Monday, 19 March 2012

Democracy RIP......."Strangled At Birth."

In what has been described as the biggest assault on Democracy since the occupation Former Deputy Daniel Wimberley's proposition P.15/2011 which was unanimously passed in the last parliament has been ripped up and torn to shreds so it is beyond recognition and replaced by, what many of us believe to be, a desperate attempt to hold onto feudal power in Jersey.

An Electoral Commission that was supposed to be "independent" of any politicians is now full of politicians chaired by the Former Bailiff, and now Senator, Sir Philip Bailhache, who's brother, the Deputy Bailiff, Chaired the States Sitting that inevitably got his brother elected as the Chairman of the Electoral Commission.

Former Deputy Daniel Wimberley urges the people of Jersey to boycott this (highjacked) Electoral Commission and DO NOT apply to be a part of it, DO NOT legitimise it.

Below is a Press Release, sent to all the island's State Media, as well as Bloggers (Jersey's only Independent media). Below the Press Release is an open letter from Mr. Wimberley to the Residents of Jersey.

PRESS RELEASE From Former Deputy Wimberley.

Daniel Wimberley, who first proposed the establishing of an Electoral Commission and steered it through the States, has today published an open letter urging anyone thinking of applying to serve on the Commission to think again.

“I myself have been approached to do just that, and I have decided – no.” he said.

In the letter he writes: “It is indeed seductive. Go on to the Commission, establish what are the real fundamentals of reform, have a real debate and real public consultation. You can start from a blank sheet of paper and get the fairest, most democratic and most effective system for Jersey. That after all was the original idea. But now I sadly have to point out - it is a lost cause. It is just not going to happen.

The letter points to three factors which prove that no one should apply to serve on the Commission: it is now controlled by States members, its terms of reference have been doctored to ensure that the public remain disempowered, and the independent experts to act as a check and balance on the process have been removed.

Mr. Wimberley said: “The purpose of the Commission has been completely subverted,” he said. “It has been stolen from the people. The idea was to have an open and honest look at how we elect our representatives, to bring a better democracy to the island. Now it is a plaything of the establishment. They will cement their power, and make the island less democratic. It is truly appalling..
“And so I urge anyone of integrity – do not get involved with this farce.”


My advice to anyone thinking of applying to serve on the Electoral Commission is – don’t.

It is indeed a seductive notion – go on to the Commission, establish what are the real fundamentals of reform,  have a real debate and real public consultation. You can start from a blank sheet of paper and get the fairest, most democratic and most effective system for Jersey.

That after all was the original idea. But now I sadly have to point out - it is a lost cause. It is just not going to happen.

Having States members on the Commission was extraordinary enough. At a stroke the States destroyed the independence of the Commission. The full-time politicians will control what happens.
But there have been two other two massive changes which have gone almost unnoticed.  There will be no outside experts, either on the Commission itself or sitting as an advisory panel. And the Terms of Reference - which were carefully written so that the Commission would look at all sides of the question and come up with a solution which could command the support of the public - have been dismantled.

How very sad. A Commission planned in good faith has been replaced by something completely different. And not worth working for.

Independent experts giving on-going advice and comment on the record would have been a check against vested interests taking over the process, and would have ensured fair play and best practice. That is exactly why we use them in other important and contentious areas, be it advice on our economy, the inquiry into the root causes of the death of Mrs. Rourke, and so on. But this vital check and balance has been removed by PPC.

And then the Terms of Reference.  First, PPC removed “voting systems.” But voting systems are a) a vital part of electoral reform, and b) precisely what determine how the range of views of the electorate gets to be reflected accurately in the assembly.

For example, in elections like the Senatorials where there are several seats, someone may vote for candidates A, B and C. But they may actually have clear preferences: they may want candidate A a lot, candidate B a bit less, and candidate C - well, he or she is better than nothing.

These preferences can and perhaps should influence the final result - especially in our non-party system - but any consideration of this has been excluded by PPC. So this is the first way they limited democracy.

