Monday, 23 April 2018

Rich Immigrants: Better Vetting Needed?













I came across a recent of information request from April 2018 which highlights the vagueness of the tests relating to of foreign nationals coming to Jersey as high worth value residents. The reply gave the current policy as follows, and I give the reply before the question so it can be seen how lacking it is in specifics compared to the much more stringent approach taken by Philip Ozouf when he was tasked with looking at some potential applicants. 

Current Position (as per FOE request 28 November 2017):

The States of Jersey (Economic Development, Tourism Sport and Culture - Locate Jersey) carry out background checks on all individuals who apply for High Value Residency. This includes Thomson Reuters World Check, Jersey Financial Services Commission, States of Jersey Police and open-source checks. As part of their application ‘pack’, applicants are required to provide a clean police (DBS) check from their country of residence plus two business and two personal references. Applicants must also provide a financial statement showing their wealth as well as tax returns for preceding years. Full transparency is expected.

In addition to checks carried out by the States of Jersey as part of the application process, ordinarily, applications are prepared on behalf of applicants, by legal or accountancy firm who also carry out due-diligence as part of their 'take-on' of the client.

Any existing wealth that a High Value Resident transfers to Jersey would be scrutinised by their acting intermediary firm as part of their AML/CFT 'Know Your Client' procedures and would also be subject to any controls imposed by the Jersey Financial Services Commission.


FOE Question 

Given the recent issue of foreign nationals coming to Jersey as high worth value residents formerly 1.1K, are Senator Philip Ozouf's tests (which he applied when he was vetting applicants) still in use?

These were:

1. What passport does holder have. If one of their passports is from a country on the UK Foreign Office ‘High Risk’ list, and the holder of the passport has been resident in the UK for more than 5 years but only holds a passport from the high risk country - major concerns and questions should be asked (presumption of non-approval being more than 50%). In demonstrating a continuing allegiance to a high risk country, serious questions arise as dua l nationality would be a demonstration of a staged or planned exit from the high risk country.

2.Of the net assets that the applicant can evidence, what percentage of those assets remain based or derive from business activities in the high risk country referred to in 1. If more than 50%, even greater presumption for refusal or in potentially high profile or even serious diplomatic outcomes best option may be a ‘non-decision’.

3. Of the percentage of assets domiciled or originating from the high risk country, what percentage of the assets are derived from extractive sectors, eg mining, oil etc or activities which require specific Government high level sanction. If the percentage is within a range of 30-60%, then the presumption is that the application should, for reputational safeguarding, almost certainly result in rejection or a non-decision because of the risks associated in the individual’s past, present and ongoing links with what is inevitable a political regime that has serious corruption, security and other financial crime concerns which would blemish Jerseys gold standard reputation.


If these tests are not applied, what other tests are applied? Can these be detailed?
Who is the Minister responsible for checking applicants?

Response

The policy for 2(1) (e) applications is outlined at:
https://www.gov.je/home/rentingbuying/housinglaws/pages/highvalueresidency.aspx

The Chief Minister is responsible for the Control of Housing and Work (Jersey) Law 2012, and delegates these powers to the Assistant Chief Minister.

Further information on the relevant checks is also included in:
https://www.gov.je/government/pages/statesreports.aspx?reportid=3381

Those are the checks outlined at the start of this blog.

In the States sitting of 21st March 2018, Senator Bailhache (as Minister for External Relations) did say that:

‘As far as the admission of Russian nationals to the Island is concerned under 21E of the relevant law, one must bear in mind that all such applicants are subject to very stringent inquiries by a number of relevant authorities in the Island before a decision is taken by the relevant minister to admit that person to the Island as a so-called wealthy immigrant."

"I think it is fair to say that the recent developments involving certain very rich individuals resident in the United Kingdom will lead to even more stringent approaches by the relevant authorities in Jersey, when such applications are made under article 21E.’

And when Deputy Mézec asked whether having close links to the Russian government should become ‘grounds for refusal’ to be accepted as a 21E, the Senator replied:"I think that all relevant considerations, and the Deputy has mentioned one of them, would be taken into account in making such a decision."

However, that was on 21 March 2018, the Freedom of Information request was made around the 20th April 2018, and there is no sign at all of any "more stringent approaches" of the kind which were in place when Senator Ozouf was an Assistant Minister. I think this shows a lax approach, either to informing the public of any changes (in the FOE request) or of actually doing anything to improve matters.

It is likely that not much will be done until after the elections in May, but it is to be hoped that the new house will ensure that any External Relations Minister follows through on the unrealised promise of Sir Philip Baihache and bring in more stringent vetting, perhaps using Philip Ozouf's questions as guidance.

