Can we help each other out, even if we’re not in a party?

Yes. Candidates have always worked together at previous elections, and there is no reason why this one should be different. If you’re in a Party, then there are particular rules about Party spending which you will need to follow. If you are an independent candidate, working together with other candidates, then just remember that you need to keep track of your expenses, and that you are still bound by the individual candidate spending limit of £6,000.

Good luck! And try to enjoy the experience as much as you can – there’s nothing else quite like it, and you’ll learn so much from it, whatever happens on Election Day. Thank you for having the courage to step up and do something for Guernsey.

Go back to Getting Into Guernsey Politics
Go back to Section 1.2: Getting Elected

Should I get to know other candidates?

Yes, definitely! Standing for election is a unique experience, and the people best placed to understand it, to sympathise with its challenges and to share its joys, are the other people who are doing it alongside you. The friendships that I made during the last Election campaign remained some of my strongest friendships throughout this States, whether we agreed with each other or not.

Once you are elected, you’re going to have to work with people on Committees, and build consensus to get policies through the States. It helps to have good working relationships with your colleagues to make that happen. Don’t be snobbish about party lines – whether you belong to a party, or you’re an independent, you will need friends from across the States, and there’s no better time to start making them than now.

Also, bear in mind that you are going to have to elect Committee Presidents and Committee Members only a few days after you are elected. Some of the people who put themselves up for election will be well-known, but others will be completely new to the States and to you. You might find that you want to serve on a particular Committee, but you’re not sure what it would be like to work with the President or other Committee Members.

You won’t have much time to get to know them after the Election result, so start now – get to know your fellow candidates, and get an idea of what it would be like to see them in particular roles, or to work alongside them on issues that you care about. It may feel like an indulgence to spend time getting to know your fellow candidates instead of being out there canvassing, but it will feel like time well spent once you’re elected and you’re suddenly facing a lot of important decisions about who takes on what role, and who you’ll be working alongside, in this new States.

Go back to Getting Into Guernsey Politics
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Election Events and Resources

As the Election approaches, a range of events and websites are springing up, designed to help voters get to know candidates better. I’ve been looking for a one-stop-shop list of these resources and events, but haven’t found it yet, so I thought I might as well make it. (If it already exists, please let me know!) On this page, you’ll find information about Hustings and “Meet the Candidate” events, as well as links to websites providing information about candidates.

In order to be included on this list, an event or resource must be independently organised and equally open to all candidates. I will not be adding links to events organised by parties or candidates.

I am adding events and websites as I become aware of them. If I have missed any, please let me know about them.

Calendar of Events

Tue 8 September (evening) – Environment Hustings
Les Cotils
Find out more on Facebook*

Wed 16 September (evening) – Disability Hustings
St Pierre Park
Find out more on Facebook or on the GDA website*

Sun 20 September (daytime) – Official “Meet the Candidates” Event
Beau Sejour
Find out more on Facebook or on the Elections website

Wed 23 September (evening) – Work, Rights & Wellbeing Hustings
Guille Alles Library
Find out more on Facebook


Official Election Website
For: Candidate manifestos, candidate pages, voters’ questions

Electoral Support Group
For: Candidates’ questionnaire

The Guernsey Daily Podcast
For: Election coverage
Link: (and Twitter)

Is It True? Guernsey Factchecker
For: Election campaign fact-checking
Link: (and Facebook and Twitter)

Standing Up for Guernsey’s Environment*
For: Candidate’s questionnaire on environmental issues

Finally, download and customise your own candidate spreadsheet here – thanks to Paul for this super useful tool for voters!

If I have missed an event or resource, or made an error, please let me know and I will set it straight as soon as possible.

(*For the sake of transparency, these are events I’m involved with as a volunteer.)

Go back to: Getting Into Guernsey Politics

Should I join a political party?

I don’t know.

Guernsey has had occasional political parties, probably for as long as there has been an elected government. (Don’t the menus at Petit Bistro mention something about it being the HQ of the Guernsey Labour Party in the 1970s?)

But we’re mostly a government of independents. Each of us stands on our own manifesto; each of us votes in line with our own conscience.

I like that. I’d go so far as to say I’ve been spoilt by it. It is an immense privilege to be able to stay true to yourself in every vote – if I had to take a party line, I would struggle enormously. I couldn’t do it.

But that’s just me. You need to do your own research, and weigh up the pros and cons for yourself.

There are at least three things (two negatives, one positive) which I’d encourage you to think about if you’re weighing up whether to join a party, or whether to be an independent. The negatives are about policies and organisational structure, but they both boil down to the question – what would joining a party say about you and your values? The positive is about resources and support.

So – what would joining a party say about you and your values?

In most places with well-established party systems, this would principally be a question of policies. What does this party stand for? Does it want to achieve the same kind of things I want to achieve? Bear in mind that, in four years, lots of things will happen that you can’t even imagine, and you’ll need to respond to those. A party might not have a ready-made policy for every situation, but it’ll have a kit of values and principles (and economic theories, and political ideologies, and so on) that it brings to each situation. If those values generally reflect your own, it might be the right party for you.

