Friday, 30 November 2018

Jersey Our Island - Travelling Blind Part 2

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

Jersey Our Island - Travelling Blind Part 2
by Sidney Bisson

There are still fishermen at La Rocque, which was once a real fishing village, though most of the fish sold in Jersey is now imported. For the amateur fisherman it is a paradise, provided he does not set out with the preconceived idea that fishing is a matter of dangling a hook in the water with the aid of a rod and line.

`Low water fishing,' which is the practice here, is something different, and far more exciting.

Provided you have the right implements you are not bound to stick to the same variety of fish every time you go. For the more placid there are creeks and pools where at the right time of the year (late summer is best) a shrimping net pushed gently under the floating seaweed will bring at each push a handful of the fattest prawns you ever saw. When that palls you can vary the procedure by stalking individual prawns, usually the largest,which have escaped your gentle probings by darting between
your legs.

There's just one snag. A prawn looks much bigger in the water than when you have got hold out safely by its whiskers. So you may have a few disappointments before you have learnt how much to allow for magnification.

Winkling appeals particularly to children. You can see your prey and it can't run away. All you have to do is to pick it up and pop it in a bag. It is no sport for a grown-up, unless you happen to be particularly fond of winkles, in which case I suppose collecting them, however easily, will give you a certain amount of pleasure. The same applies to limpeting, except that you need a tool like a chisel to prise them from the rocks.

Fishing for crabs is a trifle more advanced, although that too needs nothing more than a bag or basket to put them in. But you learn with experience that a stone of a certain shape or lying in a certain way is more likely to harbour a crab than the thousands of other stones around you. Once you have got the hang of it, it grows on you, like backing horses. After all, every time you turn over a stone you are backing yourself to ford a crab under it.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. And if you should be unfortunate and back a whole string of losers, your stake has only amounted to a few foot-pounds of energy. The more sophisticated crabber carries an iron hook with which to probe under stones that are too heavy to be lifted. Others hunt in pairs, one prising up the bigger stones, the other feeling with his hand underneath. I do not recommend this to beginners. A six-inch crab has the wherewithal to make its presence rather too painfully felt. A crab in the bag is worth two on the forgers.

It is an unwritten law of crab hunting that you should carefully replace every stone you turn, so that the crabs coming in on the next tide will have somewhere to lay their heads. Believing that every incoming tide would roll all the stones about to fresh positions, I used to think it didn't matter very much; but my theory has been disproved, so it is better to stick to the rules.

In the back of every crab catcher's mind lurks the dream that some day he will turn over a very big stone and find A LOBSTER! It is a dream that rarely comes true for the lobster is a wise animal (contrary to popular belief lobsters are animals, not fish) and eschews stones that are likely to be turned over by crab hunters. He prefers deep dark crevices in the rocks, where he knows that only a fool will dare to insert his hand. Of course the easiest way of catching lobsters is to set lobster-pots and come back the next day to collect your catch. But that is no more a sport than catching rabbits in a snare or mice in a mouse-trap.

Your real sportsman tracks the lobster to his lair and drags him forth with an armoury of iron hooks of different shapes and sizes. It is a sport that calls for a tremendous amount of patience and perseverance, for it is easier to locate a lobster than to coax him out of his crevice alive. To most low water fishermen, especially those who like hunting alone, this is the highlight of adventure. More bloodthirsty fishermen avoid the rocky part of the beach and follow the tide down well over a mile until it discloses broad stretches of silvery sand.

Here meek middle-aged men, who have never lifted a forger against anyone in anger, get a kick out of paddling up to their knees with uplifted spear, earnestly watching the sand for the tell-tale wriggle that betokens life below. Then of a sudden the spear comes down, and if the aim has been good, up again with a flapping plaice transfixed.

Here too come the sand-eelers, though no longer in their hundreds as of old, when the sand-eeling party was an annual event in the life of every farmer. All the family came, with relatives, neighbours, and friends, driving down to La Rocque in their dog-carts or the old box-shaped Jersey vans. The old people brought their knitting and sat on the rocks near the slipway, telling each other stories of the phenomenal catches they had once been young enough to make. For sand-eeling is no dotard's sport.

Only the strong in wind and limb can face the mile and a half scramble over rock and shingle without slipping on the seaweed or falling into one of the gullies that the receding tide has left. And there is no sitting and resting on the way back. If you don't hurry you will find that the tide has stolen a march on you and the gully that you splashed across cheerfully on your way down is now filled with water up to your waist and is getting deeper every minute.

So only the stalwarts go down to the water's edge, armed with rakes or sickle-like hooks according to their school of thought. Those who favour rakes have the advantage of remaining upright, but the pressure of the handle on your shoulder is likely to make it sore for a few days unless you are blessed with the toughest of skins. If you would rather have backache you use a hook.

In either case the procedure is simple. The sand-eels always congregate more or less in the same spots. The hooksman makes a few trial slashes with his hook. If there is no sign of fish he moves on until he comes to a productive patch. Then he settles down to a routine of scratching in the sand with the hook and transferring the slippery silvery sand-eels to his basket with his free hand.

Those who use rakes usually work knee deep in the sea and carry long narrow boxes instead of baskets. First the box is adjusted so that it hangs at waist level in front of the body. Then you drive the sharp-pointed prongs of the rake into the sand, rest the handle on your shoulder, press on it firmly with both hands, and solemnly walk backwards a- dozen paces. By this time, if you are lucky, several unfortunate sand-eels will have got impaled on the prongs of your rake, which you now pull out of the water and hold over the long box. Unless they are mortally wounded, the sand-eels will wriggle themselves into it without much assistance from you.

To the uninitiated, all this sounds rather like hard unskilled labour. And for what result? To catch a hundred or so little fishes averaging eight or nine inches in length and as fat as your middle finger? Delicious as they are, fried in Jersey butter (before rationing days !), I don't think the thought of africot of sand-eels is the mainspring that drives people down to the sea to catch them. Nor is it entirely the picnic spirit, for it might have become traditional to make up festive parties for prawning, or crabbing, or limpeting. But it didn't. For centuries it has been the custom forJerseymen to make up parties to go sand-eeling, either by day or by night. For of course the full moon coincides with the
lowest tides.

It used to be so much a part of public life that laws were passed about it. In 1589, for example, it was decreed that `in order to safeguard the morals of women and girls they are forbidden to take part in sand-eeling at night except when accompanied by their husbands, fathers, or masters.'

Nocturnal sand-eeling expeditions were apparently too often an excuse for drunken orgies, quantities of liquor being taken to drink on the way. But the daylight parties were real family affairs, with a picnic feast of cider, cold pork, and baked apple dumplings when the catch had been safely brought back to land. It is a pity that they are dying out.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Should Jersey’s Age for Legal Marriage be increased to 18?

Should Jersey’s Age for Legal Marriage be increased to 18?

The current consultation, as well as looking at divorce reforms, also is considering this:

Age of marriage: The United Nations Committee on the Convention of the Rights of the Child has recommended that Jersey no longer allows 16 and 17 years olds to get married. Consideration needs to be given as to whether the minimum age of marriage should be raised to 18 years.


