Part One: Standing for Election

Part Two: In the States

Part Three: Everything Else

Before I Start … Should I Have A Plan For The Term?

Yes, I think so.

You can’t map out your term in minute detail. So many things in politics are out of your control. You can’t even single-handedly decide which Committees you’re going to be on – that depends on what the President wants, and what your fellow States Members vote for.

But it’s precisely because political life is so unpredictable, that I think a basic plan is worthwhile. Take some time, while you are still fresh from the campaign trail, to think about the issues that drove you into politics, or the things you learned on the doorstep that feel like burning injustices in need of change.

It will help to have a sense, for yourself, of what you want to leave the States having fixed. That list will change and grow as you learn more about all sorts of things. But it can help to keep you focused even so.

The demands on your time as a States Member are immense. You’ll have such a variety of emails, media demands, Committee papers and States’ business to cope with, you can find yourself pushed in all directions and just reacting to the most urgent things all the time. You can feel extremely busy without ever making progress on the things that matter most to you.

I had a piece of A3 card covered in post-its, which was my personal priority list. (I like post-its because you can take them off and scrumple them up when a task is finished – a very simple satisfaction!) It’s quite battered now. Every now and again, during the term, I’d take it out to remind myself, and check what I was doing against it. I was almost always wildly off course. It was a useful chance to stop and re-set, and often reorganise my time and effort a bit so that I could pursue the things I wanted to.

I didn’t finish my whole list, but there were one or two big things I’d said from the start that I wanted to achieve. In the end, we achieved one, and made real progress on the other, I think. Both were big, complex, and required me to give them my time, energy and concentration to a far greater extent than if I had just passively waited for them to come up on a Committee agenda. Mapping them out as my priorities from the start meant I was able to do that effectively.