Standing Up For The Jersey Way

"I have often wondered why it is that an insignificant, tiny Island should, from time to time, produce considerable numbers of men and women of outstanding character and ability, wholly disparate to its size. Is it something we have inherited from our Norman ancestors, although diluted over the years by French, English and other strains? Or is it that Islanders, such as we, in their formative years tend to be left to fend for themselves perhaps more than in larger societies? Again, is it that our schools...have maintained a consistency in standards of education and behaviour which other, less fortunate places, have not been able to do?"

- Sir Peter Crill CBE, Bailiff of Jersey 1986-1995

One is appalled to note the proliferation of local websites whose sole purpose seems to be to drag the island's fine name through the mud - or to borrow a phrase, to 'shaft Jersey internationally'.

Thus one has resolved to correct this imbalance. This 'blog' is dedicated to projecting a more positive image of our island, and to celebrating the tireless efforts of the exceptional men and women who have helped make Jersey the stable prosperous and contented community it is today.

Correspondents are encouraged to leave their own messages of gratitude and support for our selfless and devoted leaders...

Friday, 30 April 2010

Spare The Rod...Spoil The Teacher

Much as one has become accustomed to reports of gangs of juvenile thugs running amok through the once tranquil streets of St Helier, an even more disturbing development has been the increasingly frequent demonstrations one sees locally, particularly that witnessed at the weekend.

Normally one dismisses these displays of impotent rage as merely the tantrums of the island's underclass, that easily manipulated stratum of malcontents and ne'erdowells one sadly encounters in any society, even one as free, open and meritocratic as ours.

However, what made Saturday's events of special concern was the number of members of the teaching profession who took part in that parade of shame through the town centre.

One uses the term 'profession' in the loosest possible sense, for surely any teacher who contemplates strike action, indeed open displays of insubordination against their employers and the island's authorities, foregoes any right to such an esteemed status among their fellow islanders.

The principle function of any educational establishment must be to install a sense of discipline, unquestioning obedience and self sacrifice among its charges. If we see a lack of such virtues among our younger generation then Saturday's events surely indicate why this is so.

Indeed, having been subjected to a curriculum loaded with Marxist influenced dogma, and filth such as 'PSHE' (little more than an incitement to immorality, fornication and sodomy) - a curriculum moreover imparted by politically motivated agitators masquerading as teachers - is it any wonder that sections of our youth embark on nihilistic rampages through the town centre?
Left free to roam wild by their parents, no doubt while they are attending demonstrations orchestrated by the likes of Mr Syvret and his union cohorts?

These renegade teachers would do well to follow the example of another professional body whose conduct has always been beyond reproach.

Could one, for example, ever envisage the island's lawyers holding their community to ransom over ridiculous pay demands?

And when advocates demonstrate in the Royal Square one can rest assured that it is always in the cause of decency and honour, as when their applause drowned out the cacophony of insults aimed at Bailiff Michael Birt after his inauguration?.

Indeed, just as the presence of Barbary Apes on Gibraltar is said to signify continued British rule, might one also suggest that the presence of advocates on our island augurs well for the continuation of the 'Jersey Way'?

One has always opined that the great strength of the law is that it is the one profession to have successfully resisted the morally corrosive influence of Marxist ideology that has pervaded Western societies from the 1960s onwards.

Perhaps the most pernicious manifestion of this was the abolition of corporal punishment in schools. One scarcely needed any great powers of prediction to foresee the deterioration in pupil behaviour the latter would bring about, but what was more difficult to predict - and has perhaps been underestimated - is the deleterious effect that abolition has had on members of the teaching profession itself.

One remembers one's own schooldays, when one seemed to spend more time avoiding Sir's blackboard eraser hurtling through the air than one did on one's studies. When a moment's inattention was 'rewarded' with a rap across the knuckles or a firm 'clip round the ear'.

But one remembers Sir with reverence, for he was also a much respected exemplar of the values that one grew to embrace and cherish. One can hardly say the same of the individuals who brought shame on themselves and their once noble profession last Saturday.

Therefore can we be surprised , that deprived of a firm moral lead that so many of today's younger generation resort to the kind of degenerate behaviour we read of so regularly in the local press? Indeed, that today's pupils are deprived of such character forming experiences could be said to constitute a politically correct form of child abuse.

