28 January 2011

More development in Les Quennevais and Clos des Sables? Not if I can help it

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. A special welcome if you are a resident of St Brelade No. 2 and are here for the first time. This weekend I will be circulating a newsletter to residents of the Les Quennevais and Le Clos des Sables, to give an update on issues on progress with some of the issues on the two estates.

The newsletter covers several issues, but one area of particular concern is that Jersey Property Holdings are in preliminary talks with a private developer to build 4 new dwellings in the area - two in Clos des Sables and 2 in Les Quennevais Park, which would involve selling off key areas of open green space, to build houses of varying sizes. My main objections are on two grounds and I should add are not motivated by Nimbyism (Not in my back yard! - although one of them would be near my front yard...): 1) The first point is that Les Quennevais already has its own fair share of development. 2) The second point, as I point out in my letter, is that parking issues have been ongoing for a long time and are only getting worse. Despite scores of emails and calls to Property Holdings to try and improve the situation, no real progress has been made. Although potential solutions have been put forward, and in many cases endorsed by the JPH (who own most of the communal land around the estates), they say they do not have the money to make improvements. They do say, however, that if they sell off these bits of land to speculators, they can then use some of that money to make improvements. I have told the department that  parking issues and other improvements must take place before any development is even considered.

I will be asking the following question in the States of the Housing Minister:

 “Does the Minister support the plans submitted by Jersey Property Holdings to build 4 new homes on green areas in Les Quennevais Park and Le Clos des Sables and how does he envisage this will impact on current parking issues on the estate?”

Surgery Dates:
This year's surgeries will be held at the The Horse and Hound on the following Mondays from 5:30 - 7pm:

January 31st
February 14th
March 14th, 28th
April 4th
May 16th
June 6th, 20th
July 4th
September 14th

Readers may be interested to note that I will also be trialling Skype Surgeries by arrangement. I can be added on ID: Monty Tadier. Please state who you are when sending request so I can add you.

As normal, I remain available for home visits, as well as appointments in Town. 

23 January 2011

UK Tax Expert to Give Talk at Hautlieu School

Below is the version of the leaflet that has been produced for tomorrow's talk by Richard Murphy at Hautlieu School. We hope to see you there from 7pm onwards. I've never met the man, so I'm going along simply to see if he does actually have horns or not.


When?               Monday 24 January
Time?                7pm
Where?              Hautlieu School Assembly Hall
Admission?       FREE

Are you a concerned member of the public who wants to know why prices and taxes are going up? If so come and listen to Richard and ask him any questions you like. If you work in the finance industry, or the legal or accountancy professions, this is your chance to listen to an authority on tax and to consider the suggestions being made. 



Event sponsored by the Jersey Democratic Alliance (JDA), the Tax Justice Network(TJN)
and Time 4 Change. Visit www.jdajersey.co.uk for more information.

18 January 2011

Richard Murphy is the Devil - or so the Ministry of Truth would have you believe


Pictured above: Richard Murphy of the Tax Justice Network, who some suspect may actually be the latest incarnation of the devil himself. Either way, you want to at least listen to what he has to say

Whilst the States (quite rightly) make a fuss about the appointment of Senator Cohen as the island's new 'Minister of Foreign Affairs' (only not quite) there is another Minister who has been working very quietly behind the scenes, in an extra-parliamentary capacity. Meet Real Truthseeker, who heads up Jersey's online propaganda wing, the Ministry of Truth. 

Regular readers of the comments pages on thisisjersey.com (when they allow comments, that is - not on all stories) will be familiar with Real Truthseeker. He has been on the pay-roll for a while now. He was first brought in to deal with the subversive comments of 'Truth seeker', who also sought the truth, but it was deemed that the kind of Truth she was uncovering was dangerous. So RTS was appointed to weedle out any dangerous thoughts that were appearing with increasing frequency on the walls of Jersey's comments pages.
Real Truthseeker has been appointed extra-parliamentary assistant Minister with 
special responsibility for thought crime and anti-patriotic behaviour

What seemed to have put the cat amongst the pigeons was my invitation to a political meeting on 24th January which read:

'I invite all those who are interested in discussing an ‘alternative’ model for Jersey, rather than the failed and morally bankrupt policies of 0-10% and GST to attend Hautlieu School at 7pm on Monday 24th January to listen to tax expert Richard Murphy, who gives advice to the UK government on tax issues. Those with a reasonable open mind should find it most illuminating.'

As readers will imagine, due to a lack of time and sometimes inclination, I am not wont to following the various troll-ridden soap boxes and propaganda dens of virtual Jersey society. Save for the occasional blog, I prefer to do all my communication in person and engage face-to-face if there is a difference of opinion.  However, RTS prefers to do his cleansing work under a veil of anonymity. Because of this, he allows himself, on occasion,  to forget his station and let's slip the venom that really shows his true colours. This is because RTS, like the Jason the Mavericks that preceeded him, are essentially facists. 

