A leaf through Emile’s 2012 diary

It’s an Olympics year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that more than the usual sparks will fly in Guernsey. In his annual predictions for the year ahead, Neil Ross’s old mate Emile wonders if the fabled torch will even get this far...

Emile Illustration
Illustration by Peewee

It’s an Olympics year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that more than the usual sparks will fly in Guernsey. In his annual predictions for the year ahead, Neil Ross’s old mate Emile wonders if the fabled torch will even get this far...

January

THE year starts with a report in the English papers that the London committee for the 2012 Olympic Games have gone over budget, them. And it’s because of the cost of getting the flame to Guernsey, eh? A spokesman for the Games organising committee says they checked the prices carefully before doing their budget, but when it came to booking they were charged extra for using a credit card and now they have to find an additional baggage charge because the airline won’t allow the torch to go as hand luggage.

The new States vet, he’s interviewed on Guernsey radio, him. He says his background is in animal behaviour, particularly working with monkeys. Later he turns up at the States meeting and when the court usher asks what he’s there for, he says he just wants to watch the States members in action, eh?

February

The Health and Safety release a list of recommendations for when the Olympic torch comes to Guernsey. They say anyone who’s going to carry a naked flame through the streets of Guernsey should undergo a police check, have a letter from their doctor, all the carriers should attend a special training course with the fire brigade and no one should take pictures of children. On the first practise run, an athlete stumbles and accidentally sets fire to the regulations.

The constitution committee, they say they’ve found an English firm that can install an electronic voting system in the States for half the price of a local firm and they offer to put on a demonstration. The first time it’s used, too many States members press their buttons at the same time and all the lights in the House go out, eh?

March

The milk retailers say they’re being put out of business by the Commerce and Employment’s review of the dairy industry, so they put in a bid to run the bus service. They say their vehicles are smaller, they can start their service earlier in the morning and stop at more places round the island. And on days when the post office doesn’t deliver letters, they can do this as well, eh?

There’s a candidate for next month’s election who says he’s going to stand on a Guernsey For The Guernseyman manifesto. He says he was going to start a Creeping Anglicisation Party but he was afraid what some people might do with the initials.

A spokesman for the Treasury says they recognise the Potato Pie book is an international bestseller but they just haven’t got the money in their budget to bring the film to Guernsey. However, if someone wants to write a book about a Potato Crisp, they could probably manage that, eh?

April

At the beginning of the month, the Press reports that the concentrated road repair programme by Public Services over the winter has been a success and all the roads in the island are finished. As a result, there will be no road closures this year. Later the editor admits that no one believed the story and next year he’ll try to find a more plausible April fool’s joke, eh?

The Guernsey For the Guernseyman candidate starts a campaign against the quick checkout machines installed in local branches of English chain stores. He says to help the local economy, the only ones allowed in the island should give change in Guernsey pound notes instead of pound coins, eh?

The traffic committee say they’ve listened to complaints from motorists about long queues in Route Militaire and they’ve employed a UK firm of experts in traffic management to look at the problem. Following advice from the consultants, they decide to install traffic lights at all the junctions to improve the traffic flow.

May

The fire brigade admit that their training course for the people who are going to carry the Olympic torch is falling behind schedule. They say it’s nothing to do with money, it’s just that their officers can’t keep up with the athletes on the training runs, eh?

There’s a surprise this month when the Guernsey For the Guernseyman candidate is elected to the Treasury committee. Straight away he says the island should fight back at the UK on tax matters and for a start he proposes any English milk brought into the island should have an import tax imposed, eh?

June

The post office announces that the latest date for posting parcels for Christmas will be the end of June. They say following the loss of the fulfilment industry and the reduction of mail deliveries to one a week, they can only afford now to send mail to the UK by canoe.

That pedestrian safety group, they’re very concerned about the Olympic torch being carried by children on the roads. They say since they haven’t got time to prepare a safe walking route, any young carriers should stick to the pavements, wear reflective yellow jackets and be accompanied by an adult with a fire extinguisher.

