Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Jersey History Mystery - some representative views.

The 28th of September passed by in Jersey again without a murmur so we at “The Voice” asked a few of our more progressive elected representatives (some others declined our invitation!) about this most important day in our history.

Their videoed responses that follow are hardly as revolutionary as those brave Jersey people who overthrew the corrupt Royal Court in 1769 or those ordinary people who continue protesting to this day.

But next year perhaps…………….?

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Jersey Reform Day 28th September

Where is the memorial to Amice Durell, Jean and Philip Luce, Philip Larbalastier, Philip Alexandre, Clement Gallichan, Francis Le Boutillier, Jean Coutanche, Amice Le Vavasseur Dit Durell, Jean De Ste Croix, Nicholas Arthur or Thomas Gruchy in Jersey?

How is it possible that the memory of these brave Jersey residents and their several hundreds of supporters could be so easily forgotten after they overthrew the rotten Jersey government in St Helier on the 28th September 1769?

Without their revolutionary but wholly non-violent action, which pre-dated both the American and French Revolutions, who can guess when a democratically elected government would ever have been achieved in this Island?

Make no mistake, these brave people risked their lives by their protest because their behaviour was sedition and that was a hanging offence or liable to punishment by transportation with confiscation of all property.

The subsequent removal of the despotic Lempriere brothers who served as (acting) Bailiff and Attorney General with their family of cronies led directly to the creation of a recognisable States of Jersey, took away many powers from the Royal Court and forced the publication of the Code of Jersey Laws in 1771.

Today we take these achievements for granted and don’t remember the reformers’ names or even celebrate the 28th September as “Jersey Reform Day”. It is a scandal and it is significant that the struggle to free this island from autocratic Crown Officers and others who abuse their power continues to this day. The struggle goes on – but we should acknowledge those who have laid the foundation for the freedoms that we all enjoy today.

Yet, it is proposed now to erect another memorial to Major Peirson who was killed resisting the French invasion in the Royal Square in January 1781. Of course this Yorkshireman died a brave soldier’s death but we should remember too that this skirmish was a part of the American struggle for independence from colonial British control too. Following that battle, the corrupt Bailiff Lempriere was finally removed from office and the Lt Governor court-martialled – so the reforming process in Jersey has never been achieved just by quiet negotiation.

There is no need to celebrate only those who died violent deaths. Jersey has plenty of unsung heroes and heroines who struggled for years in order to make this island a true haven for people to live in and we need to be aware of their activities much more than we need to know the names of past Bailiffs and Governors or other imposed rulers.

Those who have ever sat in the public gallery of the States Chamber might have noticed that Sir Walter Raleigh, Governor of Jersey 1600-1603 is uniquely remembered with a plaque which overlooks the whole proceedings. Yet he visited the Island only very briefly and was executed as a pirate in 1617. Why should we remember him today rather than the brave people such as those who protested on 28th September 1769?

Jersey’s history is controlled and used for all sorts of mischievous governmental purposes but the true story of the struggle of ordinary people has not only never been told, it is actively suppressed and smothered by establishment propaganda.

Jersey people should celebrate the 28th September just as the Americans do July 4th and the French July 14th.
Jersey’s little revolution was equally as significant to the people of this Island and should be known by everybody who lives here now and for the future.
It should not be kept secret.

A group of concerned Jersey residents.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Chinese Whispers

Jersey Finance Ltd (“Voice of the International Finance Centre”) is organising a two weeks promotional trip to China in October.
We haven’t managed to find out much about it and they refuse to allow us a link to their very boring blog /web site so that you can more easily look for yourselves.

But we at “The Voice” presume that it will be an expensive do and wondered if any taxpayers’ money would be spent?

Again we haven’t managed to discover very much except that the Jersey Financial Services Commission assure us that they are not participating in any way. Quite rightly they have confirmed that it would be improper for the regulating body to be seen to promote the industry. This policy is in line with the recommendations of the Edwards Report.

