28 January 2014

Reform Candidate for District 1, St Helier

Political Campaigner, Nick Le Cornu

St Helier No.1 By-Election

 Social reform campaigner to stand for Deputy

Havre des Pas resident, Nick Le Cornu, is to stand for election for Deputy in St Helier No 1 district.
Mr Le Cornu is a qualified English Solicitor, has practiced commercial law and litigation in the City of London. He now specialises in employment law and is currently assisting Union members with employment issues.

He is also the Secretary of the Jersey Human Rights Group, which campaigns for greater equality and anti-discrimination measures.
‘Social and Political reforms are now urgent,’ says Mr Le Cornu.
‘In recent years, we have seen a decline in the standard of living of ordinary islanders as the tax burden has shifted from corporations to personal taxation. We need to elect States Members who want to change this.’
‘My priorities will be:

-          To improve the quality and affordability of private and social rented accommodation.

-          To implement statutory maternity and paternity leave.

-          To oppose any suggestion of an increase in GST.

-          The fight for a true ‘living wage’.

-          End the overuse of zero-hour contracts.

-          Investing in Fort Regent, with improved access from Snow Hill – this is vital.

-          Managing population growth.

-          Fair representation for St Helier.’
Mr Le Cornu was also active in the Option A campaign, the option which St Helier
backed2:1 against 'option B' - which would have left St Helier greatly under-represented.

27 January 2014

Holocaust Memorial Day 2014

The events of the Second World War and all acts of Genocide and hatred will be remembered - but also those act of kindness that took place in the face of such human depravity. Wreaths will be laid in Jersey following a memorial service at the Maritime Museum, in St Helier. I am honoured to be laying a wreath on behalf of the Jersey Human Rights Group this year.

I am posting a link to the official UK HMD site. Please take a moment to visit and watch the moving video.

'Today is Holocaust Memorial Day. A day for everyone to remember the millions of people killed in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. 27 January marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.
On HMD we honour the survivors of these regimes of hatred and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today.

Visit http://journeys.hmd.org.uk/ to mark the day online.'

20 January 2014

Reform: Last Chance Saloon...

Below is an adapted version of an email I have sent to States Members today.

'The gerrymandered mess, Option B+, has been put forward by its proponents as a ‘last chance saloon’ for achieving any change for 2014.

However, this is not true. Those States Members truly wanting to improve our system, and not wishing to take two steps back, need only support p.171/2013 - Introduction of the Single Transferable Vote and Alternative Vote - as recommended by the Electoral Commission and its advisor, Dr Alan Renwick.

STV and AV can work with any system and was proposed when the EC themselves were hoping suggesting multi-seat constituencies to potentially run alongside the single seat constituencies of the Constables.

By way of example, the merits are laid out in the appendices to the report (HERE), however one simple example of why we need AV is given below:

(I ask Deputy Martin for forgiveness in advance…)

In 2000, a by-election took place in St Helier no.1. The results were as follows.

Election date: May 2000[1]

Total no. of valid votes cast: 707.

The winner, Deputy Martin, was therefore elected with 26.9% of the vote. In other words, 73% of those who voted did not vote for Deputy Martin.

Subjectively, I am very pleased that Deputy Martin won, but there is no way of knowing whether she was the most popular candidate overall.

One has to question the effect on democracy and subsequent apathy when over 70% of the electorate were not listened to, because they were not given a choice, once their preferred candidate was out of the picture.

This position is made even worse when multiple-seats are involved.

I look forward to your support this week.

Kind regards,

Montfort '

16 December 2013

Better Housing Standards now on the Agenda

Today I had what I hope will prove to be a productive meeting with Deputy Andrew Green, Minister of Housing, and the director of Corporate Policy to discuss what can be done to regulate private rental standards. 

It is a curiosity that in Jersey, the only residential accommodation to be inspected [and regulated] is Lodging Houses. It is not clear why only these units have to meet basic standards, and not other housing units. It is likely a historic legacy from the heyday of Tourism, when there were a lot more seasonal workers, and therefore more lodging houses.

The Residential Tenancy (Jersey) Law 2011 came into force in May this year. Article 9 (below) states that you do not have to pay your rent if the property is uninhabitable. 

Article 9 Premises uninhabitable 

If a residential unit that is the subject of a residential tenancy agreement becomes uninhabitable through any event other than a malicious act of the tenant – 
(a) the tenant is not required to pay any rent or other amount payable under the agreement in respect of any time during which the residential unit is uninhabitable; and 
(b) the Court may, on the application of the landlord or tenant, make an order varying or terminating the agreement if in all the circumstances the Court considers it just to do so. 

