Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve - Presents From Santa

So, wonders Clameur de Haro? as Christmas Eve advances, what goodies will some of our allegedly prominent citizens and putative lords and masters find in their festive stockings when they wake up tomorrow morning?
Trying to fathom what they may themselves have asked for in their letters to Father Christmas would probably be fairly futile, so CdeH? will just take a quick stab at what presents Santa, being a wise old cove, might usefully decide to leave one or two of them to find when they excitedly tear off the wrappings………………
Terry Le Sueur – destined, one fears, to be disappointed at not receiving a course of public speaking lessons, but hopefully to find, as consolation, an interactive CD called “Effective Communication”.
Philip Ozouf – for the man who claimed firstly, that adding GST individually to each item rather than overall at the till would not be inflationary, and secondly, that the inflationary effect – and yes, Ozo, we all spotted the contradiction - would only be temporary because it would drop out of the calculation after a year (which is a bit like saying that after 9 months pregnancy you’re back to where you were before because you’re no longer pregnant), there really can be only two presents: “Economics For Dummies”, and a modicum of modesty to carry into 2009.
Stuart Syvret – CdeH? first thought that a bile-stained, cracked and warped mirror might be appropriate, so that the People’s Tribune could see himself as others see him, but probably even more appropriate, not to mention instructive, would be a copy of “Murphy on Evidence” and a large slice of humble pie - plus of course a new pile of slinging mud.
Graham Power – a copy of “The Invisible Man”, and a one-way airline ticket - to anywhere.
Jim Perchard – for the new Minister of Health and Social Services, enough nous to assess whether the reported £60m “New Directions” policy on the restructuring of health and social services is just that, or in fact a smokescreen for a further extension of state interference into the private sphere, and a covert justification for retaining or expanding the H & SS bureaucracy
The Editor of the Jersey Evening [sic] Post – the inspiration and courage to launch a fully online edition, with archive search.
Any Parish Administration – any idea for a more meaningful role in the community than the present one of largely minor relevance in practical terms to the majority of islanders’ daily lives.
The Data Protection Registrar – as the only official whose powers CdeH? would not curtail, all the facilities and funding needed to prevent the insidious onward march of the database state, and the continuing independence to speak out when required
The Barclay Brothers – a compulsory purchase order for Colditz-en-Brecqhou, without compensation, validly enacted by Sark’s Chief Pleas and signed by every member.
Clameur de Haro? wishes a very happy and peaceful Christmas to his fellow-bloggers, but above all to the men and women of our Armed Forces serving overseas, continuing to safeguard our freedoms and serve their country, despite being traduced daily by a media and political class not fit to lick their boots or clean their latrines.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Southern (Dis)Comfort

Clameur de Haro? found it highly amusing to see in today’s Jersey Evening [sic] Post an entire vineyard’s worth of sour grapes on public display from a Geoffrey Southern evidently piqued that a majority of States’ Members failed on no fewer that three occasions over the past few days to recognise his indisputable entitlement and suitability (well, in his eyes, anyway) for either a ministerial post or panel chairmanship.
His dreary allegations of “shameless politicking by ministers”, and his hyperbole about “complete and utter disrepute”, apart from their utter predictability, are risible. Mr Southern should, as our transatlantic allies say, just do the math.
CdeH? notes that, on each poll, the votes cast against him added up to 2 or 3 times the number of ministers which had actually been appointed at that stage: so clearly others, apart from ministers or ministerial hopefuls, shared on each occasion the latters’ (presumed) distaste at the prospect of a Southern ascendancy.
Ignoring the twisted logic which claims that fewer votes somehow equates to an opinion that he would do a better job, Mr Southern’s suggestion that the appointed chairmen of the Economic Affairs and Corporate Services Scrutiny Panels would provide less robust questioning than he would is patently absurd.
Mere tendency towards left-wing, so-called “progressive” politics does not automatically confer the required degree of knowledge and incisiveness, Mr Southern: Clameur de Haro? has far more confidence in the likelihood of Higgins and Ferguson holding Terry the Taxer and the very doubtful Ozo the Bozo properly to account.
