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Sunday, 8 January 2012

NEW ASSEMBLY, NEW YEAR – BUT SAME OLD ESTABLISHMENT PARTY WRECKING TACTICS OF SELF-INTEREST OVER THAT OF THE WIDER PUBLIC’S…

Maybe it is because other, more important demands on my time as a politician have meant that I just haven’t got around to blogging for the past few weeks – but this post has ended up considerably longer than usual. Then again given what is actually going on behind the scenes and its potential highly negative impact if left unchallenged the length of explanation is probably wholly justified…

THE EGO HAS LANDED

Though in the classic children’s tale the Grinch may well have seen the error of his ways and not gotten away with stealing Christmas, unless we are very careful what is now happening at PPC will see Jersey’s own political Grinch, Senator Philip Bailhache, stealing the absolutely essential - and very hard won at that – independence of the Electoral Commission.

The result in my view will be what I can only describe as a further ‘rigging’ of the democratic process to try and ensure that the already under-represented voters in Jersey’s urban areas like St. Helier are forever at an insurmountable disadvantage to the self-interested ‘Great and the Good’ and their ‘I’m alright Jack’ supporters who think Jersey is their own private club to exploit as they see fit and stuff the consequences for the rest.

MAINSTREAM MEDIA GET IT WRONG AGAIN

Readers and anyone genuinely interested in democracy should be aware that what was reported in the JEP this Saturday is a woefully inadequate report of what tactually transpired at the PPC meeting. Trust me – I was there; the JEP had not a single reporter there throughout. If they have been fed their story as fact then they have been misled.

The apparent ‘clearing of the way’ reported for our most egotistical of Senators to usurp the agreed independence of the Electoral Commission and pervert it to the desired ends of the Establishment (a Party finally waking up to the fact that the challenge on behalf of true democracy coming from the motley bunch of peasant democrats like me isn’t going to go away so easily no matter how underhand their tactics) is just more ‘spin’ to make this most poisonous of pills a bit more palatable to a misled public.

Indeed, the JEP report that this decision – which isn’t actually to change what was agreed following Daniel Wimberley’s excellent proposition, but to give States Members the chance to do so – was not passed by the emphatic two to one ratio claimed at all. No. With Deputies Montford Tadier and Kristina Moore not even present it was actually slipped through by just three votes to two.

Incredibly – and I bet readers could never see this particular sham coming – the decisive vote to allow the possibility of Senator Philip Bailhache being able to hijack the ‘commission’ with the collusion of new Chief Minister Ian Gorst was actually taken by…

Senator Philip Bailhache!

As you have probably fallen out of your chair in shock I’ll repeat that for you. The decisive vote was Senator Philip Bailhache’s

SHAMBLES OR PLOT - THE DIRE CONSEQUENCES WILL BE THE SAME

As a former member of PPC I can state as fact that in my experience of past meetings if what was being discussed involved one of the members in a highly contentious issue then he or she would not vote on the matter. Common sense really as I am sure most would agree.

Yet whilst hiding behind the complete baloney that the move wasn’t actually being engineered to allow Senator Bailhache to take the Chair of the review but rather allow any politician to potentially do so this common sense dictate was not adhered to.

Other politicians and more importantly the ordinary people of Jersey need to be aware of what is going on here. It is that serious. Not least Chief Minister Gorst’s part in what can only be described as another betrayal of what he promised within his pitch to become Chief Minister and his stated intent to bring about a brave new dawn in local politics.  Check for yourself – its all their within Hansard and various media reports from the election.
In the meantime should anyone think I am being too harsh on the Chief Minister then just consider the following facts? The reality is that Senator Gorst was only elected to the role of Chief Minister on the back of securing the decisive votes of the political ‘Progressives’.

ONCE, TWICE, THREE TIMES A ….

The key fact here is that this ‘Progressive’ support for Senator Gorst was given on the back of promises of wholesale political ‘inclusion; and of equal importance his firm stated commitment to an INDEPENDENT Electoral Commission. Yet as we have subsequently seen this first promise of political inclusion was jettisoned no sooner than the Senator had been safely secured in the top job.

Indeed, maybe some readers are not aware of this fact; but this betrayal can be emphasised further by the fact that according to Senator Gorst every Minister was to be ‘instructed’ by him to take on an Assistant Minister with a ‘different’ political perspective to theirs to ensure this happened. A great idea but whatever happened to it, Senator Gorst?

Obviously not every Member can be a Minister. Yet even the most rabid of right-wing buffoons (Jon the Troll aside perhaps?) could not maintain an argument that the likes of ‘Progressives’ such as Senator Alan Breckon and Deputies Geoff Southern, Shona Pitman, Montford Tadier, Mike Higgins and yes- even me! -  had less ability or appropriate experience than many given other roles within this new ‘inclusive’ government: some who didn’t even give the Senator their support for the job!

And tell me if I’m wrong, readers but in what way exactly does Deputy Eddie Noel have a ‘different political perspective’ to his new Minister at the Treasury, Senator Philip Ozouf? I think the appropriate term is: I rest my case - unless being even more right-wing than your Minister is seen as meeting the instruction’s criteria?

‘THE BEST POLITICIAN WE HAVE HAD FOR A VERY LONG TIME’

No, don’t worry I didn’t proclaim the above nonsense: JEP reporter Ben Quérée did. I wonder what the said reporter – who I seem to recall only a year or two ago held the very same rose-tinted view of Senator Ian Le Marquand – thinks now?  Because just days after giving Gorst the above glowing testimonial Ben Quérée had to report on the next act of betrayal.
This was the new Chief Minister going back on his word to me that he would bring some transparency to the shameful scandal of taxpayers’ money being used to line the pockets of discredited, incompetent senior Civil Servants under the Le Sueur regime with obscene ‘golden handshake’ pay-offs amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

So here we are in only January let us remember. We are still to have the first States Sitting of 2012. Two promises made. Two promises broken. And now we get what has the potential to be the most damaging of all: the selling out of the independent Electoral Commission to pacify one Senator’s hugely inflated ego. It is to put it quite bluntly sickening.

As I have highlighted, being the only States Member who sat in on the PPC meeting this past Thursday (for the record the only reporter there was the BBC’s Chris Raynor) I witnessed the contempt with which the ordinary public of Jersey and all fair-minded politicians within the Assembly are being treated by the likes of Gorst and Bailhache for my self. 

WILL THE REAL CHIEF MINISTER PLEASE STAND UP?