But I get the impression that the parties which are forming here at the moment are looser associations than most parties elsewhere. So maybe there will be much more freedom of conscience within parties, when it comes to supporting your preferred policy solution, than you would get elsewhere.

If so, the question is less about policies and more about organisational structure. Hear me out on this one.

A person, or an organisation, doesn’t just tell you about its values by setting out what it wants to achieve. It also tells you by how it plans to achieve those. (Think about the difference between a victory won by deceit or violence, compared to one won peacefully or honestly.)

In the case of an individual, the “how” depends on the character and ethics of the person. In the case of an organisation, like a party, that character and ethos is created through good (or bad) organisational structures.

If I joined a party, this is where I’d be asking all the questions. I would want to know who controls access to the party, and how it is decided if a person can join. In short, I’d want to be sure that the gateway into the party would prevent people whose behaviour I’d find objectionable or whose values I’d find questionable. Because once we’re both in the party, we’re linked together. What that person says or does reflects on me, and on anyone else who belongs to the party.

For similar reasons, I’d want to know that the party is capable of dealing with members who suddenly start behaving in a way that is inconsistent with what the party stands for – that there are appropriate and fair structures in place to deal with poor conduct, which might even include asking people to stand down if need be. Fairness matters, because you have to ask yourself, “how would I feel if I was on the receiving end of this process?” If everything is done at the whim of the Party chair, for example, it might all be a bit too arbitrary to put your trust in.

I suspect that all the parties we’ll see at this election will have pretty immature organisational structures. What they’ve got might be good, and it might improve with time, but it would certainly make me wary.

But! You don’t have to be a cynic about parties just because I am. I can also see the value that people find in them.

Island-wide voting means that you will need to reach a lot of people in a very short space of time. It will almost certainly be easier to do this as part of a team, than it will be to do it on your own. Parties offer a ready-made mutual support network, and a clearly identifiable thread which binds a group of candidates together, meaning that if a voter has taken the time to read up on one party member, they’ll (probably) know a little bit about you all. Of course that cuts both ways, but in the tight timeframe you’re working with, it might be a very helpful shortcut.

The bottom line, as always, is do your own research. Make sure you know what you’re letting yourself in for, and know where your boundaries are. I don’t think joining a party is a uniquely good or bad thing – it’s a calculated trade-off and, until this election actually happens, all of us are simply guessing whether that trade-off will be worth it or not.

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Go back to Section 1.2: Getting Elected
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Who should I ask to nominate me?

If you want to stand for the States, you will need a proposer and a seconder before you are allowed to register as a candidate.

You will have to submit a nomination form signed by your proposer and seconder to the Bailiff’s office at the Royal Court. Look out for the candidates’ guidance on to find out about the technical side of the nomination process, and how to get hold of a nomination form!

You are going to have a very short window to get your nomination in. Nominations open at 9am on Tuesday 1 September 2020. They close at 4pm (that’s four o’clock, f-o-u-r … it’s not a typo!) on Friday 4 September 2020. Once that deadline has passed, it’s too late. So it’s important to prepare for this in advance.

The Reform Law says that your proposer and seconder both need to be registered on the Electoral Roll. So if you know who you want, and they’re not signed up, nag them until they do! You only have until 21 August 2020 to register – and unfortunately you’ve got to do it again for this Election, even if you voted in the last one.

(Side note: The Reform Law (Guernsey) 1948 is the main law that sets out rules for Elections in Guernsey. You’d never guess it from the title! It’s available to download on, which is a kind of online library of all Guernsey’s laws. I’d strongly recommend getting yourself a copy – you’ll want the version that’s called a ‘Consolidated Text’, which includes all the updates – and starting to learn your way around it.)

Apart from being on the Electoral Roll, there are no limits on who can propose or second you. It’s an island-wide election, so they don’t have to live in your parish – but if maintaining a link to a particular parish is important for you, that might be something you take into account when you decide who to ask.

Likewise, if you’re standing because you want to work in a particular area or to represent a particular cause, you might want to approach someone who has experience in that sector or shares your values on that issue.

Honestly: I have never looked twice at who is proposing or seconding a candidate. It is much less important than what the candidate themselves stands for, and how they behave. Other people might look more closely at your proposer and seconder – and perhaps it will count for more in an island-wide election than it did in the past – but it is still only a tiny part of your overall campaign.

For me, the thing that would be most important in choosing a proposer and seconder is trust – do they trust me, and do I trust them?

As a potential proposer or seconder, I’d be glad to nominate or second someone if I know I can vouch for their good character. Of course I’d take an interest in their policies and principles – there are some things I could simply never put my name to – but the main thing I’d be considering is: “Do I believe this person is good, and sincere, and will serve Guernsey to the best of their ability?”

