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...

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

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