Friday, December 20, 2013

CHOW Xmas, politics, religion and drink - the essential mix for a reforming cocktail?

CHOW - Church House on a Wednesday - the spin-off discussion group from "Business Connect" hosted its final gathering of 2013 in a pub. It was very humorous and entertaining. Jokes were told, Food eaten and beer drunk. Hymns were sung.

What a pity that overtly political meetings cannot be similarly organised in Jersey - politics is fun.......

On the other hand the Xmas message so far as the Christian Church is concerned seems to this observer to become ever more confusing.
The antics of the Church Establishment and the raising of the independence flag over the Dean's activities become ever more bizarre by the day....

So here are a few words from Simon - a prominent supporter and organiser within the CHOW group - expressing his interpretation of the events of 2013.

He embraces the "political" side of the Church but whether this includes the intervention by the likes of  Senator Bailhache in the current "scandal" is not clear here. Perhaps a more sustained and targetted interview should be offered? Any volunteers from the Jersey Church to explain more fully what has been going on and what is proposed for the future?

And do any Jersey politicians have a word to express here on the role of the Church in Jersey and whether the Established C of E brand uniquely deserves funding from public revenues?

Volunteers should just make contact via the comment box....

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Do you want Jersey Royal potatoes with your Xmas lunch? Hear what William Church has to say on the matter...

This interview with William Church of the Jersey Royal Company is a follow on from that posted here on 23 March this year.

Then the ground was waterlogged and today the fog was thick and as William Church explains this season was "not pretty" - farmers speak for miserable we suspect - as was last year's.

As before by the time you have watched this video your Jersey Royals will be boiled and ready to eat (about 21 minutes)...if you have any.

William does not want any political intervention and suggests that the growers will battle with the weather and the market to put the spuds into your cooking pot - but we are not so optimistic.

There did not seem to be much political clout at the recent farming conference (which William did not consider worth attending) so who will fight the corner of the industry is anybody's guess.

Sentiments that protect agriculture simply because the industry keeps the countryside looking green are wearing a bit thin - especially since the Green Zone is no longer sacred.

My views that the island population needs many thousands of new dwellings are not supported by those who are already housed thank you very much - but the reality for the 700 families on Deputy Green's urgent need for "social housing" list, or the unknown thousands seeking "affordable" accommodation in the private sector - not to mention the ever lasting 10,000 without housing quals.....

but its Xmas so let's not worry about all that....pass the mint sauce and tuck in...


for the company view on things or look at Jersey Royal Company on Youtube....

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sam Lally's seasonal interview update December 2013

Here (above) is the latest interview with Sam Lally.
This is the fourth such interview published here or on other blogs and we promised from the outset to follow his progress....

The godd news from Guernsey is that the States there has voted to accept the Disability Strategy for that Island (on 27 November).
This followed intense lobbying from the Guernsey Disability Alliance and the "We all matter,eh?" campaign which posted many short interviews with many people with "disabilities".

Sam is a pioneeer in Jersey because he willingly participates on this blog - but of course it should not be necessary. Our States Members will ignore this latest interview just as they have ignored the previous ones and just as they ignored Evelyn's posting here a couple of weeks ago...

Of course its not just States Memebers who are lacking - there are thousands of people in Jersey who have first hand experiemce of disability issues but still do very little to change things - as they are doing in Guernsey - by lobbying and campaigning.

Today the focus will be on the "Soup Kitchen" in the Royal Square and a large number of our elected reps will be warmed by their hot soups in exotic flavours - but the fact is that homelessness is a growing problem in Jersey and more and more people are calling upon the various shelters and charitable groups for help.

In a previous year we linked the demise of "Roseneath" which failed just before Xmas and the somewhat hypocritical purposes of the annual soup kitchen.
Well here we are again. Roseneath is about to re-open so we are told but at Scrutiny last week it was revealed that sixteen "homeless" youngsters appeared from nowhere when two others were found accommodation through a spin-off from the Health service. They will be too young for Roseneath and the whole question of mixing young people with adults was raised - but without any prospect of a solution.

Soup is not the solution . It might help to raise awareness for some but our States Members dragged out from discussing the Budget need to look at the fundamental social problems that Social Security and Health Departments are failing to address. The "get tough" Social Security Minister has lost his way on so many basic problems that affect people in the real world.

Sam Lally's progress is a useful monitor of that process but he seems remarkably reluctant to criticise......