Looking at some close jurisdictions, firstly, I’d like to look at the age of consent for having consensual sex, as it seems that there could be problems if there is a gap between the age of consent and that of marriage.
  • The age of consent in England and Wales is 16 
  • The age of consent in Scotland is 16 
  • The age of consent in Northern Ireland is 16 
  • The age of consent in the Isle of Man, a Crown Dependency, is 16, last amended in 2006 
  • The age of consent in the Bailiwick of Guernsey (a Crown Dependency including Alderney, Herm and Sark) is 16 
  • The age of consent in Jersey is 16 

And the highest are Ireland and Cyprus:

The age of consent in Ireland is 17, in relation to vaginal, oral, or anal sex, and vaginal or anal penetration. This is the joint highest, with Cyprus, age of consent in the European Union

Now let us look at Marriageable Age:
  • England and Wales: 16 with parental consent or the permission of the court, otherwise under 18 
  • Scotland: 16, no restrictions 
  • Northern Ireland: 16 with parental consent (with the court able to give consent in some cases 
  • Isle of Man, Guernsey – 16 with parental consent or the permission of the court, otherwise under 18 
  • Ireland, 18, with restrictions on marriage abroad 
  • Jersey: 16 with parental consent or the permission of the court, otherwise under 18 
Given the above situation, unless other jurisdictions change their age of marriage to 18, Jersey will be out of step with other Crown Dependencies and with the location where the largest amount of its migrant population comes from - England, Wales, Scotland.

As it is in Jersey, consent is needed for marriage if the child is under 18 years.

This is eminently sensible, and also this allows for situations where a couple may want to get married if one party is pregnant. Forgetting the idea of “shot-gun weddings”, the advent of a child may well prompt a couple to consider more deeply their commitment to one another. To restrict marriage to 18 means that if they wish to do that, they will have to go to the UK or even Guernsey (the “Gretna Green scenario”).

As another matter for consideration, Irish law considers the “capacity to marry”:

“For example, your marriage abroad will not be recognised under Irish law if one or both of you was ordinarily resident in Ireland and one or both of you was aged under 18 at the time of the marriage and did not have a Court Exemption Order.”

To introduce something like this into Jersey law would mean that there would be two classes of citizens – those already married coming to Jersey from the UK who could be under 18, and those living here who would be unable to marry until 18.

If we did not, then couples could legally marry abroad in the UK and return to Jersey.if they could afford to do so, causing financial inequity in how people could marry. 

Generally, as the UK has liberalised its laws – for example with regard to the age of consent of same sex couples, Jersey has tended to follow suit so as not to cause too great a chasm between the two, and also in line with international developments, and also to avoid unexpectedly criminalising people.

There is no indication that I can see that the UK is planning on restricting the capacity to marry, especially with the safeguard of parental consent for children under 18. The matter has been raised recently on the same grounds as Jersey raising age, but this is a private members bill and unlikely to get passed. 

As Conservative MP Kevin Forster pointed out:

“It’d be at 16 you could decide legally, if we didn’t change the age of (sexual) consent, the life-changing decision to have children yet you couldn’t actually get married until you were 18. ‘I think that would be a bit of an oddity in our law.”

The rational is to prevent young people being forced into abusive relationships, but does not seem to note that (1) forced marriages without consent are not legal (2) abusive relationships can and do manifest themselves outside of marriage, and there are probably proportionally as many with unmarried couples as married couples.

Part of the concern stems from arranged marriages, but these usually occur outside of the UK in Pakistan etc. As far as I aware, this is not an issue in Jersey.

The Irish law prevents underage marriage from taking place abroad, just as other jurisdictions do, although I don't know if Jersey does. For example;

Australia has an absolute minimum age for marriage of 16 years under the Marriage Act 1961, and even marriage between 16 and 18 can only take place with a court order in ‘‘exceptional and unusual’’ circumstances.

Australian law takes this issue of under-age marriage so seriously that even when a marriage takes place overseas between parties whose home is in the overseas country, where such marriages might otherwise be lawful, the Marriage Act specifies that an under-age marriage will be void for the purposes of Australian law.

In conclusion, unless the UK changes its rules, I do not see that there are sufficient grounds for changing those in Jersey. 


Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Reminder to come and ‘Meet the Ministers’

Islanders are reminded to come along next week to meet members of the Council of Ministers at two public events, where senior politicians will explain government’s plans for their time of office. 
Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, will host both evenings, joined by various members of the Council of Ministers. The ministers will speak about their proposals for next year’s budget and the work they plan to prioritise for their four years in office. Islanders will then be able to ask any questions that they have, or put forward any concerns that they would like ministers to respond to. 
All islanders are welcome to attend on:
  • Tuesday 27 November, 7pm to 8.30pm at St Clement’s Parish Hall
  • Thursday 29 November,7pm to 8.30pm at St Bernadette’s Church Hall, St Brelade (next to Communicare) 

Those attending St Bernadette’s Church Hall on Thursday 29 November will be:

  • Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré
  • Minister for the Environment, Deputy John Young
  • Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Senator Lyndon Farnham
  • Minister for Education, Senator Tracey Vallois
  • Minister for Home Affairs, Connétable Len Norman.
Further events will be arranged next year for islanders to hear about the Government Plan.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Fake News Jersey - Example 2

"Guernsey's sewage system.....

There are 57 pumping stations which transport wastewater to the Belle Greve Wastewater Centre, where non-biodegradable matter up to 6mm in diameter is removed from the flow by mechanical screens. Grit, which would otherwise damage pipelines and pumps, is also removed. The resulting wastewater is then discharged through a long sea outfall pipe which extends more than 2km out into the fast flowing waters of the Little Russel.

Straight past our desalination plant."

Cause for concern? News that we are getting water into our desalination plant which could contain Guernsey's waste water from their sewage system is frightening stuff!

But it is the affable elderly friendly poster (whom I am not going to name) at work again on Facebook promoting Fake Jersey News once more. This is another example of a picture is worth a thousand words, except most of them would be lies.

The paragraph about the pumping stations is taken verbatim from Guernsey Water's own website:

But the paragraph below that is strangely missing!

"Ultra-Violet (UV) rays of the sun and the natural wave action together with massive dilution provide the current bacteriological breakdown, such that any effects from the outfall are virtually eliminated once more than 20 to 30 metres away. This was backed up by scientific evidence provided by global water quality experts Intertek, who carried out an in-depth study of our bathing waters back in 2011"

Why doesn't our resident scaremonger mention that as well?

And consider this too - the shortest distance between Jersey and Guernsey is 43 km= 27 miles, as the crow flies. And the pipe outfall goes only 2 km out!

The current in the nice diagram shows how the current flows at a particular time of the day, but it is only a schematic - there are cross currents, and anyway given the total volume of water flowing past Guernsey, anything if it did exist would be diluted a thousand fold. 

And what is more, the flow is not constant.

As one commentator noted:

"X posted a single image of the Channel tidal flow at 4 hours after high tide in Dover. Lets have a look at the tidal flow diagram at 6 hours before high water in Dover and see if is still the same shall we? If you actually look at the tidal flow images for Dover, which X is using, you will see that only during the 3rd and 4th hours after high water in Dover does the water flow as he suggests. For the rest of the 10 hours in the tide cycle it comes nowhere near us"

My correspondent Adam Gardiner also commented:

"As for his allegation that Jersey’s desalination plant is drawing water from a mainstream of sewerage from Guernsey, that is laughable. Even if that were true our south coasts bays would be strewn with sewerage - and we would smell it. Our seawater is regularly sampled - and our beaches are internationally recognised as being amongst the cleanest in the world"

So no cause to panic, just another piece of misinformation. I do so wish he'd check his facts before jumping to conclusions.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Fake News Jersey - Example 1

When you see this photo, and hear this news, you might start to panic!

"Jersey Water has announced that it will soon be turning on the island's desalination plant, which is used to remove salt from sea water and turn it into drinking water."..........If we don't have rain, will the desalination plant give us as much water as we want/need......maybe this year we might get away with it, how about years when the summers get even's time to build another reservoir with so many coming to live in the island, before it is too late."

But the news comes from a well known poster on Facebook who can be very wicked with his choice of photos and accompanying text. I will not name him, but I think many people will know whom I am referring too. Affable to chat to face to face, and I do like him, he becomes something of a demon on the keyboard in suggesting apocalyptic scenarios.