Though under no obligation to do so having defeated Senator Bailhache for the role of Chief Minister, Senator Gorst is now displaying all the political backbone of a jellyfish in colluding with him to ensure real, beneficial change to the make-up of the States that an independent Electoral Commission could not fail to recommend does not happen.

Worse that as a result while the people of less fortunate countries are risking their lives for genuine democracy we will likely slip backwards toward something resembling some shambolic, oppressive hybrid of a neo-Feudal State and the Weimer Republic! If it doesn’t worry you it really should.

Believe me – if Philip Bailhache gets his way democracy in Jersey, flawed as it is, can be kissed goodbye for at least the next generation. We will be on the way to a legalised dictatorship. The result will include the removal of the limited and wholly inadequate checks and balances that exist now.

Checks and balances such as the ‘Troy rule’; creating instead myriad extra token ‘Assistant Ministers’ that effectively mean no questioning of the ‘leader’ and thus no meaningful ‘opposition’. In truth almost unfettered power for a Chief Minister who will alone pick his chosen ‘inner circle’ of sycophants. Worse still a permanent imbalance in representation between country and urban parishes that will dwarf that which we all know exists already.

And all of this is being justified, legitimised with excuses that I’m afraid are at best garbled, pseudo-intellectual nonsense; and at worst downright untruths. It is quite frankly shameful, morally bankrupt, and the public must be made aware of it before it is too late. Yes, it seems that while Senator Gorst may have won the vote for ‘Chief Minister’ he clearly already holds the title only in name? Or surely he would not let this happen?

WE ARE BEING SLEEP-WALKED INTO A DISASTER

Check it out for yourselves. Senator Bailhache is desperately spinning the myth that he somehow ‘has a mandate’ to usurp the States agreed independent electoral commission simply ‘because he topped the Senatorial poll having talked about reform’.

Even by the Establishment Party’s long record of 1984-style rewriting of history this is nothing more than demonstrable garbage. Indeed, it is absolutely risible. Should you be tempted to disagree just consider the case of former Senator, Stuart Syvret.

Love him or loath him – and I have certainly had my serious disagreements with him as I have observed before – Syvret was the most popular politician in Jersey for the best part of two decades. With the advent of Ministerial government (and the lack of a mature party political system as exists in most proper democracies) Syvret surely could have had every justification to claim that he was the majority choice of the public to become our first Chief Minister.

Cast your mind back. Did this hold any water with the Establishment Party members inside the States in 2005? Not a bit of it – the role went to Frank Walker who had scraped in to be re-elected by the skin of his teeth. In the words of so many Establishment figures at the time Syvret’s popularity apparently gave him no such mandate whatsoever.

Yet now, surprise, surprise we are being asked to do an about turn; ask no uncomfortable questions and agree that Philip Bailhache can hijack the Electoral Commission just because he topped the poll in the latest elections of 2011! But let’s also get a few further points spelt out quite clearly as well.
 
There are others in the States even now who might not have topped the Senatorial poll but have been elected not just once, but twice, three and even four times on a reform platform. And a reform platform at that far more coherent and considered than the elitist hotchpotch being put forward by Philip Bailhache.

Senator Bailhache is also on record, of course, as saying he doesn’t even support the idea of an electoral commission process. He in his boundless arrogance it seems thinks he knows best even though analysis clearly demonstrates otherwise.

Indeed, though having sat in the Chair as Speaker for many years whilst Assembly after Assembly have failed over countless debates to manage to agree meaningful reform that would be beneficial to ALL of the Island’s community Senator Bailhache incredibly further states that the problem apparently ‘isn’t too difficult’. In fact he said it again in the PPC meeting. Oh to be so superior!

THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION HAS TO BE INDEPENDENT – AND ITS RESULTS HAVE TO BE PUT TO THE PEOPLE FOR SUPPORT OR REJECTION

Without so many vested interests at play it would be possible to agree with the Senator on coming up with a wholly workable reform. But then… all I want from electoral reform is a system that is constructed so that all, rich or poor, town or country Parish dweller has fair and equal representation.

This is also all that every other ‘Progressive’ that I know wants. Sadly it isn’t what the Establishment party wants. They want to maintain their grasp on power and control; and the fact that this grip is slowly loosening means they will fight all the more desperately to try and cling on to it. Don’t make any mistake – this attempt to hijack the Commission is a mark of their growing desperation.

Vested interests are what make the independence of an Electoral Commission and the public having the ultimate power of rejection or support absolutely essential. I repeat: the potential for the influence of vested interests are precisely the reason why Philip Bailhache, like any other States Member, cannot be allowed to shape the reform process.

Deputy Daniel Wimberley’s successful proposition made this clear and that is what we must continue to support under this insidious attack.

THE COMMISSION HAS TO BE GIVEN A BLANK CANVAS

I’ll leave readers with these final thoughts. Whatever one thinks about reform – for example, whether the Island-Wide mandate should go as would happen under Senator Bailhache’s adoption of ‘Super Constituencies’; whether all seats should need an Island-Wide vote; or any other variant – this in itself is not the issue.

Suggesting that Deputies should go, the Constables, the Crown Officers, the Dean or whatever – it is all absolutely fine. Let the Commission examine it all. Let them reach conclusions. And then right or wrong let their recommendations be put to the people.

What is wholly wrong, divisive and what must not be allowed to happen is doing what Senator Philip Bailhache wants to do: i.e. say that we must reduce numbers but that retaining the position of the Constables is non-negotiable. Perhaps even worse is to attempt to justify this by misleading people by spouting supporting facts that simply aren’t true. Why do I highlight this point so forcibly?

One of the few amusing moments in the meeting came when Senator Bailhache came out with the complete fabrication that it was quite clear that the vast majority of the Island’s people wished to retain the Constables in the States.

For a man who is busy desperately trying to give everyone the impression that he alone is the great font of all reform wisdom; someone who can succeed where all mere mortals have failed, one might have thought even the Senator would know that his claims were absolute nonsense. Perhaps he did know?

Whatever the truth I did have to smile when the Greffier – a really genuine repository of reform debate knowledge – politely interrupted him to point out that, even at the time of the last Mori poll, opinions were pretty much hotly split down the middle between those who strongly wanted the Constables to remain and those who equally strongly wanted them removed. Exposed the Great One fell silent.