Above are two of the previous Sam Lally interviews. Spot the differences...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dave Manning Jersey's own rebel with a cause wins again! Dave 5 Planning Dept 0

Above is our video interview with Dave Manning and Deputy John Young who helped him present his recent Complaints Board Appeal regarding Enforcement Notices served by the Planning Department...the video runs for about 18.5 minutes.

In a previous posting on 24 October we described the actual hearing at St John's Parish Hall and on Field 1007 - the scene of the "crime" that never was.

Now the Decision of the Complaints Board is published and its findings are in the public domain. The Planning Minister must decide what he intends to do about it - or more likely the staff that he and previous Ministers have trusted to administer the laws correctly and - according to these findings - failed so miserably to do.

It is doubtful if any heads will roll or Ogley bonuses collected as a result of this - but we are aware of many other decisions that have or are about to be made that ought to render some expensive jobs vacant in the near future.

Once again Deputy Duhamel appears as the fall guy. We don't think he is actually blameworthy for such administrative failures but do expecet him to deal with those who are...

On page 12 of the Report this finding from the Board appears ;

"If the department's normal practice on enforcement decisions since 2007 has in fact been as happened in this particular case, then the Board considers that all decisions taken in that way will have been impropery made."

This could be expensive for the taxpaying public when it comes to repairing the..

Happy Xmas

Saturday, November 23, 2013

David Dale and the End of the Pier Show Jersey Summer 2013

The "Magic of Christmas Show" is now being advertised by David Dale and his supporting cast. This is our interpretation of the summer show this year and we thank all involved for allowing us access to the little cabaret at the end of the Havre des Pas Pier.

Oscar Romp was briefly "artist in residence" and his portfolio of works can be found on the internet.

The editorial task here was undertaken by Annette Lowe as the credits modestly reveal....
ars longa vita brevis....

tickets can be booked  through

What more to say - the longer version of the whole interview with David is already posted on this blog.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Evelyn fighting for her life and against the Jersey bureaucracy...

Part One above about 14 minutes....

Part Two above also about 14 minutes...

Evelyn speaks frankly and graphically in this two part interview. There is no need for a text here but we plan to write something later after our States Members and others have had the chance to respond and comment...and perhaps even offer to give some support.

Its now January 2014 and Evelyn has been back to the Oxford Hospital and is now in the Jersey Hospital undergoing more tests and will go into theatre tomorrow (monday 13th)....Above Part One and below Part Two with some sub-standard edits but the message is clear enough.....

Monday, October 28, 2013

Guy Fawkes or Sir Walter Raleigh - who was the greatest traitor?

Remember, remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot....
but we seem to have forgotten what lies behind this annual celebration.
And we - especially in Jersey - have not considered the similar role of Sir Walter Raleigh, Governor of the Island from 1600 until mid 1603.
By the time that Guy Fawkes was arrested on 5 November 1605 about to blow up Parliament, Sir Walter had already been sentenced to death for his part in the earlier stages of virtually the same plot. and been imprisoned for two years in the Tower of London.

In the following interviews, Guy Fawkes, the Roman Catholic mercenary soldier from Yorkshire explains some of the background to his campaign against his Protestant adversaries and the path that led to his death on the scaffold following dreadful torture.
He also explores some of the modern equivalents and the role of "Royalty" in our life today.

Video Part One that follows is about 6.5 minutes long;

Part Two below is about 10 minutes and starts with Guy Fawkes introducing Sir Walter Raleigh and examines his contradictory role as hero - whereas Sir Walter was in fact just as blameworthy (if anybody is blameworthy for trying to overthrow a tyranny) and should be burned in effigy too.

Sir Walter married "Bess" Throckmorton in secret from Queen Elizabeth's court and was virtually exiled from London society as a result. But the Throckmortons had a very strong Catholic hatred of the Royal House and Francis Throckmorton was executed in 1583 following his own scheming with Mary Queen of Scots.
Yet other Throckmortons were related to prominent organisers of the Guy Fawkes plot such as Catesby, Wintour and Tresham so Sir Walter Raleigh was already in the front line by marriage when he bacame the "bagman" in 1603 and promised to carry the 600,000 Spanish crowns through Jersey to finance the revolters in England. His commission was a substantial cash payment and a pension for life but he was arrrested before delivering.
Instead Sir Walter was tried and sentenced to death for treason but he hung on incarcarated in the Tower of London until 1616. Then he was released in order to carry just one more expedition - piracy by any other name - in search of more Spanish plunder. After that failure he returnd to London and was executed by beheading in accordance with his 1603 sentence.