It would be also be interesting to know where those trying for Senator in those elections stand on that matter.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Discuss in the Dark













This Sunday, one of my favourite short pieces by G.K. Chesterton. It is a kind of modern parable, but it highlights an argument that Chesterton wants to make, which is just because a great many people want to change something, for a variety of reasons, they should first discuss what it actually is there for, and the basic philosophy behind it. But as often with Chesterton, he does it with a story...

Discuss in the Dark
by G.K. Chesterton

Suppose that a great commotion arises in the street about something, let us say a lamp-post, which many influential persons desire to pull down. 

A grey-clad monk, who is the spirit of the Middle Ages, is approached upon the matter, and begins to say, in the arid manner of the Schoolmen, “Let us first of all consider, my brethren, the value of Light. If Light be in itself good–” 

At this point he is somewhat excusably knocked down. All the people make a rush for the lamp-post, the lamp-post is down in ten minutes, and they go about congratulating each other on their unmediaeval practicality. 

But as things go on they do not work out so easily. Some people have pulled the lamp-post down because they wanted the electric light; some because they wanted old iron; some because they wanted darkness, because their deeds were evil. 

Some thought it not enough of a lamp-post, some too much; some acted because they wanted to smash municipal machinery; some because they wanted to smash something. And there is war in the night, no man knowing whom he strikes. 

So, gradually and inevitably, to-day, to-morrow, or the next day, there comes back the conviction that the monk was right after all, and that all depends on what is the philosophy of Light. 

Only what we might have discussed under the gas-lamp, we now must discuss in the dark.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Sorrow Song












Rather tired this week, so I'm taking a poem from my "back catalogue". This is from the 8th May 2005.

Sorrow Song

I heard a voice crying, and it said sing
Sad music to tell of the sorrow I bring,
Song of sorrow, full of sadness, tears
Of our life, of seventy or eighty years;
If strong, yet full of troubles, sorrow,
Life is soon over, gone the morrow,
Laughter may hide sadness, and so
When happiness is gone, left sorrow.
And I ask, how long must I endure
How long is there trouble, no cure?
But sorrow fills my heart both day
And night. How long, must I say
I have nothing but sorrow to eat?
A large cup of tears bittersweet,
For my sorrow cannot be healed;
I am sick at heart, but concealed
In exhaustion, and silent weeping,
Shortens my life, my heart beating
But weak, bones wasting away:
An exile of laments, time to pray,
As my heart breaks, and a wave
Of sorrow over my soul, I rave
As chaos comes as flood roaring,
And sorrow cascades thundering
Like waterfalls upon the Jordan;
So watch with me, for my lifespan,
That I may in your presence belong
For your love is so sure and strong
Then you will surely remove the cloud
Of sorrow hanging over like a shroud;
The time for sorrow and for mourning
Will be over, instead joy and dancing;
You will comfort all who sorrow still
And turn mourning into joy, your will
For happiness, dance, a time to rejoice
Sorrow into gladness is then our choice;
Those who trust in you, will surely find
Their strength renewed, not here to bind,
But to rise on wings like eagles, so rising
To be free from sorrow, end of grieving;
Now we sing the sorrow song in which
An exchange is made, no magic witch,
But deeper magic comes from beyond
A promise of light coming, of a bond
Between you and us, and joyful song
Of promised land where we belong.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Jersey Our Island: Another Glory – Part 2











Published in 1950, this is an interesting snapshot of the Island and its customs as it was in the immediate post-war period, and not without humour. Most guide books of the time give the tourist information, or give the impressions of an outsider to the Island, but this is in "inside view", which is rarer.

Jersey Our Island: Another Glory – Part 2
By Sidney Bisson

I had to break off the old man's flow of reminiscences at last, as I had promised myself a visit to a place far older than any of the traditions he could recall the prehistoric tomb of La Hougue Bie. When I told him this, he asked me if I knew the legend of the place. I did, but I let him tell it in his own way before I left him.

`Time past,' it appears, the pest that ravaged Jersey was not the Colorado beetle but an enormous fire-breathing dragon. As there was nobody in Jersey capable of standing up to it, the inhabitants had to call in a well-known dragon slayer, the Lord of Hambie in Normandy, 'just like we had to call in an English firm, you know, to exterminate those Colorado beetles.'

When Hambie came over with his squire Francis a terrible battle took place, in which Hambie was only just successful. Seeing his master lying there exhausted with the struggle, Francis thought it would be an excellent opportunity of finishing him off, for he was head over heels in love with the Lady of Hambie. So he chopped off the Lord of Hambie's head and returned to Normandy with a long story about how his master had been mortally wounded in the fight and how his dying wish had been that
Francis `would step into his shoes.'

`Dirty dog,' I couldn't help remarking.

