Jersey online politics is a very small world. Last week it got even smaller with the sudden loss of the Haut de la Garenne Farce Blog. If you read this you probably used to read that too, but in case anyone didn't, it was a rather unpredictable and uneven blog by a couple of people calling themselves Gazza and Andy, with guest articles by Senators Perchard and le Main and, they claimed, some anonymous others. It occupied a unique and important niche as the only independent right-wing local website known to the little clique of Jersey bloggers and forum posters, apart from a handful of one-or-two-posts-a-year personal blogs. Sometimes it sailed very close to the wind with posting things that seemed to defy copyright and data protection law with the same insolent disregard as they defied good taste, when publishing material aimed at embarrassing people it saw as threats. And it seems that somebody tipped the owners off about trouble brewing, because its disappearance seems to have a link to the latest political bombshell to hit Jersey.
Deputy Sean Power has been obliged to resign as Housing Minister for copying and leaking an email from a former politician that had been forwarded from one fellow States Member to another. Mr Power himself feels that this was merely a pretext to get rid of him, but I think most people would consider such gross invasion of privacy a resigning matter. We must of course take his word that it was not his copy, but another, that found its way onto the internet. However, it is fair to reflect on how unfortunate for him it was that the blog that published the stolen email, to the mortification of its proper recipient, was one he had reputed links with. For it was HdlGFarce Blog. Mr Power's close colleague, Terry le Main was a contributor, and the consensus used to be that if the “anonymous States Member” was not Gazza pretending to false credentials, then they were most likely to be Sean Power. They certainly gave the impression of being a “source close to him” as the cliché goes. Real offence, embarrassment and damage to reputation was caused by the email Mr Power handled without authority being published by the blog he had at least an indirect association with. Even if it was truly coincidental that the blog got hold of the same email, Mr Power was still in an untenable position, and had to go.
Gazza and Andy, of course, are as free to close their blog on a whim any time they please as I am to close this one. But, to be honest, they also seemed about as likely to do so. So one wonders what spooked them. For instance, could it have been a warning on the lines of “Hey, Gazza, Data Protection are looking into that email I gave you, to be sure, and they won't be liking that dating agency thing you're running now, either, if they look. I think you'd better be closing the blog down, so I do, before we get into even more trouble.”? No, we must reject that possibility. Even so, it seems to me that there is grounds for a little doubt about whether Mr Power has told the whole truth in as clear a manner as possible.
PS: HdlGF has now reappeared as a public blog, shorn of illicit material. Welcome back to Gazza and Andy, and thanks to Tony for drawing attention to its reappearence.