So why do we now - especially in Jersey - "celebrate" the execution of Guy Fawkes today whereas our very own former "Royal" Governor, the wholly disgraced Sir Waltyer Raleigh, is considered to be an "hero"....?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

More complaints about Jersey's Complaints Board

Dave Manning's Complaints Board public hearing - taking part in a mini-bus!

Dave Manning, who has become famous over the past 40 years re Field 1007 at St John was appearing before a Complaints Board on 23 October at St John’s Parish Hall.

I was the only member of the public sitting in the public seats except for Mike Stein – a former senior Planning Officer – who was there with his “Interested Party” – a neighbour of Mr Manning at St John who presumably initiated the whole thing by complaining about his use of Field 1007…

In fact, it was not made clear who actually made the initial complaint and neither Mr Stein nor his “Interested Party” was allowed to speak – although they had submitted papers which were included “in the bundle” presented to the Board….

Mr Manning complained about these papers – was it legally correct he asked for a Third Party submission to be included in the file?
It was just the first of many interesting questions asked during the next few hours and Board Chair Christine Vibert did not know the answer. She offered the view “It is a bit hazy” but that the papers had been inserted by the Greffe.
Mr Manning countered that he was asking for them to be removed…

There were to be more questions later about Officers of the Planning Office communicating with their former colleague Mr Stein but the rules were never very clearly laid down and the haze became even deeper and widespread as the hearing proceeded…

Yours truly, in the interests of clarity, asked at the outset whether video recording was allowed. Absolutely no! Was the Chair’s response. And how about the site visit – could I record there? No.
But that is not what has happened in the past I protested and this is supposed to be a public hearing…No, No video recording said Chair Christine – “but I will allow you just one photograph”.
At this point Board member John Mills interjected “No, I won’t allow any photograph of me” and third member (lawyer) Geoffrey Crill also joined in but his words were not clear enough to penetrate the fog.
Mr Manning, on whose land the site visit would take place confirmed that he had no objection at all to the proceedings being video- recorded.
His supporter, people’s rep Deputy John Young – said nothing on the matter.

Although this was supposed to be a “hearing in public”, as already explained, the public were absent. There had of course been no advertising of the event in the Gazette and the JEP and other media did not apparently advise of it – even if they were aware of it taking place.
Quite how the general public is supposed to know in advance of such hearings has always been a source of discontent with this blogger and I have campaigned on the matter for years.
On this occasion I had been personally told by Mr Manning that the meeting would take place on this date etc but the Greffe’s liability to advise the public is at best, uncertain.
Since such hearings are complaints against the administration of States Departments it is curious that no better and wider publicity is given to them. There was not even a notice outside the St John’s Parish Hall advertising the hearing and of course, it is not helpful that these take place generally around the Parishes, so that location, time, date etc etc are changed at “whim.”

No “accredited press” attended either.
Presumably any media reports will be based upon the usual Press Release from the Greffe or some other States Communications Unit.
In other words, they will be based upon the “official government line” and of course, the subsequent decision of the Board.

At the hearing there was no sound system in use either for the ease of those present or to make a recorded transcript. In fact the sound levels in the small, first floor “Committee Room” were reasonably OK but no sign indicated a sound loop….Access by lift was available however.
A clerk from the Greffe kept written notes – but what happens to these overtime is not clear to this blogger.
In fact there is not even a complete register of previous Board decisions so it is impossible for a potential complainant to check them for precedents or similar circumstances….

So the Board, their team and Mr Manning then drove to the nearby Field 1007 to see the site in context.
Unfortunately, the rain poured down immediately we all arrived so that the initial discussions took place within the official mini-bus. Mr Stein and yours truly stood outside getting wet but able to hear nothing.
I took the photo – presumably my only permitted photo - as posted here, to indicate the public meeting in progress.
Eventually we too were allowed into the “public” van to hear the proceedings. Mr Stein was allowed to offer some clarification on dates.
But when the windows misted up so that the “site” outside could no longer be sited, the Board adjourned back to the Parish Hall.

It is necessary to explain, as did Deputy Young, that he was supporting Mr Manning because both his St John Constable (Rondel) and Deputy (Ryan) had declined. He had responded to Mr Manning’s request for assistance in spite of being an elected rep for St Brelade.
It was an interesting insight into the myths of Jersey’s system of elected representation and exposed the difficulties experienced by potential complainants seeking help…when did you last know of a Constable presenting such a case for a Parishioner…?

