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Survey of Guernsey Election candidates views on covid-19 related issues

Summary of results of Guernsey Election candidates’ Survey in relation to Covid-19 related issues

Plus analysis of how the candidates responded to the questions posed ( dealt with in order as further below, given beneath each question).

The political survey for election candidates on covid-19 related issues closed on 28th September.
It has resulted in some useful and varied feedback being received.
I believe that what has been said is a good reflection of how the candidates feel generally.

I know through having been a States of Guernsey Member and having fought a number of Elections, the huge pressures of time which candidates are put under.
In this Election, there have been a number of surveys and questionnaires sent to candidates as well as numerous individual queries from voters, apart from many other election commitments, so it is not surprising if some of them feel overwhelmed.

A short while ago, one of my former political colleagues, John Langlois, sent out a survey on a different subject, with three other individuals, and despite a lot of media promotion, did not receive responses from over 30 of the candidates. The survey I sent out was sent to the local media but was not publicised by them and this affected the level of responses.

There is probably an argument for the Elections Office to facilitate the sending out of questionnaires and surveys to candidates, as another option to organisations and individuals sending them out themselves.
This would ensure a level playing field in this regard.

When I stood as an election candidate I always completed questionnaires and surveys, whether I agreed with them or not, as I believed that it was important to demonstrate transparency and openness on all issues.
There are clearly a number of candidates who have a different opinion on that, which I feel is a pity as it certainly reduces the amount of information on candidates’ views which the electorate is able to be given.

I was also disappointed that there was an effort to dissuade candidates from completing the survey, with at least two Deputies going on social media doing exactly that.

In addition, it was put about that anyone completing the survey was knocking the covid-19 policies the Island authorities adopted. This was untrue as candidates were free to say what they wanted, and did so.

It was also said that I was biased in that I have always been an open opponent of lockdown and a proponent of lockdown free Sweden and other lockdown free countries.
My views were not relevant as this was an opportunity for candidates to express theirs.

There is also the view that some candidates unfortunately have, that they do not “waste their time” on election surveys and want to focus on whatever election methods obtain them the most votes.
This is where local media encouragement to candidates to participate in these surveys is most important.

However, all these aspects had an effect on the numbers of candidates completing the survey.

It was obvious that the survey addressed issues which a number of politicians would rather were kept under wraps.

Despite all this, there was a response from about a third of the candidates, and credit to them for doing so. Some of those responding gave reasons as to why they could not complete the survey, which ranged from being very busy to not agreeing with it. Those who replied demonstrated courtesy which is sadly becoming a rare commodity in politics.
I am also sure that, given a bit more time, more candidates would have been able to complete their surveys, but there has to be a cut- off point at some stage, especially with an election on !

There were 39 candidates replying, with 26 providing survey responses.
The other 12 said either: they would complete the survey, but didn’t; gave good reasons as to why they did not have the time; or gave reasons for declining.

Of the existing States Members standing, the only ones who completed the survey were those who are Independents. There were 5 of these. Jennifer Merrett, Matt Fallaize, Victoria Oliver, Marc Leadbeater and John Gollop. Two Independent States Members gave good reasons as to why they wanted to complete the survey but had run out of time ( Jeremy Smithies and Andrea Dudley Owen).
One former States Member completed the survey, Garry Collins.

Another former States Member replied after the deadline to say she was not going to waste her time completing the survey, Jenny Tasker.

8 Independent candidates who are not States Members also completed the survey:
Simon Fairclough, Diane Mitchell, Yves Lenormand, Rob Gibson, Nicola Young, Clint Gardner, John Titmus, and Gordon Young.
Two Independent candidates said they would complete the survey if they had time;
Richard Skipper and Paul Neuvel.
One, John Robilliard, sought clarification.
One said they would and then did not do so: Sian Jones
One engaged in useful debate about the survey and did not complete it: Chris Blin
One, Guilhem Chene, acknowledged receipt of the survey
One, Marc Brehaut, declined to complete the survey.

