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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

OLD HAM SOON FORGOTTEN?


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The Oldham Report has now been published for just a month and there has been time for initial reactions from players and commentators. So I thought I should add some reactions of my own given that I have followed certain aspects of the Inquiry in some detail.

The Inquiry's final report can be accessed here.

The Inquiry's home page also gives two links to Frances Oldham's summary statement on the publication of the report. The first of these (to Part 1) does not work and this is the second (to part 2). The page also gives links to the vast trove of documentation which covers both the appearance of witnesses and the documentation supplied by them.

Be aware that the Inquiry's website is a bit of a mess and has been very unsatisfactory throughout. So much so that many people have taken to downloading aspects which are of interest to them for fear they would vanish (as some have) or be further edited (which some were) or become otherwise unavailable, particularly now that the site has been abandoned by the Inquiry team and handed over to the States of Jersey.

How the States intend dealing with it and whether there are any plans to clean up the site and make the material more accessible is unknown at this stage.

What was expected from this report?

Different people had very different views of the nature of the Inquiry and what it might have been expected to produce.

At one extreme, some saw it as a court which would deliver a verdict on the behaviour of individuals, hold them to account and even throw them in jail.

At the other extreme the Inquiry was seen as a PR exercise, or whitewash, by the establishment which would lead to an admission of past failures, limit the apportioning of blame to institutions rather than individuals, and make some recommendations for future improvements.

I did a post in the run up to the publication of the report setting out what I expected to see in it. In that post I referred to a number of negative aspects of the Inquiry's behaviour to date and to my expectation of a very limited outcome.

What was in it?

The outcome is broadly as I expected but with some differences.

The report did criticise people, principally these five: Andrew Lewis, Philip Bailhache, Bill Ogley, Tom McKeon and Mario Lundy.

The criticism of Lewis looks like being the only one which will have any consequences for the individual concerned.

Lewis - Minister

To put Lewis in context, he is a weak man who was catapulted into a ministerial position to do the bidding of the establishment and then hung out to dry when he started digging himself (and others) into a hole and wouldn't stop.

His major gaffe was to have allowed himself to be the fall guy in the suspension (effective sacking) of the Police Chief in a process that broke every rule in the book.

He subsequently repeatedly lied in an effort to redeem himself and scared the pants off the establishment who feared that he might thereby put their corrupt and clandestine hold over the polity of Jersey in jeopardy.

The point at issue was the legality, fairness and reason for the suspension of the Police Chief. The case against Lewis, and his puppet masters, was that (i) they had planned the disposal of the Police Chief from way back but falsely presented it as a spontaneous reaction to a negative report from the Deputy Chief, (ii) they did not observe due process in the suspension, in fact they acted against legal advice, and (iii) the reasons for the hasty and botched suspension didn't hold water.

The Inquiry found that the had lied all over the place.

Philip Bailhache - Bailiff

Philip denied putting the welfare of the financial sector before the safety of children but accepted that his Liberation day speech, which may have given that impression, was unfortunately worded.

The Inquiry judged his words a serious political error but, it should be noted, did not absolve him of the attitude implied in his wording.

Bill Ogley - CEO

Bill was at the heart of carrying out much of the conspiracy. The Inquiry did not accept his version of events, particularly regarding the purported spontaniety of the suspension of the Police Chief.

The Inquiry also alluded to his form in these matters when he had earlier unsuccessfully attempted to involve the Police Chief and another officer in the sacking of the whistleblowing Minister Stuart Syvret.

Tom McKeon & Mario Lundy - Managers

The Inquiry censured these two managers for lying about the frequency of use of secure accommodation and their failure of management which led to inconsistent and at times excessive use of force by adults towards children.

Stuart Syvret

The Inquiry did also criticise Stuart Syvret on two grounds, namely that (i) his public attacks on civil servants were inappropriate and did not assist his cause, and (ii) his refusal to participate in the Inquiry.

The Inquiry (generously!) found that Syvret's actions did not amount to political interference in Operation Rectangle but that the manner of his dismissal was outside their terms of reference.

And in a paragraph that will surely go down in history for sheer brazen neck, it held:
Stuart Syvret has not given evidence to this Public Inquiry. Requests to him were made on a number of occasions seeking his assistance and any relevant evidence he might have. As a States member for many years, latterly as the Minister for HSSD, his contribution to the work of this Inquiry may have assisted. His refusal to assist is to be regretted.
My view is that Stuart Syvret was constructively excluded from the Inquiry and it doesn't take a genius to work that out.