Jersey Finance Ltd blurb says that their promotion will concentrate on such as “capital structuring, the management of private wealth with a particular emphasis on Foundations” which sounds like the sort of activities that nearly brought about the collapse of the world economy just a few months ago! They also want to officially open Jersey’s 2nd “overseas representative office” in Hong Kong (oh really? And we didn’t even know that Jersey had a foreign office or a foreign policy).
And they want to promote the listing of Jersey companies (like the Jersey Steel Mill Co Ltd or the Jersey Aircraft Factory Co Ltd?) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange too.

We contacted Senator Philip Ozouf the normally talkative Minister for Treasury & Resources and he e-mailed a reply but asked us to;
“keep these comments to yourself “
He also said that he is “happy” to talk with us – but so far only silence and we have asked him verbally and e-mailed him again but still nothing………

Of course, there are significant human rights implications in dealing with a country like China.
Indeed, as an international finance centre, many Jersey businesses already deal with the most sordid regimes all over the world and unless the UN or the EU actually imposes sanctions against it, nothing seems to appeal to any hidden sense of ethical standards or restraints.
The smell of wealth is just too overwhelming apparently.

It is especially sad in an Island where Philip Ozouf was the official government spokesman to contact last week regarding the proposed Same Sex Civil Partnership legislation. This is of course an important Human Rights issue in Jersey (and Philip declined to speak with us about that either) and the subject has revealed problems in China where attitudes towards homosexuality remain largely discriminatory even though gay sex is not now officially illegal there.

But it must be said too that from Jersey - without any anti-discrimination legislation in place, and still not having even ratified such important UN Conventions as those to prevent discrimination against women or to protect the rights of the child - we can hardly preach to China or Saudi Arabia or anywhere else on human rights issues.

The Chinese attitude towards tax havens must also be encouraging to our money hungry leaders and business folk. At the recent G20 summit the Chinese; “categorically opposed the practice of some developed countries unilaterally incorporating some developing countries into the blacklist of tax havens.”

The Chinese don’t just talk sympathetically about tax havens either because they are very busy around the world investing in likely projects and such places at the Bahamas where their official spokesman Wu Bangguo recently said;
“We support the increased management of the international financial institutions and also reform of the international institutions. But what we would like to see is an increase in the representation and in the voice of developing countries in the international financial institutions.”

So there you have it. Sweet old fashioned Communist China – the cuddly political panda - is in the international market place both economically and politically. No doubt the Chinese could be induced to finance the comatose Jersey Esplanade Quarter (Chai and a Bun square?) or Old St Helier’s regeneration (the Mao Memorial Millennium Park?) but what would they want in return and what will they get in return for bailing out the Bahamas?

The question then is not just about whether Philip Ozouf or any others from this silent Council of Ministers will be off on a tax payer fuelled jolly to China – but, what messages will be sent there and what are the limits of our kowtowing before this new Eastern mountain of wealth?

We know that some elected Jersey politicians ( and a few non-elected dignitaries) are very keen to develop Jersey’s “international profile” (although not at all keen to ratify international human rights treaties) because it allows them to play alongside the political and economic big boys.
But who is to determine Jersey’s “foreign” policies and is this something we can safely leave with our anonymous overseas representatives? Shall Colin Powell (our adviser to the Chief Minister on international affairs and general political handyman) – aka the man that they couldn’t retire – be discussing Jersey politics soon with the equally ancient heroes of the Chinese Revolution?

And, do Jersey’s overseas offices fly the Union Flag or the Jersey one?
Perhaps Philip Ozouf or somebody can supply us at “The Voice” with a photograph – a silent souvenir - just for the record.

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Our brave BBC boys and their killing toys……

Let us hope that the annual worship of war will finally cease this year in Jersey.

It’s a great pity that cost is proving to be the greater power rather than any sense of morality – but we should all be grateful if the annual pageant of murder machines ends in 2009.

