Friday, 17 September 2010

CHILDREN: NIL - FINANCE: EVERYTHING



Deputy Trevor Pitman has agreed, despite his heavy workload, to put together a few words on his experience in the States on what could be called “Black Wednesday” (for those of us who care about our most vulnerable………..children).


Although Deputy Pitman makes mention of Assistant Home Affairs Minister Jackie Hilton, he does not, in my opinion, do justice to the appalling, dangerous and ignorant speech she made in the States on “Black Wednesday”. Deputy Pitman is aware that Team Voice will be publishing a Blog about Deputy Hilton as soon as the Hansard is available, so I am guessing this is why he did not dwell on the subject in this guest posting.

From Deputy Trevor Pitman.

Many would say that there have been a lot of dark days in the States under this Council of Ministers and they would be right of course. But Wednesday 15th September 2010 must be right up there amongst the very blackest. If you happen to care a jot about the future of this island’s children, that is. Not to mention believing that there is actually meant to be a balance between the development of the social and the economic when it comes to policy.

Trouble is if you are a politician stubborn - okay, maybe that should be stupid - enough to voice such opinions in this Assembly; an administration that is probably the most right-wing and arrogant with it since about 1944 then you are going to be a member of a heavily outnumbered minority. My God, for once even the Jersey Evening Post seemed to sense something wasn’t at all right here with the Thursday headline: “Cuts hit classroom…but the States find £400,000 to support finance!

Am I just a ‘leftie rebel’ being over the top again? Well, just consider the facts…

During the course of the debate on behalf of the ESC & Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel I attempted to persuade States Members to protect a long-standing agreement that costs the States just £33,000 per year which ensures our youngest children get to visit and participate in absolutely brilliant learning sessions at Durrell Wildlife.

You might have thought that ensuring our children get to learn – hands on – about the natural world and their place in it would be something that the Council of Ministers would appreciate as important. I mean…the Chief Minister was once upon a time actually a schoolteacher. And the learning opportunity offered by Durrell does actually cost the organisation more than the said grant to keep running But no.

Most of your representatives couldn’t give a damn. Okay, so there were a few Members who would definitely, or might have voted the right way not present – Deputy Shona Pitman and the Constable of St. Mary were both off ill after suffering bereavements; Deputies Roy Le Herissier and Kevin Lewis had incredibly seen fit to go on a CAP jaunt to Kenya (in Business Plan week!!!). But even then, the result of 31 -14 against says it all.

The Scrutiny Panel also tried our best to save the cutting of a Child Psychologist post. Surely we would be successful on this one – we had just had, in fairly quick succession the Williamson Report, the Vulnerable Children’s Services Review and the School Suspensions Review (the latter two both of which I sat on) and the need for support in this area couldn’t have been hammered home more forcibly. The sum involved was also just £88,000 for expertise that often actually saves lives.

Did any of this count? Not a jot. The amendment went down 33 – 13 as the ‘Couldn’t Give A Damn About Children’ Party closed ranks to bury this one too. Yet maybe the result was not even the worst bit? During the course of the debate both Deputy Jackie Hilton and Senator Paul Routier expressed the mind-boggling sentiment that regardless of their concerns at the cut of such a post they would be taking a chance and voting with the Council of Ministers as per instructions. I had to express my total disbelief of course, but it didn’t matter obviously. Maybe they can explain their thinking?…….. I can’t.

But maybe Deputy Geoff Southern would have some better luck? Surely eight school foreign language assistants at £67,000 would be valued? Nope. Even with Senator Ozouf feeling a sudden and unexpected pang of guilt this was battered down by the motley collection of right-wing ideologues, Hooray Henries and assorted wannabe Muppets who follow them 25 – 20.

School milk, then – this had to be winnable, surely? Deputy Southern, love him or loathe him, had fought and won this battle on no fewer than three previous occasions. Not this time. The excuses were startling. The Health Minister and then even ESC Assistant Minister, Deputy Anne Dupré pitching in to give one of her seemingly twice yearly contributions urging members to vote against.

Apparently this service had to stop: obesity, you know. Being a professionally qualified fitness instructor I did point out that anyone who would argue that small quantities of skimmed milk makes people fat must be as mad as a balloon - more likely factors being sugary drinks, unhealthy diet generally, and inadequate physical activity within schools these days - but to no avail. 30 – 14 once again to the ‘Couldn’t Give A Damn About Children’ Party.