It would be interesting for someone to test this, but I suspect many tenants might be reluctant to for various reasons: they may be scared of getting kicked out, though this would be unlikely. They may know the landlords personally. Many, of course, would not be even be aware of the law

However, it would be interesting if someone out there, with rising damp, were to inform the landlord that they would not be paying their rent until it was fixed. The ball would then be in the court of the landlord...

This is clearly not the preferred option of the department. Rather, they see the need for some kind of regulation, possibly inspections, for ALL rental properties, qualified, unqualified and social rented (the latter will be provided for under the new housing unit).

I will continue to press for these reforms. Watch this space. The days of Rupert Rigsby and his sub-standard properties may be numbered.

07 May 2013

Jimmy Carr to Visit Jersey as Mr Battle?

The 14ft replica head of Jimmy Carr awaits shipping, as Jersey Finance prepare
for their first ever entry in Jersey's Battle of Flowers with their K2 themed exhibit
 - we are told they will use a 'special purpose vehicle' to tow their float

Rumours are rife that Mr Battle is going to be revived as passengers boarding at Portsmouth spied a giant replica head of Anglo-Irish Comedian and erstwhile tax dodger, Jimmy Carr waiting to be loaded onto the Commodore Goodwill yesterday evening in Portsmouth.

It is understood that the giant head was secured by Jersey Finance Ltd, who had originally wanted to buy the head last year and burn it as an effigy on Guy Fawkes night because of all the 'bad press' the island had received because of him. However, the delivery was delayed due to a localised strike from courier staff in the South-East region who thought that this might have been an intricate LVCR scheme to sell it back to the UK - minus the VAT. 
Jersey Finance's, Geoff Cook is tight-lipped on the identity of Mr Battle
'Unfortunately, it did not make it here in time for November, so we had an office brain-storm to think of an alternative use', said Mr Cook. 'One of our young female staff members suggested that we could use it as part of a exhibit for the Battle of Flowers. I thought this was a great idea and when one of our senior managers suggest using all the left over Option B posters from the referendum to make the body of the float that simply sealed the deal. We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and this was a great example of recycling Jersey style.'

When asked about the rumour that Mr Carr himself may have been making an appearance as this year's Mr Battle, in the  absence of the organisers being able to find any suitably famous tracksuit-wearing, cigar-smoking nonce, Mr Cook just gave us a cheeky smile and avoided (but did not evade) the question.

The content of this post is purely comedic in purpose, not real and not intended to offend. 

01 May 2013

Un Parisien à Jersey

My Interview with French Newpaper, Le Parisien:

Montfort Tadier est l’un des 29 députés de Jersey. Elu en 2008, réélu en 2011, il se situe à gauche. Alors que les autorités rejettent farouchement l’appellation de « paradis fiscal », il dénonce les dérives de la  sur l’île et l’opacité des trusts.

L’île de Jersey est-elle, oui ou non, un paradis fiscal? 
Bien sûr que oui! Affirmer que Jersey n’est pas un paradis fiscal mais un « centre international à fiscalité basse » relève seulement de la sémantique. La vérité, c’est que la plupart des autres pays nous considèrent comme un paradis fiscal. Et qu’un grand nombre de leurs ressortissants dissimulent leurs avoirs chez nous.

Est-ce parce qu’elle s’est spécialisée dans les trusts que Jersey attire les candidats à l’évasion fiscale? 
Oui. Il convient de préciser qu’en soi un  est un instrument tout à fait légal. Mais il existe à côté tout un système de trusts fictifs, les « sham trusts ». Ces derniers n’ont qu’une seule raison d’être : permettre aux résidents étrangers qui les mettent en place de disparaître aux yeux de leur fisc d’origine. Au sein de l’aéroport St Peter, un salon privé permet même aux voyageurs les plus pressés de constituer un trust sans mettre un pied à Saint-Hélier… Résultat : Jersey existe aujourd’hui avant tout pour permettre à des gens qui n’habitent pas ici d’échapper aux impôts qu’ils devraient acquitter dans leur propre pays.

Qui sont les victimes de ce système? 
Les Etats dont les caisses sont vides et tous les citoyens qui paient honnêtement leurs impôts. Certes, nous avons renforcé nos procédures de contrôle. En dépit de cela, les dispositifs et montages fiscaux que nous proposons ici pèsent sur vos budgets. Nos pratiques privent le fisc français de millions d’euros.

