Friday, 21 September 2018

Donald Bailhache.



Bailiff Donald Bailhache


Before we start; it has to be stressed (while it's still semi legal) that this Blog Posting is an "opinion" from a member of the public and Social Media/mainstream media contributor. It is difficult knowing where to start with this posting/opinion. We could start with that first we had the brother as BORIS BAILHACHE and now we've got Donald Bailhache.

Jersey's unelected and unaccountable Bailiff William Bailhache has reportedly used his speech (17th September 2018 at Assize D’Heritage in the Royal Court) to attack the mainstream media and Social Media. He has attacked free speech and this is yet another reason why the outdated and out of touch (with the modern digital era) position of Bailiff should be consigned to history.

If what has been reported is correct then one can only assume that the Bailiff's speech was written by Donald Trump. According to the BBC:

"Jersey's Bailiff has described irresponsible reporting in the media as a threat to the rule of law.

In a speech to lawyers at the start of the legal year, Sir William Bailhache said that unregulated social media allowed uninformed opinions to be given free rein - even if they aren't based on fact.

He said that could be damaging to the respect people have for the government and the legal process.

And he said a further danger was that mainstream media would try to keep up with social media by putting forward people's opinions as news.

He asked news organisations to keep their output free from uninformed gossip or chatter."

As we said where does one start with this? Let's start with the

first paragraph:

"A threat to the rule of law." Exactly what "rule of law" is he talking about? The rule of law that has political dissidents imprisoned or bankrupted? The rule of law that has an opposition politician's place of residence turned over by a 10 strong police unit without a search warrant? A (possibly illegal) suspension of a Chief Police Officer whose force was investigating DECADES of covered up Child Abuse? An (unaccountable) Attorney General's Office who won't prosecute powerful alleged Child Abusers, paedophiles and rapists? The list could go on, and on, but for brevity let's leave it there and perhaps readers would have other examples.

Second paragraph:

"unregulated social media allowed uninformed opinions to be given free rein - even if they aren't based on fact."

I mean what the flick??? People have opinions, "based on fact"  or otherwise, and what, they shouldn't be allowed to share them??? Words do actually fail me here because I don't think I have come across anything so ridiculous in my life.

Third paragraph:

"could be damaging to the respect people have for the government and the legal process."

Really? exactly what "respect" is he talking about? The last social survey which asked the question(s) reported (if memory serves correct and stand to be corrected) 75% of those surveyed had no confidence in the government and 50% had no confidence in our so-called "justice" system. What kind of respect does he believe the State has? He should probably read more social Media, and indeed comments (from the public who shouldn't have an opinion aired) on MSM online articles. Here is an example of Jersey's "JUSTICE" SYSTEM.

Fourth paragraph:

"mainstream media would try to keep up with social media by putting forward people's opinions as news."

I've got breaking news for the Bailiff. It is the mainstream media's job to be a voice of/for the public. It is not there to be (or shouldn't be) a mouthpiece for the government, nor unelected, unaccountable, outdated Bailiffs/Crown Officers. To quote George Orwell:
“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.” The Bailiffs and all Crown Officers should learn that in the new digital era people are able to be held to account like never before. Being held to account is an alien concept to Crown Officers and rather than attempting to legislate against free speech they should get with the times and embrace a new, open, digital world. Take onboard the criticisms and adapt accordingly rather than employing "The Jersey Way" tactic of oppression and Kangaroo (secret) Courts to silence critics. Why not work with the critics in order to win over the public's trust and confidence?

Fifth paragraph:

"He asked news organisations to keep their output free from uninformed gossip or chatter."

Who does he think he is asking the media what (not) to report? If he has a problem with the media then he should complain to the relevant authorities. We are forever being told how well regulated the MSM is and Social Media isn't! Why doesn't he make a complaint to the police quoting P.19/2016?

Of course, those of us familiar with the Leveson Inquiry are aware that the MSM is NOT regulated and P.19/2016 was a tool to silence "public opinion" and not the opinion of the great and good.

But what about the media's role in all this? The JEP has reported on the Bailiff's speech as have the Bailiwick Express, CTV and the BBC that I am aware of and yet not one journalist has challenged this unprecedented attack on free speech? How much do these "journalists" respect their profession?

The Bailiff attacked ALL media, and thus far, has not been asked to substantiate ANY of his claims or give examples. Donald Trump is regularly challenged (by journalists) when he attacks the media
(predominantly MSM) across America and world-wide. How can our media remain so silent when its profession is under such attack? This isn't just an attack on the MSM and I believe both Social Media and the MSM should be fighting in the same corner here. The fact that it's Social Media challenging this attack on free speech and the MSM, thus far, remaining silent is not a good start (or look for the MSM). Unfortunately there is still an element of the MSM that see responsible, respected, Blogs such as ours as a threat. It is time they started working with us rather than remaining silent when free speech its under attack. We have, and do, work well with some reporters in the MSM but others need to drop their prejudice for the greater good in holding power to account and being a voice for the voiceless.

Ironically the MSM look to have committed the offence William Bailhache has accused them of. They have reported his words/opinion, and thus far, not provided, or asked for, any evidence to back up his wide-sweeping allegations (opinion). Perhaps he, and parts of the MSM, think it's ok for unelected, unaccountable members of the State, to have published any opinion they want and not back it up with evidence and it's just the plebs who can't have their opinions published/broadcast?

