Sunday, 14 March 2021


Blogger Neil McMurray - Trawling for justice

I thought that I was done with blogging - well, at least until next year, perhaps... 

Nevertheless, with the long-awaited release of Camilla Hall's (Rogan Productions) documentary 'Dark secrets of a trillion dollar island: Garenne' this coming Monday on BBC4's Storyville I simply felt that I had to briefly post something to say how pleased I am to see that the two brave and indefatigable Jersey bloggers, Neil McMurray and Rico Sorda were being afforded the true credit that they are both due for helping drag the Jersey Establishment kicking and screaming in to the 21st Century.

Oh the island is not there yet, believe me. Indeed, in their entrenched attitude of denial to admitting the need, never mind the benefit to all of social justice the Jersey 'Judiciary' and a number of aging political relics likewise the fact is that we are probably no further ahead here than the morning after the 28th September 1769! 

Blogger Rico Sorda

But the fact is Jersey would not have even progressed this far without the sterling efforts of McMurray and Sorda. The pair were, and shall ever remain as crucial to the hard-fought victories won as other, by nature far more high-profile, figures who also led the way: figures such as former Senator Stuart Syvret; former Police Chief Graham Power; and his Senior Investigating Officer Lenny Harper; US journalist Leah McGrath Goodman - who just wouldn't let the story die internationally with yesterday's news; and, of course, a tiny handful of other political figures on Jersey of which I was proud to be one.

Of course, the most important people of all in this sorry saga - the true heroes and heroines - are the victims who never gave up and showed their abusers and the senior Judicial and Political figures who fought to re-bury their suffering in the 'interest' of Jersey's repuation as a financial centre that they would not be silenced by strutting Sawdust Caesars in red cloaks and pinstripe suits.

Yet for all of this Neil and Rico are deserving of an extra special mention within despatches. The pair didn't have the public platform and responsibility some of us had, and felt obliged to try and honour. They were just two ordinary members of the public; family men, who disgusted at what they were learning worked and worked, dug and dug, because they believed in 'doing the right thing'.

Haut de la Garenne

Just what Neil McMurray and Rico Sorda contributed cannot be overstated - and to even try and list it all here would, quite frankly, not be possible in ten blog postings let alone one. 

Suffice to say then perhaps, that from my own perspective, the report I published from the Scrutiny (Select Committee) Panel which I Chaired - blowing out of the water much of the unparralled barrage of half-truths, propaganda and even downright falsehoods spun to discredit Harper and Power - and happily sold to the public as fact by the Jersey mainstream media, would never have happened without Neil and Rico having approached me as a politician with the evidence from their research. 

The pair deserve the very highest of accolades. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2020


A seven minute read. Too long? Buy a comic instead     


Apart from this man...

As a twice-elected former Jersey MP who stood on a social justice - and thus 'anti-Establishment' platform I am well familiar with the obstacles to trying to bring about even basic commonsense reforms within what is in reality a Neo-feudal Tax Haven; both judiciary and legislature used and abused year in, year out in a desperate rage against the dying of the light by those still imbued with the sort of  'natural order' mentality of the ilk which saw the Tolpuddle Martyrs stitched up and shipped off to Australia.

So at a time when the 8th anniversary of my successful States proposition to at last see the momentous events of the Jersey Uprising and the storming of the corrupt Royal Court on September 28th 1769 finally recognised is fast approaching it is, I acknowledge, hardly surprising that the worst culprits remain those who come to hold the position of Bailiff. These 'Crimson Horse-blankets', for the uninitiated, are unelected judges who sit to this day via UK collusion as heads of both court and government. 

How many times do you have to write the same thing before the need for change sinks in?

Unfortunately, because of this reality it all too often allows those who actually do have the power locally to change all of this, but time and time again choose not to do so - the island's politicians - to fly beneath the radar and dodge their own well earned share of the blame. A perfect example of what happens under such circumstances - people who should be the solution actually being absorbed in to the problem - reared its ugly head only last week; this within a debate on proposals to finally properly regulate Jersey's landlords and the highly lucrative accomodation rental business. 

Jersey Bailiff Tim Le Cocq

Here, not only did the island's latest incumbent upon the throne of the Crimson Horse-blanket choose to disregard the fact that at least 17 States Members had previously officially declared financial, and thus blatantly conflicted interests, to both participate within the debate and even vote in it - almost all of them then did so. Indeed, ultimately only four Members were missing, the consequence of course was sadly predictable: the proposition was defeated by 24 votes to 21. A close vote true - but crucially one that could not have happened had we had a professional, independent Speaker in control.

