The honest answer is: “No, but that’s all right.”
You might want to start by looking at some of the recent papers that the States has considered. You will find these online at gov.gg/StatesMeetings. (The collection of papers for a meeting is called a Billet d’Etat – the first word is pronounced like the letters BA, and the whole thing simply means ‘States papers’.)
You can see that each paper has a set of recommendations for States Members to vote on. (Everything has its own name in the States! The recommendations presented to the States are called Propositions. If anybody wants to change one of those recommendations, they need to bring an Amendment. If you want to know more about those, I’ll try to cover it in my sections on life in the States.)
Here’s an example, taken at random – the Billet d’Etat from July 2018, two years ago. The topics on that are so wide-ranging: from custom duties in a post-Brexit world, to how we manage our Island’s waste; from the question of open skies or air route licensing, to the future of the Island’s housing market.
How can any one person know enough to make a sensible decision on all those things?
The answer is, of course – no one can. It is simply not possible for one person to be an expert on everything a government has to do. That’s why we have Committees who develop their expertise in certain areas; why we have supporting reports and civil servants who can offer advice; and it’s why we have 38 Deputies in the States … because one person alone can’t ever know enough, but the blend of different experiences and expertise we bring can help us all make better decisions.
You can’t know it all. There’s never going to be a point where your knowledge is ‘finished’ and you feel ready. But that’s OK. If you can ask good questions; if you’re willing to learn; if you recognise quality and integrity when you see it – then you’re as well-prepared for this job as anyone can be. Don’t let lack of knowledge put you off, because nobody on earth will ever know enough. The work won’t wait for you to catch up – you’re going to have to learn as you go along, and that’s all right. Everyone else is in the same boat too.
Go back to Getting Into Guernsey Politics
Go back to Section 1.1: Making the Decision
Register to Vote