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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

"Has Bailhache Been Told To Zip-It?"

Could and should Jersey declare independence from the British Isles?

Top-level comments reported in a national newspaper have got many politicians worried.

The Guardian quoted Senator Bailhache as saying the island was preparing to break away.

The article by the Guardian was written after the UK lashed out against Jersey's tax avoidance schemes. It quotes Senator Bailhache, the Assistant Minister responsible for external affairs, as saying "the island should be prepared to stand up for itself and ready to become independent if necessary".

But Senator Bailhache says his comments were not actually made in response to the tax backlash. The Guardian interviewed him months ago, and so his remarks were taken out of context to fit with the article.

Senator Sir Philip Bailhache said "I am not advocating Independence. I would like to make that absolutely clear, but what I am advocating is that the island should be prepared for any contingency which may arise, we plan for all kinds of emergencies and the possibility than it might at some stage in the future be in our interests to become an independent state is one of those contingencies."

In the States today, politicians wanted to know if the Council of Ministers were actually seeking Independence - to which the Chief Minister said NO.

Still, some think Senator Bailhache's remarks were damaging for Jersey - and have got Islanders worried.

Deputy Roy Le Herissier said "People are allegedly talking about preparation for independence, but a lot of people are assuming they're really pushing for Independence and I think you've really got to be so careful about how you phrase the question, how you take your step and to make sure people have an awful lot of information about the options and that the public has been fully consulted because there's no doubt that if we ever got to the point of independence being an urgent and a serious question it would have to go to referendum"

Today the Council of Ministers confirmed no policy on Indendence has been made.

Instead plans are to create a Jersey office in London and a permanent Foreign Minster to build more positive relations with UK.


  1. Permanent Foreign Minister....that'll be (Sir) Phil's job then!

  2. Well if he hasn't he darn well should be....