Whether one is a 'Royalist' or not surely the most nauseating thing about observing the unfolding of any Royal visit to Jersey is the complete affront to democracy evident in an unelected judge - the Bailiff - lording it over both public and elected representatives alike as the alleged 'civic head' or 'first citizen' of the Island to bend the visitor's ear with his version of reality.
Our 'First citizen'? Come on - what self-respecting, true democracy in the 21st Century world tolerate such a freak show of lurid, arrogant and wholly redundant elitism as we, the people of Jersey, have to put up with every time a member of the English Monarchy visits our Island? I repeat: the Island's Bailiff is nothing more than an unelected Chief Judge: nothing. He has no place in politics and he has no place as any kind of 'first citizen'.
Indeed, the undeniable truth is that the Bailiff's mandate to speak on my - or your - behalf is even less than that of a country Constable who honestly offers him or herself for election yet never ever faces an opponent!
A living anachronism
It is bad enough that despite a number of highly authoritative and scholarly reports over the past decade or so condemning this political/judicial anachronism the Bailiff is still allowed to rule on what an elected States Member can or cannot say within our own parliament by virtue of the so-called 'dual role'.
This abuse, as we know, still - and increasingly -includes arrogantly silencing Members such as myself (via manipulation of Standing Orders) who have dared to rightly highlight his appalling failings in overseeing what is laughably referred to as Jersey's 'justice' system.
Of course when one fully understands the reality of the bloated, rotten, black underbelly of the Jersey Establishment and its attitude to law and justice - increasingly visible thanks to the sterling work of Citizen Media blogsites such as Voiceforchildren, Rico Sorda and a growing number of others - you finally get to appreciate just why there is such desperation from within the ageing ranks of the Establishment to maintain the Bailiff's role and with it the true political control of the Island via the spectacularly ill-titled Law Office.
For make no mistake, true political power - certainly the enforcement of it - lies here NOT within the Council of Ministers or the wider Assembly.
ECHR-compliant all of this most definitely isn't.
Yet so long as this throw back to the Middle Ages is allowed to linger on; with the silly red cloaks; strut and covert intimidation allowed to hold sway over honesty; respect and justice for all - no matter what their financial status or background - the ears of those who are meant to protect us as their 'subjects' will forever be bent with only elitist propaganda and lies rather than truth.
Of course, with the UK Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling MP visiting the Island next week it should also be pointed out that this carefully stage managed propaganda process will be just the same. Indeed, while Mr Grayling - like his Minister for Justice, Lord Tom McNally really should be expected to have the awareness and resolve to dig deeper; the fact is they will once again simply buy into whatever old guff our Bailiff, Senator Philip Bailhache and his nominal boss, 'Chief Minister' Gorst tell him.
I.e everything in the Jersey garden is Rosy; and anyone who mentions an unfit for purpose justice system; child abuse cover-ups or dubious tax processes is some kind of 'red-under-the-bed'; conspiracy theorist. Is HRH Prince Edward interested in the welfare of his mother's subjects sufficiently to seek out the truth? Is Justice Secretary Grayling? Probably not if the in-action of Minister McNally is anything to go by - he knows our 'justice' system is abused and used as a tool of oppression yet does precisely nothing.
A chance to do something really useful
Back in his youth I can recall HRH Prince Edward used to have a job within Andrew Lloyd-Weber's 'Really Useful Company'. Well, we can be pretty damn certain that the Prince won't be made aware of inconvenient but now well known little realities of 'the Jersey Way' by which our Establishment operates - such as for example:
- The on-going saga of taxpayers' money - huge great wads of it - being granted to four selected individuals including a convicted thug to bring 'data protection' cases against a dissident former politician - yet is assistance wholly denied to others who are victims of the very same criminal yob himself!
The startling related new claim - made to me directly by one of the said same individuals - that he believes, like he himself, none of the others even wanted their claims linked to that of the vulgar little hate-monger described above but were given no choice in the matter by... the State!
No, this kind of Bald Truth about Establishment Jersey most definitely will not be on the chit-chat menu for any Royal visitors or those meant to be responsible for Westminster's judicial/political oversight of our Island - really useful though they would be. No more than infamous scandals like:
The appallingly failed and suddenly 'early retired' Victoria College Vice-Principle (John Lyndon Le Breton) rewarded with the role of a Jurat - though known by Crown Officers to have calculatedly looked the other way on evidence against the most heinous of predatory paedophiles, Andrew Jervis-Dykes.
Or the fact that the clearly unsafe, and unsuitability of having such an individual so lacking in integrity, honesty and judgement being allowed to judge on 'fact' within the Jersey courts cannot (so it is claimed) be challenged in any way!
Or even (and this really does show just how little Establishment attitudes to child abuse have changed)...
One of the more than a dozen claimed (and it must be said, compellingly evidenced )victims of an alleged abuser amongst the four afforded taxpayers' money I mentioned above being met with threats of prosecution and imprisonment from the States 'Historic Child Abuse' legal team if he does not retract his story - rather than the compassion and understanding he is surely due. Not to mention the tandem despicable and highly offensive claims made that this same victim of States failings 'was not even at Haut de la Garenne' at all - even though other victims remember him!
No, our esteemed visitors, whether Royal or political will not be told the truth of any of this you can be sure
So - to finally make use of my earlier recollection of HRH Prince Edward having once been employed by the 'Really Useful Company' - if the Prince really does want to do something that will benefit the real people of this Island and make a bona fide hero of Himself to boot: wouldn't it be great if he would use his position to look beneath the smarm and verbal horse manure he will have been passed off with during his visit last week.
And then ask - no, demand - those responsible for ensuring justice in this Crown Dependency of Her Majesty the Queen to finally act to bring the people who allow all of this to happen to book in no uncertain terms. Starting with the consigning of the role of unelected 'first citizen' Bailiffs to the dustbin of history; and a tandem thorough Turks & Caicos style UK intervention to clean out the cancer eating away our justice system; and with it our democracy.
If not then I guess more and more people will just continue to conclude we really might as well be Dependencies of a UK Republic.
Keep the Faith
*And if you should feel the sickening injustices I highlight above a tad depressing just be thankful... With a long post I didn't even get around to mentioning the evidenced police case against a prominent businessmen for child abuse strangely not pursued for 'lack of evidence' - even though two witnesses - including the actual victim - puts him abusing her!
Yes, as the current Attorney General answered when I challenged him on this case within a private meeting: 'have to be one for the independent Committee of Inquiry that'. My thoughts exactly. Or perhaps one for the UK journalist already - however belatedly - now taking an interest...