Thursday, 14 March 2013


On the 24th April we are invited to get tricked into -
  • losing the 8 remaining Senators from the States
  • seeing an overall drop in numbers from 49 down to 42 (with a drop in the backbenchers' power to outvote the ministerial bloc)
  • losing the parish system and get six new meaningless 'super' districts instead (still unequal).

All of this is rolled up into both of the main choices A and B, dressed up as an apparent say in whether we lose les Connetables too, or keep them in.

I make that 4 different issues, but with 3 in common between just 2 so-called 'choices' A and B.

Or we have choice C : keep things the same as they are now.
Or D : Don't turn up.
Or E : Express Protest - actively go and spoil the paper.

As I don't want any of the 3 changes they're trying to sneak in, and don't really care about the constables either way,  that leaves me with a problem. Do I turn up and vote C, or spoil the paper, or stay well away from the whole hijacked waste of time?

Tough choice. Your opinions are welcomed ... what I should do, given my resistance to A and B (which won't be changing, so don't try to persuade me on that)?

Voting C 

This can be interpreted as "I'm happy with things as they are" - and I'm not. In addition to the proposed changes that I disagree with, I'm also just as concerned about -
  • the unelected Bailiff's conflicted role.
  • the quality of the idiots that get in, regardless of who votes for them (not much we can do, there).
  • the Dean sitting in there, unelected. 
But none of that is addressed by this referendum.
As far as the issues in question -
  • Island-wide mandate, Senators - I want them to remain. It's all I feel that I can actually have an effective say in.
  • Numbers - the more the merrier - and I was mildly angry about the drop from 53. If we sort out the pay issue it doesn't matter how many there are. (I'd say don't pay them, most of them don't need it, let Income Support top up their income like the rest of us)
  • Districts - I'd rather keep the parish voting districts as they are - and the small St.Mary 'problem' could be sorted out by having more Deputies everywhere else, especially if the Constables go...
  • Constables - they can stand as Deputies if they want, what's the problem? The automatic seat doesn't feel right. What the point of a referendum on this? They can just go! It's not worth bothering the public asking us.

Voting D

Don't go - is tempting, but gets counted as Apathy. That still gives them a message, but seems like a waste somehow.

Voting E

Express Protest - can mean many things, so you have to hope they understand if you mean "You've wasted everyone's time, and I've made the effort to come here to say Go away and do it properly next time!".

Voting F

A variation on voting E, but a bit more forceful, would involve an expletive written on the paper, or perhaps a pictogram of an inflated phallus. But that's not advisable considering that the papers are numbered and can be cross referenced to your electoral roll number :)

Tough Choice

So C,D and E all give mixed messages, are all open to misinterpretation. It's a little difficult to choose!

I suspect that the turn out will be very low. So I'm not concerned about any of A,B or C winning out of less than half of the electorate. The slimeball politicos will use whatever result they get as a justification to get what they wanted, regardless.


The misguided A campaign

The 'A team' seem to have bees in their bonnets about equal numbers of votes, and getting rid of the constables. In their eagerness to grasp what they mistakenly think will make a difference (it won't!) they will be hoodwinked into achieving the classic "throwing out the baby with the bathwater".

As I've said, the constables don't really bother me enough to be an issue here. Ideally they should go, but not at the expense of the more vital things that we'd lose if we vote A. And yes, I've seen them vote "en bloc" and not "en bloc". It's not surprising that 12 people of the same personality type, with the same parish role, should agree fairly often. With their ear to the ground, connections and experiences, they are often more down to Earth and in touch with reality than the more "Despicable Right" of the super priviledged.

The A Team can't be argued with about the Troy Rule, the smaller number of 42 members meaning that the ministerial bloc (all the Big Cheeses and their lackeys) will outnumber the backbenchers, making opposition impossible. They naively think that will all work out fine in the end - despite depending upon the very outnumbering that will have happened in the meantime! So let's not dwell on that.

As for the representation, again I think that the A Team are making mountains out of molehills. So what if a St.Mary deputy has fewer votes behind them than a St.Clement one? It's just an opinion poll, with a smaller sample size. The greatest proportion has their way, regardless of numbers. The A Team might need to read up on statistics and poll sampling.

