Friday, 30 March 2012


Time for action to replace words of promise…
Time for justice to replace cover-up and obstruction…
Time to at last put people before pounds…

A comparatively short post today – but on a very important issue. Indeed, an issue that obviously has huge relevance to my last entry regarding how it is the ‘victor’ not the ‘vanquished’ who tend to get away with writing their version of history. I talk, of course, about the latest, painfully long in coming step with regard to concluding the so-called ‘Historic’ Abuse Saga.

Maybe I should be even clearer here and suggest substituting the terms ‘victor’ with ‘perpetrators’ or ‘the negligent’ and ‘vanquished’ with the term ‘victims’? For whichever way one spins it – and ye Gods have our first two Council of Ministers spun the falsehoods to try and undermine these people getting justice – the perpetrators and the negligent have gotten away with writing their version of ‘history’ for long decades.

Now that must finally be brought to an end.

Yesterday saw yet another ‘presentation’ of what the now third incarnation of the Council of Ministers are planning to do with regard to reach settlement with the many victims of abuse that has taken place in Jersey’s care homes, such as Haut De La Garenne, over those decades.

Abuse, let us not forget, regularly reported by victims both to the police and authorities of the time who then did nothing to rectify this horrific situation.

Actually, I am incorrect. Some evidently did worse than nothing because in failing to believe or act on the cries for help they effectively colluded with what had taken place; acts that will only have compounded the pain and anguish felt by people who had been innocent children. Innocent children who had been placed in the ‘protection’ of the governments of the day!

Some, of course, ended up taking their own lives. Some, such as one lovely gentleman I met with only last week, still lead lives totally dominated and torn apart by what was done to them whilst in the care of Jersey’s ‘government’. ‘Government’s we should also not forget lorded over by what much of our lackey media, such as the Jersey Evening Post, frequently would have us believe were the ‘giants’ of Jersey’s political history!

Sick... Disgusting... Horrific! Words in fact can actually not adequately describe such acts of betrayal as carried out by those who were approached by children yet did nothing to bring this to a conclusion many, many years ago. And yet incredibly, as I revealed in the States only a few short weeks ago, it appears that even within this new Council of Ministers we still have those who would have liked to see the hard won Committee of Enquiry cancelled.

It is often said that the people get the government they deserve. There is much truth in such a saying of course. Apathy is no excuse not to vote for people who seek to make such terrible things right. Yet on the other hand how can any vulnerable child, likely taken from an already troubled home, put into States ‘care’ to be systematically abused be said to deserve ‘governments’ like those of the past that allowed this to happen?

They cannot.

To touch again on what I was saying in my previous post this Orwellian ‘1984’ style ‘Jersey Way’ of re-writing history rather than facing up to what was done must meet its end in 2012. The victims’ pain has gone on long enough. For many it is, of course, already too late. Yet that does not mean their memory should not be honoured with final justice.

Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst was narrowly elected only by the votes afforded him on trust by this government’s minority so-called ‘Progressive’ politicians like me.

He made promises to get those votes that he has already broken: a genuinely inclusive Council of Ministers; a commitment to a fully independent Electoral Commission. Indeed, the new Chief Minister initially also went back on his promise to me to reveal the details of the outrageous ‘golden handshakes to civil servants who should have been sacked...

Chief Minister Gorst has now rectified this last one, of course, although to read the garbage written in the Jersey Evening Post you would never know that it was politicians like me and a few other backbenchers who forced this Establishment Party climb down not this newspaper who had always been supporters of such senior civil servants and the Establishment politicians who allowed it all to happen.

My point is our new Chief Minister Senator Gorst now has the chance to do something even more important than the issues I raise above. He can use his power to make sure that justice does arrive for the victims of abuse no matter how many years it has taken. 

What do I mean by justice?

Not just significant financial compensation. For money alone – as the gentleman I spoke of earlier made clear to me yet again – can NEVER fully compensate for what has been done to so many. No, whilst significant financial compensation is essential - both in recognition of how these children were failed and to assist in hopefully helping victims to re-build lives – what is also needed for justice is for a fully independent Committee of Enquiry to leave no stone unturned in seeking to bring all of those who failed in their duties of care to final justice.

