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Jersey and Guernsey

Updated on April 7, 2010

There is a rivalry amongst neighbours. Take Yorkshire and Lancashire or England and France. The same is true of Jersey and its neighbouring bailiwick Guernsey. There is an old saying amongst Jersey folk: “Red sky at night, Jerseyman's delight …. Guernsey's burning”.

There is a joke about Guernsey: “Guernsey is only successful because it waits for Jersey to do something, make the mistake and then does it right.”

If you are not laughing because you do not get it, then I do not blame you: I must admit that I do not get it either.

I think that it is trying to say that Guernsey is un-innovative – that it has to wait for Jersey to do something new first. I think it is also saying that Guernsey's success is really down to Jersey. To some extent, that is true. Their finance industry did not take off until Jersey closed its borders to banks that were not part of the “Club of Quality” - the Top 500 world banks. It is also true of their Online Fulfilment Industry. We started with Flying Brands and Play.com but when others started to get involved, the English government got arsy and we buckled. So the businesses left for Guernsey who did not seem to worry what the English government were saying - and were right

As to whether Guernsey would have gone into those industries anyway, I cannot say. I can say that they have certainly made a better job than we have. Despite the closure of Icelandic bank Landsbanski causing some troble for them, their economy is in much better shape than ours with 1% unemployment rather than our 2%. Their online fulfillment industry is on-going – while ours is dwindling away.

Personally, I think that the joke is on us. This joke says that though we may be first, we are so stupid that we get it wrong every time; we are so stupid that we do not admit that we are wrong even when Guernsey show us that we are and what should be done; and e are so stupid that we are too arrogant to copy Guernsey once they have proven what works.

I hate to admit it, but this is horribly accurate.

There is talk about how the two bailiwicks should work together for our mutual goal. This is an excellent idea. However, while we are too stupid and too arrogant to not learn from our mistakes, such an alliance will just be a dream

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