- In large populations, political parties may help. Where voters never meet their candidates face-to-face, they may need a manifesto to read.
- But Guernsey is small. Voters meet face-to-face with candidates and deputies all the time. That’s a truer test.
- Manifestos cause bad blood. Either they are hot air, or too much for any individual voter or deputy to be able to agree with it all. This is when a Deputy votes against their conscience. Will your Deputy be true to themself, or follow their Party Manifesto?
- A successful Party candidate doesn’t know if the voters chose them, or the Party. They fear being cold-shouldered by the Party which helped them in.
- Parties attract candidates who play party politics. The party conferences are more about schmoozing than policy.
- I have first-hand experince of this, as assistant to an MP in Westminster after uni.
- That is why I never have been a member of a Party, and I never will be.
The Finance industries do well for Guernsey, probably even for someone in your family.
- But government has drifted away from listening to Finance.
- The Committee for Economic Development dropped its non-States committee members four years ago.
- Our best intentions and world-class advice are too easily ignored.
- Legislation is passed with little time for consultation, so that key words are vague or omitted.
- Relations between the regulator and industry have never been so been strained.
- The Committee for Economic Development must back those world-class technical skills.
- … and business networks, academics, regulators, tax officers, civil servants, ports authorities, the list goes on.
- Guernsey so punches above its weight – indeed we are sometimes world class without realising it.
- We are so networked that many of us switched to working from home without missing a beat.
- Telecoms, local media, public transport, are all part of this vitality.
- All these internal connections! It’s like a brain, unique but fragile.
- I started Bus Users Guernsey (BUG) in 2009 and today we have achieved many of our ojectives.
- In 2013 I signed the States Douzaine Charter on behalf of St Saviours. But Island-Wide Voting now threatens the Douzaines.
- We must protect and nurture our on-Island networks.
Jewel of the sea
Where to begin? History perhaps:
- The neolithic tombs and standing stones? The ancient forest exposed on the west coast at low tide?
- Homer’s Greece? I like the idea that ‘Lisia’ was previously ‘Elysium’.
- Or Rome? Prof Le Patourel (Oxon.) speculated that our Jurats date from the time of the caesars.
- Our wonderful stubbornness? No dictator since pre-history (bar an episode in the 1940s).
- Our Plantagenet feudalism? More humane than the bossy type the English developed after 1066.
- 18th and 19th century stone houses in St Peter Port? Because so much continental brandy and gin was warehoused in Town that the Douzaine feared a firestorm.
- Or the German cemetery beside the Bluebell Woods? Which brings me to…
- Botany? The microclimate of Candie Gardens. The Société’s orchid fields behind L’Eree.
- Marine biology? Let’s survey our kelp and maerl habitats, and set out some underwater reserves.
- Lepidopterology? The Glanville Fritillary butterfly, almost extinct from the British Isles, still holds to our southern cliffs.
- Guernsey needs a Strategy for Nature. My placard at the BLM rally said ‘Equal Justice Under The Law’. Back to those vital Jurats.
No more debt
The idea to borrow £500m comes from a wrong guess about our economy back in April 2020.
- We don’t need the money.
- The April 2020 Policy Letter assumed unemployment of 10% by Christmas (see my paper ‘Saying No To The Bond’ sent to the Deputies here). Even in July 2020, when joblessness was down to 3%, this scare was repeated.
- In August 2020, S&P predicted a 9% contraction in Guernsey GDP for the year. Nonsense. Some taxpaying parts had record years. This was reflected in the final figures announced in 2021.
- This is because more than two thirds of our economy can work easily from home; the schools were all back by 8th June; and again in 2021 on 8th and 9th March; and the Staycation £ is worth three times the spending of visitors (see my June 30th 2020 paper, ‘To Infinity and Beyond: a critique of P&R’s Green Paper for post-lockdown’, sent to the Deputies here).
- And we do make blunders. The State’s 2014 bond was a horror story.
- To buy back their £330m Guernsey bond today would cost £460m. That’s how bad the timing was.
