Thursday, 24 May 2018

Anomalies Between States Assemblies

Looking at the propositions lodged for the next States sitting, it suddenly struck me that some had been lodged by Ministers, such as Alan Maclean and Eddie Noel, who could hardly be in a position to speak in the States proposing them as they will no longer be part of the assembly.

I put the question to Dr Mark Egan, the States Greffier, who very swiftly told me what I needed to know. My thanks to him for being so helpful in answering both my questions.

My question:

I am curious to know what happens when a proposition is lodged by a previous Minister who is no longer in the States Assembly.

An example is:

“States of Jersey Development Company Limited: re-appointment of non-executive directors
Lodged au Greffe on 4th April 2018 by the Minister for Treasury and Resources”

Does the new Minister have to take up that proposition to present it, or can they withdraw it completely if they so choose? They might want to withdraw it and replace it with a proposition containing changes to their liking.

While they might bring amendments, those amendments might not pass and the original proposition stand. I would be interested if you could point me to the rules governing this situation.

I would have thought it very curious if they had to take a proposition forward unless they agreed with it unless there were very compelling legal reasons for doing so.

I cannot imagine, for instance, an incoming government in the UK being bound to implement the legislative programme of its predecessor, especially if there was a change in Party and Prime Minister.

The Greffier replied:

Thanks for getting in touch – I’m always happy to assist.

Ministerial propositions are lodged by the office of the minister, not by the individual, so they can remain in place even if the post holder changes. An incoming minister can take a look at what’s been done in their name and withdraw a proposition if they so wish. That would usually be preferable to lodging amendments, for the reasons you have set out, unless there was a timetabling reason which meant that withdrawal was impractical or undesirable.

The situation in the UK is different because parliament is dissolved in order for an election to take place and all of the outstanding business before parliament is lost at that point. However, behind the scenes, ministers do often have to carry on with routine business left over by their predecessors and there will sometimes be legal or political reasons why ministers have to carry on with a course set by their predecessors, even though they’d rather do something different.

A Further Question.

One other thing that struck me. The rules state:

“Current Ministers who will not be members after 10am on Friday 1 June leave office as Ministers at that time. Between this time and 7th/8th June their ministerial offices will be vacant and, as happens at present with a holiday or absence, the Chief Minister will either discharge these ministerial functions himself or appoint another Minister who is still in office to do this for a few days.”

That assumes, of course, that the Chief Minister is still in the States, or (presumably) the Deputy Chief Minister! If they failed to be elected, and there were just a few Ministers remaining, who would take on that duty for a few days? As far as I am aware there is no “pecking order” among Ministers outside of CM and Deputy CM.

Would this situation be like that in the UK, where the civil servants would just keep things ticking over until new appointments are made?

The Greffier replied:

No, the law provides for the Chief Minister to remain in that post until such time as the new Council of Ministers comes into being, irrespective of whether or not they have remained in the States. I believe that happened with Terry Le Sueur, who stayed on as Chief Minister briefly following his retirement from the Assembly, in accordance with the law

My concluding thoughts:

It seems quite extraordinary that a Chief Minister should remain in office until such time as the new Council of Ministers comes into being, even if they are no longer a member of the States, however short the time, and despite a new Assembly meeting. At that point in time, if not in the States, they are effectively no longer an elected politician, and I do not think they should have the potential authority to behave as if they were.

In Jersey, we do not actually dissolve the Assembly until the new Assembly is sworn in, and even then, a Chief Minister who is no longer part of the States remains in office but not part of the States Assembly until a new Council of Ministers (both Chief Minister and all Ministers) have been appointed by the States.

I think the States of Jersey and Election Law needs reviewing to tackle these issues. While they ensure a continuity of governance, the downside is a Chief Minister who is for probably around a week but who is no longer a Member of the Assembly. Once a Chief Minister is appointed, at that point at the very latest, the old one should no longer hold the post. Waiting until Ministers are also appointed is an unnecessary delay.

This was obviously designed as part of the process of moving from a Committee System to Ministerial Government, but while it may be currently legal, it is ethically extremely dubious.