And his forecast of the impending advent of party politics as a result of his thrice being rejected is nothing short of hilarious. What precisely are those three letters upon which Mr Southern hangs his electoral hat?
Back to The Guardian and Mad Polly Toynbee for inspiration, Geoff…………..
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Warr on Want

Mr David Warr, the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Group, appears to suggest, in his Letter to the Editor in tonight’s Jersey Evening [sic] Post, that consumers who express a preference for a wider choice of shopping outlets don’t really want a greater choice of shops at all, but only rather more “fairness” in retailers’ pricing policies.
His logic and phraseology are tortuous, but he makes a disingenuous attempt, by alluding to the range of goods on display at one particular supermarket, to deliberately conflate availability of products with choice of supplier (they are very much not the same thing, Mr Warr), before going on to imply that the desire for a wider choice of suppliers is not genuine, but somehow a proxy for the wish merely that existing retailers demonstrate more “fairness”.
Clameur de Haro? suspects that this is very wide of the mark indeed, and that a wider choice of suppliers, with the benefits of more competition in both prices and service which that implies, is precisely what the vast majority of consumers want: and something moreover which they would enthusiastically vote for, with their feet and their wallets. Mr Warr should not however be blamed too much - his Chamber of Commerce role is, after all, to represent the views, and advance the interests, of traders for many of whom greater competition is anathema.
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wendy Kinnard – Good Riddance (Part 2)

So farewell then, Wendy Kinnard – who as of last week no longer blights Jersey with her political subterfuge and spectacular ministerial unfitness.
Hard as it is to beat the record of sheer incompetence which Trendy Wendy displayed in her political stewardship of La Moye Prison, Clameur de Haro? reckons that the ineptitude she displayed in political oversight of the Police during her tenure of office, firstly as Vice-President and then President of the old Home Affairs Committee, and subsequently as Minister of Home Affairs, comes pretty close.
Kinnard was closely involved in the disastrous recruitment of Graham Power as Chief of Police in 2000. Despite having no particular qualifications or expertise in any kind of candidate evaluation, interview, or selection, politicians always consider themselves to be somehow blessed with these skills, and the States’ records of the time reveal that Trendy Wendy, a politician not noticeably troubled by any detectable excess of modesty or doubt about her own intellect and abilities, and who would have considered herself eminently suited to participation in the selection process, was a member of the interviewing and appointment panel: it’s surely inconceivable that, as Vice-President of the Home Affairs Committee, she did not play a pivotal role in the appointment.
As CdeH? posted on 6 December, Mr Power, distinguished since his arrival in Jersey by nothing so much as a constant near-invisibility, had up to that time enjoyed a previous career most remarkable for, firstly, his attempt to sue the political authority of the Scottish Northern Constabulary for racial discrimination - on the grounds that he was English – when it (wisely in the opinion of CdeH?) passed him over for the role of Chief Officer, and, secondly, the quite extraordinary regard in which he was held by the rank-and-file rozzers in his previous post – so much so that they allegedly arranged his funeral for him - complete with vacant coffin.
It’s surely equally inconceivable that Kinnard did not play a similarly crucial role in the appointment of Lenny Harper to the post of Deputy Chief of Police in 2003, although by that time somebody, somewhere, no doubt aware of the way the wind might be blowing, had the foresight to involve Sir Ronnie Flanagan in the “rigorous assessment” of Harper’s fitness for the post following his recruitment as Chief Superintendent and Head of Operations the previous year. Whether that was indeed foresight, or alternatively precautionary political CYA tactics, is for the reader to judge in the light of subsequent events. CdeH? has certainly made his own judgement.
A reasonable subject for speculation though, is the extent to which Kinnard would have found Harper’s views on the nature of policing in a modern society most agreeable to her essentially leftist and so-called “progressive” politics: Harper, it will be recalled, had obtained an upper-second in Government and Politics, and gone on to secure a masters’ degree in Criminal Justice Studies.