I have asked BBC Radio Jersey to invite the Bailiff onto its "hot seat" programme in order to back up his claims and be held to account like mere (elected/accountable) mortals do. I have also expressed that I would relish the opportunity to sit alongside the Bailiff on the programme representing Social Media and hold him to account myself. I've been told by the BBC it would put that invitation to the Bailiff so I will keep readers posted as to whether that happens......................................................or not..............................











Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Chief Minister John Le Fondre Interview (Part 2 or 2).


Chief Minister John Le Fondre

Part two of our exclusive interview with the Chief Minister is a direct continuation of part one. In part two we ask such questions as "who is the opposition in the States now that the opposition has been recruited by the Establishment?" Was this a genuine move on the Chief Minister's behalf to finally have a more inclusive government or was it a cynical move in order to silence the opposition? Is Reform Jersey (Jersey's only political party) now the Establishment? Who, in the States Chamber, with any political experience, and who are not members of the Establishment Party, is left to scrutinise what the government is doing?

Regular readers will be aware from our INTERVIEW with Children's and Housing Minister, Senator Sam Mezec, that he (Senator Mezec) agreed to adopt the terminology suggested by The National Association of People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) when referring to child abuse to use the term "non recent" rather than the derogatory and offensive term "historic." We are pleased to report that the Chief Minister has also agreed to adopt this terminology from NAPAC media GUIDELINES. We hope that others will follow suit and in particular the mainstream media who even refer to present day Child Abuse as "historic." This BLOG POSTING explains, from the perspective of Survivor/Abusee Tom Perry the word "historic" is used and who uses it.


We go on to ask the Chief Minister what can we expect from his government that is different from any other government we have had? Can there be any much needed change or is it just the same old with different faces? Only time will tell.

We would like to thank the Chief Minister for his support of Citizen's Media and in particular for the positive feedback of (and during) our interview/Blog. He believes we are a force for good in holding power and the mainstream media to account.

Part one of our interview can be viewed HERE.



Thursday, 13 September 2018

Cheif Minster John Le Fondre Interview (Part 1 of 2).


Chief Minister John Le Fondre

Since Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondre, was elected earlier this year, VFC has been trying to secure an interview with him. Because of logistics it was not able to happen until a couple of days ago. (Tues 11 Set 2018). This is the first in-depth video interview he has given since his election.

The Chief Minister had generously put aside 45 minutes (of his very busy schedule) for our interview. Unfortunately because the States meeting, on Tuesday, ran over time in the morning, his schedule was a little put out but was still able to afford us 20 minutes for the (two part) interview and for that we are grateful.

As the interview was conducted during the States meeting lunch break it was not known at this stage that the current Bailiff WILLIAM BAILHACHE was to announce his retirement. However as we are committed to seeing the recommendations of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry (IJCI) implemented, we did quiz him about RECOMMENDATION 7 which deals with "The Jersey Way" and the position of Bailiff.

Former Police Chief Graham Power QPM

We also asked the Chief Minister, among much more, if he was going to right some of the wrongs of the past concerning the (possibly illegal) suspension of the former Police Chief Graham Power QPM. His response wasn't as positive as we would have liked but we believe/hope he is as good as his word and will look into it and then do the right thing.

We thank the Chief Minister for his support of Citizens Media and of our Blog (more in part two of interview).

 Part 1 (of 2)



Monday, 10 September 2018

Senator Sam Mezec Childrens' Minister (part 2 of 2)


Senator Sam Mezec

Following the fall-out of the latest DAMMING REPORT into Jersey's children's Services, the 8 commitment pledge to children (below) and the subsequent PRESS CONFERENCES.VFC was granted an interview with Jersey's first appointed Childrens' Minister, Senator Sam Mezec, where we published part 1 of the interview HERE.

Below is part two (a direct continuation of part 1) of this exclusive and in-depth interview where we discuss, among much more, "The Jersey Way" and how is it possible that six Health and Social Services employees were apparently suspended from duty as a result of evidence given to the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry. They were allegedly investigated and subsequently all six found to have no case to answer and returned to work? All six completely innocent and returned to work? Is this "The Jersey Way" in action?

We also discuss the word "historic" when used in the context of Child Abuse. Regular readers might recall back in January 2012 we published a Guest Posting from Survivor/Abusee TOM PERRY. Tom explained to us why the term "historic" is only ever used (predominantly by MSM) in the context of Child Abuse.

To quote Tom (from the Guest Posting above):

Tom Perry

"Would Mrs Doreen Lawrence consider her son Stephen’s murder nineteen years ago ‘historic?’ For her, just like me and other abusees who have not had the benefit of having their cases heard in court, it is all too current. Yet the media do not use the ‘historic’ word to describe Stephen’s murder. Why not? Take a few other serious crimes such as aggravated burglary, grievous bodily harm, drug smuggling, or assault, and all are free of the dismissive adjective ‘historic.’ I have also never seen the crime of rape described as historic. So what is it about child abuse? 

For authorities, care homes, schools, young offenders institutes that knowingly and unknowingly employed pederasts to work with children and then concealed discovered crimes, the use of the adjective ‘historic’ helps dismiss, discount, and consign to history a scandal they wish no one had noticed and which the employer does not wish to address. The same authorities delight in this self-harming description being consistently applied to crime they wish would vanish, but which remain all too current for all Jersey’s abusees.

