Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Jersey Budget Protest - Royal Square 15 December 2015

REFORM JERSEY organised a public demonstration in the Royal Square outside the States' Building to greet the government members as they arrived to discuss the Budget on 15 December.

The video that follows in three parts shows just some of the footage and amply shows the anger of the public towards this government which is applying an austerity policy and making widespread "cuts" to reduce costs.

Those on the lowest incomes are inevitably the most affected and pensioners are being especially targeted but the removal or curtailment of services as well as axing of jobs are all part of the package too.

With the approach of Christmas and the Royal Square being decorated accordingly the timing of this austerity Budget seems especially poignant the more so since this is the very historic heart of Jersey. Here the Government and administration buildings sit alongside the main church of the Island and are intermixed with Christian and Crown beliefs as integral parts of the political processes.

Thus the videos pick-up on signs and symbolism in and around the square which inevitably guide so much that goes on within the political forum and affect everybody in the Island.

Although some will claim that politics and "religion" are separate matters and it is s private matter whether an elected representative is a Christian or otherwise, the fact is that Christian prayers are said at the commencement of every States Assembly and oaths are routinely sworn by the Members of the States in the name of the "Sovereign" and of a Christian God.

A few Members choose to opt out of that process so far as they are able but when questions of morality, charity, generosity, care of the aged and such like arise it is necessary to understand something of the philosophical basis upon which decisions of government are made.

I suggest here that the Christian imposition amounts to hypocrisy - "humbug" - but I am not a Christian so have no difficulty in divorcing its involvement from my chosen political activities and I do not believe that it is appropriate for the States Assembly to operate as a "pseudo church" either.

Part One video above

Part Two video above

Part Three video above

Friday, November 13, 2015

Andy Sibcy (JEP) Part 1 Jersey Farming Conference - 12 November 2015

The JEP has been backing the "Keep Jersey Farming" campaign.
Here Andy Sibcy (Editor) explains why.

This presentation is about 11 minutes long and is posted in two parts.

A DVD showing all the speakers at the Conference will be produced in due course and will be available to anybody interested at cost.

Andy Sibcy Part 1 below;

Andy Sibcy Part 2;

Jersey Farming Conference 12 November 2015 - presentation of John Vautier

There were about a dozen speakers at the Jersey farming Conference at the RJA&HS building in Trinity on 12 November 2015.

I plan to produce a DVD of all these and copies will be available to anybody interested at cost.

Meanwhile I shall be posting a few selected talks that seem  most interesting to me for various reasons.

Here is the 18 minutes talk of John Vautier "Agricultural Consultant" in 3 parts.

This appeals to me as an attempt to analyse the political context and history of "farming" in Jersey and  he challenges some widely held and expressed views.

Part One below;

Part Two;

Part Three;

The cosy lighting at the conference was not good for video recording but the sound was good enough.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Jilly Spruyt and Mongolian up-date Jersey October 2015

We met up with and interviewed Jilly Spruyt several years ago about her NGO activities in Mongolia.
Her work continues so we have recorded this up-date in Jersey.

Jersey's Overseas Aid Department is not currently funding her school building  and related projects but she continues to work with others such as a French group (described in the video that follows) and the Catholic Church etc but she always needs more money.

Now she is developing her Tours business to raise funds and many Channel Islanders have already visited this remote country with her.

See for more information or Mongolian Outreach Mission on Facebook to discover more and to make contact.

M.A.D. Mongolia Newswire is also an interesting site to look at - and if you want to invest in Mongolia you should look here first.

An interview  in two parts with Jilly follows - watch both.

Part One above

Part Two above....

Business Connect "Migrants Debate" St Helier Jersey 7 October 2015 speakers CM Sen Gorst and Mark Baker

Chief Minister Senator Ian Gorst above (video about 5 minutes)

Mark Baker above (video about 5 minutes)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

JAB 15 Arthur Grayson talk 16 September 2015 organised by the Association of Jersey Architects

This posting appears in 8 parts and was recorded at the CCA Gallery, St Helier.

Part One

Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight (Final)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

JAB15 - 14-18 September part talk by Mike King CEO of EDD on "The Shard, Development, Jersey and 250 million years of history"

Mike King is the CEO of the States of Jersey Economic Department.
This is the second half of his talk given at the Radisson Blu, Jersey on Tuesday 15 September 2015 as part of the Jersey Architecture Biennale.

