes, I must indeed begin by thanking those of you who so willingly and kindly sent contributions to our Patronal Gift Day. At the time of going to press the amount stands at around £760. I think it likely that more is yet to come, and I hope therefore that we shall be able to top £800.

We have already paid our Diocesan Quota (£680) in full, so that we can now look the Diocesan Treasurer squarely in the eye - not that I have ever seen the gentleman. I will let you know the final result next month, all being well.

CONFIRMATIONS. The Bishop of Winchester will be conducting the Confirmation Services during the first week in May. There will be only four: the number gets less each year, which means that an ever-increasing number of candidates has to be packed into fewer churches. Presumably tickets will again have to be issued in order that parents and Godparents may secure admission, a practice which engenders irritation on their part. However, I am neither bishop nor dignitary; have no control over these matters; can only wield my pen, which, although allegedly mightier than the sword, is less mighty than the mitre. Be that as it may, I should be glad to receive written applications from those parents who wish me to prepare their children for Confirmation, or, in fact, from any adults who wish to be confirmed.


The coffee, cake and slide evening which we held last month at Caldwell Hall was very much enjoyed, Everyone liked the slides I projected and were only disappointed that I did not bring more with me The occasion might have been better attended if, earlier on that evening, the island had not been plunged into darkness for an hour-and-a-half. This put out of gear practically everyone's cooking arrangements - and possibly shaving and toiletry ones, too! However, those of us who overcame the inconvenience thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

There will be a similar evening on Friday. January 20, at 8 pm. On this occasion, two films from the Lord Rank Film Scheme will be screened. The first film is entitled, Where Jesus Walked running for about half-an-hour, and the second, a shorter one, The Fiery Furnace. Despite its title, it is especially aimed at a children's audience. Both films are in sound and colour.

SUNDAY SCHOOL. Mrs Green has given up Sunday School teaching as she is expecting her second baby Mrs Prescott has again come to our rescue, and we are grateful to her for coming back at such short notice. Deborah and Karen continue to help. Sunday School re-opens on January 15 in Caldwell Hall. We are also planning our annual winter party, but parents will be notified separately about this. Numbers have dropped recently I they fluctuate from year to year), and I do hope that parents will seriously consider sending their children to it, for Sunday Schools nowadays are often the only media through which children receive any Biblical or doctrinal teaching at all.

I have sent out some three hundred Christmas cards. wishing you a happy New Year. If I have inadvertently left anyone out, then I repeat my wish here, adding the sure hope that God will guide and bless you throughout its course.


Saturday, 11 February 2017

A Winter’s Tale

Today I thought I'd try my hand at a villanelle again. It has been a while since I last wrote in this highly structured form.

Strange as it may seem for a poem with such a rigid rhyme scheme, the villanelle did not start off as a fixed form. During the Renaissance, the villanella and villancico (from the Italian villano, or peasant) were Italian and Spanish dance-songs.

French poets who called their poems “villanelle” did not follow any specific schemes, rhymes, or refrains. Rather, the title implied that, like the Italian and Spanish dance-songs, their poems spoke of simple, often pastoral or rustic themes.

This poem, while structured in the form, also follows that tradition in speaking of pastoral and rustic themes of winter.

A Winter’s Tale

Snow embraces branches of tree
The dryad dancing in the grove
North wind brings joy and ecstasy

Ice bound land, the senses flee
Visions of white, a treasure trove
Snow embraces branches of tree

The tall ships rise and fall, at sea
In strong waves, hard they strove
North wind brings joy and ecstasy

Winter wonderland for you and me
The dryad and satyr, dance in grove
Snow embraces branches of tree

Snow storm, joining land and sea
The Fates a tapestry have wove
North wind brings joy and ecstasy

Safe harbour, so secure the key
The ship finds shelter in the cove
Snow embraces branches of tree
North wind brings joy and ecstasy

Friday, 10 February 2017

A Letter from Sir Robert Marett in 1981

Sir Robert Marett, KCMG OBE; who died in 1981, was a Deputy for St Brelade for nine years, and shortly before his death, this letter from him was published in the Jersey Evening Post.

It is a fascinating insight into what was seen then from probably one of the most brilliant Deputies that Jersey has had. I remember Terry Hampton, when Vicar of St Aubin on the Hill, telling me of talks he had with Sir Robert, and how he was a States member who brought both commonsense and wisdom to the proceedings.

Many of the topics in this letter are perennial, problems the Island still faces to this day – population, environment, and education, and it is worth noting his comments and advice, which I think still has something to say to us today.

A Letter from Sir Robert Marett

Shortly before he died, Sir Robert Marett wrote this letter for the Jersey Society in London, though it was first published in the Evening Post on 28 October, by whose kind permission it is reproduced here. Sir Robert describes his work during nine years in the States, and looks to the future.