Every one of them. No matter how ‘important’ or ‘well respected’ a figure some might have once allegedly been.

The document issued on behalf of the Chief Minister further claims that the ‘redress’ scheme now being offered is ‘voluntary’ due to the apparent reason that the Establishment Party believes that ‘claimants’ for justice against this horrific abuse are now ‘too late to bring legal proceedings’

‘Too late’?

Maybe true in legal speak. But let us just remember what some call ‘law’ when it suits them is nothing more than a man-made framework. Should there be ANY time frame on securing justice then really - to use the old and very well known saying – ‘the law is an ass’. 

There can be NO time limit on justice for people who have to live in hell every day and every night of their lives because governments and departments overseen by alleged ‘political giants’ of the past did not do their job; did not have the courage and morality to stand up and show that they cared by bringing the perpetrators and the negligent – whether underlings or colleagues - to book.

Here for once Jersey really can lead the way and set an example.
I am one of those who since my election just over three short years ago have stood up for what is right; and has taken the vicious slings and arrows of the Establishment and their media for doing so again and again. I am, of course, proud having stood up for these people though such action does not require or merit any plaudits – it is nothing more than an elected politicians’ duty.

So ‘Keep the Faith’ – No matter how hard. The days of the cover-up and Establishment Party intimidation of those who would dare challenge are slowly drawing to a close...

And… just to wind up the poster who claims I ‘must be a Communist’ because I find value in the teachings of world-renowned educationalist, the late Paulo Freire I will leave you with a quote from none other Che Guevara.

Its words say all that needs to be said in how working together to bring this stain on Jersey’s history to and end is far, far more important than nonsense of left or right political affiliation.

‘If you can tremble with indignation every time an injustice is committed in the world, we are comrades…’

Wednesday, 28 March 2012


The prequel to a series of posts on the dangers of media manipulation by government and a public failure to question

It is interesting to recall that when Great Britain’s legendary World War Two Prime Minister, Winston Churchill was asked how he thought ‘history would treat him’ he replied that he felt it would be ‘kindly -  because I intend to write it myself!’.

I say interesting because when one considers politics even now in the second decade of the 21st Century – both internationally and even in a small, ‘democratic’ backwater like Jersey – never was a truer word spoken. History, of course, is indeed written by the victor not the vanquished – or equally as likely today – by the politically dominant and this is true even when the said recorded ‘history’ is little more than a complete pack of lies. The only remedy is to question and work to raise public awareness.

You really don’t need to read Orwell’s ‘1984’ to understand this: there are countless real examples the world over. Indeed, my decision to write these forthcoming posts actually came about as a direct result of the grateful and highly positive response from a number of people to whom I had leant *DVDs on the true political situation (as opposed to US ‘Washington Consensus’ media propaganda) in countries such as Venezuela and Latin America generally. *I list a few of these well worth anyone seeking out at the end of this piece.

But if that is too ‘in depth’, far a field or philosophical for you at first glance then just think about Jersey for a brief moment and examples also  start to come to mind thick and fast…

The shameful rubbishing of the Historic Abuse Investigation and the trashing of the reputation of those trying to bring justice for people who have been betrayed. Half-million pound ‘Golden Handshakes’ to civil servants who should have been sacked whilst even nurses are being told they must take a pay freeze. The shambles of the Waterfront development.

The con of the ‘good value for money’ energy from waste plant. The hijacking of the independent Electoral Commission. Alleged ‘High Net Value’ multi-millionaires actually contributing next to nothing to the economy and community whilst paying less tax than many ordinary workers who are increasingly struggling.

Or even this very week, the Jersey Evening Post itself which has been the rabid cheerleader of the failed politics of the powerful ‘elite’ at the expense of ordinary people for decades - now incredibly trying to reinvent itself as some kind of champion of political moderation! Almost too laughable for words of course.

