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Can I make a career out of this?

Yes and no.

You will often hear “career politician” used as an insult in Guernsey. But the truth is that Guernsey needs experienced politicians. Politics isn’t just about knowing what outcomes might be good for our Island – it’s about knowing how to deliver those outcomes. You need a unique set of professional skills to be effective as a States Member. You can’t get that training anywhere else; you can only really learn by experience.

We also need organisational memory – for want of a better expression – to be effective as a government. We need to know what has been tried in the past, what worked (and what didn’t), and why.

If there are too many Deputies saying “we tried that in the past and it didn’t work”, the States will be paralysed with inaction. But if there aren’t any Deputies who can say “we tried that in the past and it didn’t work – so here’s what we need to try differently this time”, then we’ll be like lemmings in a nightmare, throwing ourselves off the same cliff again and again.

Where would you go to get the ‘story’ of Guernsey politics over the last twenty or thirty years? You don’t really get that depth of political knowledge from the media or think tanks over here, as you might in a bigger jurisdiction. You don’t get it from party organisations, because they don’t really exist. You might be able to find it in the civil service, if you know where to look. Or you might find it by asking those who’ve lived it – experienced politicians (and, sometimes, campaigners).

Guernsey’s States can’t be ‘born new’ every four years. It needs experience to make progress. There is no shame in wanting to be part of that.

But at the same time, a political career is a hugely unpredictable one. You are up for re-election every four years. There are no guarantees that you will succeed. You can be highly respected and valued by your States’ colleagues, but barely known outside the Assembly.

Long service is not a bad thing of itself – it really depends on the attitude you bring to work, and the reasons why you are choosing to stay – but it is never guaranteed. You need to be prepared for that unpredictability, so that you have a back-up plan for life outside politics, in the event you can’t stay around for as long as you might have hoped.

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

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