On Trust

"A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody." ( Thomas Paine)
"Do not trust all men, but trust men of worth; the former course is silly, the latter a mark of prudence" ( Democritus)
"For trust not him that hath once broken faith"  ( William Shakespeare, King Henry VI, Part 3)
In G.K. Chesterton's "The Man Who Was Thursday", a man takes on the role of Thursday as an undercover policeman to infiltrate the Council of Anarchists, who are named after the days of the week, and whose leader is just called Sunday.
It is a lesson in mistrust, but as it turns out, without spoiling too much of the plot, Sunday succeeds largely because no one in the Council can trust anyone else. They are all suspicious of each other.
That was something which I was thinking about with regard to the States vote on the principles of the Referendum which were rejected in the States last week. The whole enterprise has been all about trust, or the lack of it.
The States in the first instance lacked the trust to hand over the Electoral Commission to an independent group as had been originally planned. They just did not trust that the outcome would be something acceptable to them. The electorate really didn't come into those considerations at all.
The States then lacked the trust to make the results of the Referendum binding. Jeremy Macon's attempt to bring in a limit of 40% before it would be acceptable to the States was a good suggestion, because after that there was no confidence that a low turnout would signify anything.
And the end result of the vote has been that the public, who already had a certain degree of mistrust in the whole matter, are even less likely to vote in the next election. Their opinion was called for, and then discarded because the whole matter was so badly thought out (in terms of binding and thresholds) that no one knew exactly how to interpret the results. But one result was clear: you ask the people what they want, and if you then treat them like idiots, they are likely to loose confidence in you.
"It is only prudent never to place complete confidence in that by which we have even once been deceived."  ( René Descartes)
It is not the only case where this has happened with a Referendum. Notoriously, the Irish Referendum rejected the EU Treaty of Lisbon in 2008, and was brought back again, with a better campaign, and passed in 2009. Evidently, when the will of the people is not what you want, you just try again until it matches your chosen outcome. This is how to produce a result which the instigators of the Treaty described as "more democratic, more transparent and more efficient". Of course, if you have to avoid any referendum in most countries, and take any that fail as a reason to try again until you get the right result, you are a very long way from democracy and trust.
"Old friend,' said Cadvan, filling another glass for himself and sniffing its rich smell. 'If we do not trust one another, we are already defeated." (( Alison Croggon, The Singing)
Politicians get their legitimacy from trust. It is trust that drives people out to vote for them at elections. And that in turn provides them with a mandate to govern as representatives of those people who placed trust in them.
A political system in which trust has been seriously eroded is in danger of losing voter turnout, and hence losing the legitimacy which comes from that trust. They may govern by default, because the lower numbers who did turn out voted for them, but they are there purely because the mechanisms of election remain in place.
As Professor Geoffrey Gallop says: "Trust is the hidden curriculum of modern politics. If trust is there, big changes are possible. If not, it is hard for governments to do what is needed to meet future challenges. Building trust should be a government priority."
The mistake is to think that trust, when destroyed, can be legislated back into existence. It cannot. It requires more than words. It needs more engagement than that. Here are some suggestions by which this may be done.
States members need to take full responsibility for their actions and choices. This means taking a deep, hard look at why they lost the public trust, and how the public feel cheated, how they can make sure they never cheat the public again. That means humility.
States members need to give the public the time and space to vent their feelings. This includes listening to the public anger about what they have done, and letting the public asking them lots and lots of questions, hurling a great deal of judgment, even raging at them, while they stand strong, keep apologising, and reaching out with compassion and understanding.
States members need to find out more about what the public expectations are. Find out what they need. They need to what they can do to change the situation and make it better.
States members need to accept that sometimes it going to feel like they are moving two steps forward and three steps back. One day it may seem like there's hope for tomorrow, and the next day, the dark clouds of mistrust have returned. There will be inevitable bumps and setbacks along the way back to trust, so it is important for them to have a plan in place to help them keep calm and centred, and be prepared to take positive action to address these pitfalls.
States members need to make sure that all promises they make are promises they keep. Their words, actions and deeds must come from total and unwavering integrity. There must be no lies, no duplicity, no excuses, no exceptions. An honest apology is worth more to trust than the face saving excuses and prevarication, which erodes trust and fools nobody anyway.
States members need to show how much they appreciate the general public in big and small ways every day, and then the general public will show how much they appreciate having States members elected on their behalf..
Rebuilding trust is both a rite of passage and a healing journey. It will take patience, courage, inner strength and time for both the public (who feel betrayed) and the States (who have betrayed their trust)  to heal and regain balance.
At the heart of the contract between States members and voters is a relationship of trust. The mechanisms of democracy - the nomination meetings, the manifesto, the hustings, the ballot box - are all externals, important part of how democracy works. But they are not the most important part: that is all about relationships of trust. That's the real basis why people vote.
"We're paying the highest tribute you can pay a man. We trust him to do right. It's that simple." (Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird)