'Ali, but she was not so green as she was cabbage-looking. Ah, my, no!' said my farmer friend, taking a whetstone from a cow's horn filled with a dark liquid and passing it rapidly to and fro across his sickle.

The lady, in fact, demanded proof. Which the squire offered in the shape of a miniature of herself which her husband always wore next to his heart. She was convinced then that he was dead, but still not that he wanted her to marry Francis.

`I don't know too well what happened then', said the farmer, `but anyways, before the wedding he confessed. So she was lucky.'

I'm glad he believes that. The usual version is that she only discovered his guilt after the wedding, through his talking in his sleep. `Anyways,' she had a great mound built in Jersey and a chapel on top of it in memory of her husband, so that she could see it from her home in Normandy.

The mound is still there, and I can vouch for the view. Since you can see Normandy from the top of it, no doubt the Lady of Hambie could see it from her window. What is interesting, now, is what is underneath the mound.

If you pay sixpence you can see.

Archaeologists are not much impressed by legends, and a long time ago they decided that the mound was erected by no Lady of Hambie but by prehistoric man. Eventually the Société Jersiaise bought the place and its members started excavations.

Before long they brought to light an exceptionally well preserved burial chamber of the megalithic period. It is, in fact, regarded as `one of the finest memorials of its time surviving in Western Europe. It certainly attracts more visitors than any other of Jersey's many prehistoric monuments perhaps because it happens to be right along a bus route!

A spiral path leads to the top of the mound where still stands a mediaeval chapel. You can believe, if you like, that it is the one which is mentioned in the legend, but one must remember that it was the custom of the early Christian missionaries to adapt pagan monuments to Christian uses, and that is probably what happened here. A second chapel was added in the sixteenth century by Dean Mabon, a local ecclesiastic of doubtful reputation. In the crypt of his chapel Mabon erected a reproduction of the Holy Sepulchre, which he claimed to have visited, and impressed the faithful by working `miracles' with simple mechanical devices.

Another building which once stood on top of the mound (it is a huge mound, forty or fifty feet high and nearly two hundred yards round at the bottom) was the Prince's Tower, so called after the Jersey sailor who became a ruling European prince.

Philip d'Auvergne joined the Navy at an early age and had already had many amazing adventures before he was appointed First Lieutenant in the Saucy Arethusa, which started the most amazing adventure of them all.

With another young man called Horatio Nelson, he had accompanied Captain Phipps's optimistic expedition to the Arctic regions, which was intended to discover the North Pole but `not to proceed any further.' He had fought in the American War of Independence, where he took part in the siege of Boston, was wounded at the bombardment of Falmouth, and lost his first command in an action with the French.

And he was only twenty-three.

By pure chance when the Arethusa was wrecked and its crew taken prisoner, d'Auvergne came into contact with the Prince of Bouillon, which was then an independent principality on the borders of Luxemburg. For years the Prince, whose family name was also d'Auvergne, had been looking for someone to succeed him. His son was a half-crazed invalid who was neither expected to live long nor to produce an heir, and researches into the family pedigree had failed to reveal a suitable successor.

Now, struck by the similarity of their names and convinced that a family relationship existed between them; the Prince took a fancy to the young Jerseyman and decided to adopt him.

Though Philip d'Auvergne was no doubt flattered by the Prince's intentions, he nevertheless conceived it his duty to return to England when he was unexpectedly released. Having taken part in an unsuccessful expedition against the Cape of Good Hope, he was next sent on a colonising mission to the South Atlantic, where he was shipwrecked and abandoned for some time on a desert island. Rescued at last, he was able when peace was proclaimed to take up his residence with the Prince, who had now formally adopted him.

In 1791 the succession to the Duchy of Bouillon was fixed. James Leopold, the invalid son, was to succeed his father, then failing a direct heir, the throne would pass to Philip d'Auvergne. With great ceremonial he visited the Duchy and was presented to his future people.

In 1792 war broke out again, and once more d'Auvergne returned to the service of his country. This time he was appointed to the command of the Jersey Naval Station. Outwardly it was a sinecure, but secretly Captain d'Auvergne was entrusted with the organisation of assistance to the rebellious French Royalists.

It was at his headquarters at Mont Orgueil that supplies for the ill-fated Quiberon expedition were collected. It was his agents, mostly Jersey men and women, who made the perilous journey to France in small boats on dark nights and landed arms and ammunition. The tower which his soldier uncle had built on La Hougue Bie became a link in his signal service. And whilst all this was going on, first the old Prince of Bouillon, then the young James Leopold, died.

When peace was restored by the Treaty of Amiens, d'Auvergne immediately took steps to establish his claim to Bouillon, which had come under the protection of the French government. But the French, knowing his record as a supporter of the Royalist cause, put him in prison, from which he was only released on condition that he immediately left the country.

