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How much can I achieve?

Sometimes, you’ll be surprised how much of a positive impact you can have. A lot of the good stuff politicians do never really gets onto the public’s radar, because it doesn’t happen within the States. A lot of good, solid work happens at Committee level, or helping constituents one-to-one.

States debates – which are often frustrating, gruelling, repetitive – give a very skewed (and offputting!) picture of the breadth and the potential of political life.

Just to give one example, among many, of the wonderful opportunities you might have in the States:

This term, the Committee for Health & Social Care (led by Heidi Soulsby) and the Committee for Employment & Social Security (led by Michelle Le Clerc) worked together to introduce free cervical screening for all women aged 25 to 65, in Guernsey and Alderney.

That issue never came to the States, because it didn’t need that level of approval – so it wasn’t really on the public radar, and you might never have heard about it, unless you use the service yourself.

But without hard-working politicians on the two Committees, it would never have happened. It involved quiet hard work behind the scenes, but it could have a major impact – substantially improving women’s future health outcomes, and maybe even helping us to stamp out cervical cancer altogether. You could be part of those life-changing decisions, too.

But there are two sides to this. Sometimes progress is unbelievably hard to come by. Sometimes you feel you are in the States, not so much to make good things happen, but simply as a buffer against things getting worse.

If you are swimming against a political tide, you might feel you’ve done little but kick against the waves and exhaust yourself for much of your term. Sometimes, when things feel especially futile, you need to regain your courage by asking yourself: How much worse could it have been? Perhaps all I did was to hold back the worst, but what if there had been no one like me to do that?

It’s important to go into this role with the right expectations. You’re going to be one person out of 40 (38 Guernsey Deputies and 2 Alderney Reps). You need to be prepared to do the slow, patient work of building consensus – or at least majority support – for the issues that matter to you, so that you can get them through the States.

If you want to be an executive leader who snaps your fingers and gets it done, you will be frustrated from the word Go! – even if you are in a very senior role within the States. The team workers and organisers in politics are much less visible than the charismatic political leaders, but they’re generally the ones who can make change happen, just by keeping on plugging at it. Keep that in mind, and keep going.

Go back to Getting Into Guernsey Politics
Go back to Section 1.1: Making the Decision
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Guernsey’s iconic women of the future?

Thank you for nominating a young woman or girl for our future iconic Guernsey women campaign to celebrate International Women’s Day!

Nominations close on Sunday 6 March at 17.00.

Please fill in the details below.


Miriam Makeba - South Africa

Nominated by: Christine James

Zenzile Miriam Makeba (1932 to 2008), nicknamed Mama Africa, was a South African singer, songwriter, actress, United Nations goodwill ambassador, and civil rights activist. Associated with musical genres including Afropop, jazz, and world music, she was an advocate against apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa. In 2020 she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 women of the century. 

South Africa is ranked 12th in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 45.8% (source: 

Are you from South Africa? Please email if there is a social or cultural group for people from South Africa in Guernsey.

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The original image “The Hague Jazz 2008 – Miriam Makeba” by Haags Uitburo is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. 


Jacinda Ardern - New Zealand

Nominated by: Martin Lock

Jacinda Ardern (born 1980) has served as prime minister of New Zealand and leader of the Labour Party since 2017. In 2019, she led the country through the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings, rapidly introducing strict gun laws in response, and throughout 2020 she directed the country’s widely praised response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ardern was the world’s second elected head of government to give birth in office when her daughter was born in 2018. ‘An inspiring Prime Minister who brought a nation together with true leadership, empathy and compassion.’

New Zealand is ranked 4th in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 48.3% (source: 

Other iconic women: Dame Whina Cooper, nominated by Claire Fisher, and Kate Sheppard, nominated by Anna Cooper.

Are you from New Zealand? You may be interested in joining the ANZACs in Guernsey Facebook group

Want to learn more about public office vacancies in Guernsey? 

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