The roaring silence

There should have been mass outrage at Bailiff Le Cocq's clear abuse of Standing Orders from amidst the benches. But there was not. Barely even a half-convincing mumble of disquiet in fact from what I am told. But I will come to what this must surely be seen to mean in a moment. The thing is that at least in my years within the States Assembly there was always a small but undoubtedly capable nucleus of politicians brave enough to both highlight and challenge - even if they had not the numbers to overturn such abuses. 

Nowhere was this better illustrated than in our battle to achieve some degree of belated justice for the abuse survivors of 'The Jersey Way' within institutions such as the now notorious Haut de la Garenne; culminating in the so-called Independent Care Inquiry. Stuart Syvret - who kicked the whole thing off politically, Bob Hill, Daniel Wimberley, Mike Higgins, Montfort Tadier. Myself, I am proud to say, and my own three-times elected wife Shona likewise.

Today, whilst only two of the above remain in the States it is a sad indication of the type of people who have since managed to get themselves elected that from what local people describe to me only one - the veteran back-bencher Deputy Mike Higgins still appear to be fighting the good fight. Consequently of course drawing all the flak. And the clear unwillingness, the abject terror even perhaps, is I suggest very important to Jersey's current problems.

Jersey's 'Independent' Care Inquiry

This has become very evident within examination of yet another example of what I flag up above: Higgins' one man struggle to hold to account a Childrens Service still failing far too many children and families who should - after a nigh £24 million aforesaid  'Care' Inquiry surely? - finally be able to rely upon it. I mean to say, with both a Childrens' Minister and a Commionser now in place should parents being 'supported' by the Childrens Service really feel no other option but to secretly record  meetings with its staff? Yet at a recent States Sitting not a single other member followed up Higgins important questions.

Never mind risking the Jungle - welcome to the Comfy Club

Let's be quite up-front here - in Jersey there will always be the laughingly termed 'big hitters' of the Establishment who through money and contacts come to dominate the majority of ministerial Offices. Often many of these have been, to be quite frank, plain thick regardless. Others nevertheless definitely have had abilty and clearly knew what needed to be done - yet chose not to do it. You would have to say that of all politicians these are surely the worst.

And yet what I believe right now to be even more significant is the fact that the rest - the large majority - now all seem quite happy to be absorbed in to an endless 'comfy club' previously comprised by only those who generally had neither political clue nor principle at all; simply being ecstatic to have simply become 'someone' as a States Member. When change is so desperately needed isn't this the saddest fact of all?

Whilst Deputy Higgins struggles to 'plough the sea'...

As long time readers of my blogs will know I have never been one of those who turn on, and blindly slag off other Left-wingers for the sake of it. This has often been a huge failing of the Left/Progressive politics in Jersey in recent years: but I also believe that people have to be brave enough to flag up issues which are by consequence stopping inroads toward bringing about real political change. So let's briefly consider two examples of what many who I still talk to on the island say to me to this regard.

We have a Left-wing political party Reform Jersey - the natural sucessor to the Jersey Democratic Alliance (JDA) of which I was Chairman at the time of their political breakthrough back in 2008. But while such Left-wing States Members will always - in my opinion - tend to do a good job at representing their constituents at grass roots level this alone is just not enough. The bigger, deeper issues that maintain the failings I highlight above have to be confronted. And this unfortunately will invariably always draw flak - lots of it!

Trust me - I have been there. And frankly, regardless of the huge stress and damage it has done me personally I am very proud to 'wear the tee shirt'.

Childrens Minister & Reform Jersey's Senator Sam Mezec

This past year apart from a good, solid attempt by the now Senator Sam Mezec to  raise the seemingly eternal battle to end the farce of the Bailiff's 'dual role' which ultimately holds the ages-old Jersey Way together I have had to concede that Reform don't seem to be pushing a lot of fundamental reforming as needed? And where, I ask, is the move to try and tackle all of this from the 'foot in the door' position the party now has access to with not just a Senator who is a Minister; but also having an Assistant Minister and a Scrutiny Chairman too? 