Of the Alliance Party of Guernsey, a joint response on completing the survey was made on behalf of the 11 candidates by John Cunningham.
In addition to him, the other candidates are:
Kevin Hainsworth, Arron Hawke, Luke Tough, Daniel Mihalache, Ken Smith, Phil Le Ber, Jane Le Ber, Barry Weir, Geoffrey Mahy and Elaine Mahy

Of the Guernsey Party candidates, 8 reduced to 7 because one has withdrawn from the election:
Two responded.
One Chris Le Tissier, gave reasons why he was not completing the survey.
One, John Dyke, gave a partial contribution due to time constraints.

No States Member who was a member of the Guernsey Partnership of Independents completed the survey. To his credit, one States Member, Mark Dorey, stated why he had not the time.
Of the non- States Members in the group, two gave reasons as to why they were not completing the survey: Sasha Kazantseva-Miller and Tina Bury. There were no replies from any of the former States Members.

In summary:
Of the 78 Independent candidates 21 replied and 14 made responses to the survey
Of the Guernsey Alliance Party, replies and a response to the survey was made on behalf of them all 11 candidates.
Of the Guernsey Party, out of seven candidates, two replies were made with one partial response to the survey
Of the Guernsey Partnership of Independents( 21 candidates of mainly present and former States Members), three replies were made with no responses to the survey.

Five existing States Members, all Independents, completed the survey and one former States Member (Independent)
It is particularly commendable that five sitting Deputies were able to withstand pressures and complete the survey.
Completing the survey simply showed their preparedness to make their own views public on a variety of related issues, and did not imply anything except that.
The same applies to the candidates who are not sitting Deputies who took the trouble to give their views.

For the candidates who did not take the opportunity to give their views on the issue, the electorate have been denied such knowledge.
The survey was intended to open up the election debate on the subject of the authorities’ reaction to covid-19 and various related issues.
Engagement on important issues should be encouraged, not avoided.
Clearly it suited a number of States Members to keep this out of the election, but who will it benefit by doing so?

The analysis of the Survey and some of the points which were made by the candidates is given below. Some of the responses have been very interesting and thought provoking and are referred to below under the title “Responses:”

END
Anthony ( Tony ) Webber
Former States Member, both Deputy and Island Wide Conseiller, 1991-2004
Independent Political Commentator
anthonywebber@cwgsy.net
07824 444604

RESPONSES and the preamble sent to Election Candidates:

For the attention of Guernsey Election Candidates:

Congratulations for putting your name forward for People’s Deputy in these historic Island Wide elections.
Having fought a number of Guernsey elections myself, I am well aware of the pressures on candidates’ time during the election period.
However, I would be grateful if you would complete this survey, the results of which will be made public.
The deadline for the email return is Monday 28th September 2020 at the latest please.

The way the Guernsey authorities has dealt with the covid-19 crisis has had far reaching
consequences for all aspects of economic, political, social and health as well as for many other areas of Island life.
It is important in this election to both debate those decisions as well as to formulate a recovery from the consequences of those decisions.

Survey of views in relation to the Covid-19 crisis and its aftermath:

On 23rd March the UK government brought in a lockdown policy.
At the time, the Guernsey government through the Chief Minister, Gavin St. Pier, said that a lockdown was not appropriate for Guernsey because of the economic and psychological consequences.
The next evening, a lockdown policy for Guernsey was announced to commence at 00.01 hours on 25th March.
1.)Do you think pressure was put on the Guernsey authorities by the British government to have a lockdown?
(Please note that all the countries of the UK and all the three British Crown Dependencies and fourteen British Overseas Territories had lockdowns, regardless of their covid-19 circumstances ).
Please put Yes or No or No comment

Responses:
General point for all questions -Please note that some of the responses on some of the questions were left out, filled in as no comment, or not sure, or similar, and they have been recorded as No Comment. All the individual completed surveys are available on request. The order of responses was done by picking names out of a hat.

