Thursday, 5 November 2009

Deafening silence.

Not since John Stonehouse MP did a Reggie Perrin many years ago has there been anything quite like the mystery of Senator Stuart Syvret.

But, since he is Father of the House and one of the most able of our elected representatives we can be forgiven for wondering why so few of our 52 other States Members seem to show so little interest in the issues raised by him or concern for his welfare.

Even the Magistrates Court Hearings have been boycotted by Senator Syvret’s working colleagues and whilst we would expect some to be delighted at his absence, we at Team Voice are surprised that his more sympathetic workmates are maintaining such a low profile.

Leadership in our States is now at a deplorably low level at the best of times but this single issue must surely demand somebody to step forward with words of wisdom and guidance for the electorate?

Behind Senator Syvret’s absence are such claims as multiple Child Abuse, corruption at the highest level in our government and judicial system and Administrive incompetence besides suggestions of multiple murders within the hospital system.

Of course these are difficult issues to grapple with but unless Senator Syvret has fallen victim to illness it would not be at all surprising if he has sought sanctuary in the United Kingdom where his allegations might stand a chance of “proper” investigation.

We at The Voice are as mystified as others and we want certainty and clarity just like everybody else with an interest in these most important matters.

Next week members of the Education/Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel under the Chairmanship of Deputy Roy Le Herissier are visiting the Westminster and Welsh Assemblies in search of knowledge about UK Scrutiny . Would it really be too much to ask that these elected representatives undertake to meet with Senator Syvret and bring back to Jersey a clearer statement and analysis of his political problems, intentions and personal welfare?

Interviews with Deputy Tadier, Deputy Wimberley and Senator Breckon follow. It must be said Many of our elected “representatives” refused us an interview on this subject.

Submitted by Team Voice.


  1. I note a cagily diplomatic response by all. To my knowledge no previous member of the Jersey Parliament has ever sought asylum in this manner before so I suppose no one knows the procedure to follow. If in doubt may I suggest the use of common sense and courtesy.

    Excellent interviewee but I am a bit disappointed that Deputy Montford Tadier decided to chew gum through his interview although I do like him - but this may be a sign of things to come in the future, he may chose to don combat fatiques to 'Chew gum and kick ass' eventually in the future eh?

    I am glad to hear that both Deputies Tadier and Wimberley said that there were definitely concerns, brought up by Senator Stuart Syvret, which need to be discussed.

    I was far more disappointed regarding the banter in the house regarding Senator Stuart Syvret's absence. The assembley seem convinced that now that things are out of sight they are out of mind. How wrong they may be!

    The Truth is Out - Let us see how THEY handle it!

  2. Why does the sound drift out of synch with the pictures? By the end it's like watching a dubbed foreign movie :)

  3. Fair points in a provocative report. We cannot have a Senator "go missing" alleging that justice is impossible, without some form of explanation.

    It seems that for most States Members the whole matter is just embarrassing. The history of Syvret's rudeness and lack of cooperation have alienated him from other Members to the extent that they wish he would go away. They will not even throw him a life belt before he drowns.

    If Syvret has had enough then he should resign. That of course is what the Establishment would love. Stripped of his Parliamentary status he could then be crushed though the normal process of the Judicial System.

    Questions in the UK Parliament might flush out the Jersey Establishment.

    As an aside, I like the allusion to the fatigue wearing, gum toting Montagnero of St John. At least “Che”, as an orthodox Communist, would have his rifle slung and ready for action. A Man of Action indeed.

  4. Montfort is backing away from Stuart's actions you can see that straight away. But he has put his so called allies into a difficult position and being on the fence is probably best for Montfort right now.

  5. Wimberely says he speaks to his constituants, what all 200 that voted for him? Another traitor who won't stick his neck out and support Stuart. The pair of them are pathetic.

  6. The reticence of Deputies Tadier and Wimberly is understandable. Its not a simple question of being for or against Senator Syvret unconditionally. Syvret Loyalists will balk no criticism.

