If you elect me, I pledge to:
- work constructively with all other States members to achieve the best results for Guernsey;
- research matters before voting independently on them;
- listen to views from across our community to help inform my votes;
- work to build a sustainable economy that is fairer and take action to protect our natural environment.
MY FULL MANIFESTO
On this page you can find my views on a wide range of subjects, however if you have any comments or questions, please contact me – I would be pleased to hear from you.
Before writing my manifesto, I asked myself “What kind of community do we want to be?” For me, the answer is one that is prosperous and ensures that everyone can participate in that prosperity. It’s a place where we protect and enhance our natural environment, and it’s a place where our children feel they have a future. It’s also a place where we have efficient and effective public services and healthcare, a quality education system and a fully employed workforce. It’s a community which isn’t polarised, like so many around the world, but one that respects the expressing of different views and perspectives but still pulls together. There are many challenges ahead; both in an island context and also from global events over which we have less direct control, such as Brexit, Covid and climate change. Our best approach when facing all these issues is to have a government with the skills, knowledge, competency and financial prudence to rise up and meet the challenges head on. I believe I have the necessary qualities to be a part of such a government.
I also know that what matters to people on a day to day basis is also really important. Please take a look at my record from 2012-2016 on this website and also at the information below and judge for yourself. I hope that you will come to the conclusion that you wish to give me one of your votes when you complete your ballot paper.
The Economy and Taxes
I don’t subscribe to any particular ideology or to labels of left and right. Simply put, we need pragmatic deputies working together to provide the environment for a sustainable economy. We must create conditions that provide jobs for our people, respect for our environment and a good standard of living for all.
The finance industry itself is already diverse and, as our principal industry, we must look after it, but we also need to nurture other industries to support our economy. I believe there are untapped opportunities for tourism as detailed below which we have largely ignored while mistakenly focusing repeatedly on the runway length as the source of all our tourism ills.
Having essentially taken a decade to recover from the enormous financial blow to our public finances caused by the unfortunate, but necessary, introduction of the Zero-10 system of corporate taxation, we now must deal with the significant financial effects of Covid-19. Nevertheless, the fact that we had arrived at a point of budget surplus prior to the pandemic will put us in a good place from which to build our recovery.
Taxes should not be increased in any significant way, but there is scope for further reorganisation to make a much more sustainable and also a fairer tax system.
As a careful Guernseywoman brought up in the 1960s and 1970s with parents who had lived through the war and post-war economy, I have an instinctive dislike of debt and an innate belief that one should spend within one’s means and not be wasteful or extravagant. That being said, I do fully support necessary capital borrowing to invest in assets and income generating projects that will provide jobs, and support the economy.
We really must do better in harnessing the expertise and knowledge available on the island and streamline the procurement system to allow projects to move forward more quickly. Having worked with the system in my previous term, I am convinced there is scope for improvement without sacrificing fair tendering and transparency.
In my previous term I voted against the introduction of GST as it impacts most heavily on those with limited incomes. Despite being a wealthy island, many in our community do struggle to get by and States policies must seek to improve life for those people and walk the walk of the #GuernseyTogether slogan. This also includes helping people into work and providing training opportunities. There is overwhelming evidence that significant inequality in a community is bad for everyone.
Education and Schools
Like health, education is always an important subject, and again at this election it is one of the topics that is foremost in many people’s minds – and for good reason. The delays in progress on secondary education have gone on for far too long whilst one model after another is brought forward only to fail to find favour either with the States, the community, or the teaching profession. Decisions have been made and reversed. Countless millions have been spent and time has been wasted. It has to stop. It has to stop for the sake of our young people who need certainty and it has to stop so that no more valuable resources are wasted.
The result of the ‘Pause and Review’ investigation into four options will be brought before the next States soon after the election. Whatever option is chosen, it must be one of those four. There is not the time or the money or, I suspect, the consensus to go chasing after a fifth or sixth option. I have a preference for three schools, but it would be my intention to thoroughly study the review and to make a decision as to the particular three-school configuration based on the facts before me, which must also be informed by consultations with all interested parties in the community.
Once a decision has been made, the States must get behind it and ensure that it is delivered swiftly and efficiently. We need to implement a system that has the best educational and pastoral interests of our children and young people at heart.
Of course there are other aspects to education as well as secondary education. I support the continued progress of the Guernsey Institute and the rebuild of the primary school at Mare de Carteret. In my last term I voted against the closure of St Andrew’s Primary and I would be very reluctant to see any other primary schools close.