The legitimacy of any politician should come from them being democratically elected until such time as new elections take place – and in Jersey, that is when the new Assembly is sworn in. At this point, a former Chief Minister who may not be part of the States has the power, but not the mandate. They have no democratic justification for being in office.

It is time for the new Assembly to revisit the law and change it.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Crimes of the Season

The last Midsomer Murders of the present series was on Sunday. I like Midsomer Murders, the more so since Neil Dudgeon took over from John Nettles. Originally Nettles was very good, but he rather outstayed his welcome, being far older than any Inspector had a right to be, and the scripts had become rather tired. While it was a good idea to give Barnaby a home life, it always seemed just that bit contrived with Nettle’s screen family, while Dudgeon’s screen family, with now an infant, and a second dog (after the first died in real life of old age) comes across as far more realistic.

One of the appeals of Midsomer is the sense of place. This is, however, a kind of Agatha Christie village life, peopled by eccentrics of varying descriptions and dispositions, and as in a small community, there is conflict and murder. The murder may be brutal but it is never gory, this is a cosy kind of murder, in which we have to see past the red herrings to find the real criminal, and along which, we have wonderful pen-sketches of characters.

Talking Pictures has a detective series Gideon’s Way starring John Gregson in the title role as Commander George Gideon of Scotland Yard, with Alexander Davion as his assistant, Detective Chief Inspector David Keen. While never quite up to date with the “swinging sixties”, it was short in mid-sixties London, but almost looks back to the late 1950s. Like Inspector Barnaby, we catch glimpses of Gideon’s family, his wife and two sons. A filmed series, the extensive location shooting makes it a veritable time capsule giving an authentic view of London in 1964/65.

A sense of place, albeit a very different place, is what I like about the Inspector Chen radio plays. Adapted from the books by Qiu Xiaolong, they are set in Shanghai in the 1990s at the point when the People's Republic of China is making momentous changes, and feature Chief Inspector Chen Cao, a poetry-quoting cop with integrity, and his sidekick Detective Yu.

The plays delve into China ancient and modern, the culture, the cuisine, history, politics as well as the crime itself. The music also adds to the tone, and they transport the listener to a very different culture, but one which is palpably real, and often exotic and sensuous. The latest, Don't Cry, Tai Lake, takes the listener on a journey in which environmental pollution and the newly emerging entrepreneurial factories are at odds with one another, and also has poetry and romance entwined with a murder.

Repeating on the Drama channel, Inspector Jean Darblay played by Stephanie Turner is the lead in Juliette Bravo, which is set in a small police station in the fictional town of Hartley in Lancashire. First broadcast on 30 August 1980, this is a million miles from the cosy villages of Midsomer, but the sense of place, of the North of England, is palpable.

As a police procedural drama series, there is not always a detection element, and the stories are relatively slight – very few murders in place – but the situations they deal with are very real. It is like having a snapshot into the period and the people of the 1980s, and that strong sense of place, helped by the location filming, of which there is plenty, makes it a very distinctive drama.

A distinctive drama of another kind was “A Very English Scandal” written by Russell T Davies, adapted from the book of the same name, but also informed from meetings with the principals still alive or those who knew them. Jeremy Thorpe, as portrayed brilliantly by Hugh Grant, is a monster, but an all too human monster, whose old Etonian background helped him to avoid the pitfalls of his illegal behaviour.

In one scene, an accusation by Norman Scott is transcribed at a police station, gets passed along in an envelope from department to department, being read, put back in the envelope and getting an extra signature on the envelope every time, until finally it ends in MI5 where it is locked in a safe! Things did not happen quite like that, but as a shorthand for the way in which the "old boys" network protected their own, the sequence works perfectly.

Whether Thorpe would have been such a monstrous character if homosexuality had been legalised is a question that might well come from watching it. Certainly, with the MP and Peer who both take up the fight to legalise homosexuality, there is a clear sense of how the law could hound people to death – almost literally, some people killed themselves as a result of the treatment by the legal system. That comes across strongly, as does the fact that Norman Scott, while wildly unstable - a brilliant performance by Ben Wilshaw - was also brave enough not to hide his sexuality while Thorpe and those in his circle did.

