Saturday, 30 March 2019


There's been a lot of death in the news, whether it be the shootings in a school in Brazil, the killings in New Zealand, or the natural disaster in Mozambique. This is not about those places although it comes from reflecting on such deaths, but it is a poem on death in a very symbolic and stylised way.


Dark falls shadows, the fading of light
A candle is flickering, high in the tower
Pendulum beat marks out each hour
Sirius shining, the dog star of night

The lady is spinning, garment so white
Shroud for the burial, at hand is the hour
Dark falls shadows, the fading of light
A candle is flickering, high in the tower

Storm rages outside, flashes so bright
Crumbling away, lightening struck tower
There in ruins, grows a pasque flower
Mourning the dead, in funerary rite
Dark falls shadows, the fading of light

Friday, 29 March 2019

The Channel Islands in Diocese of Portsmouth – Part 3

Cardinal Heenan lays the foundation stone of St. Bernadette
, Jersey, with Fr. O 'Regan O. M. I.  (left) and Canon Olney (right).
Lay members Mr and Mrs Leo Kelly

This week’s history comes from the “Diocese of Portsmouth: Past and Present” by Gerard Dwyer published in 1981, and looks at the history of Catholics in Jersey after the Reformation to the early 1980s.

The Channel Islands in Diocese of Portsmouth – Part 3

The Parishes of St. Matthew's and St. Aubin's

It was Fr. Volkerick of St. Thomas' who built out in the country the Church of St. Matthew in honour of Matthew de Gruchy. It was opened in 1872 in the presence of Bishop Danell of Southwark and Bishop Fournier of Rennes. For 10 years the Mission was served from St. Thomas' but because it had no resident priest it was not very successful.

In 1882, just after the foundation of the new Diocese of Portsmouth, Bishop Vertue gave the French Oblates charge of the Mission. The Mission revived and from it came the chapel of St. John and St. Anthony at Ville-a-I'Eveque in Trinity Parish and the chapel of St. Anne in St. Ouen's Parish; these still remain centres within St. Matthew's Parish.

A new granite Church of the Sacred Heart at St. Aubin was begun just at the outbreak of the Second World War and was completed and opened in June 1947. A small chapel dedicated to the Immaculate Conception was provided near St. Peter's and a larger one dedicated to St. Therese at La Moye. Both of these were later closed (the former because it was on land needed for the extension of the airport) and replaced in 1972 by the fine modern church of St. Bernadette in Les Quennevais Estate, the foundation stone of which was laid by Cardinal Heenan of Westminster during a visit to the Island.

Both of these parishes (St. Matthew's and the Sacred Heart) were handed over to the Irish Oblates in 1952. However, in 1981, St. Matthew's Parish became the responsibility of the Diocesan Clergy.

 The Parish of Our Lady at St. Martin's

In 1847 a French priest, Fr. Hallum from Bordeaux, settled in the Island. He built a small school and chapel in Faldouet which he called "Notre Dame de St. Martin."

Although in an unofficial capacity, he worked there for about eight years. In 1851 the parishioners sent a petition to Bishop Grant of Southwark asking for a priest sent to look after them. The petition was signed by 350 French and 200 Irish Jersey, with Fr. persons. The Irish had come to the Island because of the famine in Ireland and were working on the construction of St. Catherine's Harbour, the foundation stone of which bears the date of 1851.

Evidently Bishop Grant, who had only just taken over the newly formed Diocese of Southwark, was unable to grant their request. On 15th April 1855 Fr. Hallum wrote again to say that he was leaving the Island. As no priest arrived, on 16th October another petition was prepared and signed "Benoit." It was addressed to the French Emperor, Napoleon III, stating how French Catholics were abandoned to their own devices in the eastern part of Jersey. This petition was transmitted to the Archbishop of Paris who in his turn forwarded it to the Bishop of Southwark.

Most probably this "Benoit" had drawn-up and signed the petition in ignorance of what had already been done by Bishop Grant. On 17th September 1856 he had already named Fr. Joseph Guiramand, a priest from the Diocese of Avignon, a former chaplain in the French Army and a Chevallier of the Legion of Honour, as priest in charge of the Catholic Mission of Our Lady and St. Martin. This priest was already 65 years old, and he was taking on no easy task.

We know from a letter written to Bishop Grant that when he arrived at St. Martin's there was nothing
there not even an altar-stone. He lodged first at No. 10 Duhamel Street, St. Helier.

By the following September he had reconstructed and blessed Fr. Hallum's old church and found a place in which to live in St. Martin's. In time the congregation increased and a larger church became necessary. But where was the money to come from? The parishioners were poor working men and a few retired people.

The only hope was to beg. Fr. Guiramand wrote to all the Bishops of France. We know that the Bishop of Besancon sent his offering through Bishop Grant. The Bishop of Coutances allowed a collection to be taken throughout his diocese, and a collection was also taken in most of the larger churches in Paris by permission of the Archbishop. The Queen of Portugal sent £20; the French Emperor, Napoleon III, sent a beautiful monstrance and a set of the Stations of the Cross. By September 1862 the foundations of this new church, to be dedicated to Our Lady and the Martyrs of Japan, had been laid. In February 1863 the church was blessed and opened by Bishop Grant, the sermon being preached by Mgr. Bracart, Bishop of Coutances.

Fr. Guiramand worked in the parish for 26 years until his death at the age of 89 in September 1882. He was succeeded by Fr. Tardivon who died after two years. The Jesuits then took care of the Mission until 1884. In that year Bishop Vertue of Portsmouth asked the French Oblates to take over the parish. This they did until 1960 when they handed it over to the care of the priests of the Anglo-Irish Province of Oblates who are still in residence.

The history of the parish under the French Oblates is a story of valiant efforts to provide Catholic schools. The Dames de St. Andre were a great help by building a large school for girls. In 1893 St. Joseph's, Grouville, was opened as a school chapel and though renovated continues in use until today. But all the schools had to close eventually because of Jersey Law.

Within the parish a tiny chapel dedicated to the Assumption was opened in Gorey Village in 1903. In more recent times this was replaced by the purchase of a building stone of nearby which had started life as a non-Conformist chapel, then been adapted to become a cinema and finally was turned into a Catholic church.

 The Irish Mission in Jersey: St. Mary and St. Peter's Church

Fr. Francis Isherwood, whilst an assistant priest in Jersey in the early 1970s, wrote an extensive account of Catholicism in the Island. The heading of this section has been taken from his account of the parish of St. Mary and St. Peter which appeared in the Jersey Catholic Record of July 1974.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century the building of Fort Regent brought a number of Irish labourers to Jersey. At first they went to Mass in the French chapel in Castle Street. From 1811 to 1821 separate registers were kept for the French- and English-speaking communities. Within a few years the numbers of Irish had grown so much that the chapel in Castle Street had become too small for both communities.

The Irish and French did not get on too well together perhaps it was a problem of language - complaining that each would not make way for the other. The Irish complained to Bishop Poynter of the London District. In 1821 Fr. J. Carroll arrived, and in 1826 he built a chapel off Hue Street in St. Helier. Unfortunately the chapel had to be sold the following year: the money to build it had been borrowed and the mortgage could not be repaid.

In September 1829 Fr. Matthew Ryan came to Jersey; Hue Street chapel was re-acquired and put to its original use. Ten years later the chapel had become too small for the congregation and the priest in charge, Fr. John Cunningham, decided that a bigger church would have to be built. A new site was found in Vauxhall Street, and the foundation stone was laid on Wednesday, 13th October 1841.