In hindsight one regards one's beatings as a wholly positive educational experience. Certainly, one always remembers Sir's wise words when he suggested that if a boy had not earned at least one good thrashing by the time he had left school, he had betrayed a distinct lack of moral fibre and initiative which hardly bode well for his future prospects in life.

In the wake of the unfortunate allegations surrounding Haut de la Garenne one can perhaps understand the reticence of our leaders to proclaim the virtues of corporal punishment, but now these have happily been cleared up it is high time that we once again restored it as an integral part of the island's school curriculum.

For we should be proud of the fact that thrashing miscreant children is a long-established part of Jersey's heritage and celebrate its contribution to island life.

We owe so much to those schoolmasters of yore, whose judiciously administered beatings to our elder statesmen during their formative years, helped to make them the great men who shaped the Jersey we know and love today.

Thus one envisages a 'world class' system of character forming chastisement. One that the island could show off to the rest of the world with pride.

Naturally, all the necessary safeguards would need to be put in place. The rule of thumb would be strictly observed; medical supervision would be on hand at all times to ensure that no permanent harm is done; and any beating would be curtailed at the first sign of blood, regardless of whether the full punishment had been delivered. And, most importantly, to demonstrate there was no residual ill-will, both parties should shake hands once the thrashing had been administered.

Moreover while one fully understands why Senator Le Marquand wishes to establish a register of sexual perverts residing locally, he must surely realise after Saturday's sinister events that the greatest threat to the moral welfare of the island's youth lies not in the alleged child batterers and sexual predators in the island's childrens' homes, but in the classrooms of the island's schools in the form of politically motivated teachers whose sole aim is seemingly to sow strife and class hatred.

Therefore one calls on Senator Le Marquand, Education Minister Reed, Mario Lundy, indeed all those who are dedicated to the welfare of the island's children, to establish forthwith a register of political subversives to prevent innocent young minds being corrupted by those who preach perverse political dogma.

Those identified as potentially subversive elements could then be prevented from coming into contact with and harming vulnerable children.

A start could be made by summarily dismissing all those who took part in last Saturday's wretched spectacle. (And of course identifying offenders should not provide any great problem given the prevalence of CCTV cameras in St Helier.)

Some readers may wonder whether the savings incurred by this move could finance a more generous pay settlement for those teachers who remain, particularly as their workloads would no doubt be greatly increased to cover for their former colleagues. However they would be well advised to demonstrate moderation, good sense and restraint, and instead insist that any savings be put towards the purchase of the finest canes, birches and leather belts that money can buy.

That way they restore order and discipline in the classroom and on the streets, and regain the trust and rest of their fellow islanders.

And last - but not least - earn the future gratitude of today's pupils.

Friday, 23 April 2010

The Sword of Truth and the Trusty Shield of Fair Play

While one understands why Sir Winston Churchill (that glorious man!) once opined that "democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried", one suspects that he may well have revised his opinion had he become better acquainted with what we affectionately refer to as 'The Jersey Way'.

For while in many respects Jersey retains all the outward trappings of a modern society capable of acting as a central player in the world's financial system, our island has also managed to retain many of the beneficial characteristics of preindustrial societies which have helped to maintain continued stability and ensure that power remains firmly in the hands of those best equipped to exercise it responsibly.

One can certainly see this principle at work in the operation of our legal system. For example, one of the great virtues of Jersey equity is its unique flexibility and the latitude the Court is granted to ensure that justice is done - but only for those who are deemed worthy of the Court's indulgence.

Indeed that this is a longstanding and central tenet of Jersey equity is clearly evidenced by the Orders of the Royal Commissioners of 1591:

" is provided that adultery, be it man or woman, who shall be thereof convicted, shall be imprisoned for the space of three weeks, and during that time shall be publicly punished in the market-place, by being put in the stocks from nine o'clock in the morning to three in the afternoon, and shall afterwards be whipped to the effusion of blood..."

