Saturday, June 19, 2010

"No Damage Done"???????

DEPUTY Geoff Southern shows his customary resilience in the face of adversity, with his insouciant declaration that there was no damage done by the result of his latest Senatorial campaign.

On the other hand though, the statement held no trace of his other customary qualities of being good at grasping facts and interpreting figures.

All that he says beneath the headline is indeed true. Geoff's error is that it is not all that there is to be said. Moreover, the unsaid items are big ones.

As he belatedly admits, many voters saw there was no advantage in voting for him, as he was already in the States anyway. That much was always obvious, so the assumption that those many voters would not notice that catch was rash, to say the least. The key agendum of any election is to elect the candidate enjoying the widest confidence; economics and policing are subordinate issues. To have re-elected the sitting candidate would simply have moved the actual choice of the new member to a secondary by-election, in which most of us would not have got a vote. Thus, success would have been an own goal against democracy. Although the goal was easily saved by the electorate, the attempt to score it was a lower standard of competence than the JDA usually aspire to. And it damages the party to be seen as incompetent and anti-democratic.

Geoff's intention to show the JDA are a “serious political force” would have been fine, had we done so. However, asking the voters to endorse us as such is, like any big question, double-edged. The derisory thousand votes we managed to scrape answers us alright, but that answer is “Oh no you're not, hahaha!” Geoff sought enhanced authority, but instead it has been immensely diminished. And, as he ran as our candidate, the party has lost its credibility with him, and the JDA's other public representatives lose what added kudos they gained from being in the team. Now, that is damage in a very big way, for all of us in the party.

The by-election campaign was a still deeper misjudgement, though. Despite Stuart Syvret's 2007 declaration of intent to destroy the JDA, he and we aim a broadly similar policy raft at the same voters. In 2005, we assumed that anyone who voted for us would vote for him, too, and ever since, we have known that we shared the same base. Voting for him and us did neither any harm, but this time it was him or us. Stuart's relationship with his voters goes back a decade before the JDA was even formed, and they resented being asked to choose. True he has alienated some of them with his recent behaviour, myself included, but three and a half thousand still thought what he has got right made the rest worthwhile. Having been made to choose against us, that large body of voters will now be considering themselves JDA opponents, and it will be an uphill struggle to tempt them back. Worse, the personal acrimony towards a man so many are fond of has antagonised them against us, especially from people perceived to be his friends. For myself, as Syvret has pointedly snubbed me each time we have met, whether you put that down to plain rudeness or shrewd judgement, I have no friendship to betray, but some of my party colleagues have been closer to him, in the past, so public responses to private breaches look more disloyal than they are from the outside. So, we have thousands of our core voters at least resenting us, and in many cases seeing us as traitors. That may not be how it was, but it it is how it has been seen. And that, too, is grave damage to the JDA.

Not only has the campaign split the wider progressive cause in Jersey, but its failure has posed a risk of splitting the party. Many outsiders are urging us to dump founding members Geoff and Ted, while many others want to see the other founding members, Trevor and Shona, wash their hands of us, despite the establishment of the JDA having been their big project of the last five years. Yet, cleansing reputations by sackings and walkouts raises further problems in going on. Were anybody to bring a successful motion that Geoff be expelled for bringing the party into disrepute, we would all wonder who would be next, and lose trust in our own party. Besides, as the candidature was a Council decision, they would have to fire the lot of us en bloc, and there are not enough other potential party leaders in the membership to fill the gap we would leave. Even after quitting, the Pitmans would still be tagged ex-JDA for the next ten years, so they would salvage little public repute for the price of abandoning the party that has been more their baby than anyone else's since 2006. This kind of destabilisation is damage, too.