And I haven’t even yet mentioned the countless examples of Island media working hand-in-glove with the Establishment Party to try and discredit wherever possible any individual who would dare raise his or her head above the political parapet to challenge them as to the anti-democratic and unsustainable folly of their ways…

All people need to do is to begin asking questions

When I think back to my secondary  school days (though I obviously did not then have the words to fully articulate it then) it was my growing awareness/suspicion of this fact that on a number of occasions would get me into trouble with teachers who should have known better. My transgression?

Daring to challenge teachers as to the ‘lessons’ and ‘facts’ taught, such as to use one classic example, whether the Allies really ‘won’ the Second World War given the subsequent necessary huge injection of resources to rebuild the country and economy of the German aggressors; all whilst the British people who had given so much in standing up against tyranny simultaneously faced hardships and rationing for many long years.

All too often those few like me who would dare to question would be shouted down; sometimes even ridiculed. Giving the stock or necessary ‘right’ answers to pass tests etc back then was a trait – for those who may not know - of what is sometimes referred to as the ‘banking system’ of education. This thesis was formulised by Brazilian educationalist Paulo Freire who I was later to study whilst at University.

Indeed, making sense of conclusions I had struggled toward myself years earlier Freire was to become something of a hero of mine. For at its worst you could say this ‘banking system’ of education is promoting children and young people to ‘learn’ parrot fashion - almost like laboratory rats that giving a certain answer will get you the desired positive response or pass mark. No better is the interrelated consequence that with children and young people ‘learning’ that this is what gets success it stifles both intuitive questioning and lateral thinking. Hugely negative things both! It also says a lot about why so few adults today are politically aware.

But I am probably digressing too much at this early stage. For this first in – hopefully - a series of posts over the coming weeks it is specifically this problem of the victor or dominant political majority spinning their ‘truth’ through abuse of the media and even education that I want to focus on peoples’ awareness needing to be raised to.

For left unchallenged this will not only be more and more abused with the massive expense governments the world over now commit to employing ‘spin doctors’ wholly lacking in scruples or any sense of morality; it is a problem that can only further undermine democracy.

Believe me Jersey is no exception: indeed, our small size and lack of diverse, competing media as a ‘check and balance’ means the potential for this is even greater. After all, with the sociological reality that so many people form their wider opinions because of what they are ‘fed’ by the media the potential for opinion manipulation is truly frightening. Let us be honest it is largely what has kept the Establishment Party in power for years.

Today our word must be our ‘weapon’…

But there is some ‘good news’. Fortunately, the growing sophistication and saturation of such spin by any ruling ‘elite’ has also brought with it its own Achilles Heel or, to perhaps use a better description potential ‘antidote’. This is the growth of so-called ‘Citizens Media’.

Not the pathetic kind of puerile hate mongers even visible in Jersey via bullying, inadequate internet trolls and right-wing/pro-concealment of child abuse websites not even worthy of naming – but genuine ‘Citizens Media’ the close relative of the truly ‘independent’ documentary makers and ‘investigative’ journalists.

Indeed, with the revolution of the gun hopefully being increasingly supplanted by the revolutionaries of the ‘word’ or of ‘education’ it is not an exaggeration to say that across the world, wherever oppression and inequality is seen as a legitimate tool of government, such individuals and groups who ensure that the real truth does leak out – however slowly - should be seen as modern day Freedom Fighters.

For the easily apparent truth in this statement one only needs to consider the groundbreaking use of the international internet over the past twenty years by the likes of the EZLN (or Zapatistas); struggling under the iconic Subcomandante Marcos against successive corrupt, US-dictated to governments for the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Chiapas region of Mexico to stop their mineral-rich lands being stolen from them. More about this (and, yes, another political hero of mine!) in a later post. But if you are already curious just Google the above names or NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) to see what this is all about..

Relevant to Jersey - you bet!

Like many things simply because Jersey is such a small geographic jurisdiction the impact of media manipulation and blatant collusion can be viewed far more easily – if only the populace are made savvy enough to know where to look. As I outline above it is with regard to these issues that I intend to write in the coming weeks. A growing number of people are already beginning to remark how they are increasingly sick of government ‘spin’. These posts will simply be about drilling down a little further.