They say the camera never lies, but a photo out of time and place can do so.

The news is that after a dry autumn, and a dry reservoir, water supplies are down.

ITV noted:

"November has seen just 29mm of rainfall so far, compared to the average 106mm, meaning that reservoirs are now less than half full."

And the JEP reported:

"JERSEY Water is preparing to use the desalination plant for the first time in seven years after low summer and autumn rainfall left reservoirs at just 46 per cent capacity. This time last year the Island's reservoirs were 71 per cent full. The company said that long-term forecasts predict below-average rainfall until the end of January. It will be the first time since December 2011 that the plant will have been used out of necessity."

But the situation is not as dire as the photo suggests. It comes from a story entitled "Jersey reservoir will be emptied over the summer", which in fact dates back to 2011.

Back in 2011, when BBC News reported:

"Val de la Mare reservoir is going to be refurbished over the summer and the desalination plant will be put on standby by Jersey Water. The water company will be installing a water-tight "membrane" to prolong the life of the dam."

The reservoir was emptied, and that is where that photo comes from.

I walked round in early November, about 2 weeks ago, and while the level is lower than I've seen it for some time, it is nowhere near as bad as the misplaced photo on Facebook suggests! My photo is below. I hope that while people use water wisely, they are not duped by a photo which actually comes from another story altogether, and is wholly misleading out of context. Jersey's example of "Fake News!

That's not to say the Islands' water supplies are unlimited, and they are certainly limited by population, but the debate is the poorer because of muddling it with photos used in this way.

[For an example of tides, and sewage from Guernsey coming to Jersey shores, another Fake News story, see]

Sunday, 25 November 2018

William Cobbett and the Poor

William Cobbett (9 March 1763 – 18 June 1835) was an English pamphleteer, farmer, journalist and member of parliament, who was born in Farnham, Surrey. He believed that reforming Parliament including abolishing the "rotten boroughs" would help to end the poverty of farm labourers. Relentlessly he sought an end to the borough-mongers, sinecurists and "tax-eaters" . He was against the Corn Laws, which imposed a tax on imported grain. 

Early in his career, he was a loyalist devotee of King and Country: but later he joined and publicised radicalism, which helped the Reform Act 1832, and to his being elected that year as one of the two Members of Parliament for the newly enfranchised borough of Oldham. Not a Catholic, he became an forceful advocate of Catholic Emancipation in Britain.

This pen sketch by G.K. Chesterton sums up the ills of society in Cobbett's time, still there in Chesterton's time, and still very much in evidence today.

An Extract from William Cobbett by G.K. Chesterton

It is now rather more than a century and a half since a small boy of the poorer sort was occupied in scaring rooks where they rose, as they still rise, in black flotillas flecking the great white clouds that roll up against the great ridges of Surrey and the southern shires. Yet further south where the Sussex hills take on an outline at once more opulent and more bare there was repeated a rhyme that might run like a refrain through much of his story.

  Bees are bees of Paradise,
  Do the work of Jesus Christ,
  Do the work that no man can;
  God made bees and bees make honey,
  God made man and man makes money,
  God made man to plough and reap and sow,
  And God made little boys to scare away the crow.

And so the little boy in question continued to scare away the crow, in obedience to that providential arrangement.

The little boy was destined to grow up into a tall and vigorous man, who was to travel far and into strange places, into exile and into prison and into Parliament; but his heart never wandered very far from the simple ideals that are summed up in that verse.

He was no mere dreamer or more or less lovable loafer, of the sort sometimes associated with the village genius. He would have been as ready as any man of the utilitarian school to admit that men would do well to imitate the industry of bees.  Only, those who look at his literary industry may be tempted to say that he had more sting than honey.

Similarly he was no mere romantic or sentimentalist, such as is sometimes associated with a love of the rural scene. He would have been as ready as any merchant or trader to face the fact that man, as God has made him, must make money.

But he had a vivid sense that the money must be as solid and honest as the corn and fruit for which it stood, that it must be closely in touch with the realities that it represented; and he waged a furious war on all those indirect and sometimes imaginary processes of debts and shares and promises and percentages which make the world of wealth to-day - a world at the worst unreal and at the best unseen.

He was most immediately concerned, in the conditions of the hour, with what he regarded as the fugitive and wasteful paper-chase of paper money.  But what he was at once predicting and denouncing, like a small cloud that had not yet become a universal fog, was that vast legal fiction that we call finance. 

In any case, against a world in which such financial mysteries were multiplying every day, in which machinery was everywhere on the march, and the new towns spreading with the swiftness of a landslide, in which England was already well on the way to becoming merely the workshop of the world, against the whole great crawling labyrinth of the modern state which is almost one with the modern city, there remained in him unaltered, cut deep into the solitary rock of his soul, the single clause of his single creed: that God made man to plough and reap and sow.

For this was William Cobbett, who was born in 1762 at a little farm at Farnham in Surrey.  His grandfather had been an ordinary agricultural labourer, one of a class drudging for a miserable wage, and fallen so far from anything resembling the pride of a peasantry that in English history it had utterly sunk out of sight.

It was something that has hardly been known since heathen times; there rests on all its records the ancient silence of slavery. It was to these slaves that the heart of Cobbett continually turned, in what seemed to many its dizzy and incalculable turnings.

Those that were trampled and forgotten alike by the Tory squire and the Radical merchant were those whom Cobbett eared to remember; exactly as both Patrician and Plebeian citizens might have been puzzled by a sage whose first thought was of the slaves.

And if ever in this land of ours the poor are truly lifted up, if ever the really needy find a tongue for their own needs, if ever progressives and reactionaries alike realise upon what ruins were built both their order and their reform, how many failures went to make their success, and what crimes have set their house in order, if they see the underside of their own history with its secrets of sealed-up wrath and irrevocable injustice--in a word, if a great people can ever repent, then posterity may see achieved by this agency also, by this one lonely and angry bee in whom society saw nothing but a hornet, the work of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Save the Children of Yemen

Today's poem was written after reading about the terrible situation in Yemen. But it could be any war zone, where people are displaced and go hungry. We have a moral duty to help them, we who have been given so much, must share it with others.It is something I feel strongly about, and I hope the poem brings that out.

On harvest festival, everyone was handed out small packets of 5 jaffa cakes, but unevenly. This is how our children saw the world's resources, some having lots, and some having little, but in fact enough for all. As we shared the jaffa cakes, there was enough for everyone,, a lesson I hope was taken home by the children.

C.P. Snow put it so well when he made a call for magnanimity:

I have said before, and I shall say it again, because it is the most imperative social truth of our age, that about one-third of the world is rich and two-thirds of the world is poor. By this I mean something very simple. In North America, in most of Europe, in Australia and New Zealand, and now in the Soviet Union, the great majority of the population get enough to eat and don't die before their time. That is what "riches" means, in a world whose harshness those of us born lucky don't willing admit.

In the rest of the world the opposite is true. The great majority of the population don't get enough to eat; and, from the time they are born, their chances of life are less than half of ours, These are crude words, but we are talking about crude things, toil, hunger, death. For most of our brother men, this is the social condition.

It is different from our social condition. That is one reason why there is a direct call upon our magnanimity. If we do not show it now, then both our hopes and souls have shriveled. It may be a longish time fore men at large are much concerned with hopes and souls again.

If you wish to donate, go here.

Save the Children of Yemen

There is a famine far away
Where every day they fall
In hunger pains are crucified
And crying out to all

And who will speak, and who will tell
The pains they have to bear
They pray for help from all of us
Each child that suffered there

Oh land of plenty, be forgiven,
And seek the common good
And bring to earth a glimpse of heaven
To war zones soaked in blood.