Given the then cultural slant of degrees of that type, and their popularity among the new wave of senior police cadres committed more to the selectively managerialist and social-engineering philosophy of policing rather than to the crime-prevention / impartial law-enforcement one, it’s a very tenable proposition that his qualifications would have imbued Harper with many of the precepts of the political-correctness view of society and its approach to policing it: and that this would have chimed effectively with Kinnard’s own innate (but carefully concealed for public consumption) left-liberal radicalism.
Power, incidentally, sported his own MA in Politics, Philosophy & Economics obtained from Queens, Oxford, in 1979, which might well also have appealed to Trendy Wendy’s political worldview (you might have thought, might you not, that an aspiring senior copper would have wanted to acquire a graduate qualification in law or jurisprudence? - clearly a PPE was considered likely to be more in tune with the future zeitgeist).
The scene was therefore set for what was to follow.
Many, including CdeH?, remember the disturbing conduct of the police reinforcements imported from the UK around the time of the England-Portugal clash during the 2006 World Cup. After dramatically talking up a potential crisis (an early precursor, had we but realized it, of the Jersey Police management’s taste for the sensationalist press release), thereby increasing the likelihood of some kind of mayhem, the Police manifestly over-reacted, both to the implied threat of disorder (never likely to involve more than a couple of drunken yobs attempting ineffectively to indulge in handbags at ten paces), and to the little disturbance that did in fact occur.
Meanwhile, however, elderly ladies of impeccable behaviour and manners, seeking to do nothing more mayhem-generating than gain access to the Jersey Arts Centre, were subjected to frightening, intimidating, aggressive and threatening tactics from those UK reinforcements, gallantly arrayed in helmets, batons and riot shields (and why not?.......CdeH? recognizes that elderly ladies denied legitimate access to an arts centre were far more dangerous to public order than potential football hooligans, weren’t they?)
This was inescapably Kinnard’s responsibility. Of course, in no way should the head of any political authority charged with oversight of policing engage in political interference in the conduct of police operations: but to either passively allow or actively condone the introduction into Jersey of policing of methods of this kind was a failure of policy and oversight for which Kinnard must bear full blame.
The increasingly aggressive behaviour of the uniformed constabulary towards the public in general, and law-abiding motorists in particular, in the past few years is an unwelcome continuation of this trend. Clameur de Haro?, along with most of his acquaintance, believes this has much more to do with artificially massaging the Force’s published crime detection rate than it has to do with preventing general or car crime.
On more than one occasion, CdeH? has been stopped during the evening (when, it should be said, totally libation-free, stone-cold sober, in a car with all lights functioning perfectly, and nary a suspicion of anything remotely interpretable as even marginally erratic driving) and subjected to by turns surly and aggressive questioning. [“Looked as though your seat belt wasn’t on” was the most recent explanation proffered.] Remarkably however, when the plods are confronted with a reasonably articulate motorist who demands their names and numbers so that he can make a formal complaint about unjustified harassment, they back off.
This escalation of an intimidating style of general policing also happened on Trendy Wendy’s watch, politically. The supposition has to be that she tacitly approved, or, more likely, that she had so little idea of what political oversight of policing should involve that it didn’t occur to her to question what the constabulary’s general approach to the community it nominally serves should be, nor to require an explanation for what it manifestly is.
Finally, we come to the Haut de la Garenne imbroglio. If ever there was a case crying out above all for a calm, measured, unemotional, evidence-centric and supposition-free discharge of its responsibilities by the Jersey Police, this was surely it. Yet Harper, by this time either totally captured by, and an unwitting tool of, the agenda of the Kinnard-Syvret axis and their fellow-travellers, or signed up to that agenda of his own volition, was allowed over a long period of time to grandstand repeatedly with ill-informed speculation and value judgements to a media long on sensation-seeking but short on objectivity. A more egregious failure to exercise due political oversight of a police force is virtually impossible to imagine – the fault is that of Power’s at operational level, and at political level, that of Kinnard alone.
It seems unbelievable in retrospect that Kinnard should have been allowed anywhere near the April 2008 selection process for Warcup’s appointment to (mercifully) replace Harper, but that is what happened. Fortunately on this occasion, the beneficial influences of Messrs Liston, Ogley and Crich prevailed, or we might have had a Kinnard-driven extension of Harper’s contract.
