But that is not what we got.
In response to this challenge the Establishment reverted to type and did what it does almost better than anyone (with the possible exception of the better organised elements of the Sicilian Mafia.) It closed ranks and defied the world to do anything about it.
With a straight face, the political and legal establishment told the Assembly that contrary to what the Archbishop of Canterbury might think, the Dean of Jersey was not suspended. He was welcome, should he so wish, to take his seat alongside the great and the good in the States of Jersey, the St Helier Parish Rates Committee, and all of the other formidable features of his role. Listeners, to this morning's debate, may have got the impression that the Establishment would positively welcome him back to the top table in a direct challenge to any insubordinate Bishop who had dared to question their authority in the matter.
Members tried to establish just to whom the Dean was actually accountable. Apparently he was accountable to the Jersey Ecclesiastical Court which was presided over than none other than the Dean himself, although it was conceded that if the Dean was the subject of any complaint the chair would be taken by that renowned champion of victim’s rights, the Deputy Bailiff, William Bailhache who was Chairing this morning's States sitting, so no conflict of interest there then.
Members also attempted to discover just who actually selected and appointed the Dean. They were told that it was the Queen herself no less. However, given that most members were aware that Her Majesty does not as a rule place job adverts in the newspaper or conduct interviews of candidates, questions were asked as to who actually selected the candidate and advised the Queen on the appointment. The full Establishment, led by the Solicitor General himself, expressed total ignorance. They had, it appeared, absolutely no idea how the selection process operated. That is a little surprising given that a number present were active participants in the selection of the current Dean who we understand took part in a selection process which involved dinners and meetings with the “Great and the Good” intended to ensure that he was the “right sort” and would “fit in” with the pillars of the Jersey Establishment. Well he fitted in right enough. Arguably putting the interests of a suspected abuser before those of the victim and attempting to bury the whole thing is about as “fitting in” as you can get at the top levels of the Island’s Government.
In today’s exercise in what passes hereabouts for “democratic accountability” the Island’s worthies will have impressed each other but we suspect, few others. No doubt they will have regarded what took place as a heavyweight analysis of the legal and other reasons why they had primacy over matters affecting the Dean, and an assertion of their political authority. We suspect however that to much of the real world it will have been seen as a bunch of Ruritanian pipsqueaks hanging onto the shrinking remnants of their status.
The test now lies with the Church of England. Will they put victims first and take on the dark forces of the Jersey Hierarchy or will they back off and let normal service resume? Time will tell but all of a sudden a good deal more than the Dean of Jersey and Church Procedure appears to be at stake.
Submitted by VFC reader(s).