Secondly, PPC have altered the terms of Reference to make sure that the Commission cannot actively seek out a way for islanders to have a say in who ends up as Ministers, via the votes they cast and their preferences.  After all, the most common complaint of residents about Jersey elections is this – “why vote – it does not make any difference.”

So once again, they took action to limit democracy. Why?

The point about representative democracy is that the people have the last word. They can remove a government that has failed or is acting blatantly in the interests of one group and not in the interests of everyone.

The changes to the Commission’s membership, the changes to the Terms of Reference, and the removal of any oversight from outside, serve precisely to ensure that the people do not get this power. The government we have now is here to stay. 

The idea that the public could have preferences between candidates, the idea that the public should be able to remove the government, and the idea that the public should be able to decide on who they want in government – these ideas have been taken from the table by the powers-that-be.

There is a big sickness at the heart of Jersey when an attempt to bring about better democracy in the island is strangled at birth.
Job done. Democracy RIP. (END)


  1. Well said Daniel Wimberly Bailhache has been allowed to hijack Democracy and the world will now be laughing at this tin-pot red-neck feudal town that wants to play on the world stage instead of taking Jersey seriously as a modern democratic society.

  2. If Bailhache gets away with this sabotage the last person to leave the island turn out the lights it's all over.

  3. It should be said that Daniel sent out his open letter and Press Release last Friday but was embargoed until noon today. This was to give all State Media an opportunity to be able to publish at the same time and give the "journalists" an opportunity to research before interviewing him.

    At the time of publishing, only BBC State Radio had contacted him and have recorded a few minute interview (sound-bite).

    We on the other hand have video recorded an in-depth interview where we ask the questions the public want answering and not what the State Media (don't) want the public to know.

    The interview will be published in the next couple of days.

  4. A lot of scaremongering going on here and it still goes to public referendum.

    So I really cannot why some bloggers are getting so het up about it when we don't even know the Committees' suggestions are yet.

    Daniel Wimberley stood down from politics so he should accept he is no longer involved in decisions within the House and like I said, public referendum, so why can't people just wait?

  5. The island will be run just like it is now after Bailhache has finished getting the result he wants. It will still be run by him, his brother and the constables.

  6. How sad that this political hijacking of the Electoral Commission by Bailhache appears to have effectively crippled any true notion of democracy in Jersey for the immediate future.

    There are States members who have a vested interest in the perpetuation of "The Jersey Way" they have been followed by the "sheep" and the "wannabes".

    When something as important as this can be subverted by the "establishment" is there any real hope of meaningful change?

    A referendum is just more political spin in an attempt to deceive the electorate, who will be manipulated my the mainstream media into giving Bailhache and his cronies what they want. The veneer of respectability and democracy.

    Thankfully the honesty and integrity of the bloggers will keep the hope alive for genuine change in the medium/long term future.

  7. Hi vfc

    Thanks for letting me have a look at the fantastic interview with the former Deputy of St Mary Daniel Wimberley.

    When you publish it I suggest everybody listens to it and spreads it around.

    He explains what has happened to the electoral commission in a very simple but powerful way. I believe it is one of the best interviews I have seen.

    Im not when you will publish it but the wider world needs to see what is happening in Jersey.

    Thank you Daniel for giving the interview and look forward to it be published.

    You have explained it brilliantly


  8. Rico.

    It is a very powerful, no holds barred, interview and should be up in the next couple of days. Readers would do well to look at the phenomenal amount of work that Daniel put into P15/2011 and then will be able to grasp just what has been sabotaged.

    Needless to say, in the interview he (Daniel) is not backward in coming forward and we go into areas that the State Media don't want the public to know.

  9. Sorry but I would rather have the Constables then some of the people who claim to be progressives because all they seem to ever do is attack others. We do have a divide, those that work and those that waste time with stupid questions.

  10. On facebook there was a bit of discussion with Sam Mezec, Mark Forskitt and others about boycotting the commission, or organising a campaign of submitting comments that the commission was not valid.

  11. To the person who contributed the following -

    "Sorry but I would rather have the Constables then some of the people who claim to be progressives because all they seem to ever do is attack others. We do have a divide, those that work and those that waste time with stupid questions."

