Monday, 23 October 2017

Memories of Elections Past

Memories of Elections Past

States members tend to waffle on, but amidst all the dross is some genuine gold. In this case, a trip down memory lane with Russell Labey, during a debate on one of his propositions.

The proposition will soon be forgotten, but the historical ramble deserves to be preserved and hence is on this blog. Yes, it was a digression, but rather a good one, as he paints a vivid picture of elections in days long ago.

Our family were also supporters of Bernard Binnington. Born in 1930, Bernard's registration card shows that he was also present at the Chelsea Hotel during the Occupation.

I remember when he was standing as a mere Deputy in the 1970s. His election HQ was the Chelsea Hotel, owned by the three brothers Binnington, and now long demolished and replaced by Spectrum flats. The hotel was started by his grandmother and has been run by the family ever since. It is a hotel that opened at Easter, full, and closed in October, full, and then re-opened in January for the stamping of the car road tax documents.

Memories of Elections Past
By Russell Labey

I may have only been a politician for 3 years, but I have been involved in Jersey politics - and this is going to age me - for over 40 years, because my dad, Roy Labey, would invariably run the campaigns in Grouville for his chosen senatorial candidate and I, from a very early primary school age, would go and canvass with him.

I remember putting the leaflets through the doors; I can remember the colours of Bernard Binnington were yellow and green. I remember that because he supported him.

Then in my early teens I supported Corrie Stein when she stood for Deputy in Grouville. That was seismic. I remember I painted all her banners: “Vote Corrie Stein” and the colours there were pink and purple. I remember it as if it were yesterday.

That campaign was the first time I got my hands, or my seat, in the radio van and was able to use the megaphone going around the Parish encouraging people to vote. Members might be unsurprised to learn that I took that role like a duck to water. I have to say, I was quite good at it.

I was used by other people in subsequent campaigns around and about in the radio van with the megaphone, including the lovely late Anne Perchard in St. Martin, a very tight race. I remember going around the Montford Estate right up until polls were closing, trying to get people out to vote.

The next day I went to my school, Victoria College, and in my year, I suppose about 5 of us would have been up late that previous night in the whole year, 5 of us, most of us probably farmers’ sons.

I also remember vividly too the Channels T.V. (Television) debates, hustings debates, hosted originally by John Rothwell, before he became a Senator in this House, and then presided over by Alastair Layzell, both of whom were quite brilliant as inquisitors. They used to opt out of the network and have these debates among usually about 10 senatorial candidates and it could be make, or break.

People were broken in those, because they did not have answers to either Alastair Layzell or John Rothwell’s questions. I look back at all that and I ask myself: how have things got better now, where we are with the senatorial race, for example?

Of course things have, in some ways, the initiatives of the Greffe, the social media, et cetera. But in many ways they have not got better, they have got worse. We still have the Parish Hall hustings for the senatorial race and instead of the more manageable 10, maybe a dozen candidates, now you have got up to 28 and they are squeezed into those stages on the Parish Halls and they get to do 3 minutes, their first 3 minutes, many of them make the mistake and go through their past C.V. (curriculum vitae) for 3 minutes; big error, if I may give that tip to any prospective senatorial candidate: you want to give your vision for the future, no one is interested in your past.  Then they get to answer questions, if they are lucky, 3 questions per session, 2 minutes each.


If Russell had checked regarding the 1948 elections, he would have seen that although there are complaints such as his nowadays about the large number of candidates standing for election as Senator, in 1948, at the first Senatorial election, there were 18 candidates nominated for 12 seats.

It is also notable that even back in 1948, there were at least two candidates who were prepared to stand as Senator without having prior experience of being in the States.

What is interesting is that not all of the 18 candidates turned up to each parish meeting, which would be almost unthinkable nowadays. At St John's Parish, for example, only 10 candidates addressed the public, in St Clements, only 11, and St Saviour, only 10 again.

Maybe that is something we need to revisit.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Still Small Voice

The Still Small Voice

"Go out and stand before me on top of the mountain," the LORD said to him. Then the LORD passed by and sent a furious wind that split the hills and shattered the rocks---but the LORD was not in the wind. The wind stopped blowing, and then there was an earthquake---but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire---but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the soft whisper of a voice. When Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, "Elijah, what are you doing here?"

