Belated congratulations to Chris Thomas, the new MHK for Douglas West.
We should all wish him well as he tries to fill the shoes left by political giant Geoff Corkish, who has donned the Legislative Council slippers.
Anyway, as Mr T prepares for his new life, here are some helpful hints for survival as an MHK.
- Have a long term plan. Your seven years strategy is about right, although try not to do too much – it is frowned upon. After those seven years, you should be looking to take things a little easier, ideally while still receiving a good wage. It’s not difficult, ask your predecessor.
- Don’t worry if it all gets too confusing at any stage, you can always deflect from a lack of knowledge by choosing a vacuous soundbite, already rehearsed, or wheeling out a cliché.
- As a male MHK, you must maintain a minimum level of chauvinism. This can range from being patronising to the female members of Tynwald in a gentle, old-fashioned way, to proper prejudice in refusing to recognise issues of equality. The truth is the esteemed male members, as a general rule, do not understand women. (I suspect the feeling is mutual.)
- Choose your highly placed allies carefully and with career progression in mind. For instance, Allan Bell is the current chief minister, while – speaking hypothetically, of course – Phil Gawne, perhaps, thinks he is an heir apparent. Aligning yourself with one may cause problems if ever a Night of the Long Knives takes place and your guy ends up with a sore back.
- Beware Brenda Cannell.
- Don’t let anything surprise you and don’t let the fact you may not have accrued sufficient political acumen ever hold you back. Remember, Graham Cregeen is a minister.
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