Tuesday, 10 May 2011

New website and blog

This blog has now been superseded by a new blog at http://www.thebaldtruth.blogspot.com and an associated website at http://www.thebaldtruth.co.uk

There is no intention to make any further use of this blog, and it remains online for archive purposes only

Friday, 19 September 2008

Thank you, Letitia

I would just like to say a huge 'thank you' to Letitia for making such a kind and very complimentary speech about me at the nomination night. At 17, Letitia is one of the ever-growing number of young people joining the JDA this past year. To be brave enough to offer, and then actually stand up in front of a 150 people or more at the Town Hall as Letitia did this Tuesday shows what a remarkable young woman she is. This is one young JDA member who I am quite certain is going to make a real success of herself. Amazingly it was put to me by a supporter of another candidate (no, I'm not saying who!) that I really should have used a much older person who would have spoken at much greater length about all my 'qualities'! I want to say here that this observation left me not knowing whether to laugh or cry. Having sat through what seemed like several hours of often gushing speeches about how fanastically talented some candidates were, like a number of others I spoke to, I was left wondering whether one or two ministers etc might actually be personally responsible for bringing about future world speech! For me, Letitia's speech was perfect. It was obviously from the heart and I couldn't have asked for more. Besides…perhaps I'm in the minority here, but for all the attributes I might have - and I know I am standing for the very best of reasons - I am well aware that I am nevertheless far from perfect. If a few other candidates are as their proposers appeared desperate to convince us all - good luck to them. Once again, 'thank you' Letitia - you did me proud!

My name is Letitia Pryor – and I am proud to propose Trevor Pitman for Senator. Being 17 years old I will be voting in Jersey’s elections for the first time. Though I might be young, like a lot of young people I am very concerned about what the future holds for my generation.
I am very concerned about my prospects of ever affording a home of my own, and of being able to follow the career that I want. With GST I am concerned about even being able to afford to live – I am 17 and though a student I already work hard at a part-time job – I don’t want to just exist from hand to mouth!
Who do I blame for all of this? A government and a council of ministers that just don’t listen to the wishes of the island’s people – a government who don’t even seem to care. If we do not do something about all of this now it is young people like me who will be the ones to suffer the most.
That is why I am a member of the JDA – and why I am proposing Trevor Pitman for Senator. We need politicians who care and have the ability to do something about this mess! Trevor has the ability to make a difference in abundance.
I have known Trevor since I was eight years old. As the youth worker at the Grands Vaux Youth Centre – where I am a volunteer and on the Management Committee - over the ten years I have known him Trevor has transformed an old and run-down centre into the best facility for young people in the island.
In doing this Trevor has built up a team of people who work hard for the local community, and has used his skills to fundraise what must be about a quarter of a million pounds. Not just to pay for new facilities at the centre, but to give young people the chance to travel abroad – like an anti-racist project I went on a couple of years ago to Madeira.
Because I have got to know him pretty well over this time I also know that before Trevor decided to re-train as a professional youth worker – he graduated from De Montford University in Youth & Community Development - he spent 15 years in Business Management. He is hardworking, dedicated and a real ‘people’ person. I believe all of the skills Trevor has gained in these two careers, and the fact that he cares about Jersey so passionately make him just the sort of Senator this island needs. Thank you.
My full name is Letitia Victoria Pryor - the other proposers on the nomination form are:
Denise Carroll
Emile Collins
Debbie De Sousa
James Smith
Jane Chatterley
George le Huquet
Cris Wakeham
Stephen Southers
Geoff Southern

Thursday, 4 September 2008


As I recall it was John Lennon who once observed how “life is something that just happens while you are busy making other plans”. True or not it’s certainly funny how sometimes it can really hit you on the most unlikely of occasions just how much comedy can highlight the absurdities of real life: more than that – how much it can hammer home what desperately needs to be changed. I had just such a sudden insight into the island’s present political situation only the other evening when, having stumbled upon an old box of DVDs in the loft, I decided to unwind by re-watching the classic old fantasy movie ‘Erik the Viking’ directed by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame.