Is this too ultimately a consequence, as some people suggest, of becoming too comfortable just 'being someone'? Hopefully not. Nevertheless, you would have to say that as a Minister Sam is also undoubtedly best placed to bring a Vote of No Confidence following the Bailiff's actions over the Landlords/conflicts of interest decision. He has spoken out over the fear some of his constituents feel about rents; so why not? It is as I say wholly warranted in my view.

My own view is that perhaps this is really just a clear message that you can't be on both sides? 'Critical friends' in politics just don't cut it when there are deeply opposing values at stake.

Yet if the above is disappointing for any adherent to progressive politics I think it is consideration of the laughingly titled Privileges & Procedures Committe which shows the true extent of the present Comfy Club problem in Jersey politics. PPC are meant - on paper it is their raison d'etre - to bring about reform of obvious abuses and anachronisms to the political system. To this regard there are of course none bigger than 1 - the need to remove the Bailiff. And 2 - the need to bring about a fairer and more open electoral system. 

PPC Chairman Deputy Russell Labey

And yet despite what can only be viewed as damning findings and recommendations by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association observers who monitored the last Jersey election in 2018, two years on under its current Chairman, the apparently 'progressive' Deputy Russell Labey, PPC appear at best wholly half-hearted about this people say to me. Perhaps more bluntly I suggest - terrified by the challenge.

For how can you be a Chairman of PPC and not see the Bailiff's dual role as wholly in conflict with democracy?

Isn't it truly disturbing that PPC are currently more interested - with the aforesaid Bailiff's chummy assistance of course - in bringing proposals to close down debate i.e. by restricting the length of politicians speeches? This has simply never been any kind of real problem within Jersey politics. Indeed, as once so adroitly summed up by my fellow Jersey blogger Neil McMurray at the island's leading political blog there have always been far more 'silent assassins' than windbags.

PPC Chairman Deputy Labey should be pushing the above made points again and again - every three months (as the system allows) if necessary if he and his committee members are seriously committed to reform. Make Members so sick of it they finally do the right thing! If the Chairman doesn't - and I acknowledge that I found it deeply disturbing that this same politician has already sought to overturn my own successful proposition that finally brought about an open vote for all ministerial positions: thus ending the secret, behind closed door deals that happened previously - I have to ask why he is on PPC at all? 

A fair electoral system & ending the 'dual role' are the keys to even greater reforms: help isn't going to come from Westminster.

Consequently this all brings me back to the apparently ever-growing Comfy Club within the States Assembly. If, just like me, you still look at all of this and can't quite understand how Jersey politics has managed to somehow go backwards - not forwards since the work of those who 'fought the good fight' for change and accountability during my time in politics perhaps you need to consider the following possibility.

After the last Jersey election in 2018 it emerged, thanks yet again to those in the local blogosphere, that more than half of the States Members just elected had all broken the electoral expenses law: something which whether you agree with it or not should, beyond any possible argument, have seen every one of those politicians lose their seats. It is there in plain black and white. But they didn't of course. 

All courtesy of the Bailiff's Attorney General. 

Is it thus any wonder, I suggest, why so many do stay meek and quiet in the ever-swelling ranks of the new States Assembly Comfy Club? Rocking the boat after all can clearly be dangerous...

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

ELECTION 2019: CORBYNISM MUST WIN - EVEN IF LABOUR LOSES (And let's make sure we don't!)

Image result for Jeremy Corbyn
Corbyn: For the Many - For Fairness - For + Change

Amidst the ever-increasing assault of lies, damned lies and manipulated statistics being poured out by the UK's billionaire-owned 'mainstream media' and the usual suspects among the lickspittle 'independent' polling companies it is well worth pausing to reflect a moment on the staggering importance of what is really at stake in December's election - and possibly right after it.

Following the 2017 Labour Conference - then the biggest in Labour's history as the tiny, tokenistic 'conferences' used and so abused by the Blairite propaganda machine were finally swept aside - Jeremy Corbyn announced that this Labour, the Labour of the true Left was now the "new political mainstream". 

Two years on only a few would fail to recognise that while this may now be true of the Labour Party membership itself, Corbyn and his allies from McDonnell to Momentum and beyond have had to fight tooth and nail - and do so to this very day - to consolidate that reality. 

Fight not least in the face of constant undermining and even downright sabotage from the rotting husk of Tory-Lite Blairism: a threat from within which haunts the party to this day. Gazing in through the windows with hungry, glazed and hate-filled eyes akin to the living dead who stalked the Hypermarket of George A Romero's classic horror film. But more on this in a moment.