The Planning and Environment Department was represented solely by Planning Officer Townsend. There was no elected politician speaking for the government administration although in times past it was ruled that the relevant Minister (or President) must always be present at such hearings…

Dave Manning presented his case very competently. He is an experienced campaigner since 1970 regarding this Field but, of course, most people with a complaint and seeking a fair hearing would be intimidated by the whole process.

That less than a dozen hearings take place every year from a population of 100,000 indicates that the system of making complaints against the entire Jersey administration, is substantially defective.
It is of course a very pale imitation of the “Ombudsman” system that operates in other places against all aspects of government decision making and many other aspects of experienced bureaucracy.

In Gibraltar, with a population of less than 30,000, hundreds of hearings take place each year and thousands of complaints are made. Many through a system that actually seeks out the transgressions of the government and initiates action – even when no individual has come forward to complain.

Jersey’s system is hopeless and the few decisions made cannot be enforced.

In this particular instance the Board Chair explained that they will try to report back before Christine Vibert goes on holiday for a month from 1st November. If not, the parties must wait. Is this really indicative of an adequate system – one that relies upon volunteers finding some spare time to deal with the complaints of fellow citizens that might be suffering untold grief or worries…?

As this blogger has written previously, the Complaints Board system needs to be scrapped in its present form.
It may be that the Scrutiny Panel system needs extending to include “individual grievances” too but the current systems available to the general public are so hopelessly inadequate that there must be Human Rights implications raised.
Of course, with our famous Jersey own Brand lawyers charging £300 an hour just to speak to people with grievances or complaints the pursuit of justice is just a dream for so many.

Mr Manning is unique and I am offering no comments on his case here but I shall eat my tricorn if he fails to succeed in this instance.

I invited Deputy Young to be interviewed on these matters and more but he declined “until after this decision is known.”

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

St Clement Parish Green Zone meeting 15 October 2013

Video one - Deputy Duhamel confronts the St Clement Parishioners before the main contest;

Video two - runs about 19 minutes
Deputy Rob Duhamel (Minister for Planning & Environment) presents his case introduced by Constable Len Norman.
CO Skate says nothing here.
Questions from the floor may feature in a later video if anybody is interested in seeing them.

What was especially interesting to this Parishioner was that the £200,000 referred to by Deputy Duhamel as the fair price for "affordable" housing does not include the cost of land.
He was a bit vague about private deleopments of "affordable" units and how mortgages might be obtained for couples on his 2x £28,000 (joint £56,000) salaries might be obtained from commercial lenders.
However, he did explain that private developers who might obtain permission to build on rezoned former Green Zone land, would have tight restrictions imposed on their permits.
And, if they did not proceed with the development then States Compulsory Purchase powers would be used to take over the deevelopments in the puiblic interest.
He also referred to taxation of gains being introduced where land was re-zoned....

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Do we need a Green Zone? What use is the Jersey Island Plan?

Part One discussion above about 18 minutes

Part Two discussion above about 23 minutes

This two part video discussion relates to the written submission of September 2013 to the “Planning” office. That submission is posted on this blog on 21 September as “Heads in the Sands” and is a response to the planners’ invitation for comments on its proposed revisions to the 2011 Island Plan.
Among a wad of papers almost as thick as the Island Plan itself the planners outline some possible re-drafting of the Island Plan and in particular that some sites in the “Green Zone” should be re-zoned for housing purposes.

My view is that the whole Island Plan should be scrapped because successive Plans, produced at enormous cost, have proved to be virtually useless. The only sector the economy that has been prosperous during recent years is “finance” and that is the one that has received little or no attention under the “Plans”.

On the other hand, Tourism, light industry and agriculture have been largely ruined and the provision of Housing is a disaster.

What other community, with such “prosperity” could have 10,000 working adults – a fifth of the working population – who are not allowed even to rent or buy proper living accommodation, even if it were available! Such is the dreadful result of Island Plans produced over the past fifty years or so….

Even the Strategic Plan agreed by the States undertakes to house everybody in Jersey adequately and to eliminate discrimination….but the Planners evidently work to a totally different and unique agenda of their own!!!

At the very least I say that the Green Zone part of the Island Plan needs to be removed. The true housing and other needs of all the people – not just cows, potatoes and rich residents – needs to be totally re-assessed and other demands on land reconsidered.

The two part video discussion reveals that there is still an emotional clinging to the concept of the “Green Zone” by both politicians here (without much evidence) whilst the Architect is confidently willing to build.

