Friday, August 21, 2009

Give up Apathy

We all need to become 'active' citizens instead of paper members.Everyone can play a part to help make this Island a better place to live in. You really can make a difference.

First identify the problems which you believe are really important. What do you want changed?
Share your ideas and possible solutions and together we can make it happen.

Decide to give up apathy,become active.
Change can come if enough people demand it.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Economics lesson

My father-in-law forwarded us this email, that is doing the rounds. It looks like a joke, but it is actually a neat and nail-on-the-head explanation of credit-based economics:-
It is the month of June, on the shores of Britain . It is raining, and the little town looks totally deserted. It is tough times, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

Suddenly, a rich tourist comes to town.

He enters the only hotel, lays a £100 note on the reception counter, and goes to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one.

The hotel proprietor takes the £100 note and runs to pay his debt to the butcher.

The Butcher takes the £100 note and runs to pay his debt to the pig grower.

The pig grower takes the £100 note, and runs to pay his debt to the supplier of his feed and fuel.

The supplier of feed and fuel takes the £100 note and runs to pay his debt to the town's prostitute that in these hard times, gave her "services" on credit.

The hooker runs to the hotel, and pays off her debt with the £100 note to the hotel proprietor to pay for the rooms that she rented when she brought her clients there.

The hotel proprietor then lays the £100 note back on the counter so that the rich tourist will not suspect anything.

At that moment, the rich tourist comes down after inspecting the rooms, and takes his £100 note, after saying that he did not like any of the rooms, and leaves town.

No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now without debt, and looks to the future with a lot of optimism.......

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the British Government is doing business today.

Modern day economics
Dave Rotherham

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Geoff dismantles Ferguson's defence of Ozouf

When I pointed out last week that the Treasury Minister’s new initiatives to centralise powers under his control looked like a dangerous bid to create one-person government, I did not expect the head of the Corporate Affairs Scrutiny Panel, Senator Sarah Ferguson, the person charged with holding him to account, to rush to his defence. But in the weird world that passes for politics in Jersey, I suppose I should not have been surprised. After all they share very similar political views on most subjects apart from climate change.

I was not surprised in the least however by the loose way in which she marshalled the work of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in support. After all her election platform was almost entirely based on a misrepresentation of the CAG’s report into the potential for £35 million of further budget cuts. He said they were extremely difficult and many would result in service Business Plan cuts surely indicate who was right.

Worse still in her defence of Senator Ozouf was her use of selective quoting from the CAG: “… the lack of discipline in financial recording has assisted departments in obscuring cost profiles and this has been regarded by some as convenient.” The fact is that the past master of “convenient lack of discipline” is none other than Senator Ozouf himself, in his time in charge of Economic Development. He it was who restructured the ED budget under large generic titles such as “Promotion” and “Marketing” to hide subsidies of the order of £1m to prop up airline routes, many of which have now ceased.

That policy may have been right or wrong. Who knows? Whatever it was, it was not transparent, and it certainly lacked accountability.

To obscure costs in the larger budgets of Health and of Education is one thing; to do so in the ED budget of only £14 m requires rare talent and dedication. Senator Ozouf managed it. Apparently, the poacher has now turned gamekeeper, and according to Senator Ferguson we should now place our trust in him. I hope she will understand if I withhold mine.

Geoff Southern

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Those who chose to ridicule the views of Lord Wallace of Saltaire should take more notice of the following report in today's newspapers :

Britain assumed day-to-day control of the Turks and Caicos Islands amid allegations of corruption.Local government in the islands will be suspended for up to 2 years while the overseas territory's are put back in 'good order' according to the Foreign Office.

Jersey could be next!


Friday, August 14, 2009

Geoff Lambasts Terry's Slippery and Misleading Tactics

How clever and slippery is our Chief Minister. He appears to have convinced representatives of States employees that he has reopened negotiations over 2009 pay and public sector cuts, when nothing could be further from the truth. In the words of the report (JEP 12th August) “they won’t budge over £4m cuts and the pay freeze”.

Negotiations may take place, but they will be “within policy”. That policy, decided not by the States, but imposed by the States Employment Board (SEB) and sanctioned by the Council of Ministers, is simple: there will be a pay freeze and service cuts. These are not negotiable; the Chief Minister is just playing for time.

It will surely not take long for union representatives to realise that they have again been misled by Senators Le Sueur and Ozouf. It is highly unlikely that a meeting between representatives and SEB can take place before the first week of September and yet the Business Plan will be in place and set in concrete by the 22nd. Such a timescale makes real negotiation impossible.

Earlier in the year, whilst the Treasury Minister presented zero pay awards as the norm on the basis of zero evidence, the Chief Minister was equally slippery with the facts in debate over the pay freeze in the States. He presented comparisons which purported to show not only that public sector workers were better off than their counterparts in the UK, but that they were also better paid than those in the private sector in Jersey. His figures were designed to mislead.

