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POLL: What is Jersey’s identity?

POLL: What is Jersey’s identity?

Monday 11 November 2019

POLL: What is Jersey’s identity?

A board made up of States Members and islanders has been tasked by the Chief Minister with defining Jersey’s identity – but what exactly defines the island?

Senator John Le Fondré established the Island Identity Policy Development Board last month to develop an action plan that will build a “stronger, more inclusive sense of island identity.”

The Policy Board will be chaired by the Minister for International Development, Deputy Carolyn Labey and will consist of a mix of elected politicians and layman members, with “a particular interest or stake in one or more areas of Jersey’s national identity."


Pictured: Deputy Carolyn Labey, the Minister for International Development, will chair the Island Identity Policy Development Board.

They will meet every four to six weeks with their first meeting due this month. The Board is expected to produce an interim report by June 2020, and an action plan by the end of 2020. 

Before they do so, they have been asked to question what it means to be from Jersey, review historical events that have helped shape the local culture as well as examine problems in the way islanders perceive themselves, and barriers to cohesion. 

The Board has also been asked to identify opportunities to, “...better define, coordinate and project a coherent and inclusive island Identity.”


Pictured: Senator Le Fondré said Jersey is "hard to describe."

In the report accompanying his Ministerial Decision, the Chief Minister said Jersey was “hard to describe, even for those who understand how it can be part of the British Isles, and yet not part of the UK, European but not EU, a country with a flag but not full sovereignty.” 

“For many outsiders, and perhaps to the casual observer, Jersey is English; a bucket-and-spade seaside resort with a Financial Services Industry,” he added. “Jersey’s inhabitants know better. There are many more strings to our economic bow. 

“Our culture is a unique blend of French (especially Norman and Breton), Portuguese (especially Madeiran) and British, with more recent arrivals from Eastern Europe and Africa adding to the mix. 

“We have a rich history which has shaped Jersey as a place. However, there’s not always a common understanding of who we are and what’s important to us.”

Jersey aerial 850x500 

Pictured: The Board's objective is to develop an action plan that will build a “stronger, more inclusive sense of island identity.”

It is hoped the Board will develop “a strong and inclusive sense of Island identity,” which the Chief Minister would help achieve many of the goals outlined in the Common Strategic Policy.

“We want a sustainable and vibrant economy, to protect our environment; and to retain a sense of place, culture and distinctive local identity,” he wrote.

“We also want to promote social inclusion, and to further the Island’s interests, profile and reputation internationally not just as a world-class financial centre but as a generous, responsible outward looking island. 

“To achieve this, we need an Island at peace with itself, proud of its varied cultural and economic heritage, and confident of its place in the world.”

What do you think make’s Jersey identity? Vote in the poll below.



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Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

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Posted by William Boyd on
Despite inaccurate and/or wishful thinking we are not French. We haven't been since King John lost his mainland European dominions in the 13th century. We have been irrevocably linked with England, then Great Britain and now the United Kingdom since then. OK, granted, we used to speak a form of French a lot more up until the 20th century and we have some form of Norman French (note the Norman) laws etc but we are not French by any stretch of the imagination. Neither are the Québécois. The whole identifying with France movement here is wishful thinking and a hankering for something which ended 800 years ago. Legally we are British but with peculiarities - and all the better for it.
Posted by Mark Baker on
Jersey has an identity.

It has been cultivated over hundreds of years and I for one am very proud of it.

We have no desire to become a victim of globalisation.

Embrace it and it's people.

It's culture

It's heritage

And everything else that makes it unique and special.

Don't try to change it.

We are proud to be what and who we are and we won't be changing for anyone.
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