    I agree that there are some rather stupid questions - but perhaps you could give some examples of those who ask what are, in your opinion, stupid questions?

    There are clearly many divisions within the States. Some of these are potentially damaging. Others, however, are necessary in any form of democracy.If we were to remove any form of "opposition", we might as well dispense with all but enough politicians to form a Council of Ministers and let them get on with it. Or perhaps to remove all potential divisiveness, let's have just one self-chosen leader supported by unelected officials to carry out his edicts? There was a good model for this in Germany back in the 1930s .........

  12. Daniel Wimberley is a huge loss to the States. Him and Trevor Pitman were the best new States members in many years. Come back daniel we need you.

    Can I also say very good to see evil trolls being highlighted in the States today. Children have taken their lives over this revolting behaviour and it should be dealt with by our legal system.

  13. Clearly the Electoral Commission as presently constituted lacks legitimacy. There was an opportunity to look afresh at all issues surrounding States Reform and democratisation, but the opportunity has been lost.

    Instead, we will get served up with a pre arranged scheme that is acceptable to the current power holder’s maintenance of the status quo. It will then be put to a plebiscite to give it a veneer of public credibility, yet that will be managed consent through a media led campaign. The turnout will be low and this will be ignored.

    As has been noted, it shows that democracy is weak in the islands when even basic standards and structures of government remain absent and reforms continually resisted.

    The Electoral Commission has been captured and now must be exposed for the charade it has become.

  14. Agree with the comment about us having a divide in the States Chamber. We have people like the so called progressives who work hard for their constituents and try to push us forward toward democracy.

    Then we have the wreckers who either just want things to stay as they are looking after the interests of their rich friends, and the noddy dogs as eight of the tweleev Constables are.

    Bone idle and frankly none too intelligent if judged on what they say when speaking. Some appear even unable to speak at all!

  15. "Some appear even unable to speak at all!"

    They are known as "The Silent Assassins." Those that never, or very rarely, utter a word but press that voting button for the "establishment" almost every time. Former St. Clement Deputy Ann Dupre falls into this category and so does her successor Deputy Susie Pinel.

    We will, at some point later on in the year, be publishing a series of Blogs under the title of "Silent Assassins." Deputy Pinel is scheduled to be the first subject of these postings.

  16. VFC.

    Please explain. Who are they silently assassinating?

  17. Hi VFC.

    Just put up the audio from today's Version of Questions without Answers.
    You & your reader's can have a listen HERE


  18. The States of Jersey never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. This time it is the opportunity to create a more democratically representative system. Couldn't afford that!

  19. VFC,

    We sent a number of emails to BBC regarding your uncovered evidence, but this is the first reply, other than auto-response any of us have received. We are posting it below in quotes, with our own original email following at the end. - Those Denver Gals

    "Thanks for your e-mail regarding BBC Jersey.
    The historic child abuse investigation in Jersey continues to throw up lines which BBC Jersey investigate and report on where they see fit. Indeed last Monday they broadcast a live interview with the former investigating officer Lenny Harper. You can also find a multitude of recent articles relating to this story on the BBC Jersey area of the BBC News website, such as:
    I trust this explains the BBC’s view on this subject. Nevertheless, please be assured that we have forwarded your concerns to BBC Jersey for their noting.
    Thanks again for taking the time to contact the BBC.
    Yours Sincerely
    Andrew Martin
    Complaints Advisor
    BBC Complaints"

    "NB This is sent from an outgoing account only which is not monitored. You cannot reply to this email address but if necessary please contact us via our webform at the BBC Complaints website quoting any case number we provided."

