Gary Burgess: Who’ll be king or queen of Jersey?

Credit: ITV Channel TV

Fancy being Jersey’s king or queen? Fancy the trappings of power, leading your own small independent nation state?

Yes it all sounds fanciful, but something happened today that could spark the start of a fresh wave of conversations about Jersey’s standing in the world.

A Crown Dependency and an offshoot of the British Isles right now, but could Jersey fully go it alone?

It’s on the radar because of a new report from Jersey’s government called Island Identity. It asks what the island should be known for around the world, pointing out the perception is of a “one trick pony” finance industry.

We’ve tourism, agriculture, and the growing importance of digital. There’s lots to shout to the world.

But there’s also the realpolitik of where Jersey finds itself in the wake of last week’s fishing blockage fiasco.

It’s highlighted Jersey’s awkward position as, effectively, a puppet of the UK when it comes to Brexit-related issues with the EU. Jersey wanted to pick up the phone to the French and fix things. The UK demanded it was all done via them.

So while the Island Identity document may appear to be a rallying call for national pride, for a national anthem, for a national day, and even for a national emblem to be sewn onto the kits of sportsmen and women when they play overseas, it’s also timely.

We’ve seen the political winds changing in the US with Trump, in the UK with Brexit, and now within the UK with Scotland pushing at political level to go its own way.

There are those who’ve previously reared their heads to talk independence for Jersey.

Remember we’re just a year away from the next General Election, so populists spying a chance to state their case and stake their claim to a chunk of the electorate could easily appear from the wings.

Today’s Island Identity report talks about cows and Jerriais – the cuddly touchy-feely stuff.

But could this also be the start of either subtle or major changes to Jersey’s relationship with the rest of the world?

Even Assistant Chief Minister Carolyn Labey described it to me as an opportunity for Jersey to "stand on its own two feet".

Watch this space.

Read more of Gary's blog posts here.