Before he had accomplished anything war had broken out again, and for the last time he returned to his post in the Navy. He was appointed first Rear-Admiral then Vice-Admiral, but the biggest prize seemed to have slipped from his grasp. Finally, however, when the French monarchy was restored and Napoleon seemed to be beaten, he was able to establish himself as Prince of Bouillon with the approval of the King of France.

His reign was not destined to be a long one. Napoleon's return from Elba plunged Europe into a new war. When he had been safely exiled to St. Helena the boundary makers got busy in Vienna. A fresh claimant had cone into the field, and although Admiral d'Auvergne's legal right to the Duchy seemed clear enough, the Congress decided against him. Broken with disappointment and impoverished by costly appeals against the decision, the sailor prince returned to England. A few months later he died in some obscure hotel.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Party and the Public Elections (Jersey) Law 2002













Public Elections (Jersey) Law 2002

4) The nomination of a candidate for a public election shall be made by the production to a nomination meeting of a document, in such form as the States may prescribe by Regulations, subscribed by a proposer and 9 seconders, all 10 of whom shall be persons entitled under Article 2(1), (1A), (2) or (3) to vote for that candidate in any poll held for the election

Before the document described in paragraph (4) is subscribed by a proposer and 9 seconders –

(a) the prospective candidate shall complete a declaration, which shall be contained in that document, of the registered political party by which he or she is endorsed, indicating whether the registered name, or the registered abbreviation (if any) of the name, of the party is to be entered on the ballot paper; and

(b) the declaration shall be signed by –

(i) the prospective candidate, and
(ii) 2 persons (of whom one may be the prospective candidate) who are registered officeholders of the registered political party. 


I was sorry to hear that Marilyn Carre has withdrawn from contesting the seat of Constable of St Brelade, but it is understandable given the distress she has suffered. I hope she does not feel too bruised by what has turned out to be a political minefield and a baptism of fire.

As a novice, she was being helped by Reform to complete the forms in what seems to have been extreme rapidity, and she was clearly relying on their knowledge and expertise to help her complete the paperwork. They should apologise to her for failing to do this properly.

Jersey Peeps has this:

"Marilyn Carré decided to run for election as Constable of St Brelade just two days prior to the nomination deadline and was assisted by Reform Jersey to complete her nomination form."

The cause for the concern and referral was that Reform had failed to sign the form as a candidate being endorsed by their party, and with two signatories, before the proposer and nomination signatures appeared on the form. This is described in the law above.

This is important, because proposers and seconders need legally to know that the candidate they endorse has also a party affiliation. Otherwise, they could be signing a form and not knowing that the person asking for signatures was in fact affiliated to a party rather than standing as an independent candidate.

To put in in simple terms: order matters. It is like a Treasurer filling in a cheque and asking a second signatory to sign, or the Treasurer asking for the signatory to sign and saying they'll fill in the details later. I;ve known cases where this is done, and nothing has gone wrong. But that is not the point. The point is that filling in the cheque first is a safeguard against matters going wrong.

The equivalent of the election law would be to say you had to fill the details in before the second signatory to prevent fraud. That seems perfectly reasonable to me. And yet I've seen some people commenting on social media that this provision should be scrapped! Someone said: "This system is out of date and needs a major review."  The point is not whether deception was intended, which it clearly was not, but that the law is designed to prevent deception.

According to Reform, all those signing did know that Ms Carre was a Reform candidate, and it was an “honest mistake”. I'm sure it was, but their response has been a fine example of displacement activity.

Sam Mezec, as Chairman for Reform Jersey made this comment:

“This was an honest mistake on the part of Ms Carré and Reform Jersey, who were rushing to complete the form in a short period of time. We are disappointed that this has been handled in such a heavy-handed way.”

“It is regrettable that rather than attempt to investigate the matter further or contact Ms Carré to inform her of her belated discovery of this discrepancy, the Parish Secretary of St Brelade instead chose to contact the Royal Court as the first port of call.”

On the contrary, what is regrettable is that Reform seem to have not bothered to get their facts straight, and have vilified the Parish Secretary, no doubt in an attempt to shift blame from their own mistake.

The facts, as far as I have been able to ascertain from witnesses, are as follows. The Nomination Meeting was presided over by Peter Norman, Procureur du Bien Public of the Parish as the electoral administrator for the Parish (the ''Electoral Administrator"). At that meeting, Ms Marilyn Carré and Mr Michael Jackson were each proposed and seconded for the office of Connétable for the Parish.

It was at that meeting that the problem was spotted. The Election Law provisions require that where a prospective candidate wishes to be endorsed by a registered political party, they must complete a declaration as to the endorsement before the nomination document is subscribed by a proposer and 9 seconders.