Thorpe comes across as charming, brilliant, talented, clever, but also quite ruthless in the pursuit of a political career in which glittering prizes were seemingly close to be taken. I got the impression he would have been just as ruthless even if he did not have to hide his homosexuality.

This has a stellar cast, and again a real sense of period, as well as having a lightness of touch in the direction which, together with the incidental music, suggests elements of black comedy in the unfolding events. I look forward to next week. It's not a detective series or a police procedural, but crimes it has a plenty.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Making the Election Count

Different Ways of Counting

There has been a lot of banging on about "no change", e.g. the CTV comments: "With only 2 sitting members losing their seats (Juliette Gallichan and Simon Bree), the mood for change was rather more muted than we thought."

There actually was a lot of change with new candidates who hadn't been in the States in St Martin, St John, St Peter, St Mary, St Clement, St Helier, St Lawrence, St Saviour. Lots of contested elections, and quite a lot of new faces.

So there was a lot of change, but because it didn't involve so many sitting members losing seats - because they tried for Senators and left vacancies, or retired from the States, it wasn't so noticeable.

Vote Team??

How well did the strategy of “Vote Team” work for Reform? On the basis of the statistics, not very well at all.

St Brelade No 2
Montfort Tadier: Current Deputy of St Brelade No 2 (Reform Jersey) – ELECTED 1193
Garel Tucker: New Candidate (Reform Jersey) 454

Admittedly she was not well at the start for quite a few weeks, but the same pattern emerges elsewhere:

St Clement
Samantha Morrison: New Candidate (Reform Jersey) 596
Cloe Freeman: New Candidate (Reform Jersey) 791

No sign of “Vote Team”. Nearly 200 votes adrift.

St Helier No 1

Kelly Langdon: New Candidate (Reform Jersey) 441
Yann Mash: New Candidate (Reform Jersey) 314
John McNichol: New Candidate (Reform Jersey) 435

A degree of convergence between Langdon and McNichol, but Mash is over 100 votes out on a limb.

St Helier 3/4
Julian Rogers: New Candidate (Reform Jersey) 631
Mary Ayling-Philip: Previous Candidate (Reform Jersey) 706
Anne Southern: Previous Candidate (Reform Jersey) 790

Closer but Rogers is 70 behind Ayling-Philip who is 80 behind Southern. No real “Vote Team”

Carina Alves: New Candidate (Reform Jersey) – ELECTED 605
Geoff Southern : Current Deputy of St Helier No 2 (Reform Jersey) –ELECTED 628
Rob Ward : New Candidate (Reform Jersey) - -ELECTED 612

Virtually the only example of “Vote Team” working. Very close votes.

Exit Polls - Which One Counted?

The Bailiwick Express Exit Poll suggested that the top two Senators tonight will be Deputies Tracey Vallois and Kristina Moore, but said that "it looks like being too tight to call on who will finish in first place". Below that they placed John Le Fondre and Ian Gorst - he got in but in a lower place. 

After that came Sam Mézec and they got that completely wrong. Then they say: "But the final three places are simply too close to call. In the mix are Senators Lyndon Farnham and Sarah Ferguson, Deputy Simon Brée, Constable Steve Pallett, along with newcomers Anthony Lewis and Moz Scott." .

In the end, one did fall, Simon Brée, but while good at the top end, the errors increased as they went down the line, and it became rather like the celebrated Morcambe and Wise sketch with Andre Previn - all the right candidates but not necessarily in the right order!

Meanwhile, the JEP have pulled the page with their exit poll, and studying it reveals why.

"REFORM Jersey chairman Deputy Sam Mézec is the favourite to top the poll in tonight’s Senatorial election, according to the results of a JEP exit poll."

"He is followed by five candidates in a tight group separated by a small number of votes: Deputy Tracey Vallois, Deputy John Le Fondré, Deputy Kristina Moore, Senator Sarah Ferguson and Constable Steve Pallet. And it may turn out to be a nail-biting night for Chief Minister Ian Gorst who, according to the poll, will finish eighth, a small number of votes behind Senator Lyndon Farnham."