Depressing it certainly was. And then we came to the Youth Service.

Okay, so I really should have known better than to bring this one. I apologise. I mean, what was I thinking of? So what that for obvious reasons I happen to know more about this department than the whole Council of Ministers put together? So what that, despite years of denials a confidential independent report had recently backed up exactly what I, and Deputy Shona Pitman before me, had said about the management structure I now wished to re-direct monies from being top heavy?

So what that the proposed ‘saving’ of £50,000 had been originally sold as investment in front-line services in the first place; and that I now wanted to invest this in some very key front-line areas like youth employment work; anti-social behaviour initiatives, political education raising awareness about democracy and the workings of government; and much-needed anti-racism initiatives that might just help put an end, for example, to the appalling attacks we have seen on foreign students, and contribute to a more tolerant community?

No, I was obviously being very foolish and the result showed it with another 33 – 12 defeat. I just wasn’t being realistic along with the other usual suspects who keep banging on about this need to balance the social with the economic, people matter type nonsense. After all, the Council of Ministers had made it quite clear with their stance on agriculture and tourism.

We had to make cuts.

Every department was the same.

There was no alternative.

Industries just had to face up to standing on their own two feet.

The world had changed…

And then the ‘Couldn’t Give A Damn About Children’ Party and their followers had bullied through a £400,000 increase to the Finance industry (2009 profits £809 million) for a ‘promotional’ office in Abu Dhabi…

£400,000…

Only £21,000 short of what it would have cost the States – and more importantly we taxpayers – to secure all of the initiatives for children and young people that I outline above…

£400,000

And there would be a whole lot more to follow…

I had constituent meetings after the States on Wednesday night but when I  got home around 9.30pm I admit I was feeling pretty dejected. Still, looking at my e-mails and listening to what totalled 23 contacts expressing complete disgust for the Council of Ministers’ actions I soon picked myself up.

Tomorrow would obviously be better, wouldn’t it? I mean, on behalf of the ESC & Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel I was bringing an amendment to secure funding for the ten years overdue anti-discrimination legislation.

Everyone in the States was against discrimination…….weren’t they???????????

Submitted by Deputy Trevor Pitman/VFC.

32 comments:

  1. A commenter asks in the previous post.

    "What we need now is a complete list of the names who have let our children down.

    Could the Voice at some stage put up the names so we can be ready at the next election.

    Anyone who supported finance and saked the children needs outing.

    They will pay with thier seat"

    Rest assured it is all in hand!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The people knew what to do on 28 September 1769 - they assembled in the Royal Sqaure and stopped the proceedings of government. In a word there was REVOLT - and after the dust had settled and the troops were withdrawn - REFORM was achieved with some of the most rotten in the government being kicked out.
    Ordinary people then stood to lose their lives on the sacffold - but they were not too timid to express their dissent.
    Today we are a gutless community who hide behind the memory of our brave ancestors.

    Words are very easy - we need leadership from politicians and others who are prepared to challenge this establishment with direct action. Fourteen States Members voting for change is never going to achieve reform in the
    21st century. We the people have the power in our own hands to change the rules of negotiation.
    Standing by as mere onlookers and tutt-tutting on blogs or in the media will not do it either.

    Yes - it all sounds like the unfashionable confrontation politics from the past that happened in industrial places - but not gentle Jersey!!! But, its time that we all learned from the history of our ancestors - not the official sanitised version of JEP Temps Passe articles or the books on display at the Museum.

    Confrontation with the establishment is a respectable part of Jersey's history and development. It was necessary in the past and is necessary now.

    We need resolute leadership from the fourteen States Members who can see the unfairness in the current shamblic proceedings. But, we, the people, must be prepared to give our time and support too. Our sitting in front of the goggle box is victory for the Establishment - there is no need for a scaffold these days. We are politically asleep and must be woken-up and our leaders must be
    motivated too.

    Get involved is the message - don't just moan about it. Ask your Fourteen States members how you can help them and set the agenda so that they can help YOU.

    Kippers Unite now - or you will be just another empty page in the official record - and your dinner plates will be just as empty as were those of the people in 1769.