    Having attacked all and sundry over the years, there are few defenders remaining. A history of personalizing every issue, often to the detriment of wider political goals, has chastened many.

    Public opinion is clearly puzzled about such seemingly rash and bizarre conduct as going into exile. It appears childish and requires explanation. I do recall Arthur Scargill fled to East Germany after being threatened by the British Security Services during the miners strike in the mid 80s.

    Mention has been made here of posturing, often as a substitute for action. Syvret should have been in the Royal Square with the protesters on Monday for the swearing in of his old foe “Barking Bill”.

  7. They are probably as confused as all the rest of us by Syvret's antics.
    Yes, he has highlighted glaring defects in the States' treatment of vulnerable children and some related issues.
    On the other hand, claiming asylum for not being able to get a fair trial on being caught bang to rights driving with an out of date licence is either mockery or madness, but neither way the actions of a man to be taken seriously.

  8. Fence sitting of the most humungous proportions. Come on Monty, from one who voted for you I thought you were a man with the courage of your convictions like Stuart.

    Why the public still maintain this is a matter of 'running away' from a driving licence offence and a data protection issue must have their heads buried in the sand!

    Pavlik - Stuart had no need to be with us in the Royal Square on Monday. I'm sure he was with us in spirit, and would have been damned if he was there, and now he is being damned because he wasn't!

    He really can't win can he?

  9. I agree with Montfort that some differing ranks need to close now for political means. Perhaps with Stuart gone this may be a step closer because I dont think Stuart has helped the lefts, rights and middles to work on a common understanding very much.

  10. I found both of those interviews sad, not the interviewee's fault my I add.

    Like all elected members of whatever parliament, ask a straight question and they will skirt around and never give a straight answer. Amazing how their views change once they get a cozy seat in the house. A little afraid of being honest, go with the flow, fail to support those who have the honesty and decency to speak the truth. Never mind.

    The CTV interview was once of the worst pieces of investigative journalism I have ever seen. Not living on the island I have not a clue who the young lady is but boy oh boy how did she get the job?

    She failed to allow Stuart to answer his questions by butting in and never listened to his answers anyway. She was more intent on putting the views of those who cannot see past the end of their nose. Sad, even more sadder when she was interviewing John. She needs to do a course or find a job perhaps which will appreciate her constant flicking of her hair, twittering of her eyes, a job she doesn;t have to listen and has her questions on a piece of paper in front of her. Not too sure where she would fit in, perhaps in the States Assembly because to be fair she is quite a pretty young thing but lacks the carisma or common sense to be an interviewer. How did she get the job?

    Meanwhile having been following the comments on CTV so far Tony one of Stuarts supporters has turned coat (not too sure who posted that) and indeed Rico you have also turned coat. (I don't believe it incidently). I am now waiting and watcing for a comment under the name of VFC to turn coat also. Will they have the courage to do it a third time?

    Excellent interview by the way VFC which I could say the same for the fence sitters.

  11. I do not blame Monty and Wimberley for distancing themselves from Stuart’s behaviour because even watching the street interviews on CTV tonight it is very obvious that the general public are not seeing things like Stuart does. It is something that will not go away and will probably only get worse. Some of the posts attacking Monty on Stuart’s blog are uncalled for, Stuart is not the easiest personality to understand and surely he must understand that now.

  12. Is Senator Breckon invisible? Not a comment on his interview.
    Did he really say so little of importance or did only Monty have the "great expectations"?

  13. Perhaps there is an opportunity for VFC to interview Senator Syvret in order that he can put his case more firmly. A telephone interview from London or by video on Skype might be appropriate. This would give additional publicity to VFC.

    There are some useful points being made on the blogs and it’s a pity that the States Members have not really sought to engage openly. The Establishment would rather not give any credibility to Syvret by putting him centre stage. They hate his successful manipulation of the media.

    Go for it VFC!