He had been oppressed by the establishment, including through imprisonment. He had been subject to a supergag order (as far as we know) and he requested legal protection before he would bear witness to the Inquiry. In spite of the massive legal bills incurred in other aspects of the Inquiry his request was refused and the refusal was then hidden, unlike all the other Inquiry decisions, in an obscure corner of the Inquiry's website.

It is also significant that the Inquiry, while admitting his relevance, refused to subpoena him, an action which might effectively have led to him getting some degree of legal protection. In fact, he was not the only relevant witness who was not subpoened and this lack of action does not reflect well on the bona fides of the Inquiry itself.

It should be pointed out that Syvret has cast doubt on the vires/legality of the whole Jersey administration and also on that of the Inquiry itself. Nevertheless, it is quite possible that he would have chosen to participate given appropriate legal protection.

Suspension of Graham Power

I have already done a fairly long post on Graham Power's evidence to the Inquiry and don't intend repeating myself here.

I know I run the risk of being accused of being obsessed with this aspect of the case rather than the core matter of the abuse of children. However, one of the Inquiry's terms of reference involves its looking into whether there was any political interference in the earlier police inquiry into abuse of children.

As far as I am concerned, Graham Power's suspension is a text book case of such interference. It is also a litmus test for such interference. That's why I make no apology for stressing it.

The Inquiry itself went on to
... record our disquiet at the manner in which the suspension was handled and in respect of some of the evidence given to us about it. We refer, in particular, to the following issues:
  • Graham Power was suspended with no notice in respect of alleged past failings, when there was no suggestion that those past failings could have an effect on his ability in future to carry out his duties;
  • Those responsible for his suspension did not heed the advice of the Solicitor General or Attorney General about the risks of reliance on the Metropolitan Police interim report, the need to show any report to Graham Power and permit him to comment on it, or the wisdom of awaiting the full Metropolitan Police report before taking action;
  • David Warcup exaggerated to Bill Ogley the extent to which his own concerns were supported by the Metropolitan Police interim report;
  • Andrew Lewis used the interim report for disciplinary purposes, knowing that this was an impermissible use;
  • William Bailhache QC, as Attorney General, understood that the decision had already been made by the evening of 11 November 2008 that Graham Power was to be suspended. His evidence to us on this point was at odds with the evidence of Bill Ogley. We prefer the evidence of William Bailhache QC;
  • It is clear to us that, when Graham Power attended the meeting on 12 November 2008, his suspension was inevitable. We accept Graham Power’s evidence that he was given time “to consider his position” – in other words, to resign as an alternative to suspension;
  • Andrew Lewis lied to the States Assembly about the Metropolitan Police report, pretending that he had had sight of it when he had not;
  • Andrew Lewis told Dr Brian Napier QC that he had discussed the suspension of Graham Power in October 2008, while telling us that he knew nothing about it until 11 November 2008;
  • Andrew Lewis denied that he had discussed with Wendy Kinnard and Christopher Harris the possibility that Graham Power would be suspended. We do not accept his evidence in this respect
Nevertheless, the Inquiry came to a very firm consclusion that the suspension was in no way intended to derail Rectangle, that it did not affect it, and that the Inquiry's own terms of reference did not therefore permit it to consider the matter further.

This is a significant funk on the part of the Inquiry and they have no way of knowing to what extent Power's suspension may have affected matters out of the public gaze.

For instance, Rectangle Senior Investigating Officer, Mick Gradwell, had already scheduled, for the week following Power's suspension, an interview with John Averty, as a suspect and under caution. Now John Averty was being investigated in relation to alleged serial rapes of an adult female or females. And John Averty was one of those people who Graham Power identified as possibly being behind his suspension. John Averty is a very influential member of the Jesey establishment.

So, did the Inquiry check whether this interview took place or not? If the interview did take place, what was the result? If it did not, should this not be taken as prima facie evidence of outside influence on the conduct of the Inquiry?

All this was known to the Inquiry as it is contained in the evidence submitted to them by Graham Power and (however incidentally) by Mick Gradwell.