What a disreputable litany of disaster this deplorable woman foisted on to the Island. It is immeasurably better for her departure.
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tax Avoidance, International Financial Centres, and Jersey – Part I: Neither Illegitimate Nor Immoral

Judging from several posts over the end of November / beginning of December, Clameur de Haro?’s fellow-blogger Jersey 24/7 seems to be somewhat confused both about modern banking and financial services themselves, and their contribution to what he or she clearly believes is the latent immorality of Jersey’s role as an international financial centre, namely helping – or presumably, in his view, influencing - overseas taxpayers to reduce their liability to taxation in their own jurisdictions.
Jersey 24/7, however, isn’t alone in this misconception – several recent election candidates from the leftist and green extremities of the political spectrum postulated much the same thing, adding in for good measure the alleged iniquities of depriving high-tax “home” economies and populations of taxation revenue (though, curiously, they failed to go on to advise electors to avoid a low-price Co-Op in favour of a high-price Checkers so as not to deprive the latter’s ultimate shareholders of profit). So CdeH? is grateful for the opportunity to counter their false arguments.
Clameur de Haro?’s basic philosophy on this starts from the premise that tax levied on the private citizen, whether an individual or a corporation, by the state, on pain of criminal sanction, is nothing less than the state’s self-legitimated appropriation for itself of that private citizen’s legally-acquired wealth, whether in the form of income, capital gain, inheritance, or whatever. [Note the phrase “legally-acquired” - and be in no doubt, incidentally, that CdeH? has no objection whatsoever to the confiscation, by the judicial arm of the state, of wealth acquired directly as the proceeds of crime]
CdeH? entirely accepts that some such appropriation is necessary, and does not, for example, espouse the extreme libertarian position of believing that the state has no role in society. CdeH? readily acknowledges that there are economic goods and public services needed by some or all of the population which only the state can or will fund (though there are many instances where such goods or services, while necessarily funded by the state, are not necessarily provided better or more cheaply by agencies of the state): and that taxation is both an acceptable and practical way of raising the revenue needed.
However, because the state appropriates for itself, in the form of taxation, part of the private citizen’s legally-acquired wealth, CdeH? believes that the state then has an overwhelming, corresponding moral duty (1) to spend the resulting revenue prudently and not recklessly or wastefully, and (2) to extract from the private citizen no more than the absolute minimum of his legally-acquired wealth than is necessary for the state to fund or undertake those functions that it, and only it, can or will do.
But states everywhere either ignore or abuse (or in most cases both ignore AND abuse) this moral obligation [and Jersey is no different]. They waste, or otherwise deploy recklessly or imprudently, the taxation revenue they extract from the private citizen: or they employ it in undertaking activities which the state need not, or should not, undertake because the private, non-state sector of the economy would willingly undertake them itself (often better and cheaper). Most states are guilty on both counts [and again Jersey is no different].
In these circumstances, not the slightest degree of opprobrium or immorality can attach to the private citizen, whether an individual or a corporation, who so arranges his financial affairs as to legally minimise or avoid the appropriation of his wealth by the state. [Note the words “legally” and “avoid” – and the latter’s important distinction from the word “evade” – and again be in no doubt that CdeH? has no truck with the illegal evasion of obligations in contravention of the law of the land]
And by extension therefore, not the slightest degree of illegitimacy or immorality can be inferred to an economy or polity which chooses to provide services to meet a clear, substantial, and unsatisfied demand from the makers of such legal arrangements. So Jersey can and should continue to uphold and develop its prime industry with a clear conscience.
Clameur de Haro? has no doubt that the real immorality here lies with those high-taxing, excessive and wasteful-spending governments - notably the UK under the present administration and most EU countries under any administration - who impose systems and levels of taxation which extract unjustified proportions of their citizens’ wealth, thereby driving them to seek external alternatives.
Jersey need entertain no qualms whatsoever about benefitting its own population by supplying those citizens with an alternative to mere acquiescence in their governments’ rapaciousness.