Let me run this little scenario past my readers. It is about "The Numbers Game". It is about "Head Counting" this is how the vast majority of legislation is passed in the states. It doesn't matter if the argument is lost on a proposition, it's solely about having enough members to pass it. The majority lies in the right wing, establishment, executive.

The reason I'm voting 'A' is that I want option 'A' to stand a chance in the debate that will follow the referendum. Option 'A' must win at the polls to stand a slight chance of being implemented. During the BBC Jersey Breakfast show this morning the most crucial part was when the presenter Mathew Price asked Senator Bailhache about what he thought was a reasonable number regarding voter turnout. Senator Bailhache refused to be drawn on this issue. He said "If a reasonable percentage of the island turnout for one or other of the options he is sure the states will implement it." Mathew Price asked him a number of times just what he thought was a reasonable number but the Senator refused to give one.  I thought Mathew Price should have been harder with Senator Bailhache on this point. He should have told him that his listeners deserved to know what the Chairman of the Electoral Commission thought was a reasonable number.

The reason that Senator Bailhache won't be drawn on this issue is simple. It is to do with the States of Jersey and the "Numbers Game."  The Senator is not worried if it is a 15% or 20% turnout. This is about getting option 'B' voted through the States if it wins on Wednesday. Now the likely hood of Option B winning is vastly higher than A. It is the country parishes that will decide it. We will  then believe that it will get rejected in the States because of a multiple of reasons: Low voter turnout, No option getting a clear majority, spoilt papers etc etc. This, I believe, is simply not the case.


How do they get Option B passed in the states even if it is a low turnout  and no clear majority?

You simply "Head Count"

You tell everyone how the public are sick to death of hearing about reform when there are so many other pressing issues concerning the Island. You say that the public have spoken and we must respect their wishes - even though there are some glaring issues concerning the result - and then you simply  "HEADCOUNT."

They need 27 Votes to get B through the States . Do they have them? I say yes.

This is my list:

I'm going for 11 Connétables - I'm giving Constable Crowcroft the benefit of the doubt on this one.

11 - Constables

Senator, Bailhache - Ozouf - Gorst - Routier 

Deputies, Power, Pinel, Noel, Bryons, Luce, Pryke, Baker, Moore, Le Bailley, Lewis, Green and Ryan.

Members will be under pressure to go with the result. The Constables give it a good kick start to the magic number of 27. 

This is just my opinion. 

The real fun will start if Option A wins at the polls. 

For this reason alone I'm giving Option 'A'  my vote. Having 42 States Members will be disastrous in my opinion. Feel free to have your own say on this.

The Battle is getting it passed in the States.

Time to start the "Headcount"

Rico Sorda

Part Time Investigative Journalist


Committee of Inquiry members named as Option B & the Jersey Evening Pravda keep spinning the lies...