But the worst thing is, with Vote A we actually get less representation! I used to be able to vote for 14 (12 Senators, 1 Constable, 1 Deputy) out of 53 members - 24.6% of The House. This has dropped with the loss of 4 Senators to 10 of 49, which is now just 20.4%. With this 6 districts plan, I would get just 7 votes of the 42 - an all time low of 16.7% ... why should I even bother to turn up to the polling station for that? I would have to really believe in my 'opinion poll sample size' reasoning and trust my fellow islanders to do the right thing in the other 5 districts. Whatever happens, the same old opinionated bores will get in, with all their massive arrogance, blinkered against reality. Votes A or B won't change that in the slightest!


So... what?

What do I do? Turn up, don't turn up, write something sarcastic on the paper, or Vote C?

I want my action to be counted amongst the most likely actions of other people who feel like I do. I suspect most of them will vote C or stay away, and a spoilt paper will be a minority action that will get overlooked and ignored.

I think that staying well away from the whole charade will have the greatest impact. That way the entire referendum means less, because it's less representative. Let's face it, the whole thing is weighted against common sense, it is a pointless waste of space, so let's treat it that way.

It was bad enough that the 'independent' electoral commission was taken over by the Establishment (and with He Who Would Be King at the helm too!), but the 'choice' they have presented to us is anything but.

For my vote to count for something, it seems I'll have to treat this farce with the contempt it deserves. Which is a lot.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Rag gleefully peddles coconut myth again

On the 28th February 2013, the JEP published a Ramsay Cudlipp article about cartoonists Ben Robertson and Oli Nightingale.

Included in the center-page spread was a humorous map of Jersey - A Beginners Guide.

Yes, there are some amusing parts. "Local spotted, 1987" is good. And "Syvret's hideout" is neither offensive or inoffensive. I imagine Stuart and his most ardent supporters would take that in good humour. Strange though, how of all the things you could take the mickey out of, that Stuart should be targetted.

But what are we to make of the people emerging from tunnels from Poland and Madeira? A hint of racism, perhaps?

But this really made me wince. At the location of the former children's home HDLG investigated for 'Historic Child Abuse' - "Ancient Coconut Shell Burial Ground". Isn't that in rather poor taste?

How many more times must this myth be wheeled out before it can be finally laid to rest?

These are the cartoonists, should you ever meet them and you wish to have words with them.
The truth?
If anyone really wants to know, it's all out there on other blogs.  is as good a place as any to get a good idea. From the horse's mouth, as it were - Lenny Harper the CIO.

23 February 2008 - fragment JAR/6 found, recovered from Context 011 Trench 3. Degraded fragment of bone thought to be human skull, probably from a child (see full inventory for details). Associated with mixed debris including animal bone, buttons and a leather “thong”. Discussed findings with SIO Lenny HARPER and Forensic Manager Vicky COUPLAND. It was decided that the bone should be sent for C14 dating.”

On 8 and 9 April 2008 I re-examined JAR/6. Since I initially examined the fragment it had dried out considerably and changed in colour, texture and weight. These changes caused me to reconsider my initial observation that the fragment was human bone, although I cannot reach a definite conclusion without conducting further chemical analysis. I reported my findings to Forensic Manager Vicky COUPLAND and SIO Lenny HARPER and we discussed a number of options regarding how to proceed with the fragment. Our conclusion was that as the fragment had been found in the pre 1940’s phase of the building, no further work would be conducted on it.”

I detail below the sequence of events relating to the examination of the fragment. This is fully corroborated by copy e-mails from the lab which examined the fragment. I am not aware that it has ever been identified as a coconut. Anthropologists are trained to identify human remains. The only anthropologist to examine it thought it part of a child’s skull. On seeing it later when it had changed its appearance she was not so sure. People carrying out Carbon Dating are trained for that process, not identifying the matter. Even then, they gave contradictory and confused information to us. When reading below, bear in mind that collagen is found only in mammals, not wood, not coconut.