The story of Elijah at Hebron is a fascinating one. Elijah has just defeated the priests of Baal in a contest on Mount Carmel, where they work themselves into a frenzy but no fire comes. Elijah prays and a fire appears and consumes the sacrifice. But far from victory, he is hounded by the Queen, his arrest is ordered, and he takes refuge in a cave on Mount Horeb.

In Greek mythology, the god Aiolos was the king of the winds. He was appointed by Zeus to guard the storm winds which he kept locked away inside the floating island of Aeolia, releasing them at the request of the gods to wreak their havoc. Poseidon, as well as the god of the sea, was known for causing major catastrophic events, such as floods and  earthquakes, seen as signs of his wrath. Hephaestus was the god of fire and volcanoes.

The Greeks were not alone. Most of the ancient mythologies of gods and goddesses have similar analogues. The wrath of the gods and goddesses was to be avoided, and it was best not to anger them. Rituals and sacrifices could placate them.

By contrast, in this story, quite deliberately, God is not found in the violent savagery of nature, rending the land, but in the silence afterwards, the soft whisper of the voice. 

The story of Elijah is an attack on those who see the hand of deity, even the Jewish God, in the power of nature. That, the text indicates, is a form of idolatry, of giving over power to things which are outside out control; of trying to make sense of what may often seem random and senseless by putting it into a framework where we can control it by our understanding - by somehow placating the deity by prayers or fasts or sacrifices.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks comments on how the story negates the triumphalistic tone of the earlier part of the story:

“In effect, God was saying to Elijah: false prophets believe in power. At Mount Carmel you showed that I am a greater power. You defeated idolatry on its own terms. That may be fine for those tempted by idolatry, but that is not who I am. The supreme power cares for the powerless. The creator of life loves life. The voice that summoned the universe into being is still and small, hardly louder than a whisper. To hear God you have to listen.”

“God is not in the fire, or the whirlwind, or the earthquake. Zealotry wins the battle but not the war. It creates fear, not love. It risks desecrating the very cause it seeks to sanctify. Faith speaks in an altogether different voice, urging us, in Robert Kennedy’s fine phrase, to ‘tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world’.”

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Cider Days

Where would Autumn be without the cider making at Hamptonne...?

From October 2004, comes this poem, which was runner up in the poetry competition (adult class) held that year for poems about cider and apples.

Cider Days

Sing we a song of the harvest home
Of maidens fair, and lads who roam
Sing of dalliance, should they meet.
Quaff of our cider, the finest, sweet.

This is the time of our cider making
Cabbage loaf, Wonders, all for baking
Sing in the farmyard, take the apple
While lad and maiden in lusty grapple.

The farm horse turns the cider crusher
Apples crunched, no fair smell sweeter
Sing now of the old farm days of clover
While lad and maiden, now rollover.

More apples to fetch from orchard now
Heave carts and barrows past the cow
Pick the apples, some to eat and savour
This year, the maiden is now in labour.

With some for bake, and some for crumble
This is our Jersey apple, so very humble
But best of all, drink upon cider days
While nearby mother with baby plays.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Jersey Our Island: Methodists, Mermaids and Music – Part 3

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: Methodists, Mermaids and Music – Part 3
by Sidney Bisson

In 1787 John Wesley braved the Channel in `a small sloop' to encourage his followers in Guernsey and Jersey. Possibly out of respect for his grey hairs (he was eighty-four at the time) the opponents of Methodism held their hand at his meetings. He preached to large crowds without interruption, with Brackenbury acting as interpreter. What is even more surprising is that Dr. Coke, who also visited Jersey to further the Methodist cause, was invited by the Rector to preach in the Parish Church of St. Helier. And in 1791 Jersey sent a Methodist missionary to France.

Just when it seemed that the worst of the opposition had been overcome, a new reign of terror started. The Methodists had not objected to compulsory militia service, but now a system of weekly drills on Sundays was introduced, which they regarded as a profanation of the Sabbath. 