The stone has a brass plaque with the following inscription (in Latin):

 The Foundation Stone of this Church, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, was laid by Wm. Burke Esq. in the year of Our Lord 1841, The Right Rev. Thomas Griffiths, Bishop of Oleno, being Vicar Apostolic of the London District, the Rev. J. Cunningham being Pastor and James Parkinson the Architect.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Religious Education in Jersey: A Comment

A Bailiwick Express report on Minecraft Bibles being donated to schools elicited a large number of negative responses on Politics Jersey.

“This is pretty dark, should it be allowed?”

“Have you read the bible? It’s very dark. Gang rape, Incest. Murder, Slavery. All are good in the Bible. If that’s not dark, then what is?”

"Morality, Slavery is perfectly moral in the bible. The overall message is nothing to do with peace and love. Its "Do what I say or else"”

“More brainwashing propaganda, shouldn’t kids be taught the truth at school??”

“Is that a female teacher handing out the bibles? Yet the New Testament states "I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man; she must be quiet. “

“As a father I’m glad my little girl hasn’t been subjected to this bullshit she already knows that god isn’t real and it’s just something for folk to believe in”

“I would be fuming if they’d hijacked my child’s class for that rubbish. Schools should not be treated as captive audiences that religious groups can prey upon to try and boost their own numbers.

It is amazing how many people assume that because they have definite opinions about the Bible being bad, their children should not be subjected to the possibility of reading the Bible and instead, evidently, take their opinions on trust!

They clearly did not read the statement reported by the Religious Education Advisory Council:

"By having a Bible in class, students can learn how to look up passages and can explore the text first-hand. They can engage directly with the scripts and think about what the text means for believers, and for themselves."

This seems to be about (1) learning about a faith's key text (2) thinking for yourself.

The commentators seem to have taken C.S. Lewis statement (in “Surprised by Joy”) to heart

“A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere — ‘Bibles laid open, millions of surprises,’ as Herbert says”

Clearly the best way to preserve the purity of their children’s atheism is to ensure they are not exposed to something else! But isn’t this a form of censoring the child’s reading? If anything smacks of indoctrination, that does. Are some of these people so scared that their children might make up their own minds, instead of what their parents think? Do they really believe in the old Jesuit maxim: Give me the child for the first seven years and I will give you the man?

The Bailiwick Express article, which no one seems to have read in its entirety, also said:

Francesca Allen, Head of Humanities Faculty at Le Rocquier School, said the school “gratefully received” the donation. “We were previously having to print extracts from the Bible to support students in their Judaism and Christianity studies, which meant they never got to grips with how to negotiate a real Bible.”

Now I’m a great believer in looking at primary texts when doing history. And also in religious education, finding out about what people believe, or stories they have told, are best found in the primary texts.

As Seneca said: " Give over hoping that you can skim, by means of epitomes, the wisdom of distinguished men. Look into their wisdom as a whole; study it as a whole." But people probably don't read Seneca much nowadays.

[That saying is from Moral letters to Lucilius/Letter 33 if you want to read the whole piece!]

The Jersey Education law says:

Subject to Article 20, a pupil of compulsory school age in a provided school shall receive religious education in accordance with a syllabus approved by the Minister after consultation with the Religious Education Advisory Council.

And article 20 also provides a right for the parent “”to withdraw the pupil from religious education”

It should be noted that religious education in provided schools follows a strict curriculum guidelines, and again no one criticising religious education in Jersey schools seem to have given the slightest interest in finding that out. Here is what it says:

RE contributes dynamically to pupil’s education in schools by provoking challenging questions about meaning and purpose in life, beliefs about God, ultimate reality, issues of right and wrong.

In RE pupils learn about and from religions.

RE plays a significant part in a balanced curriculum, enabling pupils to consider some of the fundamental questions of life.

RE offers distinctive opportunities to promote pupil’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

RE should offer a structured and safe space during curriculum time for reflection, discussion, dialogue and debate. It is a subject that explores people’s responses, beliefs, traditions, cultures, behaviours and diversity. Pupils will be able to gain and deploy skills needed to understand, interpret and evaluate texts, sources of wisdom and authority and other evidence. Pupils will learn to articulate clearly and coherently their personal beliefs, ideas, values and experiences while respecting the right of others to differ.”

Before fulminating against handing out bibles for use in Religious Education, perhaps a little more care should be taken to find out what Religious Education is all about. Certainly in some circles of social media, “respecting the right of others to differ” seems far down the list of priorities for children to be taught.


Saturday, 23 March 2019

The Empty Land

C.S. Lewis wrote of grief that it was like: "A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The long you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become. There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it every inhabited? It seemed so once. And that seeming was as through as this. "

And I was also thinking (at the end of the poem) of: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

Grief and depression are kindred spirits, and reflecting on that gave rise to this poem.

The Empty Land

The star light flickers far away
I’m shut within a wall
Depression, doubt and crucified
The future seems so small

I may not know, I cannot tell
The darkness and the fear
It comes sometimes to all of us
A black dog shadow’s there

There seems no ending, not enough
No room left at the inn
But walled enclosures, bolted gate
And I will never win

The wind is blowing, now beloved
And I must follow too
And trust in hands held in the dark
And unknown way with you

Friday, 22 March 2019

The Channel Islands in Diocese of Portsmouth - Part 2

St Thomas before Vatican II changes

This week’s history comes from the “Diocese of Portsmouth: Past and Present” by Gerard Dwyer published in 1981, and looks at the history of Catholics in Jersey after the Reformation to the early 1980s.

The Channel Islands in Diocese of Portsmouth – Part 2


It would seem that between the English and French Revolutions the Catholic religion was non-existent in the Islands. The extinction of Catholicism at the Reformation produced no Catholic martyr; but its revival at the end of the eighteenth century in France produced one in the person of Matthew de Gruchy. He was born in Jersey in 1761. As a young man he ran away to sea, joined the navy, took part in the war against France, was captured by the French and imprisoned.

At Angers Matthew was used as an interpreter in the hospital where there were many English prisoners. Some of these were Catholics (many Irish used to join the army or navy), and the local Bishop sent an Irish priest, Fr. Drady, to look after the Catholics. Fr. Drady instructed Matthew in the Faith and received him into the Church on 23rd July 1780. In June 1782 peace was signed and de Gruchy became a free man. A local parish priest took an interest in him and eventually had him accepted by the Bishop of Lucon as a candidate for the priesthood. He was ordained on Easter Eve 1788.

The following year the French Revolution began with the fall of the Bastille. In 1792 all priests who refused to take the Oath laid down by the "Civil Constitution of the Clergy" were ordered to leave the country. Great numbers went to England and to the Channel Islands. In Jersey there were three Bishops and 3,000 priests. Matthew decided to go home. When his relations discovered that he was a Catholic priest they were horrified, and he had to leave the Island.

After a visit to London he returned to Jersey. He was called-up to join the Militia; he refused to bear arms and was again exiled. He returned home once again, but the States of Jersey, under the influence of the Anglican Rectors, made his stay impossible. In February 1795 we find him in Southampton working among the French prisoners-of-war and 30 Irish soldiers who were in hospital.

