Sunday, 6 October 2013


Philip Bailhache

This is the man who runs Jersey, Philip Bailhache, with a little help from a few others including the current Data Protection Commissioner, Emma Martins.

Emma Martins

The Channel Islands were the only part of the "British Isles" to be occupied by the Nazis and some would say that the occupation in Jersey never ended, as the island is still governed by a small feudal clique. Emma's father, John Nettles (Bergerac), has just written a book on the occupation, which I hope to get my hands on soon. Meanwhile you might like to check out my review of an earlier book which attempted an objective look at that period of the island's history (1940-1945).

In case you have already got sort of smitten with the lovely uniform you can order the whole kit here.

Back to more pressing matters, namely the small matter of the Resistance. Currently this is being conducted by a group of brave bloggers, who are not only seeking more democratic and open government, but are also attempting to blow the top off the forty year cover-up of horrendous child sexual abuse on the island. The bloggers are on their own, as the mainstream media on the island are as complicit in the cover-up as the governing authorities themselves.

Putting your head above the blogging parapet in Jersey is a bit reminiscent of WWI trench warfare. You stand a good chance of getting it blown off.

Notches on the authorities big guns so far include: (i) sacking the Health Minister, Stuart Syvret, when he got too curious about the deficiencies in the the island's child protection services and official inaction in the face of abuse victim's/survivors' complaints; (ii) sacking the Police Chief, who refused to become involved in various political conspiracies; (iii) smearing the Chief Investigating Officer in charge of the major abuse enquiry, and subsequently closing down the inquiry (though there is supposed to be another one being set up at the moment); (iv) official harassment and imprisonment of the sacked Health Minister, including with the cooperation of the Data Protection Commissioner; (v) while we're talking about the Commissioner, she is alleged to have been involved in instigating and coordinating a recent perverse data protection prosecution of Stuart Syvret, involving some undesirable types and a supergag order; (vi) attempting to bankrupt an awkward parliamentarian/blogger by insulting him and his parliamentarian wife and then ensuring he lost the ensuing libel case and ended up in financial difficulties.

The recent data protection case is of historically mammoth proportions, not only for Jersey itself, but for the UK as a whole. Data protection legislation is designed to protect a person's personal data from release by a "data controller" to whom it is given in the course of official business. It is not designed to protect data in the public domain nor does it have any place in providing redress for people who are libelled. Data, by definition, is true. Libel deals with accusations which are held to be false. The trick here seems to have been that had those people, against whom Stuart Syvret made accusations on his blog, taken a libel action, they would have had to finance it themselves. If it could be construed as a data protection issue (which is a load of cobblers) then the State could finance the prosecution. And this is what happened. My feeling is that the Jersey authorities are now in deep shit as a result of this little stragem of theirs.

Anyway, back to the occupation. I worked in Jersey over the Summer of 1961 and saw many remaining signs of the occupation. There was a military hospital which has now been turned into a museum, and there are a number of concrete watchtowers around the coast.

The people with whom I stayed, in St. John, had been evacuated just before the occupation, but clearly had returned to Jersey after the war. I had a feeling that there was a certain resentment against such people, even still at the time I was there.

Just incidentally, one person who refused evacuation was Mauyen Keane, and Irish nurse who had come to Jersey not long before the outbreak of WWII. She stayed on and, in the course of the occupation, fell in love with a German soldier/doctor. She followed him to Germany and married him. When Germany was defeated, she shared in the deprivations of the ordinary German people and eventually made it back to Ireland where she wrote a book about her experiences. She is the mother of the well known Irish poet, Gabriel Rosenstock, and the aunt of Dermot Keane, with whom I worked in the Irish Finance Ministry.

Equally incidentally, Emma Martin's father, John Nettles was filming the TV series Bergerac, located at the now controversial children's centre, Haut de la Garenne, while there were still children on the premises. I was brought up short by a photo in a recent Daily Mail article on Nettle's book, taken from the centre and showing the port of Gorey and Mont Orgueil Castle in the background.

Below is a night shot of the castle which I took during my stay in 1961,

The castle has been a museum since 1929. In the period following the French Revolution the castle was the headquarters of Philippe d'Auvergne who was in charge of a network of Royalists bent on invading France and restoring the Monarchy. One of these was French Major La Chaussée who had surveyed Killiney Bay, south of Dublin city, in 1797 as part of the British defensive operations against an expected Napoleonic invation of Dublin. The major's work was subsumed in the construction of the Martello Towers in the bay in 1804.

I mention the castle as, for me, it is a conflicted symbol. It was originally built to defend Jersey but is part of the view from Haut de la Garenne, which institution is a monument to the betrayal of trust of huge proportions.

The Bloggers' Resistance: Stuart Syvret, Neil McMurray, Rico Sorda, Trevor Pitman, Bob Hill, Sam Mézec, and many others.

Update 10 April 2016

There have been a number of developments on the blogging front since the above was posted.

Stuart Syvret's blog was shut down by Blogger/Google at the request of the Jersey authorities. After a bit of cyber-travelling his original blog has been restored and newer posts can be read here. Stuart claims not to have any direct control over the current blog and, other than being a source for his earlier blog, where he posted extensively on devlopments in Jersey, he only submits the odd post on the new blog. But he does comment from time to time on Neil's blog.

Trevor Pitman's blog, linked above, is no longer active. Trevor was bankrupted by the Jersey authorities, which meant he was no longer qualified to sit in the States (Jersey parliament) and, as far as I know, his is no longer living on the island.

Bob Hill has recently had a massive stroke and is no longer blogging, but his blog remains up. Both Bob, just before his stroke, and Trevor gave evidence to the current Jersey Abuse Inquiry.

So, of the above blogs, only Neil, Rico and Sam are currently blogging consistently.
Just for the record, both Neil and Rico have also given evidence to the Inquiry.

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