Responses on Question 1.)
Gordon Young -No comment/not sure. Jennifer Merrett- No. Simon Fairclough- No. Matt Fallaize-No. Diane Mitchell –Yes, likely. Yves Lenormand- May have. Victoria Oliver-No. Garry Collins-No. Rob Gibson-No. Nicola Young- Yes. Marc Leadbeater- No. Clint Gardner- No. John Titmus- No. John Gollop- No. Guernsey Alliance Party statement ( attached) by Tony Cunningham on behalf of his colleagues, to be read in respect of the total survey: Kevin Hainsworth, Aaron Hawke, Luke Tough, Daniel Mihalache, Ken Smith, Phil Le Ber, Jane Le Ber, Barry Weir, Geoffrey Mahy and Elaine Mahy.
Summary: No-9. Yes- 2. No comment/not sure-13

The Guernsey authorities have had access to covid-19 government information from the UK.
Guernsey has been following the discredited “flatten the curve” theories of Public Health England’s Professor Neil Ferguson.
2.)In view of the extensive damage done to Guernsey’s economy and other aspects of Island life, do you believe that Guernsey should claim compensation from the British government for their advice which has led to a lockdown in Guernsey?
Please put Yes, No or No comment Responses: Gordon Young- Not sure. Jennifer Merrett-No. Simon Fairclough-No. Matt Fallaize-No. Diane Mitchell- Not sure. Yves Lenormand- No. Victoria Oliver-No. Garry Collins-No. Rob Gibson- No. Nicola Young-No comment/unsure. Marc Leadbeater-No. Clint Gardner-Yes. John Titmus- No. John Gollop-No. The Guernsey Alliance Party taken in the No comment category.
Summary: No-10, Yes-1, No comment/not sure- 14

3.)The Guernsey General Election, which had been planned over four years ago, was postponed from the June 2020 date, originally for a year, and then to the current date of October 7th 2020.
Bearing in mind the fact that a number of countries went ahead with their elections during the covid-19 crisis, in particular South Korea, do you think that Guernsey should have had the elections on 17th June 2020, as originally scheduled?
Please put Yes, No or No Comment Responses: Gordon Young- Yes. Jennifer Merrett- No. Simon Fairclough- Yes, with hindsight. Matt Fallaize- No. Diane Mitchell- Yes. Yves Lenormand-No. Victoria Oliver- Yes. Garry Collins-Yes, using postal voting. Rob Gibson-No. Nicola Young- Yes. Marc Leadbeater-No. Clint Gardner-No. John Titmus- Yes, people wanted an election asap. John Gollop- No. The Guernsey Alliance Party ( Tony Cunningham, Kevin Hainsworth, Aaron Hawke, Luke Tough, Daniel Mihalache, Ken Smith, Phil Le Ber, Jane Le Ber, Barry Weir, Geoffrey Mahy and Elaine Mahy ) gave a Yes in their statement.
Summary: Yes- 18. No- 7.

When the lockdown restrictions were announced in Guernsey, the Guernsey Chief Minister said in effect that they were as bad ( if not worse) than those imposed on the population by the occupying German Nazi forces.
4.)Do you believe that these lockdown restrictions were a major mistake to take basic liberties away from Guernsey citizens ?
Please put Yes, No or No Comment Responses: Gordon Young- Yes. Jennifer Merrett- No. Simon Fairclough-No. Matt Fallaize- No. Diane Mitchell- No/not sure. Yves Lenormand- No. Victoria Oliver-No, unfortunately. Garry Collins- No. Rob Gibson- Yes. Nicola Young- Yes, with hindsight. Marc Leadbeater- No. Clint Gardner- Not at the beginning. John Titmus- No. John Gollop- No. The GAP (Guernsey Alliance Party) taken as No comment.
Summary: No-10. Yes-3. No comment/not sure- 14

5.)Do you believe that the senior Guernsey authorities, especially the CCA ( Civil Contingencies Authority ) have not shared sufficient information to States Members and the general public, particularly about the policies of countries like Sweden and others, who did not institute lockdowns, and the ample availability of worldwide medical opinion advising on alternatives to lockdowns ?
Please put Yes, No or No Comment

Responses: Gordon Young- Yes. Jennifer Merrett- No. Simon Fairclough-No. Matt Falliaze-No. Diane Mitchell-No. Yves Lenormand-No. Victoria Oliver- No. Garry Collins-No comment. Rob Gibson- Yes. Nicola Young- No-scare tactics from the news did not leave Dr. Brink much choice. Marc Leadbeater- No. Clint Gardner- Yes. John Titmus- Yes. John Gollop-No but needed more international context. The GAP taken as No comment. Summary: No-9. Yes-4. No comment- 12.

