Bailiwick Brexit Blog

European Union flag Credit: PA images

The axis of debate in the Channel Islands isn't about staying in or leaving the EU, it's about there being a plan in place to cope with either.

Frankly the referendum is well out of Guernsey and Jersey's hands, as the UK ponders the arguments for and against Brexit.

Here, the official line from both States is 'we support the status quo'. In other words, things suit us just fine as they are.

But when you dig down to the 'what if' of Brexit, both are confident that the islands' interests will still be served by the UK government who are the de facto negotiators on our behalf.

All the governments here really want is the continued ability to trade freely with Europe, and the ability for its people to be able to travel freely through Europe. And, helpfully, they're exactly the same core aims of both the in and out camps in the UK (that's putting aside the multiplicity of arguments around sovereignty, immigration and so on).

So who could the Brexit losers in the islands be? Well on the assumption our trade with the UK isn't affected anyway, it's those who trade with Europe who will be most nervous.

They represent a tiny proportion of the islands' economies and are, mainly, those in the fishing industry.

If there was a trade tariff to export to Europe, that would be a problem. On the flipside, no European presence in local waters is an upside. As with every argument in this debate, nothing is clear cut.

There is though one fascinating possibility, and one I intend on drilling down into to try and get an answer... if the UK did vote for Brexit, would somebody senior in either Guernsey or Jersey's government's see it as the time to renegotiate their island's relationship with the Crown?

A big question. An historic opportunity. And one where the outcome really would change things for all of us!