"But just outside the top eight, in another small group with just a few votes between them, are three other candidates: Moz Scott, Deputy Simon Brée and Anthony Lewis."

They put a caveat that: "There is very little separating the top six, and those occupying places seven and eight are not too far behind. And with every exit poll having a margin for error, the exact placing of the top eight is too close to call."

But all told, their exit poll was so wide of the mark with Sam Mézec that it must have been a huge embarrassment for the JEP, especially as their media rivals were so much closer - so no wonder they removed it as soon as possible.

Poster Update - Outstanding Numbers Around

A number of posters are still around. However...

I hear that Fiona O’Sullivan has been unwell, and she tweeted to say that has caused a delay in taking down her posters. I appreciate people are keen to see all the posters down, but we do need to show some understanding of the candidates individual circumstances.

From yesterday morning-there's a Moz Scott one and Ant Lewis poster at Les Quennevais by Waitrose and also a Bree one further down the road. Mezec, Tadier and Tucker one at Corbiere. Also Gorst had one up at Samares Manor yesterday, not sure if it's still there though today.

Sam Mezec still on lampost second entrance Clos de Roncier, coming from Grouville End.

Mike Dun rather amusingly commented:

“These posters will be worth more than Jersey Railway Station nameboards in 50 years time. Grab them now while you can and help pay for your long term care when elections are entirely electronic and the candidates are just holograms.” 

Monday, 21 May 2018

Post Election Review

Three Different Perspectives on going for Chief Minister

The Declared Contenders

It appears that Simon Bree, when his team suggested he should try for Chief Minister, thought it only fair that the electorate should know as well. Ian Gorst declared beforehand that he would be standing for Chief Minister, as did Lyndon Farnham. They stood with the electorate knowing their intentions, and it could be suggested, as Frank Walker did, that in the case of Simon Bree, this cost him votes.

The Unknown Contender

John le Fondré only seems to have made his mind up after being elected as a Senator. He made the announcement only after seeing his result, and the JEP survey in January 2018 was only for existing Ministers. This means the electorate didn’t really know what his intentions were at the time of the election.

The Vacillating Contender

Kristina More provides a third perspective. In June 2017, she said was “amused” by claims that she had a “plan” to become the Island's first female Chief Minister. She said: 'As yet I haven't made a decision about the next election, and I would hope that Senator Gorst will continue in office.'”

The same was true in January 2018, where she kept her options reserved: she said that she was not in a position to comment on her ambitions yet and would make an announcement early next month.

But in May 14 2018, shortly before the election, she said she would be ‘happy to remain’ in her current position, giving the electorate the impression she would not be standing. Yet after in election, proving that even 4 days is a long time in politics, she declared that she was a supporter of Senator Gorst but would not rule out challenging him for the Chief Minister’s job. This has certainly given the electorate mixed views as to how decisive she is, and how easily she can change her mind between polling day, and the day after.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

On election night, what would you do if you were standing and got elected or re-elected as Deputy? Possibly celebrate the night away at your campaign HQ with friends and supporters, and wait for the Senatorial election results, while drinking something alcoholic.

Or... you could go out on the dark streets, and put up on your election posters a message of thanks for the electorate to see as they went to work or took children to school the following day. This is what both Jeremy Macon and Jess Perchard did – Jeremy with stickers, Jess with felt-tip – but to the same effect. Isn’t it nice to see politicians who show gratitude like that to their electorate? It was a very thoughtful thing to do, and I’m here commending them for doing so.

Jersey and the Bannermen

I rather like seeing the election posters and banners going up before an election. It gives a degree of excitement to what might otherwise be a rather bland election. But they haven’t all come down – there’s a stray Truscott or two, quite a few Reform ones, several Simon Brees, a Moz Scott or two.

The older campaigners – I was tempted to say “old warhorses”! – are very good at this, and all the existing States members have removed all of theirs, apart from one I spotted – a stray Le Fondré more than half covered by foliage – it’s easy to see why that one was missed. It is disappointing to lose an election, and I can understand people being despondent, but it is a duty to do, so please take down than poster!

As I understand it, after a period of time, the Department of Infrastructure will send people round to take them down – and charge the candidates for their time.

