Full of promises

Cher Eugene,

Several election candidates said they wanted to improve the harbour. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28781371)
Several election candidates said they wanted to improve the harbour. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28781371)

I DON’T know how long this letter will take to get to your side of the world, mon viaer, what with this coronavirus and all that. But by the time it gets to you we’ll know the results of the election. The lads to the slip, we all did our voting, us, so you can’t blame us for the result, eh?

I have to say, choosing 38 good ones from more than 100 candidates was a bit tricky. Jack Torode, he said with the old States he would have struggled to get into double figures, him.

Young Pierre said he wondered what would have happened if people only voted for 10 candidates. If they all picked the same ones that would mean only 10 people would get elected, eh? Bert said a States that size might actually be able to make decisions; perhaps we should try and organise that for the next election, eh?

Pierre is wondering what to do with his big manifesto book now, Eugene. I said it could become a collector’s item, after all, look what happened to the Argos catalogue, because that’s not made any more. But old Jack said it’s not the same; he said the Argos catalogue had better offers, eh?

He said he’s going to put his book next to an old dartboard in his garage, just in case this States turns out like the last one.

Mick, from Fermain, he said if the new deputies keep their promises, the next four years will see the sea walls and cliff paths sorted out, a new harbour, loads of visitors with a thriving economy, and brilliant air and sea links. Jack says we’ll see pigs flying around as well, eh?

Bert, from L’Ancresse, he said perhaps they’ll sort out these planners, and stop them building on green fields. Like that one by the entrance to the Alliance. The developer wanted to build eight houses there, but when that was refused it went down to six houses, and when that got refused it went down to two. He said if it carries on they’ll end up with a garden shed, or a dog kennel, eh?

There were a lot of the candidates saying about improving the harbour, mon viaer. Mind you, I don’t think they mean that seafront enhancement programme. I have to say, I don’t really know what that’s all about, me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, Eugene.

But when you look at the mess they’ve made of the White Rock, with their trailer parks and customs sheds, with cars coming off the boat having to cross over ones going on, and cruise passengers not allowed to land there. Mick, from Fermain, he said it’s like it’s been designed by committee, and worse still, by a States committee, eh?

Now they’ve taken a lot of car parking spaces away to build a testing centre for the coronavirus on the east arm. I said to the lads, with the traffic layout the way it is there won’t be any need for arrivals to be tested; anyone with the virus will have developed symptoms and recovered by the time they’ve driven round to the testing centre.

Some of the election candidates were saying the harbour was a big ambitious project in years gone by, and we need a big plan like that now, like that one for the east coast from that consortium, with a deep water berth and tidal power and all that.

Old Bert, he said the States will have to sort out the planning process first. He said the current planners won’t know how to deal with an application like that, because it doesn’t involve building houses on green fields in the north, eh?

Mick said that consortium reckoned they could complete the project in just two years, so perhaps we should ask them to sort out the schools, and the empty greenhouses, and the air and sea links. In fact let’s get them on the ballot paper for the next election, eh?

Talking of sea links, Jack was due to get his flu jab last week, but it got cancelled because the boat with the vaccines didn’t get here in time. He said we’ve had enough empty shelves this year, if he gets flu just because the boats couldn’t cope with some winds in October, he won’t be best pleased, him, that’s for sure. He’d contact his deputy, but he’s not sure if he’s got one any more, eh?

And still with the seas, there was a rumour here that the UK government might decide to let the Europeans fish in our waters as part of their Brexit agreement. Caw, there’s a nerve, eh? I heard some saying Guernsey should put up a fight and tell the UK government they can’t do it, but the trouble is, it’s the UK government that’s responsible for our foreign affairs and our defence. So if we want to fight it we’ll have to call in the British navy. And that will be tricky because they’ll be on the UK side as well, eh?

Jack said he knows a few former politicians who were good at being on two sides at once, especially come election time.

There were a lot of the new deputies saying with all this globalisation and English influence, it’s important to show some of the things that make Guernsey different. They say we should have something like a visitor centre about Victor Hugo. After all, there’s thousands been to see that Les Misérables in London and New York and other places round the world, but they might not know about Guernsey. And if they come here, apart from Hauteville House and a statue in Candie Gardens they won’t see much about him, eh?

Mick, from Fermain, he said if the UK government do give up some of our fishing grounds, there could be a new musical about Guernsey fishermen, called The Miserable Toilers Of The Sea.

Bert was saying it’s the same sort of thing with the Guernsey cows. When he went to America he said they didn’t have a clue where Guernsey was, but they’d all heard about Guernsey cows.

And like he said, most people in England have heard about Guernsey milk, so if there’s a new dairy it should be by a farm or have a display so people could see about it. After all, if a visitor comes here now the only contact he’s likely to have with the Guernsey breed is red, blue or green boxes on a supermarket shelf, eh?

At least the last States put some money to try and preserve Guernesiais, Eugene. I was telling the lads, I think it’s an official language here, so it would be good if a deputy stood up in the States and gave a speech in Guernesiais. That might make people take notice, eh?

Talking of traditions, Bert, from L’Ancresse, he said he’d heard about someone with a hedge veg stall who was taking card payments now. I don’t know if it’s true, Eugene, but well, people say Guernsey’s a finance centre, so I suppose it will come one day, eh?

I said with the NatWest closing all their branches outside Town, perhaps the hedge veg stall could start giving cashback as well. That would teach the banks a lesson.

And talking of local produce, I told you the Dairy was searching for missing milk crates? Well, now it’s the egg farm looking for egg boxes. They say they’re difficult to come by because the factory that makes them has been in lockdown, so they want people to return them so they can be used again.

I said to the lads it sounds like the boxes have gone free range like the hens. But they didn’t think that was funny, Eugene.

I’ll write again soon, mon viaer.

A la perchoîne!

Your cousin, Emile

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