In the week that finally saw the first two names for the hard-won Committee of Inquiry into decades of Establishment-concealed child abuse announced the crucial importance of all of these people being 100% independent of Jersey's self-proclaimed elite could not have been more strongly reiterated.
For if the Committee of Inquiry is to finally get to the bottom of what went on at Haut de la Garenne and other institutions (States and otherwise) they will need to have a commitment to truth burned into the forefront of their approach at all times. Of course, this fact would likely go without saying in most jurisdictions. But sadly Jersey is not 'most' jurisdictions. It is...how shall we put it: different.
Both different in that it is fundamentally one of the most special places you could ever hope to find. But 'different' too in that we unfortunately have a clique of people at the apex of power desperate to hold on to power here for whom truth appears to come a very long way down their list of priorities.

People who regularly try to rubbish true proponents of political equality,transparency and accountability - yet are quite happy to throw such words around themselves like so much confetti at a wedding. So long as it helps them get what benefits THEM.
Option B for Bullsh*t...
Anyone doubting this fact really need look no further than those at the forefront of the campaign for Option B in the forthcoming (hijacked) Jersey referendum. Already the pages of the local Pravda (more on this later) have been swamped with letters whose lack of honesty (it surely can't be just ignorance, can it?) should tell you that buying a  secondhand car from the authors might just be one hell of a risk.
Why do I say this? Well, it is quite simple. The cold, hard truth of the matter is that Option B - if it were to become law - would create voter inequality that would make Jersey the laughing stock of Europe. Indeed, this would not just be because of a degree of resultant inequality that would cause riots on the streets of any normal democracy; it would be because no other country in Europe would actually even consider risking putting forward such non-ECHR compliant, neo-feudal claptrap as a government-backed initiative in the first place.
Thatcher may be dead but the self-interest mentality lingers on...
Yet here in Jersey, of course, we see people such as former occasional visitor to the States Chamber, Ben 10 Shenton; Clothier saboteur Pierre Horsfall and even young Thatcherite wannabees like James Rondel all spouting the demonstrable garbage that Option B will create a 'fairer' system! Really boys?
Then why is it, let me ask, that not a single one of you B faction brigade can ever manage to explain exactly 'how'? Why they are so quiet on this issue and keen to adopt the standard far-right diversionary attack of branding people who differ 'wreckers' is because they know they are talking the aforesaid utter tosh.
Option B is the choice for people who say that they want efficiency, stability and equality. But actually want an entrenched two-tier society that will continue to let those with the deepest pockets and the lowest ethics carry on riding the elitist gravy train a few years longer. Ride the gravy train even in the knowledge it will ultimately - certainly within the next 20 years -lead the majority into the economic and social Abyss. Please make sure you look at what they DON'T tell you.
To this regard a few weeks ago the A Team were using a catchy little slogan that played on this truth with a tongue-in-cheek 'No Plan B'. May I politely suggest that a more honest slogan would be:
'Vote B and you'll B stuffed - Forever!'

Which brings us neatly on to that bastion of Establishment Party lies...the Jersey Evening Pravda
Now the fact that the local Pravda  is already up to its old tricks in support of the B campaign (lovely big photo of 'thumbs up for inequality' Shenton) should come as a surprise to nobody who follows local politics. This newspaper has been actively working to undermine democracy and spinning Establishment propaganda since at least the end of the Second World War. Doubt my word then just go and sit in the reference library for a few hours.
Indeed, the JEP's consistency in this strategy has been remarkable and has never once faltered: whether this required such diverse ploys as refusing to let the Jersey Democratic Movement publish its election manifesto; portraying heroes of the Occupation such as the legendary Norman Le Brocq as rouble-grasping, anti-Jersey 'wreckers' or just about anything else.
Psst! Need a couple of Lefties portrayed as fraudsters even when all they really did (like some Establishment candiates!) was help a few elderly and/or disabled people register for a postal vote? Yup - Pravda are the boys for the job!

