Friday, 11 November 2011

Review of the Review of the Abuse Inquiry

Scrutiny Review - Issues surrounding the BDO Alto Review of financial management of Operation Rectangle

The whole thing is a long read, so let's just start with the end 3 paragraphs from the Chairman's Forward, to sum it all up. I was going to highlight in BOLD all the most eyecatching words, but really I would need to do that to the entire three paragraphs!

Chairman’s Foreword - Deputy Trevor Pitman - summing up -

"... can it really be credible that within a case of unprecedented scale and complexity only two individuals ‘got it all wrong’ and deserve to be scrutinized (many would likely use the term ‘trashed’) within the public eye again and again whilst those at Home Affairs and the senior politicians of the day who also bear significant – if not equal – responsibility attract no such condemnation whatsoever? The sub-panel believes the answer to this first question is no.

"Secondly, and perhaps of even more fundamental concern for us if we are the caring and civilised society that we like to believe: when and how did purely financial matters, no matter how undoubtedly serious, become more important than turning our focus and attention to discovering how our most vulnerable children - instead of being protected and cared for by the States - could actually be systematically assaulted and abused over a period of decades?

"If this review leads to nothing else other than a re-focussing by government, media and society on to this final question then all of the obstruction and sniping that we as a Scrutiny team have been subjected to these past months will have been well worth it."

Read the whole government Scrutiny Review at

systematically assaulted and abused
period of decades

review obstructed and sniped at

government, media and society

A good journalist would be all over this!

Is the world watching? Does it care?

Jersey. Beautiful island with great people. Ruined by some ignorant selfish a-holes!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Coastal crash - more sloppy reporting

The story from Channel 103 radio -

"Three teenagers are being treated in hospital after the car they were in plunged over a cliff in St Martin.

It went over the side of the road between Anne Port and Archirondel just before midnight.

It came to rest upside down against a tree - which stopped it rolling over the sea wall onto the rocks below.

Paramedics and firefighters attended, and two boys aged 19 and 17, and a 15 year old girl were taken to A&E.

The driver suffered a suspected broken wrist but the two passengers are believed to have suffered more serious injuries, although Police have told us they're not critical.

Watch Commander Chris Love said. "These 3 youths have been involved in a very serious incident. However, it would have been a lot worse had their vehicle rolled from its final resting place onto the rocks below."

"Had that been the case specialised rescue equipment and extra resources would have been called for. Emergency crews would have been faced with a more difficult and prolonged extrication, increasing the risk of injuries already sustained"

BBC Jersey also says "between Archirondel and Anne Port".

Only Channel TV correctly reported "near Archirondel".

If you're a radio listener you'd think it had happened near the BBQ area on the headland near La Crete quarry. The only recent damage to the roadside banks that I can see is actually well before that area.

It looks like, heading from St.Catherine's towards Gorey, the driver took this bend (by the old Les Arches) too fast, over-corrected, and failed to straighten up quickly enough to stay on the road.

It's actually on a straight, just after the left-hander, and not where previous accidents have happened at the headland farther on, or just past Jeffrey's Leap on the other side of Anne Port!

On some news website comments pages people are criticising the lack of barriers here, and it does appear to be in the same place (from the same direction) as another from 2010 (BBC).

All in all I'm left with the sour taste of sloppy journalism again - there was no mention of the direction in which they were travelling, or the precise location. And it's sensationalism again too, accidents happen all over the island, but just because it's on a coastal road and NEARLY ended up in greater fall onto rocks, this somehow seems more spectacular and may be more likely to lead to knee-jerk over-reaction.

The fact that several accidents in this region in recent years have all been survived without death shows how much safer it is to crash here compared to hitting walls and large trees at the roadside elsewhere!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Businessmen not fit to govern

I'm both amused and bored by hearing opinions that we need more businessmen in government - as if their talent for organising one thing translates into organising something entirely different!

I'm sure there will be some of you who disagree, impressed by a flashy businessman's apparent success - in the single endeavour of acquiring wealth. But let's look at some inarguable definitions of business and government -

Purpose of Business
Make money from providing goods or services, squeezing every last possible profit from resources such as assets, staff and customers, employing any means fair or foul (that they can get away with) to beat competition.

Purpose of Government
* Provide regulatory framework for a fair and functional society, making sure laws are suitable and fit for purpose.
* Set tax policy, deciding who to tax, how much, and for what - and how to spend it.
* Provide Public Services to Best Practice standards, balancing the quality of service and needs of the staff against the requirement for best value for money to the taxpayer.
* Regulate and resolve conflicts of interest, such as the wishes of property developers versus the public good.

