On the 30th March 2011 at c.16:20, Senator Perchard treated us to an exclusive stand-up comedy routine, where the comedy was largely unintentional (bar for an initial observation that 'if ever [Deputy Le Fondré] looks for another profession, I suggest he becomes the voice of meditation CDs.' - this did solicit genuine mirth). Tickets were limited to roughly 53 seated(+theatre officials), and one or two lucky members of the public who had managed to sneak past security and the heavy wooden doors to gain a seat in the gallery. Perhaps 100 more were listening on their wireless radios.
|Proud Jerseyman Jimmy Perchard tells us why Jersey is the best place|
on the planet and why those who suggest improvements are malicious traitors
In a speech which could easily have been written by his mentor, Professor Terry Le Main at the Jersey faculty of Rhetoric and Demagoguery, Senator Perchard sang the praises of the Jersey Democratic model, with its 35-45% turnout rates for elections (20% in some elections) - 70-80% abstention rates (when considering those who are not registered) and the public's inability to elect its own Chief Minister or influence policy direction in a meaningful way. So without further ado, I welcome, Senator Jimmy Perchard [applause]
'It is a long time ago I pushed my red button. I was off in another place, particularly after Deputy Le Fondré’s speech. If ever he looks for another profession I suggest he becomes the voice of meditation CDs. [Laughter] But I thank Deputy Trevor Pitman for waking me up and, Sir, you for calling my name. The Bailiff has presided over this Legislature since it developed out of the Royal Court, over 800 years ago. In essence we have a piece of history here which we are discussing; a piece of fantastic Jersey history and any reform of the Bailiff’s role has to be taken very seriously, and I think we all agree on one thing, and I think it was my good friend, Senator Le Gresley who started this off - and Deputy Maçon and Deputy Trevor Pitman subsequently - we all agree that any recommendation should be put to the people of Jersey for their decision. This is not an easy decision; we have established that this afternoon. There are many strongly-held views and I have one. It is important that however we conclude the final recommendation from P.P.C., a referendum be held on this matter. I suspect over times of our long history the Bailiff who, as we know, has never been elected, may have politicised his role. I have no examples of such but over 800 years I suspect there are many. Until 1947 many of us were unelected and so until quite recently in the 800 year history we had unelected people acting in a political fashion; Jurats and Rectors of course. The Bailiff and the A.G. and the Dean have survived any transition and I suspect they have survived under scrutiny over the decades, more recently since certainly the 1950s, under scrutiny and they have reformed their role. The Bailiff, for example, no longer has a casting vote. The 3 positions have developed a position of neutrality and impartiality and that is why they have survived. I challenge any Member in recent times to give an example of where the Bailiff when presiding over this Assembly has displayed anything but neutrality and impartiality. If any Member can give an example - a real example; not a blog site example - a real example, let him stand up today and tell us about it. I think the proposal to remove the Bailiff from this Legislature is a proposal for change for nothing more than change for the sake of change. Change promoted by the same people who would have the Constables removed from the Assembly because they are the symbolic head of their Parish police force [Deputy Tadier stamps his foot in approval] The same people who would probably have the Dean removed from the Assembly [Deputy Tadier stamps his foot again in approval]. The malcontents who want to change Jersey for the better [Deputy Tadier stamps his foot yet again in approval]. Change for change’s sake [Deputy Tadier shakes his head in disagreement]. I am sorry, I call it malcontent and I mean it. It is people who are constantly dragging Jersey down and criticising the wonderful democracy we have. Jersey is a great example of democracy; a beacon of democracy that we should hold up high for the world to look at. Members made reference to the E.U. (European Union) and the Court of Human Rights. Well, let us look at the E.U.; an institution which allows its M.E.P.s (Members of the European Parliament) to speak for a maximum of 10 minutes and who has a group of unelected commissioners who run the European Union. What has the E.C.H.R. (European Court of Human Rights) got to say about that with the 260 million people that those unelected commissioners represent. Let us look at the House of Lords in the U.K. Members involved in U.K.’s legislative process. The House of Lords is full of unelected members. What has the E.C.H.R. got to say about that? These people are making legislation. Our Bailiff presides with immaculate neutrality and impartiality over the sittings of this States and nobody in this room will be able to get up and give an example of him doing otherwise. As I have said, Members seem to have fixed views on this subject. I suggest the only way forward is for a reasonable, well-considered question to be put to the people of Jersey on this matter. I will leave it at that, except I will throw a little side-winder into the mix for Members to ponder. Just diverting slightly; I am surprised that Carswell focused only really on the dual roles of the Bailiff and, as I look across at my good friend the Attorney General, I wonder why Lord Carswell and his eminent group of advisers and committee did not look at the role of the Attorney General and perhaps the conflict of the role of Attorney General. I know he did but did not make recommendations that perhaps the role of the Attorney General should be split into a role where we had a Chief Prosecution Service who was independent of the Legislature. I am not sure I would have supported it even if he had, but I think it is quite reasonable that he would have made a recommendation of that type. Without wanting to repeat myself, this is a change for change’s sake and I urge Members to recognise that it will not be this Assembly that agrees the way forward and it must be the people of Jersey that do it.'
To hear the audio visit: the jerseyway blog