We’re not to blame for UK’s decision on health cover

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Ignoring the fact that the saying was probably first recorded in French in the mid-14th century (and that was an awful long way from Lancashire in the days before trains, cars, boats and planes), Mr Sowman implies that because the government of his country decided that it was going to end a deal which had existed for ages, somehow it is Jersey’s fault.

Sorry, Mr Sowman, but if we want to travel to your neck of the woods, we shall have to get travel insurance – something which you conveniently see fit to ignore yet you moan when you are asked to do precisely the same to travel to Jersey.

In case it has escaped your attention, the United Kingdom – the place with which we had this quid pro quo deal – has about 50 million people. Give or take a few, and depending on whether you believe the statistics our government imparts because they argue a proper census is a waste of money, we’ve got about 100,000. And because thousands of them are probably imports from your country, they’re as likely as not to get National Health Service treatment anyway.

So we agree to play host to any of 50 million of your lot who happen to fall sick while here on holiday or on business, yet your government see fit to end a deal which afforded a similar facility to 100,000 of us. Who is cutting off whose nose to spite whom, Mr Sowman?

Instead of moaning at our government through the correspondence columns of this newspaper, might I respectfully suggest that instead you complain to your own Member of Parliament. In case you didn’t know, he is Mark Hendrick, who used to be Jack Straw’s Parliamentary Private Secretary. And Mr Straw knows all about the Channel Islands – or thinks he does.

Mr Hendrick appears to be somewhat of an expert on travel, since in the last year or so he spent £14,844 on travel between London and his constituency, while in the last few years his work as an MP has taken him to Slovakia, Japan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, China (including Hong Kong), Romania, Singapore and Germany – the latter at the time of the last Football World Cup, where he was fortunate enough to be given a match ticket.

I am only a simple country boy, Mr Sowman, but I reckon that your Mr Hendrick is just the chap to help you. He can take the matter up with whichever government department is responsible – and believe me, if he succeeds, that will make him one of the most popular blokes in the Channel Islands.

So there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth – a phrase which you, as an expert on such matters, will know originated in the United States just under a hundred years ago. Sorry if I’ve ranted on, but I don’t like it when this place is blamed for something that is manifestly not its own fault.

IN common with many others, I viewed with total dismay the fact that it took eight police officers to arrest Senator Stuart Syvret for an alleged breach of the Data Protection Law.

Indeed, I very much take the point made by Steve Cole, in a recent letter, that he viewed that situation as somewhat ironic, given that when he travelled through a short but somewhat notorious stretch of highway late at night in a car with three adult companions, they felt intimidated by the sheer number of people they came across (some, not surprisingly at that time of night, who had clearly been drinking) and the fact that there was not one police officer in sight.

I read somewhere that the three principal functions of policing are the prevention of crime, the detection of offenders and the maintenance of the Queen’s peace. Quite where the prevention of crime fits in with having little or no police presence in an area noted for attracting people who have been drinking (and any adult’s experience suggests that such people are more likely to cause what are now labelled public order offences) is anyone’s guess.

The sheer overkill in relation to the Senator’s arrest makes even me wonder whether common sense appears anywhere in the police rulebook. Surely to goodness it must have been apparent (blatantly obvious is probably the more appropriate phrase) to someone associated with this affair that capital would be made of the fact that so many officers were involved.

Someone surely must be prepared to accept that better ways of handling this matter could and should have been found.

In the meantime, people like me who like going out for a meal and a few drinks with friends avoid walking through the streets of St Helier like the plague. As a result, if we do eat out in town, we do so early or, as is more often the case, and has been for years, we simply use restaurants which are as far out of town as it’s possible to get.

AND finally . . . what a pleasure it was to see the picture of 16-year-old Stefan Le Marquand, who decided to dress up as TV’s Dangermouse and brighten up a few lives by giving out free hugs. As it said on his outfit, No Charity, No Cause, Just Free Hugs.

What a breath of spring air from a member of a generation which, despite the antics of a minority, looks as likely to provide sturdy citizens as every previous generation.

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