When they asked to be excused, the authorities replied that absentees would be fined or imprisoned. Dozens of Methodists refused to pay fines and were sent to gaol. But they could not be kept there indefinitely at the public expense, so the States passed a law inflicting the penalty of deportation on those who refused to do full military service and hurriedly sent it to George III for confirmation. Meanwhile the holding of Methodist services was prohibited and the English minister was expelled.

The progress of Methodism in Jersey might have been very different had it not been for a curious circumstance. In spite of their scruples, the Methodist community had responded to an appeal by Pitt and collected a sum of money towards the expenses of England's war with France. This the States had refused to accept, and it was now decided to use it to fight for freedom of worship. Legal advice was taken, and a deputation headed by Dr. Coke was received by the King in Council. George III not only refused to sanction the proposed new law but emphasised his displeasure by forwarding his veto to the Governor by the hand of Coke. After this, the persecutions gradually ceased. 

It seems odd to find the Methodists building the first of their many chapels in this remote corner of the island. St. Ouen's has a local reputation perhaps undeserved for being the most backward of the twelve parishes, and the old-fashioned St. Ouennais is always a figure of fun in the island's literature. But it was not the central body of Methodists that decided to build a chapel here. The land was presented by a supporter in the parish and the cost of the building defrayed by a district subscription. Within the next few years we find the same thing happening in many parts of the island, each district building its own chapel as funds permitted, usually on land donated by a member. It may have been just luck that the St. Ouennais acquired their plot before any of their fellow members. With the steady growth of Methodism the chapel soon had to be enlarged and later replaced by the present enormous stucco building. Granite would have blended better with the bleak surroundings.

A winding lane bounded by dry walls leads to the twin manor houses of Vinchelez. The dry wall is a particular feature of the Jersey roadside. It is usually backed and often overtopped by a great bank of earth. Monotony is avoided by varied treatment. Here the banks are carpeted with grass. A little further on, trees planted on them meet to form a leafy tunnel. Round the corner grass verges give the narrow lane an air of splendid dignity. Everywhere wild flowers and ferns abound in the crevices between the stones.

The fief of Vinchelez was originally one of the largest in the island. Its division led indirectly to a protracted quarrel between the Dumaresqs and the de Carterets, Seigneurs of St. Ouen, whose arms may be seen one above the other over the old arched gateway of Vinchelez de Bas. The Dumaresqs, who held this manor by direct inheritance, also laid claim to Vinchelez de Haut.

The de Carterets disputed this on the strength of a deed of gift executed by Katherine de Vinchelez in favour of her godson, Richard de Carteret. First the Dumaresqs, then Richard, obtained possession of Vinchelez de Haut. But even his marriage to one of the Dumaresq daughters did not effect a settlement, and the feud was kept up by their children. Eventually, a hundred years later, both sides agreed to arbitration. As a result the status quo was to be maintained. But not for long. The male line of the Dumaresqs becoming extinct, the property passed to a daughter. Mindful of grandfather Richard's example, one of the young de Carterets promptly married her, giving his family the final triumph of seeing the two fiefs re-united.

Both houses are delightfully situated in wooded hollows separated by the famous Vinchelez Lane. In the days of horse- drawn `excursion cars' (before holiday makers demanded bays!) this had the reputation of being Jersey's loveliest beauty spot. Another lane on the west side of Vinchelez de Bas leads to what the Ordnance Survey map calls a tumulus. All I found was a wilderness of gorse, but it was worth walking down the lane for the lovely unspoilt view that presented itself at the end. If you admire rugged cliff scenery the north coast of the island is always attractive from any point of view. To-day, from this spot, the attraction was overpowering.

It is not so much the combination of colours as the living texture beneath them that takes the breath away. The blue of the sea, calm yet incessantly restless; the cliffs, in contrast, brown and solid. Above them a shaggy green fleece of gorse and bracken, shot with threads of gold. It is a Fairyland beauty that makes me feel like an intruder. At any moment I expect to see a mermaid swim out of her cave and sit on a rock to comb her golden hair. That is all it needs to complete the picture. 

