Sunday, 13 September 2009

Taking aFENCE

The Story behind this interview with Deputy Le Herissier which is part of This one comes from a moment of inspiration, Let me explain.

I went to the “reform” meeting out at St Ouen which was chaired by Constables Juliet Gallichan, Ken Vibert and John Refault. I (mistakenly) believed, as it was a “public” meeting, there would be no objection to me filming it, how wrong I was.

Before the meeting started I began setting up my camera equipment. No sooner had I started and Constable Ken Vibert strutted over to me and exclaimed “I hope you don’t intend on filming this meeting”? To which I replied “yes I do as it goes, is there a problem with that”? After scratching around for any excuse he could find, including the public might not want to be filmed and I assured him if the public didn’t want to be filmed then I wouldn’t film them. Then he came out with an absolute peach! He said “yeah, well you just want to put it on your Blog with your opinion on it” and I replied “yes! That’s exactly what I want to do, that’s what a Blog is”!

Enter stage left Constable John Refault who said “Ken if you permit him to film, I’m going to walk out” To which I replied, “I’m not going to film the public and only point the camera at the stage and film the three constables” He then tried to tell me that he has “a right to privacy” so could refuse me permission to film him. Him being an elected member of the “public” at a “public” meeting to discuss “public” matters declared his right to privacy! This is the calibre of Constables we have “representing” us. One telling me I can’t film because I will have my own opinion and another one telling me he has “a right to privacy” at a “public” meeting that he’s co chairing!

I know people across the Channel and Atlantic are going to think I’m making this up but believe me I wouldn’t, more to the point I COULDN’T!

Back to the interview with Deputy Le Herissier. The good Deputy was at the said “reform meeting” as, I suppose, a member of the public. He got up and spoke and, not so much what he said, but how he said it truly inspired me. He was frustrated, passionate, perhaps even angry at the direction our government were heading, as in his words, it was in the direction of an ice berg and it was going to sink them and us.

He was critical of the way our government were, and are, dealing with the child abuse scandal, he was critical of the media campaign mounted by Mick Gradwell, and more than likely, the States communications unit which was (in my opinion Constable Vibert) an out and out assault on Lenny Harper which was backed up with no real evidence and was designed to discredit Lenny and his team so the States could put this “embarrassing” child abuse scandal to bed and go on expecting the public to believe in Tooth fairies.

With that (Deputy Le Herissier’s speech) I thought “great” here is a politician, and serial fence sitter, actually coming off the fence and just as importantly was as frustrated, passionate and angry as the rest of us. I was disappointed I was not able to get his speech on video.

I contacted the Deputy and asked him for an interview. Without probing me what I wanted to talk about or what questions I intended asking him, he agreed to the interview.

The Deputy has a nickname (he’s probably got a few) but in certain circles he is known (affectionately) as “the hedgehog”. So after his speech at St Ouen and agreeing to an interview I already had the title of the Blog set up, it was to be, “Hedgehog jumps off fence” but unfortunately during the time of the “reform meeting” and the interview he had, sadly, climbed back up again!

The fundamental point to this is, some of our States members arses are going to be chewing their Y fronts knowing that “the hedgehog”, the “serial fence sitter” is starting to “jump off” on occasions and talking about that horrible subject of Child Abuse.

Deputy Le Herissier (in my opinion) is one of the hardest working States members we have, he is always accessible and is one of the few members who votes with his conscience, which is more than I can say for any of my elected “representatives” in St. Clement.

In this video (in my opinion) the Deputy concedes Mick Gradwell has provided us with “words” and Lenny Harper has provided us with “evidence” even if he does jump straight back on the fence.

Lenny Harper has questioned the Deputy’s choice of phrase when he says it has turned into a “slagging match” between Lenny and Gradwell. My opinion is Lenny had no choice other than to defend the slurs against his character and professionalism made by Gradwell and backed it all up with “evidence”.

