20th September 2013

Guernsey and Jersey considered merging

Two heads are better than one – and maybe two islands are better than one, too. There’s long been a measure of friendly rivalry between Guernsey and Jersey, but authoroties on each island put some serious consideration to putting it firmly behind them – on an official basis.

Their motivation was purely practical: the islands both have thriving financial industries. Was it really worth them competing with one another, asked Jersey Chief Minister, Ian Gorst. He explained to the Financial Times that the Channel Islands are already seen as a single entity by many in the UK and Europe anyway.

Guernsey and Jersey share a lot of their common political and administrative infrastructure. They have a single information commissioner and airports regulator. New recruits to the islands’ police forces also train together.

However, the islands’ leaders saw scope for further reducing areas of duplication. One such example was in prisoner accommodation, with each of them needing to provide accommodation for both male and female inmates. Splitting them up, with one gender on each island, would seem to make sense.

Centuries of rivalry

Although the rivalry between the two bailiwicks may now be fairly benign, it was once more serious – and deadly.

During the English civil war, the people of Guernsey supported the parliamentarians’ cause while Jersey remained loyal to the king, effectively putting the two islands at war with one another.

However, Sir Peter Osborne, Governor of Guernsey at the time, had other ideas. He and the other occupants of Castle Cornet took the same view as Jersey, declaring for the king. This effectively made them the cuckoo in Guernsey’s nest, and the castle came under siege.

The structure proved itself well up to the job for which it had been designed. It withstood the onslaught for eight years before finally, in 1651, the occupants were forced to surrender.


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Other events that occured in September

Channel Television took to the air 1st
A Guernseyman cycled to Herm 2nd
Brecqhou was put up for sale 3rd
Renoir arrived on Guernsey to paint 4th
Ship sinks in St Sampson harbour 5th
The melon king died… long live the melon king 6th
Coronavirus returns to Guernsey 7th
HD Ferries makes its last crossing
6th Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment fought at the Somme 8th
Guernsey number plate sold for £240,000 9th
Guernsey hosted the second Island Games 10th
Major Guernsey employer Tektronix went public 11th
Guernsey was struck by a hurricane 12th
Schoolboys and teacher went missing off Sark 13th
Guernsey holidaymakers head home itching 14th
The title Baron de Saumarez was created 15th
Missing girl, Jetta, was found on Guernsey 16th
Archaeologists found a porpoise grave 17th
An Islander aircraft crashed in Guernsey 18th
Guernsey commando Hubert Nicolle died 19th
Guernsey and Jersey considered merging 20th
Occupation resister Winifred Green was deported 21st
The Devil’s Rock had its opening night 22nd
The Duke of Connaught visited Guernsey 23rd
Former bailiff Daniel de Lisle Brock died 24th
Occupation president Ambrose Sherwill died 25th
Trudy, Guernsey’s biggest ever import, was installed 26th
“Let em starve,” said Churchill 27th
A Guernsey planning dispute headed to Europe 28th
Herm tenant Major Peter Wood died 29th
Spotlight was broadcast for the first time 30th