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What are the risks?

I have written a fair amount about risks in the sections on family and health. The trouble with risks is that you often don’t know you’re taking one until something goes wrong – so I can’t give you a comprehensive list of all the risks associated with political life (because I don’t know what they are) but I will try and talk about it in general terms.

This is an area where it would be particularly helpful to speak with as many Deputies as possible, and perhaps also with other people working in the public sector, who will be able to tell you what they themselves have struggled with, or what keeps them up at night. This might help you to build up a more comprehensive picture than I can give you by myself.

Generally speaking, I think most risks fall into one of two categories. First, there are risks that arise simply because you are a public figure – the whole gamut of insults, slurs and misinformation about you on social media, threatening emails or phonecalls, attacks on your reputation, threats to your safety.

I haven’t yet felt unsafe myself, but some of us have, and with reason – especially people who are more publicly visible, because they’re Presidents, or associated with an unpopular policy.

And then there are risks that relate to the general and specific responsibilities you’ve taken on in the States. This includes things like data protection, challenges under the Code of Conduct, and any legal responsibilities you have as a result of your Committee duties.

You will be introduced to these responsibilities as part of your induction as a Deputy – but it will probably feel like a lot of information all at once, so don’t be afraid to go back and ask for a recap once you’re ready to take it in. In Committee, you will benefit from the knowledge, resources and support of the civil service; but the rest of the time, you are on your own – and that can be pretty frightening.

Of course it’s right that we are held to high standards – we have an almost unique power to make decisions that can affect people’s liberty, their livelihoods, sometimes even life itself. But we don’t have any of the infrastructure, from personal assistants to party advisers, which politicians elsewhere benefit from, so it can be very lonely and very vulnerable.

Your best support will probably be trusted colleagues – current Deputies, or those who have recently retired, who may have been through something similar, or who can help you to get the advice or assistance you need. If you have people you can confide in, don’t be afraid to ask them for help.

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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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