The Inquiry would not have been justified in ignoring this on the basis that the allegations did not refer to children. Interference is interference and would be indicative of a prevailing culture. Over the years many victims/survivors have complained that their complaints were not taken seriously or that they had been intimidated into withdrawing them.

Strangely, the Inquiry took a completely opposite approach when it came to the older Victoria College scandal:
The SOJP investigations into Victoria College, Paul Every and the Sea Cadets are not within the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference. We considered evidence about these investigations on the basis that the conduct and attitude of Police officers and others to those investigations might be relevant to the Police response to allegations of abuse of children in care.
This raises the question of whether the Inquiry itself has, despite all its protestations, been subject to interference.

The Legacy

So was there any point to this Inquiry? Were there any positives? What will happen next?

As far as I can see the the main achievement of this Inquiry has been to assemble and record evidence of the widespread abuse which permeated the Island for years. This may have brought some consolation or closure to victims/survivors whose complaints had not been heeded over the years. It may have given others the courage to come forward and bear witness and this may have helped them come to terms with their predicament.

It may just have awakened people in Jersey to what had been done to their children for decades and might, hopefully, lead to them reclaiming Jersey politics for the people - though this bit of wishful thinking might be stretching it.

The Inquiry has been quite hard hitting in those matters it chose to follow through on. But the big omission is in the raft of people it has not held to account. you can see a sample of questions not asked by the Inquiry or in some mainstream media reports here.

It has also ducked some of the deeper questions by just mentioning them in passing. The Bailiff's control of the legislature is one, and perhaps something will be done about that. But the vital missing element is the lack of a firm finding that the UK, or some Higher Power, needs to intervene to ensure that the Island has a properly independent prosecution system and that there are adequate channels of appeal when justice is miscarried on the Island.

As things stand there is effectively no appealing the decisions of the Jersey courts or the actions of its Crown Officers. The Lieutenant Governor is a joke. And the Queen's Privy Council refers all complaints back to the Jersey courts.

The Inquiry has recommended the establishment of a Children's Commissioner and work is in hand to appoint one. There seems to be some confusion in Government as to the degree of independence of such a Commissioner and to whom or to what body the Commissioner would report. Hopefully this will be sorted and the Commissioner will not end up simply reporting to the Chief Minister as was suggested in a recent Government news release.

The Website etc.

The Inquiry's website has been a disgrace from day one. It is not user friendly, particularly when it comes to finding material. It was not used to communicate with the public except in the most cursory way. In fact virtually all of the Inquiry's communication with the public has been one way. Material has come and gone and been redacted and re-redacted without any commentary or explanation from the Inquiry.

Bloggers were denied full press facilities when they constituted the only independent media on the island. Written queries to the Inquiry were either not answered or were acknowledged in a dismissive way. And to cap it all the "press conference" introducing the report to the public resembled a bootcamp Tannoy, with its quasi-stripsearches and no Q&A.

Person 737

To those who may wonder at my cheek in naming John Averty as Person 737, I would simply point out that it is not me what dunnit Gov. It was the Inquiry itself which failed miserably to protect the anonymity it originally conferred on him, as I have pointed out here.



Original post is here

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

THE RAG: THE SEQUEL 2


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Various establishment entities are lining up their ducks for the big day. The Jersey Child Abuse Inquiry is due to report on 3 July 2017. It is expected that the report will attract a lot of attention from the UK and international press and these will be sniffing around for stories.

The BBC are "cleaning up their act" by taking offline various of their exposés and reports on what had been going on in Jersey since the Liberation (from Nazi occupation) after WWII.

The Inquiry itself has put vast amounts of witness testimony online. This was redacted before posting in order to protect both the (alleged) guilty as well as the innocent. Some of the redaction was so incompetent that the texts would have been better left alone. But to cap it all, the Inquiry has been quietly carrying out further redactions which have only compounded the incompetence.

In one case, for example, the sacked Chief of Police's evidence was redacted to protect the identity of a Jersey notable who was alleged to have raped a number of adult women. I pointed out in a blog post that the person in question (given the number 737 by the Inquiry) was easily identifiable to anyone with half a knowledge of the Jersey scene, but I did not name him.

The Inquiry quietly returned to the posted text and added further redactions which actually only identified the man definitively.

When I discovered this recently I updated my earlier blog post and wondered what to do next.



