- Never mind facts – Once again the sheep have nothing to say but vote to discriminate against the ordinary taxpayer anyway…
- The real reason why the Scrutiny panel are resigning…
- The biggest bully and manipulator in Jersey politics complains to the IOD about… ‘declining’ standards of behaviour…
- Citizens’ Media - Senatorial candidate Ted Vibert launches his new blog…
Monday, 25 July 2011
Maybe its just the knock on effect of having spent five out of the past six weeks in the States Chamber (well, unless your name is Ben ‘Empty Seat’ Shenton who has probably spent around only two?) listening to the likes of Philip Ozouf argue that black is white and white is black - but regardless of the above headlines I will start this ‘round-up’ post with the last story first.
Judging by the example of Saturday’s totally one-sided and wholly misleading JEP coverage of my 1 (1) K amendments debate there really couldn’t be better timing for one of Jersey politics larger-than-life characters to launch a new blog. Citizens’ Media continues to grow and with Jersey the way it is currently that just has to be a positive thing.
Of course, my good friend former Senator Ted Vibert was actually the politician who really started the whole blog phenomenon rolling in terms of Jersey politics, way back before the 2005 elections, so he is hardly a newcomer to the scene. But as readers know I have a lot of time for Ted. I was proud to have his endorsement for the 2008 elections and will be returning the compliment this time around just as proudly.
Do I agree with him on everything? Absolutely not. Indeed, sometimes we disagree completely. But one thing is absolutely certain: if we are to save Jersey from the two-tier society Abyss into which Senator Ozouf and his cronies are frantically frog-marching us Ted Vibert is a man we most definitely need back in the States.
Indeed, along with Senator Francis Le Gresley and Dr. Mark Forskitt, Ted is the only one of the Senatorial candidates declared thus far worth a vote. In fact the others should all be avoided like the plague! Ted says what he thinks and love him or loath him he is in politics for all the right reasons. Hey, with just a little bit of poetic justice come October he could even be sitting in the seat right next to the Machiavellian One himself! Worth a seat in the public gallery on its own!
Check out Ted’s views via the link above….
1 (1) k s - ARGUMENT WON HANDS DOWN. VOTE…LOST!
You would never know it if you read the usually fair Lucy Mason’s report on Saturday in the JEP, but the fact is Senator Philip Ozouf’s already threadbare argument for continuing the tax discrimination against Jersey’s hardworking ordinary people was absolutely trashed in the States on Friday. In fact ‘trashed’ isn’t a strong enough description. His policy - such as a farce like this can be called that - was simply annihilated. Now, in a proper democracy you might conclude from the above that the Treasury Minister would have also lost the vote. But this, I’m afraid, is Jersey 2011.
No matter that not a single one of the Minister’s sycophants rose to try and debunk my arguments. No matter that not a one stood to dismantle the analysis of Ha-Joon Chang I used for reference i.e. that the myth that giving the rich a bigger slice of the pie automatically makes all the rest of richer as a result was just that – a myth. No matter that not a one, including the great champion of Greed Appeasement himself, could tell us how, under his policy, Jersey’s authorities could ever hope to track down and verify the hidden away world-wide income of such wealthy individuals.
No. In a states Chamber dominated by people who care nothing for the average man and woman of Jersey none of this counts for anything. All that matters were the usual scare tactics that go hand-in-hand with such Greed Appeasement: i.e. that if the very wealthiest were asked to pay the same rate of tax as the rest of us they would all up sticks and leave.
Now, I’ll be doing a major piece of all of this fairly soon so for now I’ll just finish with this. Having already exposed the usually desperately kept secret when I ‘outed’ Assistant Treasury Minister’s admittance that in reality The Council of Ministers know full well that: ‘of course the 1 (1) K policy is immoral’ one of the biggest laughs of the debate came when the other political non-entity that is an Assistant Treasury Minister – the Constable of St. Peter – tried to be clever and criticise me for not having done as much local research for my amendments as his boss.
Trouble was, having wasted £60.000 + of taxpayers’ money on commissioning an ‘independent’ report actually undertaken by a firm whose business is…promoting tax breaks and the like for ‘High Net Value Individuals’ Senator Ozouf’s ‘research actually came down to what was brilliantly exposed by Deputy Shona Pitman…
Yup, the Minister had actually based all his arguments on the ‘evidence’ of chatting to two 1 (1) K residents and a taxi driver! My amendments? Well, not only had I based mine on actual FACTS from economists and what is happening elsewhere in places such as Switzerland, I had also run my proposals by nearly forty ordinary members of the public to get their views. Better still I had – much to my amusement I admit – also spoken to twice as many 1 (!) Ks as the illustrious Minister had done!