However the Court retains the latitude to moderate its punishment as it sees fit:

"...provided nevertheless that if it should happen to any of the members of the States, or any other person of reputation, it shall rest in the power and discretion of justice to commute the corporal punishment into a pecuniary fine..."

Therefore if the use of the stocks and public floggings have somewhat regrettably fallen into disuse, one is comforted to note that at least Jersey's courts have successfully withstood the politically correct notion that all men are are equal before the law.

This is not to say however that from time to time the island's stability and prosperity is not threatened on occasion by what one may describe as its own 'enemy within'. At such times it is necessary for the unique set of checks and balances between the various institutions encompassing the judiciary, the executive, the legislature, the civil service as well as the police force, and the Fourth Estate to act in concert to protect our cherished freedoms and civilized values.

Thus any would be rabble rouser and barrack room lawyer can not expect to enact change merely by virtue of being elected to the States assembly. As Deputies Pitman and Southern discovered to their not inconsiderable cost last year the island's courts will not stand idly by when the island's unique democratic system is threatened.

And of course one can not ignore the ongoing antics of the island's most notorious demagogue of recent times, former senator Stuart Syvret, who is even now attempting to create further mayhem by standing in the by-election that his own behaviour provoked.

Quite apart from the fact that one is aghast to see him try to hijack a local election for political purposes, one fears that in his current state of mind Mr Syvret's candidature risks reducing the poll into some kind of circus freak show.

As one has remarked previously Mr Syvret probably should be detained in a padded cell rather than a police cell, and one hardly believes that St Saviours Hospital is a suitable venue for sittings of the States assembly.

One prays for Mr Syvret's moral and spiritual redemption in the hope that the Almighty can make him see the error of his ways and lead him to the path of righteousness, much as He did with the former US President Bush.

If he were to do so, even at this late stage one believes that if he were to return to face the States assembly and make a genuine and heartfelt apology for his appalling conduct and appeal to the Christian charity and compassion of our leaders, one feels that Mr Syvret could still, even now, be forgiven.

But if he continues on his present course, one sincerely hopes that the island's finest legal minds, those diligent and vigilant guarantors of our freedoms, have already identified the legal grounds that would prevent Mr Syvret's divisive candidature.

In the event he were permitted to stand out some misguided respect of the island's democratic traditions, one sincerely hopes that he is opposed by one of the island's political heavyweights, one of our elder statesmen possessing the stature and gravitas necessary to put Mr Syvret and his acolytes in their place once and for all.

And only one name comes to mind. Is it too much for us to ask Mr Frank Walker to return and fight one last battle on behalf of the island he loves and has served so loyally? That he should return to pick up what was once so memorably termed 'the sword of truth and trusty shield of fair play' to slay the dragon of dissent and subversion once and for all?

One still savours the memory of Mr Walker's heroic performance on the BBC's 'Newsnight' programme at the height of the Haut de la Garenne controversy. He is clearly a man for a crisis, as much as Sir Winston Churchill was in 1940. The comparison is apt, for Mr Syvret and his motley menagerie of followers represent the greatest threat to the island's well being since the Nazi invaders of 1940.

Naturally Mr Walker's victory would surely be a foregone conclusion. But, the battle won, would it be just to keep him from enjoying his richly merited retirement travels in the company of his fragrant wife by requiring him to attend States sitting every two weeks?

One readily admits that to some Mr Walker's absence may seem somewhat ironic, given the circumstances that triggered the by-election, but one only need refer back to 1591: Mr Walker is unarguably the 'person of reputation' the Royal Commissioners had in mind, just as much as Mr Syvret is not.

Of course, this is Jersey where the rule of law is paramount and must be seen to follow its due course.

Therefore one suggests a compromise that would satisfy all parties.

In its wisdom, perhaps the Royal Court could enquire whether it would not be too onerous for Mr Walker to send back a postcard updating his colleagues in the States assembly of the progress of his travels each and every two weeks?

Sunday, 11 April 2010

The Coming Man

One is somewhat reluctant to fall back on the use of cliches, but one feels obliged to conflate two such in considering the matter of Chief Minister Terry Le Sueur's successor. For if 'all good things come to an end' then it is also true that 'as one door closes, another opens'.