They have so little, not enough
And our besetting sin
No refugees, we lock the gate
And let not starving in

Stretch out the hand, show all are loved
And feed the hungry too
Bring hope to warzone soaked in blood
and try God’s works to do.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Jersey Our Island - Travelling Blind Part 1

A return for an old regular history section - Jersey Our Island, transcribed for this blog.

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

Anyone who wants more background details on the extraordinary story of Louisa Journeaux (mentioned in this extract) can find it here.

Jersey Our Island - Travelling Blind Part 1
by Sidney Bisson

There is one road in Jersey along which I will not willingly walk. It is the coast road from St. Helier eastwards to Gorey.

A hundred years ago it was said to be one of the pleasantest walks in the island, with the sea on one hand and verdant slopes on the other. Today it is an extreme example of how unchecked building can spoil the countryside.

Never were houses so closely packed together or so incongruously juxtaposed. Londoners often complain of the monotony of their suburban architecture. They ought to be thankful that a benevolent bureaucracy has preserve them from the evils of building without a thought for one' s neighbour.

Variety is even worse than monotony when it is allowed to run unchecked. Packed so close together as to be almost touching, in some places two or three rows deep, square houses, long houses, tall houses, low houses, old houses, new houses, tiled houses, slated houses, every kind of house you can think of. And not all ugly. Some of them are most attractively designed if only they had space to lend them dignity.

I fmd the only way to digest this surfeit of architectural salmagundi is to climb aboard a bus, shut my eyes, and trust that the conductor will remember to push me off at my destination. In this way I can shut out the supersaturated suburb of Greve d' Azette and carry my mind back a hundred years to the day when race meetings were held on its beach and the Grand Marin Musical Parade was a resort of fashion. One of its claims to distinction was the cunning arrangement of its bathing machine so that “the eye of female delicacy is not invaded by the proximity of the Bathing Machines appropriated to the gentlemen, which are placed at a distance.”

Nor was the eye of delicacy the only part of the female anatomy that had to be protected from invasion.

The Victoria Bathing Establishment, which seems to have been a successor to the Musical Parade, provided against an even greater terror. A write-up of it in a local guide sets forth that `the absence of rocks in the exact site of the Victoria bathing locale also precludes all chance of a visitation from the octopus, which usually frequents confined waters.'

Boating was not without its terrors for the fair sex either, if one can judge from the adventure of Miss Louisa Journeaux in 1886. Her eye of delicacy must have been firmly closed when she allowed a young man to take her for a row round the bay after church on a moonlit Sunday evening in spring. All might yet have been well if the young man had been a competent oarsman. But apparently he wasn't. Or else his fair companion distracted his attention so much that he forgot what he was doing.

Anyway, as they floated idly about the bay one of the oars slipped from his grasp and started to drift away. With more haste than discretion the young man forthwith jumped into the waters to recover it. Then he either lost his head or was swept away by a current, for instead of getting back to his lady love he found himself standing dripping on the shore. Louisa, bereft of oar and oarsman, found herself drifting out to sea.

Strong in the hope that help would soon arrive, she had the presence of mind to put up her umbrella when it started to rain and to bale out the boat with the hat that the young man had considerately left behind. But no help came, either that night or the next day or the next might. It was Tuesday morning when Captain Landgren of the sailing ship Tombola bound from St. Malo to Newfoundland came across the astonishing spectacle of a tiny rowing boat with a little lady in it, waving her umbrella at him as if he were the driver of an omnibus.

He immediately hove to and took her aboard, but the lady's  troubles were not yet over. Being a respectable married man, the  captain decided to land his passenger at the nearest port before  continuing his journey. Providence willed otherwise. That same  from the afternoon a violent storm blew up which drove the Tombola away  coasts of Europe straight into the Atlantic. There was  nothing to be done. Louisa had to go to Newfoundland too, after which she eventually sailed to Liverpool and so back to Jersey, after having taken an absence of nearly two months. Seldom can a young lady so long to get home from church.

At Green Island the road which has been running so south-east from  St. Helier for about a mile swerves suddenly north- eastwards. The `island,' a grass-covered rock about two hundred  water only feet long, is of the semi-detached variety, being surrounded by  at high tide. In my schooldays it was a favourite spot for picnics, and I used to find it made an ideal pirates island as here one stormy afternoon that I first discovered that I was growing up. The wind had blown the end of my tie out of jacket and I stood there facing the breeze for a very long time with my hands in my pockets, enjoying the flutter of silk against my cheek and neck.

And somehow the thought came into my  head as I stood there that the day  past, and that the days that stood  that had gone before were the ahead were the future, and that  every tick of my new watch added something to the past and  took something away from the future.

 Having lived for eleven years entirely in the present, the discovery came as something of a shock, and I went home more than usually silent. However, as  none of my school friends seemed to worry much about it I soon  forgot and went on living in the present. But I can never pass  Green Island now without wondering whether the little boys who away. It is still play pirates there are conscious of time ticking remorselessly  not the sort of thing one wants to ask a child.

Maybe there is something in the air round here that makes young people see visions and dream dreams. For only a stone'sthrow away is the Witches' Rock with which is associated the legend of a young local fisherman. Like most legends, its details vary according to the teller, and the young roan in question is variously referred to as Hubert or Reginald or Roland.

But the gist of the story is clear. Reginald (or whatever his name was) was in love with Madeleine, the most beautiful of the village maidens. And Madeleine was in love with him. All they had to wait for was a phenomenal catch of fish which would enable Reginald to take that little seaside cottage that they had their eye on, where they could live happily ever after.

Madeleine, it seems, was quite content to wait until Providence brought the fish into the net. Not so Reginald. He was the type who would have filled in football coupons to get rich quick if there had been any in those days. Instead he took to dabbling in black magic, which involved staying out very late at night and inventing excuses for not meeting Madeleine. In vain the poor neglected girl upbraided him, until one night something really big happened.

Having stayed out late as usual, Reginald felt so tired on his way home that he sat down at the foot of a rock to rest. In a few minutes he was asleep. When he woke up he rubbed his eyes in amazement. Before him was a bevy of dazzlingly beautiful maidens, dancing in idyllic surroundings and bathed in celestial light. One in particular took his fancy so much that he forgot he was a mere mortal and ventured to speak to her without an introduction. Far from being offended, the maiden seemed to like it, and seeing that Reginald was rather shy she kissed him rap turously on the lips and told him to come back for more the following evening.

Of course Reginald could not keep such exciting news to himself, and by noon the next day the whole village knew. Poor Madeleine was beside herself. She had never expected to have to deal with a supernatural rival and in despair she invoked the aid of the parish priest. The wise old man felt sorry for her and told her exactly what to do. Then, comforted by his advice, she set off for the site of the rendezvous.

It was just as well that she did, for a horrible sight met her eyes. There was no beautiful maiden wreathed in celestial light. Instead there was blinding hell fire illuminating a flock of fiendish harpies capering and shrieking in an abandoned dance. She was just in time, for at this very moment the unwilling Reginald was slowly being drawn into their midst.

Mindful of the priest's advice, Madeleine pulled her crucifix from her bosom and waved it in the face of the foul hags who had turned to stare at her. Immediately everything was dark and still. Then out of the silence came a faltering step and Reginald fell into her arms. There is hardly any need to add that Reginald never again went dallying with sprites and that he eventually made a model husband. The rock is still there, enclosed now within the garden of a private house. Godfrey, who has seen it, assures me that it bears most clearly the cloven hoofmarks of the Devil.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Tony's Newsround

Sark Electricity

The latest news reported on Bailiwick Express is that emergency generators have been brought in:

"Major Beaumont explained that if Sark Electricity follow through on their threat, the island can expect to be without power for at least six hours. Generators have, however, been brought in to try and keep the power on, although these are only expected to offer a limited supply to key areas including the Island Hall, the Avenue and the doctor's premises. "

The question really is how much it will cost to run as a non-profit organisation - will it be viable at the rate set by the regulator?