Its child abuse."

The MSM in Jersey still continue to use this offensive (to Survivors) word "historic" as do many others who want to minimise the offence and those who don't understand how harmful it can be to Survivors. We are (very) pleased to announce that the Childrens' Minister has agreed to consign that word to "history" and when referring to Child Abuse in the past context he has agreed to use the term "non recent" and will be instructing his staff to do likewise.

The term "non recent" is suggested by The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) as part of its MEDIA GUIDELINES. 

We hope that if the Minister, and the so-called, "Child Care experts" on the island use the term "non recent" it could be more difficult for the MSM to continue its offending. This would be a huge step forward and we thank the Minister for his commitment on this.

Also discussed is the pledge to children:

  1. We will listen directly to children and young people and involve them in how we design, deliver and review our services
  2. We will provide integrated support for families that need extra help caring for their children
  3. We will provide all children in our care with access to a safe, loving, secure home environment
  4. We will expand, join up and target our early help offer to ensure that children and young people get the support they need when they need it, to prevent risk and issues from escalating
  5. We will recruit and retain a child-centred, stable, highly professional workforce
  6. We will make it easier for data and insight across organisations to be shared so that, when assessing how best to meet their needs, we look at children’s and young people’s lives as a whole
  7. We will ensure that sufficient funding is available to be effective and that any regulatory and legislative changes needed will be progressed swiftly
  8. We will set and publish clear standards and we will be held publicly to account for achieving them.

Is it worth the paper it is written on or is it a determined commitment by the Minister to bring people onboard and show the children of today that they do have worth? 

All StatesMembers and key workers are being asked to sign this pledge and we are told we will be kept updated online (Twitter and States website) as to who has or hasn't signed it.

Part 1 of our interview can be viewed HERE.





Saturday, 8 September 2018

Senator Sam Mezec Childrens' Minister (part 1 of 2)


Senator Sam Mezec


Following the publication of yet another damming REPORT into Jersey's Children's Services, which was commissioned by the Jersey Care Commission (JCC), and conducted by Ofsted. A Press Conference was held by the JCC, and the States of Jersey separately on the same day and reported by VFC HERE.  Following this Press Conference we requested and were granted an exclusive and in-depth interview with the island's first ever Children's Minister Senator Sam Mezec.

We were curious as to why he believes he is the best person for the job? With so many people supposedly being responsible for our children now, who does the buck stop with? How is he going to attract Social workers to our island? He tells us, among much more, that the "discriminatory housing rules" need to be looked at/changed in order to face this challenge.

This is part one, of a two part interview/Blog, where we hope the reader/viewer will gain a better understanding of the Minister's role and we thank the Minister for engaging with Citizens Media and answering some of the toughest questions he has been asked by any media.



Thursday, 6 September 2018

Jersey Care Commission/Ofsted Report.




The Jersey Care Commission (JCC) was set up in the wake of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry (IJCI) but quite what its remit is is a little of a mystery as yet. There is little information online and as it is still relatively young, it does not, as yet, have its own website. JCC invited Ofsted to inspect Jersey's Child Care system, which it has done, and produced another damming report. The report isn't online yet so we will publish a link when it becomes available.

This morning JCC held a Press conference presenting the report and to answer questions from the media and the public. VFC went down on the off-chance they may be allowed entry and film the Conference. We are pleased to say we were made to feel extremely welcome and the Commission members were very accommodating, appeared enthusiastic, open and transparent about their work. This in itself could hopefully be part of the cultural change so badly needed in Jersey where those who question authority have been marginalised and pushed to the sidelines. Bloggers and Social Media publishers are now being recognised as legitimate commentators? The JCC is independent of the States and pretty much of Jersey so may be it is just them who are so accommodating at Press Conferences? We did film the entire Press Conference and will look to publish the video to Youtube.

When more information, and the report, become available we shall publish it.

In the meantime below is a short video of VFC asking a few questions of the Commission's Chairman.







Directly after the JCC there was a Press Conference held by, among others, Children's Minister Senator Sam Mezec, and Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondre. They want all States Members to sign a pledge to children which consists of 8 commitments.

The Pledge to Jersey’s Children and Young People has eight specific commitments:

  1. We will listen directly to children and young people and involve them in how we design, deliver and review our services
  2. We will provide integrated support for families that need extra help caring for their children
  3. We will provide all children in our care with access to a safe, loving, secure home environment
  4. We will expand, join up and target our early help offer to ensure that children and young people get the support they need when they need it, to prevent risk and issues from escalating
  5. We will recruit and retain a child-centred, stable, highly professional workforce
  6. We will make it easier for data and insight across organisations to be shared so that, when assessing how best to meet their needs, we look at children’s and young people’s lives as a whole
  7. We will ensure that sufficient funding is available to be effective and that any regulatory and legislative changes needed will be progressed swiftly
  8. We will set and publish clear standards and we will be held publicly to account for achieving them.



VFC was also welcomed to film and ask questions at this conference, again, we filmed the entire Conference and will look to publish the full version on Youtube.

Below is a video of questions asked by VFC.





Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Interview with Reform Jersey's Senator-Elect Sam Mezec.