6.) Do you believe that the CCA should be discontinued in its current role and that all authoritarian powers taken up by the Guernsey government should be abolished so that citizens have their freedoms back ?
(It is obviously accepted that Guernsey has ended lockdown and is much more free than many parts of the UK which are in lockdown, but the powers are still there).
Please put Yes, No or No Comment Responses: Gordon Young- Yes. Jennifer Merrett- No. Simon Fairclough-No. Matt Fallaize- No. Diane Mitchell- No, CCA needed changing anyway. Yves Lenormand- No. Victoria Oliver- No. Garry Collins- No. Rob Gibson- Yes. Nicola Young- Yes. Marc Leadbeater- No. Clint Gardner- Yes. John Titmus- No. John Gollop- No, new body needed. The GAP taken as no comment.
Summary: No- 10. Yes -4. No comment-11.

Guernsey still has very strict quarantine and isolation rules subject to draconian penalties.
These , together with the testing and tracing policies, are very costly to implement, as well as damaging to the economy and to Guernsey’s reputation.
7.)Do you believe that these restrictions should be ended and Guernsey allowed to return to normal life?
Please put Yes, No or No Comment Responses: Gordon Young-Yes. Jennifer Merrett- No. Simon Fairclough-‘Yes’, until pandemic is managed. Matt Fallaize- No. Diane Mitchell- No. Yves Lenormand- No. Victoria Oliver- No, the new normal. Garry Collins- No. Rob Gibson- Yes. Nicola Young-Yes, but a lot of people are still scared. Marc Leadbeater- No. Clint Gardner- No, not yet. John Titmus- No. John Gollop- No. The GAP taken as No comment. Summary: No- 10. Yes-4. No comment- 11.

8.)Bearing in mind how serious the consequences of lockdown are, do you believe that there should not have been a lockdown without the consent of the Guernsey electorate, as none of the States Members had a mandate to bring in such draconian restrictions ?
Please put Yes, No or No comment Responses: Gordon Young- No. Jennifer Merrett- Not sure/no comment. Simon Fairclough- No, quick response needed. Matt Fallaize- No. Diane Mitchell- No. Yves Lenormand- No. Victoria Oliver- No. Garry Collins- No. Rob Gibson- Yes. Nicola Young Yes, based on information Deputies had at the time. Marc Leadbeater- No. Clint Gardner- Yes. John Titmus- No. John Gollop – No, but States should have been allowed to meet virtually in the first month. GAP taken as No comment.
Summary: No- 11. Yes- 2. No comment-12.

The Guernsey lockdown financially affected numerous people.
In some countries which brought about a lockdown policy, the politicians recognised that they should bear a similar financial pain to that which they inflicted on their own citizens. Thus New Zealand Ministers took a 20% pay cut for six months.
9.) Do you think senior and all Guernsey politicians should have shown the same example?
Please put Yes, No or No Comment Response: Gordon Young- Yes. Jennifer Merrett- No comment/not sure. Simon Fairclough- No. Matt Falaize- No. Diane Mitchell- Yes. Yves Lenormand- Yes, should have been considered. Victoria Oliver- Yes, and States Members did not take pay rise. Garry Collins- Yes. Rob Gibson- Yes. Nicola Young- Yes and also the executive Civil Servants. Marc Leadbeater- Yes. Clint Gardner- Yes. John Titmus- Yes, they are paid too much. John Gollop –No, but maybe means testing. GAP taken as No comment.
Summary: Yes-10. No-3. No comment- 12.

