Tuesday, 25 December 2012
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...
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
WHO IS POLICING THE POLICE? AND WHO IS JUDGING THE JUDGES? CAR ‘BUGGING’; MOLES; STARBUCKS & TROLLS – BTR 11 HAS MORE INTRIGUE THAN A SECRET PLÉMONT VALUATION MEETING…
A particularly busy few days sees this week’s BTR appear a day late. But no excuses – accept to say we can’t all lie about on the floor all day surrounded by Stella cans and old pizza like a Jersey troll! Still, speaking of small, dark and furtive animals BTR 11 also sees the return of our Ministerial Mole.
Seems there is a bit of unrest amongst the not-quite-so-massed (or united) ranks of the Council of Ministers with a couple of the Great and the Good becoming a bit peeved as to why their lavish lunches are being gate-crashed by a lowly Assistant bag-carrier. Whoever could it be?
This past week also saw Deputy Geoff Southern trying in vain to get Jersey’s wealthiest of the wealthy – 1 (1) ks – to contribute a paltry £3,000 per year extra Income Tax to the Treasury coffers. Of course, amongst much Ministerial shroud waving, ashen faces and gasps of terror the familiar chant of ‘But they’ll all leave! They’ll all leave!’ rang out.
Just like it always does when some awful ‘green-eyed’ Leftie similarly suggests that the Finance industry and foreign companies really should pay their fair share like those entrapped in the wasteland of ‘Middle Jersey’. So is this warning true? And does letting those who have the most pay less just because they have more really benefit everyone else? We flag up a book that really should be on every right-winger’s Christmas list.
And when is a ‘bugger’ NOT a ‘bugger’? No – it’s alright I’m not being rude. I’m talking about Jersey’s most famous drugs bust of recent years when a hire car was illegally fitted out with a nifty little piece of electronics.
Five years on and it seems like three of our police officers are now facing secret disciplinary proceedings as a consequence. Fair enough I suppose. But isn’t there one annoying little looses end here? Like who gave the boys in blue the go ahead for the law-breaking? And why aren’t they in the disciplinary dock with them?
Throw in the return of the much-missed BTR subject of Jersey’s Jurats – no, we’re not talking about the ‘lay judge’ quite happy to refuse to look at evidence of appalling child abuse before stating that a paedophile might not have any ‘case to answer’ this week – and another most illuminating guest appearance from the island’s most pathetic and orange internet troll and BTR 11 really should help get you in the mood for the season of goodwill!
Well, something like that…
Monday, 3 December 2012
The Leveson Report & Jersey: no ‘higher moral ground’ for an ‘accredited’ media that brought it on themselves + The UK ‘negotiations’ relating to American ‘Facta’ tax policy that aren’t & even an exclusive interview with Jersey’s most cowardly and notorious internet troll… it can only be the Bald Truth Review Episode 10!
On the surface it would be quite easy to be fooled that it has been a fairly quiet week for politics in Jersey, wouldn’t it?
After all our Establishment Party Mandarins have long deluded themselves that they can continue along their 800 year merry way of perverting the ‘justice system’; of blatant character assassination of all and any who dare ‘rock the political boat’ – not to mention passing policies that make the ordinary man and woman in Jersey foot the social and economic bill for the millionaire tax-dodgers – company or otherwise – who should pay their way but don’t.
Yet if one only looks to the wider political landscape it is quickly apparent that actually this week has not only been busy it has the potential to be ‘climate’ changing – and I’m not talking about the lousy Jersey weather! What am I talking about? Well, let’s start with the first BTR 10 segment on Leveson.
To read the front page of the Jersey Evening Pravda and its familiar headlines attempting to give the impression that nothing more untoward than a wet towel across the bottom ever happened at Haut de la Garenne you could be forgiven for thinking that somehow our Island’s only ‘newspaper’ remains piously untainted from all traces of the worst excesses of UK tabloid journalism. Yet the reality, of course, is that nothing could be further from the truth.
Disagree? Then let me simply refer you to the Scrutiny investigation I chaired into the BDO Review of the financial management of Operation Rectangle. A more misrepresentative re-structuring of the truth in an attempt to undermine the Child Abuse investigation and trash the reputation of the two senior police officers trying to clear away the dirt of ‘the Jersey Way’ you could not have found bettered if you had been reading the old News of the World itself rather than a local ‘media’.