My substantive comment to the JEP
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I eventually decided to draw attention to this in a comment to Jersey's only newspaper, the Jersey Evening Post (JEP aka The Rag). I did this in preference to commenting on a Jersey blog which would only leave the blogger open to retribution by the Jersey authorities.

The next thing was to find an appropriate news item under which to plonk the comment. The most recent such item appeared to be the Bailiff's Liberation Day speech. In his speech the Bailiff was trying to sanitise the term "The Jersey Way", a shorthand moniker for the many interrelated layers of corruption on the island.

Now, readers of this blog will be familiar with my earlier encounter with The Rag's editor where a comment of mine, made in good faith, was parked in moderation and then deleted. ( here and here ) So I did not hold out great hopes of getting this comment through.

The comment referred to the Bailiff's speech, to people tidying up their online material in anticipation of renewed scrutiny on 3 July, and it gave a link to my blog update.



My second comment identifying myself
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When I realised I had posted it under my Irlpol account, I added another comment under my subsequent Pól Ó Duibhir account to say the earlier comment was mine. I had opened the latter account in the course of my earlier arguments with the editor and as a challenge to an anonymous and malicious troll to do likewise.

Well, the Irlpol ID was clearly on "moderator watch" and went straight into moderation to be carefully scrutinised before publication. The Pól Ó Duibhir ID went straight through.



Meanwhile, while I was waiting for my comment to exit moderation I decided to reply to a tweet by Stuart Syvret, former Health Minister and whistleblower, who had been ruthlessly and vindictively screwed by the Jersey régime.

Stuart was complaining that Commissioner Clyde-Smyth, who was obliged in justice to reveal certain information to him, was not just refusing to reveal it but was also refusing to engage in correspondence with him.

Now, in their second round of redactions, the Inquiry had attempted to conceal the fact that the Commissioner had earlier been acting for person 737 and I decided to reply as above and put a bit of pressure on the JEP to hurry up and do their moderation bit.



And just for good measure, I thought I'd again draw attention to the fact that person 737 had originally been scheduled to be interviewed under caution as a suspect, but, since the sacking of the Police Chief, we had heard no more of this.



Meanwhile the JEP had posted an item deploring how signage was ruining some beauty spots on the island. The piece, entitled Five Jersey Eyesores included signage overlooking the picturesque port of Gorey with its magnificent Mont Orgueil Castle.

It struck me that the picture had been taken from a position just outside Haut de la Garenne the infamous child abuse home. So I did a tweet suggesting an additional sign. I got no reaction to this so far.



Original of Gorey/HDLG photo
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Just in case you want to see the full picture, I have included it separately above.



Then I got back to reminding the JEP directly about my comment languishing in moderation.



And a little more gentle pressure via Twitter.



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Original tweet

And then, I got the biggest surprise of my life. The JEP actually published my comment. I couldn't believe it. I was convinced it would be too hot for them to handle. But here they were becoming complicit, in a sort of a way, in revealing the Inquiry's revealing of the identity of the Jersey notable.

On the assumption that they knew what they were doing, and that their left and right hands were fully coordinated, I have to take my hat off to them on this one.

Check if the Irlpol comment is still there

The original post is here where you can leave a comment.


Saturday, 28 January 2017

THE RAG: THE SEQUEL


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In an earlier post I outlined how I had submitted a comment under the Jersey Evening Post (JEP) online report on the Lord Reginald satirical video. The video had been published in the Voice for Children blog. My criticism was that the JEP's online report did not include a link to the video either in the original blog post or on Youtube. I provided a link in my comment to the original blog post which contained the video.



My original comment
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My comment was not published. So I wrote to the editor of the JEP complaining about non-publication and pointed out that comments from a known toxic troll on the island had been published both before and after submission of my comment.

In his reply, the editor conceded that my comment should have been published, and not deleted by the moderator. He also conceded that the actual satirical video should have been embedded in the original JEP online report.

While that would certainly have allowed JEP online readers to view the video without leaving the JEP page online, it would seem to have avoided facilitating those who might want to checkout the original blog post. That is why in my comment I gave a link to the blog post rather than just to the video.

In his reply, the editor seemed to be at a loss to understand my "troll" reference and he also wondered who I was.

