Guernsey Press

Potential election candidates ask ‘can you really make a difference?’

Potential and declared first-time candidates wanted to ask existing deputies whether it was really possible to make a difference as a States member.

Last updated
Deputies Chris Blin, Adrian Gabriel and Heidi Soulsby were at Beau Sejour to field any questions from potential election candidates. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 33149931)

Bruno Kay-Mouat, well known as the managing director of Alderney Shipping, said he was ready to stand next year, if he could be convinced that he would not be ‘banging his head against a brick wall’.

‘Can you really achieve things and make a difference?’ he asked.

‘I am,’ replied Deputy Carl Meerveld.

‘The answer I come up with to that question is how I will make up my mind about whether to stand,’ said Mr Kay-Mouat.

‘You need to feel you can make a genuine difference, otherwise there is no point doing it.

‘All the deputies I have spoken to have said they find the role rewarding, which is good to hear, but from my view outside the States not enough is happening and I fear the system doesn’t let good people do what they know needs to be done.’

Mr Kay-Mouat said that he could not understand ‘some exceptionally weak commercial decisions’ made by the States. If he stands for election, his campaign platform will include reducing public spending and improving controls on the civil service, he said.

Ever since the office of deputy was created at the end of the 19th century, candidates have claimed ‘frustration’ as a major reason for entering politics themselves.

Richard Corbin, who has retired from a career in financial services, was thinking of standing for the first time for exactly that reason, but needed convincing that he could make a meaningful difference through politics.

‘It’s a question of whether devoting four or five years of my life is going to be worthwhile,’ said Mr Corbin.

‘I wouldn’t be going in with my eyes closed. I know it would not be easy. I know it’s a tough job. But if I was going to be frustrated by the system and not feel I’ve been able to change anything for the better, it may not be worth it.’

Mr Corbin was gathering as much information as possible before making a decision and found the event informative and helpful.

‘I’ve certainly got some thinking to do. I will probably need to make a final decision in the next three or four months,’ he said.

Policy & Resources president Lyndon Trott encouraged anyone thinking of standing to come to a decision very soon.

‘If you are serious about standing in June next year, you cannot afford to leave it much longer. There is an awful lot to do to prepare properly, or you end up being elected but not prepared at all,’ said Deputy Trott.

He thought the event was helpful and wished similar initiatives had been held ahead of his first election, in 2000, when he came within 70 votes of topping the poll in St Sampson’s.

But he advised prospective candidates that the pre-election preparations which were more typical in those days remained valuable today.

‘Before standing, the knowledge I gathered came from attending as many presentations as I could, listening to States debates on the radio, sitting in the public gallery when time allowed and reading absolutely everything.

‘I also had one or two people in the States who were prepared to give me advice, in particular Roger Berry senior.’

Similarly, the deputies at Wednesday’s event – and at another event this coming Saturday, at 10am at St James – are giving up their time to advise and assist their future colleagues and successors.