  14. Abraham Jones Le Cras6 November 2009 at 10:49

    It is illogical for Senator Syvret to be in London. Remember that Abraham Jones Le Cras, the 19th century Jersey Radical Liberal, who fought the Establishment for decades, producing his newspaper, pamphlets and agitating with Liberal MPs, did so based in the island, in spite of persecution.

    Syvret has been looking for a way out for some time. Recall his falling out with John Christensen, criticising whilst looking for job in TJN or Greepeace. One could well imagine him seeking a position as a LibDem MP. A number of MPs may well be enamored with his style.

    For him to say that he is doing constituency work in London is simply untrue. He never does work for constituents; he does not reply to constituents, he has only ever pursued his own interests. At the demonstration against child abuse on 8th March last year, at least two islanders came up to him and harangued him for not answering their phone calls and emails.

    What we see is egotistical and petulant behaviour designed to keep himself in Deep Controvery, doing things that no one else would dare do. One might say that what is doing is done with one eye on History and how he will be remembered in that final JEP obituary.

    It’s a truism that change will have to be imposed on Jersey from the outside, yet there are those who remain in the front line trenches fighting for democratic change. This is their home, their island, they have no where else to go. However oppressive a regime there is always opportunity for resistance internally. Syvret should come back to Jersey and join the Resistance.

  15. David Rotherham said...

    They are probably as confused as all the rest of us by Syvret's antics... claiming asylum for not being able to get a fair trial on being caught bang to rights driving with an out of date licence is either mockery or madness, but neither way the actions of a man to be taken seriously.

    Thank you for nailing your colours to the mast. I won't be taking YOU seriously any time soon!

    Is there any chance you might actually TRY to understand that he's a using his case as a vehicle to draw attention to the wider general problem of poor justice over here?

  16. Anonymous said "Thank you for nailing your colours to the mast. I won't be taking YOU seriously any time soon!

    Is there any chance you might actually TRY to understand that he's a using his case as a vehicle to draw attention to the wider general problem of poor justice over here?"

    At first, I did think that was his game. Note that I did not criticise his public interest defence to the data protection charges. However, both sides have muddied the water by tagging on the driving offence, which, if reported correctly, is a clear absolute offence to which a humble and apologetic guilty plea is the only decent answer. If he had pled guilty to that one, and concentrated the fight on the data protection case, where there is a strong public interest element, (as opposed to interesting-to-the-public, not the same thing at all) I would remain supportive of him.
    At present, though, I am just baffled by his games.

  17. Amazing isn't it, how many people, David Rotherham included fail miserably to research, think and understand why Stuart is making the decisions he has.

    You see David, Stuart may be guilty of not renewing his driving licence, he may also be guilty of not changing his address, however, consider how that information was obtained. I may be wrong, forgive me all if I am, but the illegal raid on his home, or should I say Deputy Labey's home, without a search warrant was a total illegal act.

    To then notify him, failing of course to put a stamp on the envelope which contravenes yet more laws, then to lump together charges relating to a mortoring office with a trumped up charge of contravening the Data Protection Act, I do believe Stuart Syvret has done the right thing, especially when the Magistrate has failed miserably in the many hearings relating to the charges, failed to allow any of Stuarts witness requests to be actioned. Now I expect you have studied the right of a fair trial, the right to call witnesses the right to ask questions, this to date has not been allowed. In fact the Magistrate has failed in her duty to give the accused his Human Rights. I am sure I have not got this 100% correct, but this is the way I see it.

    How can any sane and sensible person not see, with the past record relating to abuse cases that have been refused by the AG, allegations relating to Senior Civil Servants disguarded. Stuart is entitled to Fair Trial and Justice, he should not be on trial anyway but that is by the by, in the same way that any person who has disclosed abuse, be it sexual, physical or mental has the Human Right for their disclosures to be taken seriously and be given the right of their day in court.