In this case, it seems that the signatories from the political party were made after the proposer and seconders had signed the form, in violation of the Elections Law.

It should be noted that prior to the nomination night, when the Parish Secretary had been asked to check that the names of proposer and seconders were on the electoral roll some time previously, that is precisely what she did. There would have been no requirement to check any other names, as any party signatories would not have to be on the electoral roll of St Brelade.

Moreoever the Parish’s failure to notice the “‘Party Declaration” error at that point assumes they were themselves aware at that time that Ms Carrre was endorsed by Reform. But unless Ms Carre voluntarily imparted that fact, how were they to know? There was no documentary evidence on the form.

The matter of the discrepancy on order of signing arose at the nomination meeting, and whether to let the nomination stand pending a court decision on the omission was the responsibility of the Electoral Administrator - regardless of who spotted the discrepancy, which may have been the Parish Secretary. It appears that the Electoral Administrator referred it to the autorise who took advice.

It should be noted that,as far as I am aware, this would not disqualify Ms Carre from standing, but because the law had been broken there would need to be a decision taken as to what penalties, if any, would be given. This offence, as I understand it, can result in a fine up to £500, but of course it might have been a lesser amount or none.

Since this, the Royal Court has confirmed that Ms Carre's nomination form would have stood as valid had she not withdrawn, which was what I expected the legal position to be when I wrote the above.

As far as I am aware, it would not disqualify a candidate – she had the prerequisite proposer and 9 nominations, but at most would have resulted in a fine on Reform Jersey.

Another matter which should be noted which is very important was that this arose at the night of nomination meeting, and Ms Carre and any Reform supporters would have been aware of it at that time. My witnesses place them in the Parish Hall. To talk of the Parish Secretary not deciding to “contact Ms Carré to inform her of her belated discovery of this discrepancy” was a nonsense because they were present on the occasion at the Parish Hall. My witnesses say they were aware of the issue, and Ms Carre and Reform would have been too.

I have since have had conversations with other people who were present at the meeting, including a nomination signatory on Ms Carre's form, and they confirm my record from witnesses I had checked with - and I did say - are you absolutely sure? - are correct. The only disagreement comes from Sam Mezec who himself is relying on at least one witness as I was told he was not present.

Once the Electoral Administrator had decided that the law had been broken, even by an honest mistake – and note that he let the nomination stand – it was a requirement to contact the Court. That is what the law requires, and Reform should have been aware of that. The task of contacting the Royal Court would have been delegated to the Parish Secretary, but it was the Electoral Administrator who was responsible for doing that under the requirements of the Election Law. Have Reform read the relevant paragraphs of the law?

While I can quite understand that Ms Carre probably had little understanding of the due process which had to be followed, and hence a summons to appear in the Royal Court must have come as a shock, the same cannot be said of Reform.

They should understand the Election Law. They should have understood the due processes which must be followed, and the summons to appear which would be the next step. It was not for the Parish to investigate further, but to refer the matter to the Court. The first port of call if a discrepancy is found is the Royal Court. It is not for the Parish to make decisions. It has no authority to do so.

Reform are a professional political Party. And if they were expecting, as they might well have been, a summons from the Court, they should have also warned their candidate to expect that and what it might entail. 

Because they appear to have neglected to tell her, they are now attempting to shift responsibility away from their own failings, and onto the Parish Secretary, who was in any case not legally responsible for deciding what action to take – that was down to the Electoral Administrator, as they would have seen if they studied the Public Elections (Jersey) Law 2002.

They shouldn’t push all the responsibility off themselves, but take some responsibility both for messing up the form, and then failing to tell their candidate the consequences of breaking the law, which they could know but she probably did not. If nothing else, they had a duty of care to Ms Carre which they seem unwilling to accept.

It will be interesting to see what the Royal Court makes of the case.

The Royal Court declared that the nomination paper would have stood even despite procedural mistakes, and Ms Carre could have carried on. As she had withdrawn, Mike Jackson was elected Constable.

Ms Carre has now stated she will stand again in 4 years time for Constable. It is good that despite the initial distress this has caused her, she has "bounced back" and that is good for democracy.

Postscript 1: 

It seems all the signatories have been summonsed to the Royal Court. This makes sense. The Court probably has to decide whether they know Ms Carre was a Reform candidate before signing. The only way they can do that is to have them in Court as witnesses, and hence under oath. The Court may need legal corroboration rather than informal ones.

Postscript 2: 

On Facebook, Anne Southern of Reform says: "Why weren't the rules written on the form and the instructions for filling it in?".  Here's the form. I think she should go to Specsavers (other opticians are available). I can see the instructions quite clearly.

It also raises the question why the proposer and nominators signed the form knowing it was not being done in the right order.

