I am not sure that I liked seeing Unite's logo alongside our own on our adverts, either. Having been a TGWU member in the late 1970's, when Mostyn Evans was sacrificing his subs-paying members' interests to his political aims, I am not keen on trade unions getting political. I am still less keen on the prospect that the JDA could become, either in fact or in popular imagination, a paid front for Unite, or any other union. If the relationship is clearly and openly that they are backing us, that is fine, but if we are fronting them, and becoming the Jersey Labour Party by stealth, then I want no more part of it. Cosying up to the unions could be damaging, unless the JLP is really an objective.

After this, the JDA plainly cannot field any Senatorial candidates, and possibly not even any Deputies in 2011, and maybe not even in 2014 either. The party can endure as a means of organising teamwork between centre-left politicians and between their supporters, but it will now be several years of re-establishing its reputation before it can return to a party's real business. That is terrible damage.

So, Geoffrey, there is great damage done, actually. Jersey needs to develop party politics, and we want a centre-left one in the range. So, the JDA needs to go on, but it would be ridiculous to pretend that this has been anything other than a massive setback that has undone four years' progress. Politics is a numbers game like snakes and ladders, as well as in the sense you meant, and we are back at about square 3 now.

I second Geoff's closing remarks, though:
Keep the faith. The fight goes on.

David Rotherham

47 comments:

  1. David, it is blatently clear from the 100's of posts scattered all over the Blogs including this one that Stuart Syvret supporters have done their homework and are putting for full blame of this election result onto the JDA.

    Maybe you should let things cool down for a bit, give it say a few weeks, or maybe a few months, in fact better still, give it a few years......

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  2. Quote:

    "Politics is a numbers game like snakes and ladders"

    Yes and we all know who the snake is.

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  3. It is time for Geoff Southern to answer the allegations about his personal life, as posted by Stuart Syvret.

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  4. Too much damage done!

    If The JDA had had a good leader,and future thinking members, they would never had even attempted to bad mouth Stuart, especially not in the JEP (they were lapping it up) then on top of that they put their leader(?) up against Stuart.

    And that Leader(?) or any of their members could not see what this was doing to their future?

    Wednesday was a very sad day in Jersey Politics and if you are not missing Syvret yet you soon will be and with regret!!

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  5. The political damage here goes deeper than just the JDA. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    You have betrayed the people of Jersey.

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  6. Not Expulsions or Walkouts

    But a Clear Political Stance on Corruption and Child Abuse, a Clear Stance on Other Progressives and, maybe an Apology.

    The JDA does not need to implode because it followed a wrong strategy in this election - it needs to learn from its mistakes and get its house in order:

    1. The JDA should be a political party that has answers to the questions that its supporters raise. These questions clearly include the way that Jersey is run. The JDA should say clearly as a party what it thinks about the events surrounding the Historic Abuse Enquiry and the suspension of the Chief of Police, rather than leaving it to Trevor. It should make these issues central to its campaigning activity alongside bread and butter economic issues

    To duck these issues is at best politically blinkered, and at worst opportunism and political cowardice.

    2. The JDA should not allow itself to be used as a vehicle for personal vendettas. A political party defends itself from attack by being political and having the maturity to distinguish a message from the messenger.

    3. You should, as a party, eat humble pie. You should admit, as a party that you made a mistake, and you should take the actions necessary to show that you mean it. For a minimum you should remove the link to Vibert's blog from your site and remove the ridiculous 'No damage done' box from your home page. Every time that is seen it only increases the damage that has been done, and frankly make you look deranged.


    If you act quickly you might still rescue something from this debacle.

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  7. Ted and Geoff have set the progressive movement (JDA and independent progressives) back years.
    How very sad this pair of clowns are !!

    They once had my respect - Never again !!

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  8. Thanks to Other Exile, and also one or two of the anonymous commentators on the previous post, for offering constructive advice on the way forward, instead of just ranting at us.

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  9. "I am not sure that I liked seeing Unite's logo alongside our own on our adverts, either. Having been a TGWU member in the late 1970's, when Mostyn Evans was sacrificing his subs-paying members' interests to his political aims, I am not keen on trade unions getting political."

    I did some checking with Union members and they had no idea their Union had used its subs to endorse Geoff.