No – we don’t want government controlling the media per se via new legislation – hell, the two are already quite interwoven in Jersey already by means of simple incestuous self-interest. But what we do need is Deputy Tracey Vallois’ vision of a fully independent media Ombudsman to help ensure decent standards by possessing the regulatory ‘teeth’ to hit those who abuse their power where it hurts. President of the Scrutiny Chairman’s Committee the Deputy said that she was simply awaiting the publishing of Lord Justice Leveson’s Report prior to further investigation of this possibility. Well, it’s here now Deputy so we guess it’s over to you…
Then, of course, we have also had the most unwelcome - to the Establishment Party Mandarins - intervention by Westminster into our cosy little ‘Facta’ (that’s Financial Account Tax Compliance Act to the uninitiated) tax agreement with the United States - who not unsurprisingly in ever more difficult economic times want to know just who and how many of their citizens are making use of Jersey’s ‘Off-shore’ facilities to hide their millions.
Did even our motley crew of third rate businessmen in the Council of Ministers genuinely imagine that a UK economy reeling from crisis to crisis under George Osborne would see this all happening and not wade in with an opportunistic ‘we want a bit of that too’? Perhaps they did? But whatever the truth as the video spells it out all of the confident Executive spiel about us demanding ‘negotiations’ should be taken with a very large dose of salt…
Next? Just when you had begun to think that a little common sense might prevail on the issue of States Member’s pay given almost everyone – be they politically Left, Right or simply ‘Confused’ (the majority!) - had confirmed that they would not be accepting the 2013 pay rise recommended by the Independent Review Board up pops this year’s desperate populist political non-entity, the Constable of St. Saviour.
Defending her sudden conversion to lodging propositions – not to mention breaking her vow of virtual Assembly silence Constable Renard quite rightly tells us that she ‘didn’t come in to politics to get Christmas cards from other States Members – but to represent her constituents’. Well, Amen to that Comrade Renard – I couldn’t agree with you more.
Only trouble is most of us political Progressives know that ‘representing our constituents’ by definition should mean fighting to maintain or bring about the policies/changes that we had promised to attempt during our election campaigns. This in turn surely also means challenging Ministers; asking questions; making your case to try and win debates. It means lodging propositions and amendments. Being a ‘politician’ after all isn’t just about pressing the ‘contre’ button. Yet how much of this ‘representation’ has our suddenly vociferous Constable of St. Saviour done in the 12 months she has been a States Member? Just watch the video and find out…
And then, of course, we have the horrible modern day disease that is the internet troll.
So let me lay my cards on the table: internet trolls are scum. They are pathetic, inadequate, cowardly bullies. Basically the sort of people who would be muggers – if only they were that ‘brave’. They thrive on hate and hurting innocent people for no other reason than they are jealous of any who have the drive to try and do what they so despise – make life better both for themselves or even worse - for others. Yet what is the best way to deal with such despicable maggots?
A good sturdy piece of 2 x 4? Maybe. But then again…cast your mind back to the mocking satire in the face of oppression during the Second World War. If that seems a bit too much like hard, historical work then even think back to the brilliant deconstruction of the ‘master race’ as portrayed in the wonderful old ‘Allo, Allo’ TV series. Then watch the interview with one of Jersey’s most notorious trolls.
No. Don’t get me wrong. The evil of internet trolling needs to be stamped out – even if here in Jersey our current police leadership and Home Affairs Minister couldn’t give a monkeys about dealing with it no matter how many complaints they receive against Jersey’s most revolting ‘wreckers’ – one maggot in particular. Mark my words – ‘trolling’ can and does ruin lives. It has even led to deaths. But let’s also show these scumbag trolls up for what they are: a joke…
So there you are – the Bald Truth Review Episode 10 – and I haven’t even mentioned the short segment on the current value of Scrutiny! Nor the fact that the end of this week will finally also see the extended and long-promised analysis of what our Bailiff’s Office. Senator Bailhache and other Establishment Party apologists would try and pass off as Jersey ‘Justice’.
Yes, do ‘Keep the Faith’ and do get involved. Because trust me: if you don’t DO politics – hey, just watch the video!
Please sign the attached link to the e-petition to restore banned U.S. journalist Leah McGrath Goodman’s visa status to re-enter the island democracy forgot. http://www.change.org/petitions/ukhomeoffice-restore-the-visa-of-banned-journalist-leah-mcgrath-goodman-freejersey