Friday, 28 February 2014

Stereoview of Havre des Pas circa 1865

Seaweed lies on the roadway at Have des Pas in this stereoview dating from circa 1865. It reminds me of events a few weeks ago when vast quantities of seaweed were being thrown over the wall by enormous storm waves threatening to block the drains. Where I currently live is just visible albeit the existing house is now demolished. 

Nostalgia is simply just not what it used to be!

Thursday, 27 February 2014


Here is my election leaflet and policies for the Deputy by-election in District No.1 St Helier on 5th March.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Hustings speeches - District No.1 St Helier - Town Hall -25th February 2014

The District No.1 St Helier Hustings was fairly lively. It was lively because I made it so, with controversial home truths that many candidates and members of the audience found hard to accept. 

Here is my opening speech:

"Establishment Candidate" in District No.1

This is the point where I identify the "Establishment Candidate" in District No.1. A number of candidates were extremely uncomfortable that another home truth had come out - it showed their deferential and supine politics. Were they ever to be elected one could expect them to defer at all times to authority.

The chair of the meeting was of course wrong to seek to limit my freedom of speech. As a candidate I have the right to come back on issues that need corrected. I think that bravery shows that I will not be a supine lap dog in the States Assembly.

Gordon Forrest is the Establishment candidate precisely because his nomination paper was signed by the Deputy Chief Minister, Senator Paul Routier and was proposed by Advocate Rose Colley, a senior figure in the conservative right of Jersey politics and incipient candidate for Senator in the Autumn General Election. Pointing out these obvious truths did not go down well in a certain quarter of the audience and among certain candidates. Clearly they hit home with vigor. A new brand of politics is born.

This is not a personal attack on Gordon Forrest as some candidates thought; far from it. He was my boss in Emeraude Ferries during a summer job in the long distant past and he commanded respect. It is however a fair comment to make in a political context. Since it is the obvious truth it has to be denied by those that would continue all the mystification and falsification that so befuddles the popular mind and makes change all that more difficult. It is essential we identify our interests and those who represent those of others, however personable.

We must transcend the politics of the personality that domintes so much of political debate and clarify the vested interests and policy issues that lurk beneath.

Monday, 24 February 2014

PRE-POLE OR PRE POLL? All nationalities welcome to vote at St Paul's Gate, Dumaresq Street

PRE-POLE? At 9am this moring voters were shocked to discover that only those from a certain East European country were being invited to vote in District 1 and 2 St Helier by-elections.

No doubt the anti-immigrant candidates in District No.1 would have been waving their UKIP banners and shouting this was some sort of favouritism, had they bothered to appear for the opening at 9am of pre-polling at St Paul's Centre, Dumaresq Street. In fact it was just a typographical error by a sign writer.

"Pre-Pole" was written on the sign to the amusement of those with good spelling. What was intended was clearly Pre-Poll. Even Paul,Le Claire, the candidate with challenged punctuation, would have got that one correct.

The error was quickly addressed and voters proceeded to vote, albeit dazed and shocked by the experience of mis-spelling.

Three voters voted in the first hour of pre-polling, none of them Polish or Slav to my knowledge. That said, I did manage to remind a Russian woman living close by to give me her vote. She said she would do so as soon as she was dressed and ready to go out.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Christianity and the challenge of Social Justice

Here is my closing speech held at CHOW on Wednesday. All candidates for Deputy in St Helier District No1 and No2 were asked to explain why a group of Christians should vote for them, assuming they were voters so entitled.

I am a regular attendee at Church House on Wednesday where bread is broken and food eaten in a spirit of friendship. I am not a Christian, but as I explain there is a clear link between my own beliefs in social justice and the challenge Christians face if they are to give their faith meaning in contemporary society. In other words I would say back to them, to be a Christian is to engage in making a better society and that may mean sacrifice and uncomfortable interaction with authority. Our paths lead in the same direction.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

"Black one-armed lesbians" – or how some in Jersey fail to understand women and gender equality

This Wednesday lunchtime a meeting was held in Church House by the Christian group Business Connect for all the candidates standing for Deputy in District No1 and No2.  Before them were a number of topical issues with a moral dimension. The hope from the point of view of the organisers of CHOW (Church House on Wednesday) was to pose a Christian challenge to contemporary politics.

The topics for debate were injustice in Jersey; Gay marriage; the position of the Dean in the States Assembly; Sunday trading; gender discrimination and Church subsidy through the Parish rates system. 

We all had to indicate which questions we wanted to discuss and our host Paul Milbank ensured everyone got to answer an equal number of questions and speak for two minutes.


I noticed that the Establishment candidate here in No1 District, Gordon Forrest, displayed alacrity only to answer the question on Sunday trading. Being a modern Tory, with an employer and business background, this was not surprising. However, debates in the States Assembly invariably have a moral aspect and call for a fine tuned sensitivity to public sentiment. The world is not all technocratic black letter law and finance. Matters of gender, sexual orientation and constitutional law frequently arise and it was correct that CHOW posed them to candidates. 

Naturally Reform Jersey candidates Sam Mezec and I were hands up first to talk on justice and inequality.

Below are Gordon Forrest (District No.1, Establishment) and Sam Mezec (District No.2, Reform Jersey) speaking at CHOW on the issue of Sunday Trading:

District No.2 Hustings

On Wednesday evening District No2 held its Husting in the Town Hall Assembly room. I attended, and my assessment was confirmed by conversations afterwards; there was only one candidate of calibre speaking and that was Sam Mezec. His speech carefully crafted his evident youth, 23, to his advantage, emphasising vigor and agility over a number of sedate elderly gentlemen with conventional ideas and solutions. Some candidates shot themselves in the foot, in a classic manner, by deferring in their speeches to Sam, leaving no doubt in the audience's mind who had the upper hand. 

Whereas other candidates answered questions with a stream of consciousness, Sam displayed a rounded analysis of often complex issues. He did more than say he “would look into it”, the classic get out clause for candidates covering up their ignorance and provided a clear position on every issue.  


My contribution at CHOW was on injustice which turned into a speech on inequality and again on gender inequality, which boiled down to the issue of women. I gave the latter a socialist twists by moving beyond “Trickle down Feminism” and its obsession with the “Glass Ceiling” that prevents upper middle class women entering Parliament and the Boardroom, to consider where was the “floor” for working class women bearing the responsibility of child care, the family and work.


When the only woman running for election in District No.1 spoke on women and rejected any form of positive discrimination, I had to cringe. Her speech then veered off on a semi racist tack, made all the worse because it was genuine and heartfelt. Sitting at the back of the room were three people of colour, a man and two women, one a Real Feminist. I was embarrassed on their behalf when Maureen Morgan mentioned “black one armed lesbians”, the fantasy bĂȘte noir of all Daily Mail readers. At least she realised she had over-stepped the mark and sort of apologised.

Judge for yourself if Ms Morgan will be invited to give the key note speech at the next Jersey conference on “Advancing Women in Politics and Public Life”?



Thanks again to Stewart for the photography.