Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Driving to France

Much as I would like be able to hop into the car and drive to France whenever the fancy takes me, I do not expect it to be a possibility in my lifetime. Purely because I have read Peter Walsh's ideas about the uses for the bridge, in the JEP on 23 April 2008.

Oddly Walsh states that 'more Islanders could live in Normandy and commute to France'. Presumably there has been some typo there, and he means they could live in Normandy and commute to Jersey, but that is not the odd thing, the odd thing is that if people are living in Normandy they are not Islanders! In other worlds, what he is suggesting is that a bridge would make it easier for non-islanders to work in Jersey. Remember, the Regulation of Undertakings rules require 5 years residence for most jobs, so that will effectively mean that if Islanders move to France they will lose their jobs.

Apparently the bridge would allow French businessmen access to Jersey and UK companies based on the island, and onwards to London. Why French businessmen would have to go through Jersey to get access to London is not explained. It seems inconceivable to me that Walsh is unaware that our finance industry already deals with people from all over the globe, and that if there was an advantage to French businessmen in owning a Jersey or UK company (or Liberian, BVI etc) they would already be doing it.

Then there is the money. £25 million per year to be raised by a £25 toll on Jersey resident cars - that is 500,000 cars taking a return trip annually! I don't know how many vehicles there are in Jersey, but it tends to be families that travel to France, or groups of friends, so not all the island cars are likely to get to drive onto the bridge. Walsh says local families travel to France two to four times a year. I know no-one, in my wide circle of local families, who travel there that often.

Walsh supposes 1,000,000 commuter cars will use the bridge annually raising £10 a car - that's 4,000 French cars coming into Jersey every working day. Oh yippee, more traffic! I am presuming the cars will be French as there would be no economic benefit to someone to live in expensive Jersey and work in cheaper France. It only works one way. That also supposes 4,000 jobs exist in Jersey without the need for the applicant to have 5 years residency in the island.

Walsh suggests that it would benefit Islanders to take 'a ten minute drive across the water to stock up on goods'. The Telegraph mentions a 15-20 minute trip, but frankly, at a cost of £50 for the return journey, either that trip would have to be tied into a special day out, or there would have to be substantial savings on the cost of goods in France to make the trip worth while. Especially with customs prowling the Island side of the bridge ready with their smiles and calculators to hold cars up for the 30 minutes it takes them to work out the GST.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

30 MPH

Since January there have been new rules on our roads, meaning a lot of vehicles are now displaying 30 mph stickers. I find this had added an extra element to my journeys around the island. Not just playing spot the sticker, though that is part of it, but musing over why some vehicles have them, and other vehicles do not keeps me entertained.

The funniest part of it though is when I am driving on the Avenue at 40 and find myself overtaken by a vehicle with that startlingly white sticker on the back.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Terrible News

The news that part of a child's body has been found at Haut de la Garenne is shocking. It raises so many questions. The children's home closed over 20 years ago, and it is thought that the remains have been at their present location at least 5 years, which would mean since the building was converted into a Youth Hostel. It is also said that the remains date from the early 1980s, when the home may still have been open.

I cannot recall any publicised search for a missing child in Jersey in the last 30 years, let alone the last 20, so I wonder who this child is, and how their absence was not noticed. The police apparently hope to have identified whose body parts these are in a fortnight. That might seem optimistic, but given that the Police were tipped off about where to look for a body, someone willing to talk must have some idea of who the child might be.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Reasons to recycle

The 2008 telephone book has arrived in our home, with an insert called "Reasons to recycle". It states:

Every year the average bin contains enough unrealised energy for 500 baths.
1 recycled glass bottle would save enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes.
1 recycled tin can would save enough energy to power a tv for 3 hours.

All very interesting in a theoretical way - but we don't recycle glass in Jersey, we crush it and use it in building works. I have no idea if we recycle tins (we can put them in a recycling bin at the dump, but what happens to them then?), and I am sure that out of the average bin there is a lot of items not recycled anywhere, let alone in Jersey where there is no plastic recycling whatsoever.