Want a child abuse investigation trashed and years of buggery, bullying and unheeded cries for help from children painted as secondary to what PC Plod had for dinner - once again, we're your guys! Want a dodgy copper leaking information during a live child abuse investigation to a hack Daily Mail journalist instead painted as a 'whistle-blower' - give us a call!
No wonder more and more people are deserting the MSM for Citizens' Media...
Of course, often this most vile of 'newspapers' takes a more subtle approach.

Ever so accidental pictures of favoured Establishment candidates such as Sir Philip Bailhache given much greater prominence, likewise with quotes/text than other candidates. Respected US journalists (shockingly monitored whilst a visitor to our island and then banned upon revealing what she was researching) stuck on the pages of Pravda when her visa is returned... ever so accidentally next to a big feature on illegal immigrants!
The truth is the Jersey Evening Pravda is both terrified of TRUTH and contemptuous of it in my opinion and, indeed, in that of so many others. Okay so we know they are desperate to bury this... But just consider our case against them and Broadlands for the horrible, cowardly lie that my wife (Deputy Shona Pitman) and I had increased our salary by 4 times with my entering politics.
Bad enough as this despicable lie was in itself given our income had decreased and, of course, a belated, desperate attempt to spin this as a reference to a mortgage muliplier ignored the ever so inconvenient little fact that that 4 x wasn't even the current rate.But if you have been reading their recent appallingly written stories from the likes of Richard Heath and Andy Sibcy (what happened to you guys?) relating to facts of the case and material sent to the UK Justice Ministry then you'll oddly NOT have been made aware of the following very interesting FACTS.

Never mind Article 6 and Human Rights - we're the Jersey Establishment!
Firstly. the editors and owners of the Pravda are desperate that you don't know the cold, hard FACT that this newspaper is seeking to gain financially from a court case that was NOT ECHR compliant. This being because our esteemed Bailiff's Office - whether through negligence or, it has to be asked, something more sinister,failed to ensure that Jurat John Le Breton who is an evidenced personal friend of a defendant company director did not obey the rules on conflict of interest and recuse himself.
Whatever could have been Le Breton's motive for not doing what was required, I ask?

The Jersey Evening Pravda - aided and abetted appallingly by BBC Jersey in this instance - claim they CAN'T report this for risk of getting into 'Big Trub'. Slightly odd then you might think how journalists in both the UK and beyond have reported what is cold, hard FACT? Obviously the Establishment tom-tom drums have been beating frantically to try and keep the Bailiff's Office's failures quiet at all costs.
Then secondly, the reality that Jurat John Le Breton is highlighted within the Establishment suppressed Sharp Report as refusing to look at EVIDENCE against his friend and Victoria College teaching colleague, predatory paedophile Andrew Jervis-Dykes. Not just this but then writing in support of this vile individual. And yet was then actually put forward and supported by Establishment grandees including a former Education Committee President to become a Jurat!
The role of a Jurat? Looking at and deciding on... EVIDENCE!
And then we have the little fact of the Jersey Evening Pravda trying to con their readers that it is only Shona and I who have written to the UK Justice Minister expressing their deep concern at this abuse of justice. Of course the truth is that a dozen prominent Islanders wrote in support of our challenging of this sickening farce. All but three current or past States Members.
Funny how the Jersey Evening Pravda don't tell their readers that?
Opting out of ECHR obligations on the excuse that Jersey 'is small' just isn't an option...
But Lord above, would YOU not be concerned if you found an individual like John Le Breton awarded the job by the Bailiff's Office of deciding on evidenced fact in your case?! Deciding on evidence that could impact your whole life? Yes, I repeat: no wonder the Jersey Evening Pravda want to keep this little scandal quiet. Conflicted to the hilt AND a proven record of being happy to look the other way on evidence!

Yet what possibly makes this even worse? The aforesaid fact that despite this appalling reality the Pravda and their lawyers still appear quite happy to try and gain financially on the back of court proceedings that as a conseqquence wouldn't stand up in a Third World country like Zimbabwe.
Or maybe its all a whole lot more sinister still?