In my reply, I said I was pleasantly surprised that he considered that my comment should have been published as submitted. I expanded a bit on the identity of the troll I was referring to. I told him who I was and that at the end of the day I was not anonymous as a few clicks would have shown up my email address. Though I did add that I could see why some people in Jersey would see the need to post their comments anonymously.

I gave a link to my earlier blog post and asked if he'd have any objection to my publishing our correspondence.

In his reply, the editor said my comments were reasonable and he would have no objection to my publishing our correspondence.

He correctly deduced that the troll I was referring to was the infamous Jon Haworth who comes onto his radar really only because he suspects that Jon writes spoof letters to the JEP for publication under false names and addresses.

Finally, he assured me that no one gets any protection as suggested on his watch. "If you read the paper I edit, rather than our website, I think you'd struggle to argue otherwise."

Unfortunately, not being on the Island, I am not really in a position to read the print rather than the web version of the paper but I would invite any resident who wants to pick up on his challenge to do so and let me know the result. I realise this could prove a problem for some people who on principle do not buy the JEP. However there is more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak.

In any event I can assure the editor that the Skibbereen Eagle will be keeping an online eye on him.

In the interest of openness, transparency, and all the other virtues that the Jersey administration are accused of lacking, I am publishing our correspondence below.



But first a amall diversion. You will see below that the editor wonders who I am and why I am interested in Jersey. And now Jon Haworth, in comments submitted under this post, is effectively challenging my commeenting in the Jersey Evening Post under a pseudonym. As explained in one of my letters below this was in no way intended to hide my true identity.


My challenge to Jon in the JEP

So I have now opened a Jersey Evening Post account under my full real name and challenged Jon to do the same. Let's see how this pans out.





Andy Sibcy, editor JEP

My initial letter (12/1/2017) following
deletion/non-publication of my comment

Dear Editor

On 6 January 2017 I submitted a comment on your piece about the Lord Reginald video.

I pointed out that you neither indicated the source of the video nor gave a link to it. I found this unusual in an online article. Leaving aside your reasons for behaving thus, and I can only speculate on what they might have been, I was surprised to find my comment (attached), which I thought reasonable and to the point, was detained in moderation and then deleted.

Both before and after submission of my comment, you published comments from a source you know to be a life threatening troll who has been implicated in various unsavoury manoeuvres to suppress criticism and challenge of the Jersey establishment in the context of its cover up of child sex abuse on the island.

I am at a loss to understand the rationale behind this regrettable and inconsistent behaviour and would appreciate an explanation of why my comment, made in good faith, was deleted.

Yours sincerely,

Pól Ó Duibhir



The editor's reply (19/1/2017)

Dear Pól,

Thank you for your email of 12 January. Please accept my apologies for not responding sooner.

The simple answer is that your comment should have been published as the points that you raise are entirely reasonable. I think that the original jep.com post should have been embedded with the Montfort Tadier video, a solution that would have made more sense from our perspective as it would have enabled readers to see the video without leaving our site.

The reasoning outlined above also partially explains why your comment was not published by the moderator. The other was that the link it included is to a blog site which routinely includes comments which attack the JEP in ways which can be ill-informed and unreasonable. I have to say that I would have been happy to publish your comment as submitted.

It was detained in moderation by default because you have not commented often enough to have been given the right to comment live (commentators have their first few comments checked before being given that right). It remained in moderation because a combination of sickness and holidays (including mine) meant that the moderation folder was not managed as efficiently as it would normally be. Other commentators will only be flagged up and their comments held in moderation if they use unacceptable language as they are free to comment live as regular contributors.

Your ‘troll’ comment leaves me a little baffled. I am afraid that the JEP site, like many others, attracts a great many commentators who do not offer very much in the way of constructive input. I have no idea which of the anonymous people you are talking about on this occasion, or indeed who those people are behind their pseudonyms.

On that score, I wonder whether you would be good enough to enlighten me as to who you are? As you know, I am aware of your twitter feed and have no idea whether your handle is an abridged version of your real name or not.

If you are in Jersey, I would be happy to sit down and have a chat. I say that because I suspect you are keen to show how your unfortunate experience as a commentator on the JEP site somehow validates views which you have about the JEP. I am not sure whether you have ever discussed those views, or indeed whether you have any interest in hearing an alternative viewpoint, but I would be happy to provide one. I am also intrigued as to the reason for your interest in the Island.