The most telling point of all? The fact that by his own words Senator Bailhache said he would not be content to just have a seat on the Electoral Commission – he will accept only being able to control it as Chair. If this doesn’t give cause for concern to all of those who might be tempted to be sleep-walked into this disaster then frankly there really isn’t any hope. Let this happen and who knows - before long we’ll likely even begin to believe that collagen can be found in coconuts…

But just to stop all you democrats from having nightmares and to leave you on a positive note. Don’t despair. We aren’t a dictatorship yet. There are ways to fight this. Oh yes, Senator Farnham would be proud of us…

Keep the Faith.

Trevor


80 comments:

  1. Another meaningless post about all the people you cannot stand in the States who have been voted in by the Public and as if that’s real progress for a progressive to just carry on burning bridges with them all the time you must have an original agenda to everybody else. You talk about Party Politics yet that's been rejected by the Jersey Public and your JDA crashed last year after you all walked out on it so don't start blaming the Assembly for its demise,blame yourselves. Your post has been read by a few of your colleagues already today who say you are just ranting and wasting time as per usual. So tell me Deputy, what do you aim to achieve yourself out of politics this year or is this negativity just going to be the norm with no progress whatsoever like your last term in office?

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  2. Trevor, this is a posting well worth waiting for and so true on every level. Bailhache is trying desperately to hold onto this (his) feudal dictatorship with the help of the JEP and the spineless Ian Gorst. The JEP reporting something as fact when they weren't even present at the meeting of PPC along with Gorst U turning Philip Ozouf style is lamentable. Bailhache should be kept well clear of the Electoral Commission in fact he should be kept well clear of anything political and only got elected because the JEP. Keep up the good work Trevor and pleased you are once again blogging.

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  3. Dear Trevor,
    I cannot say I am shocked by reading this, as the States Members (certain Ones) are so corrupt they only think of themselves & sod the public who voted these people in thinking they were doing the right thing, well I know when Bailache got in it was like, well we have had it now. Trevor it is ok saying keep the Faith as you said, but this cannot be allowed to happen & the problem we have is how can we stop this from happening and not allowing Bailache etc!!! to corrupt it anymore then it already is along with our lying media. As i have always said the normal person on the street like myself & many others have no chance and that is just unacceptable.

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  4. Trevor.

    A well put together, and informative Blog Posting. If Philip Bailhache is allowed on, let alone chair, this Electoral Commission then the prospect of Jersey becoming anything like a 21st century "Democracy" will be set back by decades.

    There is little doubt that Senator Bailhache is "The real Chief Minister" and if he is allowed within miles of the Electoral Commission, then this will be the beginning of the end to Senator Gorst's credibility and political career.

    You have intimated in your posting that if this is allowed to happen, then you will take it to the Privy Council, is that the case? If so let's hope there are enough democrats left in the Assembly to support you otherwise we will as an island remain in the brown stuff for a long time to come.

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  5. Great posting Deputy Pitman

    Keep Going

    rs

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  6. When people like him (Bailhache the disgrace) or often trolls on CTV and JEP etc come out with statements along the lines of "most people". Well, that is the moment for me that means they havent got a clue. It is the worst argument ever and means only one thing "most people.... I ask". I hope that does not require an explanation (unless to a troll perhaps!).

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  7. You should write to the Queen Trevor, get this excuse for a parliament dissolved....

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  8. Excellent update Trevor thanks.

    The JEP story was fabricated as they did not attend so it was written for them, even worse it was fatally flawed and they did obviously did nothing to check the facts other attendees.

    Then they wonder why their circulation is dropping because people have no confidence in the JEP propaganda. machine.

    Clearly Senator Bailhache was heavily conflicted as he wants to be chairman and should not have voted. This will do his reputation no good at all, its called a democracy start acting like a decent politician Phil or resign.

    Anonymous.

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  9. Trevor

    Forgive me keeping my identity anonymous but as a States colleague who most would likely not expect me to say so I wholly agree with what you are saying. Obviously I don't know what was said at the PPC meeting because I didn't even think about going. But I understand the next meeting is on the 11th however so in the light of what you have highlighted I may well see you there.

    I must stress that I have nothing against Senator Bailhache whatsoever but I just cannot agree that he should be able to take over this commission. We agreed that it should be independent and for good reason, just as you point out. What I think all of our colleagues need to take on board is that if Senator Bailhache or any other among us got to lead it the results of the commission's findings and recommendations would be hugely undermined.

    I honestly would have thought that Senator Bailhache would see this for himself and have a re-think. The only other comment I would add is that I do think Ian is very misguided in supporting Senator Bailhaache in this. He did get elected with support for the independent commission as a key part of his platform, just as you observe. He should have stuck to this.

    Best of luck. I'm sure that you will be attacked as well for writing this but to that regard I can say to you that I often wish I had your courage to speak out with so little fear. You do upset the apple cart sometimes but maybe that is a good thing and necessary?

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  10. This is outrageous. Thanks for highlighting it for us. I didn't support Farnham's attempt to take an issue to the UK government because it was a far less serious matter. But this really needs to be stopped in its tracks in the interest of good government. Has Mr Bailache learnt nothing from all the years of countless debates when even quite workable suggestions were thrown out simply for the very same vested interests that you speak of? Keep fighting for us. You are one of only a handful who do.

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  11. On the money. But expect a load of bogus anti posts now that the troll hasn't got his main hate outlet. Wonder if the JEP will correct their story?

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  12. Well done Trevor but it speaks volumes when one of your own colleagues is too frightened to speak out, who wants that kind of government?

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  13. What an excellent posting Trevor.

    Welcome back, and with a vengeance!

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  14. 'Big Trev' I see it didn't take the boozy one long to start his fake little posts.

    You have to think he must just sit there all day in his hovel next to the screen and the pile of empty Carling cans waiting and hoping for one of the citizens media fraternity to put up a story? Just how sad and lonely is he?

    Doesn't it also make people laugh how whenever Trevor or one of the other good guys highlights something that is plainly wrong or down right rotten some muppet comes on calling it "negativity"? Do you think we were born yesterday jonnie?

    I expect you will have an "anti-Jersey" accusation too 'Big Trev' though that could be from Pip Bailhache himself? Funny thing is it is what he is attempting to do in highjacking the election commission that is really "anti-Jersey".

    Good to see you back on line and belated congrats to you and Shona for getting re-elected. Increased votes too wasn't it so well done both.I can tell you that the establishment mob were absolutely desperate to get you both out so all the more power to your elbows.