Tourism and Air and Sea links
On an island, good transport links are vital. However, I don’t believe that extending the runway would bring the benefits some hope for. We’ve seen how a large boat on our sea routes has decreased frequency, and larger aircraft would inevitably have the same effect on air routes. London is realistically the only route that could sustain a 180-seat aircraft and the £80m cost to extend the runway could be spent on much better things including improved sea connectivity.
I’m supportive of the States continuing to own Aurigny, but losses need to be swiftly brought under control and a policy decision as to the purpose of Aurigny must be made to provide the framework that the Board needs in order to plan its operations and strategy. At a time when people are thinking of flying less or shorter distances and the environment is high on the agenda, Guernsey should become an obvious destination for travelers from the UK and nearby European countries. Much of the focus has been on travel links, but often accommodation makes up a bigger part of the cost of a holiday and consideration needs to be given to this aspect of the industry in attracting visitors and diversifying the range of accommodation available for tourists.
The recently approved Strategy for Nature proposes the building of a Centre for Nature. This idea could be developed further to create a landmark Centre for Energy, Nature, Tourism, Research and the Environment (CENTRE) which could be a significant tourist draw and put Guernsey on the map for environmental and nature research. Such a project would be self-funding once operational and bring many benefits for the island: a top quality tourist attraction with accommodation, an independent energy advice centre for locals and businesses, a venue for locals, a base for international students doing research in the land or marine natural environment, a bird observatory, a local natural history museum and more.
Development and Planning
Having championed Open Planning Meetings when I was last in the States, I was disappointed to see some tendency in the last 4 years to shy away from this vital transparency on certain occasions. If elected I would work to ensure that people can see, understand and participate in the decision-making process on all developments of public interest.
The Island Development Plan is due for its 5-year review, and all the important concerns that have arisen, particularly around the density of building in the north of the island must be addressed. Key to this is a clear understanding of the demand for housing and of what type.
The Guernsey Housing Association continues to do good work and I support their ongoing partnership with the States and the work that is done to create quality social housing and opportunities for islanders to own their homes.
The Environment and Climate Change
We need to positively look after and enhance our natural environment and although we should think globally we also need to act locally. There are numerous opportunities in the Bailiwick to effect meaningful change for surprisingly little cost, particularly for biodiversity and nature. I support the States Strategy for Nature which was debated by the States in August as part of the Climate Change Action Plan.
We should encourage and invest in renewable energy and be much more proactive in implementing ways to reduce energy usage. I support the provision of an independent energy advice centre to help people make their homes and lifestyles more energy efficient, thus saving money and the environment. We need to continue the switch from fossil fuels to clean energy. These things make sense on their own but will also contribute to reducing our carbon footprint. The costs of not looking after our environment will always be greater in the long run.
I brought the original Biodiversity Strategy to the States in 2015. Despite some strong opposition it was passed and I’m pleased to see that its successor, The Strategy for Nature was also recently passed. We must ensure that the work streams from this strategy are put into action.
As a recent president of La Sociéte Guernesiaise, I have a strong interest in protecting our natural environment.
(See also the Centre for Energy, Nature, Tourism, Research and the Environment under the Tourism section.)
In my 2012 manifesto I said that if we moved to Island Wide Voting, we would need to be careful to retain parish links with the States. Then, as now, deputies are elected to serve the whole island and, if elected, I would be available to all islanders to help in any way I can. However, as a resident of the West for the last 30 or so years, I would also make myself available to the Douzaines of any of the four Western parishes, as needed, to attend meetings to discuss States business.
We need to invest in digital connectivity to support personal and business needs, including innovative and flexible ways of working post-Covid
A population policy must be flexible enough to accommodate the island’s need of skilled people such as medical consultants, nurses, engineers and teachers. It must also welcome our valuable guest workers who help keep the hospitality and tourism industries running. At the same time it needs to recognise that Guernsey has a finite amount of space and that the island is very built-up for its tiny size. I support policies which seek to keep the overall population numbers broadly stable whilst allowing the flexibility mentioned above.
Health and Wellbeing
There will always be upward pressures on health costs, so it is more important than ever to seek ways of preventing ill health, both physical and mental, wherever possible. We need to build on the positive work done this term and address barriers to accessing appropriate healthcare. This includes restructuring primary care which will help address the issue of some people not receiving care because of the cost of GP appointments. Covid has shown that we can do things differently. I also believe that we need to endeavour to create personal resilience in our community which can sometimes seem to be eroded by the culture and pressures of modern day life.
I also believe it is important that those who work in caring or nursing roles are fairly rewarded for the work that they do.