I turned my back at last and walked towards Grosnez, turning aside at Portinfer to peep at St. George's Church. It is obviously a modern building, and of such a frigid appearance that I was not tempted to go inside. Children going home from school chattered to one another in English, I noticed, unlike their parents working in the fields who still prefer to gossip in Jersey-French. I spoke to one of the little boys in our native language and was met with a blank stare. Not many of the new generation are bi-lingual like their fathers. Incidentally, apart from a couple of middle-aged women on bicycles, these were the only human beings I met in the course of my five-mile walk. And they say that Jersey is overcrowded in summer !

There are some very attractive farmhouses in this neighbour- hood, some of great age, judging by the thickness of their walls. Honeysuckle, hydrangeas, fuchsias, and rambler roses riot in their gardens. But here and there a farm has tried to modernise itself by putting on a face of stucco, and only succeeded in looking hideously out of place.

As I approached Grosnez the road seemed to be getting wilder. Gorse and bracken topped the dry walls instead of grass and trees. Then of a sudden came a field of oats surrounded by a straggly privet hedge growing behind a granite wall. The illusion of wildness was shattered. But only for a moment. Passing between two sturdy farmhouses, the last outposts of civilisation, I came on the open plateau of Les Landes, where not a tree or a wall stand to break the winds that blow in from the North Atlantic.

A rough path through the low gorse and heather leads to Grosnez Castle the castle without a history. It was almost certainly built in the early part of the fourteenth century, when Jersey was a tempting hunting ground for French marauders. Two hundred years later, on Leland's map of the Channel Islands, it is already marked as a ruin (castrum Grosnes dirutum).

Arguments have been advanced to show that it was demolished during Du Guesclin's raid on the island in 1373, yet there is a strong tradition that Philip de Carteret held out for a time in Grosnez when the French captured Jersey in 1461. Even the evidence of Leland's map is not conclusive, for Jersey's leading military historian (Major N. V. L. Rybot) recently had an en- largement made of the drawing of the castle on Popinjay's `Platte' of 1563, which clearly shows the towers to be still standing. Only a single pointed gateway of weatherworn granite stands today, overlooking what is left of the moat. Behind it can be traced the foundations of the original walls.

St. Maglorius (locally known as St. Mannelier) is traditionally supposed to have landed here in the sixth century and built a monastery. He could hardly have chosen a more difficult place, even for an unopposed landing. On three sides of the castle site the cliffs slope steeply down to the sea, two hundred feet below. The east side is a perpendicular mass of rock, like the wall of some mediaeval cathedral, complete with natural gargoyles over- hanging. And was it my imagination or was it really the sound of joyful music coming from within?

It could hardly be the cri de la mer, which the fishermen will tell you can be heard in these parts when a storm is brewing. For that must be a mournful sound. Imagine forty families ready to embark for a fresh life in a new land. They have been chosen by Helier de Carteret, Seigneur of St. Ouen, to go to Sark, which Queen Elizabeth has given him authority to colonise. For the older people sadness in breaking off old ties is mingled with hope of better days. For the children the sea journey is the first step in a glorious adventure. It is also, alas, the last. A sudden storm, and one of the ships, the one which carries most of the children, is blown on to the Pierres de Lecq, one of the three reefs which guard the northern approach to the island. All the children perished. It is their plaintive drowning cries that can be heard at the approach of stormy weather.

This wild remote spot is certainly one to stir the imagination, but I must admit I was considerably shaken when the sounds grew so loud that there was no possibility of a mistake. It was an organ. I was wondering whether the sun had been too much for me when the melody changed to one I knew. There is a holiday camp at Plemont, about a mile away. It must have been its loudspeakers and no ghostly agency that wafted the sounds of `I'll close my eyes and make believe it's you' over the still waters.

The chief attraction at Plemont unless you find a holiday camp an attraction lies in a series of lofty caves. The largest is said to be a hundred and fifty yards long and a hundred feet high, Dut I did not feel inclined to brave the loudspeakers merely to check the guide-book's measurements.

Of greater interest, though less accessible, is the Cotte a la Chevre, a cave on a narrow headland between Ple'mont and Grosnez. This cave is not, as might be expected, at sea level, but a quarter of the way up the cliff, indicating that the level of the land must have been at some time about sixty feet lower than at present. Here, thousands of years ago, a family of the stone age had its home and hunted mammoth and reindeer. The jawbone of a deer was found during excavations, as well as a considerable quantity of flint implements.