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  15. The more apt question Anonymous should be asking is what positive contribution will Senator Bailhache be making this year? All he has done since he was elected is attack Stuart Syvret and try to give the false impression that all Scrutiny members last time around only followed their personal hobbyhorses.

    How about some examples Senator? Or do you just like throwing muck like most bullies? Your comments about Syvret in the paper were pathetic and yet you have the gall to attack others. You are a hypocrite. What pray are you going to do for me to make my life better? What real work will you be doing?

    Hijacking the reform commission doesn't help me at all. It will make life worse as getting proper representation such as Trevor and a few others give me even harder. But that I suppose it what you want isn't it? The day you put in half as much work as someone like Trevor I will eat my hat.

    Let's see if you can top the poll in three years time? I doubt that you will even get elected at all because by then people who were daft enough to vote for you will have seen the reality.

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  16. How about the plebs storming the States Building?

    Then a nice month long barracade!

    Should put the spotlight firmly back on grubby little Jersey :)

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  17. Considerably Richer Than You8 January 2012 at 20:24:00 GMT

    Get over it deputy. Senator Bailhache is rich and he is one of the established order's pillars. We rich people call the shots because we are successful and as a result rich. Simples really. To borrow your fondness for putting things bluntly - we are probably just better. You peasants can fight all you like for concepts like morals and 'equality' but they don't concern me one iota. You can be more experienced or capable to hold a role. I still don't want you holding it over one of 'us' though and never will because you don't put my interests first. Its called reality.

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  18. A great posting Trevor, delighted to know that you are questioning the almighty Bailache power machine

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  19. Great post Trevor.

    Could you just clarify for me when and how the decision will actually be made as to whether Bailhache (or any other States member) will be allowed to take part or chair the commission?

    Can anyone here think of a worse group of people to decide the future of politicians than the politicians themselves?

    When the vote comes, we progressives need to campaign hard for our representatives to vote to keep the commission independent.

    All of the problems we have in Jersey stem from the deficiencies in our democracy.

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  20. to the anonymous states member above,
    are you serious? no we dont forgive your anonymity.
    You agree with Trevor right?
    Then do what you are elected and paid to do,and as as importantly be seen doing so.

    jeez this island

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  21. The Jep cannot be expected to attend every meeting.
    Was the flawed report that they published,supplied to them, or did they have access to the minutes therebye producing their own errors.....not that i believe for one moment that the JEP could make a mistake.

    Can i assume that you will not be copying this remarkable document to the JEP.

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  22. Hi Sam

    The 'revised'or 'amended' proposal call it what you will is, I believe, being discussed again by PPC on Thursday of next week I think. The 11th of January at 2pm.

    If I am incorrect then hopefully Montford can put me straight as he is on the Committee. You can always phone Morrier House yourself and I will try to confirm the date and time on here too. Check the States website via my link on the main website first as I haven't done that yet.

    As things stand this part of the PPC meeting should be open to the public so please go along if you can. Work load commitments permitting I will certainly be doing so. I know for a fact that Ian Gorst is going to be interviewed about the 'machinery of government'.

    Perhaps someone - likely only Montford if he is back in the Island or Judy Martin - might also ask him why he has gone back on his promised commitment to an obviously needed fully independent Electoral Commission? Well, we can hope can't we?

    I will certainly be asking him at the first States Sitting. He got my vote on the back of promises that he has now broken. If he continues to support Senator Bailhache in hijacking this then in all fairness he really should stand down.

    Once the revised wording has been completed by Bailhache and the rest of PPC it will then have to come before the States to be voted on. This is why it is so important that fair-minded States Members and the public alike know the truth of what is going on so that we can make the right decision and protect the independence as agreed with Dan Wimberley's proposition last year

    Once we have a date for this debate then interested and concerned people such as yourself should start lobbying politicians to let them know how you feel.

    On a different tack I have already been in touch with two contacts at Westminster. Gorst and Bailhaxche will try and ridicule this possibility but they may be in for a surprize if push comes to shove...

    This is for development later however if needed. The Jersey Establishment's record of not delivering 'good governance' is starting to get too blatant to ignore - at least that is the message I am getting from them; likewise from a couple of broadsheet UK jouralists who keep in touch with me.

    Hopefully it won't come to this. First we have to give new Members the chance to show that whatever their politics they won't just go along with whatever Senator Bailhache and his puppet Chief Minister say when it is so obviously wrong.

    Finally, be wary that the PPC meeting could suddenly be split into Parts A & B agendas. If this gets on to the 'B' secret aganeda then we really do have to act. But hopefully Simon Crowcroft as Chairman will ensure openness prevails?

    Regards

    Trevor

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  23. Sorry - meant to say 'agenda' not invent the new word 'aganeda'!

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  24. The errors in the JEP report may be entirely genuine if they have been given duff information. Maybe they will correct it?

    This site is read at the JEP I know that for a fact.So no I won't be copying it to them because there is no need. They can quote from it if they wish - it is a public document.

    Sadly more likely willl be a story appearing spinning this as an 'awful attack' by me on Senator Bailhache and totally ignoring the very serious issues that I rightly raise. Likewise the fact that Bailhache is wholly wrong in what he is seeking to do.

    Remember they gave him a huge amount of space where he lectured people about 'insulting' others - yet allowed him to attack others in the very same article without any comment on the hypocrisy of this behaviour whatsoever.

    All I can confirm is that they did not have a reporter there so their story wasn't firsthand. Could be a press release or a phone call following the story being on the BBC? I don't know.

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  25. You just can't avoid winding our beloved leaders up, can you! Keep it up sunshine!

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  26. A last comment for tonight as I have written questions to get in for tomorrow and constituent case work to go over for tomorrow's visits.

    One issue I meant to comment on in the main post but forgot given the final length is in relation to the BDO review that I Chaired.

    Given that the way events in the House panned out I didn't get to make a statement on this as I would have liked.

    Senator Ian Le Marquand had agreed to make a joint statement relating to some of the inaccurate and unfair - let's be honest sensationalist media reporting on the Power/Harper issue, as many people will obviously know.

    Having chosen instead to eventually tag a statemnt from himself alone on this matter on to his official Ministerial response to our report - which to be wholly fair he did advise me of I can tell readers that I will be issuing my own statement before the end of the week.

    Will it be reported by the criticised media...