Postscript 3

It has been brought to my notice that Reform's statement  says: ‘The guidance notes attached to the nomination make no reference to the order in which in section must be completed ….”

Only it does, maybe not in the guidance notes (nice bit of get-out) but the form itself states:

"A candidate for the office of Senator, Connétable or Deputy must complete the following declaration BEFORE the proposer and seconders sign the Nomination Document.”

The emphasis on ‘BEFORE” is actually on the form.

The Future is Vibrant












The Future is Vibrant

Election is when political clichés come out in great number in the manifestos. Here is a focus on the use, or rather misuse, of the word “vibrant”.

George Orwell wrote that “Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”.

There is a very vibrant wind blowing through local politics! In 2014, there were 6 cases when it was let loose in the printed word. Let us be honest: it is a meaningless or hackneyed adjective. It is lazy writing.

Please can we have a moratorium on the use of the word in 2018?

Meanwhile if you spot a “vibrant” in any 2018 manifesto or a website of someone standing for election, please let me know. I’ll do a “vibrant” watch. And let me know any other terms which are also the political equivalent of empty fluff, please also tell me.

I shall be sharpening my pen for a future blog looking at the 2018 manifestos for a “Yes Minister” style of writing which makes the right kind of noises by using language badly.

From 2014:

Richard Renouf
“creating a vibrant economy to support our ageing population”

Andrew Green
“We must ensure that we have a successful, as well as vibrant and diverse economy”

Bernie Manning
“I am committed to working towards a vibrant, safe and pleasant town.”

Len Norman
“Continue to provide strong and vibrant representation in the States in the interests of St Clément parishioners”

Nick Le Cornu
“Restore Fort Regent to a vibrant sports and social centre”

David Richardson
“Jersey needs a healthy , robust, vibrant and forward thinking Finance Sector”

Ivan Hewett, writing in 2014 in the Telegraph noted how popular “vibrant” had become:

"Mostly 'vibrant' is laden with ideological weight. Instead of functioning as a straightforward adjective, it’s now a marker of things which are held to be desirable by those in authority. You get a clue as to what those desirable things are by perusing such things as urban regeneration plans, or policy documents of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport."

"Say for example a firm of architects is commissioned to reconfigure a square or a neighbourhood, or a local authority wants to create an arts festival. There’s a particular quality the writers of these documents always yearn for; 'vibrancy'. It seems no neighbourhood is worth living in unless it can be described as vibrant, and no festival is worth public subsidy unless it too can be called vibrant."

Of course, as linguistics shows a word becomes identified with some ideal state of being, its original specific meaning becomes clouded.

And as Kenneth Roy pointed out in 2016 in the Scottish review

“Positive. Vibrant. These tacked-together words are the modern equivalent of the verbal refuse identified by George Orwell in his survey of political speeches and reports as long ago as the 1940s. They are meaningless.”

Orwell himself notes that in this kind of political language:

“Writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug. The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy”

“A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?”

“And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly? But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble. You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in." 

"They will construct your sentences for you — even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent — and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connection between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear.”

Be a vibrant voter on election day so that we can have a vibrant election!

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Senatorial Proposals












I'm afraid I can't resist a punning title. For those who don't buy the JEP or who haven't been able to attend the nomination meeting at the Town Hall, here are the Senatorial candidates and their proposers.

Candidates need to get 10 signatures on their nomination paper, but the key one is the proposer, as this is the individual who gets up and actually introduces their candidate and proposes them for the role. They outline their candidates merits, and why they are a Good Thing (as "1066 and All That" outs it), but probably don't produced a portrait of the candidate like that wanted by Oliver Cromwell ("warts and all").

The candidates may show the odd dimple in their chin, grey hairs, or no hair, thick busy beards, or Jimmy Carr style combing of their hair, but they don't want any political warts to show. That's for them to hide, and for us to find in the coming weeks.

Gerard Baudains : Previous States Member
Proposer: Paul Jonathan Knight

Simon Brée : Current Deputy of St Clement
Proposer: Terence Alexander McDonald

Lyndon Farnham : Current Senator
Proposer: Steven Alexander Meiklejohn

Sarah Ferguson : Current Senator
Proposer: Denise Laura Waller

Ian Gorst : Current Senator
Proposer: Jonathan Paul Speck

John Le Fondré : Current Deputy of St Lawrence
Proposer: David Reginald Beaugeard

Anthony Lewis : New Candidate
Proposer: Chris Bright

Frank Luce : New Candidate
Proposer: Sonia Edith Ahier Kerr

Philip Maguire : Previous Candidate
Proposer: Arthur Wraight

Sam Mézec : Current Deputy of St Helier No 2 (Reform Jersey)
Proposer: James Roy Andrews