Let us also consider this. The last election was, in my view, a significant disappointment for the so-called ‘progressives’ or ‘centre-left-leaning’ in Jersey politics. Although to be fair the election of quality newcomers such as John Young, Richard Rondel, Steve Pellett and Michel Le Troquer for example; not to mention the miserable failure of the desperate Establishment Party campaigns to oust people like myself, Shona and a few others are positives that also should not be overlooked.

But much of the missed opportunities it should be accepted were also largely down to our own failures to work to our common ground rather than be divided by our regularly unimportant differences. It is something that must be learnt and taken on board or beneficial change for ordinary working people will never be brought about.

As such for those who really understand deep down that there is a far better way than the greed-driven, virulent ‘free-market’ strain of capitalism pursued over the past decades here in the Island by an ‘elite’ interested only in maintaining their position becoming ‘wiser’ to this aspect of manipulating power through the media is something really well worth doing. In fact it is absolutely essential – for without such an increased public awareness the iceberg of economic, social and democratic disaster will loom ever closer to the Jersey ‘Titanic’.

This is what the posts will be about.

Keep the Faith


*As indicated above, for those who are already interested in looking beyond the propaganda of government and media three acclaimed international documentaries well worth watching for starters are:

1 - ‘The War on Democracy’ by John Pilger

2 - ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ by Kim Bartley & Donnacha O’Brian (there is also a version of this DVD available with an excellent supporting book by Rod Stoneman, ‘Chavez: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised - A Case Study of Politics and the Media’

3 - ‘South of the Border’ by Oliver Stone

And should you be (foolishly) wondering… No. They never reached Jersey’s cinemas though two have made it on to TV to my knowledge.


Sunday, 11 March 2012


Maybe it is just because we’re both apparently radical, irreverent lefties (or political democrats as they are called in proper democracies) but finding it hard to believe what even our cynical political ears were hearing during last week’s Electoral Commission debate, both Deputy Montford Tadier and I both found ourselves thinking Jersey politics had finally taken black humour a step too far.

Yes, the debate had certainly been meant to be about securing the already agreed and much-needed fully independent Electoral Commission. But unfortunately ‘real Chief Minister’ Senator Philip Bailhache and his political glove puppet ‘pretend Chief Minister’ Senator Ian Gorst actually wanted to ensure that Jersey stays in the political Dark Ages. And so the debate quickly descended into farce.

This clearly left Montford and I wondering if – depressing as it was - there was not possibly also an opportunity here to boost Jersey’s ailing tourism industry. That’s right – Jersey to be re-named ‘Royston Jersey’ after the village in the famous cult TV show. Just close your eyes; picture it…the shop from Royston Vasey to be replaced with the States Chamber… Edward and Tubbs to be replaced by Philip and Ian. Episode One. Action…

“Independence? But this is a LOCAL Electoral Commission for LOCAL right-wingers – we’ll have no democracy HERE!”

Funny? Yes, on the surface. But the truth is that what is happening in Jersey now behind the façade of ‘democracy’ is anything but. Few in politics disagree that the entry of Philip Bailhache into the local political arena was anything other than the last, desperate throw of the dice for the Old Guard that has run Jersey as a private club for the wealthy and powerful for decades.

Indeed, the truth is the old Establishment Party is slowly dying on its feet. Even with the desperate spin from the State Media the reality is obvious. Most of the ‘big guns’ of the past are either no longer in politics or long-discredited. The anticipated ‘heirs’ to the throne – Senators Ozouf and Le Marquand – have proven themselves unpopular and incapable respectively. While some of the new generation only managed to get elected by means as desperate as smear campaigns against Progressives; or via personal begging letters to constituents to support them from the likes of Senator Paul Routier.

Consequently, stopping a fully independent Electoral Commission really was essential for them if they were to hold back the clock inevitably ticking toward democracy for another decade or two. And with the surprise capitulation of Deputy Andrew Green to join with Establishment wannabees Baker and Bryans in selling out their electorate and sending a tight vote the way of the far-right just for a moment it really looked like they were going to get away with it.