    ------Original Message------

    Feedback Summary - Fact dispute re: The biggest story to effect Jersey

    Feedback Description - Jersey's Haut de la Garenne institutional child abuse story was global news in 2007/2008, until Jersey discredited the entire abuse investigation based on criticism claimed to have come from a report by Metropolitan Police. Recent public disclosures of corruption of that investigation implicate Jersey's former Chief Executive Bill Ogly and former Chief Minister Frank Walker in secretly and illegally hiring Matt Tapp, a media consultant for UK based PR firm "Talking Heads," to halt and re-spin the entire abuse investigation, Tapp's work was falsely attributed to the Metropolitan Police. Now evidence from the Metropolitan Police, Jersey's former Chief of Police Graham Power, and former DI Lenny Harper released online shows the Jersey government committed a series of illegal acts to cover-up of the findings of the abuse inquiry itself. BBC's lack of coverage has now become a major topic in the curriculum of some American high school and college classrooms, as per Jersey blogs and forums. Due to this research CNN has removed inaccurate story about child's scull being an alleged coconut but BBC Jersey has failed to even respond. The Guardian is now exploring BBC Jersey bias re: child abuse inquiry. Why is Jersey BBC's not interested? Many documents have been provided to BBC Jersey which are considered "highly relevant" to other, outside, media outlets. We in USA would also like to know if there is a "D Notice" of some sort on the most important story in Jersey's recent history.

  20. Denver Gals.

    The response you got from BBC was typical of their spin that looks the part but just scratch the surface and it tells a completely different story.

    In their response to you the BBC say.

    " Indeed last Monday they broadcast a live interview with the former investigating officer Lenny Harper."

    What they didn't say is that they got the story from this Blog-site and when I phoned up TWICE on that Monday morning to go on the radio I was "yet again" prevented from going on air.

    So they use a story from this Blog-site as their headline news but don't allow the very person who broke the story live on air.

    The BBC tells you.

    "The historic child abuse investigation in Jersey continues to throw up lines which BBC Jersey investigate and report on where they see fit."

    What have they EVER "investigated?" They churn out Press Releases and effectively challenge nothing and prevent people from going on air who can, and will, challenge our government's spin.

    We should note also that Frank Walker and Bill Ogley employing Matt Tapp was not necessarily "illegal" although it must be said it might be in a functioning Democracy with the proper rule of law but this is Jersey we are talking about. Walker and Ogley's actions in employing Matt Tapp certainly has the appearance of skullduggery but illegal might be a little strong (in Jersey).

    We must not forget that the BBC have published/broadcast the "prosecution case" (discredited Wiltshire Report) against former Police Chief Graham Power QPM and despite being in possession of Mr. Power's defence case for somewhere close to 5 months they've not reported a word of it. Which tells us they are not as balanced as they would have us believe.

    It is good to know word is getting out that Jersey is not full of paedophiles and their protectors. There are those of us who abhor what has gone on over here and are doing all we can to get justice for the Victims/Survivors of Child Abuse and restore the good name of Jersey.

    To anon.

    It's not "who" is being assassinated" it's "what."

  21. Just seen comment on Ricoblog re Frank Walker on the electoral commission OMG!!! please NO.

  22. For the amount of credibility this highjacked Electoral Commission has got having Frank Walker on it would just be the icing on the cake. (as if any were needed)

  23. Sent this to Kevin Pamplinn on BBC State Radio. He didn't read it out so have to publish it here.


    Just heard you putting Roger Bara in the same context as Jeremy Paxman. Roger is probably better described in the same context as Lorraine Kelly or wincy Willis.


  24. To the person that posted this -

    "Anonymous said...
    A lot of scaremongering going on here and it still goes to public referendum.

    So I really cannot why some bloggers are getting so het up about it when we don't even know the Committees' suggestions are yet.

    Daniel Wimberley stood down from politics so he should accept he is no longer involved in decisions within the House and like I said, public referendum, so why can't people just wait?

    19 March 2012 17:41"

    I just couldn't let this go unanswered.

    Firstly, Daniel Wimberley is totally entitled to express his opinion whenever he wants. Being a former politician doesn't bar someone from being involved in politics (In fact Tony Benn famously stood down as an MP to "devote more time to politics").

    But the fact that this will go to referendum is actually a bad thing, and here's why -

    There is a public appetite for reform of the States, for obvious reasons. The Commission is going to put forward a program for reform that will most likely represent what Senator Bailhache has been asking for all along. What he has suggested (42 members including 12 constables) is a waste of time that won't actually address any of the issues the public have with the States (i.e. the disproportionality in votes between urban and countryside). But when the referendum is put, it will most likely be won, because people will assume that anything is better than the mess we currently have. The Establishment will spin that victory into a public endorsement of the reforms and an excuse to once and for all end any debate on States reform. And so we will be left for further decades of a States of Jersey that is not democratic enough.