Here is one comment that he left: 

'We should bring back treason for those who actively go against the economic benefit of Jersey... People who live in Jersey opposed to this shoudl (sic) be hung, quartered and drawn.'

What is noteworthy in his comments, apart from the authoritarian temper when someone dares to disagree with him (something that is a hallmark of the extreme right) is the way he talks of the 'economic benefit of Jersey. The usual trap is that he talks of Jersey homogenously, firstly as if Jersey is the finance industry and vice-versa. He also forgets that there are those whom the finance industry (again something which we should not really talk about homogenously) benefits more than others. 

But the real sad state of affairs is that his Ministry, once it has found someone who it suspects of a dangerous thought, goes onto to sentence that person, guilty of thought crime, first by accusing them of treason (as we have seen), as mad and by needing to by needing to be got rid off. Sadly, the mirror is never pointed their way and the question asked - quo vadis? Friend of foe?

Here is my response to those who accuse my advocacy of listening to what the Tax Justice Network have to say being some sort of national treason. It is by no means a comprehensive expression of my views on the subject, but I hope it is of interest:
Response to comments on www.thisisjersey.com

First of all to answer whether or not TJN and Richard Murphy have given advice to the UK government, this can be confirmed by the most perfunctory of internet searches:

A letter in the Wall Street Journal states: 'Critics of tax arbitrage are blunt about it. "This is just a complete and utter construct to get around the rules at both ends," says Richard Murphy, an accountant and professor who works with a London
nonprofit called Tax Justice Network and has consulted for the U.K. government on financing.

Many comments we have seen here are the usual vilifying of anyone who dares even to ask questions or who suggests listening to other voices (not officially endorsed by the Ozouf Party) on what is going to be Jersey's major problem in coming years and decades.

To say that I am anti-finance, someone who runs a small business that serves predominantly finance companies, is complete twaddle. But like it or not there are facts must be faced: 

1 -The world of off-shore is precarious. 

2- Zero-Ten is a failure and was doomed to fail from the outset, because it contravened the 'spirit' of the rules from the EU. It was on the watch of Ozouf, Walker, Horsfall et al that this travesty was allowed to happen. And it is a myth that it was the only way forward. Guernsey, with the power of hindsight are starting to be more pro-active and looking at options such as 10-10. Jersey, meanwhile with its unimaginative leaders, prevaricates.

Meanwhile, ordinary residents in Jersey are made to foot the bill in the form of a variety of increased taxes for the failed domestic tax policy of the Ozouf/Le Sueur Government (and its predecessors).

3 - It is not going to be a socialist revolution, nor even any socialist ideals that bring the impending changes to offshore, including Jersey. Rather, we are already seeing pressure from outside. This is coming from a right-wing coalition in the UK, who facing their own austerity, and increased anger form their own tax-payers over non-doms and 'fiscal leakage' are now putting direct pressure on the Crown Dependencies. The same can be seen world-wide. 

As a responsible representative of the people of Jersey, it is imperative that I make sure we and our leaders do not bury their heads in the sand, but rather face the challenges head on with all the information we can to negotiate the best outcome for us in the uncertain times that are to come.

Though I have never met Mr Murphy, clearly I do not share the opinion that he is an enemy of Jersey. He certainly seems to have his enemies here, but I would echo the remarks that the more balanced commentators have made: come along on 24th and listen. Until then keep an open mind. I know I do.

16 January 2011

Light Relief from a Constituent

Yesterday I received a word of encouragement from a St Brelade constituent. I have published it here with the accompanying joke, which I think is hilarious:

'It's about time for people to stop looking at this Island through ROSE coloured glasses the well off don't want to see or hear the truth about the other side of life on the rock. The Estabilshment party likes to hide it all away till it comes back and bite them and even then its always someone else to blame - never mind what some of the journos say; the old adage still fits: the Truth will OUT.'

So in this austere times, here is a bit of light relief sent in by one of my St Les Quennevais consituents:
The Haircut

One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut. After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied, 'I cannot accept money from you , I'm doing community service this week.' The florist was pleased and left the shop.

When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a 'thank you' card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.

Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replied, 'I cannot accept money from you , I'm doing community service this week.' The cop was happy and left the shop.

The next morning when the barber went to open up, there was a 'thank you' card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.

Then a States Member came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his bill, the barber again replied, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The States Member was very happy and left the shop.

The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen States Members lined up waiting for a free haircut.

