Blog 12 Aug 18With the parliamentary element of this role now in recess until October, my own personal workload as an MHK has slowed down a little, which is fortunate in many ways as it enables me to focus on other tasks and projects that I have been wanting to do, but have been unable to find sufficient time in recent weeks.

In and around the Tynwald offices it is definitely a lot quieter this week as people take the opportunity to take a break or annual holiday, but other elements of the role continue throughout the parliamentary recess period.

Hopefully, my weekly Blogs over the next couple of weeks will show that not everything stops, and that it really is the perfect time to pick up those projects etc.

I also have to give a small caveat, as my workload shouldn’t be judged as the norm, as each MHK and MLC will be slightly different dependent on their own workload, ongoing projects and Constituency work etc.

I might even be able to find the time to send the Treasury Minister a quick email outlining my thoughts for the Budget next year, as I would hate for the Minister to name and shame me again year…….

Personally, I always work a lot better when there is plenty of things going on and I am running from one meeting to the next or have several projects on the go at once….

I would also expect my weekly Blogs to be slightly shorter for the next few weeks as my attention moves towards various projects, including reading though a huge amount of legislation, debates and questions as I am working towards something for the autumn.

Unfortunately, I can’t give too much detail on those projects in this week’s Blog as they are still at a very early stage, but all will be revealed in due course.

With regard to this week’s activities, it might be best that I start this week’s Blog early on Sunday morning last week when I received a phone call 01.40am, which definitely tested the promise I made to several constituents a few weeks earlier.

I certainly wouldn’t like it to become the norm, but I did promise Constituents that if certain events unfolded, then I would make myself available day or night.

I definitely didn’t expect the phone call, but a promise is a promise, so I made my way into Onchan to review a particular situation and to witness certain events for myself.

I still managed to get back bed for 02.40, and I was grateful that the Constituent contacted me as it enabled me to form my own personal opinion, especially when I received several more complaints on Sunday morning.

I also met another group of Constituents on Sunday morning at 11am to discuss the new Disc Zones coming into force on 14th August and the increasing problem with motorhomes in Onchan, especially around the Onchan Park area.

Other than taking my car into the garage on Monday morning and walking home, which took around 50 minutes, I spent most of the day sat at my kitchen table going through various bits of legislation, reports and debates.

I still needed to keep one eye on emails etc, but it wasn’t the busiest day I have had in this role, and I was definitely lacking some focus on Monday.

Tuesday was also spent at home going through various documents on immigration and work permits, along with trying to put together my speech for the ILS debate. I guess the best way to describe my ILS debate speech at the moment is a work in progress.

I also spent an hour or so going through the DfE agenda pack for Wednesday’s Department meeting.

Back in the office for 8am on Wednesday and I spent the first part of the day replying to a few invitations and clearing out my inbox. As I mentioned in previous Blogs, I try to keep my inbox empty except for those items that are still on ongoing.

At 9.10am I walked over to DfE for the usual Minister and Political members meeting, which started at 9.30am.

At 10am we had the Department meeting, which started with an Agency update from the various Chairmen. We then went straight into the Agenda Paper, which wasn’t a massive paper so we were able to finish by 12.30.

Back to the office for 12.50 and with the department meeting finishing earlier than expected, Ellen took me to the Prospect for a birthday lunch.

I was back at my desk for 13.40 and the rest of the afternoon was meant to be taken up with a couple Manx National Heritage site visits, but I took the opportunity to catch up on a few outstanding tasks instead.

With the office relatively quiet, I was able to spend the afternoon at my desk catching up with things, including drafting several long letters relating to Constituent matters.

I definitely feel more motivated working from my office desk than working from home, there are fewer distractions….

I left the office at 17.00 and once home I needed to respond to a couple of calls, but nothing too urgent.

The best part of Wednesday was my young nieces and nephew in Leeds singing Happy Birthday to me via a video link, which was very special.

I was back in the office for 8am on Thursday and even though the office was very quiet the morning still whizzed by in a flash.

The first part of the morning was taken up with me drafting various written questions, which can still be tabled in August despite there being no parliamentary sittings at the moment.

I then started to draft various correspondence and before I realised it was 12.15.

I also spent around 40 minutes in the morning reading through the Road Traffic Regulation Act 2015, in order to respond to correspondence received from a constituent relating to motorhomes.

After lunch I continued to work on various projects and administrative items before I walked over to DfE for a Motorsport briefing, which started at 14.00.

The meeting lasted around 90 minutes and various TT and Festival of Motorcycling items were discussed.

I was back at my desk for 16.00 and the last hour was spent continuing to catch up with things.

I left the office at 17.00.

After tea I returned a couple of calls and a few e-mails etc, but was able to finish by 19.30.

In the office for 8am on Friday and my first job was to put together my Tynwald expenses, which all Tynwald Members receive automatically and there is no requirement to produce receipts.

Full details on my expenses and how I have allocated those funds will be published on or around 23rd September 2018, just like last year.

At 9.40am I headed down to the Sea Terminal for an informal meeting with the Chairman of the Manx Motorcycle Club, which was a general catch up and discussion ahead of this year’s event.

I was back my desk for 11am and then went straight into a phone conference with the Director of Motorsport, as we discussed a couple ongoing TT topics.

I also dealt with a couple of Constituent issues involving a Planning Application, the Eastern Planning and Parking in lower parts of Onchan.

I left at 13.15 to drive into Onchan to deliver a few letters relating to my attendance at a coffee morning over the next few months.

At 14.00 I had a Constituent meeting relating to an overhanging tree and I am extremely grateful that Ross from Onchan District Commissioners was also able to attend.

Ross and I were also invited into a neighbour’s property and we took the opportunity to look over a couple of other Constituent issues before I headed home for the afternoon at 15.10. Once home I drafted three urgent emails on behalf of Constituents before heading back to the office at 17.20 to collect some paperwork.

On Friday evening Ellen and I attended an event entitled “From Blair to Brexit”, which was being held at St Peter’s Church, which started at 19.00. It was an excellent presentation and some wonderful insights given by Derek Winterbottom.

I definitely couldn’t believe that the iPad was only invented in 2010…… I think we would be lost without them these days.

Over the weekend, Ellen and I are hoping to be able to attend the Royal Manx Agriculture Show, which is being held at Knockaloe on Saturday, but I do need to keep working on my speech and projects etc….

I also have a large amount of paperwork relating to a TT tender that I will need to read over the weekend.

On Sunday we also have a family get together.