* Lawmaking is difficult to get wrong to any huge degree - just extend UK legislation to this island and copy anything else sensible. Not many complaints are heard on that one.
* Taxation seems to suit enough people most of the time that it isn't enough of an issue to cause riots or revolutions. People may realise that Zero-Ten and GST are a pain but we know it's complex and if it seems to work for most people, the politicians will get away with it.
* Wastes of public money are what get most of us fired up, unbelievable decisions of Planning, and other conflicts resolved in the favour of friends and accomplices.

Businessmen don't do anything like most of that government work (if any of it!) in their line of profiteering.

Government is entirely a balancing act, always needing to consider multiple conflicting requirements.
Businessmen are only focused upon one side of an equation - making profits for themselves with disregard for any consequences.

It therefore follows that successful businessmen are wholly unsuitable for government! We need fair and wise people who understand that quality of life is more important than pursuit of gross wealth at the expense of others. Our politicians should only have a vested interest in benefiting (along with everyone else) from a happy and healthy society, ensuring that the young are educated enough to perpetuate a sustainable system in an unpolluted environment.

By 'businessmen' (with 'men' in the broad sense ignoring gender) I don't mean small business owners. I have respect for someone who is confident and assertive enough to set up their own business doing what they love, expanding when they can to take on staff who they know well and look after. Those who know that they have a small place in their market and compete fairly to provide a fair product/service and make an honest living from it. I was lucky to be employed by one of these angels myself for many years and appreciated it. Even if they eventually have their heads turned by the temptations of extravagant houses and shiny expensive status symbol motors, on the whole I say fair play to them if they earned it in the long run without trampling upon others to get there.

No, my wrath and disgust is aimed at the Scum In Suits who stab their peers in the back to claw their slimy way up the filthy ladder of boardroom excess. Intelligence misdirected, talents squandered, these wretched creatures are smart enough to appear respectable and articulate, appealing to an easily led electorate conditioned to look up to these 'alpha males' who profit from the misery of others. Their confidence trick is to walk the walk and talk the talk enough to impress the gullible, but their apparent qualities of extreme capability are just a smokescreen for self-serving greed.

Even the Farce blog pointed out : "Unfortunately, business people often struggle in politics simply because they are used to getting things done by issuing instructions to employees, rather than by establishing a consensus of understanding with fellow elected representatives. They also have further cultural problems between business ethics and profit motive and the broad principles of public service."

When you vote, consider the candidates' motivations. Why are they putting themselves forward for the job? Are they driven by a wish to right the wrongs of centuries of mismanagement, exploitation and oppression, outraged by unfairness, keen to steer the island to a better future for all? Or are they just thinly disguised weasels hell-bent on keeping the working class exploited for their elite extravagances?

Remember : "No vote - no moan!"

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Your ruination of Portelet

(Updated Wed 21-Sept-11 with BEFORE photos)

It's in your name. You vote for these greedy idiots!

The holiday camp may have been large but it never dominated the landscape like this.

The wide angle view they don't show you in the media - it looks like a town has expanded to the bay and is about to spill over the cliff.

So out of place it looks like it was photoshopped - sadly this is a genuine photo.

The old holiday camp was set back from the edge, with a swimming pool in front, and wasn't so high and overbearing.

I quite like the interesting design but this really isn't a fitting place for it. It's a travesty to spoil the bay like this.

A few years earlier ...

The holiday village was far less stark, natural colours and no large flat areas...

.. so it sat comfortably in the landscape without drawing undue attention to itself.

You could see the top of the cliff face behind the flat roof, and there was copious greenery all around...

.. closer - and no ugly buildings right on the skyline either.

If we're going to over-develop the bay, call in the Italians for some aesthetic guidance!

(Manarola, Cinque Terre)

After all the Line In The Sand and fuss over Plemont, you'd think they'd learn, wouldn't you? This is what you get when you vote for the money men to look after the island. All they care about is making more money.

The government you deserve. The planning you deserve. The environment you deserve.

Jersey, you voted (or failed to vote) last time for the clowns who will always ride roughshod over the wishes of the real islanders, promoting their interests above ours.

This is a disgrace. A disgusting disgrace. Hang your heads in shame, those responsible. That includes YOU if you never bother to use your vote, or if you choose the 'safe pair of hands' who obviously know what's best because their selfish drives and psychopathic absence of empathy for anyone but themselves has led them to positions of wealth and 'success'. Out of proportion wealth and success comes from greedily leaching inordinate amounts of money from other people - remember that. The rich get richer at the expense of others. Is that a quality that makes for good leaders?

For f***'s sake vote wisely next month or there'll be even more of this selfish rape of our island.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

An unconvincing united front.