If Lenny should have any questions for Deputy Le Herissier I’m sure he will be only too pleased to answer them on here.

I would like to give a mention to Senator Stuart Syvret, Senator Alan Breckon, Deputy Roy Le Herissier and Deputy Debbie Da Sousa for having the COURAGE to attend the Jersey Care Leavers meeting yesterday, let’s hope you can encourage some of your colleagues to start “taking part”

Submitted by VFC.


  1. Its just the way Roy is, not to just charge in.

  2. So let's be clear about this. Someone elected to a public post, on a stage at a public meeting convened jointly by themselves, wants to claim a right to privacy in that same meeting. How stupid can you get. You can't invite a load of people to your house and then claim they are trespassing. Perhaps he thinks people not likely to vote for him should not be allowed into polling stations in his parish either. If he wants privacy that much he can have it simply by tendering his resignation.

  3. Jersey has never had a situation like this before.

    There is no more incamera, or behind closed doors. Not with this day and age of Citizen Media!

  4. Well seeing as your behaviour with the camera has been described as rude and disrespectful I don't blame people turning you away. You have a serious chip on your shoulder Neil and you need help.

  5. Words fail me regarding the 'public meeting' debacle! However, we must not lose sight of the fact that this is the BIG WORLD of Jersey, and the Parish of St Ouen is probably not quite yet able to come to terms with the difference between public and private. Give them another 15 years and they may catch up with 2009.

    Deputy Le Herissier, I am sure as VFC points out you are a good man and hard working to boot. However, sitting on the fence is an easy option. At some stage you will fall off, and I feel that, with what we have been presented with over the last weeks it should be the LH side.

    He had every right to reply, and I do not think it can be called a slanging match on his part.His hand was forced and in doing so has certainly left us with more questions than answers.

  6. Sorry to come back again, but I feel that the anonymous poster who thinks your behaviour with the camera is rude and disrespectful needs to have a re-think.

    If VFC is asking pertinent questions in a forthright manner that does not make him either of the above. Ever heard of Roger Cook, Donal McIntyre et al, even Paxo is forceful and aggressive (think Frank Walkers dreadful performance on Newsnight). This is what the media SHOULD be doing and I have never seen or heard anything from VFC that has suggested otherwise.

    As for having a chip on his shoulder, I think Neil maybe has had issues with the powers that be, and will continue to do so until justice is properly seen to be done. That said, there must be enough of us out here to start up a new chippy.

    Incidentally, you are not DBB are you Anonymous??!!

  7. How many people in the island need help
    It is becoming a familiar pattern
    People that speak out against our wonderful channel isle
    Are an enemy of the state.

    Anonymous said...
    Well seeing as your behaviour with the camera has been described as rude and disrespectful I don't blame people turning you away. You have a serious chip on your shoulder Neil and you need help.

    Neil is the most articulate journalist we have had for many years
    He doesn’t tow the party line , and they , ( THE POWERS THAT BE) are loosing control
    Nail them , Neil

    Think about it , these people are really sticking there necks out to save yours , give them a break

  8. If you want a right to privacy simple - don t be a state's member.

  9. "chip on you shoulder" thats a laugh, it takes courage, determination, passion, to do what you are doing VFC, sadly there are so many half wits on your Island who want to protect the perpetrators of abuse, the corrupt Higher archy, the bent policemen, in the real world the public would be up in arms, sadly it would seem the Island of Jersey lives in a time warp politically, the dictators are still alive and well, the corrupt civil servants pulling the strings and the poor tax payer eternally paying the bill for their gross incompetence. Glory be Jon get back into your own little hole, or try and move into the 21st century when the freedom of speech is the norm in the western world, except Jersey of course.

    Power to your camera VFC - you carry on routing out the rubbish.

  10. "How many people in the island need help. It is becoming a familiar pattern.".

    Correct. I was told I 'needed help' when I highlighted some flaws such as key facts being ommited in the recording process of a certain states department. It was easier for them to put me down than acknowledge their errors!