Kristina Moore : Current Deputy of St Peter
Proposer: Kristina Le Feuvre

Stevie Ocean : Previous Candidate
Proposer: Caroline Humber

Steven Pallett : Current Connétable of St Brelade
Proposer: Neil John Faudemer

Gino Risoli : Previous Candidate
Proposer: Nicholas Basil Le Coru

Moz Scott : New Candidate
Proposer: Ben Edward Shenton

Gordon Troy : New Candidate
Proposer: Martin Sayers

Tracey Vallois : Current Deputy of St John
Proposer: Melissa Marie Nobrega

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Constable of St Brelade: Questions and Answers











Because I felt there was a lack of clarity over the role of the Constables in the States, I sent both candidates for Constable of St Brelade a set of questions and answers, and these are exactly as I put them in the email, with the sentence about the Referendum first, and now with the responses from both candidates below after each question, and nothing extra added by myself.

This is purely for information for the voters.

I was concerned about who to put first in order, so I wrote their names on two small pieces of paper, and got my son - who had no idea of the reason - to pick a hand. This was a double-blind way of ensuring the order was entirely impartial.

I would like to thank both candidates for finding the time to respond so quickly to my email - which was sent out on Sunday, with both replies the same day.

Questions and Answers
The Referendum in 2014 said that 62% of voters thought the Constables should remain in the States, and had a high turnout of 39%.

Do you think the Constables should remain in the States?

Marilyn Carré: No, I do not. I believe the position of Connétable should be concentrated within the Parish. St Brelade for example, is a very large Parish, and therefore, I believe, needs that parochial concentration.  We all have views and visions which are wider than just the Parish, but these can be filtered down to the Deputies and Senators. This is why I belong to a political party rather than standing independently.

Mike Jackson: Yes I think the Constables should remain in the States. A referendum has decided this so lets move on.

Would you support a proposition to remove the Constables from the States?

Marilyn Carré: Yes I would.

Mike Jackson:  No I would not support a proposition to remove the Constables from the States because I believe they have a stabilising influence which may be especially important in a situation where there is a shortage of experienced States members.

Do you think there should be another Referendum first?

Marilyn Carré: Absolutely. It needs to be a democratic decision where reasons for and against are set out clearly for the public to make an informed decision upon.

Mike Jackson: We have already had a referendum so I would see little point in having another. However in the event that a constitutional change is deemed appropriate by a States decision a referendum would I believe be essential.

If the Constables are taken out of the States, should they be an unpaid role in the Parish or should their remuneration be funded by the ratepayer?

Marilyn Carré: It would still be a very time consuming role, and therefore some remuneration would need to be granted I feel. However, given the reduction in duties and thus responsibilities,  I would expect there to be a considerable reduction in how much was paid to that post holder. Whether or not it should be paid by the ratepayers would be a matter for future consideration, which I would want to discuss at length with my Party before making some snap, unconsidered comment at this point. We would not be talking a huge sum of course and so divided between the many constituents in the parish it would be negligible even if this were the case. Once again, I would expect the remuneration to be in keeping with the duties. There are various tools which are able to assess such tasks and give weighting to each. It is a tool which Civil Servant posts have been benchmarked by for many years. Obviously, there are others in the charitable sectors, and this might be a more appropriate direction to equate the role with.  

Mike Jackson: In the case that they had no States involvement whatsoever it would seem that any renumeration would have to come from ratepayers although this could be balanced by Constables taking on duties presently undertaken by paid Parish staff. The new role would require proper evaluation to arrive at a figure.

Would you be prepared to take on the role unpaid if the ratepayers refused to fund the position?

Marilyn Carré: I would personally struggle to occupy this role without any monetary remuneration as I am totally responsible for my own financial wellbeing, but a modest figure to cover every day living expenses would be perfectly acceptable. 

Mike Jackson: Yes albeit one would expect out of pocket expenses to be covered.

If offered or proposed a Ministerial role, would you turn it down?

Marilyn Carré: As this would be my first political role, I think I would prefer to do a thorough job as a Connétable of a large parish and see what that felt like. If, at a later date I felt it was possible to take on more, then I would consider the size of that commitment (depending upon which committee we were talking about) and see how that would effect established duties. My father taught me one very valuable lesson “don’t over promise and under deliver.” I try to keep his words at the back of my mind when committing to anything.

Mike Jackson: There is some uncertainty what ministerial roles will permeate from the re-shapeing of the present structure however  Parishes have significantly different workloads. In addition to this larger Parishes have a greater permanent staff which can have the effect of reducing the Constable's work. But I have no desire personally to take on such a role.

Do you think a Constable could be an Assistant Minister as that is not so onerous?

Marilyn Carré: As things stand, yes. It goes back to my father’s favourite quote above! Far better to do a few things well than to constantly have good intentions that are never fulfilled.

