We invited every MHK to write a column for us in our new feature. We start with Dr. Alex Allinson, one of Ramsey’s MHKs.
It was a little intimidating to be offered a column in your newspaper.
Politicians often rely on the press to convey various messages and connect with citizens in their constituencies.
But on the island, we don’t really have career politicians.
Current members of the Tynwald come from a wide variety of backgrounds.
Some continue to work part-time in their previous jobs; in some ways, being brought back to the “real world” is a useful reality check.
Looking around the chamber since the last election proves how our system works and has chosen people who truly represent our community; diverse, curious, intelligent, hardworking and bolshie when needed.
I hope we can start 2022 with a renewed sense of confidence in ourselves and what we can accomplish given all the world has been through.
One of my main roles in the Department of Enterprises will be to help develop an economic strategy to move our island forward without leaving anyone behind.
Growth must translate into a more diversified economy, improved productivity, better jobs, higher wages and the opportunity to learn new skills.
But economic growth must also allow everyone to have a decent standard of living and the time to enjoy the beauty and tranquility that lie on our doorstep.
We have gifted people in our community; a youth alert to a range of challenges ahead, business leaders and entrepreneurs, hardworking staff with creative ideas, a dedicated public sector that has worked tirelessly to support our island, a third sector that has re-established links with some of our most vulnerable and disillusioned and an older population reminding us all of what a real community should look like.
The government’s job is to respect all of these views and ideals and allow them to move us forward together.
I am convinced that we have politicians and a public service ready to listen, translate and communicate with our people. Communication is always important, but it must be honest, clear and resonate with our fears, hopes and ambitions.
There are now a bewildering amount of ways to connect.
I have four email addresses, multiple social media accounts, and still get daily letters and phone calls from people at Ramsey with various issues or ideas.
For more than five years, Lawrie Hooper and I have regularly held political cabinets together at City Hall on the second Saturday of each month.
But to understand what people think of you, you have to be there.
Whether it’s chatting to people in shops, along Parliament Street, in a pub or Mooragh Park, that social contact is so important and denying it during lockdowns has shown its true value.
It is this connection that first drew me to this wonderful island and has kept me rooted here for the past 20 years. If we can continue to share ideas, build understanding, and challenge conspiracy theories and intolerance, we can accomplish so much together.
Happy New Year, hope it’s a good one.
* David Ashford writes a column in this week’s Isle of Man Examiner, which is on sale now.