    Trevor

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  27. Genuine inaccurate reporting in the Rag? Come on Trevor even if you are not being far to fair to them, doesn't this highlight the real problem? This being that our Bailhache and co supporting mainstream media just accept what is given to them as fact and never go and investigate to see if it is true.

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  28. A very bitter post here based on personality politics and I wish you would knock this on the head.

    Let’s face it, there are not enough people in the States that share your vision, obviously, and if people like yourself don't even go for positions in Ministerial Government then how will you ever be totally inclusive?

    Jersey is predominately right wing, it always has been with the finance industry and the firms established here. Getting all flustered about it won't change anything and we seem to see this after every election for some reason by a minority.

    Though I wonder whether the progressives’ reluctance to go for island wide seats really gives them a say on Island wide issues in the eyes of the Jersey Public anyway?

    Not one stuck their neck out this time and tried the water, yet to quote, love or loath him, Sir Philip did top the poll with a record number of votes so the Public like him.

    I know Ian Gorst is not trusted from sources on both sides, but we are stuck with him for the present and if anything the way the economy is going in Jersey his standing maybe over quicker than you think.

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  29. trevor i sent this email to mr gorst sat 7th.
    sir after listening to your chef minister,s speech were you go on to speak about honesty transparency open govenment then when the opportunity to put your words in action you basically say to the tax payer,s of jersey it,s none of there business.sir it is our business it,s our money it is of my opinion you are a fraud and fraudulently claimed to belive in open transparent truthful govemment.if you have any honour you would stand down not just as chief minister but from the states all together and make way for somebody who is honest. mr richardson.(no reply as yet)ps i told gorst was an idiot. .pps this was about golden hand shakes.

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  30. Well done - happy new year to you and Shona.

    Their silly illogic about Bailhache having legitimacy due to being the poll topper (when the majority of islanders didn't vote anyway) is nullified when you consider he didn't even have the full support of The House to become Chief Minister - that falling to Gorst instead!

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  31. Anonmymous States Member said
    "I often wish I had your courage to speak out with so little fear"

    God help us, that's all I can say. Resign you coward!

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  32. Anonymous Jon

    Come on, you give yourself away with your writing again and again...

    'Bitter post' -

    No, just fact. Though if you said anger at how some will cheerfully betray the interests of the many for the benefit of an arrogant 'elite' you might have a point.

    'Personality politics' -

    This is what the Establishment party cries again and again when they refuse to engage and face the challenge of people like me and others who put forward aalternative policy.

    For example: have you ever seen the likes of Ozouf, Le Sueur or Ben Shenton etc try and challenge my use of facts from Ha-Joon Chang demobnstrating that their approach to economics is nonsense? No. Not once. Whenever they don't have any real answer they wwheel out the old 'anti-Jersey' or 'personality politics' slurs when actually these sum them up very aptly.

    'Island-Wide mandate' -

    Your favourite old chesnut. If people who haven't got Island-Wide mandates shouldn't talk about Island-Wide issues then hang on...

    Out of nine Ministers under our Chief Minister FIVE are Deputies! One never faced an election in her life! But I suppose that is fine as she is a right-winger?

    I stood as an unknown (apart from the many people in St. Helier who knew me from my youth and community work over many years in the Parish) for Senator in 2008. No, I didn;t get elected but in St. Helier with over a third of the population I came 5th out of the 21 candidates.

    I beat Senators Ozouf, Maclean, Fergusson and former Senator the late Mike Vibert etc. Clearly this says that not all people are 'right-wingers' as you put it.

    I only stood for Senator because in all my years of followwing politics I felt that to have a mandate for a 'top job'you had generally needed this. This logic and past reality has now been proven redundant as both Le Sueur and Gorst clearly think either ability (with them on this one!) or perhaps group-think and jobs for the boys is more important than the Island-Wide mandate.

    As such I have also campaigned like others for one type of Member, probably in large 'Super Constituencies'. To then still go for Senator again I would be a hypocrite.

    Finally, you obviously haven't understood the point about Stuart Syvret having topped the Island-Wide polls for years.

    'People like me don't even go for positions so how can government ever be inclusive' -

    Come on, at least try to appear genuine. I went for ESC Minisster, did I not? I was the only candidate of the three who is actually a qualified professional educator. The job went to an individual with a background in landscape gardening I believe!

    I went for a position on PPC.

    I went for Chair of the Overseas Aid Commission.

    I also went for a place on the board after this went to paul Routier...

    Given the fact that Ministers from the Establishment Party cry, sulk and even try to have 'Progressives' like me removed from Scrutiny when we do what it should do - i.e. produce hard facts/expose the complete shambles of matters such as the Historic Abuse cover up; depositor compensations etc is it any wonder so many States Members decided that this time around we would focus our time elsewhere such as in bringing alternative policy?

    Of course, Senator Bailhache and co even want to try and stop this in their attempts to dumb down politics and create a government that will be that in name only - a 'rubber stamp' for vested interets of the wealthy.

    Case rested.

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  33. Wow! Don't take this the wrong way Trevor but I just love your style. No messing and tell it how it is just as you say on your website.

    I understand what you say completely but maybe you should still go for Senator if they still exist next time? Even people who don't like what you represent know you have the quality we need. Something to think on anyway.

    Just keep it up you are doing us "real" people of Jersey proud.

    PS

    Bailhache won't get re-elected if he stands again. But I don't think he will even try. He just wants to try and stitch up "reform".

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  34. My name is not Jon but if that’s how you want to address me fine.
    I am not going to get into a serial debate with you on matters raised but my general feeling is that I wish the progressives would try and get along with more people in the States if only to get more focused debate on issues that everybody is interested in. Taxation, GST and the right wing adopted policy by all – immigration to name 3. Personality politics is alive and kicking in Jersey and I seriously do not believe some of your blog posts or elsewhere help, it is just something everybody should work on, he says she says slanging matches are for the playground and blogs are not the place. You are right about Deputies in ministerial posts, thought they are voted in within the house and the Island wide mandate is not an old chestnut to the electorate, many people are upset the numbers have been reduced and it did not go unnoticed that many serial losers in the Senators avoided it this time because the backdoor is closed.

    I am a firm believer that people who truly believe in their politics should test them with an Island wide mandate. To me the position of deputy is just an introduction into the States, but that’s just my opinion. Party Politics keeps on getting raised and my understanding is that internal disputes have always been the reason for its failure. I knew the JDA before you got involved and they were arguing with one another back then and it seems to have been the same ever since. That a serious weekness that has nothing to do with the current COM.