    Stuart is fighting for these rights and has been forced into a position that the only way he will get a fair trial, the abused with get Justice etc., etc., is to do what he has done. If you find that distasteful that is sad. Sad because only today headlines on the JEP have again confirmed what Stuart has said all along, the Judicial system in Jersey is crap. How elected representatives of the States of Jersey do not see this is totally and utterly beyond me, of course they probably do but do NOT WANT to face the reality of the bad publicity Jersey already has and sadly through their own failures will continue to do so. The only way forward is for people to stand up and be counted instead of hiding behind the skirts, silly hats, because believe me they will fall, fall big time.

    Stuart asking for political asylum is the only road that was left open to him.

    You know what really really amazes me when I read some of the comments against Stuart, Some Islanders would prefer that a nurse, who had already been found guilty of misdemeanors, was not held accountable for serious allegations relating to peoples loved ones. What sad person would allow a vendetta against a politician, who was elected, has a 'duty of care' for all his consitituents, to disclose information that was given to him. His concern relating to the safety of all and the possibility that this so called 'nurse' still on a nursing register, free to administer drugs to one of your loved ones is still roaming your streets because someone decided not to prosecute. I think Stuart Syvret is one brave man, it is just such a great pity that a lot of elected politicians do not have the same convictions and take their jobs as seriously as Stuart Syvret does.

    Apologies VFC for my rant, I may not have it all correct, but I strongly feel that these people who try to undermine Stuart Syvret are also undermining those abuse survivors no matter which way they were abused how dare they?

    End of Rant

  18. All this - and still our so called elected representatives (except for Senator Syvret and the occasional Constable Crowcroft) do not post their views on-line or engage with or answer their critics directly.
    Why are they so afraid?

  19. I do heartily agree with the poster of the previous "rant," and believe that your Senator Stuart Syvret has taken a bigger human rights picture into account with his public stance in London.

    Yes, the demonstrably violent nurse is almost never mentioned no matter how horrific the evidence against him, even just the prior charges he was already convicted with. Yet, the evidence of political obstruction of the complete criminal investigation or prosecution of the nurse is only the tip of the Jersey iceberg, is it not?

    The legal issues concerning the subsequent driving related charges are absolutely and profoundly related to the illegal search and seizure, and to the global struggle for basic human rights.

    Even in my indisputably flawed country, there is no question that any elected representative whose home was searched without warrant, and whose political actions were kept under constant secret surveilance at great public expense, could take this drivers license case to the Supreme Court and win.

    In fact, such an individual would become famous overnight just for the blatant harrassment, not for the charges. If he failed to fight this, he would be made to feel ashamed for failure to uphold such human rights. If, for any reason, the Supreme Court would not hear such a case, or would not rule for the citizen, there would be an international outcry. The leading democratic societies around the world would expect no less from each other in the defence of maintaining good rule of law.

    Books have been writen over similar unconstitutional surveilance and harrassment of Martin Luther King, Jr, for example, and every school child here studies his courageous defiance. No one today would respect Dr. King had he chosen to let injustices slip by for the sake of being more socially courteous. We really must all try to teach our children not to respect those who will not stand up for what is right.

    Why in the world would anyone be afraid of your senator's slightly abrasive test of a system if it had the strength of any true legal integrity? Who cares whether or not you like the man or his politics. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, which should be more important to you than the struggle to establish and maintain testable good governance.

    If Jersey's judicial process cannot bear this scrutiny by the Father of the House, and will brook no transparent legal challenges by an elected official, what the Hell kind of democracy is that?

    It is simply shocking and terribly depressing to hear that not all Jersey islanders would understand the far greater, and more compelling purpose in Senator Syvret's actions. Did you not lose many of your own Greatest Generation in the violent struggle to preserve just such human rights as those he is citing? Our bravest stood right with you on shores only a few miles from your own! For God's sakes, people!

    Another Ranter's Rant

  20. John Hemming, Stuart's supportive MP and UK host, has posted an excellent new entry on Jersey and its odd views on upholding the rule of law.