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  3. Perhaps Deputy Trevor Pitman has now been filed under the list of those who must be defeated no matter about the policy list, a past member being Ex-Senator Stuart Syvret.

    Its politics of madness!!

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  4. Stop trying to lobby people for Trevor Pitman we can make our own minds and the ex JDA members can only blame themselves for their public disagreements. People asked for cuts and I won't be crying over milk or a visit to the zoo. You are making yet another fuss out of nothing and I have a young child.

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  5. Thanks for posting this. A very sad day.

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  6. Spot on post! good to hear things told as they are. Well done.

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  7. Neal,

    Deputy Hilton is one of the most honorable States Members there and has served on at least three children's charities. You are so wrong to do this and pick your subjective attacks on individual States Members. I take it that it will be a hatchet attack on anyone that does not agree with your personal politics.

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  8. I have a child and I am disgusted. I really would have expected more from Deputy Hilton. Well done Deputy Pitman for being so honest.

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  9. The poster who goes off on one about those who decided to leave the JDA is just trying to distract from this very worrying story. The way this council of ministers sshows such contempt for social matters is absolutely shocking.

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  10. Great post. Did anyone notice where Shenton pushed off today? Was it to his day job and was he still taking taxpayers money for being wherever he was?

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  11. Great post. Did anyone notice where Shenton pushed off today? Was it to his day job and was he still taking taxpayers money for being wherever he was?

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  12. I think the word is legend

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  13. Jesus Christ VFC

    You weren't kidding when you said that...."the States of Jersey swiping the kids milk was the kindest thing they did today"

    Vermin, is the word that springs to mind....

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  14. I hope Ian was meaning that those who voted against our kids are vermin and not Deputy Pitman because I think this is one States member who is a legend as another poster says.

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  15. So please tell us for those who won't buy the Rag and missed the news - what happened to 'Big Trev's' attempt to get Discrimination law to bring us up in line with some Third World countries?

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  16. 'Deputy Hilton is one of the most honorable States Members there and has served on at least three children's charities.'

    Let's wait to read Hansard for what she had to say before deciding whether she is an honorouble person or not - however, for instance, if we look at her record on GST - arguing against it at the 2008 St Helier parish debate on pensions, but then voting for it - she might not be quite as honourable as you believe.

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  17. Shouldn't that be Jackie [P9 26] Hilton?

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  18. The money Trevor Pitman was asking for to get the discrimination legislation in was £100,000. The States gave £400,000 to finance for an office. If this doesn't show where the priorities are nothing does. Why can't an industry that makes 809 million profit in a difficult year pay for their own office? It is surely in their collective interest as much as government. It just comes down to greed.

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  19. Dear Amazed

    Ian certainly "was meaning that those who voted against our kids are vermin" I thought that would have been blindingly obvious.

    Trevor Pitman, Bob Hill, and a couple of others, are the only ones in the chamber of horrors who understand humanity, caring, compassion, and sharing.

    Let us hope the rest of them choke on their £500 bottles of champagne and sturgeon eggs!!!

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  20. Just want to say what a farce Ben 'invisible man' Shenton wanting to impose a pay freeze when he is the biggest waste of space in the whole States - and that is saying something isn't it. Does he ever do a full day in the States VFC?

    I don't know whether there should be a pay freeze or not but one thing is for sure. The few good politicians working on our behalf are ordinary people themselves.

    So they shouldn't have their wages fixed by lazy pieces of garbage like Shenton and the rest of the wealthy part timers who don't give a hoot about anyone it should be independant.

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  21. Early last year I think it was, I told Ben Shenton that I could not work him out. He certainly wasn’t a fence sitter, he comes out strongly against the COM at times, and other times he was in complete support of them.

    As I have (reluctantly) become more aware of political activity and behaviour, I’ve come to the conclusion that Senator Shenton is a “populist”. Take this last proposition of his, a pay freeze/cut for States Members. He was on to a win, win, situation.

    We all know Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas and the proposition didn’t stand a chance of being adopted, he MUST have known that. He also MUST have known it would be very popular with the public to bring such a proposition.

    I believe the reason the politicians voted against lifting standing orders to debate this is because they all knew it didn’t stand a cats chance in hell of being adopted, they were not willing to waste everybody’s time.