I'm amused and bemused -
(as usual - Jersey politics is only good for amusement, it doesn't work effectively for its intended purpose of running the island very well, and those of us with lives too busy to devote 100% to politics haven't a hope of influencing anything meaningful with our feeble minority voting 'power', so we can only watch helplessly from the sidelines and let off steam by running down the States at social gatherings - which, if you believe the Ministers, doesn't happen. Maybe because they don't mix with normal people like I do)

- intrigued, even - by the curious (or not) new found support that Deputy Trevor Pitman is showing for Ted Vibert. Having stood near Ted at a husting or two, hearing his views, observing his demeanor and manners, I would rather let one of those four inch and orange-striped garden slugs crawl along my stomach than vote for the guy to represent me in the Ego Chamber.

Ted, if you recall, caused a rift amongst the 'progressives' at the time of the last by-election (for ex-Senator Stuart Syvret's 'vacated' seat) to such effect that the only political party - the JDA - fell apart with calls of 'Ted being a liability', leaving us the rib-tickling spectacle of Geoff Southern being a party of one! Trevor being one of those who left, for ideological reasons.

Yet we are now supposed to believe that the progressives can all pull together to defeat the Goliath of the Establishment?! Granted, the progressives usually vote the same way on many issues that are perceived to be The Workers v The Priviledged, but they just don't seem to be able to get on - certainly not BETWEEN elections! They make no attempt to draw up a simple manifesto of supporting the underclass, and then stick to it, in a strongly cohesive party. Divided by clashes of politcal personalities (the worst kind!) and subtly different outlooks and motivations, whether it be pure idealism, bleeding heart niavety, union-led sabre rattling, or the Green movement.

They don't even seem to be capable of pulling together in support of the most crystalised issue of the day, when it comes to fighting the system - Stuart's attempt to prove that the island's management is as bent as the road around Westmount Hill. Some of them pick up some aspects of the case and doggedly fight that part of the cause, others pick their parts while barely concealing the personality clashes, and others stay silent for fear of reprisals or losing their seat. There are newcomers who promised at the last election to fight the incompetence of The System who have ended up voting along with the crazier of the ministerial propositions - I have to wonder at their chances of re-election. It would be soul destroying to watch, if I actually believed that there had been a real chance to change anything for the better, but that these hopes had come to nothing. I expected nothing, and haven't been disappointed. It's a shoulder shrugfest as usual. The world is mad, Jersey even more so. I feel helpless, so I just watch and sigh.

While I can see that presenting a unified face to the electorate - divided we fall and all that - is the only way to fight a stronger power, isn't it fundamentally dishonest to con the voters that there's a cosy togetherness that can save the day, when there plainly hasn't been - and won't be once the election is over, once the hustings chairs have been re-stacked and the parish hall floors swept clean?

If Trevor and Ted share a contempt for Stuart's approach, and are close in outlook again, why not rejoin the JDA and be honest about it? Why not work to reform the party (or form an alternative if that's too hard), change its internal systems so that they can come up with a joint manifesto that pleases the majority, and get on with a more believable united front. We would have more faith in an opposition party than we ever can in a mottley collection of bristly and unpredictable individuals all pulling in different directions and in the same heading only now and then, seemingly at random?

Nothing will ever change unless there's a really strong party in which we can have faith. Politicians are, by and large, either selfish slime or more selfless but too complex to work well with others (combined with a massive arrogance personality defect on the whole). It's only when they bury their differences and work together towards a common cause that we can have just a little more belief in any possible effectiveness/efficacy (delete as pedantic).

Come on, provide us some real political entertainment, while we watch here from our comfy chairs with a beer in the hand. Party on!

Hmmm. Yeah. Nothing will ever change.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

A Depressed Electorate

It's hard to explain depression to someone who has never "been there", but those who have will know just how bleak it is. You can get into a state where it simply doesn't seem possible that you'll ever feel happy ever again. Everything seems pointless, frivolous and futile - the concept of enjoying life may work for other people but somehow it can't work out that way for us.

At the extreme, people take their own lives, unfortunately. Nobody really ever wants to kill themself, yet tragically, people do - because they just cannot imagine climbing out of the pit of despair that they've arrived at. Those of you in a happier place imagine that whatever your problems, if it came to the worst you could just walk away from everything - everything you own, everyone you know, jack in that sucky job, and start again. Difficult, to say the least, but better than dying - why give up when you could have another chance at life by starting out all over again, avoiding the mistakes you made last time? Get a flat from our caring States, a simple life with a simple job, make new friends, climb up the tree all over again. How hard can it be, free from previous cares and worries?

