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November 2023

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Jersey was last month thrust into a “global beauty parade”.

Unlike any we’ve entered previously, however, this wasn’t about convincing people to place their assets offshore or attracting new visitors (P12), but about shaking our own offshore asset – “energetic” wind conditions – at global gurus who will help develop it into a fully-fledged farm.

The result? A cleaner, greener, more resilient energy source capable of delivering more than six times Jersey’s current electricity demand, within the decade, at a cost of just £1bn… and not from the public purse.

While on paper a no-brainer, it still wasn’t long before scepticism showed up on the catwalk, only to be met with boos and heckles from breeze energy backers.

But it would not only be unfair, but also naïve to assume any wind farm detraction amounts to ignorance or climate denialism: when so much ‘Jerseyness’ has been lost on land (UNPLUGGED, P26), can we really blame some islanders for viewing the proposed legion of rotating blades as an assault on a beloved and (as yet) unspoilt terrain?

If recent local history teaches us one lesson, it's that the success of such large projects often hinges on a critical yet often overlooked element: storytelling.

Take the hospital: we’ve been told many times now that the crumbling premises is at such a critical level of sticking plastery that patient care is suffering, but the practical argument hasn’t got a single project over the line.

In such situations, Jersey Project Management 101 – a dog-eared favourite of Government and ALOs alike – recommends bringing out the “world-leading” guns (a phrase on every local journalist’s press release bingo card).

Occasionally, the step of recruiting “worldleading” project partners is also taken. But experience has shown that how we look on the outside means little to those on the inside (apart from, er, in a bodily sense…SPECIAL FEATURE, P4).

In addition to reassurance that Ministers aren’t simply playing SimCity with taxpayer cash or cynically crafting a personal legacy, islanders value island values and crave a compelling argument as to why <insert project here> ought to be written into our collective story. Importantly, once they have found that ‘why’, they are ready to be heroes in the tale.

We saw this with the 2009 ‘Line in the Sand’, through those who staycationed during covid to help hospitality, and through the willingness of people to, sometimes literally, go the extra mile(s) for their weekly shop to keep Jersey’s farming community thriving (SUPPORT LOCAL SUPPLEMENT, P41).

Recent economic blows and our dominant industry facing increasing upheaval from regulation and AI have afforded us an opportunity to start on a new chapter, together. Let’s make it one of Force 4s and forces for good…

…or, failing that, just reading Connect. Enjoy.

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