Literally, right now.
I am writing this on August 14th. That means, three weeks from now, the nomination period will have closed. Everyone who wants to stand for election will already have thrown their hat in the ring. There will be a month to go until votes are cast.
What if you haven’t made up your mind yet? Then act ‘as if’ you were standing. It will be far easier to get to the start of September, having done all your preparation, to decide to walk away – than it will be to get to the start of September, decide that actually you do want to stand, and frantically have to do weeks’ worth of work over a couple of sleepless nights.
If you haven’t seen the States in action before, there is still time – we are sitting from 18-21 August and again from 25-28 August, assuming we don’t finish our agenda in the first week. We usually sit from 9.30-12.30 and again from 14.30-17.30 each day of our meeting. You can come and sit in the public gallery of the Royal Court at any time while the States Meeting is going on. (And you can leave at any time too – you don’t have to commit to the whole session!)
It is worth seeing the States in action as a parliament, although that’s only a small fraction of what we do – a lot more happens in Committees, and I will try and shine some light on that in later blog posts.
You will also want to research key issues, and take time to think about your own position on them. You might want to talk to existing States Members to get a more personal insight (you’re always welcome to get in touch with me if you’d like a chat, and I know many of my colleagues would say the same). And you might want to find out more about the Parties that are forming, and decide if you are interested in joining any of them.
And then you’ll want to decide what campaign materials you’d like – will you just use the States manifesto, or will you have a personal one too? What about posters or leaflets? Do you want a website? What social media accounts will you use – if any? Will you be doing video or audio recordings? You need to start thinking about how you will source those materials, and getting the content organised.
There’s a lot to do. As a general rule of thumb, the earlier you can start preparing, the better. I’m the kind of person who needs a deadline, so I’m not terribly good at obeying that rule of thumb – but even I started writing my manifesto in earnest at least a month before nominations opened. The closer the campaign period gets, the harder it will be to do justice to your preparation – so, honestly, there is no time like the present.