A depressed person wouldn't see the point of trying that. To them, life is unfair, lonely, pointless and cheerless, and they believe they would be better off out of it. Reject any chances, because it's all dark and grim and what's the point?

Is it their fault?

Do they deserve it?

If you've never suffered depression I can almost accept the viewpoint that people should just "buck their ideas up" and "pull themselves together" - because that's what it looks like to an outsider. It should be simple enough to just get on with life and weather the storm, shouldn't it? In reality I'd avoid anyone who thinks like that - like the plague. If you've got that little empathy for other people, I don't want you in my life!

Most of us do understand that anyone can find themselves (without seeing it coming) so overloaded with stress and anxiety - if enough things go wrong in our life - that we can find ourselves down in that pit. And most of us are enlightened enough to understand that real depression can be regarded as an illness. Nobody in "their right mind" would ever choose to feel like that. Nobody feeling that bad would ever refuse a way out of it if they seriously believed it would work. If you're constantly suffering and can't help yourself out of it, that sounds like an illness to me.

Depression is about not seeing the true reality, not believing there's a way out. It's a trap. A trap of the mind.

Which brings me on to the state of politics in Jersey, and the seemingly apathetic electorate.

I believe that when it comes to what people think of the States of Jersey and how we're governed, we've had years and years and years of the same old incompetent, self-serving, corrupt government. A politician is someone who combines the normal belief that we know best with such strong conviction and self-confidence that they are prepared to stand for election and inflict their opinions very publicly onto the rest of us.

We don't like that.

We don't respect politicians (not like they think we should!).

We don't like them, we don't like what they do, we don't like how they seek glory, we don't like their arrogance, we don't like them ignoring what we ask for and doing the opposite because only they know better than us with the benefit of their massive insight and understanding which we don't have.


Why would most sensible decent people want to get involved with any of that?

Occasionally a genuinely caring AND self-confident person will come along and put themselves forward in an altruistic attempt to help us all and right the wrongs of the world. Arguably they are charmingly naive, but never mind. On the whole, politicians are deeply flawed people you wouldn't want to be friends with. It's not normal to be so very certain that you know best, to the point of wanting to dictate to others how they should run their lives.

To assess a politician, just ask them whether they want to represent the electorate or vote the way that they feel is right, even if it's in the other direction. Will they ignore petitions? Are the public so stupid? Once they are there in the States Chamber with a mountain of reports of background information at their disposal, they can see and understand issues that the rest of us are too thick to understand, so they must do what's best for us and take those "difficult decisions" because they alone are wise enough to help us in ways we just don't comprehend.

Being voted into power gives them, automatically, the brain power to see The Big Picture - and vote for things we don't want. Apparently we can be trusted to vote for them, giving them legitimate power, having assessed them worthy of election, yet we can't be trusted to understand anything else!

Now, faced with that, you could say that the electorate is depressed. We don't see the point of voting, because we simply don't believe there's any point. Human nature won't change any time soon. Politicians will always be slime-balls (mostly), and the rare decent ones will always be outnumbered, outvoted and ineffectual.

Like a depressed person, we just don't believe anything will ever change for the better, so what's the point?

It doesn't matter that the truth is: that anything is possible if only enough people would get off their backsides and actually make that trip to the polling station. It won't happen because the non-voters are too politically depressed to believe that it could happen that way.

So we get, apparently, "the government we deserve".

I'm hoping you'll get my point now - maybe we don't deserve the government we get. That's way too simplistic, too "black and white". You'd have to be really mentally inflexible to write off the whole situation as one thing or the polar opposite, without seeing the actual reality of the reasons for the grey in between.

Sometimes we DO NOT get the government we deserve. Millions of people around the world certainly don't, their lives blighted by cruel dictatorships and regimes that stifle their freedoms. And it's not always the case that weaponry would be needed, to change matters - recent world events (before Libya) proved that. A dictatorship that isn't totally insane will know when their time is up, given a clear enough hint. An unarmed populace can indeed rise up and change their country, when they believe that it is possible. But it requires that belief, before positive action can happen.

Jersey may appear to offer the so-called democracy that allows us to self-determine the way this place is run, but in reality we're kept in place by those with power, and a political depression that keeps us in our place, unable to believe that there's a way forward.

The government we deserve? It's really not that simple! Nice, decent people can get depressed. Who really deserves that?

And telling us we deserve it? That doesn't really help either! We'll need to believe in a way forward before we can help ourselves.

Until we're ALL, REALLY, mightily annoyed, it's Business As Usual. Helpless as I am, I don't believe it's my fault. So please don't tell me it is!