WITH next year’s elections seeing historic changes to the structure of our States Assembly, it is a real opportunity to press reset on our Island’s political make-up.
We are a modern digital economy with a world-renowned finance industry and world-beating connectivity. We might be small, but we are agile, skilled and entrepreneurial and ready for the ‘new world economy’.
What we need now is a modern States Assembly and Government with the right skills, that reflects the diversity of our Island, and can lead us into the post-pandemic, post-Brexit future. If you fit that criteria, then now is most definitely your time.
The IoD Jersey launched a campaign in May, to encourage experienced, high-calibre candidates to step-up. I’m delighted to say we’ve already had several people come forward and I’m hoping many more will express an interest. At IoD Jersey, we understand the importance of good, decisive leadership that reflects the diversity of society, and potential candidates see that this really could be a sea-change in Jersey politics if we work together.
I was speaking with a former minister earlier this year and one of his remarks resonated with me. He said: ‘Lisa, this is the most important election since the Second World War’. For all the reasons above, I wholeheartedly agree.
The new system of larger constituencies with just one type of candidate (Senators will be no more) means that all candidates must consider Islandwide policies and not just focus on their own parish. It therefore gives the opportunity for those with clear issue-based agendas to stand and be elected.
Whether it’s the environment, health, education, or the economy, those with the relevant experience to make decisions in the interests of our Island, are welcomed.
Diversity is also critical. This is not just gender diversity but also age, ethnicity and disability too. In addition, I think it is important that we don’t see standing on the ‘business’ or ‘economic’ ticket as being a hard sell.
Every single Islander relies on Jersey having a strong economy for our own livelihoods, health service, and everything else that we expect Government and our society to provide. Deciding how to spend or save the hundreds of millions that Government gets in taxes each year, or how best to stimulate and support our economy requires leaders not only with vision and agile decision-making but also experience. What other organisation would give the ability to decide what happens with budgets that large to someone with no relevant experience or training? Passion is essential, but it needs substance.
Many people have asked me what kind of candidates we are supporting. Let me be clear, that IoD Jersey is not aligning to any particular political viewpoint or candidate. We are a neutral and impartial stakeholder which simply wishes to support a diverse range of electoral hopefuls to stand for election.
There are several other key stakeholders supporting our aim. These include: Jersey Finance, Jersey Business, the Economic Council, Leadership Jersey, Lean In, and the Diversity Network.
In addition, we are ensuring that our campaign complements the States Assembly vote.je initiatives. However, there are some fundamental issues which I believe candidates need to address and understand.
I was a member of the Economic Council, a voluntary, independent group of business and community leaders from across Jersey, which was convened by the Government at the height of the pandemic, to provide objective input into how Jersey can meet its immediate and future challenges.
Representatives weren’t just from business, but from those who work with the young, arts, sports and across all industries.
We wrote a paper, ‘New Perspectives – Critical Considerations for Sustainable Economic Growth’, which complements the Government Plan and Common Strategic Policy, as well as the Jersey Policy Forum paper, and it is from that independent report that I draw some key points:
lCandidates must take a long-term strategic view and not just focus on short-term ‘easy-win’ issues.
lCovid-19 has accelerated agility in Government and business, with digitisation and fast decision-making essential. How will candidates embed those habits to take Jersey forward?
lThe Government’s new ‘Economic Framework’ needs to be accelerated and it should be a true enabler and facilitator of innovation.
lWe must embrace the ‘new economy’ through technology, artificial intelligence and data.
lOur culture of innovation and history of entrepreneurial pivoting in the face of challenges needs to be encouraged to stimulate growth and future-proof our economy.
lSustainability is essential for our future and the world’s future. We need to place sustainability at the heart of economic policy.
lIf we want a strong economy, we must regenerate our infrastructure and our quality of life perspective.
lWe must invest in education and skills development for the entire population.
Many jurisdictions are in the same position of wishing to ‘build back better’ post the pandemic and most are larger than us, so there’s some stiff competition. We must not lose sight of the fact though that we have a history of being incredibly resilient, robust and flexible. We need to capitalise on that going forward and be proud of what we have, but not complacent.
We can all do our bit in helping ensure we have the leadership we want and need for our Island. You can encourage and support those who are thinking of standing, and engage in constructive public debate about politics and those who seek election, rather than negative personal attacks which are often a part of our social media society.
You can also, in the coming months, urge friends, families and colleagues to ensure they are on the electoral register and vote for our Island’s future on election day 22 June 2022. We are, after all, in this together and by working with each other that’s how we will thrive.
lYou can find out more about the IoD Jersey election campaign at iod.je/jersey-election-2022.