Blog 23 Oct 17Only nine weeks to Christmas I heard someone say this week – it is unbelievable how this year has flown by, but it has been an incredible year and certainly one of the best in my life – thank you …….

In the office for 8.10am on Monday morning and I got straight into my prep work for a Committee session later on in the day.

Unfortunately, in the end I hadn’t needed to spend a significant part my Sunday afternoon and the first hour on Monday morning preparing, as the Chairman asked me not to attend the session, which upon reflection was the right decision but still extremely frustrating to say the least.

I then headed into Onchan to attend a coffee morning, which was very enjoyable and there wasn’t much politics spoken about but we did discuss Manx Murders, Canada and the Living Wage.

Back to the office for a meeting with an ex-banker who wanted to discuss the unauthorised loans attached to Manx Utilities Authority and why previous Manx Governments have been so reluctant to challenge the legality of these loans.

I will certainly need to read through the Tynwald Select Committee Report over the next few weeks, in order to form a firm opinion and before scheduling a further meeting.

At lunchtime all Tynwald Members headed up to the Barrool Suite for a briefing by the Chief Minister on an urgent International matter, which lasted around 90 minutes and related to allegations being made by the Telegraph and BBC Panorama into VAT and the registration of aircraft in the Isle of Man.

Unfortunately, 48 hours later and the Chief Minister’s interview with local media is now simply known as “That Interview”. I know a number of Civil Servants read my weekly Blog so I will pick my words carefully when I say that I think the Chief Minister was badly advised and seriously let down by some individuals.

Anyway, as I was now excused from attending the Committee in the afternoon, I spent the time drafting several letters and sorting out a couple of Constituent issues involving Family Services, which are never easy to resolve.

I left the office at 17.20 and once home I needed to make a couple of urgent calls on behalf of Constituents.

I also spent some time going through the Order Paper for the House of Keys Sitting before calling it a day at 20.00.

Tuesday was an extremely busy day, in the office for 8.10am and the first job was to start going through a timeline as I have been called to give evidence to the previously mentioned Committee – further details to follow in due course.

Just before 10am we headed down to the House of Keys Chamber, which on the surface looked a relatively light Order Paper, with only six oral questions down for answer. We then had the first reading of the Credit Unions (Amendment) Bill 2017, which was followed by the Second Reading of the Road Transport, Licensing and Registration (Amendment) Bill 2017.

Both the Customs and Excise Bill 2017 and the Gambling (Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism) Bill 2017 had considerable amendments, which took some time.

Thereafter, we moved to Mr. Shimmin’s Motion in respect of adding some further sittings in September and October. To be perfectly honest it turned into a free for all with several amendments to the Motion being tabled – in the end the Motion was sent to Committee for further consideration.

The Keys sitting finished at 13.10 at which time I headed outside to say hello to the Manx Gas protesters, who were staging their second protest outside the House of Keys – and good on them………

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay long as there was a briefing on the draft Abortion Legislation in the Barool Suite for Tynwald Members at the same time.

Again, I couldn’t stay for the full briefing as I needed to attend an urgent meeting with a couple of Constituents relating to an ongoing family services case.

Finally got back to my office mid to late afternoon, in order to respond to some e-mails and to return a couple of calls before heading home at 17.40.

After tea I took a phone call from a Constituent who was reaching out for help involving a serious family matter. This is another ongoing matter and I spent an hour or so reviewing numerous correspondence items sent through by the Constituent and then drafted some e-mails to schedule a meeting to highlight these concerns.

Managed to finish for 20.30.

In the office for 8.10am on Wednesday and the early part of the morning was spent drafting a couple of questions for the House of Keys sitting on 7th November and a general catch up.

At 9.30am I drove up to Manx Radio to do an interview on TT Homestay, which was in response to David Ashford’s Question on Tuesday in the Keys.

From Manx Radio I went back to the Tynwald Building to collect Tim Crookall, MLC before driving out of Douglas for a meeting with a local Courier Company who had concerns on monopolies on the Isle of Man.

We also took the opportunity to discuss a TT issue which affected a number of local businesses, so it was a good meeting.

Back to the office to catch up with various admin tasks before walking over to DED with Tim Crookall, MLC for a couple of TT meetings.

The first meeting relating to a request received and then reviewing and considering DED’s policy around the area before drafting a suitable response.

The second TT meeting was a general catch up and to review a couple of policy documents that required Political sign off ahead of the main Department meeting.

Back to the office to send out a couple e-mails, along with taking the opportunity to catch with a couple of colleagues before leaving the office 17.15.

After a busy few days, I worked from home mainly on Thursday and Friday to take the final opportunity to catch up on numerous personal tasks around the house and to take a couple of days off before a busy schedule running into the New Year.

That said, I still needed to keep an eye on certain things which are developing, especially on a couple of Constituent matters.

On Thursday morning I also called into the office just after 8am to collect some files and papers before walking over to DED for a 90 minute meeting with the new Director of Motorsport, which was a follow up from Wednesday’s meeting.

In the afternoon I started to work though a pile of minutes and documents dating back a few years, which is part of an ongoing project I am currently working on.

After completing several personal items on Friday morning, including taking in some dry cleaning and buying some new clothes, then calling in to see a couple of Constituents, I spent the rest of the day working on my project, which included considerable research – further details will be provided in due course but probably not before January.

I still need to respond to various e-mails, but I will certainly enjoy taking a couple days off.

Nothing scheduled for the weekend, which means I might get into the garden for a few hours.