Election Expenses Scandal

At the moment, election expenses can be seen at the States Greffe – during office hours, which does not include lunchtime, and indeed is virtually impossible for anyone working. This is a appalling! I remember when the Register of Interests was likewise difficult to access – now that is rightly online, and so should election expenses be.

It is supposed to be in the public domain, but the restrictions make that almost impossible for most of us to access, so can some kind soul go there and take down ALL the names and totals, and post it somewhere so we can all see – rather than the selected snippets by the media. Or send it to me, and I‘ll do that.

At the present, we can't easily access something supposed to be in the public domain - Election Expenses - and that is a scandal. Can a States member bring a proposition to change this please? A small change,  but one that would be good for transparent democracy.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Bishop Michael Curry's wedding address

This was one of the highlights of the Royal Wedding. It was so passionate, so motivating, and quite unlike any Royal Wedding address before. The video snippets on the news only have part of it, and when I heard that, I thought that this Bishop was more from America's Martin Luther King side of Christianity than that of Billy Graham, and sure enough when you read the whole address entirely, he quotes from Martin Luther King (an uncanonised American saint by any measures). 

Bishop Michael Curry's wedding address

And now in the name of our loving, liberating and life-giving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen. From the Song of Solomon in the Bible, "Set me as a seal upon your heart, a seal upon your arm. For love is as strong as death. Passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire. A raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it out."

The late Dr. Martin Luther King once said and I quote: "We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this whole world a new world. But love, love is the only way." There is power in love. Don't underestimate it. Don't even oversentimentalize it. There is power, power in love.

If you don't believe me, think of a tie when you first fell in love. The whole world seemed to center around you and your beloved. Oh, there's power, power in love. Not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love. There's a certain sense in which when you are loved, and you know it, when someone cares for you and you know it. When you love and you show it. It actually feels right. There's something right about it. And there's a reason for it. The reason has to do with the source. We were made by a power of love. And our lives are meant to be lived in that love -- that's why we are here. Ultimately, the source of love is God himself. The source of all our lives.

There's an old medieval poem that says where true love is found, God himself is there. The New Testament says it this way. Beloved, let us love one another. Because love is of God and those who love are born of God and know God. Those who do not love do not know God. Why? Because God is love. There is power in love.

There's power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There's power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will. There's power in love to show us the way to live. Set me as a seal on your heart, a seal on your arm. For love, it is strong as death.

But love is not only about a young couple. Now, the power of love is demonstrated by the fact that we're all here. Two young people fell in love, and we all showed up. But it's not just for and about a young couple who we rejoice with -- it's more than that. Jesus of Nazareth on one occasion was asked by a lawyer to sum up the essence of the teachings of Moses, and he went back and reached back into the Hebrew scriptures to Deuteronomy and Leviticus and Jesus said you shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.

And then in Matthew's version he added, he said, on these two, love of God and love of neighbor, hang all the law. All the prophets. Everything that Moses wrote. Everything in the holy prophets, everything in the scriptures. Everything that God has been trying to tell the world: Love God. Love your neighbors. And while your at it, love yourself.

Someone once said that Jesus began the most revolutionary movement in human history. A movement grounded in the unconditional love of God for the world. And a movement mandating people to live and love ad in so doing, to change not only their lives but the very life of the world itself. I'm talking about some power -- real power. Power to change the world.

If you don't believe me, well, there was more slaves in America's antebellum South who explained the dynamic power of love and why it has the power to transform. They explained it this way, they sang a spiritual even in the midst of their captivity. It's one that says there is a balm in Gilead, a healing balm. 

Something that can make things right, there is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul. And one of the stanzas actually explains why. They said if you cannot preach like Peter and you cannot pray like Paul, you just tell the love of Jesus how he died to save of all. Oh that's the balm in Gilead: his way of love it is the way of life.

They got it. He died to save us all. He didn't die for anything he could get out of it. Jesus did not get an honorary doctorate for dying. He didn't -- He wasn't getting anything out of it. He gave up his life, he sacrificed his life for others, for the good of the other, for the wellbeing of the world. For us. That's what love is. Love is not selfish and self-centered. Love can be sacrificial.