- Almost as embarrassing were the £millions of illogical bells and whistles attached. We were a joke in the market.
- Then we couldn’t use it. The Bond was meant to consolidate the debts of States enterprises. But we had forgotten that those debts had expensive cancellation clauses. Oops.
- And as interest rates fell, States trading boards could find cheaper loans elsewhere. Double oops. (Click here to see my first pamphlet on this from 2009.)
- Today an independent board which accepted a loan from the States Bond could possibly be sued for dereliction of duty.
- So what have we done? Rather than cancel the bonds, we gamble what we can’t lend – on the markets. Admittedly with reasonable odds. But borrowing to speculate – that’s what hedge funds do.
- States members have no right to turn our Island into a massive hedge fund.
- Should we inflict that on our kids?
- Imagine if our parents had endebted us like that!
All the rest
- THE REST FOLLOWS If we can get the jobs, tax and regulation right, we can pay for:
- Good health – we need doctors and nurses, and prevention is better than cure.
- Good education – we need teachers, and our exam results are better than critics said.
- Good sports – creating the Guernsey Sports Commission was truly far-sighted.
- Good training and retraining – the GTA, CFE, WEA, industry etc., do a great job. I support an independent Guernsey Institute.
- Good connectivity – which means fibre and 5G, more than a longer runway.
- Good stewardship of our corner of the planet – we are steadily getting there.
2020 Campaign video and LOGO
Text of video:
“Hello, you’ve found me, I’m Fergus Dunlop.
I have over 30 years’ experience in international finance.
For three of which I was also a Constable out West.
• I don’t like political parties.
• I do like living within our means.
• I want to support for the Finance sector.
• And stick up for local networks.
About parties. My first job was in the House of Commons for an MP. Most of it I loved. The part I hated was the sordid party conferences. That’s why I have never been a member of a party, and never will be. Guernsey is small enough not to need them.
Living within our means. Look this is serious stuff. We don’t have our own central bank. We can’t print money to get out of trouble. If our debts get too big, it will really, really hurt. And we do get it wrong. The last bond was so juicy that, today, just to buy it back, for every pound we borrowed, we would have to pay one-pound-forty. States deputies have no right to gear up and turn our island into a massive hedge fund. It’s not fair on our children’s future. Imagine if our parents had loaded us like that!
The Finance sector does well for Guernsey. If not for you, then maybe for your children. Or your parents. But it keeps changing. We have world-class expertise here, people who can put us on the cutting edge. For free. But we’ve forgotten how to use them. We have to relearn that. From day one I’ll start to welcome them back.
Which brings me to local networks. Again, this is about people. Parishes. And public transport. Guernsey is connected. Internally. Like a brain. All our volunteers and sports teams, and arts and… We so punch above our weight!
It’s unique. But fragile.
Party-free. Living within our means.
pro-Finance. Getting our neural network going.
Do these, and the good things can follow.
Thanks for watching.
Parish and Island-wide
- 2010, Junior Constable
- 2011–12, Senior Constable
- 2009–present, Sunday Club leader
- 2010–present, Advisory Church Council
- 2018–present, elected Parish rep on the Church Management Board
Since 2009, Bus Users Guernsey
- Bus Tracker App
- Wifi on the buses
- Night buses
- More bus shelters
- Smaller buses
- Less polluting buses
- Bus numbers on the back and sides
- Better timetables
- One timetable all year
- Shorter routes
- More logical routes
- Frequent services.
BUT STILL PLENTY TO DO
- 2009, helped stop the £175m bond
- 2013, signatory to the Douzaine Charter
- 2014, campaigned to stop the £330m bond
- 2018, campaigned for Option B, parish voting
- 2020, campaigned against the £500m bond
Puzzles and more
Some of my favourite words
This is where to find the answers to my two puzzles.
First up is the crossword from the back of my 2020 leaflet, along with the solution. Below that you will find the wordsearch box from the 2020 Candidates’ Combined Manifesto, and the offical answers, though some bright sparks found a few more…. Enjoy.
For answers see next slide
For answers see next slide