But hey…facts…what do they count for when you hear the likes of Deputy Rondel complaining that people who will now only have to pay 1% tax - even on the staggering near £100.0000.000 deal I used as an example – are being discriminated against by politicians debating such policy in the States! Who in the Council of Ministers cares that if 1 (1) k s paid even what they should we could reduce GST by a full 1%?
As someone used to say – you really couldn’t make it up!
TALK ABOUT THE KETTLE CALLING THE TEAPOT BLACK!
When Jersey’s mainstream media can actually give time to Senator Philip Ozouf to attack other States Members over ‘declining standards’ of behaviour you really do know that the world has gone mad. That or simply that the JEP is even more ‘partisan’ in its support of the proponents of the two-tier society than even some of us ‘Progressives’ thought.
Put quite bluntly Senator Ozouf is the worst example of someone who resorts to personality politics; manipulation and, in my view, blatant attempts at political bullying you could ever meet. And yet here we see this pathetic hypocrite having the front to run off to the IOD to pretend that he is the great champion of political standards! Honestly, reading this story I really felt like reaching for the sick bucket.
As anyone who observes the States regularly will know a favourite tactic of Philip Ozouf’s is to try and rubbish a politician’s proposals by insultingly belittling them. He does this week in and week out. How many times have we heard the classic putdown of an individual apparently being ‘in need of one of his tutorials?’ Indeed, this is a ploy he usually adopts when facing challenges on taxation to cover up that he is usually talking out of the seat of his pants.
No hard facts. No taking apart the other person’s argument. No. Just sneering, elitist putdowns – usually backed up with the moronic foot-stomping of the right-wing political living dead who blindly follow him. And the Senator even has the gall to say that I am often too hard on him!
Then again…this is a ‘Minister for Treasury & Resources’ who dismisses and refuses my suggestion he consider reading award-winning economist Ha-Joon Chang because he apparently sounds ‘too wacky!’ My God, if the ordinary working people of Jersey don’t turn out to vote in October it really will be a case of the last one out of the Island turn the lights off!
Senator Ozouf is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most effective political manipulators I have ever seen. Indeed. just like the previous Chief Minister readers should also be on their guard to the fact that here is yet another of the Establishment Party frantically setting up stooges to try and get them elected in October as if they were ‘independents’ in order to try and hold on to power. But more on all of this in the near future.
Look out for my 1 (1) K referendum proposition to be debated in September. I mean…if the entire public is behind Senator Ozouf’s policy what’s the problem?
THE HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER WANTED TO REMOVE ANYONE WHO MIGHT REACH CONCLUSIONS DIFFERENT TO HIS!
Just a few words on this and I do so simply to put the record straight. As anyone who has followed reports within the mainstream media cannot fail to have noticed the Scrutiny resignation is being ‘spun’ as a ‘toys out of the pram’ walkout due to Senator Ian Le Marquand’s two-faced manoeuvring around the issue of the Prison Board of Visitors Report recommendations. Significant as these shenanigans were the fact is these were not the key issues.
No doubt being spun to save the Senator’s already tattered reputation the reality is that his appalling arrogance in assuming that he could bully and dictate his own choices for membership of such a crucial Scrutiny review was the real breaking point. Such behaviour simply can’t be accepted within a democracy. Senator Le Marquand wanted me removed at all costs. He wanted Deputy Tadier out. He also wasn’t happy with Deputy Wimberley.
Just re-read the staggering arrogance of his letter to me attached to my earlier post. The ‘problem’ is apparently that a panel could have three politicians who had reached ‘different’ conclusions than he had on a - related in theme – but actually wholly separate issue. Not only this, but if I dared to reject his ultimatum he would have ‘no choice’ but run off to the Chairmen’s Committee! You have to ask the question: why is he so desperate to manipulate who can review the way this report was carried out?
Fortunately, some of us just don’t do being bullied. For the bald truth of the matter is that if we ever reach a situation where the Executive really can also dictate who scrutinizes them then democracy in Jersey is, to put it quite bluntly, finished. This is, of course, the ultimate goal of the Establishment Party
We simply mustn’t let it happen.
Keep the faith.
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
With apologies for not having had time to get around to the intended new post - as a stop gap - I thought it might be interesting to look back briefly at some of the more intriguing happenings of the past two weeks since I wrote. And, indeed, at a couple of the joys lying ahead for us in the Chamber this coming week.