Senator-Elect Sam Mezec

Now that the dust has somewhat settled around the recent Jersey elections. VFC asked Senator-Elect Sam Mezec for his first, exclusive, in-depth, video recorded interview and kindly he agreed.

We wanted to ask Sam about his/Reform Jersey's campaign and how the negative,organised and funded smear campaign against his party had affected him and the party. What was the truth behind the nomination papers which saw two of Reform Jersey's Candidates being taken to court? What role did the "accredited" media play and what role did Social Media play during the election campaign and subsequently? Were the court cases accurately reported by the "accredited" media? The court cases deserve a Blog Posting of their very own and something we might return to.........If the MSM won't.

According to Senator-Elect Mezec at one stage the Solicitor General changed the whole case against them/their candidate overnight. Now where/when have we seen this happen before? Perhaps former Health Minister and whistleblower Stuart Syvret might have an idea? It sounds like the whole court business was a complete shambles but that's not how I recall the MSM reporting it. Indeed "shambles" is how it's described by Sam and something that could/should have been sorted out with a phone-call rather than the expense and intimidation of candidates.

We asked the question(s) that hasn't/haven't been asked by the MSM. Including; "is it really conceivable to believe that out of somewhere in the region of ninety six candidates only two (who just happen to be Reform Jersey candidates) of them made a mistake on the nomination papers? Did any other (establishment) candidate make any mistakes and get the phone-call from the parish to sort it out rather than a court summons?" I mean what are the chances/odds of that happening?

Further discussed in the interview below are subjects such as the Independent Election Observers who were overseeing our election process, fake news, MSM campaign against the threat (to the MSM) of Social Media, BBC bias and much more.............





















Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Stuart Syvret Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Interview.


Former Health Minister/whistleblower Stuart Syvret


Political observers may be aware that the Jersey elections (or lack of) are being monitored (hopefully) by an independent Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). They have been on the island since the 5th of May.

According to VOT.JE:

The Mission will observe:
. political campaigning
. electoral administration
. voter registration and accessibility
. candidate nomination
. polling (including postal and pre-polling)
. counting and tabulation
. post-election complaints or appeals

A preliminary report will be published within two days following the election to outline the initial findings. A closing report will be published within two months after the election making recommendations for electoral reform.(END)

Yesterday (Tues 8th May 2018) the CPA held a Press Conference at the State Building where the MSM, members of the public/Bloggers were welcome to attend and ask questions of the panel. Fellow Blogger TOM GRUCHY was in attendance and indeed filmed parts of the Press Conference published HERE. Also in attendance was former Senator/Health Minster/alleged political prisoner and whistleblower Stuart Syvret. Readers are encouraged to click on the link above where Mr. Syvret and Tom Gruchy demonstrate why the island needs an independent media (Bloggers) in order to get some questions asked.

Readers might not also be aware that the CPA is taking submissions from the public with their own observations concerning the electoral (or lack of) process in Jersey. We strongly urge those who have knowledge, or just observations, to contact the CPA at jerseyelectionobservation2018@gmail.com where we believe they would be happy to meet with you. Alternatively you can just make your submission on the e-mail.

Former Senator Syvret has been relatively quiet for quite some time now and the general feeling is that he fears illegal imprisonment from another secret court if he is seen attempting to rock the Jersey boat. That said he did grant Tom Gruchy an exclusive, in-depth interview, directly after the CPA Press Conference which we publish below.

We are told that Mr. Syvret will be making a comprehensive submission to the CPA as will a number of others including sitting and former politicians as well as Bloggers, members of the public, and hopefully readers of this Blog?

If you think there is something wrong with our electoral process, or indeed if you believe there is something right with it, then you should tell the CPA.  jerseyelectionobservation2018@gmail.com

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Some of the Above. (NOTA 2)






In continuance of the previous PREVIOUS POSTING where an e-mail was sent to all candidates standing for Senator in the Jersey 2018 election. The e-mail asked the question(s) 

"1). would you support, or not, a “None of the Above” box on the Ballot Paper? 

2.) Using up to 800 words would you please explain why/why not?

3). If you DO support a “None of the Above” option and are elected/re-elected. Would you bring a proposition to the States to have it included on the Ballot Paper?"

Sixteen out of the seventeen candidates have now responded and their answers/e-mails (or parts of) are published below.

Firstly I would like to thank the candidates (or those that did) for taking time out of their busy schedules and answering the question(s). Readers (or I) might not agree with some of them but at least they are willing to engage and answer the question(s). 

Hopefully readers will find the answers useful when deciding who to vote for (or not) at the election.

The e-mails/replies are published, from top to bottom, in the order they were received. The first reply being at the top, and last, at the bottom.

Candidate Frank Luce
"Thank you for your email
The reason people do not vote is apathy they see the process will change nothing so why bother?
That was my opinion until the horrors perpetuated by this government have woken me up to try and influence change for a listening inclusive government
Actions speak louder than words if you don't vote there is no need to confirm it in writing

I think it is unnecessary and would not vote for its introduction !
Kind regards
Frank."