When La Vendee rose against the revolutionaries, Matthew decided to go there. For two years he lived in terrible conditions, hunted by the soldiery with a price on his head. In 1797 he was arrested in Nantes and condemned to death. We possess his last letter to his mother, written in the Bouffay Prison at Nantes: "... I offer Him the sacrifice of my life. I ask Him to accept it as a reparation for my sins and that He may be pleased in his mercy to grant you also, to my sisters and whole family, the grace of conversion “Next day he was shot. The first volley did not hit him; neither did the second: so they put a rifle to his head and blew out his brains. His name is among the 125 martyrs whose beatification has been petitioned for at Rome by the Diocese of Nantes.

Catholicism makes a comeback in Jersey - St. Thomas's

Between 1790 and 1793 great numbers of French émigrés, both priests and laity, poured into Jersey. Almost overnight the town of St. Helier doubled its size. The Governor gave permission for the opening of four chapels for private worship St. Malo with Fr. John Le Saout, St. Louis with Fr. Peter Derbree, Our Lady with Fr. Le Roussel de Vaucelles, and the Sacred Heart with Fr. de la Chateigneraye.

As well as the French emigrants there were also some Irish soldiers garrisoned on the Island. They too were given permission to attend Mass in these chapels. From these two sources- French émigrés and Irish immigrants - came the revival of Catholicism in the Island.

Gradually the émigrés returned to France and the four Mass centres were closed. In September 1803 an old flour loft was rented in Castle Street, access being gained by means of a ladder. This new Catholic chapel was known as "Les Mielles" and was dedicated to St. Louis. The first priest in charge was a Fr. Philibert. He was succeeded in 1807 by Fr. Charles de Grimouville (who, as we saw above, was also appointed Vicar General for the Islands) who died in 1817 having been named Bishop-Elect of St. Malo.

The Mission continued to be served by French priests: Fr.' Le Guedois from 1822 to 1836 and then, after a lapse of nine months when there were no priests, Fr. Morlais. In 1842 Fr. Morlais bought an Anabaptist chapel in New Street which he dedicated to St. Thomas the Apostle in memory of Bishop Griffiths, the Vicar Apostolic of the London District, who had helped so much in its foundation.

After 23 years of hard work Fr. Morlais retired in 1860. A Belgian priest, Fr. Volkerick, took charge in October 1860. Helped by rich families in Belgium and France he was able to bring the De La Salle Brothers and the Dames de St. Andre to the Island. The Brothers left Jersey in 1896 but came back again in 1917, and the following year opened their house and school at The Beeches, where they still remain today. The Dames de St. Andre came in July 1863. They opened a school first in Duhamel Street, and then they build a magnificent granite convent in David Place. These nuns opened schools at St. Matthew's, and in the parishes of St. Martin's, St. Aubin's, St. Ouen's and St. John's. These schools were used for Mass on Sundays, and from them grew the Catholic churches and parishes in these parts. The Dames de St. Andre remained in Jersey until 1911.

For 10 years previously there had been a struggle to keep open their schools. The States of Jersey demanded that all teachers should have an English Teaching Certificate. The nuns did not have these, so they invited other Sisters, the Faithful Companions of Jesus (F.C.J.) to take over their two schools in Val Plaisant and at St. Matthew's. The latter was eventually closed, but in David Place the F.C.J.'s built up a fine school. However, in 1967, the premises had become too small, so the Sisters built a new school at Grainville Manor where they still continue to live and teach.

In 1870 the Catholic population of St. Helier had reached such proportions that St. Thomas' Chapel was not able to cope with the crowds. Fr. Volkerick bought land for a new and larger church in Val Plaisant. He began collecting money and by 1879 he had collected 50,000 francs. In that year Fr. Volkerick was called to work in England, and in the following year Bishop Danell of Southwark offered the Mission to the French Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

The latter gratefully accepted the offer as they had just been expelled from France and were looking for a new home. The Oblates lost no time in continuing the work of collecting money for the new church. Fr. Michaud, a noted fund-raiser of the day, was put in charge of the project. Within two years, on Thursday 6th September 1883, the foundation stone was laid by the Bishop of the newly-erected Diocese of Portsmouth, Bishop Vertue, in the presence of his Vicar General, Mgr. Cahill, the Catholic Dean of Jersey, Fr. McCarthy, and the former parish priest of St. Thomas', Fr. Volkerick.

The church, which is a fine example of nineteenth century French Gothic architecture (known locally by the older people as "La Cathedrale"), took four years to build and was to be opened on 30th October 1887.

The night before a tempest blew. About midnight it became so violent that everything shook; the windows of both transepts were blown in and fell to the ground inside the church. Many others in the nave were loosened. The scaffolding around the tower was in danger of collapsing and crashing down on the neighbouring houses; it was a miracle that this did not happen. At about 4 o'clock in the morning the priests were able to get into the church. It was swimming with water and bits of glass lay everywhere. They set to work and by 10.30 a.m. all was ready for the blessing of the new church which was performed by Fr. Rey, Provincial of the Oblates, followed by the first Mass therein.

In 1977 the present Rector of St. Thomas', Fr. Jean-Marie Chuffart, undertook a complete restoration of the outer fabric of the church. At the present time work on the inside has begun; this will restore the full beauty of the church's architecture and provide a worthy sanctuary within it.

On 13th May 1979 a statue of Our Lady of Fatima, provided by the large Portuguese community which now uses St. Thomas', was carried through the streets in procession and enshrined in the church by the Bishop of Funchal (Madeira).

On the evening of Ascension Day, 28th May 1981, a concelebrated Mass of Thanksgiving, presided over by Mgr. Lawrence, Episcopal Vicar for the Channel Islands (as the Bishop of Portsmouth, due to fog, was unable to land in Jersey that afternoon), was offered in St. Thomas' Church to celebrate the centenary of the Oblate Fathers' arrival in Jersey.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Gun Control: Time for a Re-appraisal in Jersey

The JEP reported the following story:

“THERE are more than 2,400 semi-automatic weapons in the Island but Jersey has no plans to alter its gun laws in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack, the Home Affairs Minister has said.”

“Constable Len Norman stressed laws in the Island were ‘robust enough’ but conceded New Zealand’s parliament might have said the same prior to last week’s attack at a mosque in Christchurch which killed 50 people, including women and children. Asked whether there was any room for discussion about altering Jersey’s laws, Mr Norman said: ‘Our gun laws are robust enough as they are and I don’t see any reason for change. Terror attacks can happen in any jurisdiction, absolutely, Jersey included, but now is not the time for knee-jerk reactions. ‘Terror like this can happen anywhere and everywhere and that’s why we need to be vigilant and have robust procedures in place ­– like we do – but nothing is guaranteed.’”

While there are strong procedures, we should be aware that New Zealand said exactly the same, which Len does concede... and then does nothing! An immediate ban would be a knee-jerk reaction, but a re-appraisal of gun control, and a critical probe of any weaknesses would be wise.

As the New Zealand Prime Minister stated in a press release:

“There were five guns used by the primary perpetrator. There were two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns. The offender was in possession of a gun license.”

CNN reports that Australia curtailed the use of semi-automatic weapons after a fatal shooting:

“Gun laws in Australia were tightened following a 1996 mass shooting in which 35 people were killed by a lone gunman in Port Arthur, Tasmania. Within two weeks, Australian lawmakers banned rapid-fire rifles and shotguns and introduced tighter laws governing ownership of other weapons.”

Semi-automatic weapons self-load a new bullet after every trigger pull, rather than requiring the shooter to manually load one, enabling the wielder to fire off rounds more quickly.