And in so doing, becomes redemptive. And that way of unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives. And it can change this world. If you don't believe me, just stop and think and imagine. Think and imagine, well? Think and imagine a world where love is the way. Imagine our homes and families when love is the way. Imagine neighborhoods and communities where love is the way. Imagine governments and nations where love is the way. Imagine business and commerce when love is the way. Imagine this tired old world when love is the way.

When love is the way -- unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive, when love is the way. Then no child would go to bed hungry in this world ever again. When love is the way. We will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever flowing brook. When love is the way poverty will become history. When love is the way the earth will become a sanctuary. When love is the way we will lay down our swords and shields down by the riverside to study war no more. When love is the way there's plenty good room, plenty good room for all of God's children.

Cause when love is the way, we actually treat each other, well, like we are actually family. When love is the way we know that God is the source of us all. And we are brother and sisters, children of God. Brothers and sisters, that's a new heaven, a new earth, a new world, a new human family. And let me tell you something, old Solomon was right in the Old Testament. That's fire.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin -- and with this I will sit down. We got to get you all married.

French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was arguably one of the great minds, great spirits of the 20th century, a Jesuit Roman Catholic priest. A scientist, a scholar, a mystic. In some of his writings he said from his scientific background as well as his theological one, in some of his writings he said, as others have, that the discovery or invention or harnessing of fire was one of the great scientific and technological discoveries in all of human history. 

Fire to a great extent made all of human civilization possible. Fire made it possible to cook food and to provide sanitary ways of eating, which reduced the spread of disease in its time. Fire made it possible to heat warm environments and thereby made human migration around the world a possibility, even into colder climates. Fire made it possible, there was no Bronze Age without fire, no Iron Age without fire, no Industrial Revolution without fire. The advance of science and technology are greatly dependent on the ability to take fire and use it for human good.

Anybody get here in a car today? An automobile? Nod your head if you did -- I know there were some carriages. But those of us who came in cars, fire, the controlled, harnessed fire made that possible. I know that the Bible says, and I believe it, that Jesus walked on water. But I have to tell you that I didn't walk across the Atlantic Ocean to get here. Controlled fire in that plane got me here. Fire makes it possible for us to text and tweet and email and Instagram and Facebook and socially be dysfunctional with each other. Fire makes all of that possible.

And de Chardin said fire was one of the greatest discoveries in all of human history. And he then went on to say that if humanity ever harness the energy of fire again, if humanity ever captures the energy of love, it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.

Dr. King was right. We must discover love the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world. My brother, my sister, God love you. God bless you. And may God hold us all in those almighty hands of love.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

The Wounded Earth

Although this was intended as a tribute to Jan Hadley, whose funeral was this week, the poem went its own way, and became a funeral poem about the wounded earth. And yet it is still a tribute to Jan, who so loved the wildlife, the bluebell woods, and the beauty of nature, that we need to protect.

The Wounded Earth

O Demeter now so wounded
We pollute and weight you down
Now sadly so surrounded
With plastic waste a crown
Where once was farming glory
Now chemicals malign
Yet, though despised and gory
Her beauty does still shine

Our good earth, beaten, suffered
Was all for profit’s gain
In nitrates, the transgression,
The soil in deadly pain
Our food has lost its flavour
How did we reach this place
Let’s heal the land we favour
Restore to state of grace

So for our greed we borrow
Take from the land, our friend
Weep for this dying sorrow,
For lifeless it may end
It may not go on forever
Sustaining you and me
Please let us never, never,
Neglect our land or sea

Demeter once more dying
She calls for you and me
To break the chains, untying,
Unbinding set her free
With new hope now receiving
Peace coming like a dove
Keep faith, don’t stop believing
And heal the land we love 

Friday, 18 May 2018

The German Underground Hospital - Part 3

In 1971, shortly after decimal currency was introduced, Mr R. Ellington produced this small booklet, price 13p, which was about 2 shillings and 6 pence in old money, or half-a-crown, about the German Underground Hospital.

