Scope of Government Report. It is decided, as part of the drive towards more corporatisation, to introduce a public/private sector partnership in the House of Keys, which teams up with a major retail chain. In return for significant investment, MHKs are required to spend a number of hours stacking shelves. It transpires that many of them are under-qualified for the task, which is a shame because the shelf-stackers turned out to be better than the MHKs at running the country.
Industrial relations. Concerned after hearing suggestions that he is not as tough as his predecessor, Civil Service Commission chairman Alf Cannan challenges John Houghton to a cage fight. Mr Houghton accepts and the Villa Marina is booked and the fight scheduled to take place as soon as possible – just in case the building gets sold off.
Film Industry. The Department of Economic Development celebrates the £1 million input into the Manx economy from the presence of film production team working on new movie Belle. It is a little more reticent when someone asks for details of the next 48 film productions which would be required to balance the books following the £49m investment in Pinewood Studios.
Out of town retail development. As various government departments trip over each other in the rush to attract more UK chains to set up stores out of town, someone asks how this sits with the millions of pounds being invested – via the town and village centre regeneration scheme – into trying to prop up the town and village centres which are put at risk by the proliferation of out of town retail developments. That someone is patted on the head and told not to worry. Someone else asks if anyone in government ever inquires, when such out of town schemes promise the creation of multiple jobs, what the actual full time equivalent is of the figures quoted, ie when 30 jobs are touted, is it actually 30 part time positions covering the work of 10 full time jobs? No one in government seems to understand.
Chris Robertshaw. The soporific nature of his speeches increases at exactly the same speed as the expanding expression of indignation on his face as the year moves on. That means a steady rate as more Department of Social Care cuts earn criticism from outside of Tynwald and then runs off the scale when he realises that most of the Council of Ministers won’t have the bottle to support his welfare reforms.
Legislative Council. In a fit of pique at the frequent scuppering of parliamentary reform proposals, the House of Keys decides to boot out all eight MLCs whose appointment is not automatic. The fit of pique is followed by a sense of panic when MHKs look up at the empty bench during the next Tynwald. They race out to the nearest taxi rank – at the top end of Victoria Street – where, happily there are eight cabs parked in an orderly and organised manner. The taxi drivers are rapidly appointed to the Legislative Council. Campaigners for an all-island taxi licensing system start to weep.
David Quirk. After Onchan Olympics hero Peter Kennaugh was honoured by painting a postbox gold to mark his medal-winning achievement, it is decided that a similar recognition should be granted to one of the area’s MHKs. A plank of wood is painted gold.
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You can see the first set of predictions here:
If you have an overwhelming desire to become an MHK, here are some hints on how to get elected:
And should the above piece fill you with a desire to read more about Chris Robertshaw, then this piece is a good start: