To start with, I want to try and answer some of the questions you’re bound to be asking yourself when you are weighing up whether or not to enter Guernsey politics.
Of course it’s important to think through the consequences of taking on such a big commitment, and to recognise and prepare for the impact it might have on you and on your family. There are very valid reasons why politics might not be the right choice for you now, or maybe ever. Your wellbeing, and the happiness of those you love, comes first.
But if that’s not an issue, I hope this will also prompt you to think about the kind of future you want for the people you love, and for our beautiful Island, and ask yourself – can I afford not to?
So, first: What does it take to be a Guernsey politician?
The simplest answer is “it takes all sorts”. A democracy works well if people from all parts of society feel that they have a say in government. For this to happen, the mix of people in the States needs to be pretty varied. If you look at the 38 Guernsey Deputies and 2 Alderney Reps who make up our States right now, I think you will agree that any voter with a view on a particular issue is likely to find at least one sympathetic ear in the States.
You don’t need special qualifications. You don’t need to belong to a party. You don’t need previous political experience. You do need to be on the Electoral Roll. And you do need to be at least 18 years old. For details on the technical side of it, please check the Election2020.gg website. But there’s no secret or science to it. You just need a good heart, a willingness to work hard, and a genuine commitment to this Island.
If you want to get a sense of the States, you can watch our meetings in person at any time. We meet in the Royal Court at the top of Smith Street and there is a public gallery which is open to anyone. If you need a reasonable adjustment, please get in touch with the team at the Greffe, who should be able to assist. The calendar of States’ dates is published on the gov.gg website .
If you’re thinking of becoming a politician, it’s worth reminding yourself that States Members are just ordinary people. You will probably see us in action and think “I could do better” – and, you know, I’m sure that’s true. But if people like you don’t run for the States, you will just continue to be governed by people like us. Really, that’s at the heart of the decision you’ve got to make.