Image result for Dawn of the dead zombies staring through the windows at hyper market
The Blairites want their 'meal ticket' back... 

As the December 12th election draws closer the question of becoming the 'new political mainstream' for the the country as a whole obviously remains a whole different ballgame. And one that for all of us who yearn for that better, fairer world we know only a government pursuing a program grounded in 21st Century Socialism can bring about lies wrapped in a highly dangerous reality. 

Yes, the 'once in a generation opportunity' as described by Jeremy really can become a reality - so long as every man, woman and teenager who yearns for this pull ourselves away from the TVs, the pubs, clubs and/or whatever else understandably distracts us in less important times to knock on doors, leaflet, persuade and cajole our friends, family; blog, Tweet, Facebook message or anything else we have personal access to in order to try and focus minds to ensure all who can really do get out to vote.

My old slogan from my own political days "If you don't do politics - politics will do you!" really has never seemed so relevant.  

Call me sad if you will. But ever since it became obvious that an election was going to happen sometime before Christmas I have even been pursuing this covert awareness raising operation under the guise of 'chatting' to other dog owners every time we go walkies. 

To this regard, apart from one instance with a gentleman I honestly believe would likely vote for Hitler were he able, contrary to the polls from my encounters there actually seems a huge disatisfaction with the MSM's beloved Boris. Yet what is also clear is that the constant misrepresentation of Jeremy Corbyn by the MSM also needs to be challenged constantly and positively with the true facts - for some of the mud is sticking.

Image result for boris johnson with floppy hair
Johnson: win & the joke will be on ordinary people

Yet there is possibly an even bigger message to take on board here. And this is what I want to flag up for thought within this blog. I am not alone in this concern I know.

Imagining that we can focus only on the next five weeks could - if our Everest cannot quite be scaled on December 12th - result in the Left itself slipping back to the wilderness of the souless scam that was New Labour: indeed, it really could become the 1980s all over again. For as I stated above - the ragged remnants of Blairism really do see any kind of electoral defeat as the ideal opportunity to try and drag the party back to the mythical promised land of the political 'centre'.

This is why I just hope - and I must admit the fact that I personally cannot see any outward evidence of such planning is a real worry - Jeremy, John and his immediate team do have a Plan B for such an occurrence: and a Plan B that is well advanced in terms of readiness.  

Image result for al pacino godfather
Time to keep your friends close & your enemies closer...

Not emerge, at the very least as the biggest party after December 12th, and the pressure for Jeremy Corbyn to step aside will be ramped up at pre-2017 levels and beyond. In such a scenario - and I say this being of the opinion that Jeremy has been the best, and most necessary thing to happen to the Labour Party in my lifetime -the true Left need to have his successor lined up. 

And it should be a successor already agreed with, and supported by, a whole legion of fellow travellers at senior level. There are of course a number of viable candidates and, if things do not go as I hope in just over a month's time I will likely do a blog on the subject. All I will say further on the matter for now is this. 

Firstly, it really should be a woman next time around - for in my personal view we are currently lucky enough to have a few women right now who have both ability and really can be seen to be singing from the same 21st Century Socialism songsheet as Jeremy himself. It must be the best person for the job who gets it for sure - man or woman. But there you go...

Secondly, that I really hope it doesn't prove necessary until around late 2024: Jeremy Corbyn truly deserves to be in 10 Downing Street so let's make sure we put him there!

Friday, 25 October 2019


"Don't look at me! - It was just my turn to run this farce!"


I was most intrigued this week to read extracts from comments made by Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell where he re-stressed the view that the United Kingdom government could - and if necessary finally will force legislation upon Jersey and other Crown Dependencies in the event of them failing to meet the 2023 'deadline' for introducing real and "transparent registers of beneficial ownership of companies registered within their jurisdiction". 

Intrigued because 'cleaning up' Offshore tax dodging has never exactly been a priority for UK governments, be they Conservative or Labour (certainly prior to the coming of the Corbyn leadership anyway!) squatting as they do in the shadows of the City of London's murky underworld. Indeed, let us not forget that a financial services bill to which such an amendment had been attached was pulled only this past Spring.

So why now, I ask any readers interested in commenting? And is it really clear cut that they could do so?