A hand-gun such as a revolver would generally be a manual load weapon, since it takes human power to advance the cylinder.

There has actually not been a great deal of scientific research, but in 2018, a paper was published in the journal of the American Medical Association looking at US statistics.

It was entitled "Scientific research Lethality of Civilian Active Shooter Incidents With and Without Semiautomatic Rifles in the United States" and was compiled by Elzerie de Jager, MBBS(Hons), Eric Goralnick, MD, MS2 and Justin C. McCarty, DO1

Popular Science summarised the results:

“The research looked at every incident in the FBI database from 2000 to 2017 and ended up with 248 shootings, a quarter of which involved a semi-automatic weapon. Most of the rest featured handguns, followed by shotguns and then non-semi-automatic rifles. In those 248 incidents, shooters collectively killed 718 people and wounded 898.”

“Attacks with a semi-automatic rifle were more dangerous and more deadly. An average of 4.25 people died in those attacks versus 2.49 in those with non-semi-automatic firearms. And although 44 percent of those wounded ended up dying of their injuries regardless of the type of weapon used, those armed with semi-automatic rifles were also able to wound more people: an average of 5.48 versus 3.02.”

Potential gun owners in New Zealand must be over the age of 16 and pass a police background check, according to and its founder Professor Philip Alpers.

Alpers told CNN: "It's always a terrible surprise when this sort of thing happens. You can never predict where it's going to happen. The most common comment you get from people when this sort of thing happens is that they never thought it could happen here and that's how the people of Christchurch must be feeling."

The JEP noted that “A spokesman for the police said that if the force became aware of a person in the Island showing extremist tendencies, they would be able to seize weapons if there was an imminent threat.”

That’s a very optimistic position to take, and assumes a lot of knowledge about how public someone planning a massacre will be. However, when these massacres take place, there is usually no signalling that it is about to happen, especially when it is a lone individual rather than a terrorist group. Police intelligence in other jurisdictions has not so far been very effective in preventative action.

This massacre has been a wake-up call in New Zealand, and it should be a wake-up call in Jersey. While changes may not be necessary, and there have been no recorded incidents in the past, we are now living in a far more fractured and tribal world, and a re-appraisal would certainly be prudent. This should focus not just on the controls, but how an incident could be contained as rapidly as possible if it did occur.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Getting Priorities Right

Balancing the Books

ITV News reports that:

“Taxes will need to rise or public sector spending be cut if Jersey's government is to balance its books over the next four years. That's the warning of a leading group of economists who advise Jersey's government on its financial plans. The Fiscal Policy Panel warns £340 million was taken out of reserves, or rainy day funds, between 2009 and 2017 to balance the books.”

Just by way of note, the following Ministers had responsibility over that time frame:
2008-2011 Treasury Minister Philip Ozouf
2011-2018 Treasury Minister Alan Maclean

Spend, Spend, Spend

Meanwhile, money is no object:

‘Liberation 75 is a proposal to join Liberation Square and Weighbridge Place by extinguishing the section of road between the two spaces to create a large, improved public-amenity space,’ Deputy Lewis said. ‘It is proposed that it is completed by and opened on 9 May 2020 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Island.

And what does this vanity project cost?

“£1.4m proposals to connect Liberation Square and the Weighbridge have been unveiled”

The other side of the balance...

But on the other hand, cut-backs bite:

“Chronic staffing shortages have prompted one of Jersey’s largest charities to cut a lifeline service offering families of disabled people a break from caring for them, warning of a sector-wide “crisis”. Les Amis, a charity which supports islanders with learning disabilities, have said that recruitment shortages have left them with “no option” but to halt two of the main services they provide at the end of this month.”

“Staff pressures, a lack of social workers and an increased work load have led a service provider to pull out of offering States short breaks. New Horizons provide short breaks for children with disabilities, but say they will not reapply for their Health Department contract once it expires at the end of May.”

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that this government seems to have its priorities all wrong?

Rather than putting aside £1.4 million for a project which is not necessary, why not use some of that to help lifeline services to children.

When the liberation of Jersey happened in 1945, it meant an end to five long years of German rule, when the captive Islanders were set free. Lifeline services provide freedom to help islanders and their families with learning disabilities, and while it might not be as high-profile and showy as the proposed Liberation 75  project, wouldn’t it be nice to give them and their families a bit of extra freedom?

And perhaps if some money was spent there, so that it could feature in the Liberation 75 celebrations, perhaps some of the disabled children supported could play a significant part in the celebrations. That would be something which we could all celebrate and be proud of!


Monday, 18 March 2019

The Politics of the Tribe

I notice that the police are investigating claims of racial abuse during the election campaign, and in particular against Inna Gardiner.

I see one blog is still up in which the blogger accusers her in complicity in a genocidal campaign by Israel against the Palestinians which may or may not be related to this. It is an extraordinary claim and couched in extreme language which certainly seems to go beyond mere political argument.

I can well understand why she didn’t rise to the bait. Replying to the kinds of accusations thrown at her, in the vitriolic manner in which this was done, would be to shift the focus of an election campaign onto something else entirely, and as it so often does, bring the more virulent politics of the tribe.

Let’s not forget that as recent as 2003, red swastikas were daubed onto the outside walls of Tabor Synagogue in St Brelade, and while the incident has not been repeated, there's still anti-semitisim around. In fact a more general xenophobic racism, stoked by Brexit, has been rising not just in the UK but also in Jersey.

This is what that the blog said:

"Gardiner is a former employee of the Israeli Ministry of Education in the occupied city of Jerusalem. Any leftist worth their salt should know that the entire Israeli state apparatus is a settler-colonial death machine which works tirelessly to systematically enslave, oppress and ultimately expel or exterminate the Palestinian people, and the Ministry of Education is no different.... Anyone who thought it was remotely acceptable to even engage with an organization and a government which engages in this kind of blatantly genocidal policy is deserving of far more than simply not receiving your vote. I'd advise anyone who even pretends to care about human rights and cultural preservation to refuse to touch her with a ten-foot pole."

A correspondent notes that not only is this abusive, it is also potentially criminal:

“There is not one shred of evidence by which you could claim that Inna is, was, has been party to or supports Israeli government policy, or in being a government employee that infers she was. “

“Had he made the comments prior to Inna's declaration to stand for Deputy it may well have been ignored. However in the context of an election it becomes more than a matter of racial abuse but may possibly stray into an offence under Article 62 (1)(b)(c) of PUBLIC ELECTIONS (JERSEY) LAW 2002 which states:”

“A person shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale if, with intent to obtain a vote for himself or herself, or for any other person, at a public election, or an abstention from voting at a public election,

(b) the person publishes a false statement about a person who is a candidate at the election knowing the statement to be untrue; or

(c) assaults or threatens any person.”

“Sadly anti-semitism is very much alive no matter how comments are dressed up or academic argument made to deny it exists.”

Inna has told Bailiwick Express that since she went public on allegations of racists abuse, she had been inundated with so many emails from islanders “describing racist abuse in Jersey” that she “didn’t have time to reply to all of them”.

“I have had online comments - these email describe [the abuse that] people experienced at their work places, social circles and also between children at schools. It means it's a much wider issue and we need to speak about it. I believe in our community, we need to care for everybody. Who does it need to realise how wrong it is? I don't want to prosecute them because of their ignorance. For me, highlighting this issue is important, so everyone understands exactly what is and isn't acceptable in our society.”