    Don’t be surprised if Senator Shenton try’s to wheel this one out again come closer the elections, it’s a beauty of a proposition and the public will fall for it every time.

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  22. VFC readers might want to look at who supported and opposed Senator Shenton's amendment on States Members pay:

    View Vote P99/2010/Amd.(7)
    Draft Annual Business Plan 2011 (P.99-2010)- seventh amendment part 23 - States remuneration - proposal to suspend Standing Order 107 to allow matter to be debated 17 September 2010

    Proposition:
    Draft Annual Business Plan 2011 (P.99-2010)- seventh amendment




    POUR: 17 CONTRE: 20 ILL: 3 OUT OF ISLAND: 2 EN DEFAUT: 2 NOT PRESENT: 8 EXCUSED ATTENDANCE: 1


    Senator Terence Augustine Le Sueur

    POUR


    Senator Paul Francis Routier

    CONTRE


    Senator Philip Francis Cyril Ozouf

    POUR


    Senator Terence John Le Main

    ILL


    Senator Ben Edward Shenton

    POUR


    Senator Frederick Ellyer Cohen

    NOT PRESENT


    Senator James Leslie Perchard

    EN DEFAUT


    Senator Alan Breckon

    CONTRE


    Senator Sarah Craig Ferguson

    POUR


    Senator Alan John Henry Maclean

    POUR


    Senator Bryan Ian Le Marquand

    POUR


    Senator Francis du Heaume Le Gresley, M.B.E.

    POUR


    Connétable Kenneth Priaulx Vibert

    POUR


    Connétable Alan Simon Crowcroft

    NOT PRESENT


    Connétable John Le Sueur Gallichan

    NOT PRESENT


    Connétable Daniel Joseph Murphy

    CONTRE


    Connétable Michael Keith Jackson

    POUR


    Connétable Silvanus Arthur Yates

    CONTRE


    Connétable Graeme Frank Butcher

    NOT PRESENT


    Connétable Peter Frederick Maurice Hanning

    POUR


    Connétable Leonard Norman

    NOT PRESENT


    Connétable John Martin Refault

    CONTRE


    Connétable Deidre Wendy Mezbourian

    CONTRE


    Connétable Juliette Gallichan

    EXCUSED ATTENDANCE


    Deputy Robert Charles Duhamel

    CONTRE


    Deputy Frederick John Hill, B.E.M.

    CONTRE


    Deputy Roy George Le Hérissier

    OUT OF ISLAND


    Deputy John Benjamin Fox

    NOT PRESENT


    Deputy Judith Ann Martin

    CONTRE


    Deputy Geoffrey Peter Southern

    CONTRE


    Deputy James Gordon Reed

    CONTRE


    Deputy Carolyn Fiona Labey

    CONTRE


    Deputy Collin Hedley Egré

    NOT PRESENT


    Deputy Jacqueline Ann Hilton

    POUR


    Deputy Paul Vincent Francis Le Claire

    POUR


    Deputy John Alexander Nicholas Le Fondré

    POUR


    Deputy Anne Enid Pryke

    CONTRE


    Deputy Sean Power

    POUR


    Deputy Shona Pitman

    ILL


    Deputy Kevin Charles Lewis

    OUT OF ISLAND


    Deputy Ian Joseph Gorst

    POUR


    Deputy Philip John Rondel

    POUR


    Deputy Montfort Tadier

    ILL


    Deputy Angela Elizabeth Jeune

    EN DEFAUT


    Deputy Daniel John Arabin Wimberley

    CONTRE


    Deputy Trevor Mark Pitman

    CONTRE


    Deputy Anne Teresa Dupre

    CONTRE


    Deputy Edward James Noel

    POUR


    Deputy Tracey Anne Vallois

    NOT PRESENT


    Deputy Michael Roderick Higgins

    CONTRE


    Deputy Andrew Kenneth Francis Green M.B.E.

    CONTRE


    Deputy Deborah Jane De Sousa

    CONTRE


    Deputy Jeremy Martin Maçon

    CONTRE

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  23. "But maybe Deputy Geoff Southern would have some better luck? Surely eight school foreign language assistants at £67,000 would be valued? Nope. Even with Senator Ozouf feeling a sudden and unexpected pang of guilt this was battered down by the motley collection of right-wing ideologues, Hooray Henries and assorted wannabe Muppets who follow them 25 – 20."