Maybe Le Breton's being allowed to get away with sitting on our case against the JEP/Broadlands even when it is beyond question that he was impossibly conflicted wasn't just down to him? Maybe what is happening now isn't just a consequence of cynical opportunism? Maybe it was yet another manifestation of 'the Jersey Way'?

Maybe it was all part of a deliberate strategy?
After all, the Establishment can always use the get out/excuse 'well, if you are unhappy you can appeal!' Knowing that most ordinary people simply can't afford another £30,000 + nor should have to due to failings entirely down to the Bailiff's own Office probably don't even enter into their considerations.

Or maybe that too is all part of 'the Jersey Way' plan...
But to return to where I began with the selection of the Committee of Inquiry members to examine decades of States concealed child abuse: all i can say is thank God that this selection is in the hands of a decent man like States Greffier, Michael de la Haye!

If we can follow in this vein all the way through and keep the Establishment 'wreckers' at arms length maybe the inquiry will eventually be able to succeed. We must certainly do all we can to ensure this happens. More than enough children and adults have suffered already.
Keep the Faith. Yes, they can destroy us - but ultimately the Truth will always win in the end...

Truth - especially the BALD TRUTH - to paraphrase Corporal Jones - the Jersey Establishment and their mouthpieces just don't like it up 'em!

Cognitive Dissonance and Jersey Reform.

Sen. Philip Bailhache, Chairman of the Electoral Commission
A referendum is coming up in less than 3 weeks. Two campaign groups, the States Assembly and the electoral commission acknowledge the need for States reform, members of one group - Option C - are questioning the need for reform at all. 

So what is the case for reform?

Well, first of all, here is a little teaser. Can you tell me who is the originator of the following quote?

'There is widespread disillusionment with the political process. Some might say perhaps that this reflects the absence of party politics, but it is also a reflection of the relatively complicated and unfair system whereby we elect our representatives.'

When I saw this quote, I wondered who had said this. I thought it might have been me, but it was not particularly my idiom. So I thought it might have been Geoff Southern or more likely, Roy Le Hérissier. But no. Who was it that dare suggest that there could be anything even slightly wrong with our current system of government, and the way in which we ran our elections in Jersey?

Avid JEP reader, Jimmy Perchard

It is certainly a far cry from the idyllic picture painted by former Senator Perchard (who I hear is now campaigning for the abolition of the Senators) who said, on 30th March 2011 that 'Jersey is a great example of democracy; a beacon of democracy that we should hold up high for the world to look at.'

Hide it under a bushel? No! Not Jim, in any case. He was loud and proud of the Jersey system, which he is now, 2 years later, campaigning to change.

So let's put you out of your misery. The person who disagrees with Senator Perchard, that thinks Jersey is a not shining beacon of democracy, but a 'relatively complicated and unfair system' is none other than Seigneur Bailache lui-même

So the question is, now that it has been established beyond doubt, that Jersey's system needs change: what do we do about it?

Well, we have two options on the table. A or B. So which should we go for?

Senator Bailhache told us on 20th February 2013 that:

 'Reform option B creates greater voter inequity than we have at the moment.'

So, that naturally means that the Senator is supporting option A, (right?) which is fairer, more democratic and less complicated (his original reason for bringing reform). WRONG. Senator Bailhache is supporting Option B because he wants to make the system even more inequitable that it is at the moment. 

This is the man who topped the poll islandwide, but he has campaigned to change our entire electoral system which he thinks is unfair and he wants to replace it with something that is even more unfair.

This is an example of cognitive dissonance of the highest order. 

Of course, the Jersey mainstream media do not pick up on this contradiction in the system, in the same way they do not ask why Pierre Horsfall has done a U-Turn on the Constables, and is now supporting Option B. 