Will he/won’t he/will he/won’t he – will he Chair the sub-panel…
As I have already explained to readers for obvious reasons I will not be expressing any thoughts on possible, eventual outcomes to the current Scrutiny review.
There was never any chance of this happening once we had decided to go ahead and I certainly didn’t need the rather foolish and ill-informed – and thankfully, of course, wholly dismissed – objections of the Home Affairs Minister to remind me of this. That said, and also given some rather confused reporting in the media, I certainly can and may well comment briefly in future on what is already now in the public domain via both these media outlets and Scrutiny’s own website.
However, first I very briefly want to comment on an incident that – following hot on the heels as it did of Senator Le Marquand’s attempts to remove me from the Chair – made up my mind then and there that once this important review has been completed I will be resigning from Scrutiny immediately. Indeed, not just resigning for the immediate future but also that I will never again play a further part in the Scrutiny process until the whole current machinery of government that has turned the ‘ministerial’ period into a right-wing farce of unaccountability, secrecy and elitism has been overhauled.
This incident revolves around comments made by former Chairmen’s Committee President, Senator Ben Shenton during the meeting at which the Home Affairs Minister’s objections to me chairing the review sub-panel were discussed. Put quite bluntly these comments - which both I and others present - felt both wholly inappropriate and profoundly shocking boil down to his opinion that Scrutiny shouldn’t be: ‘wasting time interviewing a pipe fitter.’ This being a reference to Mr. Rico Sorda.
I have to say that in my nearly three years on Scrutiny I have interviewed a lot of what might be termed ordinary working people; people who were not wealthy or holders of well paid, high profile jobs. Regardless of this these people have generally been of the very best witnesses in terms of providing insights into how issues or problems directly affected people. The fact that many were just ordinary parents and not ‘experts’ with letters after their names was wholly irrelevant. They told it how they saw it – and more often than not told it all the clearer for this fact.
The bottom line to all of this is that in my view all and everyone is worth listening to. For when it comes to Scrutiny the final acid test will always be that opinions/arguments/claims and counter claims will stand or fall by analysis of the evidence.
The inference that only those with power or status are worthy of being listened to or taken seriously is one that I find both unacceptable and deeply offensive. Certainly an inference of a world view that I feel to be wholly incompatible with the ethics of government Scrutiny. Viewed alongside objections that I feel to be politically motivated, once the work to which I am committed is completed I genuinely feel that I wish to play no further part until this undervalued and flawed governmental process is overhauled and given the resources and value it undoubtedly should and must merit.
In the meantime I think the Senator owes Mr. Sorda a sincere and humble apology. But I doubt he is man enough to give it…
‘Reform’ debates on hold until after the Electoral Commission…
How many times have we all heard the nodding dogs within the Chamber complain that they really were all ‘reformed out’ – that the public were sick to the back teeth of us Progressives ‘wasting everybody’s time’ with such debates? Hundreds? Thousands? Indeed, I have the distinct personal impression that I have heard this very thing from Senator Philip Ozouf on at least a few dozen occasions.
So guess what? Yup, I brought this very proposition, Not that you would have known it from the complete lack of coverage in the JEP who have also echoed this sentiment ad infinitum. Consequently, any reasonable person might well have expected that this proposition would sail through easily. Oh no! You see the problem was that - rather like the Barclay’s wanting democracy but only if it served their purposes – the Great and the Good of the Establishment Party only wanted to stop reform debates that didn’t serve their purposes.
Supporting me would have meant they couldn’t retain any small degree of credibility they had left if they then voted for the ‘Save our Senators’ farce. Having tried unsuccessfully to make a mockery of Standing Orders to move Deputy Carolyn Labey’s (or was that Lyndon Farnham’s?) proposition ahead of mine lodged a full three weeks earlier – the result was entirely predictable: it was defeated. Still, let’s just remember who voted against and hear no more such protestations from these hypocrites during the next three years. Which brings us very neatly to…
The ‘Save our Senators’ debate…
Of course it is true that a whole book could be written about this saga -not least being the fact that the tiny petition and handful of ‘outraged, disenfranchised’ letter writers confirm the reality that 99% of the public actually really don’t give a fig. But anyone still harbouring lingering doubts that failure to support the proposition only half jokingly dubbed ‘Projet 666’ would automatically lead to democratic Armageddon in the island might be given a reality check by considering the following.
