There are so many questions for our candidates. Are they conversant with the mechanisms of government? How do they intend to counteract unsuitable legislation? If selected to be a minister in the new government what would they do if a copied and pasted (containing “more invasive powers”) but totally irrelevant bill appeared on their desks? Or perhaps we need to know what options are open to ministers in this situation. These seem to be the real issues because without any plan as to how this present system can begin to really represent the electorate – and also allow the candidate to try to implement at least some of the proposals in his manifesto – then it’s back to same old same old. Repeating the same action and expecting a different result – this has been referred to as insanity.
The bottom line is that things will only change if we make it clear that sloppy methods, copying and pasting legislation – and inserting further controlling clauses – is simply not acceptable. Neither is it acceptable to vote in favour of a bill because there has been no time to read it thoroughly and advice has had to be taken from civil servants. Nor is it acceptable to vote in favour of something because of the financial consequences which could be involved in refusal to do so. We need MHKs who think for themselves and are prepared to do their best to have Tynwald work for the people.
Of course related issues are constantly referred to by organisations such as PAG. They rightly demand a Freedom of Information Act. In comparison to some emerging democracies it appears that the Isle of Man is way behind. We are told we must ensure we toe the line and present ourselves to the world as open-minded and liberal – hence the recent acceptance of same-sex partnerships, new prison etc. No complaints there. But what about things which affect the vast majority of the island – what about obtaining information which would help us to understand where things are going wrong and why – which would thus help us to change things for the better? Evidently, the vast majority is not considered to be important. Unless we make it clear that our wishes must be addressed.