Saturday, 16 March 2019

Fragmented Lives

This poem reflects on the events in New Zealand, and the terrible attack by a gunman on the Muslims attending worship at their mosques.

Fragmented Lives

The gunfire broke out, the killing time
A madman on the loose, and no rhyme
Or reason for the many, many dead
Cut down, screaming, as they fled
Always excuses, justification given
By the killers, and so mad, so driven
But there is no excuse, no reason why
So many people just had to die
Massacre of the innocent, all slain
And forever here the mark of Cain
The blood cries out, in sorrow, tears
Mourning dead children, lost years
They came to celebrate and rejoice
Give praise to Allah, joyful voice
Until a discordant note is heard
Gunshots silence prayerful word
Shouts, scream, frightened yell
Flowers lie by where they fell
Men, women, children, dying, dead
Fickle fates now cut the thread
And in a heartbeat, joy no more
Like bleached bones upon a shore
Enshroud the fallen with your prayers
Wash the sorrow with your tears
And light a candle, mourn, weep
In sorrow, let your vigil keep.

Friday, 15 March 2019

The Channel Islands in Diocese of Portsmouth – Part 1

Mgr. Lawrence, Episcopal Vicar of the Channel Islands
 with Bishop Emery and Canon Lecluze (left).

This week’s history comes from the “Diocese of Portsmouth: Past and Present” by Gerard Dwyer published in 1981, and looks at the history of Catholics in Jersey after the Reformation to the early1980s.

The Channel Islands in Diocese of Portsmouth – Part 1


The Channel Islands

All through the Middle Ages the Channel Islands formed part of the French Diocese of Coutances. On 28th October 1496 King Henry VII, the first of the Tudors, requested Pope Alexander VI to transfer them to Salisbury. Three years later he asked to have them transferred to the Diocese of Winchester. The Pope did as Henry asked but the Pope's Bull had no effect.

Right up to the reign of Elizabeth I, the Bishop of Coutances exercised jurisdiction over the Islands. In 1569 the then Bishop of Coutances was on a diplomatic mission in London. He complained that the dues from the Islands' Deaneries were not forthcoming.

The Privy Council unearthed the Bull and the Royal Letter of 1499; an Order in Council of 11th March 1569 executed the separation of the Islands from the Diocese of Coutances and placed them under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Bishop of Winchester but once again the order had no effect. The authority of the Bishop of Winchester was completely ignored owing to the fact that Presbyterian discipline and church government were firmly established in the Islands. It was in fact 1818 before the Anglican form of Confirmation was administered for the first time by Dr. Fisher, Bishop of Salisbury, as the Bishop of Winchester was not well enough to do so. The Islands then had to wait until 1829 to receive the first Episcopal visitation from their Anglican Bishop, Dr. Sumner of Winchester.

When the Church in England was placed by Rome under the care of Vicars Apostolic, the Channel Islands were looked after by the Vicar Apostolic of the London District (although it is not clear if they were ever formally included in the territory of his jurisdiction). Bishop Douglass, who was Vicar Apostolic from 1790 to 1812, appointed in 1807 Fr. Charles de Grimouville, an English-speaking priest in charge in Jersey, as Vicar General for Catholic administration in the Channel Islands; in 1817 he was nominated Bishop of St. Malo, but died that same year before being consecrated. The post of Vicar General does not appear to have been continued.

In Pope Pius IX's Letters Apostolic restoring the English Hierarchy in 1850, "the islands of Jersey, Guernsey and other adjacent" are included under the Diocese of Southwark. When Southwark was divided by the Letters Apostolic of Pope Leo XIII in 1882, the new Diocese of Portsmouth contained "those Islands in the English Channel (seu le Manche) appertaining to the English Crown."

During the Second World War the Church in the Channel Islands was completely cut-off from the rest of the Diocese due to the German Occupation of the Islands. Bishop King solved the problem of administering this part of the Diocese by appointing Canon Hickey, Parish Priest of St. Joseph's, Guernsey, as his Vicar General for the Channel Islands. This fact was made known to Guernsey seemingly through Ireland and the Vichy Government, but it appears that news of it did not reach Jersey until after the war.

After the Occupation, Mgr. Hickey continued to hold this post until his death in 1952, following which the Islands returned to direct administration from Portsmouth (or Winchester, as the Bishop lived there). In 1978 the present Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt. Rev. A. Emery, appointed Mgr. Canon Raymond Lawrence as Parish Priest of St. Joseph's, Guernsey and Episcopal Vicar for the Channel Islands, granting him all necessary faculties to deal with the normal administration of the Church in the Islands; at the same time he was granted faculties by the Holy See to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Islands when requested by the Bishop to do so. And so today the Channel Islands form an Episcopal Vicariate within the Diocese of Portsmouth.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

The Demographic Time Bomb: A Holistic Approach

I quite enjoyed Katerina Lisenkova of RBS giving the talk to the Chamber of Commerce on “Looking to the Future: Economic Trends”.

However, I was disappointed that she was blinkered about one matter, and over simplistic about another. Here’s the first, and the second will follow next week.

The Demographic Time Bomb: A Holistic Approach

Katerina showed a nice chart showing net immigration, and the dependency ratio (of workers to those not working), which was undoubtedly done to show different rates of immigration (by different lines on the chart) and how more immigration lowered the dependency ratio from rising so much.

What she failed to address or even consider was the long term effect of this fix. It is now surely a commonplace that this kind of scheme is a population Ponzi scheme, depending as it does on increasing a population, which it turn grows old, and therefore needs even more immigration to keep the dependency rate down. Mathematically that is obvious, but the mathematics of unsustainable growth never seems to have appealed to economists. The only way you can really get a permanent effect out of immigration is if you have not just high immigration but exponentially increasing numbers of immigrants.

Joseph Chamie, a demographer, who spent 12 years of service as the director of the United Nations Population Division notes:

"Among its primary tactics, Ponzi demography exploits the fear of population decline and ageing. Without a young and growing population, we are forewarned of becoming a nation facing financial ruin and a loss of national power."

With a Population Ponzi scheme, the population can always grow – but it needs a greater flow of immigration as the numbers of elderly supported by the scheme grows and grows in turn. It is a vicious cycle of growth, which is fine if you have enough land, resources and infrastructure to accommodate it. But unfortunately, living on an Island, we don’t.

Eventually, of course, the whole enterprise is not sustainable, especially in a small island with finite resources. It is buying time in the present to make even greater problems for the future, which of course means not just a much larger ageing population, but also greater demands on infrastructure, housing, health, etc.

Elizabeth Bauer, writing in Forbes, suggests alternative ways of looking at these matters.

“Do we alter the ratio itself, by boosting fertility rates or increasing immigration (and, specifically, immigration of individuals at a mix of skill levels)?”

“Or do we alter the significance of the ratio? Oldsters will inevitably have higher medical costs than everyone else, but a healthier population will be able to continue working longer, and be less costly in terms of their impact on Medicare and Medicaid (e.g., long-term care) afterwards. “

There is also the fact that part of the issue relates to the ageing of the “baby boomer” generation, after which matters will slow down. This can be seen in the US census predictions, but applies equally

“Although births are projected to be nearly four times larger than the level of net international migration in coming decades, a rising number of deaths will increasingly offset how much births are able to contribute to population growth. Between 2020 and 2050, the number of deaths is projected to rise substantially as the population ages and a significant share of the population, the baby boomers, age into older adulthood.”