Certainly Mr Le Sueur has won widespread respect as he has proved himself to be a dignified and inspiring leader in the most trying of circumstances; a steady hand at the wheel of HMS Jersey as she navigates choppy and dangerous waters.

That said, given the deep reservoir of talent in the States assembly one is quite sure that his successor will be a man of no lesser ability who will lead the island into a new golden age of prosperity and contentment.

Indeed, several names have already been advanced, most notably that of Senator Philip Ozouf. However whilst one acknowledges and admires his masterful handling of the island's finances during such a difficult period, one does not believe that he is suitable candidate for the highest office owing to what one may term as his 'flamboyant' conduct in his private life.

For if Jersey is to maintain its reputation as a holiday destination, a place where young families would not hesitate to bring their children, then surely its political figurehead must be beyond all reproach: a moral exemplar and a happily married family man - as has always been the case in the past.

Furthermore such a delicate moment in our history calls for a calm head and a safe pair of hands. One urges that the next leader be drawn from the ranks of our wisest elder statesmen, whose proven track record in office inspires the full trust and confidence of islanders.

But he must also be a man of destiny, one comfortable at the most rarified levels of international diplomacy, who can walk into any international conference chamber and immediately command the respect and reverence of all those present.

Therefore one is more than a little surprised that the name of Senator Terry Le Main is not mentioned more.

He is a 'man of the people', one who speaks the language of the decent hard working Jerseyman. At a time of potential strife is best able to guide the man in the street away from the siren calls of the wreckers in our midst, such as those ghastly Anarcho-Bolsheviks of the JDA.

Equally however, one could envisage Senator Le Main deploying all his wit, charm and powers of persuasion on the international stage, for here is someone who is at ease with the 'Great and Good' as he is with the common man.

Moreover he is clearly one who reveres the island's traditions and can be trusted to 'stand up for the Jersey Way' when necessary. One well remembers how it was Senator Le Main who led attempts to restore dignity and order to proceedings following Senator Syvret's typically juvenile attempt to hijack the Christmas 2008 Father of the House speech for partisan ends.

Of course one readily admits that he is perhaps not so much a man of words - not, at least, in a chamber blessed with the supreme eloquence of the likes of Chief Minister Le Sueur and Senator Perchard - but let no one deny that he is most certainly a man of action. One cedes to no-one in one's admiration for the manner in which Senator Le Main has risen from humble origins to become one of our leading political and business leaders.

And at a time when there are so few positive role models for our younger generation to emulate, surely he must be held up as an inspirational example.

One often hears of the 'American Dream'. One believes it is time to talk of a 'Jersey Dream': that on our island any individual can aspire to prosper and to ascend the very peaks of political power solely by virtue of their talents and by good, honest hard work.

Perhaps if we were to do this, then surely we would find the living embodiment of such a noble sentiment in the life and times of Senator Terence John Le Main.

Indeed, the more one contemplates it, the more one is enthused by the prospect of a future Chief Minister Le Main.

He is surely 'the coming man'.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

"He Could Have Been Another Reg Jeune..."

Owing to one's substantial business commitments one has had to spend more time outside the island than one would have wished. But whenever one needs to reacquaint oneself with local affairs, one always seeks the wise counsel of one's good friends at the Royal Jersey.

Needless to say it was not long before conversation turned to the subject of the 'enfant terrible' of the States assembly: Senator Stuart Syvret, the erstwhile Father of the House who is soon to be expelled following a prolonged absence.

Quite understandably some amongst us expressed outrage at Senator Syvret's antics: his besmirching of Jersey's good name in the international media; his willingness to act as a 'Pied Piper' to the island's underclass to stir up discontent; and worst of all his publication of the most disgraceful smears and conspiracy theories concerning our most selfless and devoted public servants.

His intermittent pronouncements via his website, designed to terrorise and demoralise his opponents, mirror the tactics employed in a previous era by Lord Haw-Haw (indeed for a while he even paraphrased the Nazi collaborator by entitling his correspondence 'London Calling'), or latterly by Osama bin-Laden.

The contents of his site amount to little more than cyber-terrorism in its most despicable form and illustrate the pressing need for the local authorities to clamp down on the use of the internet to promote subversive thought in order to protect our freedoms.

