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Tuesday, 19 July 2011

DEMOCRACY IN JERSEY IS ALIVE… BUT IT’S PROBABLY IN INTENSIVE CARE!


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.

Trevor

51 comments:

  1. Another brilliant post. Telling it like it is!

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  2. Deputy Pitman

    Thank you for this post. I am discusted with the attitude displayed by Senator Ben Shenton. Please keep going.

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  3. Big Trev.

    You've covered many topics here and they make for interesting and informative reading. Not least ILM's and Ben Shenton's despicable and desperate behaviour.

    You, and your Scrutiny Sub Panel, have opened a can of worms which seems to have got Ben Shenton a little bit panicked. He now has to try and divert attention, with the help of the ever so obedient media, onto Lenny Harper and the NOTW.

    I hope to be publishing a Blog in the next day or so containing an e-mail exchange between Andy Sibcy, Lenny Harper, VFC and Rico Sorda. This exchange is as equally as informative as this posting of yours.

    "They" IMO are in a panic.......the question is WHY?

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  4. What happens if NO-ONE in the States is willing to be part of the currently flawed and undermined Scrutiny? Will the House be in contempt of itself?! Like when a parish is fined for not having enough honouries?! That would be a vote of no confidence in the Ministers in itself!

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  5. Thanks for saying you will this review through. It really is refreshing to see a politician not wilting in the face of bullying.

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  6. Excellent post Trevor, and as the commentor above says, fair play for seeing this review through to its conclusion.

    Your honesty and integrity shine through both in your writing and interviews. If only there were more like you.

    Yes, there is a sense of desperation out there, and I think a lot of us know why. Le Marquand's performance(s) speak for themselves, but Shenton the Shirker should be thoroughly ashamed of himself.

    Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit Mr Shenton (not that the comment he made was even witty). I am sure you will not be declining a vote from 'only a pipe fitter' when you are desperately scrabbling around for votes from the peasant element of the electorate as you view us.

    I sincerely hope you fail to get re-elected. It will benefit the electorate, the States and your 'day' job which you can devote 100% of your time to and not waste our money.

    You are not fit to lick Rico's boots Senator. I hope the day will come when we can say 'Oh how the mighty fall'

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  7. After listening to the states I have to ask is there anything Paul Le Claire won't talk on?

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  8. Reading the headlines of the post, why is it not clear leaked details of the Haut De La Garenne inquiry, which sparked ridiculous headline in the News of the World are likely to have come from the very man, the very same man that Mr. Le Marquand had threated to resign over if not appointed as Chief of Police.


    Jep choose to give the impression to the public that leaks were from police in general, the inference alongside a photo of Mr. Harper as being Mr. Harper gave leaks.

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  9. Great post Trevor. The Senators really have shot the role in the foot with consistent appointment under Terry Le Sueur of Deputies to ministerial posts over Senators. Equally true is the fact that the low standard of people like Ben Shenton, James Perchard and Terry Le Main and the look after the rich mentality of Philip Ozouf has shown the public that an island wide mandate has very little to do with quality in most cases.

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  10. Agree with your every word Deputy. GeeGee and VFC too. Senator Le Marquand really has been such a let down since being elected. As for Shenton we need more workers in the states not people in there for a hobby. Hurry on October I say.

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  11. Senator Shentons comments about mr. sorda are shocking. he ought to resign.

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  12. It certainly will be interseting to see which of our representatives not only say stuff the poor in our community but then rub salt in the wounds by giving more tax breaks to the rich.

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  13. Well said GeeGee I bet the arrogant idiot Shenton will be coming on as the 'man of the people' once again come the election trying to con votes out of the likes of pipe fitters and other manual wworkers.

    This little snapshot of how he really thinks should be a warning to all who might get fooled again. The man has done nothing of note for working people in nearly six years. He doesn't deserve another term.

    Well said to you Trevor as well for having the testicular fortitude to stand up to the bullies. I also saw Shenton senior's letter in the JEP and it was both hypocritical and pathetic. Stay strong.

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  14. Hi Deputy

    I thought i'd comment seeing as im mentioned in the main post. I found it strange that the Senator described me in the same obnoxious way as a certain blog site.


    I would like to say thanks to everyone who supports us bloggers.


