Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Jersey Democratic Movement - Manifesto of 1943

I've recently been very kindly gifted by some friends a big file of paraphernalia from the Jersey Democratic Movement from the 1940s until shortly after Norman Le Brocq was first elected as Deputy for St Helier No. 2 in the late 1960s. This includes manifestos, newsletters and (most interestingly) correspondence between the party and the editor of the Jersey Evening Post.

My three passions are; history, politics and Jersey. So going through this file has had me excited as anything.

For those that aren't aware of the history here, the Jersey Democratic Movement was a sort of party/ coalition of politically progressive islanders that first got together during the Occupation to discus how Jersey should progress into a proper democratic state after the war and spread anti-German/ pro-democracy propaganda round the island. To form a political party during the war was a very serious crime. They had to work covertly and were officially banned by the Germans (though they continued to operate regardless).

After the war the JDM became one of the two main groupings vying for power in Jersey. The other group was the Jersey Progressive Party, which many regard to be the precursor to the current group that are in power in Jersey. It was a broadly conservative coalition that argued for very modest change in post-war Jersey, in contrast the JDM's "radical" (more on that later!) change was broadly leftist, ranging from the Jersey Communist Party to more moderate figures in the Jersey Labour Party.

Both parties campaigned in the 1945 elections after the war (the last held under the previous electoral system) and the JPP trounced the JDM. I don't want to surmise exactly why this happened, but it is important for readers to know that the JPP were far smarter than the JDM in deciding what seats they contested (they didn't bother putting candidates up in constituencies that already had a member seeking re-election who they knew were potential allies for the parties cause) meaning they were better able to focus their resources on the winnable areas, and they had the full support of the Jersey Evening Post.

The JEP overtly supported the JPP and encouraged their readers to vote for a particular set of candidates. The JDM asked for their manifesto to be published in the JEP, but were refused to even be allowed a paid advert. Not only that, but the JEP also ran several articles that misrepresented JDM policy, with the aim of portraying them as traitors (how ironic given that they were the most patriotic of islanders who actively resisted the Nazis) who sought to have Jersey incorporated into the UK as an English county.

What strikes me when I read the manifesto that the JDM illegally published and distributed in 1943 is that by today's standards virtually everything in it is totally uncontroversial and most of what they proposed has happened anyway.

To me I look back at the JDM as a group that were arguing for many things that were fundamentally morally right, yet were castigated, slandered and marginalised by those in power. The question you have to ask yourself when looking back at this is how has Jersey politics progressed since then?

My view is the same as it was when I first became politically aware at 16 years old - Jersey needs political parties that represent the various different political traditions. Only that will improve the standard of Jersey politics. It will take it away from being based on personalities rather than policies. It will improve the quality of policies because manifestos won't simply be written on the back of a fag packet by one person, but subject to consultation and discussion with industry and economic experts. It will improve the quality of candidate too because there will be a selection process and candidates will be briefed and have to get to grips with comprehensive manifestos and reports.

The choice for Jersey people at the ballot box will then be about what values do they want to vote for and what vision for the future of Jersey most resonates with them. Jersey politics at the moment is culturally backwards. When a majority of States Members can't even agree on the principle that voters in Jersey should have a vote that is broadly worth an equal amount, you know something is very very wrong indeed.

So I am publishing here the Jersey Democratic Movement manifesto of 1943 and want to ask readers to have a think about how this compares to modern progressive politics in the island.

I'm only 22 years old and so I never had the privilege of meeting Norman Le Brocq and talking with him about Jersey politics, but there may be readers here who have memories of him and his other fellow party members and want to share those thoughts. I would definitely be interested to hear them.

The Programme of the Jersey Democratic Movement in 1943

1. A plebiscite will be held to decide for or against incorporation as an English County. 
Should this result in a decision against incorporation, then we advocate the following: 

2. Reconstruction of States Assembly 
(a) Sole members to be deputies, each elected for three years, in the proportion of one for each 1,500 inhabitants. Property qualifications abolished for both candidates and electors. 
(b) A Council or Cabinet will be appointed, each member of which shall be in charge of a States Department. 
(c) Deputies to receive adequate remuneration. 
(d) Electorate shall have power of recall over deputies when two-thirds of the voting register shall demand their resignation. 
(e) Electorate to include all males and females over the age of 21, with the exception of (1) Foreigners; and (2) Citizens of the British Commonwealth with a local residence of less than one year. 
(f) Voting to be by the preferential method. 
(g)The Assembly shall be the only legislative body in the Island. Judicial power shall be vested in the Royal Court which shall be independent of the Assembly. The title of Bailiff shall be reserved for the Chief Magistrate. 
(h) A Permanent Committee of Constables shall be formed to watch over parochial affairs.

