Saturday, 28 September 2019

September 28th 2019 Reform Day Anniversary.

Tom Gruchy

Today saw the 250th Anniversary of Jersey Reform Day which was (finally) acknowledged and celebrated in the Royal Square, the Royal Court and the States Chamber. This was the day that Tom Gruchy and hundreds of Islanders, in 1769, stormed the corrupt Royal Court (while it was in session) and demanded democratic changes. There were local bands playing, including Badlabecques who sang/sing in the native tongue of Jerrias, speeches, and tours of the Courts and States Chambers.

The day was (finally) recognised because of a  successful proposition brought to the States (Island's Parliament) by former Deputy TREVOR PITMAN back in 2012. For more history of the day (September 28th 1769) please look HERE where local historian, and Human Rights Campaigner Mike Dun alias "TOM GRUCHY" talks us through some of the events leading up to the riot.

Today's tour of the Royal Court and States Chambers building started with a presentation from PPC Chairman and St. Helier Deputy Russell Labey (video below) where he showed the audience a short film explaining the history of the day. He further gave (well deserved) credit to Mike Dun for the years of work/research he has accrued on the subject.

It was an informative day out, and those involved in making it happen should be congratulated. From what I can gather it was Russell Labey, Assistant Economic Development Minister Montfort Tadier, the Bailiff's Office (yeah I know), and the States Greffe. It should be said that this type of event (opening up the States Chambers and Royal Court) should be done more often. The tour I went on was very well attended and the Establishment, from what I can gather, is not entirely hostile to the idea!

Just a short Blog for today as we believe most is described in the below video. We hope readers/viewers watch the video that marks this momentous day in Jersey's history. (Even though Tom Gruchy is probably spinning in his grave.)


  1. It was a surprisingly good event and the short video and talk from Deputy Russell Labey presented an accurate but humorous account of the corrupt Jersey regime of the 18th century.
    For residents and visitors alike an interesting celebration to add to the annual calendar so it is hoped that it will become the basis for something bigger and stimulate more research and promotion of this Island's extraordinary history - especially its political development
    I was reminded of the video that used to play at the "Living Legend".
    More please!
    Information and entertainment can be mixed and presented on the same menu.

    1. Not a mention by Labey of the other of the two men, Deputy Trevor Pitman, without whom this would still be unknown. Says a great deal. But I'm sure it will have nothing to do with Labey sitting in Pitman's old seat. As for having the Bailiff's department involved - what next? Asking the Nazi's to celebrate the Liberation?

  2. Well done Team Voice! As someone who could not come on the tour, due to work, thank you for putting up this helpful summary of events.

    What a great video too!

    It seems to me, this was long overdue and would not have happened without the commitment of Deputy Russell Labey and Montfort Tadier - and Mike Dun and Trevor Pitman before them.

    Let’s hope it is marked every year from now on - and with a new bank holiday.

    Let’s keep fighting for more democratic changes, fairer representation and a system that works for all islanders.

  3. Presentation given by Deputy States Greffier LISA HART.

  4. Mrs Hart states that the Assembly is separate from the court. We all know this is utter tosh. Why didn't anyone jump up and say so? And before you say why didn't I do it myself I was unfortunately in Guernsey.

  5. Such an event should stimulate discussion but in Jersey I doubt if it will stir much more than the usual keyboard warriors promoting their own limited perceptions.
    Missing too at this celebration were the Trades Unionists - who are currently engaged with the government in a long term dispute - and the newly found Jersey Suffragettes were not to be seen!
    How strange that the greatest effort to mark "Jersey Reform Day" was that of the very establishment that Tom Gruchy and his colleagues risked their lives to confront and challenge 250 years ago.
    So there were educational and informative presentations from a lawyer, the Greffe and a video from PPC (a government organ) that described very graphically just how corrupt the system has been. Not the glorious heritage that is so often trotted out by the PR Historians and after dinner speakers.
    Hardly the Miners Gala or the Tolpuddle festival but Jersey's history of the "working class" seems to be an aspect of Island life that must be "suppressed". But by whom?
    So when an opportunity such as this comes along after 250 years to bridge the gap of knowledge in a meaningful way it is very strange that it is the "establishment" that finally rises to the occasion.
    Tom may well be spinning in his grave at Trinity but all those who claim some allegiance with a "progressive" agenda should really start planning now what they plan to do on 28 September "Jersey Reform Day" next year.

  6. I went on the last tour of the day I believe. Thought it was interesting and pleased to see this type of occassion finally getting recognition. But having the office of the Bay-Leaf involved? And not a mention, on my tour at least, of the person who successfully brought this to the States, former Deputy Pitman? All smacks of re-writng history I am afraid.

    1. Shameful to try and write out of history the one politician who listened to Mr Dun's contention that 1769 was very important in our history and so took it on to the States. Who the heck do people like Deputy Labey think he is? Probably just trying to get credit by association with something he had nothing to do with? But I also remember that Labey tried to undermine Trevor Pitman's sterling work in getting rid of secret votes replacing this with opennes, by attempting to take us back to secrecy and dodgy deals.

  7. Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, Two Year Review, Part two. Chief Minister, and Children's Minister, INTERVIEW.