Candidate Stevie Ocean

"Hi There
Very Interesting and those who can't be bothered the first to moan !What about in my case i have already achieved reeducating google by have the letters UK from all five of our Islands why because we are nit part of the UK fact that is also the objective with LinkedIn,Twitter,You Tube ,I already have my American Twitter followers starting a petition to make those mentioned recognise we & our other Islands are not part of the UK I was horrified to learn even royal.mail.need re-educating as they also believe the same this can be confirmed on the drop.down menu my address is a private house not here,I'm a man of action not promises or pledges read my manifesto i mean the expanded version I sent it to all media include your good selves and back in 2016 here was confusion of my name on the ballot paper it cost me votes through spoilt papers my fan club were threaten if they voted for me 1000 then so i would have had 1140 minimum finished in 4th place and would have done deal with Simon Cowell &Co so.when i decided to stand i made sure this wasn't going to happen again so a gov dept represented me and I'm not Peter Mac and with my Equity Card as back up proof and i have personal liability insurance of £10 million pounds yes and I made history the 1st person outside the States Assembly to change the law that is history.


Okay this is not Brewster's Millions when he has to spend $30m in 30 day to get his real inheritance of $300m great film how never you could do that copyright infringement and you would be sued a fact so i suggest not even joking tongue in cheek forget it as its not for that purpose as explain abd if you think I don't know what I'm talking about wrong i have be requested to stand on the executive council of equity for the forth time so.my advice drop that angle now its in your best interests and you haven't got millions plus costs doing you a favor

Kind Regards"

Candidate Moz Scott

"Hi Nick

1) I would not support a None of the Above Box on the Ballot Paper

2) Such a box gives a voter an opportunity to vent frustration at 

• the quality of the candidates or
• the political system 

but it would not explain which.

Nor would it provide full information as the apathy that you have identified amongst Jersey’s voters already exists. Many people who do not vote would not bother to tick a ballot paper saying they do not want to vote.

You also do not suggest what is to be done with the additional information that your proposal would provide. It does not solve the problem that already exists.

It is best to focus on the political change needed to make voters feel better represented and to secure a better quality of candidate. The necessary measures to reform the States Assembly and the Council of Ministers are set out in my online manifesto (to be found at http://votemoz.je/). I would add to these a deposit system and a change to the current pay structure for States Members.

3. No, for the reason explained above. I would serve the Island better by focusing on the reforms described in the preceding paragraph.

A box of the nature that you describe could be useful as a way of testing the effectiveness of electoral reforms but would not achieve much in preceding them. 

Kind Regards"

Candidate Gordon-George-Troy

"Thank you for your email. In reply to your question:

1) I would not support a "none of the above box" on the ballot paper
2) We already have a "none of the above" opportunity, those people not voting meet this criteria. A "none of the above" box could cause confusion where a voter would put their cross voting for candidates they like and put a cross in the "none of the above" box, meaning they dont want to vote for the other candidates, this would render the ballot paper invalid.
3) No, I would not bring such a proposition to the States


Gordon George Troy
Candidate for Senator"

Candidate Phil Maguire

"Until recently, I wished there was a "None of the above" on every election form. Now I've modified my position. Instead, I think a candidate should only be allowed into government if they get a minimum percentage (say 10%) of the electorate to vote for them. This is not the number of people who voted but the number of people allowed to vote. So every person who doesn't vote becomes a vote of no confidence and candidates could not get in unopposed - their supporters would have to get off their arses and vote.

Yes, I would love to champion this or a better solution to the shambles we have now

Regards"

Candidate Gerard Baudains

Hello Neil,

No, because it would serve no purpose. If you don’t want ‘any of the above’ then don’t put a cross by their name. Or you could write in ‘none of the above’ yourself, as the ballot paper would not be electing anyone anyway.
A more important point, one which perhaps escapes some, is that you don’t have to select 8 (in the senatorials) – just one if that’s the only candidate you want.

“Every election time we hear all kinds of “guesses” and “speculation” as to why the majority of the population will not engage with the electoral process and why there is somewhere in the region of a 70% voter abstention”.

That’s got considerably worse since the introduction of ministerial government. My manifesto hopefully explains the situation – ministers, not the States, are now our government and they are led by groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, instead of listening to the public.
To exacerbate the problem, the public realise that whoever they elect, nothing will change. They are right, because unless the candidate they elect becomes a minister, he / she is relegated to the back row where all election pledges, fresh ideas and bringing ‘change’ count for nothing.
We have a dictatorship, and in this election I’m trying to get the message across that unless we elect candidates committed to changing the system, nothing will change and we’ll all be having exactly the same conversation in four years time.

best regards,

Candidate Sarah Ferguson

"Neil

If people are not prepared to vote then they should not complain. Alternatively they should stand for election. People died to get me my vote so I am going to use it.

This year is the first one since I came to Jersey in 1968 when we have a chance to oust the establishment party. So many of them have decided not to stand that we have a chance to get a government which has a change agenda and is prepared to move on it. What is more we have a number of candidates who are not only qualified but also competent to undertake government.

With great respect, I am expected to make decisions and not to duck them – if you don’t vote then you are ducking your responsibility.

Regards"

Candidate Sam Mezec (Reform Jersey)

"1) Definitely not.

2) Voting "None of the Above" is an act of political surrender which does absolutely nothing to make Jersey a better place. If some people are aggrieved that they can't find any candidates they like, and can't even find the "least worst" candidate to support as a compromise, then they should try to do something positive about it, instead of insisting that they have the right to do what is the equivalent of throwing their toys out of the pram at the ballot box.