    There is clearly no country support for the JDA, and I think what it needs to do is address that issue, perhaps by addressing issues there that the sitting Deputies have not done so.

    It should also look more towards working in a loose alliance (dare I use the word coalition?) with like minded candidates in country parishes over addressing issues there, especially if the issues affect both country and urban areas.

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  10. This crap about Syvret supporters have done the sums and concluded that the JDA is responsible for the Messiah's defeat really does make one want to cry. I couldn't give a damn about what the JDA decide to do - it is up to them. But moronic comments like this really show above all else why the JDA should have stayed out of the election fray.

    Syvret, rather than face up to being a self-obsessed hasbeen 3 years past his political shelf life is always looking for someone or something to blame for his own shortcomings. Mug that the egotistical Southern is he has now allowed some of the unthinking numpties who blindly follow Syvret (of course most of his supporters aren't so blinkered, just as with the rest of us) and probably the Messiah Himself to con themselves into thinking that this could be true.

    To these and Syvret himself I would instead say, try considering the six months at the public's expense in London; the bad-mouthing of almost everyone else in politics; the failure to give the Scrutiny sub-panel doing the vulnerable childreen's investigation any of the evidence they needed; the doing next to nothing in wider political terms for the best part of the last three years, and so on and so forth.

    That is the truth of it. And it is where Syvret, his more blinkered supporters, and the wider so called progressive element need to reflect upon and learn from if they are to move forward. Syvret is gone. Politically he is dead and buried. This makes me sad but it needs to be accepted. Geoff Southern needs to look at himself to. If he can't then he really should be joining Stuart Syvret in the thanks for aall you did but time to go history books - or is that history bin?

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  11. I agree with Comment 10.

    Why can't his supporters just accept that SS no longer has the public support needed to stay in the States and to blame GS for losing the election is just sour grapes? Childish insults are still being dished out on his blog and all for what, to show that he is a really bad loser?

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  12. Just heard the news- Ted is the new president of the JDA. OMG...... I didn't think the JDA would make yet another stupendous blunder. Trevor, I used to respect you but I'm presuming you voted in Ted.
    Get a grip please.

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  13. Syvret is not gone totally though. He is still going to stand up and speak out.

    If anybody is "Politically dead" it is the "blinkered" JDA and in particular Geoff Southern.
    I feel upset for the Pitmans who will probably lose out next year because of all this.

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  14. "That is the truth of it. And it is where Syvret, his more blinkered supporters, and the wider so called progressive element need to reflect upon and learn from if they are to move forward. Syvret is gone. Politically he is dead and buried. This makes me sad but it needs to be accepted."

    I'm sorry, that's patently untrue. Syvret came second in this election, hardly the apolyptic defeat you imply.

    He could have chosen to return to the island at any time and reclaim without having to face election. He chose not to.

    The results of the election suggest if Syvret stood again there would be a good chance he could win. However, he has publically stated he will not stand. he chose not to.

    If his political career is "dead and buried" that is because of his choice and his choice alone.

    To compare it with the Geoff Southern situation is nonsensical. Southern's own actions have clearly created huge unintentional damage for Southern and the JDA. Not of his own choosing.

    You say "To these and Syvret himself I would instead say, try considering the six months at the public's expense in London; the bad-mouthing of almost everyone else in politics; the failure to give the Scrutiny sub-panel doing the vulnerable childreen's investigation any of the evidence they needed; the doing next to nothing in wider political terms for the best part of the last three years, and so on and so forth."

    I'm intrigued. You've made a very in-depth comment denigrating Syvret by putting forward a supposedly factual argument.

    But you've chosen to ignore the evidenced material and reports which have appeared on his blog over the past two years to support his many "bad mouthings". And you've failed to question why there is an oddly distinct lack of response from the vast majority of those he has "badmouthed".

    It's a rather major point about what Syvret has been doing with his time, probably THE major point, so why have you failed to take it into account?