First Part above

Second Part above which includes and answer to a question about the desirability or otherwise of trading with Qatar and other Middle East countries at this time.

More information about JAB15 can be found on the Association of Jersey Architects Facebook site or  Mike Dun Facebook site or Tom Gruchy YouTube.

JAB15 14-18 September Peter Le Gresley Talk "50 Years of Planning in Jersey"

 JAB15 - Jersey Architecture Biennale - has featured a week of  events and talks.
Several have been recorded and are posted on this blog or related sites on Facebook etc.

More details can be found on the Association of Jersey Architects site.

Peter Le Gresley, a Jersey planner, speaks below on "50 Years of Planning in Jersey".
This is posted in several parts and includes a few from about 10 questions and answers that arose at the end of his talk.

Part One above

Part Two above

Part Three above

Part Four includes selected Q and A

Date Tuesday 15 2015 venue Radisson Blu, Jersey

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Social housing and other "social" decisions in the Jersey Planning system...

The Planning Panel was in a generous mood towards developers today.

Senator Ozouf and his family’s “Highstead” farm development in Green Zone St Saviour was approved without dissent but none of the 19 new homes plus the restored 18th century, listed farmhouse – will be put on the “Gateway” list for social housing.

This is up-market housing and different standards apply in such rural areas of Jersey.

The developers will though contribute towards a pathway connection to Rue des Pres and road improvements including improved road sight lines…


Earlier in the day Andium Homes had revealed that there are currently 1,092 families waiting for social housing accommodation on that list alone and that is one of the reasons why they are to be allowed to cram another 100% of units (145 flats) on the redeveloped Le Squez Phase IV site.

This is within the built up zone of course in St Clement where almost anything goes.

Desperate needs must etc…


The Planning Officer explained that this was a high density proposal because that is what the previous Minister and the Island Plan required although it was admitted that there would be some “impact” on existing neighbours’ properties…but everybody (apart from a protesting neighbour) agreed that the Architects had achieved “an Excellent standard of design” and it was in line with UK standards so far as space between blocks are concerned – better even that Hammersmith or Fulham!

Nevertheless, some window would have to be fitted with permanent louvres to prevent the occupiers from looking out and spoiling the privacy of their neighbours or overlooking the communal amenity areas.


No such restrictions were mentioned by the Architect regarding “Highstead.”

Presumably different design standards were applied there where a similar – but very low-rise – courtyard plan was proposed.


Strangely, “excellent design” is a fickle creature because Andium is currently proposing to demolish and redevelop the Green Street low rise blocks (whilst retaining a sole high-rise block there) which were also considered to be of a high standard of design and are still listed.

Yet again, because the Island Plan requires it, these 50 years old flats in the “built-up zone” are be redeveloped with a 300% increase in numbers of homes. Now they are of course considered as no longer fit for habitation and the tenants are to be “decanted” elsewhere …but not with the same care afforded to vintage wines. The listing of such buildings counts for little in St Helier.


Green Street low-rise is now degenerating into what used to be categorized as “slums” in the past and were presumably built to house people “decanted” from even earlier “sub-standard accommodation” in the town. Shall this cycle never be stopped?


And how odd it is that Architects and Planners created both the Le Squez and Green Street developments just 50 or so years ago and both are now only fit for demolition, just like so much other post-war “social housing “ in Jersey. On the other hand, the 300 year old “Highstead” farmhouse is still going strong, was not designed by an Architect nor created in line with an “Island Plan” and the new houses on this site are to be in a similar 18th century style, using granite etc.


What does this really say about the achievement of architects and planners since the war in Jersey?

In September there is a week of self-praise and award giving among the professionals but have they anything to be proud of when it comes to providing “social housing” in Jersey?

Now we are cramming accommodation in wherever a “built – up zone” space allows.

Although “Parker Morris” minimum space standards were introduced in the 1950’s during more enlightened times these have never been fully achieved and the ludicrously high densities now being permitted are just a formula for future problems.

How can professionally trained designers allow this to happen? Whose interests do they serve?


It is not just about housing accommodation either because so much commercial, office and hotel accommodation built in the recent past is not longer “fit for purpose” and the call is for new “A Class” facilities.

Yet the same call is to convert much of these redundant “sub-standard” buildings into housing accommodation, which must inevitably fail to achieve the highest quality.


Another development that achieved the nod of the Planning Panel today was that for a two part plan to move metal recycling and organic waste disposal to La Collette. It was inevitably approved because “the Island Plan” required it but this was a really blatant example of the divided Island, Ghetto creating, NIMBY attitude towards “social” or “public” provision of services and facilities.


