A rap on the knuckles with a feather duster

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Senators Terry Le Main and Stuart Syvret have been found by the committee to have broken their code of conduct by sending offensive e-mails.

Yet it seems that the most the committee can do is inform us and other Members of the States that this has been the case. That is unlikely to cause any loss of sleep to either of these two headstrong personalities. It amounts to a light, feathery tickle as opposed to a rap across the knuckles.

Neither Senator felt that the matter was serious enough to warrant them even turning up for hearings — indeed they refused to do so. Nor does it seem to be anything like a secret that the committee and its findings are held in some contempt.

We can only hope that this situation is remedied when a new Privileges and Procedures Committee is elected. At the moment it has become accepted, and indeed commonplace, for States Members to behave and speak — not only to each other but to people outside the States — in a way that does them no credit at all.

I suppose you could argue that there is some ‘tell it like it is’ honesty in speaking your mind and being openly rude to your colleagues — and e-mail and websites have made this easier because you don’t even have to look at them when you’re being insulting.

However, when behaviour goes too far, there needs to be a sanction that actually means something to those involved.

I’m not suggesting that we return to some uptight form of governance in which everyone is overly polite for the sake of appearances, but the personal attacks currently so fashionable are becoming tiresome.

Hide those cigarettes…

.CAN there really be much debate to be had about hid-ing cigarettes beneath the counter in shops?

Although there may be other instances when the ‘nanny state’ arguments come into their own, it can’t seriously be relevant in this case.

We have already come so far down the anti-smoking road that the next logical step is to give less encouragement to the casual or impulse buyer, especially when mainly younger people are more likely to fall into that category.

It doesn’t stop anyone from buying cigarettes — for committed smokers, whether their cigarettes are on display or not is irrelevant — but it might just stop a wavering 18-year-old from asking the question.

How can that be a bad thing when all recent health campaigns have been aimed at stopping young people picking up the habit in the first place?

There have been a couple of grumbles from the retail associations, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for anyone to deny that stopping people from starting is a good thing.

Those who smoke will continue to do so, no matter where you hide the cigarettes. And it would hardly be politically or morally correct for retailers — and, to an even greater extent, cigarette manufacturers — to say that they are counting on casual sales to boost their figures.

Of course, as an ex-smoker, I have a vested interest in hiding them from view. The further out of sight they are, the further they are from my mind and the less likely I am to pick one up again.

Stores: Excuse me if I have a little sulk

.IT is always disturbing to find that you are on the wrong end of a vote and out of touch with the feelings of the majority — especially when it is something you feel strongly about.

It’s that democracy thing again. Frankly, when it goes against you, it is a real bind. The findings of the survey about supermarkets — in which I was one of the random selection — swung convincingly away from my answers. When 84% vote the other way, which is what happened here, it is a clear indication that your view may not be quite as universal as you think.

I had been hoping that the sample might have been skewed by having been answered by only a few of those who received it. But again, a 60% response rate is fairly convincing.

If I’m honest, this has caused not a little sulking. My arguments for keep-ing another supermarket chain out of Jersey are (a) the belief that the service we have is better than most of us give our retailers credit for, and (b) the feeling that the loss of any more small shops — which are scarce enough already — would be a further erosion of our sense of community in the places where it still exists.

However, it seems that ‘cheap’ has won the argument over ‘special’. Although I remain unconvinced that a UK chain added to the mix is the right thing for Jersey, I can also see the logic that if you are trying to keep Jersey special you have got to ask whom you are doing that for. And if the people who live here can’t afford it, then perhaps — but only perhaps — it has to change.

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