3) No, and we would vote against one if another member brought one."

Candidate Tracey Vallois


"Good morning Neil,

Thank you for your email.

It is disappointing that there are many that choose not to use their vote but, as you say, this is varying reasons and I have heard a few myself whilst out and about meeting people.

My answers to your specific questions are as follows
1) yes
2) not applicable
3) I would and have placed this on a to do list alongside a couple of issues that islanders have asked me address so far, should I be elected.
Kind regards"


Candidate Ian Gorst

"Dear Neil,

Thank you for your email.

I don’t agree with a law amendment.

I think we face a deeper problem which is not only about quality of candidates, but also about our system, about the number of States Members, about salary levels. These are the issues that the next States needs to make progress on.

Simply putting the option of non of the above will not solve voter turn out issues.

Best regards,"

Candidate Simon Bree

"Dear Mr McMurray,

Many thanks for your email of 21st April 2018, and my apologies about the slight delay in replying.

To answer the questions you posed:

1. I would not support a “None of the Above” box on the Ballot Paper.

2. Having such a box on the Ballot Paper would not, I believe, have any noticeable impact on the high levels of voter abstention that Jersey currently suffers from. People do not vote for a whole range of reasons, as you clearly indicate, but perhaps the two biggest reasons are that they “are happy with their lot”, and that there is no-one on the ballot paper that they would actually vote for. Those who are happy with their lot are unlikely to turn out to vote unless something radical happens on the political scene to make them change their minds. As to the people who do not feel there is anyone they would vote for, so why bother voting at all, this raises the question of the calibre and nature of candidates. To put yourself forward as a candidate is a very serious decision, knowing full well that you will more than likely come under extreme scrutiny – not only for your political views, but also as an individual. I am sure that for some this creates a major barrier to standing for election. But only by having a much more diverse and varied number of people standing, will, I believe, we ever manage to get over voter apathy. I stood for election as a Deputy because I wanted to make a difference to people’s lives, and improve everyone’s quality of life. I did not agree with the way that this Island was being run, so decided to put myself forward. This may sound to some as completely naïve, but it is true. And I would encourage anyone who feels the same, or who is angered by what they see happening around them, to do the same. Give people someone to vote for, if that is what you truly believe is the root cause of voter apathy. Stand up and be counted for what you truly believe in, but be prepared for close scrutiny, and at times, ridicule. But to have a “None of the Above” box on the Ballot Paper is making a mockery of those individuals who are prepared to stand for election, who are prepared to stand up for what they believe in. You may not like or agree with their political views, and you are perfectly at liberty to disagree with them using any form of communication you like, but at least they have put themselves forward for election. We need to find ways to encourage the electorate to turn out on polling day to make a “positive” vote, as opposed to a “negative” vote. And I seriously do not believe that having such a box on the Ballot Paper will encourage voters to turn out in any substainally greater numbers.

3. As you will have probably ascertained by now, should such a proposition be brought to the States Assembly, I would vote against it.

Regards"

Candidate Steve Pallett

"Hi Neil 

My apologies for the delay in coming back to you, as you'll appreciate we are all very busy at the moment! 

In answer to your questions:

1. I would not support a ‘NOTA’ on the ballot paper until the public are fully consulted on their views and further research is undertaken.

2. Casting a vote for NOTA is seen as a way of protesting against the poor quality of candidates in any election. Although a strong vote on NOTA may well be a ‘slap in the face' for those putting their names forward and potentially a moral victory for disaffected voters, I do not believe that NOTA will be a driving force for change in throwing up better candidates.

I believe that a deposit system (small amount) is far more likely to deter people from standing if it is linked to having to obtain a percentage of the vote or you lose your deposit.

To attract better candidates the role of a States Member must be seen as more attractive than it currently is and may require some roles to have a better remuneration package.

NOTA is, I believe, more likely to deter better candidates than attract them (considering that some States Members have already retired due to the personal abuse aimed at both themselves and their families). I think it likely that abuse of all kinds, the lack of support and the current remuneration is either stopping or preventing better candidates from standing.

NOTA will only add to the negativity around elections when we need to be far more positive and encourage more civic participation in our elections.

3. No I would not bring a proposition as I think this is a matter for the Priveleges and Procedure to consider and then if necessary take to the States.

Kind Regards" 

Candidate Gino Risoli

"hi Neal.
I can understand your frustration but as you know I am determined to make our finances accountable online. I believe this would entirely change Jersey politics. Regards" 


Candidate Lyndon Farnham

"Dear Mr McMurray,

In response to your questions.

1. I would support, in principle, a proposal to add a ‘none of the above’ option to the Ballot Paper unless presented with an overwhelming reason not to (I can’t think of one at present).

2. I did bring an amendment to add a ‘none of the above’ option to the referendum questions on Electoral Reform (Option A, B or C) but it was rejected by the Assembly. I am not totally clear on the advantages or disadvantages of adding it to the Ballot Paper other than to suggest that it could provide a clearer picture on voter apathy. For example, it would no longer be an excuse not to vote on the grounds that you did not support any of the declared candidates.

3. I think a proposition of this nature should be presented to the Assembly by the Privileges and Procedures Committee to stand the best chance of being accepted.

Apologies again for the delay in reply.