Certainly as he faces the prospect of his impending political oblivion, Senator Syvret has no one else but himself to blame. However one can not help but reflect upon the words of one of one's more thoughtful companions:"If that fellow had played his cards right he could have been another Reg Jeune."

Indeed one laments the senator's failure to heed the example of one of the 'Grand Old Men' of Jersey's postwar political landscape. A man who like himself rose from humble beginnings, but whose keen concern for the moral and physical welfare of the island's lower orders never prevented him from providing decades of unstinting service both on Jersey's political stage, and equally to its legal and business communities, while enriching himself in the process.

Perhaps if Senator Syvret had had the good fortune to attend an institution such as Victoria College (one's own alma mater) he would acquired an instinct for the subtle nuances of compromise and accommodation that such an exalted position entails, thus allowing him to assume the mantle of leadership more easily.

Certainly one is at a loss to account for his political career. If, as he claims he left St Helier Boys School at the age of 15 barely able to distinguish one end of a pencil from another, how does one explain for example his ability to represent himself in Court, and to write fluently and at length?

One explanation that one hears frequently expounded across the members' lounge at the Royal Jersey is that he was recruited to the KGB by a local agent, most likely Norman Le Brocq, and was trained throughout the 1980s in the dark arts of subversion so that over the following decades he could undermine the stability of a community at the centre of the international capitalist financial system.

However perhaps there is a more mundane explanation for his increasingly bizarre and erratic outbursts. Senator Syvret would have us believe that the island's judiciary, in concert with high ranking politicians, police officers, the civil service, the clergy, the local newspaper, television and radio stations - in short each and every institution of Jersey's civil society - have for decades been engaged in a conspiracy to conceal the vilest crimes imaginable.

One is at a loss to comprehend, let alone account for such allegations. Does he not realise how many of his targets are regular churchgoers, nor recognise their charitable endeavours on behalf of those less fortunate than themselves - not least at Haut de la Garenne itself?

And how can he speak in such a disparaging manner about the much loved Jersey Evening Post - a presence as faithful and reassuring as one's golden retriever slumbering contentedly in front of a log fire after a bracing run along the sea front? A newspaper, moreover, that provided comfort and solace to islanders during the very darkest days of the German occupation.

These are truly bizarre ideas, and whilst one is not medically qualified, surely belief in such outlandish conspiracy theories is symptomatic of severe mental illness.

Therefore, when one suggested that Mossad knew how to deal with his sort, one was not advocating Senator Syvret's assassination - even though several of one's companions clearly warmed to that idea.

One was merely recalling the example of Mordechai Vanunu who in the 1980s, much like Senator Syvret today, was causing his own government such great embarrassment from his London bolthole. Likewise one calls on the island's authorities to find a way to bring the senator home forthwith, primarily for his own well being, but also before he causes further harm to Jersey's hard won reputation as a well regulated financial centre.

Moreover one appeals to our leaders' innate sense of justice, fair play and compassion and offer Senator Syvret an olive branch of reconciliation: that they promise to drop all legal proceedings if he in turn undertakes to mend his errant ways and return to the island to seek treatment for his delusions.

Of course, as a former health minister he would be well aware of the 'world class' facilities on offer to him at St Saviour's Hospital, and friends in the medical profession assure me that medication used in conjunction with electro convulsive therapy and modern surgical techniques (such as lobotomy) can work wonders in seemingly the most hopeless of cases.

Furthermore after a suitable period of rehabilitation the senator may be ready to re-enter public life and serve our community in a manner more befitting of his talents. Such a heartwarming reconciliation would provide a happy ending to this sorry episode and would project a far more wholesome and appropriate image of our island to outsiders than has recently been the case.

Perhaps he could resume his political career in a Terry Le Main style 'man of the people' role in the States, or alternatively re-enter the legal arena - this time as on the right side of the law, as an advocate or a Crown Officer.

One could equally envisage a role in the local media. May we look forward to him sitting on the sofa at Channel TV swapping witty banter with his co-presenter while presenting 'Channel Report'?

Or perhaps - most appropriately of all, given his penchant for the written word - as a future editor of the Jersey Evening Post?

Proud Jerseyman