The participants in the video are Deputy Rob Duhamel (Planning and Environment Minister), Deputy John Young (a former Chief Officer at the Planning Department) and Architect Derek Mason.

Some previous blogs here that relate to this are;
21 September 2013 “Heads in the Sand” Island Plan submission of Mike Dun
28 August 2013 Interview with Architect Derek Mason
9 July 2013 Minister Rob Duhamel interview
20 June 2013 Video documentary on Accessible v Pretty buildings in Jersey
9 March 2013 Deputy Green Housing Minister interview re “Non-qualified” residents
5 December 2012 Architect Paul Harding re Plemont
24 September 2012 The Battle for Plemont
23 March 2012 Minister Rob Duhamel “Planning for the Future”
6 January 2012 Architect Paul Harding on Care provision in Jersey
18 October 2011  some housing Election promises…


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Outsiders in Jersey 2013...discrimination as a way of life...?

This video interview with two Romanians living in Jersey runs for about 21 minutes.
Most "newcomers" settling in Jersey face similar problems of finding a job and somewhere to live but it is unusual that they cannot claim the full benefit of their Social Security and Income Tax contributions until they have worked for at least 5 consecutive years working at least 35 hours per week. So far as housing accommodation is concerned they will have few rights to rent or buy accommodation until they have been resident for at least 10 years. In this interview "Jimmy" and "Edward" complain that it is unfair that they pay into public funds but have only a limited chance to enjoy the result. What actually happens to our contributions they ask. Furthermore they suggest that perhaps some money should be given back to them if they leave the Island - as happens in other places. Or, some of their contributions might be transferred to the Romanian government to help provide for their welfare in future as a pension. They even suggest "repatriation" as a possible answer and they suggest other things too such as the appointment of a Consul in Jersey to help represent their interests here. After all, no States Mambers seem very keen to speak up for the 10,000 working adults from all nations that try to survive in Jersey doing so many of the jobs that others do not want or at wages that cannot provide an adequate standard of living. The £5 fee that some Jersey people are complaining about as a charge from their schools for providing evidence of residence under the new Registration seems like a trifling matter compared with some of the difficulties and obstacles now put in the way of "newcomers" in Jersey which are clearly intended to encouarge them to move on...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

JERSEY REFORM DAY 1769 - 2013 Yet another forgotten anniversary

Saturday 28 September

On 20 November 2012 the States voted to make “Reform Day” an officially recognised and celebrated day in the Jersey year.
It was to be in memory of the events of 28 September 1769 when Islanders overthrew the Royal Court etc – then in session – to demand substantial reform of the systems of justice, government and administration.

The Vote on Deputy T. Pitman’s Proposition P107/2012 last October being;
21 for, 18 against and 12 absent.

The 21 were;

Alan Breckon
Sarah Ferguson
Dan Murphy
Deidre Mezbourian
Michael Paddock
Stephen Pallet
Michael Le Troquer
Roy Le Herissier
Judith Martin
Geoff Southern
Carolyn Labey
Shona Pitman
Kevin Lewis
Montfort Tadier
Trevor Pitman
Tracey Vallois
Michael Higgins
Jeremy Macon
Susan Pinel
John Le Bailly
Richard Rondel

No events, official or otherwise, appear to have been organised this year – 2013 – the first opportunity to celebrate the events of 1769, in accordance with the States decision.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

"Heads in the Sand" - the traditional Jersey approach to Planning .

The Planning Minister - Deputy Duhamel - aka Minister for the Environment, has invited comments on proposals to relax some of the rules on "Green Zoned" land in Jersey and release it for housing devlopment.
Such comments from the public must be lodged by 25 September and are centred upon some specific areas that include "glass house" sites. The invitation however appears to allow for more general comments to be submitted and for other sites to be put forward.

Here I am copying my own submission which calls for the scrapping of the entire Island Plan.
This is not some spiteful and ill-considered comment. I have been submitting reasoned arguments to the "Planning Department" for years and lobbying States Memebers on these and all sorts of related matters.
My efforts have of course been a complete waste of my time and effort.
Undaunted however, I have prepared this latest document and sent it off to the Department and I shall be circulating it too to all States Members and anybody else who might be "interested".