With the imposition of emergency powers came a different approach from the majority of national and local media, which resulted in the absence of any intelligent debate about the alternatives to lockdown.
Only pro lockdown views were allowed, reminiscent of the sort of censorship countries only have during wartime.
The British government’s SAGE Committee’s minutes also reveal that they had a policy of creating a climate of fear to bring about compliance with the restrictions. The British government have been using the military and PR agencies to disrupt the presentation of facts which discredit their lockdown policy. This is all most disturbing.
10.) Do you believe that freedom of the media is vital and efforts should be put in place to protect such freedom?
Please put Yes, No or No Comment. Responses: Gordon Young- Yes. Jennifer Merrett- Yes. Simon Fairclough- No comment made. Matt Fallaize- Yes. Diane Mitchell- Not sure. Vyes Lenormand- the media put more fear in the community, taken as Yes. Victoria Oliver- Yes. Garry Collins- Yes. Rob Gibson- Yes. Nicola Young- Yes, mainstream media very biased and full of sensational scare tactics. Marc Leadbeater- Yes. Clint Gardner- Yes. John Titmus- Yes. John Gollop- Yes. GAP taken as no comment.
Summary: Yes- 12. No- 0. No comment- 13.

It has been known right from the beginning of the covid-19 crisis who is most vulnerable.
Thus in Guernsey, despite the panic about infection rates, there have been 13 over 70’s who have sadly died in relation to covid-19. This does not justify shutting down the economy and disrupting the lives of the majority of the population.
The attention to infection rates is not merited because those not in the vulnerable category are effectively not at risk.
In fact Guernsey’s “Shield” policy for the vulnerable commenced on 26TH March, after the British government brought in their Shield policy on 22nd March.
11.)Do you believe that Guernsey should have targeted the protection of the vulnerable much earlier, as some jurisdictions like Gibraltar, have had no covid-19 related deaths?
Please put Yes, No or No Comment Responses: Gordon Young- Yes. Jennifer Merrett- With hindsight. Simon Fairclough- No comment given. Matt Fallaize- Yes. Diane Mitchell- No, acted as quickly as they could. Yves Lenormand- Yes. Victoria Oliver- Yes. Garry Collins- Yes. Rob Gibson- Yes. Nicola Young- Yes. Marc Leadbeater- Yes. Clint Gardner- Yes. John Titmus- Yes. John Gollop- Yes. The GAP taken as No comment.
Summary: Yes-12. No-1. No comment- 11

12.) Do you believe that there should be FULL Scrutiny Committee investigation on all the actions of Guernsey’s Policy and Resources Committee and the CCA from the beginning of the covid-19 crisis, including access to all the minutes, and questioning of all the politicians and public servants concerned ?
Please put Yes, No or No Comment Responses: Gordon Young- Yes. Jennifer Merrett- Scrutiny Committee did do some work on this. Simon Fairclough- No comment given. Matt Fallaize- Yes. Diane Mitchell- Yes. Yves Lenormand- No but some scrutiny needed. Victoria Oliver- Yes, see where we can improve. Garry Collins- Yes, should review anyway. Rob Gibson- Yes. Nicola Young- Yes. Marc Leadbeater- Yes. Clint Gardner- Yes. John Titmus- Yes. John Gollop- Yes. GAP taken as No comment.
Summary: Yes- 12. No-1. No comment 13

The costs of Guernsey dealing with this crisis have been horrendous.
Guernsey could have had free prescription charges, free ambulances, free A and E , free doctor’s appointments and a Reciprocal Health Agreement with the UK for the money spent on covid-19.
13.) Do you believe the authorities could have been more cautious with the expenditure of taxpayers’ money?
Please put Yes, No or No Comment Responses: Gordon Young- Yes. Jennifer Merrett- Yes. Simon Fairclough- No comment given. Matt Fallaize- No. Diane Mitchell- Yes. Yves Lenormand- they did what they thought was right at the time. Victoria Oliver- Yes, but they needed to help people right away. Garry Collins- Yes. Rob Gibson- Yes. Nicola Young- Yes, with hindsight. Marc Leadbeater- No. Clint Gardner- Yes. John Titmus- Yes. John Gollop- No. The GAP taken as No comment.
Summary: Yes-10. No- 3. No Comment- 12.

