In Jersey’s smallest parish I want to talk for my 3 minutes about the place of our small Island in the world. We all know that small is beautiful, and in many ways the smallness of a community or country is an advantage because people identify more easily with it. The Scottish referendum has changed the UK by underlining two conflicting concepts – viz. interdependence and national identity. I understand that Scottish sense of identity. I am intensely proud to be a Jerseyman, and I want to encourage as many as possible, whatever their national roots, to feel the same way if they have made their permanent home in Jersey.

It has been my job for the last three years as Minister for External Relations to promote better understanding of Jersey overseas, and I think that we are beginning to get our messages across. Our separate identity is understood in the diplomatic world because they too all have different national identities. It is not a question of independence. Our government policy, and I completely support it, is not to seek sovereignty unless it became in Jersey’s interests to do so. But we should understand that we are for most practical purposes already an independent state. We receive no financial support from anyone, and we have nearly all the institutions and attributes of an independent country, except the ability to conclude treaties and to represent ourselves in international organisations. That is sometimes a disadvantage. But we are recognized both in Europe and more widely as a responsible micro-state.

We are receiving more and more visits from ambassadors and high commissioners who are interested in us. There was recently a visit from the Chinese Ambassador, the representative in London of a country of 1.2 billion people. With all his huge responsibilities in the UK, he chose to spend 4 days in Jersey, and numerous business and cultural opportunities are the result.

We now have government offices in Brussels, Caen and London, and they give us access to the corridors of power in the EU and the UK. We are working on developing the French office to build relations in Paris. Please do not allow detractors, including some in the States, to sneer about Jersey’s place in the world. For our size we have an extraordinary footprint, and that is good for all of us. Small is beautiful. Vive Ste Marie! Vive Jersey!