With kind regards,"

Candidate John Le Fondre

"Dear Neil

Apologies for delay in responding.

In general terms the comment you make is valid, ie that there are electors who do attend to exercise their vote, but do strike a line through the entire ballot slip, so I take the point, and I also note that this is raised in a number of jurisdictions across the globe. 

The problem is how you could implement this in practice, and what would be the consequences. Equally, should you have 'none of the above' and 'none of the rest' [voters sometimes find they can only find 1 or 2 candidates from the number that they are entitled to vote for].

So before I made any commitment to changing the voting slip I would want to know any potential consequences ; and whether this was actually practical.

However I do note that there are apparently a number of countries that permit this option, including some parts of Canada (and 1 State in the USA) , and also France (although I gather that this is not a 'formal' process whereby a 'NOTA' vote would be counted separately). 

In short, not against the suggestion ; would want to understand the practicalities.

I would also like the States to reconsider the position on candidates paying some form of deposit.

Hope that helps"

Candidate Kristina Moore

"Thank you for your question and please excuse any delay, you may appreciate that we have many people sending us questions and we try our best to respond as we can.

Essentially my answer would be yes, but this is not going to be high on my list of things to achieve. At the relevant moment, ie when we come to discuss reform of the assembly and electoral process I would be happy to ensure that it is included."(END)

Candidate Ant Lewis

After two weeks, two e-mails, and a tweet, Candidate Ant Lewis has not yet answered the questions. After I sent all candidates a reminder e-mail Mr. Lewis did respond (11 days ago) by saying:

"Hi,

Later.
Thank you.
Best wishes,

Ant."(END)

Should Mr. Lewis answer the question(s) then they will be considered for publication in the comment section of this Blog Posting.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

None of the Above?




Just as around thirty percent of the island's electorate are, I am taking an interest in the up-coming election, and wondering where to put my X on the Ballot Paper in particular for the Senatorial contest.

It's that time of year, that happens every four years, where the people who are potentially going to be ruling over us for the next political term are all lining up telling us how they are going to make our lives better and sort out all the ills that have plagued local politics since before time begun! Of course it's election time.

I'm not sure how readers feel but - being as long in the tooth as I am - I've pretty much heard, or seen, it all before when it comes to election promises and election campaigns and nothing really ever changes. That's because nothing can change. Candidates (or at least some) go into politics with the best intentions and they are either silenced by having the attractive offer of immediate promotion to Minister/Assistant Minister or silenced by being relegated to the Backbench/Scrutiny where you are silenced by being in the minority. Portrayed by a complicit media as a "Trouble Maker" if you try to rock the boat and ask uncomfortable questions. Nonetheless it hasn't (yet) deterred me from voting although I can see that point being reached for the 2022 elections!

Senator Candidates 2018

After many discussions with people who follow (but don't necessarily vote in) the elections I was minded (and did) e-mail the 17 Senatorial Candidates with a question, that pops up at every election, about a "None of the Above" box on the Ballot paper...............Or not.

I was wondering how readers feel about it and in particular readers who don't vote. If there was a None of the Above box that you could tick - would that entice you to exercise your right and vote? With such a large voter abstention (around 70%) would this option bring more voters out? If not why don't you vote? What would encourage you to vote? Would Party Politics, rather than the complete mess we've got now, bring you to the Ballot Box? Having equal sized constituencies? One type of States Member rather than three?

It could be encouraging to some extent that a number of existing States Members are not standing for re-election including some Ministers and I have not noticed too many tears being shed for their impending absence. In the past our parliament has too often resembled a day-centre for elderly Jersey-folk.

Whatever your political inclinations the election will provide at least some voters ( particularly in the Deputies elections) the opportunity to bring the island's government/parliament a degree of youth and diversity which it has often lacked in the past.

Anyhow, as mentioned above, I have sent the below e-mail to the 17 Senatorial Candidates and will look to publish their answers (if/when I get them) in due course.

"Dear Candidate.

After speaking with a large number of people, across the political divide, there seems to be a recurring theme as to why a number of them don’t vote and can’t be convinced to vote in the up-coming election.

The reasons vary as to why they will not engage in the Electoral Process ranging from the system being broken and their vote/voice doesn’t count. The most recurring theme is that they don’t see anybody, standing for election, worthy of their vote and if there was a “none of the above” option on the Ballot Paper then they would go to the Polling Station and tick that particular box.

For my own position I do, and will be voting, in this election.

Some of you will know me and have granted me interviews for my Blog (link below) in the past and will know that I predominantly campaign for Victims and Survivors of Child Abuse. I also commentate, or write about, political issues that aren’t always related to that particular subject and this is one of those times.

Although there are many other questions I will be looking to be answered before casting my vote I thought this/these question(s) could stimulate political involvement/discussion by publishing it (and possibly your answer(s)) on my Blog.

Every election time we hear all kinds of “guesses” and “speculation” as to why the majority of the population will not engage with the electoral process and why there is somewhere in the region of a 70% voter abstention. The “guesses” and “speculation” are pretty much the same at every election. “People are happy with their lot.” “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and many more including the one’s above.

I want to end these speculations and guesses and in order to do that I would support a “None of the Above” box on the Ballot paper. At the very least this option will show us if the electorate is “happy with its lot” or not. It would also open up the voting system for more people which I’m sure you would all agree can only be a positive?

