Tuesday, 25 December 2012
Happy Christmas - The war isn't over but just beginning!
Well, quite a lot actually but more of that right after we celebrate New Year. This short (well, quite long actually!) post is really just to say 'Thanks for all of your support this past year'. That, a quick look back and to offer a little taster of what is to come...
But what's that old saying - 'the more things change the more they stay the same?'
As 2012 comes to a close, okay, it would be easy to think that this is again the case regarding Jersey politics. Yet scratch away the surface of the increasingly desperate Establishment spin; and the inane and insane bluster beloved of the troll who lives in the Jon and his ilk and the reality is that nothing could be further from the truth. Believe me - all of us who actually care about democracy, justice and fair and transparent government should look forward to 2013 with a new spring in our step.
Oh yes - when even the Jersey Evening Pravda who only months before was peddling the myth of this being a great new States Assembly all pulling together (or rather, as they hoped, right-wing lobby fodder doing exactly what their hero Senator Philip Bailhache told them to do instead of so many 'Bolshie Lefties' asking awkward questions) is now decrying 'this very disappointing Assembly' in the aftermath of the Man Who Would Be King's humiliation over Plemont you can be confident all in the Far-right camp isn't as rosy as they would like us to believe.
Indeed, the defeat of Chief Minister Bailhache and his political glove puppet's attempt to steamroller the blank cheque purchase of Plemont through at the taxpayers' expense just because he wanted it should not be underestimated in its importance for the coming two years. For to enlarge upon a reality already highlighted in an excellent interview on the Rico Sorda blog: a year on from the disappointing loss of some truly high-calibre progressives at the time of the 2011 election it is the cracks in the Establishment Party that are for the first time ever looking truly potentially terminal.
Why? Because for the first time the 'Jersey belongs to the rich' brigade are actually starting to destroy themselves in a way the Progressives who have time and time again allowed comparatively small differences in political perspective to hamstring them have never come close to achieving since the effective rigging of the elections following the Second World War with the media colluding scam of the spectacularly ill-named 'Progressive Party'.
Those of us who follow local political developments closely always knew that the decision of former Bailiff and Attorney General Philip Bailhache to run for election was a desperate last throw of the dice to fill the void and paper over the cracks left by the withering away of the rightist political dinosaurs who have run Jersey as a private club for the wealthy and morally bankrupt elite for generations. And oh how their seeming success at staving off disaster - or democracy as we would call it - is suddenly starting to unravel!
Gandhi once famously opined that: 'First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win!' Well, suddenly the 'fighting' is taking place on the inside of the Establishment Party and the defeat of Senator Bailhache on the Plemont vote is evidence of just how serious this has the potential to be. You see the 'Group-think' that always saw inconvenient little things like values and personal morals put aside in the interest of retaining rightest power has started to falter.
There are now factions within the Establishment Party ranks and a number of egos that would really like to be 'Head Boy' and actually believe that they really should be. Games are now being played of which 'Prince' Machiavelli would be quite proud. Forget the smiles and such displays as the Treasury Minister 'really wanting' the aforesaid blank cheque purchase of Plemont to go ahead. We now have at least four Establishment Party Ministers who all desperately want to be the 'Big Cheese' - Bailhache, Gorst, Ozouf and Le Marquand.
And when you throw in each of their little group of camp followers to the mix the potential to finally free the ordinary people from the fetters of generations the potential for long-overdue democratic change is suddenly better than many a Progressive ever could have dreamt just a year ago. The key for the 'left' is now to put our own minor differences aside and begin working together more closely than we have managed to do in the past.
Achieve this and the 2014 elections can be the breakthrough we thought we had achieved back in 2008. Fail and this will be to throw away the greatest opportunity to reclaim this island for democracy since 1946. We surely have no choice but to give it our all and make sure that we do.
Yes, we did see our hard-fought victory in achieving States agreement to implement a fully independent Electoral Commission hi-jacked by Senator Bailhache and a truly disgusting show of political betrayal and spinelessness from Senator Gorst in supporting it.
Yet if Plemont shows us one further thing it is that even here the consequent attempt by Senator Bailhache and his acolytes - Constable Juliette Gallichan and Deputy James Baker - to sell out the public's clear right to democracy and an equally weighted vote in order to retain the Constables can yet be scuppered. All we have to do is make sure that we get the truth out to those who will suffer if such travesties should succeed. This is the key plain and simple.
