Monday, 18 July 2011

“I buy my bread in Pound World because it is £1” – how the retired survive in Jersey

Maddy is a resident in St Helier No.1. She speaks for the many retired and elderly people trying to survive in contemporary Jersey.

The JEP article she refers to is one written by Ben Queree in his weekly political column. Maddy is outraged by the presumptuousness of the suggestion that Sir Philip Bailhache will top the poll together with Ben Shenton and Francis Le Gresley, leaving only one unpredicted Senatorial seat. Somehow the article omits an important factor in the outcome – the electorate.

Maddy is Jersey born. I admire her tolerance of the many immigrant groups in the island.

Maddy always votes and has strong opinions on Jersey politics. She also has a quite famous political son. Care to guess?


  1. And who is the third Deputy...?! Hahaha

  2. I was at a meeting last night, speaking to a lady (no names) whose political views I would generally describe as "establishment".

    Her opinion on the fact that PB is standing for Senator was simply this: it is immoral.

    I think she's right. I further think that in the UK this would actually be batted right out of court - that might be worth investigating.

  3. Monty,

    To be honest, before we began filming I asked Maddy if she could name the Deputies in District No1 St. Helier. She could not recall the names and I had to remind her. That is why she was able to name at least two of the three.

    As Maddy says, Trevor Pitman did make the effort to knock on her door in 2008 and they obviously spoke. On that occasion I did not speak with her, but having checked my records, I did knock the door. I spoke to her neigbours either side.

    Generally, people cannot name the district Deputies. Neither can they recall for whom they voted in 2008. Occasionally some will say they know one or other because they are a member of or friend of their extended family.

    That Philip Bailhache is standing for election completely distorts the election, distorts democracy and underlines why we urgently need the separation of powers in Channel Island institutions.

  4. What's immoral about a free democratic vote? "We" either vote for him or we don't - just like the old so-called "deputies backdoor" (if a candidate failed in the Senatorials) situation - if enough people vote then they get in. I don't have a problem with that. It's the electorate's fault at the end of the day.

  5. Maddy deserves congratulations on speaking up for 'ordinary' people in the island. I posted the video and link on my facebook page and it has received many comments and much praise.

    Her comments on the JEP piece of propaganda were also spot on. I thought exactly the same thing myself. The JEP is being very presumptuous about the result of the election, in which candidates are still to declare. They also forget it is the public that decides, not the editorial in the JEP (although they also know it has disproportionate influence in such a disengaged island).

    It may not be the intention, but the consequence of such propaganda will result (a) in some readers believing there is 'no point' in voting - it is a done deal (and if you don't agree with the learned JEP journalist's 'pick of the winners', your opinion does not count); (b) it will make those less engaged, without the full facts and figures, presume that the JEP is right, and so want to vote for the winners.

    However, this is not the Grand National. The results are not inevitable and it is not the pundits who decide, but the voting public. And they are becoming more and more aware. Well done to you and Mr Gruchy for producing a great antidote to lazy journalism (or government propaganda - you take you pick!)

  6. Andrew Le Sueur23 July 2011 at 08:04

    Nick -- I don't buy the argument that Philip Bailhache's decision to stand for elected office offends a constitutional principle of separation of powers (or any other constitutional principle). It's a principle that ought to be taken seriously, which is why I take the view that the office of Bailiff should evolve into being chief justice and the States Assembly should choose its own speaker/presiding officer. I think we agree on that.

    But what _constitutional_ principle stops a retired judge from standing for elected office? In my lifetime, it's happened twice before in Jersey: Vernon Tomes and Ian Le Marquand were both elected to the States. In the UK, retired senior judges can take an active role as legislators in the House of Lords.

    The fact of the matter is that Philip Bailhache is no longer a judge. He does not exercise judicial power. Obviously you have _political_ objections to his candidature, and you will I'm sure have _political_ disagreements with his proposed policies (though it might be an idea to wait to see what they are); but I don't think it helps anyone to pray in aid constitutional principles in this context.

  7. Andrew,

    A commentator Jersey constitutional and legal affairs sent me the following thoughts:

    "Jersey’s bailiff is not just a judge.

    He is still effectively lord chancellor (now more or less defunct in the UK) and lots more too...his career has inevitably started within the elitist and tiny group of jersey lawyers...PB has already served as a parish deputy...then sg - then ag, dep bailiff and bailiff.

    When it became likely that he would declare for Senator he was still a serving judge - he only resigned this prior to making the formal announcement but has been very much involved in political matters - such as promoting independent jersey - for ages.