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  15. Get behind the JDA!June 21, 2010 at 8:03 AM

    Syvret has a lot of things coming to him now starting with his next court appearance on 29th June. The knives are being sharpened and thats the message going around. So I would say he has enough problems to deal with now couple with unemployment, debt problems and accomodation problems so forget about him completely, he is a gonna.

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  16. 'Syvret has a lot of things coming to him now starting with his next court appearance on 29th June. The knives are being sharpened and thats the message going around. So I would say he has enough problems to deal with now couple with unemployment, debt problems and accomodation problems so forget about him completely, he is a gonna'.

    This comment is so very misguided it beggers belief. You have very little knowledge of Mr Syvret's personal circumstances. Indeed, the only thing you have got right is his forthcoming Court appearance, so whoever is sending 'this message around' should do what Stuart does and get his facts straight.

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  17. It is really pretty sad to see the odd bozo even beginning to try and drag Trevor and Shona Pitman into this. I just wish some people would just hold on to their horses and try to see the bigger picture here.

    This witch hunt from a few Stuart Syvret supporters is rather pathetic but more importantly could be really damaging for the progressive cause if it continues. Stuart Syvret does need to look at himself. His defeat and rejection by the public - a collapse from 15000 to 3000 - is all his own doing.

    As for not being dead and buried politically as Anonymous claims - get real. This young man is headed for oblivion no matter how much more viciousness he flings out and all and sundry. He may well "speak out" but fewer and fewer are listening. I know, becuase I am one who used to do so but now say change the record, look in the mirror and sort yourself out.

    Goeff Southern does need to make some kind of statement though and do so quickly.

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  18. Southern and Syvret should bog off together in to the sunset and not come back. I hope todays announcement doesn't mean that Ted is party leader, does it? If the JDA can be saved then the only one who might be able to do it is 'Big Trev'. Clarification would be appreciated.

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  19. Gee Gee he was only in the Petty Debts Court last Wednesday. Keep up.....

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  20. Anybody to the right of centre in Jersey must be laughing their socks off, night after night.

    Syvret stays away till his time and money run out, then believes the electorate won't be able to tell the difference between that, and resigning his seat, and announces to the hustings that he's been 'brave'. 'Brave' would have been resigning last September.

    Southern is vain enough, and out-of-touch enough, to think he can slip into a Senatorial seat in a by-election - and doesn't even have the political nous to see that the best thing he and the JDA can do is to keep clear and let SS succeed or fail on his own merits.

    Syvret, after one Ted Vibert letter to the paper, says JDA attacks have been 'vicious on an unprecedented scale'. Clearly hasn't opened a critical letter before. Having tried many times, in the past, to get him to return a phone message, this doesn't surprise me a lot.

    Southern, after making the JDA a laughing-stock, says, "No harm done" (transl. "I've still got my job, and I plan to help a lot of people with their voting forms next Autumn").

    Syvret has the gall to call himself a victim and compare himself to a REAL fighter for the people - Norman Le Brocq; all while saying that his 11,500 drop in votes is all someone else's fault.

    Between you, you've set back the cause of progressive politics in Jersey, at least ten years, making the task of any genuine progressive candidate almost impossible in 16 months' time - all for your pathetic egos. You should be ashamed, but I know you won't be - after all, it's no harm done, or else it's all someone else's fault, isn't it?

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  21. HaHaHaHaHa - Oh no, no, no, no, no........you can't be serious!

    Ted Vibert as Chairman. Self destruct.

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  22. I reckon Southern and Vibert did a good job of getting rid of this idiot. Nice one JDA you gained a voter!

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  23. Quote John
    It is really pretty sad to see the odd bozo even beginning to try and drag Trevor and Shona Pitman into this. I just wish some people would just hold on to their horses and try to see the bigger picture here.