I entered the States as a Deputy for St. Brelade in 1972 after winning one of the two seats in a four-cornered contest. I had recently come back to the Island after my retirement as British Ambassador in Peru. Apart from helping my constituents, my main interest was with the problem of population control and the preservation of the environment.

As a new boy I entered a hard school by joining the IDC under a very determined and dedicated president, former Deputy Philip de Veulle. This is an experience which ideally every States Member should have had. It brings home to one the tremendous difficulties of controlling the use of land, against the opposition of all sorts of personal and vested interests.

I also joined in the last stages of Philip de Veulle's Immigration Committee, which reported in 1973. It produced the famous formula (often misquoted) that "the annual rate of immigration should be such that by 1995 the population would not exceed 80,000".

The argument was that "when the population approaches 80,000 a big leap in the creation of community facilities of all kinds becomes imperative and high capital expenditure would be needed".

The report went on to underline the dangers to the environment - new houses, widened roads, etc. - that would be involved.

Under the laissez-faire policies of the late Senator Cyril Le Marquand there had been a tremendous expansion of business in the Island - creating great prosperity for most of its inhabitants, but the effect on the growth of the population was disastrous. In 1961 it stood at 63,550; by 1973 it had grown to approximately 74,000.

The Immigration Committee's report, which was approved by the States, was passed to a newly-created committee, the Policy Advisory Committee.

It was not, however, a very effective body, since it had been laid down that the president of the Finance and Economics Committee should automatically be the president of the PAC, thus giving too much weight to the economic side of the equation.

The new committee did, however, produce a report on immigration, recognizing the problem to the extent of cutting down the rate of immigration to a net figure of 500, and setting up machinery, through the "Control of Undertakings", to approve the establishment of new business. Before that time the only immigration controls had been exercised by the Housing Committee. This was a step in the right direction, but in the view of many islanders did not go far enough.

So I decided as a back-bencher to try to change the constitution of the PAC - for a private member to challenge the "establishment", especially when led by such a tough character as the late Cyril Le Marquand for whom I always had the greatest respect, is no easy task. However, by some miracle, I won the day. On my proposition the States agreed that in future the president of the PAC should be an independent member elected by the States in the usual manner. At the same time the constitution of the PAC was changed and the composition of the committee enlarged so as to give more weight to the environmental interests.

At the end of 1978, I was elected as president of the new PAC, with a very competent team to help me. We immediately embarked on a new study of the immigration problem. We worked hard, had talks with almost every business organization, the trade unions and environmental bodies such as "Concern". We gave serious consideration to the possibility of adopting a policy of no net immigration at all, so that people coming into the Island would have to be balanced by those going out. But having weighed up all the factors we decided that this was impractical since it would do too much harm to business, upon which most islanders depend for a living. So we opted for a policy for the next three years of reducing the current rate of immigration by half, that is to say to a net figure of 250.

Even this reduction caused a howl of rage from some important business groups, but was no doubt a disappointment to "Concern". Our report was accepted by the States on October 16, 1979.

No sooner had this been decided than the world was hit by a severe depression, of which there had been no hint when we were drafting our report.

Unemployment began to develop in Jersey. We did not waste any time. After discussion with the Finance and Economics Committee, the guide-lines we had established for the application of the "Control of Undertakings" were relaxed, but without departing one iota from the declared policy of keeping immigration down to a figure of 250 net. It seemed a fair assumption that, with growing unemployment in the Island there would be less pressure from immigrant workers wanting to come in.

So where do we go from here? I hope that one of the first steps of the new PAC will be to take a new look at immigration policy to see whether, under the completely new economic conditions of today, some further tightening of the screw might be possible. The following are some of my own ideas about the future:

1. We badly need a voluntary agreement with all employing bodies to give first preference to applicants for jobs who are Jerseymen, or at least already have housing qualifications. Even if the qualifications of the immigrant might be slightly higher, we would hope that preference would be given to the local man.

2. If this campaign for voluntary control fails then we might have to fall back upon "work permits". In 1973, under my chairmanship, a working party of the PAC looked very thoroughly into the question of work permits, and came to the conclusion that to administer them would require too many extra civil servants and place an intolerable burden on industry. We did recommend, however, and the States agreed, that we should have the necessary enabling legislation up our sleeves in case the States should ever decide that this method of control was needed. I have been disgusted by the long delay (owing to the need for consultation with the Home Office) in getting this legislation before the House.

3. We should pay more regard to industrial training. In 1980 I chaired a working party, established by the PAC, whose recommendations have resulted in the Education Department becoming more aware of the problem, together with the setting up of an Advisory Industrial Training Council, chaired by a business man, Mr. Gordon Reed, and consisting of business men and members of the Education Committee. I have great hopes that we are now going to make a lot of progress in this important field.

4. One of the problems is that at least 30 per cent of our school leavers have sub-standard educational standards and therefore need special training. At the moment too many of these people are registered as unemployed. In the old days the more adventurous Jerseymen would have taken ship to Australia or Canada. I myself went to Brazil! That is why the population was stable until the 1950s and 1960s. There is nowhere to go to now.