To start with, he failed to compare the cost of living in Jersey and the UK before comparing wages. The best data can be obtained from the Jersey Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2004-5. This reveals that the cost of living in Jersey is a massive 46% higher than the UK. This is the benchmark for any real comparison of wages, and yet it was not mentioned in the report to the States.

Figures presented by the Chief Minister suggested that public sector workers were far better off than their colleagues in the UK. On average Jersey States workers were 39% better paid. This does not make them 39% better off. To be better off, Jersey workers would have to be paid at least the benchmark figure of 46% more to match the cost of living here. They are in fact 7% worse off.

Similar remarks could be made about the figures presented for comparison of Jersey public and private sectors in order to justify a pay freeze. For example, public sector nurses are supposed to be 1% better off than their private sector colleagues. The data reveal that they are in fact 6% worse off. In the meantime recruitment and retention rates for nurses are hitting all-time lows, an entire ward has been closed because of staff shortages, and a waiting list is looming for cancer treatment.

The Chief Minister may sit back and think he has got away with his handling of a pay freeze for the moment, but he is merely storing up long-term pain as a result of his short -term political gain.

Geoff Southern

Migrating jobs

The Minister of the Inferior has stamped his foot and told local unemployed people they will be forced to take low paid jobs normally reserved for immigrant workers.

At the same time,the Big Plan boasts that at least 325 immigrants a year will be allowed into the Island for the next 5 years. Meanwhile the economic downturn is causing job losses for immigrants who have been here for less than 5 years.

What does the Minister intend to do with the resulting cheap labour a pyramid on the Waterfront?


Blog on the Run

Someone hacked into my computer, crashed it and killed my internet connection. Was it something I said ?

I will not be silenced, so will continue to blog 'on the run' whenever possible.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Technical Hitch

Someone close to "Pandora", our most prolific contributor, tells me that she is having technical problems with her internet connection.
She has not run out of things to say; she just is physically unable to post them on here at present. Don't give up - she'll be back soon.

David Rotherham

Friday, August 7, 2009

Black Hole in the Treasury

States Treasurer,Ian Black, has not been sacked or even suspended following a secret disciplinary hearing over the incinerator fiasco. By failing to fix the exchange rate for the new incinerator contract, he has probably cost the Island millions of pounds.

The Chief Minister's department refuses to comment on disciplinary matters involving his staff but did say : " ..we have a contractual obligation of duty of care to our employees."

Excuse me,what about your duty of care to the electorate who were promised transparent and honest government? What about your duty of care to the taxpayers whose money has been lost and who are still expected to pay the final bill?


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hidden Agenda

Does the Treasury Minister have a hidden agenda behind the public outcry he is causing as he slowly releases details of the Business Cuts? Is he deliberately targeting vulnerable groups to create as much public opposition as possible ? Then he will u-turn round & say that if we won't do what he wants,then he has no option but to increase GST.

Whatever the plan,we must watch very carefully. Now is the time for all good men(and women) to come to the aid of the Party!!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Open letter on Business Plan:- What is Going on?

As the debate around the 2010 Business Plan (ABP) plumbs new depths of incompetence from the Council of Ministers, one has to ask whether the Jersey electorate can retain any measure of faith or confidence in its government. One thing is apparent – with two ministers already changing their minds on what to support – it is not the Council of Ministers’ Plan. Nor does it appear to be the Chief Minister’s Plan; it bears all the marks of being the work of the Treasury Minister, Senator Ozouf.

First we had an air of mystery and secrecy. In presenting the ABP to States members on Monday 20th July, the Chief Minister and Treasury Minister managed to bring the usual stock of well-spun platitudes, but failed to produce a copy of the Business Plan itself. Of course the media had seen their copies on the previous Friday, but mysterious last-minute changes meant that States members could not see it either in hard copy or electronic form.

Within an hour of the close of this meeting, the first group of States workers at Grands Vaux Family Centre were being told that their centre was to close, and their jobs were under threat. The following day, it was the turn of Patient Transport workers to get the same chilling news that their service was to be cut. States members did not finally see the Annex to the ABP, containing the details of how some cuts were to be delivered until Friday 24th, well after the final States meeting, thus preventing any detailed questions to ministers.

Even now, no-one knows exactly what cuts are to be delivered. The Health minister has abandoned many of the proposals she had previously sanctioned. The Education minister opposes many of the changes forced on him. States members and scrutiny officers are studying the figures and seeking clarity from ministers. The answers are few and far between. Who has the definitive list of where the axe will fall?