    This witch hunt from a few Stuart Syvret supporters is rather pathetic

    John you add fuel to the fire how blind are you look how few letters there are from JDA supporters on all blogs. The JDA really do not see the Damage done by Southern & Vibert

    None of my extended family who have in the past voted JDA will ever vote for them again not in six month never

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  24. This afternoon I believed the JDA was a badly damaged party, clutching a severe accidentally self-inflicted wound, but learning from the mistake that caused the wound and reaching tentatively towards the medicine box.

    Tonight I hear Ted Vibert is now president of the JDA.

    I can only assume the box was found to contain an empty revolver and a single bullet, and the JDA hierachy decided Russian roulette is the lastest party craze.

    I'm astounded. Astounded.

    I had given the JDA the benefit of the doubt following this most recent blog post. But now? You have learnt NOTHING from all the public comment given recently, NOTHING.

    The JDA deserves no more sympathy, no more respect and no further chances. I hope you fade into obscurity after the next election. You've done your very best to earn it.

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  25. No damage done, Geoff is still in the job and Stuart was unemployed in the first place. No change so why all the moaning? If Stuart was dumb enough to run to the UK on a stupid legal asylum bid and lose his seat when he could of come back at anytime then he is the fool. Time to move on now, the dying tribe of Stuart supporters cannot change anything so why even bother anymore.

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  26. No he wasn't, he was at an election! Might have had a case against him. So what......?

    And as for the rest of your assumptions?? You keep up and don't pass comment on that which you nothing about.

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  27. According to Syvret the jda is a 'busted flush'. Maybe you guys are, but that still has to be better than the current state of Syvret himself... We already know that he has been 'busted' and very soon he will be 'flushed' down the pan for ever by a majority of the public who have seen through the martyr act!

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  28. Can I just add this? If your Ted Vibert writing a letter questionning some of Syvret's actions and claims is a 'campaign' against him then what the hell is the three years of hate, lies and abuse against countless people on Syvret's vile blog? 'Courage & Integrity'? Don't make me laugh

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  29. Stuart Syvret is yesterday's chip paper, forget about him now because everybody else has.

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  30. I support the JDAJune 22, 2010 at 1:33 AM

    Stuart Syvret got what was due to him at these elections and good riddance!

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  31. Well I will go against the grain and say that I am proud of what the JDA did against Syvret, the stuttering fool got his just desserts!

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  32. I am not an Alliance member but I just want to say that I am ecstatic that Syvret has been dumped out by the public. Not that I think the Alliance had anything to do with the result. Southern standing just gives the horrible little twerp someone to blame apart from himself. Let's hope he now gets his just deserts in the courts.

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  33. President of the JDA?

    So, what's one of those, then? I had a look at your Constitution - it's on the Internet. There is no such position as President of the JDA.

    So you (whoever took this innovative decision)have invented a title for one of your members... To think that I actually considered giving you a donation before the Syvret debacle, and now this...

    What's next? President for Life? Founder-leader? Great Helmsman?

    Do you really expect any serious person to want to have anything to do with a groupuscule that behaves this way?

    Sheeeshh!!

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  34. I support the JDA said...
    Stuart Syvret got what was due to him at these elections and good riddance!

    and Ted and Geoff's Marvellous Adventure got less than a third of the votes SS got and now the much vaunted Vote of No Confidence dies at 9:38 .

    Next thing is you'll be employing Glenn Rankine to put a possible spin on that as well . Just because he can make Alan Maclean look like a politician doesn't mean he could pull the two comedians out of this mire.

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  35. JDA rules for posting on their blog:
    "We shall not accept comments that are offensive in language or content, libellous, irrelevant or deranged.
    We have no means of editing comments -it is all or nothing. So, if there is any of your comment we can't use, we can't use any of it."

    JDA should practice what they preach. Get rid of Ted Vibet and Geoff Southern, they are a disgrace and I will never vote for JDA members again whilst these two morons remain in the party.

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  36. Other Exile

    I am pretty sure the position is 'Honorary' president so not an official officer at all. rather like the two honorary 'patrons' who were agreed at the last AGM. Wouldn't need to be in a constitution.