    He has been involved in so many legal/administrative matters over the years that he is likely to be conflicted when these or related matters come up for discussion in other forums such as the States...this is a particular problem in a small place like jersey and is not so important in a place like the UK.

    Presumably, as an ex judge he is still called upon to advise where convicts raise issues about their sentences and parole possibilities.

    What happens to his official papers of judicial office - does he retain control over these during retirement and could he retain control as an elected states member?

    Obviously, in theory it is permissable for ex judges in other places – (and like ILM and VT) - to become politicians, but there are inherent dangers and these people have to bear in mind that when they take up the judicial robes then they might have to relinquish future political activity."



    "Whether anybody keeps a record of all the legal opinions that ex lawyers in private or public service have given and monitor how these might cause later conflict is unlikely - but it would be difficult to guarantee that somebody like PB - who must have delivered a great many during his long legal career - is not conflicted in his subsequent political or administrative decision making.

    PB presumably does not cease being a jersey lawyer if he becomes a senator and presumably would not be constrained from participating in law society activities and consultations such as choosing suitable future crown an elected politician he could well find himself conflicted in such activities.

    The to and fro between political and judicial functions might raise its own problems too a judge the bailiff is not supposed to hear cases where he had presided over the law being cited - eg planning law or island plan - but the same could raise difficulties in the states where he had previously heard a case and made a judicial ruling...shall he be obliged to support his previous ruling in the states.

    Similarly, if a former judge has a decision overturned by another court or tribunal, or the ag gives contrary advice in the states, this would raise unusual conflicts. These would be professionally based decisions,not just differences of opinion between political antagonists.

    The status of an ex-bailiff serving in the states along with 50 plus ordinary jo's might raise practical is not just about the new pecking the example of vt he had been sacked from office so it was always possible that his own conduct might be a matter raised by states members...the same could happen to PB since various allegations have been made about his judicial conduct ...VT also was elected on a promise to initiate constitutional reform but failed to deliver.PB is more likely to be elected on a promise to preserve the constitution - independence apart! - and this raises issues about his former role as defender of the constitution whereas reforms might be imposed (by the Court of Human Rights etc) or the will of the population (by referendum etc).

    Ex judges have an inevitable conflict when offering themselves for election by the public because a % will have had previous dealings with them! This is more important in a small community and where the ex judge has held so many previous official is not just a matter of difference of opinion - the previous contact being official or professional...if elected the ex judge is more likely to be conflicted in political office."

  9. It was unusual, but Tomes as AG was the subject of a successful HR application to Strasbourg.
    It was his delay in bringing a prosecution in the famous case that involved the then De Carteret seigneur of St Ouen. A complaint was made by the son of accountant Bryant whose passport had been witheld etc for several years. The Commission made an initial finding which was in Bryant's favour and a small amount was ordered to be paid in compensation so the case never went to the full Court of Human Rights. Pity really because it might have looked at the wider defects in the Jersey system. The potential criminal case was eventually allowed to fade away.
    It was strange that Tomes was elected as a Senator although he had been sacked as a Judge for his long delays in making judgments etc. Other faults were alluded to which would have probably ruled him out of being elected in the UK. As always, the JEP published articles which stressed his happy family man and soccer fan credentials and he had a "popular" local boy made good based following.
    He was a regular speaker at business and sports dinners and nicknamed the "Court Jester" by some.
    Tomes was not debarred from standing as a Senator and clearly felt hard done by but it was a pity that he did not seek a remedy either through the courts or the States. This was yet another wasted opportunity to stimulate reform. "Carswell" noticeably ignored the Tomes case when looking at the role of the Crown Officers. Since it reveals faults in the system, this was at least odd.
    Tom Gruchy says

    His term as Senator was especially unremarkable for a man who claimed to be so competent.

  10. What an excellent interview. Can Maddy not be persuaded to stand as Senator - although I admit that her views about getting younger people in is a persuasive counter argument. She is correct that the States is full of people who are very comfortably positioned in life.

    With regard to the sacked Bailiff, a man who confuses Jersey's interests with his own warped and revenge-fueled vision, I agree he should be allowed to stand. But he demeans himself by doing so.

    Hope you get elected.

  11. Maddy is very modest and seeks no personal status. She is however highly political and this no doubt played a part in the education of her son.

    Was the former Bailiff sacked? Strange things happen in the corridors of power, to which ordinary people are not a party.