Les évadés fiscaux français sont-ils nombreux? 
Des dizaines de Français se sont établis dans l’île et y habitent à l’année(NDLR : exilés fiscaux). Je n’ai pas de chiffres précis sur les évadés fiscaux. Mais puisque des citoyens du monde entier viennent à Jersey utiliser les trusts pour échapper au fisc, pourquoi n’y aurait-il pas de Français? D’ailleurs, si deux grandes banques françaises, la  et BNP Paribas, sont présentes sur place, il y a sûrement une raison…

Quelles sont les conséquences pour les habitants? 
Jersey a été capturée par la finance, au risque de creuser les inégalités. En 2008, le gouvernement a ainsi mis en place la Goods and Services Tax (GST), une taxe sur la consommation qui s’applique depuis à tous les produits de première nécessité, afin de compenser les pertes occasionnées par la suppression de l’impôt sur les bénéfices pour les entreprises étrangères domiciliées à Jersey.

Mais Jersey pourrait-elle survivre au départ de la finance? 
Bien sûr, et de toute façon, la finance partira tôt ou tard. Il faut préparer l’avenir dès maintenant. Pour cela, nous avons besoin d’investissements. Nous devons diversifier nos activités et développer encore davantage le tourisme.

Reproduced courtesy of Le Parisien

13 April 2013

Bailhache to (re)declare for Option B

Non-Politician Commission Member, Dr Jonathan Renouf
is supporting Option A

On Monday, Electoral Commission Chairman, Senator Philip Bailhache is set to re-affirm his support publicly for Option B. I say reaffirm, because we have known that he favoured this model in 2011, even before the Electoral Commission had officially come up with it from months of ponderings. The question is whether any of the other members will 'come out' too.

Senator Bailhache made his position quite clear, before he was elected that he favoured the yet-to-be-proposed Option B model. 'I do not support the removal of the Constables from the States... With 12 Constables there would then be 30 other seats. There are ways of dividing up those seats which require discussion. Once the States have found a solution, it should be put to the people for their approval in a referendum.'
Commission Chairman and pre-declared supporter
of the ex-officio role of Constables, Senator Philip Bailhache
It seems that he was clairvoyant because that was actually a recommendation of the Commission, that he chaired. However, his hopes of 'a solution' being found did not quite work out, because the non-States Members on Commission were not willing to run with the idea that only Option B be put to the electorate. This would have been unconscionable for them. They knew that all the independent academic advice and the Commission's own key principles, pointed away from the retention of the Constables with 30 deputies in 6 large districts. And so, we were given this fudge. Not just any fudge, but a Jersey fudge

Advisor to the Commission, Dr Alan Renwick, wrote that 'The option of retaining Constables makes overall apportionment worse than at present and in multiple parishes violates the Venice Commission’s criterion. Whether that is considered justifiable is not for me to judge.'

For one Commission member, Dr Jonathan Renouf, this certainly was not acceptable - prompting him, yesterday to come out and declare his support for for Option A as it is the only option to meet the basic democratic test of fairness and equality. 

'Its really very simple - if you support Option A, it is because you believe the electoral system should be based on fairness and equality.' said Dr Renouf. 
'The basic principle of any electoral system is fairness; everybody's vote should count for the same. If you don't have that then you have a situation where people are going to feel aggrieved, bitter and cynical about the system, because ultimately they know their voice is not heard as loudly as other people's voices.'

For some reason, Channel TV and the JEP did not take up the offer of a press conference with Dr Renouf. Apparently it was not newsworthy. However, expect Bailhache and Gorst's support to be front page news and a lead story on Channel, which we know are run by Establishment lackeys, despite some competent reporters. 

This 'outing' of support by such an articulate and erudite Commissioner will surely worry the other campaign teams, not least Senator Bailhache who desperately wants B to succeed in order to stymie any opposition within the States Assembly. It is possible that the other two political members may also join him by declaring their support - certainly Deputy Baker will do as he's told. However, Senator Bailhache will also be mindful that it may not be helpful for him and the other two politicians on the Commission to come out in favour of keeping the Constables and therefore further worsening voter equity in favour of the country, again at the cost of the urban voters. It is entirely possible that he is emailing round the two remaining independent Commissioners right now, in the hope of co-opting their support, however, he may be disappointed that they have integrity and will not simply bow and scrape to his presumed authority, as so many States Members do, unquestioningly.

Footage courtesy of Stewart Lobb via HERE