5. On the other hand there are all too few Jersey school leavers with the educational standards required for the professions or higher technical jobs. Some of these gifted young men, who may have been trained partly at the expense of the States, take jobs in the United Kingdom and never come back to the Island. That is why it is absolutely inescapable that we should import a certain number of "essential employees" with their families in order to keep the wheels of our increasingly technical society turning round.

6. The micro-chip and computer revolution can only increase the problem, with fewer jobs for the less qualified employee and a greater demand for technical expertise.

7. In the public sector the same considerations apply. Apart from this, it is essential to cut down the size of the Civil Service and those in public employment. As a member of the Establishment Committee, I greatly admire the vigour with which Senator John Averty is tackling the problem.

8. Finally, we should never forget the "multiplier" effect which goes with population growth. As a member of the Housing Committee, under the dynamic leadership of Senator John Le Marquand, I am aware that a large part of the demand for new houses arises not only because of population growth, but because people are demanding better standards. The same thing applies to modern hotels which need a bathroom in every room, adding to the pressure on water. Many working men's houses run three cars. Hence the traffic problem.

In short, the immigration problem, and all the other problems which go with it, is a tough nut to crack. Electioneering platitudes will not help. One of the problems is that preserving the environment causes few problems for the more affluent members of our society. But if we tighten the screws on the economy too much it will be the small business man and the humble employee who will suffer most.

As Colin Powell has said so often - and I could not have had a more helpful collaborator - in the end it all comes down to a question of balance.

Old men fade away and younger men take their place, and that is how it should be. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the States. On leaving I only make one plea - I hope the new PAC will not lose its momentum. I attach great importance to the need for better co-ordination between committees. I believe our efforts to get committees to present to the States fundamental assessments of their policies from time to time is a move in the right direction and should be continued.

As for immigration, I have complete faith that the Island will continue to prosper and, if the will exists, it can do so without spoiling the environment too much. 

Thursday, 9 February 2017

And so to bed...

I finish each night with a quote on Facebook, and for those who have missed them, here are some recent picks. My rules for choosing them are that they must be short, but not one-liners, and must say something inspiring and joyful, or reflecting the sorrow and pain of the world.

Mainly I choose them because I like them, and I hope you, gentle reader, will like them too. On the blog I've also taken the opportunity to add a few extra pictures of the writers themselves as I think it is rather nice to see the authors as well as their quotes.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Rebecca Solnit:

There are times when it seems as though not only the future but the present is dark: few recognize what a radically transformed world we live in, one that has been transformed not only by such nightmares as global warming and global capital, but by dreams of freedom and of justice — and transformed by things we could not have dreamed of… We need to hope for the realization of our own dreams, but also to recognize a world that will remain wilder than our imaginations.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from John Boyle O'Reilly:

Truth, said the wise man;
Pleasure, said the fool;
Love, said a maiden;
Beauty, said the page;
Freedom, said the dreamer;
Home, said the sage;
Fame, said the soldier;
Equity, the seer;
Spake my heart full sadly,
" The answer is not here."
Then within my bosom
Softly this I heard:
" Each heart holds the secret;
Kindness is the word."

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from William A. Percy :

I felt it blow across my dungeon walls
The wind before the footsteps of the Lord!
It bloweth now across the world;
It strangely stirs the hearts of men; wars cease;
Rare deeds familiar grow; fastings and prayers,
Forgiveness, poverty; temples are built
On visioned impulses, and children march
On journeys with no end.
Far off, far off He comes,
And we are swept upon our knees
As meadow grasses kneeling to the wind.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919):

One ship drives east and another drives west
With the self-same winds that blow;
'Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
That tells them the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the winds of fate
As we voyage along through life;
'Tis the set of the soul
That decides its goal
And not the calm or the strife.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Walt Whitman:

I Tramp a Perpetual Journey
I tramp a perpetual journey,
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods,
No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,
I have no chair, no church, no philosophy,
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library or exchange,
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
My left hand hooking you round the waist,
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents, and a plain public road.
Not I nor anyone else, can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Madeleine L’Engle:

we walked in the woods
in the snow
and the trees were dark
and their branches were bare.
I put my arms around a tree
and listened
and I could hear the tree,
for the time when God
will bring it back to green. Do
you do that for us, too, Lord,
when we grow old and bare?

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Peter S. Beagle:

We can put dinosaurs back together perfectly, bone for bone, but we don't know what they smelled like, what kind of sounds they made, or how big they really looked standing in the grass under all those fossil fern trees. Even the sunlight must have been different, and the wind. What can bones tell you about a kind of wind that doesn't blow anymore?

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from William Shakespeare:

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Dwight Eisenhower ("Ike"), 34th President of the USA:

No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be an enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice. … No nation's security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective cooperation with fellow-nations.