As Bob Le Brocq pointed out (protesting in a personal capacity), Constable Gallichan of St Mary (who chaired the session), had previously rejected the organic facility in her Parish.

Bob thought that the facilities should be shared among 3 centres but the decision was to approve La Collette in spite of the nearly 600 vehicles per day (7 days a week) that will deliver there travelling via Commercial Building or Havre De Pas.


Whether that was 600 in and 600 out again was not made clear but it would have made no difference.

Nobody wanted the facility in their patch of Jersey so dump it in St Helier was the foregone conclusion.

Only one objection had been made against it – by the St Helier Roads Committee and the two St Helier Deputies on the Panel (Labey and Wickenden) recused  (absented)  the themselves for the discussion, as is the policy.


Who can resist such a flawed process?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Evelyn's progress report - May 2015

From time to time we catch up with Evelyn who is ill, not fit for work and trapped into the Jersey Social Security, Health and  Social Housing systems.

We try to present her situation accurately as she experiences it and several previous interviews can be found on this blog.

Because Evelyn experiences a great deal of pain she  smokes cannabis when it is available . This is the best treatment she has discovered because it relieves her symptoms and gives her an appetite but of course it is illegal.

The official policy is that she must take prescribed  morphine and other opiates but these actually add to her physical problems and do not give her the relief she needs.

Evelyn has petitioned the States of Jersey seeking permission to have cannabis prescribed by her doctors for her own personal use but this was rejected.

Sometimes she is visited by the Police and has been arrested/charged for possession of cannabis etc. on occasions.
Even her aged parents have had their car taken apart by the Customs at St Helier when returning from France - presumably looking for cannabis.

We try not to judge the situation by Evelyn clearly has enough problems to deal with arising from her poor heath  and she does receive official help BUT it just appears to be so inadequate and uncaring at times.

We offer the following interview in 3 parts of about 6 or 7 minutes each;

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Maurice Kirk "The Flying Vet" and God landed in Jersey 31 March 2015....

We last interviewed Maurice Kirk here in January 2013 and in Brittany during June 2012.
This machine won't let me link to them but they are there in the archive for anybody who wants to look back on Tom Gruchy YouTube....

Now Maurice is fresh from 16 months in the prisons of England and Wales and will be continuing with his campaigns and exploits....

Two interviews follow below;

The next is in two parts;

Part one

Part two

Maurice's own blogging can be found on his Kirk Flying Vet....

....and here follows a short interview with Maurice after a shave and haircut....

Monday, March 16, 2015

Madalina looking at the wider world from Jersey....some views from a new British migrant...

We are promised a Jersey Population debate soon that will examine issues of Immigration and Emigration.
Similar issues are likely to dominate the May UK  General Election and the result there will have implications for Jersey.

Below is a two-part interview with Madalina who arrived in Jersey 7 years ago as a Romanian but departs this week as a Jersey/ British citizen.

Madalina raises issues that need to be discussed in the Jersey Population debates - but who might raise them? Who speaks for Madalina and ALL the others who are most affected by Jersey's "Population" controls....

Part One video;

Part Two;

Thanks and keep in touch Madalina

Friday, March 13, 2015

Jersey in Transition (JIT) public meeting 12 March 2015

Following the announced closures of the CIs Coop Food Warehouses and Amal-Grow the Jersey in Transition group organised a public meeting at the "Townhouse" pub in St Helier.
It was a "full-house"

The video below in four parts is a recording of most of the main meeting.
Sebastian the musician has been deleted for technical reasons with the acoustics but nothing has been edited except to shorten the introduction or because of some later recording limitations.

Jersey in Transition is on Facebook;

or at:


Part one

Part two

Part three

Part four

The Environment Minister will appear before two Scrutiny Panels next week on Friday 20 March at 10 am regarding Environmental Policies and again at 2 pm regarding the International Finance Centre. Both hearings are open to the public and take place in the Royal Courts/States Building.
Anybody can attend but must remain silent....

Friday, February 13, 2015

Derek Mason President of Association of Jersey Architects interview February 2015

Derek Mason gave a talk at the Societe Jersiaise Library on 12 February 2015 on the 14th Venice Biennale of 2014.
That talk has been recorded and copied to the AJA archive.

