Is it all power, excitement and free Hobnobs in the States?
Saturday 20th October 2012, 10:00AM BST.
Pete Allen was a States member for four years. He held posts as chairman of Marina Advisory Group, member of the General Services Committee and previously sat on the Building, Development and Control Committee. He is not seeking re-election this year.
So why did he do it?
‘It felt like a duty,’ he said. ‘I genuinely do love Alderney, so it was fitting. You do hear lots of people moan but I believe you should get up and have a go.’
Mr Allen, pictured, was at the forefront in helping to push through massive projects such as the potential marina for Alderney. But the best bits for him were the little things that bore fruit. ‘One of them is getting the States to take apprentices again. It took two years, but eventually school leavers were being taken on.’
In Alderney you’re a States member wherever you go. ‘The worst bits were when people came up to me to moan about something you had done without realising you had fought against it, and voted against it, and have a go without listening to you. The fact that other people presumed I had done something, something that the States had done, and they don’t speak to you again.’
His advice for any prospective candidates? ‘Be prepared for it to be a lot harder than you think,’ he warned. ‘You have to keep it in perspective and not take it home with you. The other thing I would say is, remember why you love Alderney; why you came or why you stayed. Part of being on the States is ensuring that what people love about it is there in 20 years’ time. Don’t be afraid of making laws that are different to the laws in England or Guernsey.’
For Matt Birmingham, the joy of finally getting a piece of policy or legislation over the line and ‘feeling you feel can really make a difference’ can be counterbalanced by the feeling of watching a project come crashing down. ‘You feel like you’ve pushed treacle uphill and then find you can’t bake a cake with it,’ he mused.
His advice is to ‘be approachable’.
‘I have found that in general, most Alderney people are just too polite and don’t want to bother you if they see you out and about,’ he said. ‘I would prefer people got the right information from me than the Alderney whispers version which is totally wrong.’
Ordinary elections in Alderney take place on 17 November and presidential elections are on 3 November.