Image result for andrew mitchell mp
Andrew Mitchell MP

After all, having some more direct political contacts now that I am based on the UK mainland I am told that Andrew Mitchell is apparently very confident on two fronts. 

Firstly, that this transposing of legislation really can be implemented even if the Crown Dependencies back-track and ultimately try to refuse the imposition. Secondly, and this is perhaps even more surprising given the continued farce of Brexit rolling ever-onward, that suddenly there really might just exist enough support within Westminster for the unprecedented imposition to be enforced. 

For within Mitchell's latest public comments on the subject he has been quoted as stating that he and his fellow campaigner on this move, Labour Dame Margaret Hodge, have apparently actually been given assurances from the "very best lawyers in the land" that the UK government does possess the necessary powers. 

Given that in the past Mitchell's Tory colleague, Dominic Grieve has poured doubt on this - doubt that has in fact now been reiterated by another Tory, Andrew Rosindell,  an MP of the ilk that surely makes up the majority view of Conservatives i.e. that they don't give a damn about global tax dodging I really have to question the will to move for legislation now, even if I agree with Mitchell's belief that intervention would be possible.

Image result for fulfilment industry Jersey
Could the UK's sacrifice of Jersey's Fulfilment industry be worth keeping in mind?

For those unfamiliar with this issue the key intervention catch-all is effectively hung on the issue of 'Good governance'. But I would also suggest that at a stretch - particularly if pressure from our European cousins should get ratcheted up as will almost certainly happen if Brexit finally takes place - the 'law and order' aspect of the United Kingdom's relationship with the Crown Dependencies could surely also be manipulated in to play if the will to support Mitchell and Hodge really has moved forward.

There is yet another interesting insight arising from Andrew Mitchell's latest comments which should likely also set some alarm bells ringing for the likes of former Jersey Bailiff 'Sir' Philip Bailhache and his fellow 'delusionals'; i.e. that faced with such increased threats  the Crown Dependency can simply give Westminster a right Royal two-fingered salute and declare 'Independence'. 

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Yes, we really are that small...

Frankly, with increased European hostility - as certainly will happen post-Brexit if only out of spite - and no reason for the United Kingdom government to any longer act as a buffer, the idea that Jersey Tax Haven PLC could just roll on regardless is about as credible as a 'Sir' William Bailhache speech on 'The Jersey Way'.  Even if somewhat veiled Mitchell makes this very threat.

Yet in asking readers for their own thoughts I would end with an aspect of all of this which, as one of those then political figures who fought the long battle to try and bring about justice for the countless victims of decades of abuse within the States of Jersey's 'child care' institutions, disturbs me hugely when I read all of this:

Why, if the UK government really can intervene in a Crown Dependency's affairs under the umbrella of 'good governance' - let alone that of restoring 'law and order' - is it that this has never once been tried or even threatened over the spectacular failings of the Jersey government to safeguard children in it's care? 

Image result for haut de la garenne
Disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile pictured at Haut de la Garenne

After all, a full decade has passed by since the global breaking of the Haut de la Garenne scandal, and though £24 million has been spent on an Independent Care Inquiry the mandarins of Westminster really cannot fail to know that not only has very little changed; zero of their Crown Dependency equivalents has been held to account. Isn't that an issue worthy of intervention? 

To this regard I thus leave with this final thought:

Writing in Mein Kampf Adolf Hitler talked of what was to become known as 'the big lie' i.e. the use of a lie so 'colossal' that no one would believe that anyone could have the 'impudence to distort the truth so infamously'. 

Image result for the big lie

In my own opinion when, just a week or so before Andrew Mitchell's latest comments out-going Jersey Bailiff 'Sir' William Bailhache - the former Attorney General behind so many failings just like his two predecessors  - used his last day as President/Speaker of the States government to attack those who claim Jersey's 'Royal' Court and by extension it's related prosecutionary services are politicised was spouting garbage that fits the 'big lie' as described by Hitler perfectly. 

Nothing, I say to readers yet again, has changed in the way Jersey is run. Nothing has changed either in regard to the will to bring such change about. In consequence if, as the Mitchell story would suggest, pounds really are still far more important to most politicians than people - more important even than children - then it really is ripe that time is called on traditional governments per se, both on Jersey and here in the UK.

Whatever might replace it all could hardly be any less disturbing, honest or dystopian.


Blogger Neil McMurray - Trawling for justice I thought that I was done with blogging - well, at least until next year, perhaps...  Neverthel...