Mike Jackson:  I see no reason why not.

Do you think a Constable could be head of a Scrutiny panel?

Marilyn Carré: Given that Panels are made up of a chairperson and up to 4 other States Members - but not those who are Ministers or Assistant Ministers, yes I do. Each Panel can carry out Reviews as a Panel, or they can form sub-Panels to carry out specific Reviews so again, this could be another option if something has a particular bearing on the Parish.

Mike Jackson: Once again I see no reason why not.

Who Sang Antiphonally?


















From "The Pilot", 1969, comes this, an interesting historical ramble.

Some Church Customs Explained
By S.G. Thicknesse

Who Sang Antiphonally?

FROM the first centuries, in choirs and places where  they sang, most of the singing was antiphonal.

This was originally because-since the Hebrew psalms were the basis and type of all that was sung-to divide the singing between two groups, as in the synagogue, allowed dramatic expression to the Cry and Response inherent in so much that was set to music.

People who had been reared on Greek drama would also have been familiar with the voices of the chorus being similarly used.

As well as the psalm cycle, which was to be said or chanted weekly in its entirety by most monastic orders, such songs as the Magnificat and the Benedicite had long been traditionally in use by the early middle ages.

To these had been added by the sixth century the Te Deum Laudamus, which legend described as the song of exaltation improvised by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, and St. Augustine, later to be Bishop of Hippo, in the fourth century, when St. Ambrose baptized Augustine.

Besides the mainly antiphonally-sung music, including the psalm cycle, which became traditional in the Offices (which the Church, and particularly the monastic orders, kept at every three hours of the day and night) the canon of the Mass began early to be embellished with singing.

To the ancient alleluias, which first belonged to Eastertide, there were added verses of psalms or of scripture, or, later, hymns based on Psalms or on the Epistle or Gospel for the day. These were sung, for example, as graduals before the Gospel, or at the offertory.

By the time of the Reformation the sequence of the Offices and of the Mass had become constantly interrupted by elaborations of such singing. Although originally this had emphasized the lesson of the day and hour, finally it was believed by some to obscure it, and to distract people.

The English Reformers, therefore, who `accumulated' Morning and Evening Prayer from the old Offices, and divided the Psalter for monthly instead of for weekly use, `cut off', as they explained, most of the old musical interpellations from these, and from the Communion Service. They left, however, some of the oldest canticles and hymns (an old Latin one, for example, in the form for consecrating a bishop), place for two daily anthems, and a few of the old interpellations, including some of the versicles and responses.

It was also under the direction of Archbishop Cranmer that Merbecke produced his setting for the Communion Service, in the old Dorian mode, which returned magnificently to the simplicity of early Church music.

For, from the beginning, the basis of all Church music had been the austere plainsong: those eight prime modes, tones or scales, of which the first, third, fifth and seventh had been arranged for Church use by St. Ambrose, and the rest added by St. Gregory two hundred years afterwards. All the music written in these modes was essentially melody of voices in unison. It was, therefore, for variation as well as from tradition that antiphonal singing became general, especially in the very long Offices with their innumerable psalms.

Nor would the whole of either side of a choir be necessarily used at a time, but increasingly choice voices from one, then the other, alternately. Although men of austere temperament always opposed it, forms of harmony like the thirds and sixths of the faux-bourdon were improvised by experienced singers, at least from the fourteenth century; and songs like `Sumer is ycumen in' began increasingly to echo back into sacred music. When such parts came to be written down, people called it `prick music', from the appearance of the notes.

Alongside the constant temptation for homophonic music to develop into polyphonic, was the temptation to support and then accompany either with instrumental music of growing complication. To the early shawm, the precursor of oboe and clarinet, were added primitive forms of violin and of organ.

The east side of Beverley Minster's reredos has a much-pained looking violinist and a boisterous fellow with a bagpipe. Winchester Cathedral, before the twelfth century, had an organ with twenty-six bellows and seventy blowers which required two organists. Some cathedrals, like Exeter, still have the galleries of their mediaeval musicians.

It had always been a full-time job to keep players and choir, even choir alone, awake and behaving suitably. The precentor, often aided, as for example at York, with two choral rulers or rectors, had to march up and down, armed with staves, on the watch for any sleeping monk or canon, who would subsequently have to explain himself in chapter; or for choristers who, catching sight, for example, of anybody in spurs, would dart out of their place then and there to demand `spur money'.

In 1485 even the privy purse of King Henry VII had to be opened to pay 4s. `to the children of the Chapell, for the king's spoures'. As late as 1850, at Peterborough, some Sapper officers with much shorter memories than choir boys were mulcted on this ancient score. The only way of escape that there had ever been was to prove that the boys could not repeat their `gamut', a complicated alphabet of plainsong: