Blog 9 Apr 17My calendar was relatively light with meetings this week, which gave me an opportunity to catch up with things since returning back to the Isle of Man late last Friday.

I think the other reason why my calendar was short on meetings this week was because originally the whole week was completely blocked out to ensure that MHKs could attend schools across the island to present coins and stamps, in order to celebrate the first popular election to the House of Keys in 1887 (2-5 April).

Anyway, in the office for the usual time of 8.20am on Monday and the early part of the morning was spent catching up with e-mails and phone calls, along with printing off the Keys Agenda Paper.

At 10.10am I headed up to Ashley Hill School, in order for the Onchan MHKs to hand out coins and stamps, along with answering questions from the students. I am very proud of the schools that Onchan currently offers, the children are always very polite and the teachers are very supportive.

Back at the office after getting changed for 11.30am and I then dealt with a TT issue and a parking issue on behalf of an Onchan Constituent before heading off for lunch.

After lunch, the rest of the afternoon and part of Monday evening was spent researching and drafting my final assignment, which forms part of my course on the Introduction to Commonwealth Parliamentary Governance.

Called it a night at 19.45.

In the office for 8.10am on Tuesday and I continued to work on my assignment, along with making several calls to the Planning Department and Onchan Commissioners in respect of a planning application which I am reviewing on behalf of an Onchan Constituent.

At 9.45am I headed down to the House of Keys Chamber for today’s sitting, which again was a relatively short paper. There were only nine oral questions and they were all answered by 11am, but the main topic of discussion today was the rule surrounding the election of Legislative Council Members and if the vote should be open and accountable or taken in secret.

The whole House voted that in future MHKs will have to cast their votes for Legislative Council Nominees in Public. The House also agreed that any Nominations will need the support of at least four MHKs, which is an increase from two previously.

The business of the Keys finished at around 12 noon, after which I did a quick Manx Radio interview.

At 12.45 we headed up to the Barrool Suite for a presentation given by the Manx Medics in respect of the Abortion Reform in the Isle of Man.

Back at my desk at 14.00 and I spent the next few hours making numerous phone calls in respect of a Planning dispute, concerns over General Housing and to a Constituent looking for some general advice.

From 15.00 to 17.10, I finished my assignment, which was extremely fortunate because the University informed us today that the assignment had to be submitted tomorrow at the very latest.

Wednesday was all about Onchan and its community. In the office for 8.20am and I was able to upload the assignment onto the exam platform. I also took the opportunity to add some finishing touches to a Key Note speech on the Island’s tourism sectors that I will be delivering tomorrow.

Just before 11am I headed to Onchan Primary School in order to hand out more coins and stamps to celebrate the first popular election to the House of Keys on 2-5 April 1887.

A slightly different format today as I had to speak to around 230 children in the main hall, but still really enjoyed the experience and the questions asked at the end were fantastic.

I left the School just after 12 noon, so I took the opportunity to call into the house for a spot of lunch. At 12.45 I drove into Braddan for a meeting with an old work colleague who established a business about three years ago, but is experiencing some major hurdles in respect of training for staff.

The meeting finished at 14.30, so I headed back home for a cup of tea before driving back to Onchan for a political surgery with some Onchan Residents.

The meeting finished at 15.15 and I drove back to the office to collect some files and send a few e-mails before driving into Onchan again and to Ashley Hill School to attend their FAST Programme Graduation evening.

Finally got home for 18.00.

After tea I went through my Environment and Infrastructure Policy Review Committee Pack for tomorrow’s meeting, along with helping out two Constituents. Called it a day at 21.40.

It is fair to say that Thursday was both stressful and rewarding in equal measures.

After dropping Ellen off at 8.00am I headed back into Onchan and to St Ninian’s Lower School to give another presentation to around 250 students, along with handing out the coins and stamps on behalf of Tynwald.

Back to the office for 9.20am and after sending several e-mails I went through my drafted speech and took the opportunity to make several changes along the way.

At 10.40am Tim Crookall, MLC and I drove down to the Palace Hotel for the Chamber of Commerce Hospitality Day as I was delivering the official opening remarks.

It was certainly a fantastic industry event and I got the opportunity to speak to a lot of people and gain valuable feedback.

I still get nervous reading speeches from paper, compared to just standing up and chatting naturally in front of people. It’s one of those skills that MHK’s have to learn along the way, but it isn’t straightforward or easy…..

Got back to the office for 12.40, in order to return several calls and e-mails including another serious issue in respect of the planning process and the tendering process for government contacts.

At 14.00 I met up with Chris Robertshaw, MHK and Claire Bettison, MHK for the Environment and Infrastructure Policy Review Committee, which finished at 15.10.

The rest of the afternoon until I left the office at 17.20 was spent doing various items, including making several calls and answering e-mails.

I was in a very fortunate position on Friday to be able to work from home for a change, but no lie-in for me as I needed to be at St Ninian’s Lower School for 8.30am.

I really have enjoyed presenting the coins and stamps to students at Onchan’s three schools this week, in celebration of the 1887 first popular elections.

I left school just after 9am and took the opportunity to run into M & S before returning home. After catching up with e-mails and phone calls I went back into Onchan for 10.50am to meet up with two business owners and an officer from DOI to discuss road improvements in and around the Port Jack area.

We also walked up to Royal Drive to discuss road improvements and parking at the junctions coming off Royal Avenue.

After calling into the office briefly to collect some files, I returned home at 12 noon. Other than driving to the airport and Castletown, I spent most of the afternoon and part of the evening starting to read through three very large leaver-arch files currently being reviewed by the Public Accounts Committee Members.

My Public Accounts Committee files look set to fill most of my Saturday, but hopefully I will able to watch to the Grand National, and the Masters Golf on Sunday.