Obviously it won't have the overhead of paying a salary to Mr Gordon-Brown, but it will need to pay someone to operate it, and allow for maintenance and replacement costs.

I have some sympathy for Mr Gordon-Brown, who says he has been making losses of £20,000 per month, but I'd have even more if he did the obvious thing and publish his accounts. That would mean that we could see how the business looks, and in particular whether his own remuneration looks fair - after all he has to live! Sark Electricity is not a charity. A loss of £20,000 on a personal salary of £60,000 would be significant, a loss on £120,000 far less so.

This kind of approach of keeping books concealed was what finally sunk the JMT when it came to the Jersey bus service. As far as I recall, they kept their books too hidden from view... and told the States how much was needed for the service. By the time some accounts were made available, it was too late and Connex was awarded the contract, under conditions which meant the States would be able to examine their books.

Mr Gordon-Brown has indicated the low percentage dividend

"Historically, commercial electricity utilities have given their shareholders a 7% dividend and the financial institutions have indicated to us that they would require return of over 15% to invest in a company as risky as Sark Electricity. But, as you have seen, SEL’s shareholders receive less than 2%"

But of course dividends are not the only means of taking money from a private company - there is salary as well. He has said the Sark committee was "too untrustworthy" to see his accounts, but if he really wants to make a case, he should place them in the public domain.

One law for pets, another for motorists?
The JEP reports:

ISLANDERS could be stopped from taking animals directly into Europe if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal in March.... A technical notice, recently published by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, sets out what would happen in an ‘unlikely’ worst-case scenario. It states that pet-owners would have to notify an ‘official veterinarian’ that they were planning to move their animal at least four months prior to the date of travel. It also adds that owners would need to provide a blood test from their pets to prove their animals were effectively vaccinated. If both of these requirements were satisfied, animals would then need to be taken back to an official veterinarian to receive a health certificate – valid for ten days for entry into the EU and four months of onward travel

A no deal Brexit means pets would need vaccinations before going to Europe. But no one has suggested that all pets should be follow the vaccination regime prescribed regardless of whether or not they are going to Europe!!

And yet that is essentially what has been decided with MOT type of testing!Every car will be tested regardless of whether or not the owner wants to go abroad! It’s a crazy world! Perhaps Ian Gorst who seems to think every car needs an MOT type of test because of Brexit can explain why he hasn’t proposed mandatory vaccinations for all pets?

However there are lessons to be learnt from the pet vaccinations in case of “No Brexit”. Islanders are warned they need to arrange matters early because there could be a backlog.

Now if Kevin Lewis had any sense, he'd bring it in as an initial scheme that just prioritises those car owners wanting to travel outside of Jersey, while he sorted out numbers. Otherwise, the backlog could actually mean some car owners cannot go abroad because the of waiting times caused by MOT type tests booked by car owners who actually do not intend to go abroad, but need to comply with the law.

And finally, what will the MOT type of test be called? I suspect that a lot of people mistakenly think that the M stand for something like Motor, and the T for test, like in MOtor Test, but in fact it stands for Ministry of Transport. We don’t have a Ministry of Transport but a Department of Infrastructure, so will ours be called a DOF test?

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Medical Cannabis in Europe: An Overview

Medical Cannabis in Europe: An Overview

Bailiwick Express reports that:

“Jersey's leading pain specialist has said he is "duty-bound" not to give patients medicinal cannabis as it contradicts his professional guidelines - despite feeling “pressure” to do so following a landmark vote allowing GPs to prescribe it. The comments came from Dr Chad Taylor, who specialises in treating chronic pain that persists for more than three months.”

“He told Express that the recent political decision on medicinal cannabis, as well as public expectation, had placed doctors in the difficult position of feeling pushed to prescribe cannabis-derived drugs, even though their professional guidance does not fully endorse their effectiveness or safety.”

This does seem a very negative approach, and perhaps what should be considered are developing proper protocols for prescribing medical cannabis. Obviously this is more or less a new drug on the market, but we may be able to learn from other countries, and even develop some protocols without reinventing the wheel.

In particular, Denmark seems to have adopted a cautious but positive approach which Dr Taylor should consider, and I will return to that later.

An Overview of Europe

A recent survey of the state of play was given online on 14th November 2018 by Peter Homberg, Partner and Head of the German Life Sciences Practice at Dentons, one of the top 10 global law firms, present in over 60 countries worldwide. This is worth bearing in mind, because one of the issues raised by Dr Taylor is that of medical liability.

He notes that:

“The prescription of cannabis for medical purposes – without the need for a special permission – was legalized in Germany in March 2017. Since then, a wave of approvals for medical cannabis has swept across Europe, with many countries following in Germany’s footsteps.”

“There has definitely been a development in medical cannabis products that we now see on the market. Traditionally, medical cannabis has been sold as dried cannabis flowers in the form of tea, as vaporizing material, or in the form of capsules containing the main psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Sometimes, also mouth sprays containing cannabis extract were used.”

“What we are seeing now is the appearance of non-medical food supplements containing very low concentrations of THC, under 0.2 percent. These products are characterized by their ingredient cannabidiol (CBD). CBD, unlike THC, does not have psychoactive effects and therefore does not need to be prescribed – provided the THC content remains below 0.2 percent. However, depending on the amount of CBD contained, these products are strictly regulated by other laws, such as the Novel Food Regulation or the Food Supplement Regulation. “

Medical Cannabis: the emerging pharmaceutical market

And on the matter of the lack of trials, it is true that there are not that many, but now that it can be prescribed, more will be coming in what is a rapidly increasing market. As Peter Homberg notes:

“In addition, some large Canadian cultivators are thinking about initiating clinical trials in Germany in order to get their cannabis products approved and authorized to be marketed as pharmaceuticals.”

“When Germany first legalized cannabis for medical use, other European countries, such as Portugal, Italy and the Netherlands followed suit.”

“Since the 1st November 2018, physicians in the United Kingdom are allowed to prescribe cannabis for medicinal purposes. This was triggered by a number of publications mentioning the alleged beneficial effect of medical cannabis on children with epilepsy. Specialist physicians in the UK can now prescribe medical cannabis for a limited range of conditions, such as severe epilepsy, vomiting or nausea caused by chemotherapy and multiple sclerosis.”

“Other countries to follow soon are Lithuania, considering the legalization of medicinal cannabis by May 2019, and Luxembourg, which has implemented a two-year pilot project already.”

“As of today, Germany, Denmark, Macedonia, Malta, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Poland, Greece, Norway, Ireland, the UK and Lithuania are the countries in Europe that have legalized – or are considering the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes.”

A Changing Legal and Medical Landscape

So Jersey is not exactly leading the way, and it is important to get this right, but also to take stock of the developments in a rapidly changing landscape. As Mr Homberg notes:

“Before the law was liberalized, patients who suffered from certain diseases, like multiple sclerosis, cancer or chronic pain, could only use cannabis if they had applied for a specific exemption at the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM). As regulations were extremely strict, only a few hundred patients were granted the permission to use the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes.”

And he sees much more effort coming from research into when prescription should be available, and what protocols should work best:

“We will also see a certain amount of effort put into research. With this new kind of liberalisation the indications that qualify for cannabinoid treatment have to be defined. Today we know that cannabis can help patients with for example chronic pain, cancer or multiple sclerosis, but in future we may discover more indications that will qualify for the treatment with cannabis.”

It should also be noted that the legalization process in Germany has been strictly performed and controlled by the government

The reason is what has been known anecdotally for some time, that strong alternative painkillers can have detrimental side effects. Some oral steriods, for example, cannot be prescribed for pain relief over a long period due to diminishing effect and increased risk of very serious side effects.