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You Should Have Stood Up and Been Counted, Mr Forskitt

Clameur de Haro? sees a both amusing and ironic linkage between the Jersey Evening [sic] Post’s editorial of Wednesday 10 December and Mark Forskitt’s blogpost of Friday 12 December.
In its 10 December leader, the JEP, clearly finding the prospect of Deputy James Reed’s appointment as Education Minister not to its liking (“…simply not credible….”), sought to suggest that he lacked the requisite levels of both experience and public support, largely on the grounds that he had not had to face the electorate in his own parish - as if Mr Reed was in some way either personally blameworthy, or a less than legitimate representative, because no-one decided to challenge him.
CdeH? will remember that leader, and take pleasure in re-airing it the next time the JEP lauds the unopposed re-election of a Constable by a small and unrepresentative coterie of parish officials as somehow a vindication of the inherent stability of that entirely mythical concept, “the Jersey way of life”. But that is by the way.
Meanwhile, Mr Forskitt, a resident in fact of Mr Reed’s constituency, draws comparisons between the recent elections in Sark (whose electors have CdeH?’s wholehearted approval for their two-fingered Agincourt Salute to the ogres of Colditz-en-Brecqhou) and Jersey’s recent “pitiful” elections: he says “….I believe it (democracy) is coming to Jersey too…”, and he wearily evokes the plight of “…we plebs, when faced with an election, ….”.
Clameur de Haro?, however, recalls that Mr Forskitt, despite his evident desire to get into the States, admitted quite openly on the Planet Jersey forum, in the run-up to the elections, that he would not risk standing in his home parish of St Ouen in opposition to Mr Reed, judging – correctly - that he would have no chance (sensible people, these electors of St Ouen): but speculated that he might instead try a spot of unashamed carpet-bagging and possibly have a crack at St Brelade No 1, where he thought there might be a bit more receptiveness to his greenery.
But in the end he did not do that either. Presumably when faced with the prospect of an election of his own, timidity and risk-aversion triumphed over the opportunity to bring democracy to the unfortunate, democracy-deprived citizenry of St Ouen and St Brelade………
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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Power has previous when it comes to suing

Clameur de Haro? was mortified, on returning to the Rock after journeying briefly to sunnier climes in pursuance of business, to find that he had missed all the fun of the deplorable Graham Power’s attempts - much after the fashion of that also signally unlamented and very PC PC, Sir Ian Blair - to cling on, limpet-like, to office, despite his clear unfitness for it manifested by his inadequate management of the HdlG enquiries.
How ironic that in an earlier part of his career, it was Mr Power who exposed the shortcomings of the Grampian Police in their investigation into the murder of a 9 year old boy by a paedophile, leading to the resignation of that Force’s Chief Constable.
CdeH? cannot recall a time since Mr Power’s appointment when he has been so publicly active, having been distinguished since his arrival in Jersey by nothing so much as a constant near-invisibility and a silence of almost monastic proportions.
But we should not be too concerned that this apparent sudden enthusiasm for action represents a departure from the norm: for, as CdeH? and others note, Mr Power does, as the rozzers say, have previous form when it comes to threatening legal action against existing or would-be employers.
Before his appointment to Jersey, Mr Power had up to that time enjoyed a previous career most noteworthy for his attempt to sue the Northern Constabulary Police Board, the political authority of the Scottish Northern Constabulary, for racial discrimination - on the grounds that he was English – when it (wisely in the opinion of CdeH?) passed him over for the role of Chief Officer. Prepared to take the NCPB to an industrial tribunal, with the backing of the Commission for Racial Equality, he eventually negotiated an out-of-court settlement.
Clameur de Haro? suspects that the threat to sue here is merely the opening gambit of an attempt to secure yet another out-of-court settlement with a lucrative payoff – but wishes it success, despite the notion of compensating this man out of public funds for deserved loss of office sticking in the craw, because if it enables the island to draw a line under, and move forward from, the disastrous Power-Harper regime, it would be cheap at virtually any price.
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