Two weeks to go until the House of Keys election.
My Manifesto came back from the printers yesterday and is now in the post.
In June this year Lord Lisvane produced his independent ‘Review of the Functioning of Tynwald’. The report drew on his first-hand experience of more than fifty parliaments around the world. His recommendations have been much discussed in the mainstream media on the Island as well as on social media. Some people have been surprised by some of his findings.
The review recognised the ‘disconnect’ that exists between the electorate, the manifestos of individual elected MHKs and the policies eventually adopted by the Council of Ministers. He suggested one way of tackling this.
‘I recommend that, once an Administration has been formed, its first task should be to prepare and publish a Programme for Government. This might be seen as having a parallel in the Queen’s Speech in the Westminster Parliament, but I envisage a much more comprehensive document, with policy objectives, milestones… and broad intended budget allocations. … the views of the public should be explicitly sought…that would be followed by a major debate in Tynwald, at which the GovernmentI would seek approval for the Programme’… I would hope that the process could be completed within two weeks at most.’
I am an enthusiastic supporter of this idea. The last administration produced the ‘Agenda for change’ document. It had 5 policy themes, 17 targets and 71 corporate objectives but it took a year to produce and ran from 2012 -2016. It was also a document produced by the Council of Ministers’ rather than owned by Tynwald.
If I were elected in two weeks time, my vote for Chief Minister would, in part, be based on the willingness of candidates to adopt Lord Lisvane’s ‘Programme for Government’ recommendation. In my manifesto I have listed 12 items that I would hope to see featured in such a programme. The two most important of these are:
1 The development of a clear population policy and strategy to restore sustainable population growth and secure a more balanced population.
2A full review of the Island’s tax strategy to make taxation fairer, secure sufficient income to pay for public services but retain low tax rates.
I would suggest that this proposal from Lord Lisvane could have a major impact on future House of Keys elections. If all candidate listed in their manifestos the key items that they would want to see in the Programme for Government it would be possible to galvanise the ideas of the successful candidates into the basis of the plan for the next five years. I believe that would be a major step forward.
If the next Chief Minister agrees to develop a Programme for Government, then the first two weeks will provide a once-in-the-parliament opportunity to influence the government agenda for the next five years. I am ready to make a contribution to that debate.
Published by Paul Craine, 6 Elm Bank, Glen Vine IM4 4FF
Representation of the People Act 1995