We sent the fragment off for dating around the 3rd or 4th March. If Gradwell and Warcup are to be believed I already knew it was hundreds of years old. Why would we send it off for dating if we already knew? However, my remarks above and the Anthropologist’s worksheet make it clear this was not true. The accompanying form completed by the Forensic Services Manager which went with the fragment also makes it clear that we did not know its age when we sent it off in March. Why would Mr. Gradwell claim that we did? There are also e-mails which must still be within the SOJP system which make it clear that we did not know the age of the fragment when sending it off, particularly those sent by the Forensic Services Manager.

On 28th March we received an e-mail from a Ms Brock at the Laboratory in relation to the fragment. Here are some excerpts from the e-mail.

“Hi Vicky. Here are the details of the Jersey skull as discussed on the phone earlier. As I said, the chemistry of this bone is extremely unusual – nothing I am familiar with.”

“During the first acid washes we often get a lot of fizzing as the mineral dissolves. The Jersey skull didn’t fizz at all, which suggested that preservation was poor, and which led me to test the nitrogen content of the bone.”

“The Jersey skull had 0.60 nitrogen, which suggested that it contained virtually no collagen. Once we had this result, Tom phoned you and told you it would be unlikely that we could date the sample, but that we would continue with the pre-treatment just in case.”

“Very surprisingly, the sample yielded 1.6% collagen (our cut off for dating is 1%).”

“As there is no nitrogen it cannot contain collagen unless it is highly degraded. The chances are it is highly contaminated and any date we get for it might not be accurate. I have e-mailed the director and asked if we should proceed with a date.”

Now, if you look at that e-mail, it makes clear a number of things. Firstly, they, the experts on dating, are not sure they can date it. Secondly, they make it clear they have found more than enough collagen (only found in mammals) to date the fragment, but then change their mind again and say it is too badly degraded. Also, note the use of the terms ‘skull’ and ‘bone.’ If the experts cannot be sure on 28th March, how can anyone say that I knew on 24th February? On 31st March, Ms Brock e-mailed again. In this e-mail, headed, “Re: Jersey Skull for C14 Dating,” she said that ‘the Director had now expressed concern about what the fragment was. The Technician (who is not an Anthropologist) who was carrying out the process commented that it ‘looked like a coconut husk.’ She went on to say “If it isn’t bone I am really sorry,” but then finishes with “although it could well have been poorly preserved bone as I described it.”

It is clear from those e-mails that the lab did not know what the fragment was. Why, then, have Messrs Simon, Gradwell, and Warcup insisted that the fragment was identified as a coconut by a person qualified to do so? By the time I retired, the only person to suggest the item might be a fragment of coconut was a technician who was trying to date it. No Anthropologist has ever identified it as such. One way to clear this would be to have it further examined, and I am not aware if that has ever been done. I am told, rightly or wrongly, however, that it has been lost. If true, how convenient.

At the time, I e-mailed the laboratory and asked them two questions. The first was “Are you saying definitively that this is not bone?” The second was “If you do not think it is bone how can you explain the presence of more collagen than is usually needed to date bearing in mind that collagen is found only in mammals?”

In answer to the first question they told me they did not think it was bone but the only way we could be sure was to have it re-examined by someone qualified to do so. I am still waiting on an answer to the question about the collagen.

I am therefore at a loss, given the above, which is all documented and evidenced, how either Mr. Gradwell, Mr. Warcup, or Diane Simon can say that I knew at a very early stage that the fragment was definitely old and that it was definitely a piece of coconut. The truth is that, as I left the island, we did not know what it was. The Anthropologist who declared it a piece of a child’s skull could not be as certain after seeing it six weeks later when it had changed pretty substantially. Even then she said it would need further examination, which in effect is what the lab said. Why would anyone try to make out this was not the case?

I have had to explain those details in response to so much nonsense which has been peddled by the Jersey Establishment – but we shouldn’t be diverted by the issue of this, one fragment.

The crucial fact – that the powers-that-be in Jersey don’t want people to understand – is that the single fragment in question had been discounted from the investigation.