3. Political Measures 
(a) Nationalisation of gas, water and electric services and passenger transport. Compensation to shareholders to take the form of interest bearing State Bonds, redeemable within a stated period. 
(b) One uniform tax system to be introduced, to include a graduated income tax and death or estate duties.

4. Legal Measures 
(a) A modern, equitable Divorce Law shall be introduced. 
(b) All seigneural and rectoral rights, dues, tithes, and other feudal privileges shall be abolished. 
(c) All Rentes shall be commuted. 
(d) All obsolete laws, as also all anomalies of legal procedure shall be overhauled, remodelled, etc., in accordance with progressive, democratic though and practice. 
(e) An augmented paid Police Force shall act over the whole island.

5. Social Measures
(a) The economic rights or orphans, invalids, widows and the aged will be fully provided for. 
(b) Health Insurance to be on a compulsory, contributory basis between States, employer and employee, and to include Maternity Benefits. 
(c) Slum Clearance and extension of State Building Schemes to be continued until the whole population is adequately housed, coupled with a more rigorous State supervision of building. 
(d) Compulsory free education to the age of 16, with family allowances to obviate any consequent economic distress. 
(e) Technical Schools and Adult Education Schemes to be created with facilities for all to enter who wish to participate.

6. Industrial and Economic Measures 
(a) A maximum working week of 44 hours (48 hours for agricultural workers) with a fortnight's paid holiday each year, will be established, together with payment for all recognised public and bank holidays. 
(b) Recognition of the principle of "Equal pay for equal work" will be enforced. 
(c) A minimum wage based on a health and cost-of-living table will be fixed for all types of work. 
(d) Adequate unemployment allowances will be made. 
(e) Abolition of child labour will be enforced. 
(f) A genuine Workers' Compensation Bill will be introduced and the installation of efficient safety devices will be insisted upon. 
(g) A Rent Restriction Bill will be proposed.

7. Farming and Rural Measures 
(a) Rentals shall be based on assessed land values, viz., on the average annual return for the last five years. 
(b) There shall be security of tenure, and compensation for improvement made to land. 
(c) We advocate the extension of the principle of Co-operation throughout every phase of agriculture. Farmers should cut out middlemen by acting as own merchants and agents, through Co-operative Diaries, etc., or similar organisations. 
(d) Cold Storage facilities would be expanded. 
(e) Producers' and Consumer's Councils would arrange equitable prices and act as general advisory boards on all marketing problems.

8. Tourism
Full encouragement will be afforded all those concerned in the island's welfare as a holiday resort.

9. Financial Policy
In addition to those sources of revenue mentioned above, viz., graduated Income Tax and Death Dutues, we propose increased taxation in certain other cases, e.g., wines, spirits, beers, tobacco, petrol, etc.

There we have it. Too radical in 1945, and apparently some of it is even too radical for 2013!

Not quite as concise and catchy as the Bolshevik Parties manifesto of "Bread, Peace and Land", but pretty good none the less.

I have their 1945 manifesto too and can get access to all of the election results which I am tempted to do and publish also, as it's important that there is a historical record for these sorts of things that can be easily accessed by curious islanders.

What I am interested now is to see what "programmes" emerge for the elections next year and how they compare in quality to this one. I won't hold my breath!



  1. A fascinating post. I look foward to the next instalment.

    1. Thanks Jacques. Next I will hopefully publish the actual 1945 manifestos of both the JDM and the JPP. Maybe even do a poll on which party readers would have voted for.

  2. Sam.

    Nothing has changed with the discredited, and disgraced, JEP then! If the equally discredited, and disgraced BBC were around in those days I've got an idea as to how an interview between Matthew Price and Mr Le Boqc would have WENT!

    1. Le Brocq may have attempted to say how the Bailiff and Attorney General received the Nazi invaders at the airport with a handshake (which I have a picture of!) but Price would have turned his microphone off before exclaiming that he had no proof and it was potentially libellous!