12 January 2011

No Comedy Please - we're from Jersey

(or Inconvenient Truths for the GST Party)

On 1st December 2010, I had the good fortune of being able to watch Mr Mark Thomas record the first episode of his latest series of The People's Manifesto.  For those of you not familiar with the show, it is based on the very simple yet highly effective idea of asking the public (in advance and on the night) to make suggestions as to what they would like to put forward as policies for the people's manifesto. Suggestions vary from the whacky to the poignant: 'All those in favour of the death penalty should sign an agreement that if they do anything wrong, they can be be executed,' and 'All Mecca Bingo Halls should be made to face Mecca.'

One suggestion that did not go down too well with the some of the stuffy types in the States, however, was Mark's suggestion that the UK should 'invade Jersey', Mark having explained to the audience how he had written to the Attorney General to ask about the process for declaring war, the idea being that he wanted to come and recuperate money. stashed in the island by UK tax avoiders.

In the second half of the show, he got wise to the fact that a Jersey politician had infiltrated the show, in the form of St Brelade Deputy, Montfort Tadier. He was surprised that an island as supposedly affluent as Jersey -'an island which is possibly the most rich in this hemisphere per square foot', had so many people who needed State assistance to get by. What ever happened to trickle down?! Whilst the audience quite clearly loved the discussion, the Jersey media and the Social Security Minister were quick to ignore  this very salient question and chose instead to deflect attention by proceeding to quibble over my claim that towards 30% of the island required some form of financial support from the State (listen here @21mins).

Some of you will have seen the typically whimsical and biased reporting in last night's edition of the rag. And here is my response to their claim that I allegedly 'botched the figures'.

Enjoy the read.

Dear Editor, I write to you to correct some inaccuracies in your story.

The figures were not ‘botched’, as you claimed last night in your article, and the percentage that Social Security Minister has given does not tell the full story.

On top of the supposed 17% who receive income support, there are many other in receipt of ‘financial support’ (what I was asked about) in other forms. For example, in 2009 1,732 residents claimed the GST (‘Food Costs’) bonus. The GST bonus is given to adults who are not in receipt of Income Support, but who do not earn enough to pay income tax. It is deemed that their income is insufficient for them to afford to pay for foodstuffs as well as the associated 3% (soon to be 5%) tax, so they are compensated for the latter. In other words, they receive financial support from the Government to meet the costs of subsistence. This is paid out by the Social Security department, but is not recognised in the 17% figure which Deputy Gorst has quoted. For some technical reason (no doubt to help keep the figures down) it is not considered part of Income Support. Is it financial support? Quite clearly, yes. Is it paid out to low-income households? Again, yes.

We can go on to consider other benefits that are necessary for many residents simply to survive in Jersey’s affluent society:

For example, there are roughly 6,200 social rental homes in Jersey (some owned directly by the States, others by Housing Trusts), yet 30% of States tenants and 70% of those in Housing Trusts are not on income support. Though their income is above the threshold to qualify for Income Support, they are still not in a position where they can afford to pay the inflated market rates that are required in the private sector. Again, these are not included in Deputy Gorst’s very narrow and conveniently low figures, Yet this, too, - the provision of housing at below market rate - is another form of support which is necessary for many islanders to be able to live in what is becoming an increasingly expensive island, with acute problems when it come to the supply of affordable accommodation.

Of course, what these Statistics do not take into account the many hard working islanders who have lived here for 3 or 4 years, who pay social security, who pay income tax, who often pay a premium for non-qualifed housing – sometimes of questionable quality – yet who are cannot claim Income Support and who will not be compensated by the GST (‘Food Costs’) bonus (something pointed out last month by Mr Ferey of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau).

It is a shame that reporters took the Minister’s ‘lean’ figures at face value, whilst trying to inculpate me for some kind of ‘high treason’, because I dared, on national radio, to tell an inconvenient truth.

The matters raised in Mark Thomas’ radio show regarding Jersey may not be flattering for those in Jersey’s ruling elite, however ordinary residents in Jersey, those on marginal incomes and the 8,000 or so who have already signed the GST petition asking for the dismissal of Treasury Mininster Senator Ozouf do not need Statistics to tell them what they already know: That life in Jersey is a struggle. That they cannot always be sure to meet the bills at the end of the month; they cannot necessarily afford to send their children to university and that very real choices have to be made – for some- between heating and eating.

Moreover, it is high time that more local journalists take a leaf out of Mr Thomas’ book and start asking inconvenient, but essential questions about how it is that in a supposedly rich island such as Jersey there is such a large section of society who are struggling daily in a very real way to make ends meet; why Jersey cannot afford to provide school milk for children and why we are having to close key heritage sites, prized by locals and tourists alike, because Jersey is simply too poor to afford these luxuries. When this starts to happen perhaps public confidence will start to be restored and some politicians will be shamed into working  for the working people of Jersey and not against them.

Deputy Montfort Tadier
160, Le Clos des Sables, St Brelade.