Without boring you all with the whole story (do go and hire a copy if you haven’t seen it though!) whilst on their quest to re-awaken the Viking Gods to petition them to end the dark age of Ragnarök (see the comparison with Ministerial government already?) and restore peace Erik, the hero of the tale, has to travel to the legendary island of Hy-Brasil. To cut a very long story even shorter, when blood is inadvertently spilt on the island’s shore Hy-Brasil begins to sink. And here’s the real relevance to a first blog discussing politics…

Erik can see this, the island’s people can see this, even the King’s daughter, Princess Aud (who Erik happens to fancy but that’s another story) can see this. The Princess, already up to her ankles in waves and soon to be in dire need of a life jacket, pleads for her father, wise old King Arnulf to save the people and leave the island. But Arnulf won’t. You see he is “much more experienced in these things” than his young daughter. And because he is so much more experienced, and a King to boot, he can’t bring himself to accept that she or the populace for that matter could possibly know better than him.

Which low and behold brings me to our own beloved Chief Minister, Senator Frank Walker. More specifically to his latest staggering performance in disregarding evidence that would probably even have caught the brief attention of Robert Mugabe that actually all in the ‘Kingdom’ is not at all well!

The Council of Ministers is facing a vote of no confidence. Most would probably agree this is well earned.
Senator Walker himself is facing a vote of censure – it should and would have been a vote of no confidence too we all know. It isn’t purely because its proposer, Deputy Geoff Southern, knows full well the Assembly is sufficiently packed with gutless hangers on and wannabe future Ministers for whom serving the public comes a very sorry second to personal vested interest, that this would have had about as much chance of success as there is of PPC ensuring there is a level election playing field come the autumn!
The Bailiff – you remember him, the guy who takes home a salary four times the British Prime Minister’s yet who did nothing to remove a convicted paedophile from the Honorary Police whilst Attorney General – is also facing a well merited vote of no confidence.
The vote on the waterfront ‘master plan’ – one of the most important in terms of long-term implications for the island of the last 25 years - is now quite likely to be rescinded in light of the Harcourt fiasco; potentially throwing the island into further chaos.
The remaining States Members on WEB, Senator Paul Routier and Deputy Jacqui Huet, not to mention its Chairman, the former States Deputy and rumoured wannabe future Chief Minister, Gerald Voisin are also facing the old heave-ho for their part in the shambles.
GST, so lovingly created by the politician who WILL be the next Chief Minister to protect the best interests of the island’s most wealthy residents at the expense of the rest of us is already sending the first small businesses under.
The failure to amend the significant, and lets be honest, glaring flaws in the new Income Support scheme is already seeing vulnerable elderly people afraid of the cost incurred by visiting their doctor instead queuing down at an already over-stretched A&E.
Over-shadowing it all, of course, the truly horrific on-going saga of the Haut de la Garenne scandal itself.

The point is that to most ordinary people regardless of their normal political leanings all of the above surely amounts to a crisis. Indeed, to borrow from the legendary Captain Edmund Blackadder of BBC Television fame this is surely: “a large, twelve story crisis - with 24 hour portage, fully carpeted throughout and with a large sign on the top saying:


Yet not, so it seems, in the eyes of our wise old Chief Minister, Senator Frank Walker. No. It’s all just political opportunism in election year… Which brings us neatly back to Erik the Viking and the aforesaid King Arnulf.

Just like their fictitious counterparts in Hy-Brasil the population of Jersey can see that under ‘King’ Frank and his hapless, arrogant Council of Ministers our island is sinking too, at least in terms of ensuring a long-term prosperous future. Sinking, in fact, almost as quickly as the credibility of the Council of Ministers itself. No, not even £300.000 worth of best quality Communications Unit spin can hide that fact any longer.