    Its what happened with ozouf that is the real problem here.

    He supported Southern but didn't vote. Can someone please explain what the hell that is abot

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  24. This is a brilliant guest posting.

    Deputy Pitman i thank you for your hard work. This present Government is shocking, but then again, what do we expect from the extreme right wing.

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  25. "Most of your representatives couldn’t give a damn. Okay, so there were a few Members who would definitely, or might have voted the right way not present – Deputy Shona Pitman and the Constable of St. Mary were both off ill after suffering bereavements; Deputies Roy Le Herissier and Kevin Lewis had incredibly seen fit to go on a CAP jaunt to Kenya (in Business Plan week!!!). But even then, the result of 31 -14 against says it all."

    Can someone explain why States Members are in Kenya when the biggest debate of the year is in progress.

    Where the hell is the forward planning.

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  26. This past week has shown us where we are heading. We should all be scared.

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  27. With Shenton and Perchard costing taxpayers £600.000 in their bungling of the Family X case how did these two vote on issues like free school milk, learning trips to the zoo, language assistants and discrimination law? Were they even their for the vote?

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  28. > I’ve come to the conclusion that Senator Shenton is a “populist”.

    What took you so long?!
    Like father like son!

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  29. "One absurdity, begin, allowed, an infinity follow."

    haha, Word Verification "brain"

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  30. Shenton should resign from the States over Family X and take Perchard with him. But with a million pound house, a cushy over paid job in finance, a link to a long standing historic dock monopoly if true, and rarely capable or conerned enough to sit through a whole States session anyway I doubt this idiot gives a monkeys.

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  31. Dear VFC

    Hope you will publish my email to States Members today.

    Kind regards Ian



    Dear States Members

    In light of this weeks malfeasances against defenceless, helpless children, I would like to forward the following to those in power who sought to utilize the easy option of sacrificing those who are most vulnerable in our society. For the few who did the right thing, we are grateful. For those who did not, WE OFFER OUR PITY AND SUPPORT.

    However, remember one thing, "The biggest mistake of mankind, is trying to remove from ones mind, something that is embedded in the heart."



    'Gold Wrapping Paper'


    The story goes that some time ago a mother punished her five year old daughter for wasting a roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and she became even more upset when the child used the gold paper to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.

    Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift box to her mother the next morning and then said,
    'This is for you, Mummy.'

    The mother was embarrassed by her earlier over-reaction, but her anger flared again when she opened
    The box and found it was empty. She spoke to her daughter in a harsh manner.

    'Don't you know, young lady, that when you give someone a present, there's supposed to be something
    Inside the package?'

    She had tears in her eyes and said, 'Oh, Mummy, it's not empty! I blew kisses into it until it was full..'
    The mother was crushed. She fell on her knees and put her arms around her little girl, and she begged her forgiveness for her thoughtless anger.

    An accident took the life of the child only a short time later, and it is told that the mother kept that gold
    Box by her bedside for all the years of her life.

    Whenever she was discouraged or faced difficult problems, she would open the box and take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.


    In a very real sense, each of us, as human beings, have been given a Golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, our family, and our friends . There is no more precious possession anyone could behold.


    You now have two choices:

    1. Remember the childs love in this story, act accordingly, and atone for the mistakes of this last week.
    2. Delete this and act like it did not touch your heart.

    FOR IF THIS STORY DID NOT TOUCH YOUR HEART, YOU DO NOT HAVE A HEART....


    Yours Sincerely In Hope


    Ian Evans

    ReplyDelete
  32. All States members should be voting in the best interests of children.

    How Shenton and Perchard could even attempt to argue they were doing this while wasting six hundred thousand of our money in blocking family x get the help they needed is beyond me.

    Another point which someone might be able to answer relating to this weeks votes.

    Why was Jimmy Perchard missing all day Friday without excuse?

    Why is it that Ben "Empty Seat" Shenton seems to feel one and half hours for lunch isn't long enough and didn't surface for about another two hours?

    The public gallery is great fun, come along and watch!

    ReplyDelete

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