  21. Wilkes and Liberty6 November 2009 at 21:49

    I note that CTV have closed their comments on the Syvret/Hemmings videos. Clearly it was getting too controversial. The spoof postings were also embarrassing.

    Perhaps I might express an opinion about the CTV interviewer, who has been coming in for considerable criticism. She seems to have a sincerity and enthusiasm for her job, yet at times was naive. Hemmings’ historical reference to John Wilkes and the publication of North Britain in 1745 had her stumped. She was about to say “Not many people have…( heard of John Wilkes)” and then had to stop mid sentence, realising this revealed her ignorance. The questions she asked Syvret were straight from the textbook of Establishment received opinion. She was putting to him all the criticisms raised in any JEP editorial without really reflecting up them. She has totally bought into the idea that Jersey is a democracy and that the judiciary are impartial.

    One hopes that the constituents case that Syvret intends to cite in his legal proceedings embrace not just child abuse victims but others who have suffered discrimination and persecution when they crossed the authorities in Jersey. One can think of the likes of the late Jimmy Barker and attempts by the Royal Court to seize all his assets.

    Can we please hear from States Members on the record what they think? The silence is unacceptable.

  22. A comment has been submitted reffering to a comment VFC left on John Hemmings Blog.

    If the commenter would re-submit the comment replacing the name been used to VFC then I will publish the post.

  23. A link to John Hemming MP's latest posting.

  24. Ooops! forgot to leave the link.

  25. Rotheram et al seem to miss the point regarding the technical motoring offenses - the salient point is that the evidence was found on the police "fishing trip" which whilst legal in the strict sense was arguably a gross abuse of proceedure.

  26. I don't agree with the posters who say that the politicians interviewed are cagey or unsupportive. They make it clear that Stuart's case has become personalized and complicated which has made it difficult to wholeheartedly and unquestioningly support everything he does, let alone everything he says.

    That is exactly how I feel about it. I support him in most of what he is trying to achieve, and I do believe he has been marginalized and oppressed by the establishment over a number of years and a number of issues, from the toxic waste at La Collette, to the rushed-through limited liability legislation, to the more recent child protection issues.

    Although Senator Syvret has adopted a particularly pugnacious and confrontational attitude, which you might suspect is partially responsible for his current isolation, would being more agreeable and clubable have helped him at all? The recent defeat of Senator Breckon, who tried to do it the 'right way' suggests otherwise.

    But that doesn't mean I agree with everything he does or says, nor does it make me or anyone else some kind of traitor for not doing so.

    I don't know how Senator Syvret behaves in private to his colleagues (especially those who came out in support of him) but comments like this on his blog would make it hard for anyone to run and support him in a crisis:

    "Although these days I try to avoid it whenever possible – occasionally I have to attend meetings of the States. I sit there and look around the chamber and observe the collection of passive non-entities, senior oligarchs and other assorted charlatans – and a shiver goes down my spine.

    The community’s destiny is in the hands of this collection ignoramuses, deluded egotists and clowns.


  27. Yes, Stuart has indeed alienated some of his potential supporters and allies but the truth is that it almost always takes someone like Stuart to really change such entrenched, self worshiping elitist systems.

    Compare Stuart's disdain for the cowardly conformist behavior of his colleagues in the States, with their pompous disgust for his rough methods and manners, and his shocking willingness to expose inconvenient truths.

    I guess the question could be whether or not any elected official with high ideals can even effect much critically needed change, politely, within the inside. At least while dealing with an increasingly corrupt system, and without being both abrasive and rashly immune to that typical Jersey pressure to conform.

    If proper, established methods of political action were enough, we would see that those working more conventionally within the system were actually capable of resolving Jersey's most desperate problems.

    Instead of someone else actually meeting these pressing challenges there is only this constant restating of everyone's personal views of Stuart, now by both sides, with far too much emphasis on his abrupt personality and too little debate on the substance of his cause.