So come on, Frank. Joking aside, 11.59 it may well be - but it’s not too late. Don’t be a King Arnulf and drown the ordinary people of Jersey with you. Save us! Do the decent thing: abdicate and take your fawning courtiers with you! After all, they say Bermuda is very nice this time of year…


August 6th 2008

While the introduction of election expenses caps to finally prevent the effective buying of seats in the States by wealthy candidates are to be welcomed as long overdue, the public should be under no delusion that in its present form this legislation from PPC will do anything of the sort. The result of PPC’s three years of labour still has more holes open to abuse by those possessing significant wealth than an old string vest. It is true that at the time of writing we still await the appearance of a now hurriedly promised ‘guide’ to how the unworkable will work. Nevertheless I believe the major underlying concern for any who wish to see transparency, fairness and accountability in government should be the evidence that those establishment figures holding the reins of political power and influence want nothing of the sort. Indeed, the thought of more working class peasants high on both ability and ethics but low on capital getting into government fills them with terror.

Should any reader doubt this fact then as a starting place I suggest the following. Leave aside for now the much-trumpeted “£8.000 Senatorial cap” that will in reality presently allow anyone fortunate enough to have a half-dozen wealthy chums happy to chuck in another £4.000 a shot to promote them – strictly unbeknown to the candidate or each other, of course – do exactly that. Look instead to another piece of fabulous establishment spin regarding new regulations to apparently allow and encourage those employed by the States to offer themselves up for election. As a professional employed by Education, Sport & Culture I can tell you first hand that despite the taxpayer’s money spent by the council’s Communications Unit to con the public otherwise, unlike the famous advert this does exactly the opposite to what it says on the tin. This is merely yet another ploy to ensure the challenge to those who run our island as a private benefits club – just look at the 6% effective tax rate for 1.1(K)s - for our wealthy elite remain as limited as possible. But let me explain.

In the 21st century most of us, even we States employees, have an annual leave entitlement. What we choose to do with those holidays are surely for us as individuals to decide. Whether this should be lying on a beach, painting the house or simply spending a few weeks worrying about GST or if we will still be working aged 70+ to try and pay the mortgage. If someone should alternatively want to offer themselves up for election then use of an annual leave entitlement should also be quite acceptable: a person would, after all, be removed from their place of employment throughout the election. This would also allow a whole new vein of potentially highly capable working people to offer themselves up to serve the electorate – winners all round. But not if our Human Resources mandarins and their ministerial puppet masters have their way.

As one such professional considering standing for election I initially had the sensible and sympathetic agreement from Staff Services to do just the above. What is now actually being imposed – and please remember the “level election playing field” spin here – is enforced unpaid leave for the entire duration of the election, whether this be for Senator, Deputy or Constable. No commonsense uses of annual leave entitlement or even owed T.O.I.L. The reason for all this according to the council of ministers? Because government “can’t have individuals campaigning for election whilst on the payroll” Well, unless you happen to be a States Member that is. Oddly enough an employee can use the above to go out and campaign for a multi-millionaire minister happily drawing his salary from the same public purse. Even…campaign for another States employee. But not for your own campaign. No, that would be plain ridiculous, wouldn’t it.

Well thought out on the transparency and fairness fronts? I think the Communications Unit might struggle on selling this one even with another three hundred thousand pounds or so of the public’s money to squander. So there you have it, a “level election playing field” for the States employee. Cancel this year’s holiday, talk your eldest out of university, take out a bank loan to fund a modest election campaign – then think about how you are going to pay the mortgage, live and feed the family with zero income. A starting point of minus £2-£3000+ and all cosy in the knowledge that those nice multi-millionaire council of ministers up for re-election will still be able to draw their much needed salaries to support their own campaigns. Well, some people are just better, aren’t they? You know, more equal than others.

Fair? No. That is why having taken legal advice from lawyers this week I am now in the process of attempting to mount a legal challenge. No. I haven’t got the money. No. It certainly shouldn’t be this way – not if we are serious about Jersey being an “equal” society. But maybe, as somebody said to me," that is the whole point for the bunch of bloated, arrogant, not to mention decidedly incompetent and ignorant halfwits who style themselves the island’s “senior” politicians. It is difficult not to agree.Most working people won’t challenge such injustices because they simply can’t afford to, either financially or in terms of concern about repercussions from employers. But that is also why I feel I have to pursue this.

The opportunity to put ourselves forward to serve the island in government should be open to all, not just those with a suitably thick bank account, or the connections to exploit the system But don’t expect to hear much about it in the media.