The phrase “baby boomer” relates to births roughly between 1945 and 1965. The phrase comes from the rocketing birth rate in the West in the years after World War Two.

And there is also another way to a solution, given by Warwick Smith:

“If we want to improve our capacity to support an ageing population, then our focus should be on full employment and productivity improvements so that those remaining workers can produce enough to maintain everybody’s quality of life. Productivity improvements come from three main sources: investment in education and training, investment in research and development, and investment in infrastructure. If we focus our spare capacity on making our workforce more productive as the population ages, then we can deal with the demographic time bomb.”

In conclusion, a focus on dependency ratios to the exclusion of other factors gives a misleading impression that by growing a population, we can grow our way out of the problems of an ageing demographic. We need a more holistic approach than that.

What is of equal concern is that the business people of Jersey attending yesterday's talk, got only a one sided and blinkered assessment of the situation presented as if it was the only option on the table.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

That Sinking Feeling

That Sinking Feeling

Comment on FB: “We need a proper deep water berth that big cross channel ferries as well as Cruise ships can use.”

Do you ever get a sinking feeling when people say things without doing any research? I’m fortunate in having a network of correspondents who are more knowledgeable about these matters than I am, and this is what they had to say.

Out of their Depth
Guest post by Adam Gardiner

Another case of people making comments without doing their homework. Our ability to provide a deepwater berth is limited by virtue of 3 factors. (1) our tidal range that creates a huge difference in the depth of water and therefore large ships would likely ground by mid water (ii) to dredge a deep water channel would require the removal of thousands of tonnes of rock - the only method of achieving that being explosives and (iii) that channel would need to extend almost 3 miles into the bay into natural water in order to allow large cruise liners to navigate entry. That is why they currently moor south the Demie Des Pas light in deeper water and tender their passengers ashore.

You can see from Google earth that the current natural channel into the harbour is relatively narrow - and shallow - and map shown on the FB thread (copy above) shows the mean depth of water in the channel as being 5.2 metres - or just 17 ft in old money. The larger cruise liners can draw anything between 20ft to 30ft.

I got most of that information from an acquaintance with considerable expertise on the Jersey coastline and shipping. He said that while all technically possible, detonating multiple charges in our approaches would cause considerable disruption to our general shipping traffic and thereafter the channel would require constant dredging to keep it open. Costs would be significant to start with - £multi-millions, notwithstanding ongoing dredging costs and the environmental harm it would cause.

A solution may lay in extending a causeway out into deep water - reclamation. That would not be cheap and could, environmentally speaking, be very harmful and also further affect the already compromised tidal flow in St. Aubins Bay.

There have also been suggestions to use the Ronez harbour to berth large liners. The water is deep enough but to construct a terminal on what little level land is available plus the duplication of passport/immigration/C&E services not to mention local road structure make the proposition unviable.

Like the bridge to France (but unlike the large ferries and liners) these suggestions are all out of their depth.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Humour on Politics Jersey

This rather nice spoof was posted on Politics Jersey.

But you can't please everyone!

One person complained that it was "a stain on the memory of Freddie Mercury and Queen", and evidently took it very seriously, but it is clearly supposed to be humour, no more denigrating that the variously subtitled versions of clips from "Downfall".

Nick Palmer said: "I think it is brilliant humour, and I don't often say that of stuff. Apart from anything else, they do a very good job of reproducing the Queen sound."

And also commented:

"Of course, the reality is that there are hordes of people online possessed of such monstrous egos that their peculiar opinions have become completely incorrigible, no matter how many mountains of evidence one can show them to prove that they are wrong and that their opinions are bunkum. I think it is a major sickness of modern online society that somehow many seem to act as if everybody's opinions are of equal value. That is just insane, not to mention potentially pathologically dangerous."

To which Mike Dun replied:

"How many people in a horde?"

I answered: I think Ghengis had about 50.

To which, getting in the swing of things, Mike replied:

Mike Dun: "About the same as the States Assembly - but he did remarkably well it seems without computers. A lesson for us all perhaps."

Various other exchanges rambled on by other posters on a more serious vein on the nature of opinion and fact (in the Middle Ages, this lot would have been arguing about how many angels could fit on the point of a pin), in which this gem popped out:

"Everyones opinions are of equal value"


"You can’t prove your opinions anymore than anyone else. There are simply opinions of no value whatsoever. Analysis by moral philosophers would undoubtedly favour you? Really? That’s just imaginative thinking."


"An Opinion based on facts are demonstrably worth more than an opinion based on the opposite of facts. Therefore Opinions have value dependent on what they are based on."

I thought the exchange was getting too serious again, as well as remarkably loopy. Online exchanges often have a rather tenuous relation to the real world, so I shoved in my tuppenceworth again:

Can we mention Godel's incompleteness theorem at this point?

Mike Dun came back with another bit of rather nice humour:

"Thanks for that reference - I thought Godel kept a dairy herd at St Mary for years - but apparently Genghis and his horde used to play "fact or fiction" around the camp-fire along similar lines to this "link"... Those who postulated a fact had to prove it and if they failed were tied to a tree and used for target practice. Unfortunately the policy tended to encourage silence and that was why they never did manage to invent the computer..."

And there we must leave it... but my thoughts, for what they are worth - and there's a fair debate about opinions, moral philosophers, facts, the merits of different brands of coffee and Brexit still going on - is that while there are people who can enjoy humour, like Mike Dun, and not take everything always too seriously, there is still hope for the human race.

"The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. And one of the games to which it is most attached is called "Keep to-morrow dark," and which is also named (by the rustics in Shropshire, I have no doubt) "Cheat the Prophet." The players listen very carefully and respectfully to all that the clever men have to say about what is to happen in the next generation. The players then wait until all the clever men are dead, and bury them nicely. They then go and do something else. That is all. For a race of simple tastes, however, it is great fun."

― G.K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill

Monday, 11 March 2019

An Error in the Jersey Citizenship Supplement

It is gratifying to sometimes make small improvements where there are errors in official documents. By raising an FOI, I managed to correct an historical inaccuracy in the Jersey Citizenship Supplement, which was written in October 2014, and contained at least one glaring error. Clearly "regularly reviewed" (see reply below) didn't mean every year!

FOI Request

Who created the Jersey Citizenship Supplement and how often is it updated, and has it been checked by local historians?

I ask this because it currently says:

"The famous Jersey cow has been a ‘protected species’ for the last 200 years. No cattle imports are allowed in order to keep the breed pure, but through exports and husbandry elsewhere, the animal can be found in almost every country in the world."

The supplement says it dates "from October 2014". But in July 2008, the States of Jersey took the historic step of ending the ban on imports, and allowing the import of bull semen from any breed of cattle, although only semen that is genetically pure will enable the resultant progeny to be entered in the Jersey Herd Book. Cows other than Jerseys can now be seen in Island fields.


The Jersey Citizenship Supplement was introduced in 2005 by the Chief Inspector of Immigration and this was aligned to similar supplements introduced in the other Crown Dependencies of Guernsey and Isle of Man.

The supplement guide and the supplement questions were introduced with the input from a local historian from the Jersey Museum and have been regularly reviewed. However we are grateful for your note in relation to the cattle imports to Jersey referred to in the supplement guide, which has been overlooked and will now be rectified.