The Legal Challenge

Much is being made of Option B as not being "human rights compliant", and that if it is passed, even if this is what the majority of Islanders want, this will be challenged legally by Option A supporters.
I would find it very strange that human rights compliance should not have been considered by the Electoral Commission, especially by Dr Alan Renwick of the University of Reading. I have been told informally that at least one of the people involved thinks it highly unlikely that any such challenge would succeed.
But nonetheless, there is a deficiency in that the consideration of European human rights compliance of Option B is not explicitly stated, which provides a hole through which Option A supporters can drive a coach and horses. It shows that the Electoral Commission failed to address at least one question, and it is unlikely that any literature that comes from them now will address that question.
Part of the problem lies in the fact that an interim report was published, but without stating any form of questions, and when the final report came out, that was an end to the Commission's deliberations; no submissions were available on that which might have raised that issue, and had it resolved.
The result is a kind of political limbo, where Option A supporters make statements of varying certainty ranging from "almost certainly not human rights compliant" to "absolutely not human rights compliant". The spectre of Sark is raised, with the British government intervention flagged up as a possibility.
However, while there have been legal challenges in Sark, not all of them have succeeded. In 1988, a challenge was mounted against the sweeping reforms from a feudal electoral system to a more modern one by the Barclay Brothers, who felt it did not go far enough.
Lord Collins surveyed the ECtHR case law on A3P1, particularly Mathieu-Mohin v Belgium (1988) 10 EHRR 1 and Yumak v Turkey (2009) 48 EHRR 61, concluding that there was "no narrow focus on one particular element of democracy".
"Whilst the Seigneur and Seneschal were members of the legislature, it was clear from the case law that A3P1 did not require all members of the legislature to be elected, even where the legislature was unicameral.  All the circumstances needed to be taken into account.  A3P1's purpose was to ensure that legislation was enacted through genuinely democratic processes, and that was the case here: neither the Seigneur nor the Seneschal could vote.  The fact that the Seigneur could speak on matters of substance in debate (and therefore influence the outcome of debate) was 'not undemocratic, especially where the influence is open and transparent'"
It is interesting to look at this case in detail, because it shows considerable flexibility in how the Courts interpreted the application of human rights law, especially regarding the need to take "into account historical and political factors".
When change came in 2010 and the role of the Seneschal as both judge and president was split, it came about through a vote from within Chief Pleas of 20 out of 25 members, and this followed from a criticism of the dual role made by the Court of Appeal in 2008. This was on the dual role, not the fact that the Seneschal was unelected, and no such criticism was made of the Seigneur.
Given the role of the Constables in the States of Jersey, and the fact that no challenge has ever been made against the current position for being non-compliant with human rights, it will be interesting to see if Option A succeed in any challenge. Of course, a lot will depend on the turnout, and the margin of victory. But if there was a high turnout of 40%, and a high margin for Option B, I suspect their chances of overturning it in the Courts would be slim.
A question that would undoubtably spring to mind would be why no challenge to the existing system had ever been mounted, when it is clear that the same arguments would apply as much to the status quo.
While it might be argued that Option B makes representation worse if all members are treated as one kind of member (which in fact they are not), Option C, or the status quo also has problems with representation, not least with the Parish of St Mary. Why has it taken until now for a threat of a challenge to systems be made by Option A?

Have they just suddenly "seen the light", and if the system reverts to Option C, the status quo, will they also be mounting a challenge against that too? Or is the rhetoric purely a "spoiler" to drive people from B to A, sending out a message that a vote for B will be a wasted vote?
(1) http://ukscblog.com/case-comment-r-barclay-v-secretary-of-state-for-justice-and-others-2009-uksc-9
(2) http://www.guernseylegalresources.gg/ccm/legal-resources/law-reports/Cases/GLR2009/GLR090314.htm

Option A – the Fairest Way

As part of the series of posts on Reform, ahead of the referendumon 24 Apil I am pleased post this latest interview which summarises some of the arguments in favour of Option A.
The first video is a short. The full interview can be seen below.
Thanks go to the prodigious Tom Gruchy for providing the filming and uploading. 

Short Version

Full interview (10 minutes)