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  35. Dear Jon who is not called Jon

    You were in the JDA before I got involved?

    Interesting - as Shona was in right at the start and I even attended some initial meetings myself to listen, and was obviously able to have a fairly informed 'inside' view from her, Ted and Geoff who I had got to know maybe you should e-mail me privately - if your claim is genuine? I doubt you will.

    As for the Island-Wide mandate as I have said before - I would support every seat being on an Island-Wide mandate if this could be achieved around one general election - another thing that apparently 'everybody' wanted.

    Simple numbers mean this can't be done and all serious political observers accept this regardless of them being right, left or otherwise. Just picture it - a hustings with 120 + people as candidates up on the hustings platform - and 60 people in the audience. Anyone up for a 48 hour hustings? I doubt it?

    What has transpired under Ministerial government - particularly under Le Sueur and now Gorst does mean, like it or not, that the case for Senators to remain has never been weaker. In terms of what an island-Wide mandate now guarantees it actually cannot be justified anymore.

    Maybe only Senators should be considered for Ministerial roles? A downside to that which you probably would acknowledge yourself would undoubtedly be that the most capable/experienced individual for a particular job might never get the chance to serve the Island in that position. Could that be a good thing? I don't think so myself.

    I'm afraid your 'serial losers' comment adds more fuel to the feeling that you are not genuine. Much as I didn't share his right-wing politics the late Mike Vibert was right when he stated in the House that 'losing' at the Senatorials was not 'failure' in his eyes. Ability plays only a part in getting elected as a Senator.

    This has been pointed out by many different politicians in the States over the years; people as diverse as Ian le Marquand to Judy Martin.

    Being seen to be in a high profile 'responsible' job' knowing influential people in the community; sadly coming out with populist, whatever people want to hear statements plays a far bigger part. Sad but true.

    About the only thing I agree with former Senator Horsfall on is his observation that preventing people who might even narrowly miss out in a Senatorial election to then stand for Deputy means that we will now always lose out because only Deputies who come from wealthy backgrounds are likely to take that risk. Good, solid people, right and left, will not go for the job.

    Why risk coming 4th in the Senators when your parish recognises a Deputies hard work and would return you easily where ultimately you will have exactly the same voice and one vote? It was a fooliss decision in my view also.

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  36. Dear Jon who is not called Jon

    Part Two

    As for your comments about wanting debate on issues like GST, taxation etc... Hang on - I do this all the time as do many 'Progressives'. More often than not we have the Establishment moaning about needing to move on blah, blah, blah.

    The 'Establishment Party' don't want party politics even though they wwork as one in secret far more successfully than the 'Progressives' have done historically. They don't want this because they don't want the accountability that a party system would bring in being able to hold politicians to account if they don't follow through on what the said in their manifesto.

    Party politics - honest, open party politics as opposed to the covert Establishment version has, indeed, failed so far. All I can say is that I at least was one of those who seeing the potential benefits tried. What did you do toward this Jon who is not Jon?

    Finally, you are absolutely entitled to your perspectives whether I agree with them or not. But answer me this.

    As all politicians represent people in the Island how could anyone being a Deputy or Constable choose to opt out of contributing to Island-Wide issues? It would be farcical because the 'Island-Wide' issues impact on those in their parish or District just the same?

    Equally, why this strange Jersey obsession that somehow an Iland-Wide mandate is needed? Do you see Prime Ministers or Presidents or indeed even their various Ministers being elected by the whole country wherever that may be? Of course not.

    As Constable Len Norman pointed out to Philip Bailhache at the PPC meeting - Jersey is the only place that has Senators but doesn't have a 'Senate!

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  37. Dear Trevor

    I am out for meal shortly so will have to come back to you tomorrow. Just to clarify I was a member of the original JDA under Ted but only a supporter, or paying member, I think you may believe I was part of the council.

    Thanks

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  38. Hello Trevor

    Whether this poster is our troll friend or not I would simply comment that your responses are the most sensible I have heard from a politican for a long time. Your assessment of Bailhache and what is happening seem spot on to me too.

    This charade must be stopped and if necessary please do take the matter to the UK. Democracy really should not be stolen away by these self-interested idiots. It makes my blood boil.

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  39. If I may be allowed to intrude on this discussion between Trevor and whoever Jon who is not Jon is, man or woman I would like to add this for consideration.

    JWINJ claims that many people are highly mifffed about the number of Senators being reduced. This just doesn't stand up to scrutiny in my opinion. Whatever happened to the much vaunted petition that Mister Farnham was going to deliver with thousand upon thousand of names?

    It never even surfaced. I was approached to sign and I refused. But more importantly they couldn't even get two thousand signatures. There was also real concerns of a significant number who had 'signed' it. I am reliably informed a great many M. Mouse's and D. Duck's?

    People actually didn't give a monkey's for the loss of two Senators because they saw wallies like Le Main and Perchard making an embarrassment of themselves, and people like Shenton junior never even being in the States a full morning.

    The position now means nothing as it has been discredited by complete berks. Sorry but it is true. Discus.

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  40. I don’t wish to butt into this interesting debate but the serial losing item is a point because didn’t they discuss £500.00 deposits in the House for candidates not so long ago?

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  41. Deposits were discussed and anyone is welcome to comment on any part of my posts or people's comments: whether they agree or disagree is not a problem.

    The idea of deposits was dismissed and in my view rightly so. If we are to be a democracy then we have to accept some of the frustrations that come along - such as when someone who is very keen, possibly very well intentioned keeps standing even though they probably have very little hope of getting enough votes.

    If we started to put further finnacial barriers - remember it is already pretty expensive for most ordinary people to run a campaign - in the way then all we would achieve would be to prevent 'poor' 'no-hopers' from standing but still allow 'rich' 'no-hopers'.

    This would be wholly wrong in my view. Anyway, what does one mean by 'serial loser' and is that a problem anyway?

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  42. Sorry to change the subject as this is an interesting debate. But can I issue a challenge to the Jersey Evening Post or their political correspondent? The story that they have repeated today about Sir Philip Bailache and his wanting to run the election commission is clearly at best one sided. At worst it is plain propaganda. Unless you have been telling us fibs Trevor which I doubt. My challenge is I dare the JEP to print the facts that you have outlined for us as well. They say that the truth often lies in the middle of two opinions so if only for that reason they should do so. Do people think they will rise to the challenge?

