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Thursday, 28 July 2011

"An Island Sold" (A sonnet to Jersey)

by Paul Mash

JERSEY! An atomic wasteland of social ambivalences
Whose fallout benefits the rich whilst poisoning the poor.

JERSEY! Governed by the ignorant and supported by the foolish
Whose sanctum sanctorum is the currency of capital.

JERSEY! An identity sold to the highest bidder
Whose price is paid by the native populace.

JERSEY! A golden palace built on the annals of her history
Whose uniqueness has been sold cheaply.

JERSEY! A place where birth and history mean nothin’And who I am, A JERSEYMAN, is diminished from the chronicles of history.

JERSEY! Stand and shout “I AM JERSEY,” and let rich and poor benefit equally
Listen to voices and let fairness and equality be embraced by all

JERSEY! Do not sell your soul to the rich and wealthy
Be a home to her born and to a society, healthy.


  1. A True-born Jersey-man a la Daniel Defoe perhaps? But this posting has a worrying "nationalist" undertone. Perhaps you or the author could clarify that all residents are truly embraced by these notions of equality and that anti-immigration discrimination, ID cards, housing, work and benefits restrictions are for history - rather than the future? Tom Gruchy asks

  2. If nationalism is another word for identity then yes there are slight "nationalist" undertones. However, the notions of equality and anti-immigration discrimination applies to all; Jersey born, and those who wish to make Jersey their home. There is a wide range of cultural and economical differences in Jersey which is not always accounted for, but does give the Island a uniqueness of its own. However,if Jersey's future is based on a transient population, the Question becomes: what is Jersey? Jersey needs a strong local population to give it a sense of identity. The Jerseyman is an endangered species whose identity is being slowly eroded. Immigration and emmigration should be equal to all (a true Jerseyman has no automatic right to work in Europe). Jersey is effectively loosing its proud history and re-writing a contentious future. The idea of the poem is to spark debate on what Jersey's real identity and real future is. Jersey is but a child living in the global village; nonetheless, family comes first.

    The author of this poem is not Jersey born, but now considers, and proudly so, Jersey his home, with all her strengths and weaknesses.

  3. It is an odd thing but my extensive research indicates that immigrants have always been the impetus for so much of Jersey's past economic successes. Nothing has really changed on that score. Neither has much changed with regard to the gap between Jersey's government and the governed.

    The discontent that is so evident on the blogs now may not be typical for the majority of the resident population - but since only a minority vote it is difficult to tell.

    In the past - and I cannot identify a golden period when it was not true - the discontent was always present in large measure.

    Democratic representation was never a part of the Jersey way of life and it might be possible that the seignorial system made everybody blissfully content - but the record shows otherwise.

    In fact the notion that there ever was a golden time of contentment - either for most locals or immigrants. Some people have found happiness in this Island of course but we should not kid ourselves that this ever was related to some "nationalist" brotherhood of well-being.

    It's ok to dream about these things having been so in the past but it is mere Walt Disney reality.
    The future we can still do something about of course - but your nostalgis trip does not seem to be headed there. Tom Gruchy suggests.

  4. Immigration is one thing. Transient workers are often another thing entirely. A place only flourishes when its inhabitants are committed to its future.

  5. Evey person on this glorious planet is an immigrant to some extent, if you take the sea away we are all on one country called "The planet" and like most kinds of primates, monkeys Apes we -they fight for territory and food and a mate, We are quite happy to stand alone of to join a group however when you do you must realize that somewhere there is another group who hate you because of difference, any difference whether its the tone of your skin or the tone of your voice.

    We like to claim that we are a higher being and have risen above the other primates. it could not be further from the truth.

    What the ist is racist nationalist socialist rapist they are all wrong, and have not looked at human history very much- thinking we know it all. unfortunately we, as a race have forgotten more than we will ever know.

  6. "Ten million living things have as many different worlds. Do not see yourself as the centre of the Universe, wise and good and beautiful. Seek, rather, wisdom and goodness and beauty, that you may honour them everywhere."