The new Environment committee, they reject an application for a new Customs shed as part of the harbour development, but approve a new slaughterhouse to Longue Hougue. They refuse to talk to the Press but a leaked email shows the planners rejected the harbour application because it was a shed, but they were happy with the slaughterhouse because that’s a house, eh?

July

Enthusiastic crowds surrounding the Olympic torch on its travels round the UK mean that it arrives late at the departure point for the Channel Islands. This causes a further delay as the organisers search for an extra £25 so the airline will let them catch a later flight.

Following the success of the soup competition held outside the Town Church last December, local restaurants are asked to stage a carvery demonstration in Market Square as part of the Town Carnival. Unfortunately nothing is raised for charity because as soon as the chefs produce their carving knives, the area is surrounded and cordoned off by police marksmen in armoured cars.

There’s surprise when latest GPS measurements from NASA show Guernsey has moved 100 yards to the south since the last recording. An analysis of the data by the astronomical section of the Société shows it’s only happened since a wind farm was put in the sea to the north of the island, eh?

August

The GCSE results are released and straight away every school claims it’s got better results than all the others, like they do every year, eh? But an analysis by the Press shows the results still aren’t good compared with the UK. The Education finally admits that maths teaching in secondary schools is not good enough. They say 30% of the pupils got acceptable grades, but the other 80% are well below standard.

Fears that bad publicity over Alderney’s e-gaming industry would cause a drop in profits are dispelled when the Alderney States release accounts showing a good profit despite fewer transactions. They say it shows how good the island is at the business, because it’s all down to one big bet they made themselves, on whether they would have their licence withdrawn.

Judges for the best window display in Town explain they cancelled the event this year because with everything in Town either a restaurant or a sandwich shop, they all looked the same, eh?

September

A local motorists’ group says its members are reporting an unexpected benefit of the closure of the VAT loophole. They say now the post office is delivering fewer letters and parcels, there’s been a reduction in the number of postmen riding their bikes two or three abreast in the middle of the road.

There’s surprise later this month when the Treasury says it’s setting up another Office of Utility Regulation. It says it’s listened to comments from the OUR that competition is good, so setting up another one should drive costs down, eh?

There’s another power cut affecting the whole of the island and suspicions straight away fall on the French. But this time Jersey says it wasn’t affected. After investigations by the Guernsey Electric, it seems it was caused by heavy power consumption as a result of all the traffic lights recently installed by the Environment.

October

A proposal is put to the States this month to open up all the German tunnels in the island, but the historical society and tourism say they don’t know anything about it, them. It turns out to be that pedestrian group, who say opening up the tunnels would provide lots of underground walkways for children to walk to school in safety.

The new Guernsey air registry is officially set up and the Commerce and Employment say it could make lots of money for Guernsey. An unexpected bonus is the island’s appearance in the Guinness Book of Records, because with the airport closed fo

November

A local firm is called in to rectify problems with the States’ electronic voting system, but when it’s turned on some of the deputies report receiving electric shocks, them. It turns out the buttons have been rigged by one of the employees so that anyone who talks for more than three minutes receives a shock, eh?

The fire brigade, they report a record number of people having bonfires on Budloe night this year but they have no idea why, them. It seems to have happened just after the States circulated every household with copies of their Hansard-style minutes of States meetings.

Following removal of 200 parking spaces to North Beach for the harbour development and a new series of tests by police which have taken elderly drivers off the roads, the Environment say they don’t need to come up with a new strategy to reduce the number of cars on the roads – other departments have done it for them, eh?

December

The Commerce and Employment, they admit that losing the Potato Pie film was a real disappointment, but they say not to worry because they’ve been successful in attracting a different film, them. Its director says he wants to make a Western and he’s been looking for a deserted ghost town with no shops.

The Commerce and Employment, they release their new strategy for the dairy industry this month, saying they’ve spent thousands on UK consultants with considerable experience, but the milk retailers, they say the numbers just don’t add up, them. A check by local farmers shows that when the consultants counted the number of cows in the island, they included the College of Further Education’s fibreglass ones.

The Treasury seeks approval at this month’s States meeting to register itself as a charity. The minister, he says it’s nothing to do with tax, it’s so they can apply for a share of the Christmas lottery money, eh?

Enne Bouanne Onnaie from Emile