According to Godfrey a spring near here was the mediaeval forerunner of television. When the new moon fell on a Sunday you came to the spring at dusk and bathed your eyes with its waters. Such were its magical properties that it gave you the power to see through the thickest stone wall. But only for a limited period. When the moon started to wane the power left you, and you had to wait for another Sunday new moon before being able to satisfy your Nosy-Parkerish instincts.

I suspect the story is one of Godfrey's inventions. I should have suspected him of inventing the spring too, if it were not marked on the map. There even seems to be more than one spring, for the map maker has written Fontaines Martin in the plural. But a diligent search failed to find even one. Perhaps they bubble up unseen beneath the gorse, waiting to be re-discovered by some government `snooper' who fancies the island for a holiday.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

And so to bed...

And so to bed... another collection of quotations from late at night.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Clement Attlee:

I stand here with this experience of Government to reaffirm my faith in democratic Socialism. We will never sacrifice the liberties won by our forefathers. It is social democracy which can set us free from the tyranny of economic power and preserve us, too, from the dangers of the absolute power of the State.

No one realises more clearly than I do that we have a long way to go yet to reach the Britain of our dreams and the world of our desires, and we believe that we shall get from all the people of this land hard work and courage to take us through the years ahead. For that hard work men and women need the inspiration of a great ideal. We are not ashamed to proclaim ourselves a party of ideal­ists inspired by a living faith in freedom, democracy, and social justice.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Rabbi Jay Michaelson:

Sadness is not an expression of the heart to be discarded in favor of those which are better. To believe that everything happens as it must is not to be fatalistic and cowed; it is not to believe everything happens for the best; it is to understand that sadness is part of the unfolding of the God Process. Praise God with it.

Even that which is not, apparently, for our best may be turned to an instrument of praise. Not by denying its painfulness, but by deeply seeing this soul, in this body, at this moment, as manifesting the unfolding of the One. The pain is real, and it is God.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Sidney Carter:

Coming and going by the dance, I see
That what I am not is a part of me.
Dancing is all that I can ever trust,
The dance is all I am, the rest is dust.
I will believe my bones and live by what
Will go on dancing when my bones are not.

And so to bed.. quote for tonight is from Ovid:

Gods of the sea and sky – since what is left but prayer? –
don’t shatter the ribs of our storm-tossed ship.
Often when one god presses, another brings help.
Fierce Neptune often challenged the cunning Ulysses:
Minerva often saved him from her uncle.
And however different I am from them,
who denies a power to me, against the angry god?
and won’t let my prayers reach the gods.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Sydney Carter:

Loud are the bells of Norwich and the people come and go
Here by the Tower of Julian I tell them what I know.
Ring out! The bells of Norwich,
and let the winter come and go.
All shall be well again, I know.

Love, like the yellow daffodil, is coming through the snow.
Love, like the yellow daffodil, it touches all I know.

Ring out, the bells of Norwich,
and let the winter come and go!
All shall be well again, I know.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

A Century in Advertising - Part 5

A Century in Advertising - Part 5

My look at some of the advertisements and products of yesteryear. Some weird and whacky, some surprisingly still around today. Here are their stories.

1913- Wrigley's Gum

The William Wrigley Jr. Company, known as the Wrigley Company, is an American chewing gum company founded on April 1, 1891, by William Wrigley Jr..It is currently the largest manufacturer and marketer of chewing gum in the world.

In 1892, Wrigley Jr. began packaging chewing gum with each can of baking powder. The chewing gum eventually became more popular than the baking powder and Wrigley's reoriented the company to produce the gum.

The company currently sells its products in more than 180 countries and districts, maintains operations in over 50 countries, and has 21 production facilities in 14 countries including the United States, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, China, India, Japan, Kenya, Taiwan, and Australia.

