Election Time on the Isle of Man


Well here we go folks, it’s election time again on the Isle of Man however these aren’t elections that the public have any say or matter in. These are the elections to the Legislative Council, one of the two houses of the Isle of Man Parliament known as Tynwald. The other house being the House of Keys which is elected by the populace every five years unless of course a member can no longer continue due to ill health, jail or some other incapacity.

I should of course declare an interest in case anyone thinks I am going off on one. I stood along with two other members of the public last May when a vacancy became available in the Legislative Council, it was a massive learning curve for someone who had previously had very little interaction with politicians apart from when they came round looking for your vote every five years.

Anyway this time around there are five seats available on the Legislative Council out of a possible eight; the other seats are made up by The Bishop, the Attorney General and the President. Here is  Tynwald   as it currently sits. The way you get nominated to stand for election to the Legislative Council is to find two Members of the Keys who think you may or may not have a chance and then find two more who will act as your Assentors. With me so far? good. Now all you have to do is convince the rest of the members of the House of Keys that you are capable of doing the job. What is the job you may ask and rightly so, well I can’t put it in a nutshell as it would be pretty huge but if I was to tell you that the role of the Legislative Council is changing you would think it would be like nailing jelly to a wall. Not quite, there was an inquiry and report by Lord Lisvane on the Review of the Functioning of Tynwald. And as a follow on to that there was a Select Committee on the Functioning of Tynwald.

So after you have read all of the reports, submissions and everything else what lies ahead for the candidate, once nominations close there are the hustings, this is a little like Mastermind but with potentially 24 questioners not one. If you want to watch me squirm and eventually forget that there is a camera a yard or so away from me have a look here!

So finally this year after four members of the Council decided not to stand again and one member decided to resign; we now have the situation of five vacant seats on the Council. As of the 13th February 2018 there is the  list of the runners and riders for the Grand Legislative Council Runoff on the 12th March 2018. This list closes on Friday 23rd February 2018 (and should autoupdate as people come forward in the dying days of the closing date. ) As you may have noticed if you were interested enough to have a look at the excellent local web TV Isle of Man TV you’ll see that there are number of interviews of the candidates for this election on the site, I was interviewed myself but because I am not proceeding with my nomination it won’t be shown. Another ten minutes of non fame!

But what next for the future? Will the elections to the Legislative Council become elections by the populace or will they within the ‘gift’ of the Keys? does this  therefore mean that political patronage will ensure that any attempts to continue to modernise Tynwald have the potential to fail. Public perception, as can be ascertained from the numerous pages on Facebook and other forums, give the range of opinions from snouts in the trough, an anachronism, old boys club for MHKs, through to complete ignorance as to what the Legislative Council do or what they are about. It will be interesting to see how Tynwald evolves with regard to the Legislative Council and it’s place in the future of isle of Man politics. It will also be interesting to see how the Tynwald PR machine continues to work to enhance the public image of both Houses of Tynwald in the future.

In the meantime on a personal note I wish all the candidates well in their election hopes and dreams; look on the bright side there will be another election in two years for the Legislative Council



(entrance to Tynwald)

Weather Forecasting on the Isle of Man

Despite the best efforts of the Met Office at Ronaldsway Airport,  weather forecasting continues  to be a dark art on the  Isle of Man.

As an example let’s take the latest weather forecast from Ronaldsway

Dry this evening and overnight with the light to moderate east or north-easterly wind turning east or south-east and becoming moderate to fresh, locally strong later. Lowest overnight temperature around 4 Celsius.

Now while I admire anyone who went to University, spent years practising their trade (without or with the aid of super computers at Exeter) there is a slight problem on the Isle of Man, it’s called micro-climates, these are the little things that to a local, explains why you can drive from Douglas in bright sunshine, pass through Crosby six miles away with the wipers on the car going full tilt and then emerge into bright sunshine again at Greeba, approximately a mile and a half outside Crosby.

This also leads to the TT phenomenon ( microclimates not rain) whereby the Practices will be held up due to mist on the Mountain Section, while the rest of the course is usually bathed in temperatures of up 24 Celsius, although on one rare occasion when I had the delights of Marshalling on Bray Hill, it was actually the Mountain and Ramsey in bright sunshine and the Start to Quarterbridge in the mist. Obviously not very safe for riding at speeds at the time of unto 115mph.

So what does the local do to correct this standard or nonstandard deviation in Manx weather, well depending on where you’re living a number of factors can be taken into account. If you’re situated in the West the usual practice is to look to the coast and see what sort of rubbish is blowing in from  Northern Ireland, they say if you stand on Peel Headlands and you can see Scotland and Northern Ireland then the weather is usually going to be abysmal within forty eight hours. If you stand on the Headlands or Peel Hill or any points on the west coast and you can’t see anything then tough, you’ve mistimed your walk and you’re probably right up to your neck in a Force 9 with rain at the horizontal, for the locals amongst us the usual rejoinder is ‘ a bit of a breeze’ or  us transplanted Londoners ‘it’s a bit tasty out innit’.

Those residents lucky enough to live on the northern plains of the Island have a number of choices, usually these follow along the lines of walking out the front door, doing a 360 whilst gazing into the distance like a man in the crow’s nest hoping to glimpse land, although if you are doing this you’re more likely to see a ship either coming down the east coast past Ramsey or going across the top of the Island from Stranraer to Larne.

Residents in the south of the Island have the enviable delight of knowing when the mist is down on the South usually due to the lack of the paper plane not being able to land at Ronaldsway Airport, this has been known to cause chaos in the past with postmen setting their alarm clocks ( or not) by the sound of the paper plane arriving in over Castletown on the flight path to Ronaldsway and on days when the mist arrives being late for work and turning up grumpy.

People in living on the east coast are lucky, they just have to ring up friends on the West and ask what the weather is doing , because usually an hour later they get the weather that’s come in from the West.

So there you have it a brief guide to weather forecasting (or not) on the Isle of Man and why it’s just the safe option to stick your head out the door and see what’s going on around you.