Nevertheless, in an exercise of hope over expectation, I shall be recycling my old telephone directory.

Friday, 22 February 2008

New Links

Had an enjoyable day looking for new Jersey blogs to read, found a couple too, and caught up reading those I have already linked to. I have changed the way I display the links to forums too.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Circus of Distraction

Sheryl Crow was interviewed by the Independent on Saturday. She talks about her experience of political spin; when the media circulated that Crow wanted people not to use so much toilet paper, taken out of it's context from a comic routine as part of a global warming tour.

Crow said, "It was on every news channel as if it was news. It was in Jay Leno's monologue, it was everywhere."

I love the term used in the interview to describe this media disinformation - a circus of distraction. Not sure if the term originated with Sheryl Crow, or the interviewer Sheryl Garratt, but whatever, thanks Sheryl!

Friday, 1 February 2008


I've had a comment from a Ryan Morrisson, a new media journalist for who is working on an article "that looks at the increasing number of community sites, blogs and personal media in the island - this will cover message boards, facebook groups and of course - blogs." He asks me the following questions:

"Can you give me an idea of 1) why you felt the need to blog, 2) what you hope to achieve, 3) the sort of things you discuss on your blog, 4) why you think so many community sites and blogs are launching in the island, 5) what you enjoy about blogging."

Well, it seems appropriate to blog about this. After all, the main thing about a blog is that it is open, visible, public. And I like that - I like knowing people's thoughts. I'm so glad I did not live in previous generations, I like living in an era when it's all hanging out. I'm pretty online - I facebook, I post on message boards and forums, and yes, I have a number of blogs. But I was asked about this blog.

So, answers:

1) why do I feel the need to blog?

Well I don't - feel any need that is. I just enjoy it.

2) what do I hope to achieve?

I was a reader of local blogs long before I was a blog writer, and partly I just wanted to join in. I still read blogs for much longer than I post.

I also find that the process of writing and editing my thoughts helps me crystalise my thinking. And that is always a good idea!

The original intent for this blog was that I wanted to spend a year focusing on the States members, as I was very confused about how they acted. However, a year later, just as confused, I gave that up a bad idea. Then I thought I would go back to the original meaning of blog, which comes, as you no doubt know, from web log. I thought I would find it enjoyable to create a log of Jersey websites. And it did, but I was quickly swamped. I had not realised the number of websites that exist - and new ones are being created all the time! So I dumped that idea too. Now this blog is for me to muse on any local matters that interest me, as and when I feel I have something to say.

Why online? Well, if I wrote it all down on bits of paper, I would no doubt lose it. This blog is free storage for my ideas, if you like. If my hard drive crashes, no matter - everything will still be here. And I like to link up with others - see if anyone has something to say about what I think.

Should I want to broadcast my thoughts, then compared to writing to the JEP there is much more freedom blogging. If I write to the JEP my letter is at the mercy of the editor - even if he prints it, he controls what responses are printed and when the discussion is closed. None of that here. If I decide the day after writing a post that I have changed my mind - I can say so, or edit or delete my post. Of course I would get more readers from a letter printed in the JEP - but I am not really writing to be read. I don't have a site meter counting the number of visitors my blog gets, though I am always delighted when I get a comment and know that someone has been reading.

The other purpose of my blog is as a handy place too keep links to the local websites that I use.

3) what do I discuss on my blog?

The obvious answer to that is why don't you just read it and see!

4) why are so many community sites and blogs launching in the island?

Well, I am not an expert on how many sites and blogs there are - some community sites seem to be set up by people have left. Beans around the world - as it were. And of course Internet use is spreading, broadband is getting more widespread, blogging has been publicised so is more known about, and setting up a blog is much, much easier than it used to be. If you go with a blogging site like you can be up and blogging with a pretty site in half an hour, and all for free - so the numbers of people blogging are bound to be rising. If you have a group of friends online, a blog or facebook makes sense - you only have to write one message, and everyone gets it. it makes even more sense if that group is geographically diverse.

5) what do you enjoy about blogging?

All the above.

I would like to point out that Ryan has his own blogs at upyourego and 5tracks.