1914 - Ambulance

Only a month before the First World War began, British Red Cross volunteers were in full training mode. Their first aid skills were improving by the day. They were learning all kinds of practical tasks that would come in handy, from fire safety at field hospitals to cooking for invalids. Whole communities joined in to help, both volunteering and fundraising – and even animals were made to do their bit.

Simmons and Co of 1, 3, 5, & 7 Tanner Street, London S.E.1 produced mostly prams, but also turned their hand to a hand-drawn ambulance for the Great War.

1915 - Travel Advert

This poster showing children at play in a spring landscape. This was a British propaganda advertisement showing how the war was beginning to impact on ordinary people's lives.

Before World War One people who could afford it enjoyed holidays, but during the war with every effort needed to win the war it became unpatriotic to take long holidays, though people still took day trips to the seaside or into the country if possible.

This poster from 1915 encouraged families to visit the countryside with the message: 'Why bother about the Germans invading the country? Invade it yourself by underground and motor-bus.'

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Abortion Law in Jersey: A Brief Historical Sketch

UK Statistics

Last night, BBC2 had a documentary debate on abortion, "Abortion the Trial" which still remains a controversial subject. I thought it might be helpful to piece together the changes in Jersey law regarding abortion, and set them out below.

I have no idea what happened before the abortion law was introduced in Jersey, but I suspect abortions took place off Island. The 1993 debate mentions that the law "clarify and amend the existing customary law on abortion" which suggests some kind of law was in place. A newpaper report of 1995 (The Independent) reports a Guernsey resident saying: "I had to go to Brighton for the abortion. There were three other girls from Jersey and Guernsey there at the same time.

Abortion Law in Jersey: A Brief Historical Sketch

In 1993, the President of the Public Health Committee said that:

“Members will recall that the Public Health Committee, in its Five Year Policy Report which was approved by this House on 25th August last year, stated that it intended to present to the States a discussion paper to open up public debate on the implications of introducing an abortion law in Jersey, having regard to the fact that over 300 Jersey residents obtained abortions in England each year.”

A report was presented later that year, and the first steps towards change in abortion law came in 1994, where the States voted by 36 to 14 for an Abortion Law Reform proposition. The Minutes say that:

THE STATES, adopting the proposition, as amended -

(1) agreed, in principle, to enact a Law on Abortion which would - (a) clarify and amend the existing customary law on abortion to permit the termination of pregnancy within statutorily defined circumstances by registered medical practitioners;

(b) legalise the termination of pregnancy without limit of time when two approved registered medical practitioners are of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the termination is immediately necessary to save the life, or to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health, of the pregnant woman;

(c) legalise the termination of pregnancy before the end of the 24th week of gestation when in the opinion of two approved registered medical practitioners there exists, at the time of diagnosis, a substantial risk that the foetus will suffer from a grave abnormality;

(d) legalise the termination of pregnancy before the end of the 10th week of gestation when, in the sole opinion of the pregnant woman, her condition causes her distress and she is ordinarily resident in the Island or has been continuously resident in the Island for a minimum period of three calendar months immediately preceding the date of termination of the pregnancy;

(e) make statutory provision for any person to refuse to participate in treatment authorised by either or both of sub-paragraphs (c) and (d) if that person has a conscientious objection thereto;

(f) make statutory provision for subordinate legislation to be enacted to provide for -

(i) control to be exercised over registered medical practitioners approved for the purpose of offering treatment for the termination of pregnancy;
(ii) the licensing of counsellors;
(iii) the licensing of premises wh ere treatment for the termination of pregnancy may be carried out;
(iv) control of any charges which may be authorised at or by public or licensed private establishments or approved registered medical practitioners for the provision of treatment for the termination of pregnancy;
(v) the formal notification of all pregnancy terminations without identification of the woman;

However, nothing seems to have happened until 1997, when the law was revised with the Termination of Pregnancy (Jersey) Law 1997:

This gave firm grounds for termination of a pregnancy:

1. Article 2(1) – being that the termination is immediately necessary to save the life of the women.

2. Article 2(2)(a) – being that the termination is necessary to save the life of the women or to prevent grave permanent injury to her physical or mental health.

3. Article 2(2)(c) – being that the woman’s condition causes her distress, that the woman fulfils the residency requirements in the 1997 Law, that the pregnancy has not exceeded its12th week and that the requirements for consultation in the 1997 Law have been complied with.