Best wishes and in good faith,

Andy Sibcy


My reply to the editor (26/1/2017)

Dear Mr Sibcy

Thank you again for the courtesy of the reply.

Regarding its content.

I am glad you agree that my comment should have been published as submitted and that the video should have been available directly to your readers so that they could make up their own mind about it.

I am not sure what exactly the embedding would have involved. Would it have been stand alone or would it have contained a link to the video's location either in The Voice's Youtube account or in the blog post? That was an element of my comment, namely, that your readers should have been able to also go to the source of the video. These videos are an integral part of The Voice's posts.

As far as the content of The Voice's actual blog posts are concerned, I find them well researched and generally moderate in tone. In fact I recollect, from memory, that the blog made a number of positive comments about the JEP after you took over and I think there were high expectations there of a more robust approach to the administration under your stewardship.

As far as comments on that blog are concerned, they vary. I am aware that the comments are moderated, nevertheless the moderator does let through some very critical comments about the blog itself and its readers/supporters. The net effect of this is that I follow the blog assiduously and consider myself fairly well informed as a result.

In recent times I have had to take to moderating my own blog which has been un-moderated since around 2007 and this is purely because of abusive comments from the well known toxic Jersey troll. In fact the only comments I have blocked are those coming from this horrible person. In passing, I note that you are quite happy to entertain him in your own comments section.

In referring to why my comment was not published you quote "the reasoning above" in your reply, but this hardly seems relevant as you are telling me it should have been published anyway. Your second reason is my inclusion of a link to the blog post in which the video occurred. But you are telling me that my comment should have been published as submitted, ie with the link.

I have no problem with my comment having been detained in moderation. All that you say about that is perfectly acceptable. My only gripe is its ultimate non publication and rejection/deletion from moderation.

I didn't really see the deletion of my comment as some sort of validation of my already relatively low opinion of the JEP. I more or less expected it. But your view now that is should have been published as submitted is, admittedly, a pleasant surprise.

Perhaps I can assist you a little further with my troll comment. It is widely known in Jersey that Kaz81 is just one of the many monikers used by the toxic troll I referred to above. If you are not aware of this, it does not speak very highly for the investigative prowess of the JEP. I do appreciate that blocking him would cause a row and with God knows who, given the support he was given in the gang hounding of Stuart Syvret through the courts. I don't mind his comments, I can take it. But it was pointed out to me that they were of such a nature that they meant some (reasonable) people were reluctant to link to my blog posts.

As to who I am, it's really no secret. My name is Pól Ó Duibhir and I live in Dublin. I holidayed in Jersey in the late 1950s and worked a summer there in 1961. I sort of fell in love with the place and with its people and that fondness has remained with me. That is why I find it so heartbreaking to see what it is becoming. The fact that I post under a variety of pseudonyms is really just coincidental and reflects the thrill of adventure when I first started posting some two decades ago. Póló, as you will see, is a contraction of part of my name and was my nickname in school. Irlpol was to distinguish me from the rest of the family and so on. However, my profile in blogger links to my website and that has a facility for emailing me. So I'm not really anonymous.

And while we are on the subject of identity, I fully appreciate the necessity for some of those on island to post/comment anonymously.

I have already published my original letter to you on my blog and I wonder if you mind me publishing your reply and mine and any relevant subsequent correspondence. I will in any event be dealing with the points in a promised updating of the blog post.

http://photopol.blogspot.ie/2017/01/the-rag.html

In good faith,

Pól Ó Duibhir



The editor's reply (26/1/2017)

Dear Pol,

Thank you for your reply. The comments you make are entirely reasonable.

I have no objection to your publishing my email.

In my response, I tried to distinguish between my thoughts re the publication (I would have published as submitted) and the reasoning of my colleague who was moderating at the time in question. If that was not clear, I apologise.

As far as 'the troll' is concerned, my ignorance is more a consequence of my not being terribly interested in the often pathetic online bickering which seems to be the obsession of many than a lack of investigative prowess. Frankly, I have far more constructive things to be getting on with than working out who is who.

Equally, while I am sure that followers of various blogs and others (including some who use our comment forum) are well aware of the identities of those who use pseudonyms, I think it a stretch to suggest that they are well known in Jersey more generally.

I suspect that you are referring to Mr Haworth, who comes onto my radar really only because I suspect he writes spoof letters to us for publication under false names and addresses.