The text now says:

"The famous Jersey cow was a ‘protected species’ for 200 years. No cattle imports were allowed in order to keep the breed pure, but through exports and husbandry 14 elsewhere, the animal can be found in almost every country in the world. It is highly valued for its rich milk content and production. However, in July 2008 the States of Jersey took the historic step to amend legislation to allow the importation of bovine semen into Jersey, although semen that is genetically pure will enable the resultant progeny to be entered in the Jersey Herd Book. Cows other than Jerseys can now be seen in Island fields."

Saturday, 9 March 2019


One from the archive this week, from 05/10/2005. For another account of sand-eeling, see:

(based on a reminiscence of the 1950s)

The full moon, and the lowest tide
Tonight, we will walk bleary-eyed
Down the slip at La Rocque, then
Scrambling over the rocks again
Will ply our hooks, scratch sand
We, the sand-eelers, happy band
Take the slippery sliver sand eels
Into our baskets, as moon reveals
Them glistening in her pale light
For stalwarts, a pastime to excite. 

In olden days, all the family came
Along with neighbours, grandame
Bringing knitting, sat on the rocks
By slipway, brought by the old box
shaped Jersey vans, or by dog-carts
When the eelers left, young upstarts
Old folk told stories of greater catches
They had made, lighting with matches
Clay pipes, look out at rock and shingle
Where the youngsters now do mingle. 

Sand-eeling is a battle for the strong
For only the fittest can now belong
Over a mile and half of rocky coast
Avoiding gullies, and then almost
Slipping on seaweed, there to reach
The end of rocks, the sandy beach
The water's edge, begin the eeling
Some are standing, others kneeling
And when a hundred or so caught
Return to picnic feast now sought. 

Then all drink cider, eat cold pork,
Baked apple dumplings, even uncork
The odd bottle of wine, smuggled in
By some fishermen, the family's kin
Fry the eels, delicious in Jersey butter
And sounds of pleasure eaters utter
But now sand-eeling is done by few
Keeping old ways, but a bare residue
And at La Rocque, under full moon
Only ghostly memories do commune.

Friday, 8 March 2019

The Election of 1948 and events in that month

Today's history includes some adverts from the 1949 Almanac, and a list of the States members during 1948, as well as a list of events during the significant election night of 1948.

1948 - the States

Bailiff:-Sir Alexander Moncrieff Coutanche,
Dean: The Very Rev. Matthew Le Marinel. M.A.
Attorney-General:- Cecil Stanley Harrison.
Solicitor-General:- Ralph Vibert
Receiver of His Majesty's Revenues.-Major R. E. B. Voisin

The Twelve Senators :

Ph. Le Feuvre
F. Le Quesne
C. Le Gallais.
C. H. B. Avarne
H. Le R. Edwards
J. Le Marquand *
G. P. Billot *
W. J. J. Collas *
N. G. Bind *
Ph. Le Quesne.
Ed. Le Quesne
C. P. Rumfitt.

(* former Jurats)

The Twelve Constables

H. Le F. Grant, St. Helier
S. G. Crill, St. Clement
F. Le Boutillier, St. Ouen
T. P. Mourant. St. Saviour
T. G. Le Marine], St. John;
H. E. Le Rossignol, St. Brelade ;
R. de Gruchy, St. Martin ;
S. England, Grouville
John Wesley Baudains, St. Lawrence
J. du Val, St. Peter
J. E. Cabot, Trinity ;
Vacant (St Mary)

The Twenty-eight Deputies :
Messrs. J. Le Marquand, jnr.. T. Le B. Pirouet, G. A Candlin and E. W. Hettich (1st Electoral. District)
W. H. Krichefski, G. Toy, Mrs. A. Forster and Mr. D. W. Ryan (2nd Electoral District)
Messrs. C. G. Farley, S. J. Venables, C. Le Marquand and C. P. Journeaux (3rd Electoral District),
Ph. Syvret, E. H. Le Brocq and P. Gallichan (St. Savour)
E. Slade (St. Martin),
E. Huelin and H. H. Morrison (St. Brelade)
R. F. Le Brocq and J. E. Gaudin (St.. Clement)
H. W. Maillard and E. R. Le Cornu (St. Lawrence),
W. J. Bertram, B.E.M. (Grouville)
J. J. Le Marquand, jnr. (St. Ouen),
J. O. Arthur (St. Mary)
J. B. Michel (St. Peter)
P. Le Vesconte (St. John)
C. E. Cabot (Trinity).

Note: St Brelade had only 2 seats and was not split.

Some Notable Events in the Election Month: December 1948

1.-Messrs. R. F. Le Brocq and J. E. Gaudin elected unopposed as Deputies for St Clement.
St. John Deputyship: Mr. Ph. Le Vesconte re-elected.

2.-Final States session: Old Age Pensions Bill adopted; Housing Laws submitted
Jersey Cage Bird Society annual show.
Eisteddfod prize-giving concert at Town Hall.

4.-First post-war reunion dinner of Jersey Building and Allied Trades Federation.-
Poppy Day record again broken, this year's total being £4,515 0s. 7d.

6.-Mr. C. P. BilIot, retiring Constable of St. Martin, thanked for his services at parochial assembly.
7.-Field-Marshal Viscount Montgomery arrives on short unofficial visit.

8.-Election Day : sweeping Progressive Party victory in town, when the following ten out of twelve candidates were returned : , Messrs. J. Le Marquand, T. Le B. Pirouet, G. Candlin, E. W. Hettich, W. Krichefski, G. Troy, D. Ryan, C. Farley, C. Le Marquand and Mrs. A. Forster ;
Messrs. S. Venables and C. P. Journeaux were also elected.
St. Saviour: Messrs. P. Syvret and E. Le Brocq
St.Brelade: Messrs. E. Huelin and H. H.Morrison ;
St. Martin: Mr. E. Slade:
St. Ouen : J. J. Le Marquand.

(63 per cent. of the electorate voted).

9.-Departure of Field-Marshal Viscount Montgomery.
Jersey College for Girls Prize Day
St. Patrick's Church bazaar opened by R.C. Bishop of Portsmouth.

10.- Verdict of suicide returned at inquest held on the body of Henry Stephen Harding (46), found hanged at his residence at St. John
Non-arrival of petrol tanker causes emergency order to be issued.

11.- .Senators and Deputies sworn in at special sitting of Full Court..
Annual general meeting of R.J.A. and H.S.

12.-Mr. Denis John Hoxell (25), a visitor spending his honeymoon in the Island, swept off rocks at Le Mourier, St. John, and drowned.
Arrival of petrol tanker puts an end to the emergency.

13.--New House meets.: Presidents of Committees appointed
Leasing tenders approved ;
Work on St. Ouen's sea wall stopped
Damage to the extent of £1,000 caused by fire at fancy goods and toy shop in Halkett Place.

Monday, 4 March 2019

A Deposit System in Jersey?

A Deposit System in Jersey?

Inna Gardiner - 391 votes 24.44%
Lyndsay Fletham (Reform) - 324 votes 20.25%
Anthony Lewis - 245 votes 15.31%
Nick Le Cornu - 143 votes 8.94%
John Baker - 142 votes 8.88%
Andrea Mallet - 120 votes 7.50%
Guy De Faye - 76 votes 4.75%
Francesca Ahier - 60 votes 3.75%
Geraint Jennings - 59 votes 3.69%
Gordon George Troy - 34 votes 2.13%
Spoilt 6 0.38%

Under a deposit system with UK threshold of 5%, the last four candidates would have lost a deposit.

There are increasing calls for a Deposit system in Jersey, and last year Fiona Walker came strongly in favour. However the problem, probably never one for Fiona’s husband Frank, was that it disadvantages the poorer from standing, which is why I have never been that much in favour of it.