The research into that has increased, and the site now, under the title "Jersey War Tunnels" provides vastly more history of the Occupation as well as the history of the tunnels themselves. It has far more audio-visual means of telling its story, but back in 1971, this was what visitors to Jersey would have had. It's a very personal booklet, as Mr Ellington not only tells as much as he knows about the hospital from records, but also includes eyewitnesses who he spoke to at the time. It is in that respect, a time-capsule of social history.

The German Underground Hospital - Part 3
by R.M. Ellington


The work began at the Meadowbank entrance by drilling a series of holes (see Diagram below) with pneumatic drills. Drill bits of length varying from 1 ' to 9' were used. These drill bits frequently became blunt and had to be replaced or resharpened.

The power came from compressors situated at both entrances, which never ceased to operate twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and spares were permanently undergoing service in the workshops. When one compressor broke down, it would be immediately replaced by one of the ones which had just undergone overhaul. When the drilling of the holes was completed, the three in the centre would have a charge of dynamite inserted and this would be set off. Then the other eight 3m. deep holes would have their charges inserted, pushed right into the full depth of the hole and exploded. This then gave the rough outline of the tunnel.

Position of Holes for blasting.

The Germans themselves usually took charge of the actual blasting. Both the electrical and fuse systems were employed for detonation, but many failures occurred, as the components came, in the main, from factories in France where many of them were created deliberate duds as part of the French workers sabotage programme.

After the basic outline of the tunnel had been shaped in this fashion, the rest of the work was done mainly by hand. Long pointed steel bars were used to knock down the loose rubble from the roof of the tunnel and picks and shovels as well as some pneumatic hammers were used at the lower levels.

The tunnel floor would then be levelled and concreted with the rails inserted so that the trolleys could be brought right up to the blasting face to remove the rubble. Then the trolleys would be pushed by hand to the entrance where, when enough had accumulated to form a train, they would be coupled to a small diesel engine and driven down to Cap Verd. This is the way the main tunnel was constructed and the same system basically was used for all the galleries leading off this, i.e., wards, wash-rooms, operating theatres, kitchens, administration offices, Commandant's office, Doctors' quarters, etc., etc.

The work progressed twenty-four hours per day, a day shift from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m and a night shift from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The usual  system for the night shift was to drill the holes and explode the charges.

Because of the fumes, further work would then be impossible on the tunnel for some three or four hours with the compressors working non-stop to clear the air. Usually the blasting took place about 2 a.m. and then the night shift had little more to do until the end of their shift.

When the day shift arrived, the air in the tunnels would usually be cleared and the work of removing the rubble from the previous night's blasting would take up the whole of that shift. Thus progress per tunnel face was only approximately 9' per every twenty-four hours. Many of the slave workers were in such bad physical condition, that often two men would operate one shovel. The trick was to tie a piece of rope around the handle near the head of the shovel.

One man would then push the shovel into the rubble pile and the other would haul on the rope to help lift the rubble into the trolley. Mud-stone is a formation of variable quality, some of it being hard as granite, other parts being almost as soft as mud. This, combined with the comparative inexperience of the labour force and the continual deterioration in their physical condition inevitably led to a number of accidents and collapses. I will refer back to this in more detail at a later stage.

Before the well was sunk inside the underground hospital, water was collected in a sump drawn from the brook almost immediately in front of the entrance. This water supply was channelled into the tunnel by a pipeline running inside a shallow gully, which is still in existence today, covered over by wooden boards to facilitate servicing.

This same gully can also be seen in other tunnels. Its other function was to collect the surface water that rises almost everywhere throughout the construction, and channel it away into Cap Verd.

As the gully is very much more commodious than would be required by either of the above purposes, it seems likely that the Germans intended to put it to additional uses for unknown purposes, although a number of possibilities spring readily to mind.

In all, during the thirty odd months that the Germans worked at the Underground Hospital, well over a quarter of a million cubit feet of  rock, estimated at between 14,000 and 15,000 tons, were removed  from the hill-side and dumped at Cap Verd.