    2. Sam, Shona claimed that the JEP are running a smear campaign against her. Do you have a picture of that?

    3. Nope, I don't sit at home taking pictures of JEP articles.

  3. Shame a great post is followed by VOCs comments on JEP and BBC. discredited and disgraced? By who? A small minority of bloggers with extreme views? The vast majority of the population do not appear to share that view.

    1. You've obviously not been following my ongoing commentary of the latest BBC scandal.

      In chronological order -

      There is nothing extreme contained in these posts, just hard evidence and some commentary.

      You might think it's acceptable for BBC editors to endorse hate-sites, the bloggers don't.

      You might think it's acceptable for BBC presenters to lie on air and then not co-operate with the complaints board, the bloggers don't.

      You might think it's acceptable for the BBC to report on a prosecution case, but not a defence case, the bloggers don't.

      Whether the majority of the population agree or not is inconsequential.

  4. "Whether the majority of the population agree or not is inconsequential."

    That's not inconsequential to my point, which is that it is laughable to suggest that the JEP and BBC are discredited and disgraced just because a very small number of people see it that way. Both these institutions enjoy a huge amount of support (as shown by the JEP's circulation for example).

    To suggest that I think those things are acceptable is just ridiculous. Of course I don't. I take bullying very seriously whether its by a BBC editor or by Deputy T. Pitmann.

    The News of The World was discredited and disgraced. Let's keep things in proportion.

    1. I don't think the JEP's circulation is proof of it's support. The circulation numbers are falling and anecdotally I can give lots of examples of readers who only buy it because there is nothing else and happily ridicule it.

      The BBC is discredited and disgraced to me. Their actions, in my view, leave them with no credibility. That's my view, if others share it, great, if they don't, it doesn't change my view. I'm entitled to my opinion.

  5. I am surprised people keep on saying the JEP and the BBC are discredited because its making no difference to their popularity. Blogs only fill a minute gap in the news but compared to the MSM they are insignificant in readership terms and everybody knows that.

  6. I notice even socialists think agricultural workers should have longer hours than the rest of society. Equality for all , except peasants?

    1. They haven't given their justification for that particular policy.

      It's entirely likely that it could be something to do with the fact that during different parts of the agriculture cycle for particular crops, there is going to be a different amount of work that is necessary to do. There will need to be more work done on harvest day, than any other day for example. So it would be unfair to penalise agricultural workers from working extra hours on the tough days, when there were probably other days that they worked fewer hours. So it would likely balance out.

      Just a thought.

  7. "Overall readership of the JEP in print and online continues to grow, however, with a year-on-year increase currently running at almost 4% with some 70,000 people a day reading JEP content on all platforms." Not bad for a discredited and disgraced paper.

    1. Care to cite that?

      And my other point still stands firmly.


    3. Which confirms that they are selling fewer papers. People would rather go online and not pay for it.

      But quite right that it is one of the best selling regional papers in Britain. It's amazing what state funding and no competition can do for a business!

    4. Actually you have to pay to read the on-line edition.

      State funding for the JEP? Please explain? I thought it was a privately owned UK company?

    5. The full version yes, but given that they still get advertising revenue from the free version I suspect that they still count that.

      As for state funding, they get paid to publish the gazzette.

    6. You might like to read this before you attribute the JEP's decline in printed circulation to anything other than a natural consequence of a flourishing digital age. The JEP, which receives no state funding and enjoys as little competition as just about every other regional newspaper, is bucking the trend and doing rather well. Disgraced and discredited? 70,000 (and climbing) don't seem to think so.

    7. Sam, the States are an advertiser. The Gazette is an advertisement. If that classes as state funding then just about every organisation in the island is state funded. You are becoming a master of spin.

    8. I've already said that the JEP's decline is because of the internet. I said people would rather go online and read the free bits than actually buy it. I haven't even said that I blame it's decline on it being "discredited" or anything like that. Just that I don't consider it's high circulation rate as somehow confirming that it must contain the truth and everything they say is accurate (and that everything said in the blogs must be wrong).

      Also, the JEP in many ways isn't a regional newspaper, it is more of a national paper. Jersey isn't a part of the UK, we have our own government, our own laws and everything here is in a different context to the UK. So the need for competition is even more important.

      Gibraltar has several newspapers. Malta has several too, and a Maltese friend once told me that some of them even get state funding specifically so they can remain viable and provide competition. So the JEP enjoys far less competition than papers in comparable jurisdictions.

      Gazettes don't have to be advertisements, it could be a full paper, like the British gazettes are. In fact, that would make more sense if it were done as an online paper. No need to include the JEP in on it then.

