Sunday, May 10, 2015

Liberation Day



HAPPY LIBERATION DAY
Click any image for a larger version

Yesterday, 9th May, was Liberation Day in the Channel Islands. This is when islanders celebrate the end of the Nazi occupation in 1945. The islands were unique in being the only part of the "British Isles" to have been occupied by the Nazis during WWII. The occupation had its brutal elements and the Nazis turned the islands, and Jersey in particular, into a huge fortress with massive surface and underground defences, mostly built by very badly treated POWs.

So the people of Jersey, the island with which I am most familiar, had much to celebrate on this day in each year following the end of WWII. This year was special as the 70th anniversary and it was seen as marking perhaps the end of those celebrations in which aging survivors of the occupation could take part in any numbers.

So I tweeted my friends in Jersey a happy Liberation Day and I meant it. What follows refers to Jersey alone.


UNFINISHED BUSINESS

It seemed a good day, without hopefully spoiling the party, to recall some unfinished business left over from the liberation. There was an opportunity then to revamp the whole system and also free the islands, and Jersey in particular, from a much more embedded occupation dating from previous centuries.

The island is a Crown Dependency, which means it is directly governed by the Queen who appoints its principal officers. It has appropriated much of the nomenclature of a modern democracy but its structures remain essentially feudal. Asserting one's human rights under the present system is somewhat haphazard in its results and can depend very much on the proximity of one's association with the ruling clique.

The montage above is of Philip Bailhache, the more prominent of the Bailhache brothers, both of whom have held most of the island's major offices over recent decades. Philip, a former Bailiff and currently Senator and Foreign Minister, is seen as the puppetmaster though it is clear that there are others pulling his strings.

His most recent contribution to good governance on the island was to try and sabotage the current inquiry into decades of child abuse and cover-up, an area in which he is seriously conflicted himself.


REVOLVING DOORS

This is Philip's brother William. Currently Bailiff, he was previously Attorney General during a period when many prosecutions of alleged child abusers were either dropped or refused. His period in office at that time will hopefully come up for review in the course of the current inquiry into child abuse on the island.


ONE MIKE THAT WILL NOT BE TURNED OFF TODAY

The policing function on the island is complex. Each of the twelve island parishes has its own police force and it is only in more recent times that an all-island force has been developed to any significant degree. There are serious contraints on the all-island force, including political ones, and recent years have seen these exercised aggressively by the establishment when it illegaly sacked the police chief and smeared the senior investigating officer as their inquiries into earlier child abuse were getting too close to the bone.

A more compliant central policing régime was then recruited, the current head of which is Mike Bowron (above), renowned for chatting to ordinary people in the street and ignoring them when they come as supplicants to his office. The wide discretion available to the policing function in Jersey (there is no separate independent prosecution function) means that whether you are charged with an offence or not frequently depends on who you are.

The reference in the caption is to Philip Bailhache, then Bailiff and Speaker in the States (Parliament), turning off the microphone of the then Health Minister, Stuart Syvret, as he tried to raise the question of child abuse in the House on an earlier Liberation Day.


PROTECTING MORE THAN DATA

Emma Martins is the Data Protection Commissioner. Her principal contribution to the island to date seems to have been (i) to support the "Gang of Four" in their effort to have Stuart Syvret brought before the courts (another partial institution) for publishing information which was clearly in the public interest and (ii) to have Stuart's blog taken down from Blogger/Google on spurious legal grounds.


HAUT DE LA GARENNE - a misdemeanor, move on

It would be unfair to leave out Emma's daddy, John Nettles aka Bergerac, whose BBC TV series was set in the island and was shooting footage at Haut de la Garenne (the notorious centre of child abuse) while there were still children resident on the premises. BBC have recently called off a rerun of the series in the face of public protest. In recent times Nettles has attempted to downplay the significance of the centre. I really couldn't leave him out as Emma has declared that she frequently takes her daddy's advice.

The above are most of the tweets I tweeted yesterday for Liberation Day.


I couldn't finish, however, without recalling this event from the obverse of the liberation coin. Arising directly from his principled conflict with this deficient system of administration and justice, Stuart Syvret has already done a few stints of porridge and may yet come to do more.

So let us wish a happy LIBERATION PHASE 2 to the people of this beautiful island.

Note: you can see all the tweets here. You may have to click "Show photo" to see individual images.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Boring.
You have nothing original to talk about apart from jailbird Syvret?

Póló said...

That you Jon?

Anonymous said...

I doubt Jon would be aware of this blog's existence but this is so old news. Syvret got kicked out of Government 5 years ago and failed twice at the ballot box to get back in. Everybody he has threatened ignores him because he never does anything, and its well known that he is an e-mailing abuser of women plus a liar. Childish pictures of key figures in Jersey just about sums up how pathetic his whole campaign was from the start, because he is nothing.

Póló said...

I am not a blind fan of Stuart Syvret.

However, his public actions make sense and they have not been addressed by the administration or its offshoots.

As far as his private actions are concerned, perhaps you could enlighten us further about your accusations above.

Whatever about Jon's awareness of this blog or otherwise, I have had the displeasure of hearing from him on my Twitter account in the past.

Anonymous said...

His vile e-mails to Labey are online on a number of blogs Polo, maybe ask Sean Power? Jon means nothing and the deluded Syvret thought he was a spokesperson for the Government. Hilarious that a person with no recorded associations is such a problem for his world, what is Jon? Never even stood for election or worked for the civil service, maybe you can answer that one because its weird. Then his attacks on former coppers and Data Protection personnel for doing their job, if he wants to break the law then he should face the consequences like everybody else. He has very little sympathy in this Island. Its a disgrace that this lunatic is allowed to carry on without help from the Mental Health department. Ask yourself this Polo. What has he achieved in 8 years of blogging crap because I cannot see anything, and if you have to resort to Photoshop stupid photos of people I bet you have never met in your life to get attention for him, well that really is a cry for help in the extreme.

Póló said...

The emails certainly do not do Stuart any credit and Sean Power's handling of them doesn't do him any credit either. Relationship breakups, whether partnerships or marriages,can be very messy and there are usually two sides to them.

However, my interest in Stuart is in his activities in the public realm. I do not rely on him for my information. There is certainly plenty of corroboration from other measured bloggers for much of what he says even if they would not necessarily agree with how he goes about things.

As far as facing the consequences of breaking the law, for whatever reason, is concerned he has done that. Much of his point, as I understand it is precisely to draw attention to the way the law is being administered in Jersey.

My photoshops are not purely to get attention for Stuart, they draw on reports of others and no, I have not met these people nor do I need to. I can claim two degrees of separation from Philip Bailhache but that does nothing for my peace of mind.

Stuart has achieved relatively little with his blogging so far, if you mean by achievement an improvement in the situation in Jersey. He has, however, documented a lot of what is wrong with the running of the island and he is an articulate spokesperson for reform. He can hardly be blamed for not fixing the place all on his own.



Anonymous said...

If he was any good at getting his version of events across then there would be a higher calibre of people behind him including States Members, but there never has been. Blogging in order to harass others does not work and it's ridiculous to think it still does after so many years of going nowhere.

Póló said...

States members don't explicitly back other bloggers either, but those that care take on the issues.

I'm not Stuart's PR guy so I'm happy to see efforts to deal with problems whatever the provenance.

Anonymous said...

Well I'd say you're the only person he has left blogging about him. Many gave up on this 2 years ago. He has a history of never carrying out his threats so people get bored of reading his material. Blogs are not an alternate means of getting justice, you have to go to court for that but his threats have never lifted off the ground.