“For medical purposes, cannabis can be used, for example, as an alternative for other pain therapies, which may not be working or have strong side effects. People with chronic pain, for example, often experience strong side effects from their pain medications. These can be alleviated with cannabis.”

“Amongst other indications, cannabis may also relieve symptoms of cancer patients and multiple sclerosis patients. It contains THC. That is the component it is most famous for. THC binds to specific receptors in the human central and peripheral nervous system called cannabis receptors (CB). For example, if THC binds to CB1 in the spinal cord, this reduces the perception of pain”

Denmark: A Pilot Program

Denmark this year has also initiated a four-year medical cannabis pilot program with guidelines, and perhaps Jersey can look to this in drawing up its own legislation. The guidelines are laid out in the act of medical cannabis pilot program, which allows companies to apply for admission of cannabis products at the Danish Medicines Agency.

Products that have been accepted by the Danish Medicines Agency are free to be legally prescribed by doctors and distributed by pharmacies within Denmark.

The Danish Medicines Agency has written guidelines for doctors to consult if they are considering to prescribe medicinal cannabis. The guidelines are based on extensive literature searches, evaluation of cannabis schemes in Holland, Canada and Israel, and evaluation of the background leading to previous licensing of cannabis-containing medicines in Europe and the USA as well as assessments of the thorough review of the scientific evidence from the National Academy of Sciences (USA, 2017).

It should be noted that the Danish Medicines Agency assesses that medicinal cannabis should be considered only for the following indications that are supported by some evidence that medicinal cannabis could have an effect.

The relevant indications are:

  • Painful spasms caused by multiple sclerosis
  • Painful spasms caused by spinal cord damage
  • Nausea after chemotherapy
  • Neuropathic pain, i.e. pain due to a disease of the brain, spinal cord or nerves.

A Rapid Expansion of Research

Those indications appear quite narrow. But the situation is changing all the time, and as governments and medical agencies are trying to chart hitherto uncharted waters.

As Peter Homberg notes:

“To date, scientific research into the effects of medical cannabis has been restricted by the law. With the start of the medical cannabis pilot program, Denmark is encouraging research projects in order to gather more science-based information about the use and effect of cannabis for medical use.”

Positions have changed from even five years ago, and that it is important to create a framework which will allow adequate clinical trials, proper protocols for prescribing that are both safe and not too narrowly restrictive to rule out future discoveries. Jersey doctors should not just be expected to prescribe to patient demand, but they should also keep up to date with the latest information in a new and innovating industry.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Radio Review: The Road to Lisbon


Douglas Livingstone’s ‘Road to ...’ series, which creates a specially recorded soundtrack of major festivals to create new stories, takes us to this year’s joyous summer festival of St. Anthony in Lisbon.

Patron saint of lovers and lost things, St. Anthony presides over days of celebrations. There’s fado – the wonderful songs of melancholy and longing peculiar to the Portuguese capital - there are nights of street parties, with sardines and sausages hissing on grills at every corner; there are dance competitions, parades and a mass wedding in the cathedral. 

But this is more than a story of sardines and sangria - we learn about life under the dictatorship of Dr. Salazar and the effect that the curiously named Carnation Revolution had on one man. 45, years ago Tony's father was one of the ‘Returnados’. After the fall of the Portuguese fascists, he was forced to leave his home and business in colonial Mozambique and found himself equally unwelcome in his native Lisbon. He made a new life in England and it's only on his death that his son discovers a clue to the secret that Paulo thought he had taken with him to the grave.

Tony ..... Carl Prekopp
Sharmila ..... Carlyss Peer
Joan ..... Elizabeth Rider
Paulo ..... David Westhead
Receptionist/Afonso ..... Andre Flynn
American Tourist ..... Julie Fitzpatrick
Azra ..... Cleo Sylvestre
Fernando ..... Malcolm Sinclair

Writer: Douglas Livingstone
Producer: Jane Morgan


This is a wonderful evocation of Lisbon – sights, sounds, smells, and songs. Every year, from June 12-14, Lisbon honors St. Anthony of Padua, its most revered Patron Saint, with a festival and holiday. The narrow cobblestone streets of Alfama, Castelo, Bica, Bairro Alto and Madragoa, Lisbon’s oldest neighbouhoods, fill with music, dance, grilled sardines and free fun for everyone on several street parties locally known as arraiais.

Sardines are important because they are associated with the poor, and St. Anthony, being a Franciscan friar, had taken a vow of poverty.

There’s also a legend we hear about St Antony. After being ignored by actual people of Rimini, Italy during one of his sermons, he decided to preach to the fish instead. They all came to the sea edge to listen to him.

And another incident which we see is the collective wedding ceremony where the brides are known as “Brides of St Anthony”. They receive the blessing of St Anthony at the historical Lisbon Cathedral in the historic district of Alfama.

The undercurrent of the mystery, the half sister from Mozambique, all blend seamlessly into this charming story. Some of the dialogue we hear is in Portuguese, and we don’t always get a translation, although when the son asks his half-sister, we get some translations.

This is a touching story, I confess taught me so much about Portuegese culture and Lisbon that I didn’t know. The music and singing is also delightful.

Postscript: I happened to be chatting to the Portuguese consulate in Jersey, and he told me that it is every bit as lively as the play makes it.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Hospital Site: Was there political interference in the choice of site?

Hospital Site: Was there political interference in the choice of site?

Finding: The Board is assured that the site selection process undertaken by Gleeds was sound, however, due to the political reasons to drop the Waterfront site, the majority* of the Board members are not assured that the available evidence in relation to the decision of the previous States Assembly supports the proposal of the Council of Ministers that the new hospital be located on the existing site.

I’ve put together below a timeline gleaned from key facts which have come to light from the recent future hospital report.

Looking at the timeline and discussions - it is clear that Ian Gorst and Philip Ozouf were instrumental in making sure the Waterfront was off the table, first when Atkins said it was a good site, and secondly when Gleeds also said it was a good site.

This was not based on considerations of the best site for a hospital, but on the loss of site area for the Jersey Development Company. There was a clear conflict of interests between the two, and anyone conflicted should have recused themselves, but instead they took the political decision to shift the Waterfront out of the occasion. This was not brought before the States but instead took the decision within the Council of Ministers, behind closed doors.

Richard Renouf is the ONLY dissenting voice. Pretty well all the reports findings are disagreed with by him, including this one.

The other members are: Connétable Christopher Taylor (Chair), • Connétable Richard Buchanan, Deputy Richard Renouf (Minister for Health and Social Services), Deputy Rowland Huelin, • Deputy Trevor Pointon, • Deputy Carina Alves.

Richard Buchanan has a strong background in financial services. He is no one’s poodle. If he didn't dissent, he gives serious weight to the report, in my view.

Rowland Huelin also has an impressive CV: "my career involved thirty years in the fast-paced Information Technology industry where I was involved in major sales and contract negotiation with banks and service companies on a global basis. I am used to the highly pressured life of corporate America."

Trevor Pointin brings a clinical POV: "Before moving to Jersey in 1990, I had been a Health Service Nurse Manager and then a Management and Commissioning Consultant to businesses setting up Residential and Nursing Homes in the private sector. Once here I continued with this work. In the mid 90s I became the General Manager for The Shelter Trust, moving back to clinical practice at the General Hospital in 1999. "

Leaving aside Chris Taylor and Carina Alves as perhaps more likely to be critical of decisions made, I do not think it is easy to brush aside the heavyweight experience of the others. These are clever professionals who are taking an independent and critical view. That they agreed with all points raised signifies serious issues with the decision making over the last two governments, which as the report shows, has been shown to be motivated in part at least by political expediency.