Guernsey has a lot of expenditure commitments to maintain services, invest for the future and to pay back the extensive borrowing which has been incurred to pay for the covid-19 policy.
14.)Would you consider GST or VAT to bring in the money needed
(Please note that only five jurisdictions in the world do not have a sales type tax)
Please answer Yes, No or No comment Responses: Gordon Young- No, too much tax. Jennifer Merrett- No. Simon Fairclough- No comment given. Matt Fallaize- Like to avoid if possible. Diane Mitchell- No, finance seems to be in full recovery and need to find other ways. Yves Lenormand- No, even though it may take longer to recover. Victoria Oliver- No. Garry Collins- No. Rob Gibson- No. Nicola Young- No. Marc Leadbeater- No. Clint Gardner- No. John Titmus- No. John Gollop- No. The GAP taken as No comment.
Summary: No- 13. Yes- 0. No comment 12.

Please also mention any recovery idea/s/plans you have and how you would provide the finances for them.

The Guernsey States has recently allowed for the fast tacking of a vaccine for covid-19.
This will bypass the regulatory framework of the MRHA, and doing this would be potentially dangerous.
It is not responsible to rely on the judgement of the Medical Officer of Health for such an important decision.
It will also not be possible for anyone who has the vaccine to sue the authorities or the manufacturers if they are harmed by it. This is highly unusual.
15.) Will you commit to only allowing a vaccine to be used with Guernsey people if it has had the full regulatory approval and has had extensive testing, which is the norm with vaccines?
Please put Yes, No or No comment Responses: Gordon Young- Yes. Jennifer Merrett- has been debated. Simon Fairclough- No comment given. Matt Fallaize- Yes. Diane Mitchell- a personal decision. Yves Lenormand- a personal decision, will not personally be taking any vaccine. Victoria Oliver- States have agreed to, not comfortable with it. Garry Collins- No comment given. Rob Gibson- Yes. Nicola Young- Yes. Marc Leadbeater- No. Clint Gardner- Yes. John Titmus- Yes. John Gollop- No. The GAP taken as No comment.
Summary: Yes- 6. No-3. No comment-16

16.) Will you also commit to only allowing a covid-19 vaccine to be used in Guernsey if there is full disclosure as to exactly what is in it ?
Please put Yes, No or No Comment Responses: Gordon Young- Yes. Jennifer Merret- States debated this. Simon Fairclough- No comment given. Matt Fallaize- No. Diane Mitchell- Not sure. Yves Lenormand- personal decision. Victoria Oliver- Yes. Garry Collins- No comment . Rob Gibson- Yes. Nicola Young- still be very wary. Marc Leadbeater- Yes. Clint Gardner- Yes. John Titmus- No. John Gollop- Yes. The GAP taken as No comment.
Summary: Yes- 6. No- 2. No comment/other- 17

17.) Will you commit to never having any vaccine in Guernsey made mandatory and that this is a decision to be made by individuals themselves?
Please put Yes, No or No comment. Responses: Gordon Young- Yes. Jennifer Merrett- Yes. Simon Fairclough- No comment given. Matt Fallaize- Yes. Diane Mitchell- Yes, should have choice. Yves Lenormand- Yes. Victoria Oliver- Yes. Garry Collins- No comment. Rob Gibson- Yes. Nicola Young- Yes, would never consent to it being mandatory. Marc Leadbeater- No. Clint Gardner- Yes. John Titmus- Yes. John Gollop- Yes. GAP taken as No comment.
Summary: Yes- 11. No-1. No comment- 13.

