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Why did you do it?

As always, there’s more than one reason.

I was working in the voluntary sector at the time, so, job-wise, I could change tracks fairly easily. I’d done some time in the civil service, so I kind of knew what I was letting myself in for.

I was enthusiastically helping out other first-time candidates, when I realised that I enjoyed it and cared about it, and there probably wasn’t going to be another time in my life when it would be any easier to stand than right now, so … if not me, then who?

But there were other things, too:

Not long before the last Election, it was suggested that Guernsey should do something in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. This provoked a massive public reaction – some of it really horrible. I felt strongly that the voices that were coming to the fore at that time – many of them hostile, angry, even aggressive – did not reflect the reality of my beloved Island community, and the generally welcoming, caring and compassionate nature of most people who live here.

But I was afraid that those voices would continue to dominate in the media, and to unduly influence political decision-making, unless there were enough people in the States who were prepared to put forward, and believe in, a more compassionate way of looking at the world. So that is what I have tried to do.

I should also confess to the thing that inspired me, and which I keep going back to when I need to recharge. The trouble is, it’s a bit pretentious and self-important. But here goes:

There is a scene in Selma where (as I remember it) the campaigners are gathered together in someone’s small living room; a couple of men lounging on couches and armchairs, others standing around. It was one of the movie’s smaller, quieter moments. A moment of friends together, in someone’s house; talking about strategy, united by a common cause.

I wouldn’t dare to compare myself to the incredible men and women who led the American Civil Rights movement. And I’m not trying to. But they were human, like us. That was what inspired me. The idea that great political changes are born in poky living rooms and on battered couches, perhaps more so than in the magnificent halls of power. That ordinary people with ordinary virtues and vices are capable of creating and leading extraordinary things.

Those people were remarkable, but still that moment made me see politics as ordinary people, in ordinary places, planning and muddling through and making change happen step by step; regrouping and lifting each other up and trying again. It reminded me that politics is not for “other people”, it’s for people just like us. And if we don’t step up, we just won’t achieve the changes we want to see.

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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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