Submission to the Environment Department on the re-zoning of land under the Jersey Island Plan for housing purposes                                      by Michael Dun                                     20 September 2013

Before and during the Island Plan Review – Examination in Public - I devoted weeks of my time preparing submissions and attending the meetings.
I addressed the Inspectors on several occasions.
The main – but not only – focus of my concern was with the abysmal inadequacy of the proposed “Housing” section of the Proposed Island Plan.
I pleaded with the Inspectors to recommend that the whole Plan should be aborted until such time as the “Housing” part might be reconsidered and rewritten. Or, at the very least, the Housing section should be extracted and reconsidered if the remainder of the Plan were to proceed.

The whole Plan had been prepared in advance of the Census taking place or the results analysed and it was visibly defective being based on out of date statistics.

Of course, my pleas were disregarded. Yet it is now absolutely clear that the Housing proposals in the Island Plan are, as I predicted, totally inadequate and they are being re-considered just two years later.

Last week I attended the latest Scrutiny Panel meeting where the current Housing Minister explained that his “waiting list” for known families had grown to over 700 families needing “social housing” and the delivery of potential building sites was not going to meet any known demand.
Many of these were people needing “accessible” housing due to their disabilities but no attempt has ever been made in Jersey to quantify the actual numbers who might require such accommodation. Yet the Health Minister is currently peddling a wholesale reform of services that includes a policy of the sick and aged “caring for themselves in their own homes”. It is of course meaningless PR speak without a supportive Island Plan based upon research.

In fact, the Housing Department (soon to be scrapped) has no overall knowledge about supply and demand for housing in Jersey because the largest sector – that of private housing provision – is not monitored in any way. There simply is no reliable information about the vast majority of Jersey residents who have not appeared on the “social waiting list” of the Housing Department.
Even that list is wholly defective because it precludes most married couples less than 50 years of age without children or single young people under 25 etc and of course the Department has no legal responsibility to house anybody at all, no matter how desperate might be their need.

That there is no supply of “affordable housing” in Jersey and how this is related to the absurd housing control laws or other discriminatory policies ought to be the subject of examination. Unfortunately, this Island government prefers to proceed on the basis of no knowledge.

So the whole history of housing provision is based upon totally inadequate and misleading information so far as those with “qualifications” are considered.
Yet even more extraordinary is that 10,000 working adults (about one fifth of the entire working population) are entirely excluded from the so called Social housing list or meaningful consideration under the Island Plan.
Although I pleaded with the Planning Inspectors that the Plan made no provision for the “unqualified” - and they included a limp note to acknowledge this in their final Report – the planners have (as always) ignored the needs of the 10,000 and the Housing Minister was not even asked about them at last week’s Scrutiny hearing referred to above.
Yet the Health and Housing Departments have published proposals that will supposedly give security of tenure to all tenants and lodgers (qualified or not) besides minimum standards of accommodation whilst the Island Plan includes no indication how such reforms might be achieved.

The 10,000 “without qualies” are like a tribe that does not exist – yet it is they who hold the economic key to providing the rents and mortgages that Jersey housing market needs to fund new housing developments. Of course, it is just another part of the discrimination scandal that their “rents” fill the pockets of the privileged rentiers and property owners who extract probably £30 millions or more each year from this sector (which includes a substantial – but unmeasured – contribution from “public taxes” in the form of “rent rebates” from the Social Security Income Support fund).

A previous Island Plan offered the extraordinary excuse that the Island’s building industry was too small so that any attempt to end the housing shortage for those “without qualies” must be put off for another day. But now that the building sector is screaming out for new projects, nobody suggests that building homes for those without “qualies” might be a realistic and necessary option.

At its root in the 1949 Housing Law, the current housing problems are based upon prejudice and discrimination wrapped up in concepts such as “bona fide residents” which government departments seem determined to perpetuate. This in spite of the Jersey Court Judgement re BBC v Housing Committee (1980) which decided that the use of Housing Control Laws to attempt to  control “immigration” were illegal.
Unfortunately, it is a judgement that does not fit in with the prejudices of our planners or others and so it has been ignored. As I write the Jersey Institute of Directors and other are joined in a call for more constraints upon “immigrants,” yet nobody is demanding equitable treatment for the 10,000. The prejudice is very deep-seated but should form no part of an “island Plan” produced by so called professionals.
The Island Plan should be scrapped and, at least, re-written to embrace the several hundred International Conventions that it mentions – but only in passing – in its opening paragraphs.

This lack of joined-up thinking between the various States Departments is of a world leader standard in incompetence yet it is abundantly obvious that the Housing Minister and several others do not even engage in meaningful discussions with the Environment Minister. Even the Constables are excused from the absurd Housing Department’s “Gateway” scheme for the allocation of homes in their Parishes in spite of this supposedly being an “all Island” programme.