    What can I say apart from 'Show no Fear'


    Truth Honesty & Integrity


    Rico Sorda

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  15. Depressing as it is to admit your assessment of these situations is probably quite correct. You and the few others - in the Chamber of Horrors as you describe it - who genuinely seek to represent their voters must often feel like giving up? Is there aany point in struggling on?

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  16. Union of the Working Class20 July 2011 at 13:34:00 BST

    Rico is leading the way for his fellow brothers

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  17. Hello Deputy

    I am outraged by Ben Shenton's attitude but sadly not surprized. He always was a disappointment since the very first months of him being elected. WE need far tougher rules on people who don't pull their weight like him as well.

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  18. Hello Trevor

    Sad to see the best of our representatives deciding to quit Scrutiny but fully understand your position. Will there be an official announcment in the States, and will you all be going?

    Good luck.

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  19. Is your 1 1 k amendment likely to be debated tomorrow? Time seems to be running out or are you all going to be sitting next week?

    Can't wait for the excuses as to why these parasites should be treated differently to the rest of us. Trouble is you must know it doesn't matter how strong your argument is.

    They just don't care. Simples.

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  20. Totally agree on the Senators issue. Most people just don't care because so many of the Senators just seem to look out for their rich mates.

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  21. Hi Anonymous

    Yes - there will be an official statement - which will be read out by Deputy Roy Le Herissier as Chairman of the main panel - in the States tomorrow.

    This will quite probably after completion of the Long-term care of the elderly debate.

    Keep the faith.

    Trevor

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  22. Trevor.

    Hope that this official statement will not effect your scrutiny panel's work in progress?

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  23. Will prospective candidate Farnham be campaigning on a "Businesses must pay their suppliers promptly - Or face penalties" ticket ?

    That would be helpful.

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  24. Hiya Big Trev

    I saw and Shona the other day walking a dog. Should have plucked up the courage to say hello. Keep up the good work and out of interest where did you get the Gandhi tee shirts? I've never seen those over here.

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  25. I saw 'empty chair' Shenton scuttling away two hours early for lunch from the States today. Why don't PPC do something about this fake ripping off the taxpayer?

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  26. What is going on? Heard on the Beeb something about you standing up to say that the Scrutiny panel was going to be resigning? Sounded like the Bailiff or whoever was in the chair trying to shut you up? Don't let them scupper this report Deputy it is too important.

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  27. Big Trev.

    Credit to yourself and fellow panel members for making it official.

    Jersey is a DICTATORSHIP

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  28. Hi

    I will make a comment on the Scrutiny Panel annuoncement - which to be fair I had pre-warned readers about in making my own statement via this site a couple of weeks ago -in due course.

    Just got back from a public meeting about the La Collette 'Ash Mountain' as it has been dubbed so need a bit to eat before finishing my prep for tomorrow's amendments. Surprised that I was the only St. Helier No. 1 Deputy there given its importance.

    More surprising didn't see any of the other already announced 'candidates' for the district who will soon be telling everyone how interested they are in the area and its problems! But I expect Mr. Walker can brief her in good time; and Philip his boy too? Why Don't know who Nick Le Cornu will be asking.

    One other rather strange point - a sudden load of posts on t shirts! Ghandi, Guevara and Martin Luther King. Weird. All fascinating historical figures which I am very happy to join in a debate on at some future time.

    But right now - apart from saying one of the Ghandi (can equally spell it Gandhi I have always been told!)shirts was bought for me by a friend visiting India and Shona's was one that I had made from a poster she had him being one of her heroes.

    Hey, this is not a shopping channel so sorry - a bite to eat and then back to work!

    Keep the faith.

    Trevor

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  29. Sorry about the typing errors - I need some food!

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  30. Hi raymac.

    Thanks for the post but if you could refer me exactly to the book in question and what it says I don't mind publishing it.

    I just don't like to put things up like that without seeing for myself. Hope this is Ok? I had been told about an 'Agent Zig-Zag' book. Is this the one to which you refer?

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  31. Great to hear the review is going to be completed.

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  32. Deputy,

    I am reading the BDO scrutiny transcripts and they make electric reading.

