Senator Ozouf joins the battle for fair representation - or does he?
It was encouraging to spot in the Jersey Evening Pravda that none other than Senator Philip Ozouf was telling us that we really could not let the unfairness inherent within the over-representation of country over town parishes in the States continue past 2014. Indeed, as I always do whenever he is right - I wholly agree with and even applaud him. Nevertheless there are just two little problems that keep niggling at me over this.
Firstly, if Senator Ozouf really cares about the people of St. Helier at last having voting parity of representation with their country parish cousins (some of whom never even have contested elections at all - just successions) then why doesn't the Senator's proposition attempt to give St. Helier just that instead of something that again sells them short? Secondly, the good Senator has derided the need for changes over more than a decade in government. Whatever can have led to this moment of epiphany after all of these years?
Senator Ozouf really should tell us all about this at once. Otherwise some of our more cynical political watchers might just begin to suspect this change is all down to the Senator believing he wouldn't be able to hang on to his current Senatorial seat. One thing is beyond doubt this week's States debate of 'reform' is likely to be the biggest shambles for years. And that we are in this mess is all down to Senator Philip Bailhache's ego and the lily-livered politicians who allowed him to hijack the independent Electoral Commission
Economic Development to lead clampdown on cyber-bullying
As the politician who forced this on to the political agenda (well, you have to blow your own trumpet sometimes!) this story seemed to be a very welcome one indeed - for cyber-bullying can kill and that should never, ever be forgotten. Welcome that is, until you come to realise that the grim truth is: if you cyber bully someone from outside of the Jersey Establishment fold and/or from a position of power you will remain wholly immune to prosecution no matter what.
Cyber-bullying and the twisted 21st century social phenomena of the internet 'troll' really is an issue that demands government action. Yet again the sad reality here is that the island's most vicious and cowardly cyber thug has been afforded huge wedges of taxpayers' money by our 'justice' authorities to take another person (one of many) he himself had relentlessly bullied for years to court for....bullying! And this via a secret court circus at that.
Throw in the further facts that police files against the same said cyber-thug get no further than the Attorney General's wastepaper bin; the Managing Editor no less of the local BBC refusing to even apologise for his promotion of a Twitter hate account set up to attack Deputy Shona Pitman; and now yet another staff member of that company being even accused in a national newspaper of involvement in the alleged 'bullying to death' of the late Simon Abbott and the dire need for genuine government action is loud and clear.
Yet in the cold light of dawn what are we really likely to get? My bet is a cobbled together quasi-legal 'law' to enable the Establishment to try and close down the only independent Jersey news source that is Citizens' Media. You have been warned....
The call for 'Access to Justice' in Jersey isn't just about affordability...
In a week that has also seen my colleague, Deputy Montfort Tadier lodging a proposition calling for Chief Minister Gorst to finally publish the TOR for the Access to Justice 'Working Group' I have a question lodged for the Chief Minister asking that he accepts 'backbenchers' being included on this. Why? Well, a fact that Senator Gorst has been strangely silent on is the truth that this whole initiative actually arose out of a meeting Deputy Shona Pitman and I had with him on the abuses of justice we were (and still are) experiencing.
You remember - just little things such as... individuals proven to be willing to disregard hard evidence against paedophiles then being allowed to sit as jurats and the like. Anyway, the point of my wishing to be involved revolves around this core: 'access' to justice - as can be seen from what I highlight above - is clearly not just about issues such as putting an end to the Closed Shop of Jersey Lawyers that cements their ability to rip the rest of us off by keeping out far cheaper UK lawyers. It is about the 'justice' the average man and woman in the street are able to access also being guaranteed to be just that: JUSTICE. Transparent. Accountable. Affordable. And Human Rights compliant.
For if Chief Minister Gorst is allowed to get away with handing over this review - both its make up and its working mandate - to the very same people whose lucrative gravy train relies upon it - just as it has done for decades - we the ordinary public will get nothing like what is needed at all. We simply must not let that happen.
Keep the Faith
Meanwhile I leave you with the following oral question to be asked of the Minister for Home Affairs:
The answer - or perhaps even the non-answer - stands to be quite fascinating. Maybe because I know the answer already?