    9. The original point was that someone said that the JEP was disgraced and discredited. Readership figures seems to contradict that. Just because a small minority of people seem to keep repeating that statement doesn't mean its true.

      "I said people would rather go online and read the free bits than actually buy it" that's just an assumption based on nothing.

    10. Readership figures prove no such thing.

      I don't know if you are the same anonymous as before, but I was actually agreeing with the point that the internet is having a negative impact on all newspapers sales. That's a demonstrable fact, so my assumption is actually based on something, thank you very much.

  8. Could the troll who is weirdly obsessed with me and this blog, please do society a favour and dispose of your computer.

    Thank you.

  9. So the JDM proposes a minimum wage in '42
    England doesn't get one until '99
    I believe that if Jersey embraces party system, not necessarily under UK banners, that the island could be at the forefront of progressive political thinking, perhaps being the first to nationally roll out a living wage for the plebs? Maybe sorting out the disparity between those at the bottom and the fatcats holding all the cards?

    On another note, have the bloggers considered publishing under their own investigative news banner? A one stop shop for the island to get the actual truth of what's happening would be greatly useful and informative, methinks

    1. If Jersey embraces a party system the 'Establishment Party' will dominate and I agree we will remain at the forefront of progressive political thinking.

    2. The Establishment Party would undoubtedly remain the party of government for at least the foreseeable future. But if it were clearly identifiable which candidates were aligned to the party, rather than the current system where any candidate can just morph into any sort of politician depending on whose door they are knocking on, they would probably have a reduced majority.

      What they know would happen in that circumstance is that their candidates would be clearly identifiable and they would no longer be able to take advantage of it being ambiguous. You wouldn't be able to get people like Alan Maclean getting elected in St Helier No. 2 pretending to be against GST, then getting in and voting straight away against exemptions for food and babies clothes etc. He'd be a part of the party and many people in a constituency like that wouldn't have voted for him. Just an example.

      In the long run, a progressive centre-left party would end up being a serious player in politics, rather than just having a few lefties shouting from the sidelines. And they don't want that, because it's too much hassle for them to have an opposition that is capable of giving them a hard time.

    3. I agree. The last thing Sen Bailhace etc wants is party politics

    4. I think you'll be surprised with Senator Bailhache's view on this.

      I once asked him what he thought about party politics and he said they were not only inevitable, but people should be actively striving towards them.

      Personally I hope Senator Bailhache does either form a party or encourage others to do so to represent his political philosophy.

      One thing is for sure, even though his party would probably clear up, they would (in my opinion) end up being a much more effective government than what we have now. This despite me not sharing their values or philosophy.

  10. re: JEP State funded.
    The States could easily publish the gazette online but choose to keep funding the JEP instead.

    And it's funny how every time a small competing paper comes along, it never lasts long. I've heard the rumour many times that advertisers are blackmailed not to support anything other than the JEP or the JEP won't take their ads. Whether that's true or not, it's interesting how often I hear it from different people :)

    1. I suspect thats just a rumour. The JEP have nothing to fear from competition from anything other than google. Printed papers are on the decline. Anyone entering the market now would be pretty dim. The JEPs resources are huge. If someone had comparable resources then they would probably buy the JEP (as the current owners did). The JEP would not turn down ads. It doesn't make commercial sense.

    2. What ?

      Since when did it not make commercial sense to nip competition in the bud ?

      They can afford to loose the odd advert. They cannot afford to loose their printed monopoly. They would be finished or would have to put their house in order.

      Long term the JEP is finished anyway.
      2 to 5 years max.

    3. The JEP are in no danger of being threatened by competition and in no danger of being finished in 2 to 5 years. That's just wishful thinking.

    4. I don't which demise upon the JEP. I hope it carries on for years to come. I just hope it carries on alongside other papers too.

  11. In the recently conducted, and published, survey which told us 75% of those surveyed didn't trust our politicians also told us that 60% of them didn't trust the media #DiscreditedAndDiscgraced.

    1. It would help if we could add to those the statistics a survey of those who think the millions spent to attack the blogs and bloggers is evidence the government fears losing their state media monopoly on information. The expenditures and effort involved prove Jersey takes blog reporting seriously indeed. Close your eyes and smell the fear.