We interviewed Derek after the talk and  that video recording follows below in 2 parts;

Part 1;

Part 2 ;

Derek has a busy programme of  Architecture events planned  for 2015 - consult the Association of Jersey Architects web site for details

Alan Collins : English lawyer in Jersey 12 February 2015 (INTRODUCTION)

We have been interviewing Alan Collins for several years in connection with his role as a lawyer representing survivors of abuse as children in Jersey. This is our latest update.

His role is unusual because Jersey has its own legal system and local lawyers. So he is an "outsider" but brings a vast knowledge gained world-wide in this difficult area of law.

This interview takes place against the background of the continuing Independent Jersey Care Inquiry for which future funding is now in some doubt.

Originally costed at £6 millions the suggestion now is that £20 millions might be necessary. Will the Inquiry budget be capped - who will decide?

Even if the Inquiry is fully funded and arrives at some form of conclusions - then what? Is there any evidence that such Inquiries achieve anything and how might young people be better protected.

Alan Collins is now a Partner with English lawyers Hugh James and based in London:

The editing of the video interview that follows was assisted by

Previous interviews with Alan Collins can be found on this Tom Gruchy blogsite.

An introduction to the full interview follows. The original is considered too long so it is being further edited. It will re-appear soon with additional discussion of some of the main points....this clip is about 8 minutes long:

Monday, February 2, 2015

Where are the Mumbles....?

They are back - the silly season is here again - but mirror, mirror on the wall - who is the silliest of them all?

Of course I mean that Scrutiny returned to the Jersey political scene today.after a lay-off for months and months.

Two Panels were convened today but they seemed to share the same single dominating thought -  the Jersey population is aging and we don't know how to support it....

The Mumbles were there too in abundance....
Deputy Renouf  Chair of H & SS Scrutiny Panel the newly elected softly spoken lawyer from St Ouen started the ball rolling (it was a very soft ball) and politely suggested that it might be useful for everybody to introduce themselves.

So the 13 ( 5 being females) sat around the top  table did just that...Senator Green the New Minister for Health had 6 supporters to help him (just as Deputy Pryke usually did in her day) who all had mumble as a first or second name and there were several more on Renouf's Panel too although I recognised Deputy Southern...all in all there were 20 people in the room according to my head count (including 7 in the public seats and Deputy Renouf gently pointed out that some of these were from the accredited press but since none were allowed to say anything I was not able to determine how many were just blogging plebs like me)....

So, there we we were, 1/5,000th of the  entire Jersey population and that was about the maximum that could be safely accommodated in Le Capelain Room to hear what the future held for us regarding "our Health"....

As is usual with first meetings with a New Minister being "scrutinized" by a quartet of "New" scrutineers we did not learn anything startling or even  very fresh.
It seems that this Ministry is now undertaking precisely the same never-ending investigations that Deputy Pryke's team were for the previous 3 years and even if they had anything to report Senator Green and his expensive team were not going to tell the Panel because it all has to be submitted to and agreed by the States Assembly first...except that reading between the lines and with one hand over my eye the prospects of building a new hospital seemed to be remote in the near or distant future...

So it was just a "getting to know you" sort of meeting and really just the usual total waste of everybody's time....but they are still looking to make savings of 5% on Health expenditure just like the previous Ministry in compliance with the ancient Ozouf legacy of "austerity" and  "User Pays" through "Privatisation" etc ....

....although in this context the pursuit is described as "efficiency" and a "better service for the public"
but if you really want to know how 13 people managed to talk for 90 minutes without saying anything useful there is always the official transcript to listen to....

....and across the corridor in the Blampied Room it was followed immediately by another "getting  to know you" Scrutiny session with the Corporate Services Panel "led" by the super-soft Deputy Le Fondre and his Panel of 4 (plus 2 assumed Scrutiny staff) but since mumbling was the order of the day here too I am not sure who they were and CM Senator Gorst led his team of 6 (including 1 female) that included Senator Routier and other mumbling supporters...
...the official discussion was about Phase One of  MTFP whatever that might be - but soon centred on the failing tax take and the "risk of a structural deficit" caused by - wait for it - the ever increasing Health budget due to the aging population....

So they waffled along for about 45 minutes of jolly friendly banter until it was decided that the public ( 3 in number) must leave....did they really get down to some serious investigation and scrutiny then I wondered...I also wondered why the two meetings were not joined together and reduced to a single session of I hour so that those involved might get down to some seriously useful work elsewhere....

Perhaps all will be revealed later in 2015 or 6  or....