Luckily, however, our Establishment Party really are even more lacking in judgement and commonsense than most of us could ever imagine. Actually, I am probably being far too kind. They really must be plain daft! Why? Just consider the two politicians put forward to join Senator Philip Bailhache on this allegedly ‘independent thinking and fully open to the evidence’ body that we are meant to entrust with reforming our government for the 21st Century:

Constable Juliette Gallichan of St. Mary.

Deputy James Baker of St. Helier.

Noticed the little credibility problem here already? No? Then let me explain it for you…

Firstly, Senator Philip Bailhache has already made it quite clear that in his view the Constables MUST stay in the States no matter what. Foolish enough in itself given that the whole point of the Commission as agreed just last year was to appoint members not already holding publicly stated and entrenched ideas. 

Then consider the reality of the situation – as I made sure I drew out an admission of from the Senator himself during the debate. The reality is that we can either have a fair system of representation with all voters, town or country, being pretty much equal with regard to the ‘weight’ or value of their vote. Something we have never had before.

Or we can keep the Constables in the States as they are now. But we can’t have both. FACT. This was confirmed by the States visiting electoral expert only last week. The ‘democratic deficit’ between St. Helier with more than a third of the Island’s population and the tiny parish of St. Mary for example is just too large. We really need just one type of States Member – call them whatever you will. FACT.

So what does Senator Bailhache and his front man ‘Chief Minister’ Gorst do? They only nominate the Constable of that very same tiny Parish, Constable Juliette Gallichan! That’s right – the Constable with the least tenable seat in the whole States Assembly if we are to give any genuine consideration to fair and equal representation. Priceless! Absolutely priceless!

Yet after this it actually gets even better – or worse – depending on one’s outlook.

For next up we then have Deputy James Baker of St. Helier. Surely questionable in itself given that this Deputy not only never participates in any debate, EVER – three whole months into his term of office - but also appears to be striving to take over the mantle of former Senator Ben Shenton as the States new regularly ‘invisible Member’. Just where does the Deputy disappear to?

But of even more of a concern than the possibility of a Commission member who never participates and – on evidence so far - may not even turn up for hearings has to be the following. During the election Deputy Baker made a huge play out of the fact that he was the son of a former…Constable.

Not a problem in itself under any other circumstance of course. But in this situation you can surely see where this is leading? The Electoral Commission is meant to be ‘open-minded’ as I said. Indeed, this is absolutely essential if work that is going to cost the Island’s taxpayers in the region of £100,000 is to have any credibility at all. Yet what has our Establishment Party and its spineless hangers on given us? I’ll hammer it home one more time…

Senator Bailhache: Pro-Constable. Desperate to keep the reality of their bloc vote in favour of whatever the Council of Ministers proposes. Wants ‘reform’ to be sure - but only along the lines of the Barclay Brothers in Sark. His ideal reduction in numbers would see St. Helier being even further under-represented in numbers than it is now – and the Parish is already a full four Deputies under. FACT!

Constable Gallichan: Pro-Constable. As the sitting Constable of little St. Mary thus having the least tenable seat in the Assembly Constable Gallichan has the most to lose. And consequently the most to gain by managing to find the ‘evidence’ that the Constables’ position really needs to be protected regardless of the ‘democratic deficit’ that will make fair representation impossible

Deputy Baker: Pro-Constable. Not only the son of a former Constable but supported by and supportive of ‘Chairman’ Philip Bailhache during the election – just remember the back-slapping ‘love-in’ with Establishment Party ‘Grandees’ outside the Town Hall. Indeed, even supported Bailhache for Chief Minister and voted against the wishes of the St. Helier parish Assembly to say ‘no’ to any politicians sitting on the Commission!

What this all means? With an Electoral Commission now going to number only six following the narrow defeat of the amendments of Deputies Le Herissier and Young the above demonstrates quite clearly that already the ‘Keep the Constables in’ vote cannot be outgunned. No matter what the argument. No matter what the evidence.

This is no longer an ‘Electoral Commission’ it is a farce and an insult to the people of Jersey. It should be abandoned. Now.