During the debate – the sixth on related issues that have now cost the taxpayer many tens of thousands of pounds - one of the Senators whose seat would undoubtedly likely be seriously at risk, Senator Terry Le Main, was accused of snoring loudly whilst Deputy Paul Le Claire was making a speech! Understandable, perhaps, to anyone who has heard one of the Deputy’s ‘playing both sides’ speeches but hardly appropriate all the same.
Then, of course, we had another one at risk after six years of living off his father’s political reputation - Senator Ben ‘The Invisible Man’ Shenton. Not only was the usually publicity hungry Senator strangely reluctant to accept full credit for having come up with the original idea to cut four Senators (back in the days when he was popular – heck, even I had voted for him!) but in repeating the desperate spin yet again that this was actually all a horrible plot led by wicked Deputies, with the debate over the Senator again did what he undoubtedly does the best: vanished!
The Protectors of Democracy? Get real – we need these people like a ship in a stormy sea needs a hole below the waterline.
The vote of Censure on the Chief Minister…
Thirteen failures was the description used to report it. Thirteen disasters may have been more accurate. Whichever you prefer the most surprising aspect of all of this was the nature of the dozens of contacts I received from the public. Were they all lambasting me for this ‘effrontery’ to one of my betters? Well, no actually. Apart from BBC Brigit and former Senator Dick Shenton (who to be fair was probably eager to write something to distract from his son’s spectacularly appalling attendance record at states sittings over the past six years).
They were actually all 100% supportive. Indeed, the only criticism, and one repeated many times was that I was quite wrong to only highlight thirteen! One multi-millionaire – actually a 1 (1) K I believe – even wrote to me to ask angrily why I wasn’t also seeking to hold the Chief Minister, Senator Terry Le Sueur, to account for his failure in costing the Island’s taxpayers millions of additional pounds by his shambolic handling of the incinerator contract!
Of course, the motion’s defeat was always inevitable. But one or two things did prove very enlightening in the course of the debate and are thus worth commenting on. The first was the expected total absence of any real focussing on the seriousness of the thirteen issues at hand by those who leapt to the Chief Minister’s defence. Much like the wholly warranted vote of no confidence brought by Deputy Shona Pitman in the former Bailiff three or four years ago – the issues were simply swept aside.
What mattered, apparently, was that the Chief Minister was ‘a really good chap’. Not only this – but as I was a full time politician and wasn’t a wealthy part-timer I really ought to know my place and shut up! For the record I have no doubt that the Chief Minister really is a nice chap. But that, I’m afraid, was hardly the issue and government should be mature enough to rise above such nonsense.
Another point that really is worth highlighting was the extraordinary speech of Deputy Paul Le Claire. Here was a ‘Progressive’ who just short weeks ago had been e-mailing a lot of us begging that we all support him because he wanted to bring votes of no confidence in…well, just about everyone actually or so it seemed! But now, without the Testicular Fortitude to go forward with his apparent convictions, he was to stand up and spectacularly about turn to tell the listening world how I really wasn’t showing the States in a good light by my motion! Was I surprised? Sadly I have to be honest and say – not really. As I have said before. I think it is what they call trying to ‘play both sides’. As a disgruntled constituent e-mailed me: a dangerous game so near an election…
Commonsense GST exemptions on healthy food – in the very same week Senator Ozouf wants us to support 1 (1) Ks to pay as little as 1% tax…
Poor old Treasury & Resources Minister Philip Ozouf. As a committed proponent of long-discredited free-market policies that would still seek to con the public that giving the wealthiest ‘a bigger slice of the pie’ automatically makes all of the rest of us better off he really can’t have foreseen that this despicable proposal would be up for debate - in the very same week that we would also have to discus GST exemptions on essential healthy food. But here we are.
Indeed, this one will be a challenge for even Philip’s finely honed Machiavellian manipulation of his colleagues. Look out for all the stops being pulled out. If someone – as happened last year – has to pay £250.000 minimum tax with my amendment on the sale of a company bringing in profit in the region of £90.000.000 + it will, indeed, surely be Armageddon for the island. Won’t it? The rich will surely flee in their droves! Civilisation will rapidly fall! And yet…
Actually doing something intelligent, proactive and highly moral to actively encourage and assist those on low incomes to shop and eat more healthily – with the long-term result that the action will eventually save the Treasury and taxpayer millions through reduced strain on the health service etc… Nah, this would simply be a step too far. Predictable outcome or not – I really can’t wait for the black is white and white is black nonsense from the Minister and his cronies during the debate!
Just remember to make a nice big list of the names who support the wealthiest but who give another kick to the poorest – circulate it to your friends and make sure you don’t give any of these hypocrites a single vote come October 19th!
Keep the faith.