I’d like to ask you, as candidates:
1). would you support, or not, a “None of the Above” box on the Ballot Paper?

2.) Using up to 800 words would you please explain why/why not?

3). If you DO support a “None of the Above” option and are elected/re-elected. Would you bring a proposition to the States to have it included on the Ballot Paper?"(END)


At the time of going to press six Candidates had replied. Replies will form a Blog Posting of their own. Similarly those who don't reply will form a Blog Posting of their own.




Monday, 12 March 2018

Chief Minister To Seek Re-Election


Chief Minister Ian Gorst.

Jersey's Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, has declared his intention to put himself, once more, before the electorate and seek a third, and final term, as Chief Minister.

Last week VFC was granted an interview (video below) with Senator Gorst to discuss his decision/reasons for seeking an unprecedented third term as the head of the island's government. As an anti Child abuse campaigner I wanted to know how much his support for the Jersey Independent Care Inquiry, and its recommendations, might have hurt him politically, how can he appeal to reformers and traditionalists at the same time? How can he make the public, and States Members, aware of the atrocities which took place (for decades) in State-run "Care" Institutions when some people (and media) only want to discredit the Care Inquiry, and its panel, for ordering a Prawn Cocktail rather than the soup of the day (a-la Operation Rectangle)?


Senator Philip Bailhache

We discuss (among much more) the possibility of (long time critic of the Care Inquiry) Senator Philip Bailhache challenging the leadership role, either openly, or by proxy and what this could mean to the implementation (or not) of the Care Inquiry's recommendations should Senator Bailhache, or a proxy, be successful?

The way I see the up-coming contest for Chief Minister is a two-horse-race. It's either Senator Gorst or Senator Bailhache in the running. Who we elect, at the General Election in May this year, will decide who leads Jersey for the next four years. Who is committed to implementing the Care Inquiry's recommendations? Who is committed to reforming the States and bringing it somewhere close to the 21st Century? Who favours "The Jersey Way" and would take the Island back to the 15th Century? 


Senator Lyndon Farnham

Gorst has come in for a lot of criticism over his leadership across Social Media. One doesn't have to look far on the internet to see remarks like "get Gorst out" "Gorst is useless" "wait until the next election Gorst will be history." This is all well and good but I don't see anybody saying who he will be replaced by? So far the only other declared candidate is Senator Lyndon (Philip Bailhache by proxy) Farnham. With his track record of the Jersey Innovation fund, the Aircraft (non) registry, Condor, and so forth is he really the man to replace Gorst?

Would Senator Gorst be my first choice for Chief Minister? No. But one has to be realistic and look at the "realistic" alternative(s).

Of course this all does depend on either/both Senators Gorst and Bailhache being re-elected in May and unless there's a huge (monumental) shift in the demographic of the voter (traditional Jersey) I think it is a forgone conclusion that both will get back in comfortably. 

Hopefully readers/voters/perspective voters will find the video interview below informative and might encourage them to the polls at the General Election. Vote.je is a very useful site which explains how to get registered to vote and much more which can be found, on the left hand side of this Blogsite under the "My Blog List" banner or  it can be accessed from HERE.  










Thursday, 8 March 2018

Press Release from Political Party Reform Jersey.



Jersey's only Political Party - Reform Jersey - has issued the below Press Release.The Party would also like to invite members of the public to a Seminar being held at the Jersey Opera House this Saturday 10th March 6pm until 8pm. The Seminar is to mark International Women's Day where two guest speakers - Dr Rupa Huq and  Lesley Mansell - will be sharing their political and life experiences.  More information can be found HERE.

Equalities Officers Elected by Reform Jersey
Press Release.

Reform Jersey is pleased to announce that two ‘Equality Officers’ have been elected as part of its management team.

Graca Ramos and Edyta Buard will act as joint-chairs with special oversight for such matters as diversity, equality and community outreach both within the party organisation and in policy making, in general.

In the run up to the election, they will be working with the management team to engage particularly with female voters, Portuguese and Polish residents and other nationals. They will also support candidates in their campaigns within this groups.

Speaking for the Party, Mrs Buard said, “It is important that the States Assembly should more actively reflect the diversity that is present the wider community. Reform Jersey, too, recognise that diversity within the party activists and management is also vital for good policy making and for effective outreach.”

Ms Ramos said that Reform Jersey had actively been seeking to recruit female candidates and dual nationals, who could ‘speak the language’ of the community they would represent, both figuratively and literally. ‘Engaging the non-native Jersey population in Jersey has, for a long time, been a problem. The Portuguese community is no different. I believe that when the first Portuguese candidate is elected, it will be a milestone for Jersey politics and that should really help engage many Portuguese who may never have previously voted in Jersey.’

Party Chairman, Deputy Sam Mézec, said that he was delighted to have Ms Ramos and Mrs Buard as part of the team. ‘They are both very talented and compassionate individuals, who have been doing much good work in the community, professionally and as volunteers.’

He also said that the Party had recently endorsed 12 candidates at its recent management team meeting, and that the slate was very diverse both in terms of expertise and background. ‘We have 5 female candidates, young candidates, retired professionals, all with a wealth of soft and hard skills. I am looking forward to campaigning together with such a great group of people. I think this election has the potential to surprise many people and deliver the positive change in politics that the island needs.’(ENDS)