    As I've said on my blog, the only hope we might possibly have, is if the States allow a third option on the referendum to include choosing the Clothier reforms.

  25. The biggest problem here comes from the State Media. They keep the general public ignorant of what is going on politically therefore the public will have no idea of the implications should (when) Senator Bailhache gets his way.

    Published on here is a Press Release and an open letter to the Residents of Jersey, where in the State Media, online, have you seen either?

    Jersey's only "news"paper as good as run Senator Bailhache's Election Campaign does anybody honestly believe the JEP is going to be "independent, objective or even accurate" when it comes to reporting anything to do with this electoral highjacking?

    Also Sam has a good point in that the Clothier option should be on the table.

  26. Looking forward to seeing the interview with Wimberley.

    Just to clarify, when he says boycott the commission, as well as sitting on it is he also suggesting not making any submissions to it too?


  27. Sam.

    Daniel admits, in the interview, that he hasn’t thought that through and does address it. Will have the interview up tomorrow and if memory serves correct he does believe there is merit in submitting “something” to the commission.

  28. VFC

    BBC email replies automatically refer to a case number, "if any," to use when corresponding with them about a complaint. We have never seen a complaint number or been assigned one for any complaint we have made, but as a help to us in documenting BBC responses a case number would be helpful.

    Have you or anyone else been assigned a case number for complaints about BBC Jersey bias? We especially wish to be able to refer to some kind of official BBC complaint record when discussing BBC Jersey bias/cover-up complicity with other media.

    As we recall, you had provided BBC with a copy of the evidence from the defense of Operation Rectangle, but still have not heard back, months later. We would be glad to add a reference to that to our next complaint, unless there has been some new development we should consider. We presumed that you only provided that evidence to BBC Jersey. Is that correct?

    Denver Gals

  29. Denver Gals.

    Quite a number of Jersey residents have made numerous complaints about BBC Jersey’s Bias etc. I recall a few of us published the responses we got (which were almost word for word identical) on a Blog, which if memory serves correct was in the comments section of Stuart Syvret’s Blog but it was some time ago and can’t remember where we published them. We soon became aware that complaining to the BBC was just a fruitless task so haven’t really wasted our time since.

    One complaint submitted that I have the number of dates back to late 2008/early 2009 and that number is “16061601” there are many more complaints but all with the same outcome, the BBC come out smelling of roses.

    Jon Gripton of BBC Jersey was given the defense case of Former Chief Police Officer, Graham Power QPM, about 5 months ago and, as said previously, despite him/BBC reporting on the prosecution case against Mr. Power they still have not published any of the defense.

    This has been covered in a couple of postings on VFC which might be of help that are HERE and in this video interview with Stuart Syvret HERE

    Also it was the Former Health Minister and Former Senator Stuart Syvret who gave a copy of Mr. Power's defence case (submission to Wiltshire) to the BBC.

    Hopefully other readers who have submitted complaints to the BBC will leave a comment with their complaint number........If they have one.

  30. Off subject but still about democracy or the lack of it here in the Septic isle of Jersey. Great to see a politician stsnding up and being counted for those who have been victimised by spineless and evil internet thugs.

    We may not need more legislation but what we do need as Deputy Trevor Pitman said in the States is our police to take it seriously and catch these animals.

    Any user of the internet locally knows that we have at least one highly infamous internet bully attacking anyone he takes a dislike to with cowardly vicious smears.

    How can it be if our police are committed to this as Ian Le Marquand says and have the expertise that they don't bring such people to book? Must some vulnerable person die first?

  31. The biggest barrier to democracy has been complacency from a large middle class happy with their lot in The Easy Life.

    Watch things change as the middle class shrinks due to unemployment and people losing their homes. Huge social unrest is coming like an unstoppable avalanche as the economic crisis deepens and the underclass rises up in anger.