Times past we all condemned the Soviet Red Square military parades and the thousands of strutting poseurs who saluted the weapons of mass destruction as they rolled by – but Jersey’s military adulation under the pretext of some glorious purpose is little different.

Of course, we all remember our own fallen relatives who died or were injured in war, whether they were in military service or otherwise. And, we cannot ignore the daily tragedy of the score card for the dead and mutilated in Iraq and Afghanistan. But we do not have to swallow the official government line anymore and the machine gunning of human beings was no more attractive or glorious from the cannons of a Spitfire or ME 109 seventy years ago than from a Chinook helicopter today.

We have just endured yet again the verbal excesses of the BBC Jersey team for a whole week - and with a warship in the bay and all manner of murderous machinery of past and present in the air and on the ground - we have been sold the message that all this is somehow desirable. Our team of local journalists simply cannot find enough superlatives to extol the sounds, shapes, or speeds of the various aircraft and the war zones in which they have been engaged, the weapons they carried and the weight of bombs that they could deliver on a mission.

So enthusiastic are the wide eyed BBC boys that the deadly machines are eulogised as “Warbirds” and murderous combat as a mere “chase” like some theatrical or sporting activity. The testosterone never ceases to flow. Do these gun lovers sleep gripping their joy stick mics we wonder?

Of course the whole bonanza is dressed up as a fund raising activity for brave ex military personnel but we all know that the true cost of staging the spectacle is never actually exceeded by revenue. It would be much more cost effective if those that want to donate to a worthwhile purpose did so quietly and with a true respect for the fallen or broken.

But we also know that this is all just a part of that tradition of trying to justify the unjustifiable. War and the officially sanctioned murder of millions of people has to be constantly sold to a gullible public as an acceptable – nay glorious and necessary activity – and the makers of war machinery have to be praised as keepers of the peace.

By next year, we shall all be able to wonder who was Harry Patch and some other symbol will have to be created so that the dead millions of the 1st World War can yet be utilised for the never ending purposes of perverse governments.

Yet the enthusiasm of our wonderful BBC puppets for this orgy of adulation must be contrasted with their incredible reluctance to pursue such genuine scandals as that presented by the Jersey Care Leavers or any other issue that threatens to smear the squeaky clean island image.
In a few months our boys will be donning their scandal proof gas masks and assuming voices like Alvar Lidell or Winston Churchill to crank up the Remembrance war machine all over again. Once again, death for some absurd purpose will be sold as the finest patriotic endeavour and the charitable collecting buckets will be shaking yet again for those whose lives have been wrecked but we are too mean to maintain with the dignity “fit for heroes.”

And so it is that Major Peirson, killed in battle in the Royal Square in 1781 is now proposed as the subject for yet another memorial by the Parish of St Helier and our boys at the BBC will be there at the unveiling with their dictionaries of superlatives and sentimentalities whilst the last post is played by a lone bugler for the billionth time………

Meanwhile, what memorial would be appropriate outside the Haut De La Garenne building, at the other end of this little island community and how might our favourite boys report that?

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Priveleged Press Parking Perks.

We at "The Voice" asked the Greffier, in March this year, for equal Royal Square parking rights as enjoyed by the so called "accredited" media (CTV, BBC and JEP).

We pointed out that one of our team has disabilities which make it difficult to carry video equipment etc.

The Greffier, Micheal De La Haye's reply included............"The media are only allowed to park very rarely in the Square and it is only to unload something bulky or conduct a quick interview, it certainly isn't long term parking............"

Yet, here is the bright red shiny BBC Jersey staff car parked in the Royal Square for nearly an hour on a non-States day (this Monday) so that the driver can do some shopping just before lunch.

Even H.M. Lt Governor does not enjoy such perks!!!!

Of course it's a total abuse of this facility and another aspect of the oh so cosy relationship that our "accredited" media enjoys and it's a jolly wheeze to have caught it on our Bloggers video. But it is a serious matter too because this public area is so important to wheelchair users and is their only safe route into, and out of, the Royal Court States Building complex.

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.