  12. Slightly off topic. This is a serious question. The JEP today has a cartoon about the Guernsey civil servant who punched a police officer while in Jersey. The caption is something along the lines of "he must have thought he'd come over for the muratti"

    Should that civil servant sue the JEP for saying he's a football hooligan? If he did, should he win? If he won, what would he deserve as compensation?

    1. The problem he has is that the headline primary insinuates that he is violent, and, well, he demonstrably is. Or at least was on that particular occasion. So no case really.

    2. So long as the rest of the article is accurate, I should say. As long as they don't attribute further crimes to him that he hasn't done.

      Like accusing someone of electoral fraud when they only helped some old folk fill out a postal vote form...

    3. Ahem Sam,

      Could I suggest for the avoidance of doubt:
      "Like accusing someone of electoral fraud when they only helped some old folk fill out a postal vote APPLICATION form"
      i.e. not the voting form itself

      Not known to be illegal anywhere else in the world (as far as we know)
      Whereas it is OK for the other side to spend £#,000s bussing their elderly supporters on poling day.
      So many levels of gerrymandering on this island.

      I am actually on the centre right, but one is either a democrat or one is not.

      Whilst not entirely useless, I suspect that Geoff Southern is somewhat compromised. IMO Geoff Southern's breech of the Jersey electoral law was the high point of his political career. He said that he would break the bad law when it was debated and he was true to his word.

      Would "fraud" be libel Sam ?

      Would you recommend anyone to chance their house and even their future using Jersey's legal system which shows strong indications of not being fit for purpose ?

    4. If their act was illegal and resulted in people voting who otherwise might not have then this may be covered by the term electoral fraud.

    5. Whilst the cartoon of the Pitman's was unfair and a bit mean I think they should have been very annoyed, then a bit annoyed and then shrugged it off and carried on with their lives. When I saw the cartoon I did not make the association with them being in it for the money. Many people have that view of them but it is based primarily (and unfairly in my opinion) on Shona's infamous 'now I can pay my dad back' line. It is also based on the fact that they are the first (as far as I am aware) household to receive two States Members' salaries and many people earning far less, and who hold the common view that States Members are 'all a bunch of useless .....', feel (wrongly in my view') that the amount they earn is a bit outrageous.

    6. To Judge Made Law in Jersey #FreeSyvretNow -

      I would hesitate at giving anyone any advice, after all, I wouldn't want to be liable for them losing money! One thing is for sure, your chances of success in Jersey are going to be greatly increased if you happen to know one of the Jurats. As a democrat like you (though a centre-left one, unlike you) we can share the belief that that sort of justice is no justice at all.

      To the Anonymous -

      Absolutely not. The whole point of election campaigns is that you are trying to get people to vote who otherwise not. Fraud is essentially getting "fake" votes. I.e. stuffing the ballot box, or forcing people to vote for you who don't want to. Assisting some people in applying for a postal vote can't be described at all as fraud. I suspect that in most cases, the candidate would have been knocking on doors, invited in for a cup of tea, and the person said "oh whilst you're here, my arthritis is bad, would you mind helping me do this form?" It's probably as simple as that.

    7. Sam, I can't find any actual reference to the JEP using the words electoral fraud. Some people are suggesting it never happened. Would help if someone could post a link or cutting?

  13. Its not a state media monopoly, maybe you are confusing Jersey with Cuba or Venezuela. The JEP is owned by a UK privately owned company. The government have nothing to fear from a tiny minority of bloggers who the vast majority of the population do not follow (or even know exist). In the overall scale of things blogging in the island if fairly insignificant. The only time the government has to take notice is when laws are broken. Bloggers are not above the law. An interesting survey question would be 'do you think bloggers report in a professional and unbiased way?' I suspect you wouldn't like the answer.

    1. Yawn.

      When have I ever argued that bloggers are paragons of virtue? When have I ever said the government should fear us? When have I ever said we command majority popular support?

      It is amazing how some people are so unwilling to accept any criticism of the MSM that whenever a point against them is made, they divert conversations to the bloggers.

      Bloggers aren't a homogeneous group anyway.

      I don't aim to provide a professional and unbiased journalistic service. I just a citizen who likes to blog. I'm quite open about that. Why am I expected to do anything else?

      It makes you wonder what motivates someone to come on and change the subject whenever someone makes legitimate criticisms of the media, to the bloggers as if that is somehow relevant.

  14. Sam, how would you go about proving that you were the subject of a smear campaign (as defined on wikipedia as "an intentional, premeditated effort to undermine an individual's or group's reputation, credibility, and character").