Blog 7 Aug 17Having now written my weekly Blog for over a year, I am extremely grateful for the many comments and feedback I have received over that time – I have certainly enjoyed writing down my thoughts at the end of each day.

I try to use my Blogs to give an honest insight into my role as an MHK and to share some of the highs and lows of what can be a difficult role at times, and I am certainly looking forward to reading some of these Blogs again in 2021.

It also gives me an opportunity to share full details of my calendar appointments each week, which I feel is a vital part of being open and honest with my Constituents, even when I am taking some time off……

One of the most rewarding aspects of this fantastic role, but at the same time one of the most difficult parts of being an MHK is the Constituency work. I certainly hope that those words are not taken as a criticism or complaint. In fact, I feel extremely privileged and honoured every time a Constituent takes me into their confidence and contacts me.

To date I have involved myself in over 110 Constituency matters and I would always encourage Constituents to get in touch when they need help or advice.

I say all of that simply because over the past couple of weeks I have received some extremely difficult phone calls from brave individuals who have reached out for help, advice or simply because all other avenues have been exhausted or the level of help or support available falls well short……

As MHKs there is no formal training or support to deal for these events or for the things that you hear or have to take on board. Fortunately for me I have considerable life experience, and the four years I did as an Onchan Commissioner certainly help.

Anyway, back to this week’s Blog – in the office for 8.10am on Monday, I was the only one in the office, which is rare as Bill Shimmins, MHK or Martyn Perkins, MHK are normally the first ones in.

With no formal meetings or briefings until lunchtime I was able to get my head down with some administration tasks. My first job was to print off the DED Agenda pack for Wednesday’s meeting. I also had to print off a considerable report on which I was asked to give my personal views ahead of the document being formally published.

I also had to make some difficult calls to Adult Services and Social Services on behalf of concerned Constituents who are simply at their wits’ end. That said and to be perfectly honest, I find officers within Departments very supportive and always willing to help with any enquiries received from me as an MHK, which is fantastic and it was certainly makes my job that little bit easier.

Throughout the morning I also had two or three ongoing discussions with my MHK colleagues on various topics, which I always find useful.

I was also able to read through a large section of the report received, along with Dr. Allinson’s Isle of Man Abortion Bill 2017.

At 12.30 Tim Crookall, MLC and I walked over to DED for a TT Motorsport meeting, which finished at 13.40. From there we went straight into a meeting with the Minister in order to discuss various topics relating to the future vision and direction of the TT over the next 10 years.

I was back at my desk for 15.10, which gave me an opportunity to catch up with e-mails and finish off reading through the report. I was then able to give my feedback and findings of the report over the phone, which certainly saved me from having to write up a detailed response.

I still had time to draft a couple of letter templates, which I will need to send out tomorrow along with obtaining some professional quotations for a task I am looking to complete in December.

I left the office at 17.15 and after tea I continued to do battle trying to update my TomTom. In the end I gave up, and Ellen managed to complete the updates…….

Tuesday saw me celebrate my 48th Birthday, but it started with a telling off – I was busy drafting a Facebook note at 6.40am when Ellen said, and I quote, “You have all day to play politics, but only an hour to open up your presents!” Point noted……!

With no meetings or briefings scheduled today I was planning to take today off, but I still had a lot of administration to catch up with, so I went into the office for 8am.

I spent the entire morning drafting around forty eight letters and e-mails on various items and before I realised, it was 14.00. During the afternoon I drafted a poster, which I will be using to promote a couple of meetings being scheduled for October.

I spent the rest of the afternoon working through a very heavy agenda pack for tomorrow’s DED Management meeting, along with doing a quick Three FM interview on the new TT Coins that went on sale.

I left the office at 17.10 – once home I drafted a couple more emails before calling it a day at 18.45.

Wednesday tuned into a rewarding day. In the office for just after 8am and after catching up with a couple MHK colleagues I drafted some notes ahead of the DED Board meeting.

At 9.10am Tim Crookall, MLC and I headed over the DED for a TT briefing with the Minister, along with attending the normal Political Members’ meeting also with the Minister.

Instead of heading to the Boardroom for the usual Department meeting at 10am I headed to Murray House on Mount Havelock to offer some support to a couple of Constituents who had a meeting with Social Services.

At 11am I headed back to DED to attend the rest of the Board meeting, which finished around 12.15. Once back at my office a number of MHKs and MLCs had lunch together, but I was back at my desk for 13.00.

After catching up with e-mails, I drafted a couple of letters along with a detailed letter regarding regional housing waiting lists, which required considerable research.

Just before 16.00 I drove up to Onchan to attend a meeting with Isle of Man Hearing Solutions, which is another invaluable business located in the heart of Onchan.

I really enjoyed gaining an insight into the services being provided by Isle of Man Hearing Solutions, which includes free hearing tests.

Back to the office briefly at 5pm before heading home – once home I finished off a detailed e-mail to the DOI on the regional housing waiting lists but called it a day at 19.40.

Thursday was certainly all about Onchan. In the office briefly at 8am before driving into Onchan to attend a meeting with the new owners of the Isle of Man Bank in Onchan and officers from within the Isle of Man Transport Division at 8.30am.

Once the meeting finished I was invited to look around the old building and the flat upstairs, which looks more like a time capsule from the 1930s.

I managed to get back to the office for 9.30am before heading up to Manx Radio for a tour of the station at 10am. I am actually enjoying visiting different businesses and gaining an insight into the challenges facing many of our different industry sectors.

Manx Radio certainly have some fantastic ideas on the horizon and I am looking to seeing how these develop once the projects go live – I believe politics might even get a little more exciting……..

That tour finished at 12.20 and after getting some lunch, the rest of the afternoon was spent sorting out a number issues concerning Onchan District Commissioners and Social Housing etc, along with scheduling several meetings.

I also had to read through various documents and reports relating to the Iris scheme, which the Environment and Infrastructure Policy Review Committee is currently reviewing.

I know it is only August but I also started to look at Christmas cards as I want things sorted ahead of December this year!

I left the office at 17.00 and after doing a quick Manx Radio interview, I called it a day at 18.00.

Friday was a straightforward and simple day, I even managed to get a couple of hours off to complete some personal tasks. In the office 8.10am and the first task was to ring a Constituent to confirm details on some roadworks.

Sorry to mention the “C” word again, but I spent around 30 minutes drafting a Christmas Card template ahead of placing an order in September. I also had a chat with Mike Coleman, MLC who was the only other Member in the office.

Just before 10am, I headed into Onchan for a meeting with the Beehive Kindergarten to discuss a historical issue, which should have been fully resolved over 20 years ago. After the meeting I was given an opportunity to look around the facilities, which are fantastic.

The meeting finished at around 12.30 and I headed back to the office briefly to send a few e-mails before going to Tesco’s for 13.00.

From there I headed home to do a few jobs around the house, along with drafting a few e-mails and a letter template, which will be used next week.

I also had a Constituent call around the house, in order that I could certify a couple of photos.

I called it a day at 17.00.

I have a couple of Constituent meetings scheduled for Sunday lunchtime relating to Social Services and a Property Management Company, but other than that my weekend looks pretty clear.