Yet, as I have explained with monotonous regularity the Island Plan is also fixated upon the preservation of “Green Countryside” where cows and the stinking rich have an absolute priority over most humans and their diverse housing needs. Except of course that there is a discriminatory exception where the few hundreds cowhands and other “agricultural” workers are concerned so that development permissions may be granted for them to be housed “in the countryside” in spite of the lack of any practical, supportive reasons in the 21st century.
Why “farm-workers” have a prior call for a home in the countryside whereas they are engaged in a diminishing industry of little economic value to the Island is a total mystery. It is another mystery why Planners allow “portacabins” and other supposed “temporary” accommodation to remain in use whereas these are clearly sub-standard, permanent homes.

At the same time, the existing built-up areas - notably of St Helier – are being turned into a ghetto in accordance with some absurd belief that the vast majority of the population should not live in the northern half of the Island.
Yet even the policy to release the assumed 500 units of unused living accommodation over shops and other commercial premised in St Helier - included in a previously inadequate Island Plan - has not been followed.

Similarly, most of the special action areas in or adjacent to St Helier identified in several previous Island Plans have also not been progressed or adequately resourced.
Yet the current grandiose schemes to build enormous “finance centre” developments on the “Waterfront” will cause much of the commercial centre of St Helier to fall into further dereliction.
The “office to let” or “shop to let” signs will proliferate and the “ghetto-isation” of St Helier will be intensified by deliberate design.

I can see no point in re-submitting my many articles previously offered to the Planning/Environment Department over the decades. They have clearly been ignored in the past and I have no doubt will be so ignored in the future.
The Department, through its officers and politicians evidently has a closed mind which is entrenched with regard to the production of successive Island Plans which have, by any impartial measure, failed miserably to achieve the lofty ideals and aspirations set down in the Planning Law(s) since the war.
Jersey’s built environment is a monument to professional planning failure.
The Island has experienced an extraordinarily buoyant economy since the 1950s which owes very little to the planning process but mostly to UK policies on tourism, travel, currency restrictions, the development of the EU and peculiarities in international finance etc across a changing world.

Now, I believe that the Island Plan should be scrapped as a largely irrelevant document which actually does more harm than good. So far as housing provision is concerned the Plan is just a component part of a discriminatory policy package that will never address the housing needs of the whole population. It has and will continue to fail to deliver “affordable” houses to those who are seeking them or “social” housing to those in “need”.
The re-zoning of small parcels of land for housing developments is just a temporary expedient. As a stop-gap measure it may provide some housing accommodation and to this extent should be encouraged. But the need is for a totally new, fresh appraisal of housing provision in Jersey alongside a wholesale re-examination of the purposes of planning, the use of land and all the other related issues.

I make no attempt to undertake such a task or to suggest how it might be done. I merely want to state that the very limited invitation extended to the public now with regard to the possible re-zoning of a few sites is wholly inadequate and that a much wider discussion should take place as soon as possible.

Michael Dun

01534 862929

20 September 2013                                                                                  4 pages

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

NO - CCTV in Jersey Charles Farrier and Bob Hill in discussion

Charles Farrier of UK group NO-CCTV and Bob Hill the former Metropolitan Police Officer, States of Jersey Deputy and founder of Jersey Human Rights Group discuss CCTV and surveillance in Jersey
This video runs about 22.5 minutes

Hear Charles Farrier in Jersey Wednesday 18 September 2013
view the UK-CCTV website

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Whatever happened to Dixon of Dock Green or Sherlock Holmes?

This is a copy of a recent JEP billboard but why were the Jersey Police relying so much on CCTV to catch the supposed offender?
Is this just a symptom of the electronic approach to keeping the peace?
Is there any evidence that such methods are effective? Has anybody done the research in Jersey or anywhere else?
On Wednesday 18 September Charles Farrier of the UK action group NO-CCTV will be in Jersey and speaking at 3 public meetings on the basis of his extensive knowledge. He does not support the use of CCTV and modern surveillance processes or purposes.

The meetings are
1) 1pm to 2pm CHOW discussion with invited panel at Church House, St Helier and refreshments are available
2) Is an official Scrutiny Panel hearing to consider CCTV use in Jersey and starts at 4pm in Le Capelain Room of the States Building and 3) is at Church House again from 6pm when Charles Farriet will meet with members of the Jersey Human Rights Group for a discussion followed by a presentation at about 7pm with Q and A session to follow. All the meetings are FREE and open to the public but the Scrutiny Panel does not permit public participation except listening. However, Scrutiny has issued a Questionnaire which can be accessed on the Scrutiny website and will be pleased to receive written observations...
NO-CCTV website is

Saturday, September 7, 2013

CCTV and Surveillance in Jersey - what do we really know about it?