Covid-19 and Building Back Better
I consider that the management of the pandemic by our Public Health Department and the Civil Contingencies Authority has been well handled. With hindsight there will always be things that could have been done better or differently but the outcome, at the time of writing in early September, of some 17 weeks’ Covid-free is quite remarkable. There are differing opinions on where we should go from here. One thing is clear: the world as it existed before Covid-19 does not exist at present and is unlikely to do so for some time. The question for us to answer now is “which set of restrictions do we want to live with?” There are broadly two main options: Tight borders, with very little or no Covid in circulation and the population able to live completely normal lives within the borders, or looser borders, an ongoing level of Covid within the community, and restrictions such as masks in some contexts, some social distancing measures and a ban on very large gatherings. This option inevitably carries the risk of school closures and full lockdown if the virus gets out of hand. I remain in favour of the former option. I’m painfully aware of the desire for people to visit loved ones elsewhere and the impact on parts of the tourism industry, but I feel that remaining Covid-free serves the majority best. I am aware that if Covid was to start circulating again many older and otherwise physically vulnerable people would feel the need to put themselves under self-imposed house arrest. Perhaps up to a third of our population are either over 60 or living with a heath condition that makes them more vulnerable to the effects of the virus. It is not easy either way, but we are looked on with envy by many and are blessed to live in such a beautiful place.
How people experienced lockdown varied widely depending on people’s individual circumstances. However many people felt that some of the changes were things they wanted to hold on to once life started to return to normal. The strong community that lead to the #Guernsey Together spirit, was nothing new for us. Guernsey people are overwhelmingly caring and generous. But other things, such as quieter roads and more people taking up walking and cycling showed how things could be different.
However, there were others for whom the experience brought job losses and other mental and physical stresses and we need to ensure they are not left behind as we plan our recovery.
Arts, Sport, Culture and the Third Sector
I’m a strong supporter of the arts, which are a vital part of any community. Government has a role to play in supporting art and culture in our island.
Sports and activity in general are vital to the health and wellbeing of all in our community and have a big role to play in physical and mental wellbeing. It is important that the States supports this, especially as so much work is done by volunteers, but also because it will pay dividends in reduced healthcare costs.
There is an amazing amount of work done by charities in our island, and it’s not a stretch to say we couldn’t function without them. Thousands of volunteers give up their time to help others. The States has a role to play in supporting and facilitating the work of these organisations, both financially and through necessary legislative changes.
Equality, Fairness and Inclusion
I start from the belief that all people are deserving of equal rights and respect. I fully supported the Disability and Inclusion Strategy when it came to the States in 2013 and I was pleased to see it finally get approval for legislation to be drafted, with the buy-in of the business sector too, a few months ago. Momentum must be maintained on these measures in order to make the lives of people with a disability in our community easier. Everyone should be able to go about their lives free from discrimination.
I’m aware, through work I have done previously in the States, in the Guernsey Prison, and for Safer, the local Domestic Abuse charity, that many people on this island have not had anywhere near the luck that I have had. I’m aware that their situation in life is not simply always all of their own making. That sometimes they need a break, a helping hand, or for the system in which they live to be fairer.
If I am elected, I want to use some of my energies to try and redress this balance in a positive and creative way, to truly embody the spirit of Guernsey Together, because all the evidence tells us that when there is significant inequality in a community it negatively affects everyone.
This is currently a live topic, with much interest from many members of our community and for that reason I support the States investigating it as part of the Justice Review (see below) to enable all evidence to be taken into account. There would seem to be strong arguments for medicinal use, and I seriously question the sense in criminalising people for possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use. I will listen with an open mind to all the arguments.
I support the terms of the Sursis Motivé brought to the Justice Review presented by the Committee for Home Affairs in July of this year.
I support the vision of the Youth Commission that the Bailiwick should be a place where all children and young people are able to reach their potential. Children and young people need to be fully considered in all that the States does. Growing up in the early twenty-first century provides amazing new opportunities but also new challenges for young people and it is vital that the downsides of the internet age which can lead to cyber bullying and mental health issues are mitigated.
If elected where would I like to serve?
I have no preconceived notions or promises of which job I might get if elected. However, I am particularly interested in the work of the Scrutiny Committee, the Committee for Home Affairs and Policy and Resources. That being said, if you do entrust me with the role of deputy, then of course I will work wherever I am needed although I do not intend to seek a seat on Environment and Infrastructure. Furthermore, if elected, I will not work for anyone else during the political term. I would also step down from my roles with Safer and the Women’s Refuge to avoid any conflict of interest.
I have set out my views on specific subjects. It is unlikely that many people will agree with every single thing I write here but that is no doubt true of every candidate. What I do promise however is that I will always base my views on evidence, research and the views of the community. I also understand that sometimes what the evidence might show is right for another country might not be right for Guernsey and a balance must be struck.
a favourite swimming spot of mine for the traditional boats, the charming cobbled slipway leading to the pier and the fabulous views of Herm.