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  43. I fully agree with the sentiments you express on this one Trevor. Why shouldn't someone who feels very strongly stand even if they do have little chance of success?

    To me a 'serial loser' conjures up images of someone like that Adrian Walsh a few years back. He didn't talk a lot of sense really or even talk very well. To be honest very little appeal full stop. But I come back to the question why shouldn't someone like him stand and keep doing so?

    After all if you go back even further a legend like Norman Le Brocq would have come to be thought have as a 'serial loser' the number of defeats he had before he got in. Just consider him being prevented, a real political heavyweight with hindsight, in standing while a real lightweight like Bailhache would be allowed to! It would be madness.

    Course to be fair I have to admit that I even felt that old boy Peter Ramon-Whorrel spoke ten times more sense than this arrogant numtie of a former Bailiff. Does anyone else agree?

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  44. Reading this exchange and I don't know why, but I keep on thinking about an eccentric lawyer who was banging on our door in Havre de Pas as far back as May and still didn't get in.

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  45. I remember when Geoff S was a 'serial loser', always last of the pack, but he got in eventually! It isn't democratic to deny a chance to get in to those who can't afford to risk losing a deposit. Where's the harm, apart from making hustings (of questionable value anyway) less effective than they already are?

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  46. Reading tonight's JEP I think anonymous has had his question answered - of course the JEP won't correct their story about the con going on at PPC to appease the clown Bailhache. Just look at what they do a day after the Scrutiny review evidence forced them and the Minister to admit Gradwell should have been in hot water and was highly unprofessional in what he did.

    What you have to ask is why are they and the likes of Bailhache, Shenton jrn and Perchard etc so desperate to bury the abuse issue? Now Bailhache is even telliing enormous porkies bull****ing that 'everyone shares his view' on reform! Has this man no shame?

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  47. Would you please send a copy of your post to our only newspaper I find this slanted journalism quite infuriating.

    Senator Bailhache does not represent me, my family or anyone else I know come to that. I have nothing against him personally I just find his manner incredibly arrogant and out of touch.

    As for his claims that we all want the Constables to remain in the States this is utter poppycock, Sir! O no we do not!

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  48. I imagine that the comment about a 'lawyer' is made in reference to Nick Le Cornu?

    If so this shows my precise point in why we shouldn't be excluding people from seeking election on such bogus grounds. I have had my differences with Nick and I don't share all of his views, as is well known.

    However, surely the fact that Nick Le Cornu has put himself forward a number of times and continues to do so shows the genuine political commitment that we should surely want? Just consider two candidates who stood in St. Helier No. 1 in 2008 when Nick also stood.

    Mr. Beadle and Miss Ringsdore made big play of how committed to the Parish and District they were. Yet as Judy Martin commented, having not got elected - where was this commitment in 2011? As she pointed out they were never heard of again. Nick on the other hand keeps putting himself forward.

    Fiar play to him I say. Indeed, if there was a by-election tomorrow then whatever my differences and reservations, of the unsuccessful candidates from last year Nick is the one I would likely give my support.

    Whatever his shortcomings if he was elected you could at least be sure he would vote consistently in the interests of ordinary people.

    Actually, I predict that there may well be a by-election before the end of 2012. But as to why you will have to wait to find out till a future post...

    But before Big Philip, Little Philip and Jon the troll get too excited...sorry chaps, I don't intend going anywhere just yet!

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  49. With this issue of Gorst promising inclusion. I couldn't agree more that it has been little more than repetition of what we heard when Le Sueur wanted the Chief Minister's job.

    But what do people think about the one or two fringe 'progressives' who have been given and accepted assistant Minister jobs? People like Roy Le Herisier and Carolyn Labey?

    Will they now play both sides like Paul Le Claire used to try and do? Will they effectively just roll over and become nodding dogs?

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  50. Evening and a decent debate on a blog for a change. Keep it going.

    Re quote: 'Senator Bailhache does not represent me, my family or anyone else I know'
    Me neither, but out of a bad bunch he got my vote because he came across as a man who was level headed and experienced of not losing it.
    I was not prepared to put anymore crosses against people who just consistently slate the Island and are unpredictable.
    I am sure I am not alone and on the subject of serial losers, I think some put voters off with too much 'negativity' if that makes any sense?

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  51. Hello Anonymous

    I fully understand what you say about 'negativity' it is all to easy for anyone to criticise absolutley everything and give the impression that everything in the Island is bad/wrong. I don't feel this way about my home.

    My only real other comment is that this can also be a difficult one because I'm afraid it one of the 'old chesnuts' the Establishment use all of the time when all someone is actually doing is challenging or even taking a diferent view to the one being promoted by them.

    You surely can't have failed to notice that it often gets thrown in at the same time as 'anti-Jersey' or 'enemies of Jersey'? It is all too often used simply as a ploy to try and stifle debate. Bullying in reality.

    As for Senator Bailhache the issue relating to the Electoral Commission is not a personal one. It is just entirely wrong to try and hijack what was agreed - even more so to try and create 'sacred cows' that can't be touched. A blank canvas is essential.

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  52. Can I just comment that you really seem to have upped your game since your return to blogging. No offence because I think you are one of those doing a very good job in the States. What I mean is toward the end of last year you got the impression that having done some very interesting and informative main stories responding and debating on the blog had become a bit of a chore? Anyway, you talk a lot of sense not that I agree with you on everything. I do think the JEP should be considering and reporting what you have to say on this matter though. It does all seem like Senator Bailhache is almost railroading his desire to chair the commission through. This must be wrong as many posters have said. Thanks.

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  53. Concur with the comments on how nice to see a really decent debate going on within a political blog. Two quick points for now.

    No Senator Sir Philip Balihache should most definitely not be allowed to run the electoral commssion. It is just a thought but maybe now that he is out of the States someone like Bob Hill could be persuaded? He certainly has far more knowwledge then our former Bailiff about actual democracy.

    This isn't a commission into States Standing Orders or the law after all its about making democracy function.

    The other point is that I have to disagree. I think deposits at elections are a useful thing toward cutting out time wasters. I do accept your point though Deputy about this hitting poor 'idiots' if I can use that term but not detering wealthy 'idiots' at all. Maybe it could be means tested?

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  54. trevor
    got a reply from mr gorst just said your comments have been noted.whatever that means

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  55. I see Lenny Harper's complaint to Ofcom was investigated and rejected.