Did you realise that there are 5 CCTV cameras on a Jersey "Liberty Bus" plus an audio recording facility? What sort of "liberty" is that?

My suggestion that "surveillance" should be subject to a Scrutiny review has been accepted and the Panel is now undertaking its research. There is an on line questionnaire to complete (have a look at the Scrutiny site or call at the Greffe information bookshop in Morier House for a copy or ask at your Parish Hall about it).

Scrutiny hearings will be taking place soon - these are usually open to the public - some have already been held and you are invited to send in submissions.
What do you really think about CCTV and the trend towards more and more information about YOU being held on  computers by public and private bodies? Who regulates the control and distribution of so much DATA etc....

CHARLES FARRIER of UK group NO-CCTV will be in Jersey soon to speak about his concerns with regard to CCTV and the expanding SURVEILLANCE industry which affects us ALL.

He does not accept that CCTV is inevitable or that it is justified.
The apparent acceptance of CCTV in Jersey has never been properly challenged. The case in favour has never really been expressed although many claims have been made. The facts remain minimal. The regulations are vague and indadequately resourced.

You can hear Charles Farrier in Jersey on Wednesday 18 September;
1) at the "CHOW" lunchtime discussion 1pm to 2pm at Church House, St Helier where he will discuss the issues with several others (to be invited). Soup and/or sandwiches are available but the meeting is free and all are welcome
2) From 4pm (until about 5.30pm) he will appear before the Scrutiny Panel in Le Capelain Room of the States Building (enter through main lobby entrance off Royal Square). This is a public hearing where the general public can listen but not speak.
3) From about 6pm Charles will meet with members and supporters of the Jersey Human Rights Group in the Church House. Members of the public are welcome to attend but he will speak at about 7pm and there will be a general discussion to follow. Admission is free. For more information contact this blog or Mike Dun on 01534 862929 ;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Yulia and the Ukrainian and French caring models

Yulia was interviewed recently on holiday in Jersey following a serious road accident in the Ukraine and her subsequent treatment in the hospitals of that country and in Paris.
Part 1 is about 20 minutes (below)

Part 2 is about 13 minutes

The Ukraine is an unlikely role model for setting up a new health service – but it seems to be where Jersey might be headed.
“User Pays” is the sub-text to most of the financial reforms issued out of Senator Ozouf’s mouth and his collective work with Deputy Pryke for a complete redesign of Health and Care provisions and charges in this Island is a frightening manifesto, if one digs below the PR spin.

That such ideas as paying for the emergency ambulance that takes you to hospital – if you have the money – or the food that you eat when occupying a hospital bed - are being floated, should be enough to ring the alarm bells.
But the whole package of elderly and sick people “caring for themselves in their own homes” (if they are fortunate enough to have a home!) and of harnessing the “Third Sector” (aka charities and volunteers) into service providing “contracts” is just another layer that should be attracting much more public concern.

Coupled with the reintroduction of “prescription charges” and the transformation of modest traditional GPs surgeries into mini-hospitals where all sorts of treatments are carried out and medicines dispensed through in-house pharmacies while every appointment, consultation, letter, bandage, injection, treatment or word of advice etc etc incurs a hefty bill…and of course such facilities as the A and E department of the newly built General Hospital (if there is to be such a thing) is only open to treat the fully paid up near-dead…so a whole peel of warning bells should be clanging in or ears.

Besides which nobody seems to be keen to defend the existing Jersey policy of providing vastly different standards of treatment and care in the names of public or private provision. Just why should a hand-full of cash or the flash of an insurance certificate, or an influential ‘phone call be the key to receiving proper treatment in accordance with supposed professional standards?

Here Yulia, a young Russian born resident of Ukraine describes her care seeking experiences in that country following an horrendous accident with two cars…from the pay as you go ambulance, to the buy your own blood transfusion and drugs, bribing of doctors and specialists and pay pay pay for everything before being dumped back on the street as “cured”- yet barely able to stand.

It couldn’t happen here? Well just think about it. Then consider whether Jersey should be aiming for the French solution - which has come Yulia’s rescue with its 400 years old tradition of caring for the sick  – or do we prefer to flirt with the ultimate “user pays” example of caring a la Ukraine …