But more of all of this in the New Year. For now let us just remind ourselves that there have been seemingly small but actually very important victories already in 2012. Yes, we have lost the likes of excellent people such as Daniel Wimberley, Bob Hill, Debbie De Sousa and co from within the States. But we have in turn seen other good people appear - people who certainly have their differences but nevertheless are their 'own men' and committed to the wider public good: people such as John Young and Richard Rondel to name but two.
We have also seen the half-dozen of us naughty Progressives left over from the last Assembly continue to refuse to be beaten down; holding the Establishment to account with a skill and tenacity that should make so many new Members hang their heads in shame. We have seen a collective effort both from some of us within the States and brave, spirited people amongst the victims of abuse and their Citizens media champions that has refused to buckle and allow the 'Historic' Child Abuse scandal; and the appalling treatment of the likes of Graham Power and Lenny Harper etc to be swept under the carpet.
We have seen the continued chipping away of the secrecy so beloved - and crucial to its hold on power - of the Establishment Party by my successful proposition to make ALL votes for Ministerial positions within the States open and transparent to the public. Following on from my earlier success in winning an open vote on the position of Chief Minister the importance of this seemingly small victory should not be underestimated. Remember - secrecy and preventing the wider public from knowing what is really going on has been the key to so much of the Establishment's usurping of power for decades.
The next step is to carry this same fight to the lamentably ill-named 'Justice' system and to dragging Jersey's Establishment mouth-piece media into the 21st Century where 'investigative' journalism is neither a dirty word nor something to be left to brave and talented professionals from the United States such as Leah McGrath Goodman. There ARE some good journalists here in Jersey. Its time they stood shoulder to shoulder with we Progressives; displayed some Testicular Fortitude and did what is right. Not what their editors tell them must be portrayed as right.
And let's not forget the undoubtedly surprising - but truly deeply significant - other recent success in finally getting the events of 28th September 1769 and the brave actions of Tom Gruchy and his compatriots in fighting for democracy officially recognised by the States in 2012. Next year we can and must build on this success. Indeed, should anyone still doubt the significance of this victory then reflect no further than the fact that Senator Philip Bailhache spoke stridently against the 28th September 'Reform Day' proposition. Just as he did against open votes.
Yet in rounding off this short Christmas blog the truth is - the BALD TRUTH of course! - that the most important people in all of this; and in what we true democrats want and need to achieve in 2013 are you, the ordinary people who have amazed me in the large numbers who have read and contributed to the first year of the Bald Truth blog.
Not just this, of course, but to all of the growing number of other excellent blogs and Citizens Media initiatives in the island such as: Voiceforchildren; Rico Sorda; the Jersey Way; Stuart Syvret; Planet Jersey; Tom Gruchy; Sam Mezec; Montford Tadier; the Jersey Evening Propaganda and so many more.
The Establishment and their on message media may hate it but the wider world IS taking a growing interest in 'the island that democracy forgot'. Just consider some of the significant people who are now following these sites from the world of international media. Just consider best-selling author and U.S. journalist Leah McGrath Goodman; MPs like John Hemming.
This is, in the final analysis, a war of attrition. Hold our nerve; don't give in or be bowed and in the end we WILL win. We WILL get Leah allowed back into Jersey to complete her research. We will keep spreading the REAL truth via our blogs. And, on a personal note, just for those few lost and cowardly souls who think that a bent system will help them see me and Shona as their next 'victims' just remember this...
We don't do being bullied.
And whilst a 'war' for democracy, justice, equality and political transparency this certainly this in truth - thankfully(?) we haven't yet resorted to the guns of other struggles. Yet to mix two different - yet complimentary - ideas from two true icons of the political left; Mexico's enigmatic Subcomandante Marcos and the late Che Guevara:
'Our word is our weapon' so if we should fall by the wayside in the struggle 'so long as our battle cry has reached one receptive ear; if one other hand reaches out to take up our weapon...'
Then it is all worthwhile! We WILL win in the long run.
Keep the Faith & Thanks again for all of your support.
Happy Christmas & New Year
Have no fear - a new 'Bald Truth Review Xmas & New Year Special' will be up on air before December 31st! And then in the new year itself...a further 'special' on my experiences of Jersey 'Justice'. A show that might just make rather uncomfortable viewing for some who are presently feeling ill-advisedly smug...