As a candidate, I would want the security of knowing that my proposer and seconder are people who really believe in me – something that runs even deeper than a shared interest on an important subject.

But just because that’s my priority, doesn’t mean it also has to be yours. Think about what you want your choice of proposer and seconder to say about you, and approach the right people for you.

The bottom line is simply that your proposer and seconder have to be registered on the Electoral Roll; that you get your paperwork in order for them to sign; and that you get your nomination in before 4pm on Friday 4 September. Good luck!

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Couldn’t I be more effective on the outside?

Unfortunately, the narrow answer to this is yes – if there’s one particular issue you care about, then as a campaigner you can pour all your efforts into persuading the States to take action on, say, climate change, or housing, or transport links, or poverty …

As a person campaigning (or coaching, or protesting, or lobbying) from the outside, you can use your skills and expertise to advise on the issues you know well. And you don’t have to burn up a lot of time and energy on issues that are of no interest to you at all – unlike States Members, who are always dealing with the whole of government.

But! – and it’s a big one – your efforts to persuade the States, and the actions that the States then takes, are only ever going to be as good as the people who are in it.

If the States is made up of people who are unsympathetic to your cause; unable or unwilling to accept the evidence that shows how important it is; or unconvinced that the action you want to see is needed – then no amount of campaigning is ever going to achieve what you want it to.

I completely understand why staying on the outside is the most appealing option. But if everyone does that, the States – the actual place where decisions are made, and resources are put to use – won’t have enough people in it who care about the same things you do, who are willing and able to make the changes you want to see.

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Am I ready to do it?

Only you can answer that. But remember, you will probably never feel ready. If everyone waited for the perfect moment in their lives, few would ever run for government.

So try to ask yourself the question from another point of view, too: What will happen if you don’t do it?

If not you, then who?

If you can make it work, practically and financially; if you have a cause you care about and campaigning from the outside is only getting you so far; if you’ve got this far in thinking about becoming a Deputy and you’re still toying with the idea … then you’re a long way ahead of almost everyone else in the Island. So, unfortunately, you can’t count on someone else to step up and take it on instead.

The most likely way of seeing more people with your values and priorities in the States, is if you stand.

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Do I know enough?

The honest answer is: “No, but that’s all right.”

You might want to start by looking at some of the recent papers that the States has considered. You will find these online at (The collection of papers for a meeting is called a Billet d’Etat – the first word is pronounced like the letters BA, and the whole thing simply means ‘States papers’.)

You can see that each paper has a set of recommendations for States Members to vote on. (Everything has its own name in the States! The recommendations presented to the States are called Propositions. If anybody wants to change one of those recommendations, they need to bring an Amendment. If you want to know more about those, I’ll try to cover it in my sections on life in the States.)

Here’s an example, taken at random – the Billet d’Etat from July 2018, two years ago. The topics on that are so wide-ranging: from custom duties in a post-Brexit world, to how we manage our Island’s waste; from the question of open skies or air route licensing, to the future of the Island’s housing market.

How can any one person know enough to make a sensible decision on all those things?

The answer is, of course – no one can. It is simply not possible for one person to be an expert on everything a government has to do. That’s why we have Committees who develop their expertise in certain areas; why we have supporting reports and civil servants who can offer advice; and it’s why we have 38 Deputies in the States … because one person alone can’t ever know enough, but the blend of different experiences and expertise we bring can help us all make better decisions.

You can’t know it all. There’s never going to be a point where your knowledge is ‘finished’ and you feel ready. But that’s OK. If you can ask good questions; if you’re willing to learn; if you recognise quality and integrity when you see it – then you’re as well-prepared for this job as anyone can be. Don’t let lack of knowledge put you off, because nobody on earth will ever know enough. The work won’t wait for you to catch up – you’re going to have to learn as you go along, and that’s all right. Everyone else is in the same boat too.

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Have I got the skills?

Yes! There is no job description or recommended skill set for being a Deputy. Your ‘CV’ is your manifesto, and anything else you use to persuade people to elect you. The election period is your job interview. You will soon find that people across the Island have very different expectations of what they’d like from their States Members, and you won’t please everyone – but that’s okay.

Of course, there are some skills it’s very helpful to have, from public speaking to using a computer… You’ll find that some training is offered in the pre-Election period, and more training will be available once you are elected.

You will also be able to ask for help when you need it. So don’t be put off by thinking you lack an essential skill – there’s always a way to learn it. Mostly, practice helps – and you’ll get a lot of practice over the next four years!

Don’t be afraid to ask a more experienced States Member for advice. Most people would be delighted to be asked, and would try and help you fairly, even if they disagree with you politically. But if that’s a big deal for you, there are many retired Deputies who still play an active role in Guernsey community life – you could try approaching them instead, and I’m sure many would be glad to help.

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What does it take to be a Guernsey politician?

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 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 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.

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