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  37. "Ted and Geoff's Marvellous Adventure"

    Excellent! LOL

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  38. The only ones finished are the JDA, have they lost sight of reality Syvret 3400 Southern 1000 does that not tell you how popular the JDA are, an Island wide election, all the excuses made by Southerns JDA supporter's are rubbish

    Thanks to the JDA own actions they are finished, to top it all they have now made Vibert the Architect of there defeat and currant dislike PRESIDENT of the JDA just MAD

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  39. The next election will be a crushing landslide for the establishment.
    Well done Southern!

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  40. The only ones finished? Syvret a collapse of 12000, yup, 12000 votes. Southern a collaapse of 6000 votes. In real percentage terms I think that puts these two egotistical gentlemen neck and neck in the 'time to hang up my stetson and exit the OK coral' stakes. There are new gunslingers on the block now anyway. Time to let them take over.

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  41. Pat,

    Ted V. may be 'honorary', but that is not how it is presented. And if I understand correctly, the right of the JDA Council to appoint patrons IS regulated by the party's constitution, unlike inventing fancy titles on a whim for people.

    Inventing imaginary posts is hardly the action of a vital healthy party. It's sad in a way, because it shows that the group cannot find enough members of leadership quality outside of its States Members (and one or two would-be members) to oppose a pretty blatant takeover, pushing the JDA in the direction of an apolitical fan club.

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  42. Other Exile

    'Presented' by the JEP! So no surprise there then really. Having patrons for example like Mrs Chris Wakeham who has done so much for children, young people and women in Jersey has to be a good thing, and hardly just a fancy title in my view.

    Perhaps you don't know enough about older people like her though to realise the significance.

    Maybe one of the JDA Council could enlarge a bit more becuase I really don't think the party made the most broadcasting this after last years AGM. The JDA's future is anothing though I quite agree.

    If it is to carry on after an election where everyone should have just let Stuart Syvret sink or swim on his own merit then we really need a new set up. Geoff has had his day and sadly blown it with this effort.

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  43. I don't much care what happens to any of the principal actors in this soap, but there is an important principle at stake: It is not the responsibility of an accused person to prove his innocence - it is the accusers' responsibility to supply evidence of guilt.

    SS, on his blog, says that he doesn't publish accusations unless HE is satisfied that they are true. This may be reassuring for him and his supporters, but it isn't good enough.

    If SS (or other similar bloggers) is to be the arbiter of guilt and innocence, then we can do without the police, the courts, and any quaint old-fashioned notion of justice, and simply move to a lynch-mob system.

    Two further points:

    1. Someone who repeats and circulates accusations without evidence, or who (while coyly avoiding any mention of the 'crime') demands that an accused person prove his innocence, is as much an enemy of justice, as the person who first publishes those accusations.

    2. Mob-rule is easy to start, more difficult to stop. It is a monster with an insatiable appetite. History - for instance the French 'Terror' in the 1790s, or the Third Reich - (and SS's consistent pattern of behaviour, over many years, towards former friends and allies) shows that some of today's supporters will become tomorrow's accused.

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  44. David,

    You have some wise words and I suggest that the JDA gets behind you and pushes you for its leader.

    Having a political leader does not help your cause because when the chips are down, he or she will do whatever is needed to push their own agenda. This would not happen with a non political leader.

    Should you wish to run in the next elections though, you would need to find someone else who is as elequent to take the helm and possibly think of a haircut.

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  45. Thanks to the last commentator for the compliments. However, you have guessed right about me planning to snip the ponytail and run for Senator next autumn, so I would not be the non-political leader you wisely recommend.

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  46. I could not agree anymore, David should stand and also Emile should consider throwing himself into the elections.

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  47. I don't agree at all. But I do know an ex-carpenter who should consider throwing himself into the harbour. Firstly, the cold water might snap him out of his delusions. Second, might find out if he can walk on water after all.

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