I can also assure you that no one gets any protection as suggested on my watch. If you read the paper I edit, rather than our website, I think you'd struggle to argue otherwise.

The offer of a coffee or beer stands if you ever visit. I think that we'd have an interesting chat.

Best wishes,

Andy


The original post is here where you can leave a comment.

Friday, 13 January 2017

THE RAG


Lord Reginald's New Year Message on Voice for Children
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The Jersey Evening Post (aka The Rag) is Jersey's only newspaper. In general it is an organ of the establishment. It supports the authorities and, where humanly possible, avoids giving any publicity to dissenting views. The lack of balanced reporting and discussion has led to the emergence of a number of bloggers on the island who have attempted to fill the gap, speak truth to power and give citizens a platform to debate current issues and air their grievances.

Voice for Children is one such blog. It is a very serious blog. It's posts are well researched. Comments are moderated, but moderation is light except in the case of trolls and abusive comments where it is absolute. I need to clearly state the foregoing to establish the context, because the blog sometimes carries a lighthearted or satirical post, as in the image above.

Lord Reginald, whose identity is clearly now known to everyone in Jersey, occasionally gives a spoof commentary on behalf of the non-formally-existing Jersey Tory Party. The States (parliament) is not structured on a party basis as such. There is a majority establishment clique which effectively functions as an extremely conservative party and it is this clique whose collective mickey Lord Reginald is taking.

The Rag decided to turn it into a news item, with the above image and the text shown below.



Text of JEP online article accompanying the image
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A careful reading of the text reveals that it mentions neither the name of the blog on which the video appears nor does it give a link to it. You might consider that was the least they might have done having got a free news item.



My comment
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Well that's what I thought and I submitted the above comment. Unfortunately I cannot give you a link to the comment itself. It appears to have been held in moderation for some days while the powers that be mulled over whether or not to publish it. Following which it was simply deleted.

There are two features of the comment which may have led to this unfortunate, but probably predictable, result.

In the first place it criticised The Rag for omitting the blog's name and not giving a link.

In the second place it actually gave a link which would have enabled its readers to view this highly subversive video and make up their own minds about it. Worse still, it would have introduced them to a serious blog which was filling a disgraceful gap left by themselves, namely speaking truth to power and encouraging readers to pitch in.

So, on 12/1/2017, I emailed the editor in the terms below:
Dear Editor

On 6 January 2017 I submitted a comment on your piece about the Lord Reginald video.

I pointed out that you neither indicated the source of the video nor gave a link to it. I found this unusual in an online article. Leaving aside your reasons for behaving thus, and I can only speculate on what they might have been, I was surprised to find my comment (attached), which I thought reasonable and to the point, was detained in moderation and then deleted.

Both before and after submission of my comment, you published comments from a source you know to be a life threatening troll who has been implicated in various unsavoury manoeuvres to suppress criticism and challenge of the Jersey establishment in the context of its cover up of child sex abuse on the island.

I am at a loss to understand the rationale behind this regrettable and inconsistent behaviour and would appreciate an explanation of why my comment, made in good faith, was deleted.

Yours sincerely,

Pól Ó Duibhir

At the time of my posting this I have not had any reply. If I hear from them in the meantime I will certainly update this post to take account of their reply.

I should mention that my experience here is in no way unusual. The Rag frequently suppress comments which don't suit them.

An example is the case of Advocate Sinel, who in a current interview with Voice for Children has described the same experience of having comments refused. He clearly spoke to the editor who apparently advanced absurd reasons for not publishing.

In June 2016 the Rag refused to publish a comment of his regarding the "Jersey Care Inquiry" on the spurious grounds that it was too long. You can read Rico Sorda's blog post on the Advocate's refused letter, including the text of the letter itself, here.

I attempted twice (see here and here) to resubmit it but on both occasions my comment was deleted.

There is another newspaper which serves the Channel Islands, The Bailiwick Express, which is purely online and whose online awareness is much superior to The Rag's. Quite apart from its overall editorial deficiencies, The Rag has clearly never come to terms with its online existence. The Express has just done a piece on the Report from Jersey's Comptroller and Auditor General on the runaway loan fund which is more informative than The Rag's initial online version, and which actually, God forbid, gives a link to the full Report online.

I rest my case.


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