The Treasury Minister says that the 0.8% across the board savings he imposed must be achieved and if some cuts are aborted others must be found. On Sunday, he stated that some ministers have yet to finalise their priorities. When will the workers, the public and States members know? The Chief Minister has offered a meeting for the 3rd September to finally explain it all – just too late to finalise amendments to the plan. This is sheer incompetence.
Of course the spin machine rolls on. If we are to believe Senator Ozouf’s thatcherite dogma, cuts are “efficiency savings” and every business can bring in 0.8% savings each and every year. This of course has no basis in reality. He describes the funding of front line services (such as Williamson proposes) as “new money”. This is a lie; the money comes from cuts made elsewhere, and he knows it. The driving force is “value for money”, he says. Here speaks a man who knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing.

The nostrum he peddles is one beloved of right-wing politicians and economists everywhere: small government with low public service spending accompanied by low flat-rate taxes. He is aware that Jersey is bottom of any league table comparing spending on social protection. The quality of our public services is remarkable in the light of the low spend, but it is not out of the ordinary. Yet he continues to portray it as either grossly inefficient, or as a luxury “Rolls-Royce” oversupply. Neither is remotely true. Having set himself against my proposals for progressive tax measures, proper reform of Social Security supplementation, and evaluation of Land Value Tax, his only option is to substantially reduce public services and the cut standard of living of ordinary workers with a wage freeze.

The real driving force behind these policies is Senator Ozouf’s political ambition. He knows full well that increased spending by government is an appropriate and correct response to a recession. After all he has a Fiscal Stimulus war chest of over £100m to do so, with £44m already allocated to spend this year (again only he knows the details). Yet that pragmatic approach cannot be applied to public sector services and wages to the tune of £17m. “Why not?” one may legitimately ask. Could the answer be that the Fiscal Stimulus money is almost entirely within the control of the Treasury Minister himself, whereas the other funding is not?
Perhaps a little light is shed on his motives by his recent initiatives. A drive towards a centralisation of power and control is evident. At a time when the financial advisers employed by the States to invest a variety of funds have managed to produce a loss of around £250 m from stock market holdings, the Minister proposes to increase the level of risk by increasing investment of the Strategic Reserve and other funds in shares to 50%. Control of these funds would rest with the minister (subject to advice).

The minister’s ludicrous attempt to use standing orders to prevent scrutiny from examining the Banking Depositor Compensation Scheme (DCS) is also revealing. It showed his already well-known contempt for the scrutiny process. While standing for election in November Senator Ozouf informed voters that a DCS was not needed. Six months later not only was DCS vital, but Scrutiny was not to delay his plans. His subsequent involvement in organising a vote of no confidence in the Scrutiny Chairman concerned was shamefully anti-democratic.

A further glimpse into the ambitions of Senator Ozouf is revealed by his move to centralise control of departmental budgets. By making departmental finance officers report to him, the minister will at one fell swoop reduce the number of decision–makers from ten down to one. Incidentally, while all other departments suffer budget cuts, Treasury funds will increase by £600,000 to enable this control. If this proposal succeeds, we will have witnessed a bloodless coup and one–person government will have arrived.

What is going on? A fundamental and anti-democratic shift in the balance of power is under way, led by Senator Ozouf. It must be opposed.

Geoff Southern 07797 772 632
La Rochelle
St Helier

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pulling the Purse Strings

Our Treasury Minister has orchestrated a new plan; has he changed from the oboe to the fiddle?
Does he really believe we will let him hold all the purse strings?

Somebody remind him that we are not a dictatorship and he is not chancellor.

People of Jersey we must unite to stop this abuse of power now!!


Monday, August 3, 2009

Treasury of Poems

Little Tom Thumb sat on his bum,
Eating his Treasury pie.
He put in his thumb,
Pulled out a lump sum;
Said 'What a bad boy am I !"

Little Miss Muppet sat on her tuffett
Plotting, the Jersey Way.
Along came a spider,sat down beside her
Growling "I'm from the JDA."


A Grim Fairy Story

A group of unemployed friends,a donkey,dog,cat and rooster decided to travel together in search of work. As darkness fell,they noticed lights beyond the trees and decided to seek shelter for the night.

Looking through the nearest window, they were able to see a gang of good-for-nothings feasting and counting lots of money. The alliance decided to make as much noise as possible to frighten the gang out of the house. So,the rooster flew onto the roof next to a stone owl and the others hid next to doors and windows.

Their plan was successful as the gang ran for safety under the trees. For ever after they told the tale of the demons who had invaded their house shouting " Waterfront", " Child Abuse", "Business Plan" and,worst of all, " Come to Look at Your Books! "


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Spread the Word.

Can't tell Talk from Mutter?
Fed up of double-talk,spin,rumours and outright lies?

Listen to the words of the JDA, much more spreadable than any other establishment brand.

Join the JDA today.

Help us put a better flavoured future on your table.