As the continuing review of government ministers continues its remorseless journey we are faced with the following question: What can be said about Graham Cregeen?
The truth is, not a lot.
He’s only been a minister for a matter of weeks, so it’s hard to give a meaningful assessment. His appointment to the helm of the Department of Community, Culture and Leisure, did highlight one thing, however: Chief Minister Allan Bell is not exactly blessed with many options when he needs to make appointments.
It also raises the issue of just how little the chief thinks of the likes of more experienced MHKs such as Brenda Cannell, John Houghton and Bill Henderson.
He may well be right in that.
There is also some surprise that Geoff Corkish was overlooked; if indeed he was. There is an unconfirmed rumour that he was offered a ministerial job following the sacking of Peter Karran, but turned it down.
This in itself raises some questions. Did he turn it down because he didn’t fancy the extra workload? Many people in Douglas West may think so, although Mr Corkish could always argue that by not being a minister he was showing his commitment to the constituency.
Of course, maybe he was overlooked, but by declining to comment on whether he was offered a ministerial job, he lets people think it was his choice.
Certainly, if he didn’t want the job, it’s a surprising find these days to discover an MHK who fits one of the following categories:
- An awareness of their own limitations, coupled with a lack of ego.
- Wants to serve the public, and believes that the best way to do such a thing does not necessarily involve finding themselves in a better paid job.
- Has a long term political strategy – and patience.
Of course, it might just be that he’s got a few singing gigs coming up.
Anyway, this is all rather harsh on Graham Cregeen, the new star in the DCCL, as this article hasn’t spent much time talking about him.
Given the feedback some have given as to what they believe his abilities to be, that could perhaps be regarded as a blessing.
He was, of course, sacked as a member of predecessor of the DCCL, the Department of Tourism and Leisure, when he had a falling out over the appointment of a public servant and general criticisms of the running of the department, so no doubt he’s already been welcomed with open arms.
Anyway, he’s got a fun time ahead. Given that the Scope of Government Report advocates the corporatisation of many services, then Mr C may soon find that his remit is beginning to dwindle.
After all, among the things that would appear ripe for corporatisation, privatisation, or just being run with greater commercial effectiveness, include the Villa Marina and Gaiety Theatre complex (which deserve to be run in a manner befitting of such architectural jewels in the Isle of Man crown), the National Sports Centre (a great facility) and the bus service, which needs to get out of the seemingly endless trap of buying new vehicles at every opportunity.
And if the steam railway and electric railways were put in the hands purely of heritage organisations, then perhaps we could stop trying to perpetuate the myth that they are more than just that an enjoyable piece of history that deserves to be preserved – within reasonable expense (I’m trying not to mention diesel locos here). They are not commuter services and if they haven’t yet provided the solution to parking problems in Douglas then it is highly unlikely they ever will.
Manx National Heritage does quite well from the taxpayer, I’m sure it wouldn’t mind being asked to take ultimate responsibility for the railways. Just let MNH build a café or interpretation centre somewhere and everyone’s happy.
So, this is less a review of Graham Cregeen and more of a preview.
But there were a number of rolled eyes in the corridors of power when his appointment was announced, not to mention a few intakes of breath.
In management speak, he’s got to see the problems ahead as an opportunity to prove himself.
Following his appointment he said ‘you never do’ know what’s round the corner. It’d be nice if he could give that some thought. It’s what we pay ministers for.
GNU rating: 9/10. We should expect to see a lot of gratitude and not a lot of stepping out of line.
Follow on Twitter: @Norbertsdad
If you found this article interesting, you would probably enjoy this piece about Mr Cregeen’s predecessor Tim Crookall.