It is important for the public in Guernsey to have healthy immune systems as this is the best defence against viruses like covid-19.
Thus the promotion of healthy foods and drinks, a healthy lifestyle and access to natural remedies to help boost the immune system are vital.
18.)Will you commit to ensuring the Guernsey public have States advice and assistance in the provision of healthy foods, drinks, minerals, vitamins, supplements and natural remedies such as homeopathic ones?
Please put Yes, No or No Comment Responses: Gordon Young- Yes. Jennifer Merrett- Yes. Simon Fairclough- No comment given. Matt Fallaize- Yes. Diane Mitchell- this is a personal matter. Yves Lenormand- Yes. Victoria Oliver- Yes. Garry Collins- No comment. Rob Gibson- Yes. Nicola Young- Yes. Marc Leadbeater –Yes. Clint Gardner- Yes. John Titmus- Yes, individual decision to follow good advice. John Gollop- Yes. The GAP taken as No comment. Summary: Yes- 11. No- 0. No comment- 14.

Finally, if there are any more detailed comments you wish to make on any of the subject areas, please feel free to do so.
Simply reply using this email with your responses in each subject area, and at the end too if you wish.

Candidates further comments received:
The Guernsey Alliance Party sent some comments which are attached.
John Dyke of the Guernsey Party sent in some comments which are also attached.
Gordon Young stated that he wants Guernsey to become more self- sufficient, and grow more, such as organic produce.
Nicola Young stated that she wants to revive the growing industry with the producing of cannabis and industrial hemp, with hundreds of millions of pounds a year. This she stated would help the environment and create local jobs. She also wanted to decriminalise cannabis for recreational purposes and to regulate, tax and licence it.
John Gollop said he believed in freedom and that we ned more information about how different communities have dealt with covid-19. Believe Dr. Brink and team have done well though.

My own general comment:
I am grateful to those candidates who have replied and who have taken the trouble to complete the survey, in full or in part.
It does not matter what points of view the candidates have, what does matter is the preparedness to give such views to be open to discuss the varied issues covered by the survey.
Engagement on this issues is so important so that Guernsey gets policies right for the future ahead.
It is clear to me that Guernsey has done its best with the covid-19 and that, as some candidates stated, hindsight is a wonderful thing in retrospect.

However, it does seem that Guernsey does need to obtain far more information from places which have performed well without lockdown policies, as well as from other lockdown ones.
It would be a mistake to become complacent just because Guernsey came out of lockdown sooner than many places and because the situation in the UK appears to be so disastrous.
The issues of quarantine, and indeed track and trace, are in fact becoming more contentious and open minds are needed to make the right decisions for the future.
As one of the comments said, it appeared that the medical opinion was not sufficiently balanced by the economic one.
Guernsey has just gone by one medical school of thought and the jury is still out on whether the right courses of action have been taken.
There were some issues in the survey where there was a great deal unanimity from the candidates which is very positive.
Freedom of the press came out as very important, as did have personal choices on any covid-19 vaccine which may be available. It was significant too, that there was a groundswell of agreement on protecting the body’s immune system, as dealt with in question 18.
There seemed to be a feeling that freedoms for individuals are very important, too.
What is important is that these covid-19 issues are not swept under the carpet at this election by some people who wrongly believe they should not be debated.

Personally I am very concerned about Guernsey having a viable recovery and reconstruction plan.
On the issue of GST/VAT I am not surprised at election time that there is a reluctance to commit to this.
I could be wrong, but bearing in mind we are the only Crown Dependency without it, and the Isle of Man and Jersey receive substantial monies in from these taxes, I cannot see how Guernsey can avoid it without reducing services and benefits, borrowing more, selling off public assets and increasing other taxes and charges. The bottom line is this finance is needed.
All credit to those who have contributed, whatever their opinions, and as the saying goes “much respect to you,” is my appropriate thank you to them.
From my part I have carried out this survey as fairly as possible and if it is not perfect, I hope it can be seen that
I have done my best and that is all anyone can do.

Good luck with to those standing in the election.
All best wishes

Anthony ( Tony ) Webber
Independent Political Commentator
Former People’s Deputy and Island Wide Conseiller, 1991-2004
07824 444604
anthonywebber@cwgsy.net

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