    Anyone should have a right to criticize any elected official, but the focus of so much attention on Stuart's personality has to be due, in large measure, to his being so brazenly alone among those who actually will do whatever it takes to make a difference, without regard to personal popularity.

    Supporters of his worthy causes are missing the point when taking apart all of Stuart's unorthodox methods and actions. So, perhaps he could find lovlier tactics, but why even try to mould and polish Stuart into the ideal public crusader for justice? Jersey needs many many more courageous activists to utilize all available methods and manners - inside the system and out - to ever bring about decent governmental standards.

    Ironically, if Stuart is ultimately successful, he may well leave behind a fairer Jersey, where less defiant political conduct in the States could someday be sufficient to meet Jersey's future challenges. I would argue that THAT is not yet the case.

  28. Rob - again you make a reasoned comment, and whilst I can fully appreciate what you are saying, sadly a lot of what Stuart puts on his posts are a) the truth and b) what a lot of people think!!

    Stuart probably does appear confrontational and pugnacious to a lot of people. Personally I have not encountered this, but I wonder if some of this is borne out of sheer frustration which would be entirely understandable.

    I am very placid and prefer a conciliatory approach to issues. However, of late I too feel so much frustration and anger about all the injustices and bad government here, I can in part identify with 'Stuart's Way' in dealing with the 'Jersey Way'.

    We do not have many (if any) members of the States that bother to engage with the electorate or inspire.

    As the following post by VFC says 'what IS the right way?'.

  29. In his interview Senator Breckon came across as annoyed, angry even, that Senator Syvret was not there for the debate on his propersition.

    He didnt seem to realise at the time that he was going to loose the vote because of the

    Nothing to do with Syvret not being there.

    Maybe another interview, after seeing the light might make him a bit more interviewable!?

  30. To the last commenter.

    I agree entirely with what you say. I would go as far as to say if Senator Syvret had have been present, that would have cost Senator Breckon a couple of votes. This is because of the personality politics that our government is ruled by.

    It really makes no odds what proposition ANY Scrutiny Panel brings to the States. If the Council of Ministers don't want it passed, then the Constables (bar 2) and Assistant Ministers will make sure the COM get their wish.

    The unfortunate thing is that the Scrutiny Officers don't appear to have cottoned onto this yet and still believe they are doing a worthwhile job.

    Which is even more unfortunate because a lot of them work their arses off trying to make the difference.

  31. I disagree with you slightly. With Syvret there making one of his heart felt speeches would have swung 2 or 3 more air heads with a concience, Breckons way.

    But that same majority of constables would have still done what The Chief Minister and ministers had requested/ordered them to do before hand....

    The Constables have got to be removed from The House!

  32. Jill and Anonymous, I'm not questioning whether Stuart is right or wrong, or whether he would have got any further if his personality was all sweetness and light (I already discounted that above).

    What I don't like is the George Bush tone of some of his supporters - 'if you're not for us, you're against us' (and yes, I know GB did not invent that expression). They then go on to slag off decent people like Montfort Tadier because he doesn't give his full public support to Stuart.

    What I would say is that Stuart has chosen his words and his battles very carefully and has calculated the response in advance. I knew that he had pushed the nuclear button when he posted the 'serial killer nurse' blog entry soon after his London legal bid had been rejected.

    He has chosen this fight with the authorities, as demonstrated by comments like "you'll never take me alive, copper" and "see you in court".

    So he has chosen his path and his words and I don't suppose he expects everyone, or anyone, to fully support him in that - it's an individual decision. Just because some people question the wisdom of some of his actions or wince at some of his vituperative rhetoric, and are prepared to say that these are complex questions without black and white answers, it doesn't mean that they have 'gone native' and are stooges of the establishment.

    When obviously intelligent people are subjected to such blunt and uncritical insults, it makes you want to dissociate yourself and go and read a book instead.