 It would appear from all reports that some 12 to 15 slave workers together with 2 to 3 Germans would be working together on each tunnel face. Concreting of the floors and laying the rails were then the main priority, but this was often carried out in such haste that the rail line was not as straight and level as might have been desired and the trolleys frequently fell off the rails and had to be re-loaded.

A rough calculation will show that at the height of the tunnelling activities, some 150 to 200 people in total must have been at work on each shift taking into account the number of tunnels being worked on simultaneously.

Feeding arrangements were fairly simple. A field kitchen drawn by two horses would haul a vast cauldron of soup up to the site: a soup consisting mainly of cereals, i.e., peas, lentils, barley, but with very little meat content, which they only got providing their work was satis- factory. This, plus a loaf per week, was virtually the staple diet of the slave workers. From all reports, it would appear that the German Todt Organisation workers were little better off, especially in the latter stages of the war when they even resorted to collecting stinging nettles for making soup for themselves.

Obviously, under these arduous conditions, the wastage rate of slave workers was rather high, but as the Germans kept the details of this very much to themselves, no numerical evaluation is possible.
But as the stream of replacement slave workers was virtually endless, this never tended to retard progress.

As has been stated earlier, the only Germans inside the tunnel were OT men and if-ally incident of misbehaviour or crime occurred among the slave workers, then the Military Police were called in to deal with it, even such trivial affairs as one slave worker stealing from another.

One of my informants was a man called Con Donoghue. After fiddling the occupation forces at every opportunity, he was seriously suspected, but nothing was ever proved against him. It was said that whilst driving a lorry on the airport construction, the said lorry was producing approximately 4 miles per gallon. By his own reckoning, he was thus able to "appropriate" anything from 4 to 6 gallons of petrol in a good working day. 1-le might well have been sent-to Germany to a ' concentration camp and, in fact, it seems that at one stage, his name was on the list for the next shipment (a member of the local police actually saw his name on the list). But partially due to the lack of concrete evidence against him and also because after the landings in Italy, the sea traffic between the Channel Islands and the French main- land was reduced to a minimum, he was reprieved.

As he spoke German and French, as well as English, he became driver and interpreter for Major Teischamann. (See advert 2 in appendix) It was from him that I obtained the details of the way the blasting was carried out.

Some clarification of the general situation would appear appropriate at this point. The Germans' general attitude was decidedly "vel- vet glove over iron fist". This applied to their relations all over the Island.

Several OT Officers set themselves up as genuine building contractors here in Jersey and advertised for local labour. They offered wages higher than the local jobs could pay, plus the inducements of extra rations which were worth even more than the extra money. The States of Jersey Labour Department, for instance, by order of the occupation Commandant, were allowed to offer a single man no more than £2.10s. 0d. to £2. 15s. 0d. per week, but the German contractors were offering 75d per hour for skilled labour, which for a 52 hour week would work out at nearly £3. 14s. 0d., not taking into consderation the extra rations. (see Advert 1 in Appendix).

This, of course, refers only to voluntary labour, but as it turned out, those of the local population who were compelled to work for the Germans compulsorily also got the benefit of the higher rates and extra rations. -

Although the German Todt Organisation members worked side by side with both slave workers and contract labour in the Underground Hospital, there was never any question about who was the boss. The Germans themselves worked very hard, but expected the same of the others. If the rate of work or the behaviour was not up to scratch, the Germans would hit out at the slave workers with shovel handle, boot or any other object which happened to be handy. As with all categories of people, the Germans differed very much in their approach from man to man. Some were harsh and brutal, some reasonable and humane.

According to Con Donoghue, not all slave workers were left in the rubble of the collapsed tunnels as is generally supposed. I now quote direct from his commentary.
"I do not deny that the Germans were our enemies at all times, but I do not feel that people should be condemned for something they did not do. I arrived on the site one morning when part of one of the tunnels had fallen in and three men had been killed. They dug into the rubble as fast as possible to get the bodies out, wrapped them in canvas and took them away by lorry to be buried. The same thing happened again in a later fall when 22 workers were killed and according to the lorry driver, they too were taken out in the same manner and buried in a corner of St. Saviour's Churchyard. Teischmann was a very humane man. He had a stream of tears down his face, even as though they were his own children".