Other Deputies may have a different perspective on this, and it’s well worth asking them for their views. The recent decisions we’ve had to make about managing a public health emergency have got to rank up there as some of the toughest.
But having watched the States for a few years before becoming a politician myself, I cannot think of anything worse, anything harder, than having to apologise to someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one who died on your watch, and who never should have died.
It could happen almost anywhere. It is most likely to happen if you sit on the Committee for Health & Social Care, with its breadth of responsibility for health and care services. The work is life-or-death by nature, and the reality is that people sometimes get it wrong. And sometimes the buck stops with you as the Committee, for failing to change a culture or to make right a known risk, without which this death might have been avoided.
But it could just as easily be a death in custody under the watch of Home Affairs, or a tragic school accident laid at the door of Education, Sport & Culture, for example. We try to minimise the risk of these terrible things happening, but sometimes they do.
And if you are on the responsible Committee – especially if you are the President – you have a duty to be accountable when they do.
Sometimes that accountability takes the form of stepping down; sometimes of staying on to make things right. That’s something you would have to figure out in the circumstances at the time. But one thing accountability will always involve, is saying sorry to the people who have suffered a loss because of your action or inaction – and there are few tests in politics as hard as that.