Blog 17 Jul 17This time last year my campaign for the House of Keys had already begun, I just can’t believe how quickly the last 12 months has gone by…….

In my initial press statement I said “the forthcoming General Election is one of the most important elections for a generation, and this island will certainly need MHKs that are prepared to work longer, harder and smarter than ever before, if the Isle of Man is to truly overcome these financial challenges, protect frontline services and create genuine opportunities for us all”.

One year on I would certainly like to think that I have fulfilled some of my initial promises made, but still a lot more work is needed over the next 12 months.

I spent considerable time last Sunday undertaking Constituent visits on various topics, along with following up the matters raised during Saturday’s Political Surgery, which included drafting several letters, e-mails and making a couple of calls.

In the office for 8.20am on Monday and the first job was to print off the e-mails and correspondence I drafted on Sunday, and arranging for copies to be sent out to Constituents.

At 9am I headed down to the Members’ room to meet the representatives from the island’s Secondary Schools who were taking part in Junior Tynwald later on in the morning.

At 9.30am I headed back to my office to catch up with e-mails and to prepare for the Junior Tynwald Sitting. At 10.30am the students and several MHKs gathered in Tynwald Court for today’s session, which started with the usual Question Time.

There were 15 questions for oral answer, but they only managed to get to question 8 before running out of time. The quality of the supplementary questions by the Secondary School students was fantastic. There were also two quality debates on the Order Paper in respect of Organ Donation and Syrian Refugees.

Junior Tynwald finished just after 12 noon at which time all members headed up to the Barrool Suite for a light lunch.

I got back to my desk for 13.10, which gave me an opportunity to catch up with things, along with printing off the next relevant sections of my next Commonwealth Parliamentary Association McGill University Course, which has to be completed by mid August 2017.

At 15.00 I walked over to DED for a tourism briefing and update before returning to the office for 16.00.

I spent the final hour going through my Tynwald paperwork, drafting a couple of notes and just making sure everything is ready for tomorrow.

I left the office at 16.50.

In the office for 8.15am on Tuesday, but I certainly wasn’t the first person in the office this morning. The Members’ area was a lot busier than normal, maybe it’s because of the heavy agenda paper or simply because it is the last Tynwald sitting until October.

The first part of the morning was spent reviewing and researching a petition that was handed in on Tynwald Day, and this included drafting e-mails to a government department and looking through Hansard. I also continued to work on my notes for this month’s Tynwald sitting.

Just before 10.30am we headed down to Tynwald Court and started with the usual Question Time, which had 26 oral questions and a further 25 questions for written reply.

At lunch time there was a presentation made by the Department of Economic Development on its future, and the presentation finished just after 14.00.

The Department of Economic Development will be changing its name to the Department of Enterprise from October 2017.

This only left a few minutes to answer a couple of e-mails before returning to the Chamber for 14.30.

I am not going to expand too much on item 7 of the Order Paper, which saw the Minister for the Department of Health & Social Care and me clash over her leadership of the department, as I have already taken the relevant section out of my Blog and posted it separately on my Facebook Page.

That said, backbench MHKs are basically the opposition and although they are not tied down by a party structure, their role is to scrutinise Government Departments and to hold the Chief Minister and Ministers to account, something that Peter, Kate and others did extremely well over the last five years…..

Anyway, I felt it was an excellent Tynwald sitting with some very big decisions being made, especially in respect of the Douglas Promenade and the Steam Packet. I also found the Motions at the end of the sitting extremely interesting, I am personally glad that the Motion brought by Tim Baker, MHK into the historic child abuse in the Children’s Home will be looked at by a Scrutiny Committee.

All the Business of the Court was finished for 22.30, which is amazing given the size of the Order Paper. After completing a couple of tasks a few Members called into the Prospect for a soft drink, I finally managed to get home for 23.35.

Unfortunately, I didn’t sleep well on Tuesday night with Tynwald running through my head, and not to mention the nights are also very warm at the moment.

I was still in the office for 8am on Wednesday and it certainly turned into a frustrating day. With no Tynwald or Department meetings scheduled for the day, I took the opportunity to complete a number of tasks that I wanted to complete back in September.

I spent most of the day doing a mail merge of a template letter which I then printed and put into addressed envelopes, along with drafting several other long letters and templates that could be used in future. Unfortunately, I spotted a couple of typos when I reviewed the letters again after lunch which meant I ended up wasting a lot of time having to redo things…… very frustrating!

We did have a briefing at 11am on a “Single Resident Record”, which is an extremely interesting topic with lots of possibilities, but at the same time a lot more information will be required on such a difficult topic that will certainly split public opinion.

Upon reflection I should have taken this morning off, as I was extremely tired and feeling stressed from yesterday’s Tynwald Sitting, but I left the office at 17.10.

Again I didn’t sleep well on Wednesday night as I still had things running through my head from the Tynwald sitting. I do speak my mind, defend myself and protect others, but unfortunately it does take a few days to recover from any confrontation.

I also started work at 6.30am on Thursday morning, but I took the opportunity to stay home as I am still feeling extremely tired this week.

Instead I used the time to complete the final four exams and the four discussion sections of my McGill University Course. Only the assignment left to finish and that should be the course completed.

I also responded to various e-mails, along with drafting a couple of letters ready to send out tomorrow, but I managed to finish for 16.00 – and then spent an hour in the garden, mowing the lawn and strimming…..

After tea I responded to a couple of enquiries I received from Constituents, which required e-mails to be drafted and sent out.

In the office for 8.20am on Friday and it was a relatively straightforward day, which is fortunate because I am still feeling tired. The first task was to send out 12 letters on various topics. I then started to look at my assignment for my course.

There were two topics to choose from, and I selected “Freedom of Information” and how the Isle of Man Legislation compares to the International and Regional Standards.

I managed to draft the first few hundred words before heading to Nivison House for a meeting on the Gaiety and Villa complexes at 10am. It was a good meeting and we have some fantastic acts lined up for the remainder of 2017 and for 2018 – so watch this space…..

I was back at my desk for 10.30am and other than responding to several e-mails and chatting to some of my Tynwald colleagues, the morning was spent researching and drafting my assignment.

At 12.50am I headed to Noble’s Park cafe to meet a Constituent who has concerns on the Home Education and changes being applied without consultation or input by the families who choose to educate their children from home. It was a fascinating meeting, which I followed up with an e-mail to the Department of Education.

I will certainly be monitoring this item over the next couple of months.

The meeting finished at 13.55 and I drove into Onchan for a further meeting with Constituents on a matter that I have been trying to resolve since being elected. We have made process, but we haven’t got over the line yet.

Back to the office for 15.35 and after catching up with e-mails I managed to do a little more of my University Assignment. I left the office at 17.10 and after tea I finished off this week’s Blog and drafted a couple more e-mails before calling it a day at 19.30.

Still a lot of catching up to do over the weekend, along with reading the FSA report into Scottish Power etc…..