Between the 25th January 2019 – 31st January 2019 we asked our members “If you were advising Theresa May at the moment with regard to Brexit preferred options, what would be your preferences?” Here are the results:
Leave with no deal (i.e. allow time to run out)
*Seek Canada Plus deal
*Seek means of ensuring the Irish backstop cannot be permanent and press again for Theresa May’s deal with cosmetic changes
*Seek Norway Plus deal
Rescind Article 50 trigger (i.e. ‘Remain’, on same terms as before)
*Hold General Election
*Hold Second referendum
* in each of these cases, seeking any necessary postponement of the Article 50 trigger.
Our response rate was within the expected 30-40% for a member survey.
The results of our Brexit survey were striking with regard to by far the largest support being in favour of simply walking away from the EU. Given the paucity of independent analysis and information as to the balance of advantage and disadvantage of remaining in, or leaving, the EU, those members who are interested may like to refer to the following downloadable publication:
We are now in the last eighteen months of this States term. A very important part of our rationale as an association is to promote purposive change which can only realistically be achieved by a significant change of personnel in the next assembly. I intend to write more on that as the election approaches.
In the meanwhile eighteen months is a long time in politics and we have to do our best to make that as productive a time as we can.
Brexit is undoubtedly the major issue. The UK as I write seems in total disarray. No-one can sensibly predict the outcome. In Guernsey though we have to ensure that basics such as food and fuel are readily available post Brexit. Also on 29 March, unless Article 50 is invoked and the date extended or another agreement reached, Protocol 3 will end. We also have the uncertainty surrounding our financial services post Brexit.
The Authorities here, I have to say, have done and are continuing to do what they can. By the time you read this, I will have attended a Brexit Transition Group Meeting. The President of Policy & Resources I anticipate will be making a statement in the States. This issue will be fast moving and will engage the States both in the short, medium and long term. More certainty will emerge when, whatever it will be, the final outcome is known. I also envisage that whatever the conclusion it will affect these Islands for years to come. If there are challenges we will need to meet them, and if there are opportunities we should seize them. We will need more individuals in the States who can do that.
More prosaically at this States Meeting we will discuss the Report carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate on our Law Enforcement Services. Having read it now several times, I really do wonder why. As you would expect from such a report, there are some recommendations but nothing in my view too untoward. In such circumstances it is often not recognised by such reporting bodies that we are a very small community, and what may be required elsewhere is not here. There has been a degree of small townism, but minimal and thus why spend States time on it?
We also will be discussing the repairs to Alderney Airport Runway. If approved this will involve expense of just over £12 million. If not approved then I genuinely believe that Alderney’s Airport will not be in a workable state for much longer. There undoubtedly is the much wider question of the 1948 Agreement between the Islands, but that is for another day as the repairs are urgently needed. We should not allow the two to be linked.
There are other issues bubbling not far beneath the surface, and next time I may well write about the reality of trying to co-operate with Jersey. That though is for another time.