In that same year, Deputy Alastair John Layzell of St. Brelade asked the Connétable of St. Saviour, Jack Roche, President of the Health and Social Services Committee, citing an article in the Jersey Law Review, whether “there is effectively abortion on demand in Jersey?”

This elicited the following points in reply:

“Terminating a pregnancy is a medical procedure, and as such is subject to the same checks and controls as any other medical procedure.A doctor will only carry out a termination if, after full discussion and appropriate counselling, he considers it is in the best interests of his patient. The Law does not override the professional and ethical duties of the medical practitioner. No doctor is obliged by the Law or by my Committee to carry out a termination of pregnancy.”

“In 1995, 67 terminations of pregnancy were carried out in the General Hospital and in 1996, 90 terminations were carried out in the General Hospital.”

“If I may, sir, I would refer members to the opinion of the then Attorney General which I quoted at that time. In simple terms, an abortion was permissible if carried out in good faith to save the life of the mother or when the continuance of the pregnancy would make the woman a physical or mental wreck. I am advised the terminations that took place in 1995 and 1996 were carried out on those grounds.”

In June 2003 the Island's Ethics Committee considered a paper presented by consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Neil MacLachlan on the subject and agreed that the law as currently drawn was "ethically unacceptable".

In 2004, in answer to a question by Deputy David Crespel, the following information was given.

"Young women under the age of 16 are given termination related advice and treatment in accordance with the Termination of Pregnancy (Jersey) Law 1997."

"There are no age restrictions, if the girl is competent and able to understand the implications of the procedure – in other words, is ‘Gillick-competent’, as outlined above. No termination has been carried out in Jersey on young women under the age of 14 years since 1997 when the Termination of Pregnancy (Jersey) Law 1997 came into force."

"(c) Article 3 of the Termination of Pregnancy (Jersey) Law 1997 states that the medical practitioner must provide written information about the counselling services available. (This is not a pre-requisite in the UK.) All women attending for termination are offered the opportunity to see a counsellor at the outpatients clinic, and are offered counselling after the (termination) surgery if they so wish. For young women under the age of 16 counselling is mandatory."

"In Jersey terminations are only available, under normal conditions, until the 12th week of pregnancy."

"In extreme cases, when continuing with the pregnancy puts the mother’s life in danger or there’s serious foetal abnormality, islanders can have the procedure up until 24 weeks."

A revision to the law in 2005 brought by Minister of Health Stuart Syvret addressed some of these deficiencies. It noted that:

“The Committee deems it reasonable for a pregnant woman and her family to wish to avoid having a child with a serious handicap. In most other jurisdictions in the developed world, the termination of pregnancy for a serious handicap is lawful. In these other jurisdictions it is the pregnant woman with her family who – with guidance and counselling – has the right to choose whether to terminate the pregnancy or not. To use the legal test of ‘an exceedingly poor quality of life’ is deemed by the Committee to be impracticable and unworkable when one has to draw the line as to what is reasonable, what is ethical, and what is lawful. “

“However, it is important to state that in articulating these matters it does not follow that people with such disabilities should not be respected nor does it follow that people with these disabilities lead lives of diminished value or worth. Some women will be content to continue with their pregnancy notwithstanding an adverse diagnosis. That is their choice. It is contended here that it is that choice – the pregnant woman’s choice – which should determine what must happen if her foetus is diagnosed as having a serious handicap.”

The position at that point was to shunt part of the problem across to the UK and Senator Syvret's amendment changed that.

“Put plainly, women who are at high risk of or are diagnosed as carrying a foetus with a serious handicap have their pregnancies terminated in other jurisdictions if they are more than 12 weeks into their pregnancy. Those who have the personal means to pay privately can, and do, travel abroad."

"Faced with the prospect of a two-tier service – in other words, a service for those who can afford to pay for their own travel and treatment, and no service for those who cannot afford to pay – the Department of Health and Social Services makes funds available to those who lack their own means to be able to travel elsewhere. This simply cannot be the right way of managing the termination of pregnancy for the women of Jersey.”