    I take great exception to a point made by Ian Le Marquand. In his evidence, timed at 14:45, he states:

    "I do not personally think that it would in practice have made any difference because of the failures of oversight on the part of Mr. Power generally, I have to say sadly."

    http://www.scrutiny.gov.je/documents/pubhearings/S-49983-15370-2172011.htm

    AT NO POINT in this sorry saga has Graham Power ever been found "guilty" of any failure of oversight, except in Ian Le Marquand's Kangaroo Court.

    For Ian Le Marquand to continue spouting this myth is, in my opinion, a breach of the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

    Graham Power is innocent and retired without a stain on his character.

    BTW, excellent work on this review, 5 stars to the whole panel.

    A concerned citizen.

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  33. Will prospective candidate Farnham be campaigning on a "Businesses must pay their suppliers promptly - Or face penalties" ticket ?

    That would be helpful.


    VERY helpful to his suppliers!

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  34. Hi Trevor, yes, I think that was the book in question.

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  35. Big Trev.

    Listened to the States today and think you got it right. We haven't got a COM it's more of an immoral gang of nodders.

    Interesting to note that Philip Ozouf consistently comes out with the old "political point scoring" sketch when he hasn't got any answers to your arguments.

    Furthermore, as it was said today, if he believes he, and his policies are that popular, then he should stand down and put himself up for election and take his "popular policies" on the campaign trail.

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  36. Deputy. You were very passionate in the States today over the issue of preferential tax treatment for the ultra rich. As you so rightly say, time after time the argument is with you and your colleagues.

    It is just that the numbers and power and consequently the ability simply not to listen is with the hypoccrites. They must be voted out in October or Jersey deserves what it will get.

    More taxes and an ever growing divide between the rich and powerful and the rest of us.

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  37. Big Trev.

    The BBC, who will claim not to be a mouthpiece for our government, have been reporting today that "the States" have agreed to lower the tax contributions for the 1(1)k's.

    If their "journalism" was to be a little more accurate then they would be reporting that "the majority of States Members" voted for this.

    By saying "the States" and not "the majority" you all get tarred with the Ozouf Brush. The not so politically savvy listener will have an opinion on ALL states members believing you ALL voted for this.

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  38. Trevor

    Great effort in the states on Friday. The fact that the JEP only portrayed one side of the story says so muc. Could you or one of the other bloggers please put up alist of all of those who voted for Ozouf's dispicable policies?

    I want to make sure I tell people to vote against them in October. But you were great. As the reader says 'passionate' but what should also be highlighted is you had all the facts.

    Like Shona said so brilliantly, Ozouf's whole case costing the taxpayer tens of thousands was besed on 'two 1 1 Ks and a taxi driver' Priceless!

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  39. When you hear an agrument so well made as your destruction of the one-one K farce and the muppets still vote to support Ozouf you really have to ask if there is any point? As for the dipstick Rondel trying to argue that asking rich tax dodgers to pay just one percent of their multi millions was 'discrimination' - which loony bin to they get these people from?

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  40. Rondel being a paedophile protector, you cannot really expect any sound judgement from his ilke!

    Even the JEP article was a cover-up, it was incessant rape of a minor and went on for many years.

    I have the paperwork for her abortion in Bournemouth, and right in front of me....

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  41. Hope you post that Trevor, can email the document if you like :)

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  42. Hi Ian

    Yes, e-mail me the documents and that is fine. Incidentally, does anyone remember the case of the businessman involved in bringing in cocaine? He got just... community service!

    Why do I mention it? I'm informed he too had character references from two Senators which obviously must have helped a lot!

    Keep the faith

    Trevor

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  43. http://www.thisisjersey.com/2007/12/18/businessman-in-cocaine-plot-is-spared-jail/

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  44. I don't know how Ozouf can try and state that his view on wealthy tax avoiders is the view of most people. Most people are disgusted and more power to you for trying to do something about it. A list of those who kept their head down and supported these doube standards would be a very good idea. Also the nine who supported your fight for equality. Thanks.

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  45. HEY TREV!!!

    What happened to the posting after I sent you the documents?

    Did the lawyer thing scare you off? or did you just forget?

    Fair is fair fella....

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  46. Respect, Mr Pitman, RESPECT.

    Cast iron balls will do for me fella :)

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