For example

£500 on income of £10,916 per annum (209.92 weekly) =4.58% (the current pension)
£500 on income of £20,000 per annum (384.61 weekly)= 2.50%
£500 on income of £100,000 per annum (1,923.07 weekly)= 0.50%

Given that there are other household costs to pay, those on £20,000 are having to stump up far more than those on £100,000 or more, where it is more than they earn weekly. Indeed it is only around ¼ of their weekly income.

Japan: The Baneful Effect of Deposits

Japan’s electoral deposit is the most expensive by far among the countries having such a system. The deposit system in Japan, modelled on that of the UK, was introduced as part of the General Election Law of 1925 to prevent frivolous candidates from running simply for publicity or to disrupt election campaigns. However, it is sometimes claimed that its real purpose is to limit the number of candidates and make sure that those with financial power also hold political power

The UK: Limiting Ability to Stand by Ability to Pay

The UK has a deposit system of £500. But in 2015, the BBC noted that:

“The £500 deposit required to stand in a general election should be scrapped, the Electoral Commission has said. The watchdog said the sum, which is returned if a candidate gets at least 5% of votes cast, was "unreasonable" as it depended on their financial means. Larger parties were mainly in favour, saying the payment deterred "non-serious candidates", its report said. But smaller parties and independent candidates told the commission the payments could be "unaffordable and therefore they restricted their ability to participate in elections".  The commission concluded: "We do not think that the ability to pay a specified fee is a relevant or appropriate criterion for determining access to the ballot paper."

The principle of paying elected politicians was introduced in the first place so that membership of the States could be open to anyone regardless of wealth. It would be ironic if a deposit system actually worked against that principle.

So how can we balance the system if there are deposits with a degree of fairness which has not been addressed?

How might a Jersey system work?

The best way to ensure that poorer candidates are not disadvantaged would be to have a means tested, sliding scale, deposit system.

How this might work is as follows:

The deposit would be 1% of the candidate’s income, up to a threshold of £50,000.

So a candidate earning £50,000 or more would need to pay a £500 deposit. However, someone whose income was only £20,000 would only pay a £200 deposit. The pensioner in our example would only pay a £109 deposit.

By way of clarification to online comments.

Moz said people might not want to declare their income.

"Some candidates may not wish to disclose their incomes. "

I see no reason why they should - provided they pay the full £500. The same applied with the University Grant Scheme for Education - you only had to declare income if applying for a grant.

Deposits would ONLY be lost if a candidate polled less than 5%.

And finally, underpinning any scheme, see also:

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Night Vision

In metaphors, in religion, and even in philosophy, darkness is seen as something bad. FamouslyAnne Widdecombe said of Michael Howard that he had "something of the night" about him. We are told that it is better to light and candle than to curse the darkness. Perhaps sometimes we should not be bound in chains by the cultural baggage of light and dark, with the moral overlay that implies. Perhaps sometimes it is better to embrace the darkness, and go out, beneath of black canopy of night, and see the twinkling light of distant suns. 

Night Vision

I love the dark, I love the night
I gaze in wonder at the stars
Wondrous red of planet mars
The milky way, a path of light

Stars above, so shining bright
Full moon of such cratered scars
I love the dark, I love the night
I gaze in wonder at the stars

The stars above, a glorious sight
Away from city lights and cars
Away from noisy bright-lit bars
The firmament so very bright
I love the dark, I love the night

Friday, 1 March 2019

On the eve of the election of 1948.

1947 States

On the eve of the election of 1948, the States still reflected the old order of Constables, Rectors and Jurats.

Crown Appointments

Bailiff:-Sir Alexander Moncrieff Coutanche,
Dean: The Very Rev. Matthew Le Marinel. M.A.
Attorney-General:-Charles Walter Duret Aubin
Solicitor-General:- Cecil Stanley Harrison.
Viscount - Vacant
Receiver of His Majesty's Revenues.-Major R. E. B. Voisin

The States Assembly

The Bailiff

The 12 Jurats:
James Messervy Norman
Edwin Philip Le Masurier, MBE
Stanley Hocquard
Ernest Geo. Labey
Ph. N. Gallichan
Touzel John Bree, OBE
Geo. Ph. Billot *
W.J.J. Collas *
N.G. Hind *
John Le Marquand *
P.C. Cabot

(* all these relinquished their position as Jurat to stand as Senators)

The 12 Rectors
Matthew Le Marinel (St Helier, Dean)
J.S. Norman (St Saviour)
C.P. du Heame (St Laurence)
Vacant (St Ouen)
Raymond S Hornby (St John)
W.G. Tabb (St Brelade)
L.W. Hibbs )Trinity)
Vacant (St Peter)
T.H. Labey (St Clement)
Vacant (St Martin)
J.H. Valpy (Grouville)
C. Ouless (St Mary)

The 12 Constables
H. Le F Grant (St Helier)
S.G. Crill (St Clement)
F. Le Boutillier (St Ouen)
L.T. Anthoine (St Saviour)
T.G. Le Marinel (St John)
H.E. Le Rossignol (St Brelade)
C.P. Billot (St Martin)
C Le Huquet (Grouville)
John Wesley Baudains (St Lawrence)
J. Du Val (St Peter)
J.E. Cabot (Trinity)
F.J. Perree (St Mary)

The 17 Deputies
Ph. Le Quesne (St Helier 1)
C.P. Rumfitt (St Helier 1)
E. Le Quesne (St Helier 2)
W.H. Krichefski (St Helier 2)
C.H.B. Aharne (St Helier 3)
S.J. Venables (St Helier 3)
T.P. Mourant (St Saviour)
R.F. Le Brocq (St Clement)
H.W. Maillard (St Lawrence)
W.J. Bertram, BEM (Grouville)
Ed. Slade (St Martin)
E.D. Gibaut (Trinity)
J.B. Michel (St Peter)
P. Le Feuvre (St Mary)
Ph. Le Vesconte (St John)
G. de la P. Hacquoil (St Ouen)
E. Huelin (St Brelade)

The Constables and Deputies were the only members of the Assembly elected on a regular basis (of 3 years), while the Jurats were elected for life. The Constables were elected after each term of office expired (or ended if a Constable died) on a three year basis, but not consistently together.

The original role of the Jurats was judicial and legislative but the legislative side of the role was removed in 1948 was the States of Jersey was reconstituted without them. They were elected for life on an Island wide mandate.

Both the Jurats and Rectors would be leaving the States, but the election was not until December 1948. Change was coming!

While the Anglican church was represented by the Rectors, a number of Deputies and Constables were Methodists. Until very recently, probably around the 1990s, Methodism was strongly represented within the States, and this can be seen above with the wonderfully named John Wesley Baudains!

The rigidity of the old States Assembly can be seen most clearly, if we look at the wartime States committees which were still extant until the sweeping changes in1948

Essential Commodities - Jurat Edwin Philip Le Masurier
Transport and Communications - Jurat James Messervy Norman
Finance and Economikcs - Jurat Edgar Aleck Dorey
Agriculture - Jurat Touzel John Bree
Public Health - Jurat Philip Melmoth Baudains
Essential Services - Deputy William Smythe Le Masurier
Public Instruction - Jurat Philip Ernest Bree
Labour - Deputy Edward Le Quesne

It will be noted that three-quarters of the presidents were Jurats, who had been elected, but for life.