Richard Renouf is an advocate of the Royal Court, and with the greatest of respect, I don’t think he has as wide a portfolio of experience as either Mr Buchanan or Mr Huelin, while Mr Pointin brings a much needed medical oversight of the findings.

In particular continually moving the Waterfront off the table twice against the reports proposals as the best site shows the worst case of political considerations of a very narrow kind taking precedence over what is best for the Island itself, and against advice given.

I think Richard Renouf will have to very seriously consider his position as this finding is completely indisputable from the minutes and letters relating to site selection. I look forward to seeing a detailed explanation from him on why he dissented from the findings. 

As he expressed dissent from revisiting site selection as Health Minister even before the Board, I think he should explain what findings of fact he acknowledged, and why he felt they made no difference to site selection.


Dec 2012: Atkins had been instructed to undertake the long-listing process

Feb 2013, MOG, Letter from MD of SoJdC

Discussions on letter from SoJDC over concerns of developing waterfront option as it could “compromise funding streams” for the JIFC

Further Letter: Serious concerns about the risks of indirect and direct losses of income from the JIFC should waterfront option be progressed.

“IG indicated in his view the States of Jersey could not afford to lose the JIFC and there would be strong public criticism if the work to develop a new hospital compromised such a development in the current economic climate. PO explained that he had attended the recent SOJDC Board meeting where the matter was discussed and the Board was very strong in its view that pursuing option 14C was likely have a serious impact on the JIFC, in particular to its ongoing efforts to attract a key tenant for a major part of the scheme. In his view this meant the site should not be considered further. “

April 2015:

In accepting Recommendation 12 of SR.10/2014, Gleeds were commissioned to review the four options, publishing a report in April 2015.This concluded that the Waterfront option scored significantly better than all other options and continued to do so under several levels of sensitivity testing. Full details are included within CRO04 Report.

CR004 Report: "UK Treasury Green Book recommends that, at this strategic stage, the differential value offered by different options is compared by calculating the quantum of Net Present Value required to secure each benefit point. On this basis Option ‘D’ being the Waterfront scored significantly better than all other options and continued to do so under several levels of sensitivity testing. On the basis of the evidence established within the report it is clear that Option ‘D’ is the optimal location to be taken forward to detailed design."

This was when they went for a Split Site: "SD reiterated the view that, whilst it had not scored as high technically, Atkins believed that Option 1E was a solution that would work and would provide what was required for a new hospital for Jersey. "

[I have no idea who "SD" is – despite names being placed alongside initials, there is no “SD”, which suggests an earlier stage of redaction removing their name, but missing the initials]

Philip Ozouf proposes Dual Site October 2013. This effectively removes the Waterfront from public gaze. Notice that the proposal comes from him as Treasury Minister, and Ann Pryke, as Health Minister, is effectively shunted onto one side – a contrast with the later proposal which was brought by Health Minister Andrew Green. It is another confirmation of political interference in the site selection.

Sept 2014: Scrutiny: The HSSH Scrutiny Panel issued a report, SR10/2014, reviewing the transformation of Health Services. The report raised concerns that both the public and employees were concerned about the dual-site proposal, the length of time it would take before the hospital was completed and that the States Assembly had not been involved in the decision making process.

New election Andrew Green revisits options with Gleeds assessment. "A new Health Minister was appointed who had “grave” concerns about the dual-site proposal."

Looking at Gleeds Table with weighted measures:

Option A – Dual Site (Existing General Hospital and Overdale) – New Build and Refurbishment (2.432.05)
Option B - Overdale Site and adjacent property – 100% New Build Option (1,720.52)
Option C - Existing General Hospital Site and adjacent property – 100% New Build Option (1,466.87)
Option D - Waterfront Site - (14C Zephyrus, Crosslands and Jardins de la Mer) – 100% New Build Option (1,056.71 )

MOG received the outcome of the Gleeds Site Appraisal Report CR04. The report concluded that the Waterfront option scored significantly better than all other options. The dual-site option scored very poorly.

The Waterfront stands out and this must have been something of a nightmare for those on the COM, such as Ian Gorst and Philip Ozouf, who wanted it off the table.

July 2015

MOG requested a further review to consider additional sites of Parade Gardens and People’s Park. Gleeds’ initial findings noted that Parade Gardens was not suitable to progress past the long-listing process but that People’s Park was worthy of further short-list.

When you don’t get the desired result, try some other options! This was when the People’s Park came onto the agenda, although at this stage, it was concealed from the general public as an option until leaked by the JEP.

October 2015

The Council concluded that it was apparent that, on the basis of all the evidence available, there was a compelling case that the People’s Park site was clearly the preferred option and the Council accordingly endorsed the People’s Park as the Preferred Site Option.

Having neatly removed the Waterfront, Andrew Green defended the decision for the People’s Park as the preferred site. Collective responsibility means that dissenting voices, such as St Helier Deputy Rod Bryans, are effectively gagged, although once it becomes public knowledge Constable Simon Crowcroft and all the other Town Deputies are unanimous in opposition.

February 2016:

P3/2016 was a proposal by the Constable of St Helier to remove People’s Park from the list of sites for consultation. The Health Minister subsequently confirmed its removal as a potential option. Ministers entered a period of reflection on the project’s objectives.

This decision, like many others, was made because of political factors. Opposition to the People’s Park had been increasing both within and outside the States, and the count from emails expressing lack of support for the Council of Ministers meant that it was very likely the proposal would be won.

It was clearly felt to be less humiliating and damaging to take the People's Park off the table – perhaps with a Health Minister overboard. It also meant there could not be a healthy debate on site selection, something the Council of Ministers - or some of them - clearly wanted to avoid at all costs.

June 2016

The Council approved the concept of utilising the existing General Hospital site and adjacent areas to be purchased. It was agreed that the Minister for Health and Social Services should make a statement in the States on 14th June 2016, which would include reference to the intention of proceeding with a report and proposition in due course in relation to the preferred site and outline timetable, but not details of any funding proposals presently under consideration by the Minister for Treasury and Resources.

As we know, the first plans ignored advice given by planning on height, and appeared to present mock up designs which showed a much lower hospital that was the case. These were rejected and new plans submitted in the run up to the election.

The Planning Inspector had been given a very restricted brief not to review other sites, safeguarding the Waterfront being placed back on the agenda, and meanwhile Andrew Green signs off a lease for hemp production on Warwick Farm, another potential site, moving that more or less out of consideration.

In conclusion, the timeline shows political considerations – rather than finding the best site- played a dominant role in site selection, in such a manner that the results were skewed away from the Waterfront, and then later from any other options. This is the stuff of “Yes, Minister”, but unfortunately not half as funny.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

De Profundis : An Extract

De Profundis (Latin: "from the depths") is a letter written by Oscar Wilde during his imprisonment in Reading Gaol. I had never read it, until I came across this mentioned in a book of the week on Radio 4 -“Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know” by Colm Tóibín.

It is an extraordinary meditation on life, and even more extraordinary is to realise that this is a man imprisoned in a harsh penal system which involved hard labour, poor food and harsh conditions. In “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”, he writes of

In Debtors’ Yard the stones are hard,
And the dripping wall is high,
So it was there he took the air
Beneath the leaden sky,
And by each side a Warder walked,
For fear the man might die.

The vilest deeds like poison weeds
Bloom well in prison-air:
It is only what is good in Man
That wastes and withers there:
Pale Anguish keeps the heavy gate,
And the Warder is Despair

And yet out of this prison environment comes a profound meditation on suffering, written as a letter to his former lover, but almost incidentally, as he muses on existence and suffering. 

Colm Tóibín read it all from a prison cell in Reading, streamed, and for visitors to look at see. But it is long, so here is just one short extract.