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  56. Interesting to note that even in saying they couldn't support Harper's complaint against Channel they made quite clear that they were not able to judge on whether the actual report used against him was valid. Of course we all know that on the evidence it was not.

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  57. Deputy, do you have any thoughts about this memorial proposal for the slaying of that poor family being situated down Havre de Pas? Personally I have no objections to a memorial but surely they should put one in or close by to Victoria Crescent? Just seems strange if people come over to lay flowers its not at the scene?

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  58. 'Concur with the comments on how nice to see a really decent debate going on within a political blog.'

    Possibly because just for once people are not talking about the Historic Abuse enquiry.

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  59. Good interview on the Beeb Trevor. Felt that maybe you could have focussed on the absurdity of Bailhache's stance on the Constables to a greater degree but maybe not doing so was a wise move? I think you had it bang to rights about why Bailhache is doing this and Gorst coniving with him. They are bricking it that an independent review will put an end to the legalised dictatorship of the rich. Keep going mate.

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  60. What's gonna be in this memorial garden?
    What flowers like being pummeled by saltwater?

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  61. Anonymous 18.24, like it or not this is far from over and only somebody with no heart whatsoever, or, with something to hide, could possibly object to it being discussed.

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  62. The Park has been postponed, it was a silly idea for a memorial to be built so far away from the scene of this evil crime. Mind you I walk along that stretch of Havre de Pas every week so I hope something is done with it, it's a mess, full of weeds and rubbish at the moment. That swimming pool could do with a make over as well.

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  63. Ian EvansJan 8, 2012 09:35 AM

    "You should write to the Queen Trevor, get this excuse for a parliament dissolved..."

    Is this possible? How does it work? Are there any precedents?

    Daniel

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  64. "This will allow us to improve the health and treatment of Islanders, focusing on education and prevention in areas such as alcoholism, diet and smoking. I have already made changes to the Health Insurance Fund that will deliver a more positive partnership with G.P.s (general practitioners). During the recent election Islanders made clear that they expect us as an Assembly to get on with addressing the everyday issues while at the same time dealing with the subject of electoral reform. That is why I have supported and will continue to support an Electoral Commission to find a fair and lasting solution."

    That is from Gorst's speech to be Chief Minister.

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  65. Hi Trevor

    Anyone doubting the partizan nature of the JEP need look no further than the so-called newspaper blanking your apparent press release on Bailhahce nicking the electoral commission. Is this a newspaper or a propaganda sheet for the rich? Bailhach is a disgrace and the JEP even worse. How that Ben bloke can call himself a political correspondent is a joke.

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  66. Take heart from this Deputy. If the JEP are so blantantly misleading the public by giving only one side of the story then it finishes off the crediblity once and for all.

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  67. Hey 'Big Trev'

    Jon the sad little troll is very bust beavering away with fake posts attacking you on Channel on line. All the usual stuff; Island-Wide mandate, all St. Helier Deputies are usless and so on. I think he really may have some kind of weird love-hate sexual crush on you! You are spot on about Baulhache so keep up the fight.

    All the best.

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  68. For those who no longer buy the JEP

    JEP Toby Chiang

    A States Member fined thousands of pounds for breaking the elections law should not be sitting on a panel given the job of reviewing it, according to Assistant Chief Minister Sir Philip Bailhache.

    Speaking out at a Privileges and Procedures Committee meeting, the Senator questioned the inclusion of Deputy Geoff Southern on a public elections sub-committee of Privileges.

    Senator Bailhache said that it was not right to involve someone in looking at the election procedures who had a conviction for breaching election law.

    In 2009 Deputy Southern was fined £10,000 after he admitted helping Islanders to apply for postal voting forms during the 2008 election.
    senator Bailhache said: 'If you created a criminal law commission to look at burglary, you wouldn't invite a convicted burglar to join the commission.

    ''This is not an attack on Deputy Southern or his integrity. It's about the perception of involving someone with a conviction for breaking election law. I think it's completely inappropriate.'

    As things stand, St. Brelade Deputy Montfort Tadier would chair the sub committee with Deputies Southern, Jeremy Macon, Eddie Noel, Trevor Pitman and potentially Deputy Roy Le Herissier forming the rest of the panel. The States Members were all proposed after expressing an interest in sitting on the sub-committee.

    Senator Bailhache who is seeking the lead the proposed Electoral Commission being convened to devise a better way of organising the States Chamber, made his comments but did not gain support from fellow Privileges @Committee members, who included the chairman, St. Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft, St. Clement Constable Len Norman, Deputy Judy Martin and Deputy Kristina Moore.

    Deputy Martin defended the decision to include Deputy Southern on the sub-committee.

    After the opinions of Privileges members had been heard, the proposed make-up of the public elections sub-committee was agreed. It us understood that Deputy Roy Le Herissier had expressed an interest in the committee and he is due to be contacted to find out whether he wants to join the group.

    Apologies if any errors in transcription

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  69. The name 'Jon' is mentioned on this page 14 times. Can somebody explain who you are yapping on about?

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  70. Still no mention of your views in the filthy Rag Trevor. Spin, spin, spin. No questions must be asked of the reate Bellend.

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  71. Last night I counted four times in the rag the sentence poll topping Senator in relation to Mr. Bailhache.

    Any politician given the same advertising space in the Jersey Evening Post as was given to their very own poll topper could of achieved the same.

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  72. This is not an attack. Oh yes it is.

    Good old personality politics

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  73. and they all voted for gorst and got two for the price of one bet you all wish stuart was back in there

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  74. "Senator Bailhache said that it was not right to involve someone in looking at the election procedures who had a conviction for breaching election law."

    Um, Geoff paid the price (disproportionate penalty) for that, and then was re-elected in a democratic election. Senator B has no right to denigrate an opponent like that - shows what a **** he appears to be!

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  75. Trevor.

    You predict a bi-election this year, but you will not name who you think will go.

    Three more like. Le Marquand first then Gorst and then Bailhache by the end of next year.

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  76. The JEP "report" of the PPC Committee meeting is very curious. In these days of strict secrecy surrounding virtually every Scrutiny activity etc was the "media" allowed in for this meeting? If so, how about the public and not to mention bloggers because the JEP quotes from the chit chat of the meeting as though their ace reporter was present.
    Certainly this blogger aka voter was not invited to attend.
    Are the JEP reports just the usual PR Spin as written by the Government propaganda machine but dressed up to look like genuine reporting? I should appreciate some clarification from anybody who actually attended the meeting.

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