The important thing of course is not what it is. That stopped being important when we found out how old it was. Gradwell, Warcup, and Ms. Simon have totally ignored that fact. They have tried to tell the public that I knew it was coconut and/or too old to be of interest very early on, but nevertheless pursued the investigation solely on the basis of that, one, fragment. Their story is a total fabrication.


Firstly, they, the experts on dating, are not sure they can date it. Secondly, they make it clear they have found more than enough collagen (only found in mammals) to date the fragment. However, they then change their mind again and say the fragment is too badly degraded. Also, note the use of the terms ‘skull’ and ‘bone.’ If the experts cannot be sure on 28th March, how can anyone say that I knew on 24th February?

On 31st March, Ms Brock e-mailed again. In this e-mail, headed, “Re: Jersey Skull for C14 Dating,” she said that ‘the Director had now expressed concern about what the fragment was. The Technician (who is not an Anthropologist) who was carrying out the process commented that it ‘looked like a coconut husk.’ She went on to say “If it isn’t bone I am really sorry,” but then finishes with “although it could well have been poorly preserved bone as I described it.”

Now, how Wiltshire, in the light of Brock’s final comment, can say that anyone knew what JAR/6 was can only be answered by Wiltshire themselves. As they have ignored these e mails perhaps that gives a clue. Furthermore, it should also be pointed out, that the letter which this lab e mailed me three weeks after they allegedly sent it, was no more conclusive and ended up by advising me that if I wanted to know what JAR/6 was, I should have it re-examined by an Anthropologist in a Laboratory.

By then of course, we knew it was irrelevant and would be a waste of money to do so. Why then, did Gradwell et al send something labelled as JAR/6 off to Kew Gardens when they not only knew it to be irrelevant, but would also have known that the careless way they and the Oxford Lab had handled the item, meant that no court in the land would have accepted that it was beyond doubt the same item that we had originally labelled JAR/6? Seems a waste of money, but as Gradwell refused to give evidence to the Scrutiny Panel about financial matters we may never know!!! Lenny Harper


There should be no problem whatsoever with accounting for the movements and whereabouts of this fragment, JAR/6, at any time. Each time it moves from or to the police store it should be carefully logged. We found the item on 23rd February. It remained with us, until from memory, the 6th March when it was taken to the Carbon Dating Lab in Oxford. We logged it out. We logged it back in again on 8th April when our Anthropologist again examined it and noticed that its appearance had changed considerably, and she was now not so sure of her verdict, although she could not reach a definite conclusion.

The item should have been in the presence of the Oxford lab throughout the time it was there but it seems, that in breach of the rules of evidence they 'passed it around.' They seem to have got themselves into a real tangle, first of all stating it was too old for finding collagen, then finding it, then saying it was too degraded to date.

Somewhere in all of this, a lab technician made the throwaway comment that it looked like a piece of coconut. (Funny how it was an unqualified technician and none of the experts who had examined it closely) This is the origin of the "ILM coconut" theory and of course encouraged by Warcup and Gradwell, along with their other public declarations such as the cellars not being cellars but only three feet voids. The item JAR/6 came back to us without a log of its movements from Oxford. As soon as it returned then we commenced again logging its movements and it should be no problem whatsoever to account for it from there on. Lenny Harper

If you read the full list of what was recovered from HDLG, and all the allegations from the victims, it's astonishing that attempts were made to discredit the investigation and focus on 'the coconut'. But this is Jersey......

Monday, 11 March 2013

Restore our heritage or widen the road

The CoOp did have a reasonable plan to do up this row of heritage buildings, but the scheme was too overbearing in height and Planning wouldn't pass it. So now they want to demolish the lot, and they say they have no other choice.

I say : refuse to accept this! It makes me ashamed to be a shareholder, if this is what they want to do to our townscape.

The answer is simple. If we have to lose the buildings, then there's no good reason to keep this road so narrow. It's a danger to pedestrians. I have found, in several instances, people trying to cross the road from the narrow lane and having difficulty with limited visibility of oncoming traffic. A shop on the other side of the lane has suffered damage from lorry collisions a few times too.

So, sorry CoOp - but you can't have it both ways. If you insist upon taking these buildings away from us, then we should insist upon having a wider and safer road. I wonder if that would make any difference to their plans?