De Profundis : An Extract

Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons. We can only record its moods, and chronicle their return. With us time itself does not progress. It revolves. It seems to circle round one centre of pain. The paralysing immobility of a life every circumstance of which is regulated after an unchangeable pattern, so that we eat and drink and lie down and pray, or kneel at least for prayer, according to the inflexible laws of an iron formula: this immobile quality, that makes each dreadful day in the very minutest detail like its brother, seems to communicate itself to those external forces the very essence of whose existence is ceaseless change. 

 Of seed-time or harvest, of the reapers bending over the corn, or the grape gatherers threading through the vines, of the grass in the orchard made white with broken blossoms or strewn with fallen fruit: of these we know nothing and can know nothing.

For us there is only one season, the season of sorrow. The very sun and moon seem taken from us. Outside, the day may be blue and gold, but the light that creeps down through the thickly-muffled glass of the small iron-barred window beneath which one sits is grey and niggard. It is always twilight in one’s cell, as it is always twilight in one’s heart. 

 And in the sphere of thought, no less than in the sphere of time, motion is no more. The thing that you personally have long ago forgotten, or can easily forget, is happening to me now, and will happen to me again to-morrow. Remember this, and you will be able to understand a little of why I am writing, and in this manner writing.

Prosperity, pleasure and success, may be rough of grain and common in fibre, but sorrow is the most sensitive of all created things. There is nothing that stirs in the whole world of thought to which sorrow does not vibrate in terrible and exquisite pulsation. The thin beaten-out leaf of tremulous gold that chronicles the direction of forces the eye cannot see is in comparison coarse. It is a wound that bleeds when any hand but that of love touches it, and even then must bleed again, though not in pain.

But while there were times when I rejoiced in the idea that my sufferings were to be endless, I could not bear them to be without meaning. Now I find hidden somewhere away in my nature something that tells me that nothing in the whole world is meaningless, and suffering least of all. That something hidden away in my nature, like a treasure in a field, is Humility.

It is the last thing left in me, and the best: the ultimate discovery at which I have arrived, the starting-point for a fresh development. It has come to me right out of myself, so I know that it has come at the proper time. It could not have come before, nor later. Had any one told me of it, I would have rejected it. Had it been brought to me, I would have refused it. 

 As I found it, I want to keep it. I must do so. It is the one thing that has in it the elements of life, of a new life, Vita Nuova for me. Of all things it is the strangest. One cannot acquire it, except by surrendering everything that one has. It is only when one has lost all things, that one knows that one possesses it.

I am completely penniless, and absolutely homeless. Yet there are worse things in the world than that. I am quite candid when I say that rather than go out from this prison with bitterness in my heart against the world, I would gladly and readily beg my bread from door to door. If I got nothing from the house of the rich I would get something at the house of the poor. Those who have much are often greedy; those who have little always share. 

 I would not a bit mind sleeping in the cool grass in summer, and when winter came on sheltering myself by the warm close-thatched rick, or under the penthouse of a great barn, provided I had love in my heart. The external things of life seem to me now of no importance at all. You can see to what intensity of individualism I have arrived—or am arriving rather, for the journey is long, and ‘where I walk there are thorns.’

Behind joy and laughter there may be a temperament, coarse, hard and callous. But behind sorrow there is always sorrow. Pain, unlike pleasure, wears no mask. Truth in art is not any correspondence between the essential idea and the accidental existence; it is not the resemblance of shape to shadow, or of the form mirrored in the crystal to the form itself; it is no echo coming from a hollow hill, any more than it is a silver well of water in the valley that shows the moon to the moon and Narcissus to Narcissus. 

Truth in art is the unity of a thing with itself: the outward rendered expressive of the inward: the soul made incarnate: the body instinct with spirit. For this reason there is no truth comparable to sorrow. There are times when sorrow seems to me to be the only truth. Other things may be illusions of the eye or the appetite, made to blind the one and cloy the other, but out of sorrow have the worlds been built, and at the birth of a child or a star there is pain.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

A Ray of Darkness

One from the "back catalogue" today, from 11 November 2005. The title was pinched from a book of essays by Rowan Williams, and I rather liked the paradoxical idea of darkness as a ray, not a ray of light in darkness. It is a conflation of images, all religious rites in some form or another.

A Ray of Darkness
(A Villanelle)

Joy is the dancing in moonlight
Raise the cone, witching time
A ray of darkness is so bright

Cast to four corners ever right
Hand in hand, motion sublime
Joy is the dancing in moonlight

Light the candle, make the light
Voices chant, singing in rhyme
A ray of darkness is so bright

Eat of the bread, partake insight
Sip of wine, taste the sublime
Joy is the dancing in moonlight

Encircle all in the mind's sight
Chant for protection at this time
A ray of darkness is so bright

Here is the Immanent Delight
Ground of being is our prime
Joy is the dancing in moonlight
A ray of darkness is so bright.

Friday, 16 November 2018

On the trail of the Bretons of Jersey

Thomas Perrono wrote an interesting piece about the Bretons of Jersey in French which can be found at:

For my history blog this week, I’m providing an English translation of this fascinating story.

On the trail of the Bretons of Jersey

The second half of the nineteenth century saw tens of thousands of Bretons leave for other horizons: Paris , Le Havre and the United States in particular. In addition to these long-term and even definitive migration routes, there are the trajectories of seasonal workers, where field work is hiring: Beauce , but also Jersey.

The Anglo-Norman island has a real tradition of immigration . In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a large number of French Huguenots came to find refuge to escape religious repression. In 1850, migration changed in nature and became economic. Jersey is looking for arms to work in the early crop. The Bretons respond massively to the call. In 1891, more than 5,500 of them left for Jersey. This agricultural immigration concerns first the department of Côtes-du-Nord, and more particularly the littoral zones of Trégor and Goëlo. In the 1920s, nearly 90% of the passports established by the Côtes-du-Nord prefecture had Jersey as their destination. Most of them embark at Saint-Brieuc on the steamers of the line Le Légué - Saint Helier.

This migration is very largely seasonal. The majority of Britons land at the beginning of May on the Anglo-Norman island. They are then hired by team with the various Jersey farmers. Once the potato grubbing campaign is completed, many Britons return home in August to harvest. Some remain on site until September to harvest the tomatoes. The salary, accumulated at the price of a job often exhausting, is high enough for seasonal workers to repeat year after year.

But, from 1920, the Jersey authorities want to regulate immigration on the island. Two months after the United Kingdom, an Aliens Restriction Act came into effect in Jersey on February 17, 1920. All foreigners over the age of 16 must now register with the authorities in order to reside. 'island. Thousands of Alien registration cards are then established until the 1960s.

It is this exceptional source that the website of Jersey Heritage , the agency responsible for managing the public and private archives of the island, puts at our disposal. Classified by year of birth of the migrants, only the cards of those born before 1900 and until 1915 are available for the moment, because of the delays of incommunicability of the archives. These cards include a detail on foreign residents.

Classically, the name, date and place of birth, the address "outside the United Kingdom", the profession, the date of issue of the certificate, the year of first arrival in the United Kingdom, a photograph as well as the various documents supporting the identity.

All this is a small gold mine for the historian who wants to study migration in Jersey, especially for a prosopographic purpose. But the genealogist will also find his account, since it is possible to query the database in full text by indicating the name of the individual sought.

Alien registration card. Jersey Heritage .

Last but not least , there is a catch! If everyone has access to the inventory of registration cards for foreigners, you must pay a subscription to consult them ... Worse, it will cost you £ 5 to obtain the reproduction of a card! Although it is understandable that Jersey Heritage is a private organization, subsidized by the authorities of Jersey, - unlike the French departmental archives which are public bodies - it is always a shame to see pecuniary restrictions curb the dissemination of archives and thus, by the same, research in history. Gentlemen the English, pay first!