Revolution in Jersey

You’d think we would have learnt when everybody bought all the loo paper. Fuel…

I’m in Jersey, and in Jersey everybody is pretty relaxed about fuel right now. To read my social media though – that’s to be told that people are murdering one another on concourses across the mainland for the last drop of diesel.

I extended my stay in Jersey. Easyjet allowed me to change my flight with no extra charges. It’s a bank holiday on Monday in Jersey suddenly though. The hotel receptionists are pissed off about it. I’m staying on to try to do some business, so tomorrow will be an enforced day of rest for me. I assumed it was a bank holiday across the UK. Then I spoke to Lou. It seems it’s just in Jersey. Interesting. Why?

So. Initial research brings up The Anniversary of The Corn Riots. And yes, by “research” I mean Google searching like your old mate who tells you to do your research because he insists that Hulk Hogan is actually a radioactive space mole. Corn Riots. That’s the official name.

In the 1760’s in Jersey there was a bloodless revolution. Nobody went to the guillotine, but things changed significantly. It was the peak of a period of discontent. The island has been run as a bailiwick for centuries. This means that there is a constantly shifting post of lieutenant governor. The governor at the time of the revolution was entirely absent. He was living on the mainland and had never been to Jersey. This is frequently still a problem. The post is an honourific and even if they do live here now they still have no clue how the island runs. His deputy was on the island, but he was a baddie – a guy called Charles Lempriere. Not as cool as my grandad was for decades.

It’s interesting to think about that season of revolution at the end of the eighteenth century. Many institutions toppled forever, inevitably to be replaced by similar institutions but with that very temporary injection of perspective.

The Jersey shift happened just before the French one, but no heads rolled. Then the American shift followed. Some of the entitled idiots “in charge” of Jersey learnt a touch more diplomacy. The wrongheaded tariffs on wheat were adjusted, and Charlie our chum Charlie CLASSIC Chaz Lempriere : he ate a lot of humble pie, and eventually somehow managed to go back to work with his head still attached.

“The Corn Riots” though. I’m told that the riots are the reason for this holiday. And right there we can hear Chazzo Lempriere’s high pitched voice, calling them riots. They weren’t riots, the things that brought about strong change in how the farmers of Jersey were taxed for their wheat. The Corn Riots were a quiet and sustained revolution. They were the force of unity and popular opinion. They were people at the end of their tether, fed up of a government of out of touch entitled morons. The policy makers of Jersey thought they had perspective. They really didn’t. Tous ça change.

Eventually, trying to make sense of all the cagey stuff I found with “corn riots” I googled “Jersey Revolution” and suddenly I hit the motherlode. “Jersey Corn riots” turns up nothing useful this evening. Just slave articles.

The Corn Riots were never corn riots. That’s just to make them small. That’s just what they were called by people who weren’t desperate. Maybe people who guiltily watched the unrest unfold through the window of their seaside home.

The bank holiday here tomorrow is to celebrate an important shift in the democratic journey of this island. The people of Jersey – led by women I should note – came forward in the face of a clueless leader who literally didn’t have the foggiest about what the people of Jersey wanted or needed. Real change was made as a result of the people mobilising, even if it was change within the existing system. Sure the system needs overhauling. But…

It means that tomorrow I’m just gonna lounge around. I’ve booked into a hotel with a steam room. I’ll be having a lovely time. While so many thousands of people freak out about the incorrect idea that there might never ever be petrol again, I’ll be relaxing. And once again we won’t march on Downing Street in our tens of thousands with pitchforks. Not yet. Not yet. But either I’m getting older or they’re getting worse..

St Brelade…

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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